20 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend | Modern Society of USA

20 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend

20 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend

‘THE LONG RUN’ at the Museum of Modern Art. The museum upends its cherished Modern narrative of ceaseless progress by mostly young (white) men. Instead we see works by artists 45 and older who have just kept on keeping on, regardless of attention or reward, sometimes saving the best for last. Art here is an older person’s game, a pursuit of a deepening personal vision over innovation. Winding through 17 galleries, the installation is alternatively visually or thematically acute and altogether inspiring. (Smith)
212-708-9400, moma.org

[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]

‘BRUCE NAUMAN: DISAPPEARING ACTS’ at the Museum of Modern Art (through Feb. 18) and MoMA PS1 (through Feb. 25). If art isn’t basically about life and death, and the emotions and ethics they inspire, what is it about? Style? Taste? Auction results? The most interesting artists go right for the big, uncool existential stuff, which is what Bruce Nauman does in a transfixing half-century retrospective that fills the entire sixth floor of MoMA and much of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. The MoMA installation is tightly paced and high decibel; the one at PS1, which includes a trove of works on paper, is comparatively mellow and mournful. Each location offers a rough chronological overview of his career, but catching both parts of the show is imperative. Nauman has changed the way we define what art is and what is art, and made work prescient of the morally wrenching American moment we’re in. He deserves to be seen in full. (Cotter)
212-708-9400, moma.org
718-784-2084, momaps1.org

‘PAA JOE: GATES OF NO RETURN’ at the American Folk Art Museum (through Feb. 24). Joseph Tetteh Ashong, better known as Paa Joe, is Ghana’s pre-eminent funerary carpenter, turning out thousands of brightly colored lions, soda bottles and automobiles for people to be buried in. Most of his exuberant pieces enjoy the light of day for only a few hours before they disappear into the ground. But in 2004, Paa Joe was commissioned by the art dealer and gallerist Claude Simard to make casket-size hardwood models of 13 former Gold Coast slave forts, and seven of them are now at AFAM. Thanks to Paa Joe’s gift for transmuting even the most complex and brutal material into a cheerful expression of his own artistic temperament, the works’ undeniable conceptual weight doesn’t hamper the overwhelming visual pleasure. (Will Heinrich)
212-595-9533, folkartmuseum.org

‘R.H. QUAYTMAN: +X, CHAPTER 34’ at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through April 23). At the summit the Guggenheim’s spiraling rotunda, this show appears as if the exhibition of the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint, on the floors below, had suddenly exploded into 28 fragments. Quaytman made this series of works in 2018 in response to af Klint’s oeuvre from the last century, and Quaytman is the perfect artist to answer af Klint: Af Klint worked in series, and Quaytman works in what she calls “chapters.” Where af Klint took orders from spirits she claimed to have contacted through séances, Quaytman, for this project, has adopted af Klint as her higher power, working in a more secular, channeled collaborative vein. And where af Klint offers a bright, dynamic symphony, Quaytman responds with a spare, restrained and slightly dissonant tone poem. (Schwendener)
212-423-3575, guggenheim.org

‘BETYE SAAR: KEEPIN’ IT CLEAN’ at the New-York Historical Society (through May 27). Saar has been making important and influential work for nearly 60 years. Yet no big New York museum has given her a full retrospective, or even a significant one-person show, since a 1975 solo at the Whitney Museum of American Art. As this exhibition demonstrates, the institutional oversight is baffling, as her primary themes — racial justice and feminism (her 1972 breakthrough piece, “The Liberation of Aunt Jemima,” merges the two by transforming the racist stereotype of the smiling black mammy into an armed freedom fighter) — are exactly attuned to the present. (Cotter)
212-873-3400, nyhistory.org

‘STERLING RUBY: CERAMICS’ at the Museum of Art and Design (through March 17). Adept at most art mediums, this artist is at his best in ceramics, especially in the outsize, awkwardly hand-built, resplendently glazed baskets, ashtrays and plates and the objects that verge on sculpture in this show. These works actively incorporate accident and aspects of the ready-made, have precedents in the large-scale ceramics of Peter Voulkos and Viola Frey, but may be closest in spirit to the Neo-Expressionism of Julian Schnabel — rehabilitated, of course. (Smith)
212-299-7777, madmuseum.org

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