Summer may bring a slowdown in the art world, but there’s still plenty to see at the city’s museums and galleries. Below, we share our picks for what you won’t want to miss in June, from Martine Syms’s solo museum debut at MoMA to Travis Boyer’s conceptual reimagining of the legacy of Mexican pop star Selena.
Brian Belott at Gavin Brown’s enterprise
MAY 4–JUL. 1 • 429 WEST 127TH STREET
Installation view of “Brian Belott: Dr. Kid President Jr.” at Gavin Brown’s enterprise. Courtesy of Gavin Brown’s enterprise.
Bearing the stellar (and sneakily topical) title “Dr. Kid President Jr.,” this three-part show celebrates the wonders of art made by kids. In one sense, Belott acts as a curator, hanging several hundred canvases culled from the Rhoda Kellogg International Children’s Art Collection. He’ll also be showing a suite of his own paintings—fastidious copies of select pieces from that same collection—and helping to host ongoing D.I.Y. art classes for youngsters within the gallery itself. —Scott Indrisek
Marguerite Humeau at C L E A R I N G
May 25–Jul. 23 • 396 Johnson Avenue, Brooklyn
Marguerite Humeau, HARRY II (BODY), 2017. Courtesy of C L E A R I N G.
Coinciding with her new commission for the High Line, Humeau has unveiled a new show of sculptures inspired by ancient Assyrian and Egyptian symbols of war, as well as modern-day surveillance culture, to weave a semi-fictional narrative around the sphinx. As has become custom for the artist, the show involved complex scientific research and collaboration with experts; she worked with archaeologists to investigate Site 117, the ancient mass cemetery in Sudan that is commonly cited as the earliest evidence of war. —Casey Lesser
Martine Syms at MoMA
May 27–Jul. 16 • 11 West 53rd Street
The young L.A.-based artist has developed a following for her multimedia installations, video, and performance works that fiercely address blackness and entrenched issues of identity politics, including feminism and digital culture. In her first solo show at a U.S. museum, Syms debuts a feature-length film, Incense, Sweaters, and Ice, which explores issues of surveillance through the stories of its three protagonists. —CL
“World War I Beyond the Trenches” at the New York Historical Society
May 26–Sep. 3 • 170 Central Park West
Jane Peterson, Red Cross Work Room 5th Avenue, NYC during the War, c. 1917. Collection of Jonathan L. Cohen. Image courtesy of New York Historical Society.
On the occasion of the centennial of the U.S. involvement in World War I, this exhibition examines the works Americans made in reaction to the war. Gathering more than 55 artworks, including pieces by George Bellows and Georgia O’Keeffe, the show features iconic American paintings, like Childe Hassam’s The Fourth of July, 1916 and John Singer Sargent’s monumental mural-sized work Gassed (1918-19), which has never been shown in the U.S. before. —CL
Travis Boyer at SIGNAL
Jun. 8–Jul. 9 • 260 Johnson Avenue
Installation view of Travis Boyer work in “Ahora y Nunca, Now and Never" at SIGNAL. Courtesy of SIGNAL.
The artist is known for paintings and prints on velvet that the New Yorker described as moving “between luxury and kitsch, delicacy and swagger, and intimacy and threat.” At this surprisingly capacious Bushwick space, he’s presenting “Ahora y Nunca, Now and Never," a multi-layered conceptual project that revolves around the legacy of musical icon Selena Quintanilla Perez, who was murdered in 1995. —SI
Nari Ward at Lehmann Maupin
Jun. 2–Aug. 25 • 536 West 22nd Street
Opening: Jun. 2, 6–8 P.M.
Nari Ward, Royal, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photo by Max Yawney.
Nari Ward, Royal Alpha, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photo by Max Yawney.
Ward’s fourth solo at his New York gallery, “TILL, LIT,” is up in tandem with an epic installation of public work at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens. Characteristically bold, and pointed without being didactic, the paintings and sculptures at Lehmann Maupin—composed of cash-register drawers, altered money, and lighting meant to mimic that used by the NYPD—continue the artist’s exploration of loaded American symbols. —SI
“Calder: Hypermobility” at the Whitney
Jun. 9–Oct. 23 • 99 Gansevoort Street
Alexander Calder, Parasite, 1947. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Calder invented the mobile in the early 1930s, and throughout his career developed sculptures meant to swing, dangle, and buzz through the air. While they’re often exhibited in their static state, here they’re being shown as he intended—in motion. In addition to a full-floor of these beloved, kinetic sculptures, the museum will stage regular activations and performances, as well as new commissions for which contemporary artists like Christian Marclay will interact with Calder’s reverberating works. —CL
“FOUND: Queer Archaeology; Queer Abstraction” at The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
Jun. 10–Sep. 10 • 26 Wooster Street
Maika’i Tubbs, Stepping Stones, 2015. © Maika’i Tubbs. Courtesy of Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
Boris Torres, Flower Shoes, 2015. © Boris Torres. Courtesy of Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
This survey show curated by Avram Finkelstein takes a critical view of the way queer identity has been represented in art history, and demonstrates the fruitful use of abstraction by 27 contemporary artists who are challenging and enriching LGBTQ representation. While deploying multifarious approaches to abstraction, the show includes artists who deftly deconstruct the human body to explore issues of of gender, race, and class; seek to inject queerness into the art-historical canon; and highlight relationships between personal experiences and social constructs. —CL
Betty Parsons at Alexander Gray Associates
May 25–Jul. 14 • 510 West 26th Street
Installation view of Betty Parsons, “Invisible Presence” at Alexander Gray Associates. © Betty Parsons Foundation. Courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates.
Spanning Parsons’s six-decade career, this show takes it name from a phrase the artist coined in 1977, “the invisible presence,” referring to what she ultimately aimed to convey in her work. The legendary artist and gallerist’s thoughtful work spans large abstract paintings in vibrant hues; elegant wood assemblages; and charming travel sketches, watercolor vignettes depicting slices of life in Africa, Europe, Mexico, and Japan. —CL
Ivana Bašić at Marlborough Contemporary
May 25–Jun. 24 • 545 West 25th Street
The New York-based Serbian artist is known for otherworldly, corporeal sculptures made of slithering masses of wax that hover ominously, suspended from ribbons or steel bars. In this new show, she continues her studies into the fragility and force of the human body, envisioning various states of growth and decline in her signature works, as well as fresh pieces that incorporate steel, glass, and mechanical elements. —CL
Nick van Woert at GRIMM
Jun. 2–Jul. 16 • 202 Bowery
Opening: Jun. 2, 6–8 P.M.
Nick van Woert, From the Shed, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM, New York.
Nick van Woert, Cracked the Dam, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and GRIMM, New York.
Though he has exhibited frequently in Europe (and Los Angeles), this materially inventive sculptor hasn’t had a proper New York showcase in over six years. He’s a fitting choice to inaugurate the stateside outpost of GRIMM, his Amsterdam-based gallery. The show, titled “Organ Donor,” will include quasi-paintings made from (real) cat litter, as well as tree bark. Also promised: bold experiments in bronze, coal-slag, and steel. —SI
Albert Herter at Koenig & Clinton
Jun. 3–Jul. 16 • 1329 Willoughby Avenue
Albert Herter, Compound Growth #6, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn. Photo by Jeffrey Sturges.
Koenig & Clinton recently escaped from Chelsea, citing the fact that “the creative communities that have long been associated with lower Manhattan have dispersed significantly.” They’ve now set up shop in Brooklyn—where, of course, many artists actually live and work—and are debuting their new digs with “The Quincunx Aspect,” a grouping of 45 figurative works on paper that marks Herter’s first-ever New York solo exhibition. (The artist has a day job as a Lacanian psychoanalyst, so don’t be afraid of overinterpreting every drawing.) Meanwhile, adjacent to the gallery, Leo Koenig is concurrently launching a new space, Century Pictures, which “aims to offer an alternative to the frenetic eye” in the era of Instagram. It will open with a presentation of two sculptures by Jon Kessler. —SI
Trudy Benson and Yann Gerstberger at Lyles & King
Jun. 8–Jul. 28 • 106 Forsyth Street
Opening: Jun. 8, 6 P.M.
Detail of Trudy Benson, Not Yet Titled, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Lyles & King.
Yann Gerstberger, Douk Douk, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist and Lyles & King.
This Lower East Side gallery reintroduces audiences to Benson—who formerly showed with the now-defunct Lisa Cooley Gallery—and also gives French-born, Mexico-based Gerstberger his first New York outing. It should prove to be an eye-boggling affair, between Benson’s bold, thick abstractions (think Jonathan Lasker meets 1990s computer graphics) and Gerstberger’s mixed-media paintings, which combine textiles, vinyl, and insect-based dyes. —SI
Nicole Eisenman at Anton Kern Gallery
Jun. 1–Jul. 7 • 16 East 55th Street
Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy the artist and Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Photo: Object Studies.
As she debuts fresh, large-scale work at Skulptur Projekte Münster, Eisenman shows a separate body of new, wall-mounted relief sculptures in New York. These figurative, mask-like works are made from aluminum casts of found objects that she’s configured to resemble human faces; she then painted them, adding expressive color and gesture. —CL
Alain Biltereyst at Jack Hanley Gallery
May 25–Jun. 25 • 327 Broome Street
Installation view of Alain Biltereyst at Jack Hanley Gallery. Courtesy of the gallery.
This Belgian artist—who borrows inspirations from unlikely places, like logos on commercial trucks—manages to breathe fresh life into geometric abstraction. Typically, his acrylic-on-panel works are modest and intimate. This time around, he’s also experimenting with how his minimalist, oddly timeless compositions will play at a 61-by-44-inch scale. —SI
—Scott Indrisek and Casey Lesser
May 4–8, 2018, Park Avenue Armory