Your Curated Guide to New York Art Week
Guests at Future Fair 2021. © Ryan Neeven for DoThings. Courtesy of Future Fair.
New York Art Week, which runs May 5th through 12th, is the latest evolution in the city’s always mercurial art fair scene. In the past, major fairs have spawned numerous satellite events, and organizations across the city have tried to capitalize on the monied collectors who flock here for the marquee events. New York Art Week is a unique endeavor in that it’s the first attempt to bring together many of these actors under one banner with a focused mission.
With an eye toward collaboration and community building, 20 galleries, museums, and auction houses have come together to create citywide programming. Yet with so much on offer, it will be difficult for even the most ambitious visitors to experience it all. So instead of taking a completionist approach to the week, a more focused plan will help attendees of every stripe enjoy the week without experiencing art-world FOMO. Below are three itineraries for three different kinds of art lovers that will help you get the most out of the inaugural New York Art Week.
The art traditionalist
If you shy away from the latest trends and prefer Old Masters to the avant-garde, a week dedicated to contemporary art might seem at first blush to offer little of interest, but in this case you’d be wrong.
On the institutional front, start at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of several museums involved with New York Art Week. Its current Winslow Homershow will expand your vision of the 19th-century painter’s work beyond his iconic Gulf Stream (1899; reworked by 1906). A trip to the nearby exhibition of Charles Ray’s sculptures—which draw heavily from classical ideas and motifs—will open your eyes to the idea that contemporary works can maintain an exciting dialogue with art history while looking to the future.
Amant. Photo: Rafael Gamo. Courtesy SO–IL.
Staying uptown, move on to TEFAF New York—the sister event of the famed Dutch fair in Maastricht—which opens at the Park Avenue Armory with a characteristically unique mix of works from across a variety of time periods. Leading names from the contemporary world will be there—Gagosian, Kasmin, Sean Kelly, Lehmann Maupin, Luhring Augustine, David Zwirner, and White Cube, just to name a few—but more buttoned-up spaces will also be exhibiting. Paris’s Galerie Chenel specializes in sculpture and archaeological objects, especially Roman art; London’s Ariadne offers ancient art with an emphasis on Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Eurasian, and Byzantine works; and David Tunick, out of New York, specializes in prints and drawings from the 15th to the mid-20th centuries.
And before you call it a week, pay a visit to the recently opened private art space Amant in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While the site is decidedly cutting-edge, Olivia Plender’s video work Hold, Hold, Fire delves into history, exploring a 1913 play by suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst that, despite being a century old, still holds contemporary resonances.
The art curious
Maybe you’ve just started collecting, or maybe you’ve gotten comfortable with the more traditional art world and are ready to sample things that feel a bit edgier, a bit more of the moment. A trip to the Brooklyn Museum offers an ideal start to the week, bridging the old and new. An encyclopedic institution in its own right (even if it is often overshadowed by the Met), the museum has impressive holdings of Egyptian, Asian, and Assyrian art, as well as several American masterpieces ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie (1866) to Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974–79). While there, be sure to explore “Andy Warhol: Revelation,” which highlights the Pop master’s lesser-known religious works, and “Guadalupe Maravilla: Tierra Blanca Joven,” in which the multimedia artist explores the identity of the undocumented and cancer survivors.
While in Brooklyn, stop by Creative Time’s presentation of Jill Magid’s site-specific installation Tender Presence in the historic Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh. With a live score and sound installation created by T. Griffin and Eric Sluyter, the work materializes a project the artist began at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For it, she engraved 120,000 pennies—the amount of a single stimulus check from 2020—with the phrase “The Body Was Already So Fragile” and put them back into circulation, where they’ll likely remain for roughly four decades.
From there, head to NADA, which returns to the Lower East Side with over 120 galleries, nonprofits, and art spaces for its eighth edition. As its name suggests, the New Art Dealers Alliance has focused on supporting emerging galleries since its founding in 2002. Among the many exhibitors, be sure to see the solo presentations from Elliot Reed at anonymous gallery, Elif Saydam at Franz Kaka, and Julia Jo at Charles Moffett; and projects by Lumin Wakoa at Deanna Evans Projects, Tessa Lynch at Patricia Fleming Gallery, and Kolya Zhuk at High Gallery.
The art insider
Installation view of “Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2022. Photo by Ron Amstutz. Courtesy of The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
For the visitor who thinks they know it all and have seen it all, New York Art Week is the perfect opportunity to reengage with what’s happening at the vanguard of contemporary art. Start downtown at the Whitney Biennial, “Quiet as It’s Kept,” where works from 63 artists and collectives take the temperature of the American scene at this moment. As Artsy’s Ayanna Dozier wrote in her review of the show, “The 2022 Whitney Biennial delivers on the press release’s promise of crafting an intergenerational and cross-cultural exchange of artistic practices.” Highlights include pieces by Guadalupe Rosales, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Lisa Alvarado, Raven Chacon, and Sable Elyse Smith.
From there, head to Future Fair, which offers a focused, capsule-sized experience with a truly global outlook. For its second in-person outing, the fair once again features shared exhibition spaces, and several of the 50 exhibitors have partnered to create unified curatorial concepts for their booths. Look for returning galleries like Over the Influence, LatchKey Gallery, and Emma Scully Gallery, as well as new faces like Savannah, Georgia’s Laney Contemporary and France’s Double V Gallery.
Next, move on to Tribeca, where Independent returns for its 13th edition, featuring 67 international presentations by over 200 artists. The fair, co-founded by Elizabeth Dee, has proven to be one of the most ambitious and interesting on the international circuit, consistently giving a platform to rising stars. The booths here are perennially impressive, and possible highlights include Gordon Robichaux’s presentation of Siobhan Liddell and Reverend Joyce McDonald; Corbett vs. Dempsey’s exhibition of works by Dominick Di Meo, Charline von Heyl, and Lui Shtini; and REGULARNORMAL’s booth featuring pieces by Bony Ramirez.
To round out the week, grab a ticket to Performance Space New York’s Tip the Ivy, a new multidisciplinary opera by Colin Self. In this work, created with Geo Wyeth, Bully Fae Collins, Mica Sigourney, and Dia Dear, Self explores collaboration on a deeper level, while delving into language and sexuality.
Of course, few of us are fully traditionalists, or curious, or insiders, so don’t be afraid to explore further afield during this inaugural edition of New York Art Week. Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips are opening their doors for major spring sales, with flashy works likely to go for nine figures. The Jewish Museum, the New Museum, the Queens Museum, and other institutions have their own impressive shows, as well. As any traveler knows, sometimes the best way to use an itinerary is to ignore it.