With the days getting shorter, it feels especially important to sneak in a few bright spots of pleasure where you can. Below, we’ve assembled a list of 10 exhibitions that have stirred some insights and excitement. Like we did for our October guide, this month we’ve highlighted a mix of online and in-person exhibitions, many of which are by appointment. As always, stay safe and don’t forget your mask.
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When: September 17, 2020–August 14, 2021
Where: Online via Ford Foundation gallery (320 E 43rd St, Midtown East, Manhattan)
How do we make our lives livable amid a pandemic and struggles for racial justice? Centering experiences of disability, Indisposable examines artist responses via a series of programs that will culminate in a physical exhibition next summer. Organized by disability studies scholars Ann Fox and Jessica Cooley, the next installment will debut online on November 18, and focus on Sami Schalk‘s #QuarantineLooks, an ongoing project devoted to pleasure activism and self-care.
When: October 17–November 15
Where: Tiger Strikes Asteroid (1329 Willoughby Ave #2a, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
In the late 1980s and 1990s, drag performer, documentarian, and writer Linda Simpson took thousands of photographs chronicling New York City’s flourishing drag scene. A selection of photographs from this rich archive, curated by Pacifico Silano, underscores the importance of queer nightlife spaces at a time when NYC Mayor Giuliani was clamping down on the city’s bars and clubs.
When: October 22–December 19
Where: Online and by appointment only at Matthew Marks (523 W 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Abstract painter Matt Connors organized The Idea of Building, which spotlights the vintage prints and ephemera of photographer, writer, and curator Luigi Ghirri. Sometimes characterized as Italy’s response to William Eggleston, Ghirri composed color photographs of contemporary life in the region where he lived in northern Italy.
When: October 22–November 30
Where: PROXYCO Gallery (appointments encouraged; 121 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
PROXYCO and Embajada co-present recent work by Mexican-born, Brooklyn-based artist Claudia Peña Salinas. Image transfers on wax panels, a large modular pyramid, and a glowing snake consider the limits of the postcolonial imagination and reclaim the magic of Mexico’s sacred sites.
When: October 24–December 20 & October 30–TBC, respectively
Where: David Lewis Gallery (88 Eldridge St, Fifth Floor, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
The pieces in this two-part exhibition were inspired by the first trip that the late self-taught artist Thornton Dial took to New York City, which included a visit to Ground Zero. His expressionist works on canvas incorporate materials such as rope carpet, clothing, animal jawbones, and bedding, scavenged around Dial’s rural Alabama hometown.
When: October 25–November 22
Where: Selenas Mountain (63 Woodward Ave #6321, Ridgewood, Queens)
Working in media ranging from drawing and painting to ceramics and leatherwork, Tamara Santibañez, who is also a tattoo artist and community organizer, explores the language and labor of revolution. They bring a punk, fetish aesthetic to traditional craft techniques, highlighting the radical potential of the oft-dismissed work of craft.
When: October 28–December 12
Where: Lisson Gallery (both locations)
Overtaking the gallery’s two Chelsea spaces, the exhibition presents Hélio Oiticica’s early works on paper, his maquette of a labyrinthine public garden that never came to be, and the installation that is perhaps his best-known work, “Tropicália” (1966–67). The architecturally scaled installation, which was also on view at the Brazilian artist’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2017, combines colorful slabs with elements like tropical flowers and sand to critique the idealization of Brazil under a dictatorship.
When: October 29–December 17
Where: Galerie Lelong
Seasons features vibrantly hued tapestries, paintings, and ceramics by the 95-year-old Lebanese-American artist, poet, and essayist Etel Adnan. New paintings that she made during the novel coronavirus pandemic combine geometric abstract renderings of planets with images of single quotidian objects like apples and bicycles.
When: October 29–December 13
Where: By appointment at Charles Moffett ( 511 Canal Street, #200, Tribeca, Manhattan)
A small but mighty exhibition of recent paintings, I Still Hoop offers a slice of Rivero’s attempts to grapple with and face the ever-present specter of death. Poetic and at times humorous, Rivero’s paintings — all made in 2020 — nod to science fiction, elements of his Afro-Caribbean upbringing, and reflect on increased rates of mortality for Black and brown people in a way that never feels heavy-handed.
When: November 5–December 19
Where: Sean Kelly Gallery (475 10th Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan)
For her first solo New York exhibition in nine years, Sikander will make her Sean Kelly debut with a sweeping cross-section of works that examine power and powerlessness. Along with intricate drawings inspired by classical Indo-Persian miniature painting, Weeping Willows will include the artist’s first foray into free-standing sculpture.
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