Expert Picks

WSWD’s Summer Art Guide

New York’s art scene never takes a vacation. Our experts give us a glimpse into what they’re viewing this season.

Photo courtesy of Lyles & King

The art scene in NYC might seem a little arid during the dog days of summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely dead. Our trio of art experts share the most anticipated gallery openings, one-off screenings, and quirky masterpieces popping up around the boroughs this season.

Ellie Rines

Ellie has a keen eye for the next big thing in the art world, as evident by her curatorial work at her own gallery, 56 Henry, on the Lower East Side. 

“Feedback,” through August 4
Leo Fitzpatrick, the director of Marlborough Contemporary’s annex gallery Viewing Room, will take over the entirety of the Chelsea space with a monstrous group show devoted to collaboration. The exhibition will feature lots of female artists from the “woman’s house” movement of the early ’70s in Southern California. Large summer group shows are the norm for the July-to-August season, but this one is exceedingly ambitious and will provide recognizable icons and lesser-known talents. 545 West 25th Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues), Chelsea

Retro Cali vibes with Leo Fitzpatrick. / Photo courtesy of Marlborough Contemporary

Ugo Rondinone: “I ♥ John Giorno,” through August 6
This exhibition spans 13 different museums, institutions, and spaces and is the first major retrospective of my favorite artist-poet, or poet-artist, John Giorno. It is orchestrated by Giorno’s artist husband, Ugo Rondinone, and will be a charting of social history and community as much as it is about the words and text of Giorno himself. Red Bull Arts, 220 West 18th Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues), Chelsea

Molly Surno

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

Dolls of Darkness: The Art of Michel Nedjar, July 18
Maybe Chucky tainted my view, but I’ve always thought of dolls as creepy. Obviously, I’m not the only one: This documentary by Allen S. Weiss and Tom Rasky takes on the dark world of baby dolls, figurines, and puppets—and highlights the work of Michel Nedjar, the French artist who makes grotesque versions of rag dolls. American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square (between West 65th and 66th Streets), Upper West Side

Marguerite Humeau: “Riddles,” through July 30
Artist Marguerite Humeau investigated the origins of war for a series of sculptures and installations, on view at Brooklyn’s Clearing gallery. Humeau drew on findings from Site 117, the earliest recorded mass cemetery, discovered in Sudan, and her work challenges the myths and legends of battle. “The climax happens in the third and final room,” the press release promises. “A sphinx presides over tanks of artificial blood, perhaps the carnage of the battle.” 396 Johnson Avenue, Bushwick

The origins of war, played out with contemporary art. Photo courtesy of Marguerite Humeau and Clearing New York / Brussels.


Florine Stettheimer: “Painting Poetry,” through September 24
When wandering through NADA New York this year, a painting centered in the Deitch booth absolutely took my breath away. The artist was Florine Stettheimer, and lucky for everyone, you can see 50 of her Jazz Age drawings and paintings uptown at the Jewish Museum. 1109 Fifth Avenue (at East 92nd Street), Upper East Side

Jazz Age modernist art throughout the Jewish Museum. Photo courtesy of Florine Stettheimer / Family Portrait II, 1933

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 also written for New York magazine, The New York Times, The Economist, and more.

Trudy Benson & Yann Gerstberger: “TT52,” through July 28
Trudy Benson squirts, smudges, and paints paint over paint. The results are amazingly complex surfaces and abstractions that dazzle the eye. Her partner for this show, Yann Gerstberger, makes tapestries that picture strange figures in exotic places. Both reference modernism, so the work makes sense together, but moreover, their art is almost joyful in its formal experimentation. If you want to look at work for its sheer visual pleasure, this is the show to see. Lyles & King, 106 Forsyth Street (between Broome and Grand Streets), Lower East Side

Abstract paintings and tapestries from Trudy Benson and Yann Gerstberger.  Photo courtesy of Lyles & King

Sweety’s Radio: “Edicion Especial,” through July 30
Those seeking to gain a better understanding of the Lower East Side and its history should make this show a must-see. The curatorial group Sweety’s—consisting of Bryan Rodriguez Cambana, Julia Mata, Eduardo Restrepo Castaño, and Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz—will mount a series of exhibitions and installations with Latinx, responding to the neighborhood’s history and its immigrant community. Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, 120 Essex Street (between Rivington and Delancey Streets), Lower East Side

Amy Ruhl: “Between Tin Men: Gifts and Souvenirs,” through August 13
At this point, the tale of The Wizard of Oz is so well-known it’s almost a cliché. In fact, the takeoffs are often more interesting than the original. Take Amy Ruhl’s show. The centerpiece is a video that focuses on an obscure character from the text. Here, she is cast as the protagonist of a queer-feminist love triangle, in love with a tinman who himself is in love with another tinman. Lubov, 373 Broadway (between Franklin and White Streets), Tribeca

Photo © Amy Ruhl, Courtesy of the Artist and Lubov, New York

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