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In this look at top exhibitions in New York City, we’re sharing what’s on view at spaces like Friedman Benda, Hauser & Wirth, and The Met. If you’re in the city for Armory Week, be sure to pencil time into your busy schedule to visit some of these shows.
Cecily Brown: “Death and the Maid”
April 4—December 3
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the first institution in New York to present a full museum survey of the artist Cecily Brown. Featuring a compilation of around 50 paintings, drawings, monotypes, and sketchbooks, the show covers 25 years of Brown’s creative evolution through the lens of two central themes: the artist’s recurring exploration of vanitas (reminders of mortality and human vanity) and her interest in still life painting. Rendered in Brown’s visual signature of gestural scenes that have grown increasingly more abstracted with time, the survey includes pieces like the 1998 The Only Game in Town and the 2005 Untitled (Vanity), both depicting Brown’s recurring woman perched at a vanity. More recent compositions on view are still lifes created in 2020 titled Nature Morte and Lobsters, Oysters, Cherries and Pearls.
Louise Bourgeois and Nicolas Party
September 8—December 23 and September 7—October 21
Hauser & Wirth is inaugurating its new 18th Street location with “Louise Bourgeois: Once there was a mother,” while the gallery space on 22nd Street introduces new work by Nicolas Party in the exhibition “Swamp.” Open from September 8 to December 23, “Once there was a mother” presents works by the late artist Bourgeois that are important and rarely exhibited, focused on the artist’s explorations of maternity and motherhood. Bourgeois’s lesser-known printmaking practice takes the spotlight here, with pieces made primarily when she was in her nineties that were executed prolifically and with a range of inventive and experimental techniques. Viewers exploring the new gallery space will find work like the print series “The Fragile” (2007) which encompasses seven unique sets of 36 fabric prints bearing imagery relating elements of old age with infancy, and the 2008 fabric print series of pregnant mothers with puddles of silvery milk coming from their breast, called “The Good Mother.”
Meanwhile, from September 7 to October 21, Nicolas Party’s “Swamp” immerses viewers in a site-specific environment of murals, cabinet compositions, oil on copper paintings, and the artist’s signature pastel paintings. The sweeping show of darkly painted walls and pastel swamplands rendered in great proportions transports visitors as though they could be inside a storybook. Once inside the enigmatic exhibition, the artist’s tale of imagination and art historical references are narrated with the help Party’s mysterious portraits with animal companions (inspired by the 19th-century French painter Rosa Bonheur) and landscapes featuring creatures of the Mesozoic Era.
Fernando Laposse: “Ghosts of Our Towns”
September 7—October 14
Fernando Laposse’s “Ghosts of Our Towns” poses an exploration of ethics in agriculture and its waste, focused on the small farming communities of Mexico. Presenting a narrative that paints a spectrum of disruption and restoration and dissolution and hope, Laposse’s employment of three central materials (corn, agave, and avocado) carries the exhibition’s dialogue around issues like genetically modified seeds, loss in biodiversity and native corn varieties, the use of herbicides, and the return to traditional practices that have arisen in an effort to reverse negative effects. Working with materials like veneer made of heirloom corn husks, sisal fibers from the leaf of the agave plant, and dyes made from avocado pits—all natural byproducts that reduce waste—Laposse has created functional artworks like the Totomoxtle Snake Coffee Table, “furry” furniture pieces like a pink armchair and the Hair of the Dog mirror, made from plant fiber, and a suite of avocado-dyed tapestries.
George Rouy: “Endless Song”
September 7—October 21
The paintings of the U.K.-based artist George Rouy employ a unique blend of realistic figuration, gesture, movement, color, and abstraction that yields singular compositions with an unmissable signature—a product of interest in the movements of dancers, and Sharon Eyal’s dance company, in particular. In “Endless Song” at Nicola Vassell, Rouy debuts a suite of new paintings, his subjects rendered on large-scale canvases where their bodies seem caught in situ. Accented by energetic flashes of color and blurred brushstrokes that suggest both motion and emotion, these imagined spaces filled with moving bodies hold the viewer’s attention through a balance of contrasts that bring to mind the practices of Renaissance portraiture, the avant-garde, and the suggestion of distorted photographs.
Daniel Arsham: “20 Years/20 Ans”
September 6—October 14
Perrotin is celebrating two decades of its founder Emmanuel Perrotin’s collaborations with the artist Daniel Arsham in two concurrent solo exhibitions in Paris and New York. Viewers in New York will find the debut of several new bodies of work, representing the artist’s evolving oeuvre and ongoing exploration of past, present, and future, which the gallerist has witnessed and supported through the last 20 years. Featured works of note are a new collaboration with Star Wars wherein Arsham has reimagined the movie characters in his eroded aesthetic, a hanging of sketches on hotel stationery that have never been seen before, a suite of paintings employing a specially-textured paint developed by the artist to mimic that of Renaissance canvases, and sculptures employing classical characteristics and a contemporary use of material.