10 Great New York Shows to See Before Labor Day

Your last chance to see "China: Through the Looking Glass" and more.

Details of
Details of "China: Through the Looking Glass".
Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFA.
Yinka Shonibare, Girl on Scooter (2009). Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection. Photo: Trish Mayo, courtesy Morris-Jumel Mansion.

Yinka Shonibare, Girl on Scooter (2009). Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection.
Photo: Trish Mayo, courtesy Morris-Jumel Mansion.

As summer nears its end, the clock is also running down on many of the year’s biggest art shows. Despite the fact that there are a slew of new exhibitions coming up, that does not mean there is not serious pressure to check off everything on your must-see list before it is too late.

The coming days will also mark the swan song of many of our favorite spring and summer public art installations, including Tatiana Trouvé in Central Park, FLOW.15 on Randall’s Island, and Socrates Sculpture Park‘s giant sinkhole (although Agnes Denes‘s Living Pyramid has been extended through the end of October).

So soak up those last few days of summer sun, but don’t take it too easy—there’s art to be seen!

Jimbo Blachly, <em>Drawing Wagon</em> (2015). Photo: the Drawing Center, courtesy Jimbo Blachly.

Jimbo Blachly, Drawing Wagon (2015).
Photo: the Drawing Center, courtesy Jimbo Blachly.

1. “Name It by Trying to Name It: Open Sessions 2014–15,” the Drawing Center
Even if you’ve already stopped by to see the culmination of the museum’s Open Sessions program, it is worth a return trip. Many of the artworks in the exhibition are only on view for two weeks at a time, so the best way to fully accommodate two years’ worth of drawings and related works in performance, video, sculpture, and installation, is in this powerful six-week show.
Through August 30, 2015.

Yinka Shonibare, The Ghost of Eliza Jumel (2015) at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York. Photo: Trish Mayo, courtesy Morris-Jumel Mansion.

Yinka Shonibare, The Ghost of Eliza Jumel (2015) at the Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York. Photo: Trish Mayo, courtesy Morris-Jumel Mansion.

2. “Yinka Shonibare MBE: Colonial Arrangements,” Morris-Jumel Mansion
Part of the 250th anniversary celebration for New York’s only remaining colonial residence, Shonibare‘s first solo Manhattan museum exhibition sets his Dutch wax printed cotton-attired mannequins amid the building’s historic furnishings. On the third floor, former mansion resident Eliza Jumel, who died in 1865 at the age of 92 and is said to haunt the property, appears in her bedroom; this marks the first time the artist has depicted a real person in one of his works. The shutters for each room have been drawn shut, and the dim light adds to the vaguely foreboding, ghostly effect, as Jumel’s spirit seems to occupy the accursed mansion.
Through August 31, 2015.

Frederic Leighton, Flaming June (1895). Photo: courtesy the Frick Collection, New York.

Frederic Leighton, Flaming June (1895).
Photo: courtesy the Frick Collection, New York.

3. “Leighton’s Flaming June,” the Frick Collection
This dreamy Victorian masterpiece, of a young woman in a flowing orange gown taking a nap, could be any late summer afternoon frozen in time. It’s a pleasure to see it up close, to fully revel in its intoxicating power. The canvas is on loan to the Frick from the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, where it was purchased by the territory’s future governor for only $1,000, back when Frederick Leighton‘s work had fallen out of favor.
Through September 6, 2015.

 

Yoko Ono with Standing Woman (1932) by Gaston Lachaise, <br>The Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden, New York. c. 1960–61. <br>Photo: Minoru Niizuma, courtesy Lenono Photo Archive, New York.

Yoko Ono with Standing Woman (1932) by Gaston Lachaise,
The Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden, New York. c. 1960–61.
Photo: Minoru Niizuma, courtesy Lenono Photo Archive, New York.

4. “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971,” the Museum of Modern Art
An important feminist whose artistic achievements are often overshadowed by the cult of Beatlemania, Ono gets her due with this much-needed retrospective. Highlights include a series of charming conceptual instructions from her 1964 book, Grapefruit, for what Ono called “event scores,” as well as a film of her famous Cut Piece performance, in which audience members were invited to snip away at the artist’s garments as she sat almost motionless on stage. There’s also a listening room for Plastic Ono Band recordings, and archival images from her New York loft and event space on Chambers Street. Beware of the disappointing explanations of and justifications for the work, though. As Art F City points out, “We don’t really need this much didactic text.”
Through September 7, 2015.

 

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 60 minutes, video still. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg.

Wael Shawky, Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo, 2012, HD video, color, sound, 60 minutes, video still.
Photo: courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut/Hamburg.

5. “Wael Shawky: Cabaret Crusades,” PS1 MoMA
Shawky‘s three-part film series “Cabaret Crusades” is a sprawling epic covering the first so-called Holy War in 1096 to the Fourth Crusade in 1202, with flashbacks to the battle of Karbala in 680, which led to the division between Sunni and Shia Muslims. The Egyptian artist recounts this bloody history from a Muslim, rather than Christian, perspective, using antique marionettes in the first film, and ceramic and glass ones in the second and third parts, respectively. Given the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, the viewer can’t help but contemplate who, today, is pulling the strings.
Through September 7, 2015.

 

"Math Bass: Off the Clock" at PS1 MoMA. Photo: PS1 MoMA.

“Math Bass: Off the Clock” at PS1 MoMA.
Photo: PS1 MoMA.

6. “Math Bass: Off the Clock,” PS1 MoMA
PS1 is pretty much cleaning house after Labor Day in anticipation of Greater New York, which means this exhibition of Bass‘s ambiguous paintings, sculptures, and video is closing too. We pegged Bass’s booth for Los Angeles’s Overduin & Co. as one of the best booths at this year’s Frieze New York, so don’t miss another chance to see her work.
Through September 7, 2015.

 

maria-atlman-movie-klimt

Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907).
Photo via: Wikimedia Commons.

7. “Gustav Klimt and Adele Bloch-Bauer: The Woman in Gold,” Neue Galerie
Not many paintings get to be the third lead in a film starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, but Gustav Klimt‘s brilliant, golden Secessionist masterpiece Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) is just that beautiful. The movie tells the story of how Bloch-Bauer’s niece took on the Austrian government and successfully fought for the painting to be returned to her family. At the Neue Galerie, viewers can learn more about the history of the painting through preparatory sketches, vintage photos, jewelry, and other archival materials.
Through September 7, 2015.

Details of "China: Through the Looking Glass". <br>Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFA.

Details of “China: Through the Looking Glass”.
Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFA.

8. “China: Through the Looking Glass,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Costume Institute’s latest exhibition, curated by Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, includes 140 designs from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel, all bearing the influence of Chinese culture. Since the opening in May, the Met has hosted 670,000 visitors to the exhibition, according to the Guardian, making it the most popular fashion show in the museum’s history. As a result, the show was extended three weeks, to accommodate the expected last-minute crowds.
Through September 7, 2015.

 

FAILE, "Wishing on You." Photo: Times Square Alliance.

FAILE, “Wishing on You.”
Photo: Times Square Alliance.

9. “FAILE: Wishing on You,” Times Square
The latest project from Times Square Alliance, a interactive sculpture from FAILE, takes its inspiration both from Asian prayer wheels and the bright lights of the famed square. As passersby spin the wheel, the motion powers the neon lights on the carved wooden sculpture, adding to the busy landscape at the city’s heart. The public art installation was originally set to close September 1, but was so well-received that it received a two week reprieve.
through September 14, 2015.

Richard Estes, <em>D Train</em> (1991). Photo: Museum of Art and Design, courtesy Louis K. Meisel Gallery.

Richard Estes, D Train (1991).
Photo: Museum of Art and Design, courtesy Louis K. Meisel Gallery.

10. “Richard Estes: Painting New York City,” Museum of Arts and Design
You have slightly longer to see MAD’s very first painting show, which means there’s even less of an excuse for not checking out Estes‘s stunning photorealistic work. Seeing Estes’s paintings and source photography side-by-side offers valuable insight into the artist’s creative process, and his precise, slightly aloof vision of the city casts a spotlight on generally-overlooked landscapes, like a run-of-the-mill Upper West Side diner, or the warped reflection of a building in a car windshield.
Through September 20, 2015.

Related Stories:

Ralph Pucci’s Handcrafted Mannequins Push the Envelope at the Museum of Arts and Design

Nazi-Looted Gustav Klimt Portrait Debuts at MoMA

See 25 Images of the Glamorous Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala 2015


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