Expert Picks

A Season of Art: The Best NYC Art Exhibitions in Early Winter

Our experts pick the premier gallery and museum shows in New York City.

Winter is an art lover’s favorite time; the chilly air means gallery-hopping until the first signs of spring. And the art on display this month does not disappoint. Heat things up this season at the buzzy shows below—from the New Museum’s 40th anniversary to David Hockney at Paul Kasmin Gallery to a photo booth featuring motion graphics—handpicked by our art experts.

Molly Surno

The Brooklyn-based installation artist has performed in a number of NYC’s most prestigious venues, including MoMA PS1, Pioneer Works, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

New Museum 40th Anniversary Celebration, December 2 and 3
This December, you’re invited to celebrate the New Museum’s 40th anniversary with free admission and extended hours for one weekend only. As always, a curated bill of contemporary art, short films, and installations by emerging artists will be highlighted, with such current exhibitions as “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” “Kahlil Joseph: Shadow Play,” “Petrit Halilaj: RU,” and “Helen Johnson: Ends.”

Morbid Anatomy Annual Krampus Party With Ghoul a Go-Go, December 16 
Gather round and celebrate Krampus, St. Nicholas’s Eastern European sidekick, with Morbid Anatomy. At this annual party, there will be a special photo booth created by Kellfire Bray and Rose Callahan, performances by Ghoul a Go-Go, a Krampus cake, and a costume contest! So don your best anti-Santa getup and have a jolly time at Brooklyn Bazaar…or else Krampus might punish you. 

“Sirens,” through December 23
In Dawn Mellor’s first show after a six-year hiatus, the artist presents a series of paintings that depicts various British actresses as police officers. The exhibition boasts a multipurpose title, as the provocative paintings evoke thoughts of sirens on cop cars, alluring women in Hollywood, or the dangerous seductresses of Greek mythology.

art exhibits nyc

Paddy Johnson

As the founder and editorial director of Art F City, a highly regarded art criticism and commentary site, this longtime art writer and curator knows what she’s talking about. She has written for New York magazine, The New York Times, The Economist, and more.

“Kissing in the Tree,” through December 16
GaHee Park isn’t famous yet, but I hope that will change. Her paintings are incredibly skilled, humorous depictions of figures doing naughty things and are infinitely enjoyable to look at. Though they showcase intimate moments—a woman kissing a cat’s butt; a cat that patiently watches sex; a couple so intertwined in contorted sexual poses it’s impossible to know what limb connects where—these are not dirty pictures. By painting in a slightly cartoonish manner with a Simpsons-inspired palette, Park makes these acts feel as whimsical and delightful as Mary Poppins.

“Works on Paper, 1961–2009,” through January 13, 2018
If you’re a David Hockney fan (and who isn’t?), you’re in luck. The great London-based painter will not only open a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this month, but also a show of landscape and figurative paintings at Paul Kasmin Gallery. The works are largely intimate and reveal the influences of the world around him, be it figures, landscape, or architecture. Painted with a smooth, confident mastery of line, these pieces possess an understated and simple allure. They are what they are, and that’s what makes them so pleasing to look at.

art exhibits nyc
Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery / Photo by Christopher Stach

“Return to Graceland: Works From the ’80s and ’90s,” through January 20, 2018
There was a time when Howard Halle was best known as the Time Out New York art critic. He remains of the best critics in the city and has long held the job, but now he’s showing his own art at Elizabeth Dee gallery. Halle’s work presents memory as “a space colonized by artifacts from popular culture and current events.” Also, check out Julia Wachtel’s multi-panels featuring stills of men in suits under plastic domes paired with “Dilbert” cartoons.

Installation view, Howard Halle: Return to Graceland, Works from the ‘80s and ‘90s, Elizabeth Dee New York. Photo by Etienne Frossard.

Jamie Hort

The contemporary art advisor and collector is the founder and publisher of the contemporary online art blog, Arte Fuse.

“Kinetics of Violence: Alexander Calder + Cady Noland,” through December 22
Both artists’ works on display here are vivid, revolving around violence and motion. Aside from the parallels drawn between the sculptures and politics, this is an exciting exhibition for another reason: Calder’s standing mobile rhombus sculpture is on public display for the first time ever.

“The Voyeur: Photoroman Collages, 1976–1979,” through January 6, 2018
John Stezaker’s solo exhibition at Petzel Gallery on the Upper East Side is not one to miss! The British conceptual artist has been fascinated with photoromans (a series of still photographs assembled into a kind of storytelling slide show) since a trip to Italy in 1973. This show centers around relationships to photographic images by way of digital collages. Each juxtaposition tells its own narrative.

“Three Paintings: Alex Katz,” through January 13, 2018
Head over to Peter Blum’s downtown gallery to see three of the New York–based artist’s magnificent large-scale paintings: Blue Umbrella #2, Black Brook 11, and Gold and Black II.