It’s the New Year all over again, and aside from going out and partying, there’s not much in the New Year to look forward to yet. I’m finding myself starting at empty calendar and wondering what to fill it up with. Why not schedule in some art? It’s never to early to start that exhibition calendar going, so here are five exhibitions that I think will light up this new year in New York City. Conveniently located at area museums, they’re all musts on any art worlder’s schedule.

Picasso’s Guitars at MoMA

Pablo Picasso, “Still life with Guitar” (1913) (image from

February 13–June 6, 2011

I know there’s such a thing as too much Picasso, but I certainly haven’t crossed that threshold yet. The thing about Picasso is that there are always new corners of his career to explore. MoMA will highlight a new one with an exhibition focusing in on Picasso’s guitars from 1912-1914. The guitar formed a potent symbol for the artist, and the period under examination is one of the crucibles of Cubism, so this should be one show to watch. I mean, the cardboard guitar on view at MoMA floors me every time I see it, so I’m pretty hopeful for this new look at a multivalent artist.

George Condo at New Museum

George Condo, “Homeless Harlequins” (2004) (image from

January 26–March 8 2011

Hey, doesn’t that kind of look like those album covers for Kanye West’s new thing? Yeah, it does! You know why? George Condo was actually famous before he painted the rapper beheaded and impaled by a sword. Condo’s definitely gotten a buzz injection from his Kanye contributions, so I’m thinking that this will be a relatively well-attended show. It’ll be cool to see the full arc of Condo’s career, which may or may not have peaked and bombed in the late 80s. This show is an important one for Condo’s enduring significance, and only time will tell if it does well. Be witness to the drama!

Frans Hals at the Met

Franz Hals, “Young Man and Woman in an Inn” (1623) (image from

July 26–October 8 2011

Contemporary art is great and all, but sometimes I need something to ground me, a reminder that something came before 1960. Crazy, right? Well the Metropolitan is there to provide living proof that even though not-dead artists are selling for millions, the dead ones are just as good. This Hals retrospective will provide a unique glimpse into the work of artist revered for his brushwork and unsparing portraiture. Catch it before it’s gone, because these works rarely come together in the same room.

Cory Arcangel at the Whitney

Installation shot from Arcangel’s Image is Everything at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (image from

May 26, 2011

I love Cory Arcangel, so I’m also pretty happy that he seems to be getting his due with recent and upcoming clusters of museum and gallery shows. He’s still relentless online, but there’s something about seeing the often-digital work in person. It’ll be interesting to see how the curators manage to present such non-physical work in a physical space, but I’m excited to witness an attempt to document the career of a slippery artist.

Sonia Delaunay at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Textiles by painter and designer Sonia Delaunay (image from

March 18–June 5 2011

Speaking of slippery, try taking a stab at the division between fashion, design and fine art. The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s curators will have a heavy task ahead of them with this exhibition that promises to bring together disparate strands of the famed painter’s artistic output, focusing on textiles and fashion that Delaunay designed “from her own Atelier Simultané in Paris during the 1920s,” as well as other material created for “the Metz & Co. department store in Amsterdam in the 1930s.” It’s nice to see a museum, particularly a design-oriented institution, continue to break down the barriers between fine art and commercial output. Look to this exhibition to be a precedent setter.

Got any more recommendations for exhibitions to see in the New Year? Post ’em below. All the more reason to be excited for 2011. PS: Happy New Year from Hyperallergic!

Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

6 replies on “Five NYC Museum Shows to Look Forward to in 2011”

    1. Gotta be H8in! I like Arcangel’s non-print work. I think the gradients are funny but the rest is bad. His installations and projections though? Good stuff.

    1. Yeah.. sadly, I’ve actually seen that exact same thing a few times, always by different people… and even before Cory Arcangel did it.

      I also often wonder if his I Shot Warhol conversion is actually supposed to have all the more dark and serious meanings and questions that it brings up… or if he just missed them when having viewers symbolically murder a figure so important to contemporary art.

  1. “…even though not-dead artists are selling for millions, the dead ones are just as good.”
    I hope this is an ironic statement. The Met exists to shame us into realizing just how pathetic “not-dead” artists are in comparison to art of the past; there is simply no comparison.

    1. Contemporary art is the first draft of history? Or maybe some artists are just less dead than others? It seems silly to separate art by living and dead artists, it’s all art. My line you quote was also entirely tongue in cheek.

Comments are closed.