6 Must-See Summer Shows on New York’s Gallery-Rich Upper East Side

From a sweeping group show of contemporary self-portraits to a New York solo debut, here is the best of an exhibition hot spot this month.

Deborah Druick, Absent (2023). © Deborah Druick. Courtesy of David Nolan Gallery.

There’s no better way to cool off while out and about in the summer months than to pop into one of the city’s hundreds of galleries—guaranteed air conditioning and new exhibitions are a match made in heaven.

And while you might first think of Chelsea or Tribeca for gallery hopping, the Upper East Side maintains a strong contingent of flagship as well as satellite spaces, many of which have just switched over to their summer shows.

We’ve rounded up six Upper East Side gallery exhibitions to check out this month, all within a few blocks of each other off Madison Avenue (as well as just steps from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and more).

You might even want to make a day of it. Here is why they are worth a look.

 

“BODIES: Ray Yoshida, Christina Ramberg, Deborah Druick”
David Nolan Gallery, through July 26

painting of a woman's physique abstracted

Christina Ramberg, Untitled (ca. 1980). © The Estate of Christina Ramberg. Courtesy of David Nolan Gallery.

Juxtaposing the work of three intergenerational artists—Ray Yoshida (1930–2009), Christina Ramberg (1946–1995), and Deborah Druick (b. 1951)—“BODIES” homes in on how each artist explores color, pattern, and more specifically figuration at a time when abstraction otherwise reigned supreme.

Ramberg, currently the subject of a major retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Yoshida were both closely tied to the Chicago art scene and drew inspiration from the pervasive cultural and political milieus they worked within. Similarly, Druick’s work is deeply engaged with the history and trajectory of feminist art, influenced by both Eastern and Western views of women and women’s bodies. Together, the show presents each artist’s formal as well as thematic explorations—highlighting how they diverged and overlapped—which still hold as relevant today as when they were made.

24 East 81st Street, Floor 4, New York, NY 10028

“Amanda Wall: Sky got dark”
Almine Rech, through August 2

painting of a foot with two blueberries wedged between the big toe and the rest

Amanda Wall, Baby Steps (2024). Photo: Matt Kroening. © Amanda Wall. Courtesy of Almine Rech.

Surreal and often bordering on the uncanny, the body of work within Amanda Wall’s fourth solo exhibition with Almine Rech takes viewers on a deep dive into her unique visual lexicon and artistic worldbuilding. Here, narrative is alluded to but ultimately left open-ended for the viewer’s interpretation.

Figures, objects, and vignettes are portrayed in varying degrees of clarity and abstraction, and with vivid swathes of color contrasted with stretches of ashy darkness, each work presents a sort of dreamscape that could easily turn into nightmare. Berries between toes, preternaturally long limbs that appear to drip, and bodies that could be confused for landscape, Wall’s paintings evoke feelings and desires people often keep to themselves, furtive secrets that can only be explored psychologically.

39 East 78th Street, Floor 2, New York, NY 10075

Secundino Hernández
Skarstedt, through August 2

abstract painting with varying color swatches in blue, red and yellow

Secundino Hernández, Untitled (2024). © Secundino Hernández. Courtesy of Skarstedt.

Marking his first exhibition with Skarstedt and first solo in New York, Secundino Hernández’s eponymous show features a collection of new paintings that expand on his “Washed” series, which began in 2016. The series centers on a question: what is painting? Using the formal elements and techniques of the medium, such as line, color, and application, Hernández leans into the nebulousness that comes with trying to define a medium.

In the present exhibition, the fruits of the artist’s years of dedication to the series are brought to the fore, and showcase his ability to deftly and seamlessly employ a range of approaches, resulting in works that are simultaneously animated and expressive as well as quietly contemplative.

20 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075

 

Jeronimo Elespe
Van Doren Waxter, July 9–August 23

abstract painting in black with cut outs of color that has an outlined figure of a person sitting and drawing in the center

Jeronimo Elespe, Untitled (from “Antigüedad” series) (2024). Courtesy of Van Doren Waxter.

Spanish artist Jeronimo Elespe’s paintings are recognized for their meticulous detail, which engage with themes of memory and time, dreams, and emotional states. His new show focuses on his work on paper, featuring two suites of monoprints that have never been exhibited, and employ a similar otherworldliness as his painting but this time with a distinctive new visual vocabulary.

Each grouping of prints—which were made in 2020 and 2024 respectively—are based on two initial images filtered through technical experimentation. The artist used plates (copper plates for some, woodcuts and monotypes for others) to build up the imagery, making every work entirely unique. Playful and dreamlike, the show brings much-deserved attention to the artist’s printmaking.

23 East 73rd Street, New York, NY 10021

“Yoab Vera: Reminiscence – Contigo Aprendí”
Alexander Berggruen, July 10–August 22

painting view of a sunset over a horizon in pink

Yoab Vera, Reminiscence Summerspace (to Merce Cunningham, Molton Feldman & Robert Rauschenberg) (2024). © Yoab Vera. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Berggruen.

Using the horizon line over a sea as a compositional starting point, Yoab Vera creates scenes that are at once representative but use the language of abstraction. Described by the artist as “haptic contemplative painting,” Vera taps elements of architecture, spirituality, and neuroaesthetics (a scientific, neurological approach to the consideration of aesthetics) to explore facets of reality, both real and perceived.

Using oil sticks, oil paints, and concrete, each work has an added sense of tactility and immediacy, allowing Vera to further allude to the multifaceted themes and formal investigations he pursues throughout the body of work on view.

Tying the show further to his ongoing practice, the name of the show “Reminiscence – Contigo Aprendi” (translated: I learned with you) is a dedication to New York, where the artist first began his painting practice, and an homage to artists such as Piet Mondrian and Blinky Palermo who similarly dedicated work to the Big Apple.

1018 Madison Ave, Floor 3, New York, NY 10075

“Yours Truly”
Nahmad Contemporary, July 10–September 14

photograph of three people's feet in shoes

Wolfgang Tillmans, Elternbesuch (2022). Courtesy of Nahmad Contemporary.

Curated by Eleanor Cayre, “Yours Truly” sees self-portraits by over 50 living artists from diverse backgrounds come together. Featuring a range of mediums—including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper—the exhibition not only offers an in-depth look at the genre today, but a glimpse into how working artists interpret their present lived reality and even greater cultural and societal themes.

The sheer diversity of perspectives makes “Yours Truly” an important curatorial moment, with artists across ages, nationalities, and disciplines included, allowing visitors to explore contemporary self-portraiture as well as potentially find part of themselves too reflected in the works on view.

980 Madison, New York, NY 10075


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