Over 40 Art Shows to See Right Now


People can find visiting galleries intimidating, mysterious or irksome, but it needn’t be, even for beginners. There’s no time like our annual Spring Gallery Guide to discuss the basics (and pleasures) of this time-honored activity. My fellow critics and I have fanned out across the city to take the pulse of the scene, but before you get to our recommendations, let me offer some advice:

Galleries don’t charge admission. New York City has the largest concentration of art galleries anywhere; there’s a great deal of information and many experiences to be had, free of charge. These are welcoming places that don’t exist only to sell art. They’re also a public service, a way for artists and art students to see what other artists are up to, but also for the rest of us as well.

Be engaged. Wave or smile to the people at the front desk when you enter (and maybe say “Thank you” when you leave). Join the ritual of signing the sign-in book. (Most galleries have them.) It lets artists know you’ve been there and provides a little private moment before plunging in. You’ll also see news releases by the sign-in book. They give you the title of the show (if there is one), some whiff of the artist’s intention and a short biography. There’s a good chance there will also be checklists, almost always with photographs of the works. This provides the title, date, materials and dimensions of every artwork on view. It’s your map.

Take the process seriously. Give every show a chance. Art is never trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Walk around the sculptures; study the paintings — and their surfaces — from various distances. Examine the checklist, and think about how the art objects were made and of what. Can you identify the materials used on first sight?

Listen to yourself. Realize that you are having reactions and forming opinions even if you can’t quite articulate them. Tally up what you like or don’t like about a certain piece. Strike up a conversation with someone who seems to be looking as hard as you. Compare notes. Got questions? Ask them of whoever behind the desk looks the least busy. Keep in mind that many people in these positions at galleries are young artists or writers and usually quite smart. You never know when you’re talking to the next Huma Bhabha. ROBERTA SMITH


Top image grid, from top left: ChimPom and Art in General; Dario Lasagni; Dawn Mellor and TEAM Gallery; via Alexander and Bonin, New York; Joerg Lohse; American Artist; ANOHNI and The Kitchen; Arcmanoro Niles and Rachel Uffner Gallery; Aria Dean and Chapter NY; Dario Lasagni; Bruce Pearson and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York; Austin Lee; Cameron Clayborn and Simone Subal Gallery; Dario Lasagni; Mark Mulroney and Mrs. Gallery; Vivian Suter and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; David Regen; Claude Tolmer and L. Parker Stephenson Photographs; via apexart; Eduardo Kac and Henrique Faria, New York; Jessi Reaves and Bridget Donahue NYC; Greg Carideo; Sasha Bezzubov and Front Room Gallery; Sharon Horvath and Pierogi; Julia Rommel and Bureau, New York; Dario Lasagni; Mira Schor and Lyles & King; Walid Raad and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Peter Krashes and Theodore:Art, Brooklyn; Martin Kersels and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York; Silvia Bächli and Peter Freeman, Inc.; Moira Dryer and Van Doren Waxter, New York; Stefan Hagen; Ming Fay and Sapar Contemporary; via 56 Henry; Object Studies; Raqib Shaw, via Pace Gallery; Pierre Buraglio and Ceysson & Bénétière; Graciela Iturbide; Lili Jamail and TEAM; via Artist’s Institute at Hunter College; Paul Fagerskiold and Peter Blum Gallery, New York; Etienne Frossard; Paul Anthony Smith and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Sara Mejia Kriendler and The Chimney; Reggie Shiobara.



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