6 Must-See Gallery Shows in New York This Fall

Artsy Editors
Sep 25, 2019 5:14PM

Installation view of Raúl de Nieves, “As Far As UUU Take Me,” 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York.

Here, Artsy’s editors share their favorite fall shows that recently opened in New York galleries.

Roe Ethridge and Alex Prager

Roe Ethridge, Andrew Kreps Gallery, 22 Cortlandt Alley

Sept. 6–Nov. 2

Alex Prager, Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street

Sept. 5–Oct. 26

Installation view of Roe Ethridge, “Sanctuary 2,” 2019. Photo by Dawn Blackman. Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.


Last season, the most exciting photography on view in New York was challenging, heady, and subversive: Curran Hatleberg’s cross-country road trip pictures of bees, cars, and stoop sitters; Elle Pérez’s intimate portraits of their queer community; and Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s tricky shots of friends in his studio. Two of this season’s best photo shows swing the other direction: They’re (mostly) fun and games.

Just try not to smile upon seeing Roe Ethridge’s show, “Sanctuary 2,” at Andrew Kreps. His pictures vary in subject and format, with a humorous thread weaving throughout. White Asparagus and Ketchup (2019) features the titular foodstuffs, resting on a refrigerator shelf. Light glints off the Heinz bottle, turning the prosaic condiment into a spotlit star. Another photograph,Susan Lucci and Derek Chadwick (2018), depicts the famous soap actress plunging a fake, bloody knife into (actor and model) Chadwick’s chest. Lucci smiles battily, amplifying the campiness of the entire red-lit vision.

Alex Prager’s show at Lehmann Maupin, titled “Play the Wind,” brings more Tinseltown delight to Manhattan. A new film, with the same name as the exhibition, features everything you could want from an artwork about Los Angeles: a saturated palette, jokes about traffic, incredible costumes, and a freaky love story that ends on a stage. Sure, there are dark undertones to both exhibitions—the title “Sanctuary” hints at refugee crises worldwide, while Prager wryly undermines the superficiality of her home—but the lessons go down like candy.

—Alina Cohen

Cindy Ji Hye Kim

Foxy Production, 2 East Broadway, Floor 2

Helena Anrather, 28 Elizabeth Street, Floor 3

Sept. 6–Oct. 13

Installation view of Cindy Ji Hye Kim, “Verses from the Apocalypse,” at Helena Anrather, 2019. Photo by Sebastian Bach. © Cindy Ji Hye Kim. Courtesy of Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York.

The structures that give our lives meaning and purpose also constrict us. This truism is the foundation upon which “Verses from the Apocalypse,” Cindy Ji Hye Kim’s gripping exhibition at Chinatown galleries Foxy Production and Helena Anrather, is built. Kim conveys, with no small dose of humor, the pain and sadistic pleasure humans sometimes find in the binding structures—both spatial and social—we inhabit.

The paintings and sculptures on view at Foxy Production are more purely and aesthetically pleasant, with stylized bodies swirling and folding to fit the canvas just so. The generally smaller works at Helena Anrather—most backed with handmade paper that incorporates the artist’s own hair and hung from cables that force viewers to stoop and stretch like the figures in Kim’s drawings—have a darker edge. In one of the more extreme pieces, Creativity (2019), a figure kneels as if in prayer, a sharpened pencil rammed violently through her joined hands, while an open notebook reveals a drawing of ants swirling in a pattern that matches the grain of the wood tabletop beneath. The image’s elegant lines and expert shading contrast sharply with the pain of artistic anguish it depicts. Kim succinctly and seductively makes clear that the ecstasy of creative fulfillment comes at great cost. Hopefully the breakthroughs in this exhibition didn’t require sacrifices quite so extreme.

—Benjamin Sutton

Zao Wou-Ki

Gagosian, 976 Madison Avenue

Sept. 9–Oct. 26

Installation view of Zao Wou-Ki, at Gagosian, 2019. Photo by Rob McKeever. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zurich. Courtesy of Gagosian.

Each of Zao Wou-Ki’s large-scale, abstract paintings in Gagosian’s current show on Madison Avenue serves as a testament to the artist’s friendship with renowned architect I.M. Pei. Two of the black-and-white works were commissioned by Pei in 1979 and 1980, yet all nine emphasize the pair’s close artistic and personal relationship. Lacking specific imagery, or even titles, the paintings lead viewers to contemplate both Zao’s varied brushstrokes and larger themes of risk and spontaneity.

What is most notable about the works is their seamless integration of Eastern and Western styles of art. Although Zao was born in Beijing, his painting style is heavily influenced by the time he spent in Paris; he takes inspiration from Impressionism and Expressionism. The medium—Indian ink on paper, mounted on canvas—hearkens back to Chinese calligraphy, while the works’ abstract style makes them seem modern. Zao created the paintings by dropping ink onto the paper, thus allowing for an element of chance in each rendition. Three of the nine works have never been publicly displayed before, offering a new look at of one of China’s most masterful painters.

—Christy Kuesel

Raúl de Nieves

Company Gallery, 88 Eldridge Street

Sept. 11–Oct. 20

Installation view of Raúl de Nieves, “As Far As UUU Take Me,” 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Company Gallery, New York.

Raúl de Nieves pulls us in with his virtuosic use of simple, shiny materials—acetate, tape, plastic beads—and convinces us to linger, as we attempt to make sense of his complex take on beauty. At the 2017 Whitney Biennial, his charming, challenging work—a glorious band of life-sized sculptures, set before a jewel-toned wall of faux-stained glass—was a focal point of the prestigious exhibition.

In his new show at Company Gallery, “As Far As UUU Take Me,” de Nieves does not disappoint. A white, bead-encrusted figure, seated in a matching throne, beckons us into the show. Donning what appears to be a glittering snowsuit with fringes of cream-colored fur, the character takes on a ghostly aura as it gestures towards a riotous, color-soaked environment. The artist conveys a chaotic cosmos through a stained glass ceiling of planetary patterns above seven shimmering amorphous sculptures, each with a demonic, slightly obscured face. The show conjures scenes of nightlife, glamour, excess, and madness. De Nieves not only allows us to relish in his ever-enticing work, he pushes us to consider mortality, sanity, and the things we value.

—Casey Lesser

Loie Hollowell

Pace Gallery, 540 West 25th Street

Sept. 14–Oct. 19, 2019

Installation view of Loie Hollowell, “Plumb Line,” 2019. Photo by Melissa Goodwin. Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

I was first attracted to the focal flame in one of Loie Hollowell’s nine new large-scale paintings on view at Pace Gallery. Titled Birthing Dance (2018), it appears to radiate heat while two cyan half-orbs hold tension and anchor the work in perfect balance. It’s no surprise that Hollowell’s show, titled “Plumb Line,” explores the artist’s relationship to pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.

The abstractions and the exhibition title refer to the gravitational pull experienced during pregnancy. Through Hollowell’s strong use of color and material—the works contain mounds of high-density foam that pop off the canvas, creating a sense of urgency—each painting signifies states of pain and pleasure. As Hollowell wrote in the show’s press release, “I want the viewer to come away not necessarily knowing what I was trying to tell them about, say, my birth experience, but absorbing an impression of brightness or richness or radiance that has something to do with their relationship to their own body.”

—Marina Garcia-Vasquez

Artsy Editors

Correction: A previous version of this article suggested that drawings by Cindy Ji Hye Kim were executed directly on paper made with the artist’s hair. The paper made with her hair serves as a backing for the paper on which the drawings were executed.