The 20 Shows You Need to See during Armory Week

Artsy Editorial
Feb 25, 2017 2:44AM

Armory Week may emphasize art fairs and events, but it’s also an opportune time to take in the best of New York’s gallery and museum exhibitions. From an in-depth look at Georgia O’Keeffe’s finely crafted persona at the Brooklyn Museum to fresh figurative paintings by Sascha Braunig at Foxy Production to a new suite of Sterling Ruby ceramics at Gagosian, these 20 shows are not to be missed.

Yinka Shonibare MBE, “Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, a Library, and a Room” at James Cohan

Feb 17–Mar 18 • 533 West 26th St

Yinka Shonibare MBE, The British Library, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist and James Cohan, New York

The centerpiece of Shonibare’s show is a vibrant celebration of the cultural contributions of immigrants. Titled The British Library (2014), it consists of 6,000 books bound in Dutch wax cloth penned by individuals from Kazuo Ishiguro to Anish Kapoor. Additional works by the British-Nigerian artist on view reflect upon ideas of “otherness,” including an installation of a Victorian philanthropist’s parlour and photographs inspired by persecuted writer Oscar Wilde.

“Alice Neel: Uptown” at David Zwirner

Feb 23–April 22 • 525 & 533 West 19th Street

Alice Neel, Ballet Dancer, 1950. Hall Collection. © The Estate of Alice Neel. Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London and Victoria Miro, London.


Neel lived between Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side for half a century, during which time she frequently captured her neighborhood and its residents in paint. Curated by Hilton Als, this marks the first major exhibition to focus on the American painter’s portraits of Harlemites. As Als writes, the show “is an attempt to honor not only what Neel saw, but the generosity behind her seeing.”

“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” at the Brooklyn Museum

March 3–July 23 • 200 Eastern Parkway

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Prospect Mountain, Lake George, 1927. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1980.70.223. © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, circa 1920–22. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.; Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2003.01.006. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

O’Keeffe asserted full control over her public persona, famously rejecting feminist readings of her flower paintings as vaginas and eschewing the label of a “woman artist.” This career-spanning exhibition will examine the enigmatic modernist’s carefully crafted identity through her art and clothing, as well as photographs by the likes of Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, and Annie Leibovitz.

Ed Fornieles at Arsenal Contemporary New York

Feb 22–March 26 • 214 Bowery

Installation view of Ed Fornieles, Tulip Fever, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Arsenal Contemporary Art New York.

Inaugurating the Canadian art space’s New York venue, British artist Fornieles presents an exhibition of sculpture and animated videos that envisions the circulation of global capital through endearing animated characters he’s created. Inspired by Japanese Tamagotchi creatures and kawaii culture, each is tied to a real currency. Changes in monetary value are reflected in the expressions and moods of these characters—one might be crying while another sips champagne.

“Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” at the New Museum

Feb 8–April 9 • 235 Bowery

Installation view of “Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work,” courtesy of the New Museum.

This sprawling retrospective of cult L.A. artist Pettibon is his largest presentation to date, with some 900 works dispersed across three floors. For more than 30 years, Pettibon has been chronicling and critiquing the ills of post-war American politics and society in his work—anything from conflicts in the Middle East to the hypocrisy of organized religion.

“Leonhard Hurzlmeier: All New Women” at Rachel Uffner Gallery

Feb. 24–Apr. 23, 2017 • 170 Suffolk Street

Leonhard Hurzlmeier, Leisure, 2016–2017. Courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner.

Leonhard Hurzlmeier, The Stand, 2016–2017. Courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner.

For his first solo show in the U.S., the German Hurzlmeier presents a new series of paintings in his distinct, playful style—figures and faces crafted using angular shapes with rounded edges, all in eye-popping hues. Among the new works are jovial women engaged in physical activities: one woman achieves an impressive yoga inversion, while another giddily rides her bike with a small dog in the basket.

“Marisa Merz: The Sky is a Great Space” at The Met Breuer

Jan. 24–May 7 • 945 Madison Avenue

The first large-scale retrospective of Merz’s work in the U.S., “The Sky Is a Great Place” looks at the Italian artist’s influential and expansive five-decade-long career. While Merz is often referred to as the only woman to figure prominently in the Arte Povera movement, this exhibition furthers her narrative, serving to prove her formidable talent and imaginative approach to subject matter and material.

“Liz Glynn: Open House” at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Public Art Fund

March 1–Sept 24 • Doris C. Freedman Plaza

Installation view of Liz Glynn, Open House. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery. Photo: James Ewing, Courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY.

L.A.-based artist Glynn has reconstructed the ornate Louis XIV furniture of a historical Fifth Avenue ballroom using the modern—and decidedly egalitarian—material of concrete. With this new Public Art Fund installation at the southeast entrance to Central Park, she confronts class divisions by transforming a once-exclusive space into one accessible by all.

“Faye Toogood: Assemblage 5” at Friedman Benda

Feb 23–April 15 • 515 West 26th Street

Faye Toogood
Roly-Poly Chair / Earth, 2016
Friedman Benda
Faye Toogood
Solitaire / Moon, 2016
Friedman Benda

British designer Faye Toogood arranges her numbered collections in three-dimensional spaces she labels “assemblages.” The fifth iteration of this series—and her first solo exhibition in the U.S.—takes inspiration from archaic shapes and elemental materials including cob composite, lithium-barium crystal, and silver nitrate bronze (representing earth, water, and moon, respectively).

“Sarah Morris: Finite and Infinite Games” at Petzel Gallery

Feb. 23–Apr. 8 • 456 West 18th Street

Sarah Morris, National Exhibition Center, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York. 

Sarah Morris, Nbad, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York. 

Long fascinated with relationships between place and politics, here Morris presents new drawings and paintings related to films she shot in Abu Dhabi and at the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. In her striking, graphic style of algorithmic grids, the artist addresses a wide swathe of issues—from the current U.S. president to QR codes to falconry.

Julian Schnabel at Pace Gallery

Feb 24–March 25 • 510 West 25th Street

Julian Schnabel, Rose Painting (Near Van Gogh’s Grave) X, 2016. © Julian Schnabel Studio. Photograph by Gary Mamay. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

His first exhibition with Pace since joining its roster in 2016 after a 14-year hiatus, Schnabel shows new iterations of his “Plate Paintings” from the ’70s and ’80s, which were recently on view at the Aspen Art Museum. Atop broken plates adhered to his canvases, Schnabel has painted verdant garden scenes punctuated with pink roses, inspired by the flowers he saw growing by van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-Ki” at Lévy Gorvy

Jan 19–Mar 5 • 909 Madison Avenue

Installation view of “Willem de Kooning | Zao Wou-Ki.” Courtesy of Lévy Gorvy.

Though they never met, esteemed postwar painters de Kooning and Zao make a striking pair. Both were expats—the Dutch de Kooning in New York and the Chinese Zao in Paris—and the show offers a compelling comparison of two masterful, gestural approaches to painting placed side by side.

Sascha Braunig at Foxy Production

Mar. 3–Apr. 2 • 2 East Broadway, 200

Sascha Braunig, Twist 1, 2016. Photo: Mark Woods. Courtesy the artist and Foxy Production, New York

Sascha Braunig, Study for 'Backbone' 2, 2016. Photo: Mark Woods. Courtesy the artist and Foxy Production, New York

Coinciding with her show at MoMA PS1, the Canadian, Brooklyn-based artist debuts new paintings and works on paper at this Chinatown gallery. Braunig has developed a following for her distinctive paintings, which feature dreamy, at times surrealist, figures rendered in electric colors and fluid shapes.

Sterling Ruby at Gagosian Gallery

Mar 1–Apr 15 • 980 Madison Avenue

Sterling Ruby, Basket (6176), 2016. © Sterling Ruby Studio. Photo by Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy Gagosian.

Ruby debuts his largest ceramic works to date, as well as new paintings that build upon previous works, combining cardboard, fabric, paint, detritus from his studio, to create compositions that resemble window panes, horizons, and grids. His ceramic works span giant, highly textural basins, and totemic works that stand in clusters.

“Lynn Hershman Leeson: Remote Controls” at Bridget Donahue

Jan. 27–Mar. 12 • 99 Bowery, 2nd Floor

Installation view of “Lynn Hershman Leeson: Remote Controls.” Photo by Jason Mandella. Courtesy of Bridget Donahue. 

This exhibition of Hershman Leeson, which coincides with her first U.S. retrospective at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, evidences her forward-thinking approach to new media technology and ideas, as well issues of identity, surveillance, genetic engineering, and the cyber world. Among highlights are Lorna (1979-82), her first interactive video disc work, which allows viewers to use a remote to traverse the apartment of an agoraphobic woman; and the recent Venus of the Anthropocene (2017), which collects DNA patterns from viewers in a mirror, and presents them with a mutated identity based on this data.

Pedro Reyes at Lisson Gallery

Feb. 28–Apr. 15 • 504 West 24th Street

Pedro Reyes, Homer, 2017. © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery 

Pedro Reyes, Column, 2017. © Pedro Reyes; Courtesy Lisson Gallery 

Reyes’s new series of sculptures, made from volcanic rock, marble, and concrete, reflect on traditions of stone sculpture from ancient times through modern art. Inspirations range from the mortar and pestle, ubiquitous in his native Mexico, to sculptors such as Germán Cueto, Lynn Chadwick, and Pierre Székely. In addition, he has covered the wall with more than 150 studies of sculpture and artmaking in a nod to the artists and thinkers who have influenced his work.

“Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Feb. 10–Sept. 6 • 1071 Fifth Avenue

Installation view of “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim.” Photo by David Heald. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 2017.

The storied museum showcases its esteemed modern art collection while tipping a hat to the six collectors that shaped it: Solomon R. Guggenheim, Hilla Rebay, Katherine S. Dreier, Peggy Guggenheim, Justin K. Thannhauser, and Karl Nierendorf. Presenting iconic works from each individual collection, the exhibition stretches from the late 19th-century paintings of Degas and Manet to the mid-20th century creations of Kandinsky and Mondrian.

“A Bigger Splash: An exhibition by Yves Scherer
with Markus Selg & Anahid Mishek” at Lyles & King

Feb. 19–Mar 19 • 106 Forsyth Street

A Bigger Splash by Yves Scherer with Markus Selg & Anahid Mishek. Installation view at Lyles & King. Courtesy of Lyles & King.

In response to today’s turbulent times, Scherer, Selg, and Mishek created a spiritual environment meant to instill in the viewer feelings of love and happiness. Initially, viewers come face to face with a reflecting pool; further back, they are invited into a wooden shack to behold one of Sherer’s sought-after sculptures of a nude Emma Watson, glowing purple in a box.

“Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” at the Museum of Modern Art

Nov. 21–March. 19 • 1071 Fifth Avenue

Installation view of “Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction.” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 21, 2016-March 19, 2017. © 2016 The Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Martin Seck

The first U.S. exhibition to offer a comprehensive view of Picabia’s career, “Our Heads Are Round so Our Thoughts Can Change Direction” showcases the Modernist’s multifarious practice. From painting to drawing to performance to filmmaking, MoMA explores how the French avant-garde artist eluded easy categorization throughout his life.

“Monica Bonvicini: RE pleasure RUN” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Feb 23–April 1 • 534 West 26th Street

Monica Bonvicini, installation view of “RE pleasure RUN” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY, 2017. Photo: Adam Reich. © Monica Bonvicini; Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY

Bonvicini addresses power dynamics, effective communication, and even the structure of the gallery itself in this new show. Central to the exhibition is Structural Psychodramas #2 (2017), a large-scale installation of temporary walls that questions the architecture of art institutions. Neon text works, one of which reads “NO MORE MASTURBATION,” offer a cheeky commentary on the role of desire in the present moment.

—Casey Lesser & Demie Kim

Artsy Editorial