Amy Sherald, “Handsome” (2019) (© Amy Sherald, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

As always, there are many wonderful exhibitions, film festivals, and art events taking place throughout the fall in New York. We’ve put together our recommendations, and hope that they encourage you to explore the artistic happenings of this great city. Focusing on museums, art nonprofits, and galleries that continue to make New York a global hub of the arts, we hope you’ll push yourself to discover something new.

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After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Ar

When: June 15–October 6
Where: Wallach Art Gallery (Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, 615 West 129th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan)

Less than 30 years after independence from the colonial nations, the end of the Cold War precipitated upheaval among young African nations who grappled with the fall of socialist regimes and a realignment of geopolitical power. This is the first exhibition mounted in North America that looks at African countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique through the lens of aesthetic responses to African socialisms and their effects. 

Titus Kaphar, “Shifting the Gaze” (2017), oil on canvas, 83 × 103 1/4 in. (Brooklyn Museum, William K. Jacobs Jr., Fund. © Titus Kaphar, photo courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery)

One: Titus Kaphar

When: June 21–October 13
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

Decisively breaking away from the template of exhibitions that feature a panoply of works by an artist or group of artists, One: Titus Kaphar focuses on an individual painting chosen from the museum’s collection, with a serious look at the narratives embedded in the single piece. Titus Kaphar’s “Shifting the Gaze” (2017) looks to unearth stories from the past that inform or shape our sociopolitical present.  

Figuring the Floral

When: July 21–December 1
Where: Wave Hill (675 West 252nd Street, Riverdale, the Bronx)

Wave Hill, which has in the last few years become a more prominent venue for the exhibition of contemporary art and performance, has mounted a new show that integrates that ambition with the existing context of its flourishing gardens. Figuring the Floral includes many well known artists of color who take the metaphor of a flower — that compelling agent of the natural world that buds, blooms, pollinates, and decays— and runs with it. These artists reach beyond the typical associations made to flora to consider ideas of ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, aging, and other varied facets of identity and the self.

Jung Hee Choi  Black: Trans: Maya: Light

When: July 25–September 26 
Where: The Korea Society (350 Madison Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)

If you have experienced Choi’s work before, you are not likely to forget it. It operates on you like a deep tissue massage of the apparatuses by which one perceives the outside world. She does all this with light point drawings, graphite drawings, and etchings allied to sound. The work is more than mesmerizing; it’s transfixing. 

The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop

When: August 7, 2019–February 9, 2020
Where: Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse, Concourse Village, the Bronx)

Alvin Baltrop isn’t as well known as the artists and activists he took pictures of in 1970s New York. In fact, the Bronx native and photographer made a living as a street vendor, jewelry designer, photography printer, and cab driver, while he was photographing Peter Hujar, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Marsha P. Johnson. He was also an expert chronicler of Manhattan’s Meatpacking district, when meatpacking actually took place, and the gay life along the West Side piers. In addition to the work from the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ permanent collection and a private collection, Baltrop’s personal archive will be accessible to the public for the first time. 

Sam Gilliam, “Merge” (1968), installation view, Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York (© Sam Gilliam, photo by Bill Jacobson Studio, New York, courtesy Dia Art Foundation, New York)

Sam Gilliam

When: Opened August 10, on long-term view
Where: Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York)

Sam Gilliam, a beloved painter who’s been plying his exploratory and unorthodox approaches to making images on canvas since the 1960s is finally beginning to get his proper due. Dia:Beacon is wisely catching this wave as it crests by showing several of his pieces, including beveled-edge paintings and his drape paintings, which are suspended from the ceiling. Gilliam requires and deserves a good deal of space in which to see his work, and so it’s worth the trip to Beacon to let this beauty wash over you.

Forms Larger and Bolder: Eva Hesse Drawings

When: September 5–October 19
Where: Hauser & Wirth New York (32 East 69th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Eva Hesse is a perennial favorite, and this exhibition provides a useful overview, featuring work that ranges from early figurative sketches to experimental geometric compositions, and also studies of post-Minimalist sculptures. The exhibition encompasses 70 works on paper selected from the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s collection, the home of the Eva Hesse Archives and ultimately should illustrate the role that drawing played in Hesse’s overall practice. 

Samuel Levi Jones: Mass Awakening

When: September 5–October 12
Where: Galerie Lelong (528 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Jones Levi Jones has an art practice rooted in finding and exhibiting the human costs associated with seemingly benign material and abstract forms. This exhibition, which pulls together the wide scope of media he is interested in, features pulped outmoded books, deconstructed sports equipment, manipulated law books, pulped paper paintings, and fine art print portfolios. 

Roy DeCarava, “Edna Smith, bassist” (1950) (© 2019 Estate of Roy DeCarava, all rights reserved, courtesy David Zwirner)

Roy DeCarava: the sound i saw & Roy DeCarava: Light Break

When: September 5–October 26 
Where: David Zwirner (34 East 69th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, and 533 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

David Zwirner will run two concurrent exhibitions of photographs by Roy DeCarava which has represented DeCarava’s estate since 2018. The uptown show, the sound i saw will showcase the photographer’s investigation of the relation between sight and sound and features giants in the jazz field including Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. The downtown show will demonstrate more generally the fantastic images DeCarava could conjure up with a camera deftly maneuvered through a quotidian world.

Hayv Kahraman

When: September 5–October 26 
Where: Jack Shainman Gallery (513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street, both in Chelsea, Manhattan)

Drawing on her own history as a Kurdish refugee from Iraq, Kahraman’s paintings combine themes of displacement, gender, and the challenges of establishing a life in diaspora. The women at first appear flat, their faces almost gray, except for their small slashes of ruby lips, and their clothing and bodies incorporate Kahraman’s experiments with geometry and symmetry, their arms and torsos twisting themselves into seemingly impossible shapes. 

AFA Preservation: Vito Acconci

When: September 5–September 15
Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)

Anthology Film Archives calls this retrospective “the culmination of one of Anthology’s most ambitious recent preservation projects,” which included restoring 27 8mm films. It will include not only Acconci’s cinematic works, but also filmed documentation of his performances, installations, exhibits, and other activities, including work in public spaces and actions in which he used his own body. Acconci, who died in 2017, was an installation artist, a pioneer in performance art, and a poet whose work eventually encompassed architecture and landscape design.

Robe à la française (1755–1760), France (© the Museum at FIT)

Paris, Capital of Fashion

When: September 6, 2019–January 4, 2020 
Where: The Museum at FIT (Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

The annual explosion of articles on how to achieve Parisian “French girl style” could give anyone France fatigue, or at least an inferiority complex, based on the images of everyone in the city of Paris as possessing perfect skin and perfect clothing. FIT’s fall exhibition, curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, the museum’s Director, shows why the world fell in love with Paris fashion in the first place, and why it’s still vital. The exhibition’s 100 objects, including gorgeous couture gowns, trace the social, cultural, and historical contexts that allowed designers to flourish. 

Wangechi Mutu, The NewOnes, will free Us

When: September 9, 2019–January 12, 2020
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

As part of the inauguration of a new initiative that looks to make the venerable museum a platform for temporary installations of contemporary art, the Met has mounted sculptural work by Wangechi Mutu in their Fifth Avenue facade niches. This is the first such installation on the institution’s historic exterior and constitutes both a literal and symbolic change to the face the museum means to show its audiences.

Amy Sherald: the heart of the matter

When: September 10–October 26 
Where: Hauser & Wirth New York (548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Sherald’s faces are often rendered in grayscale, contrasting brilliantly with brightly patterned clothing and backgrounds. Her solo debut in New York, following her viral portrait of Michelle Obama, will feature some of the largest canvasses she’s ever made, the better to showcase what she previously described to Hyperallergic as “a gentle presentation of Black identity,” a response, or a rebuttal to assumptions about what that identity should or shouldn’t be.

Ed Clark

When: September 10–October 26 
Where: Hauser & Wirth New York (548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

A second generation New York School painter, Clark has outlasted many of his contemporaries, despite being left out of multiple histories of abstract expressionism. Clark’s lush, colorful abstractions feature brushworks that are made by a brush the size of a broom. They masterfully play not only with color, but also with light and texture. 

Sarah Jones: Sell/Buy/Date

When: September 12–15 and 18–21
Where: New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Jones, a virtuoso of the one-woman show, is back with her latest work, Sell/Buy/Date, at New York Live Arts. The show is inspired by stories of women involved in and impacted by the commercial sex trade. After the September 19th performance, there is a post show talk between Sarah Jones and Melanie Thompson, a survivor and leader at Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Jayne Bigelsen, the Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House.

Umber Majeed, “Untitled” (2018) (image courtesy BRIC and Rubber Factory)

Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience

When: September 12–November 17
Where: Gallery at BRIC House (647 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

As part of the Brooklyn Historical Society’s ​Muslims in Brooklyn project, BRIC will present a group exhibition that features the work of eight Brooklyn-based artists (all of Middle Eastern, South Asian, or African-American descent) whose work searches out the varied dimensions of contemporary Muslim experience. The show draws upon fields of inquiry that include mythology, spiritual philosophy, and ritual, science, and social and political history in order to comprehend and navigate identities that are fluid and layered. 

Wael Shawky: The Gulf Project Camp

When: September 13–October 19
Where: Lisson Gallery (504 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Shawky’s multimedia works are as broad in historical scope as they are in scale, often depicting his own version of medieval battles between Muslims and Christians. In The Gulf Project Camp, his debut with Lisson Gallery, the Egyptian artist is building an entire immersive environment for sculptures in cast glass, which are inspired by 16th-century Persian miniature paintings, bronze sculptures referencing political, religious, and invented fantasy figures, and 50 ink and oil drawings, and wood-relief works. 

Peter Hujar, “Edwin Denby” (1975), vintage gelatin silver print, image, 14 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches (image courtesy Peter Hujar Archive and Pace/MacGill Gallery) 

Peter Hujar: Master Class

When: September 14–October 19
Where: Pace Gallery (540 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Culled from fellow photographer Richard Avedon’s own collection from the 1970s, the show will include black and white portraits. Hujar’s technical skills in the darkroom create previously unknown shades of grey, white, black. His emotional care with his subjects help reveal intimate moments with friends that might seem intrusive in the hands of someone else, but in his, feel warm and tender. 

Keiichi Tanaami “Memento mori” (2019) pigmented ink, acrylic silkscreen medium, crashed glass, glitter acrylic paint, acrylic paint on canvas (image courtesy Jeffrey Deitch)

Tokyo Pop Underground

When: September 14–November 2
Where: Jeffrey Deitch (18 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan)

Tokyo Pop Underground, considers the complicated history of Japanese contemporary art from the 1960s to the present through the works of 14 artists who came out of pop and underground culture. It also exploits the obvious links between underground Japanese culture and the American graffiti and skateboard subcultures that were embraced by Japanese youth. 

Beyond Zen: Japanese Buddhism Revealed 

When: Opens September 18, on long-term view
Where: Newark Museum (49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey)

Offering a distinct view of later Japanese Buddhist art (1615-present day) beyond the often seen minimalist, black-and-white ink paintings the period is known for, Beyond Zen showcases baroque works drawn from the Newark Museum’s collection. This exhibition displays ostentatious aesthetics and luxurious materials that include  silk, gold, silver, lacquer, and porcelain in work, the majority of which has not been displayed for over a century.

Bushwick Open Studios

When: September 20–22
Where: Various locations in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Hundreds of artists and galleries are opening their doors for a three-day, neighborhood-spanning festival. You can watch artists in action in the studio, get a behind the scenes look at your favorite galleries, enjoy block parties and concerts, and take advantages of art sales. Be sure to bring water, a map, and a game plan. There’s a lot to see and do. 

Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair

When: September 20–22
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens)

This annual fair is the largest of its kind, attracting thousands of visitors to PS1 in Queens. In addition to over 370 booths with every kind of art publication imaginable — from books to glossy magazines to zines — the fair also has a robust series of exhibits, book talks, performances, and celebratory publication launches. 

The Cinema of Gender Transgression

When: September 20–September 27
Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)

This series explores how cinema depicts, analyzes, and reckons with transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming lives and communities, with both historical films and more contemporary stories. The films include Christine in the Cutting Room, a combined performance and film event, Tranny Fag, which follows the life of Linn da Quebrada, a Black, Brazilian trans woman whose performances combine rap, dance, singing, and poetry, all to amplify the voices of marginalized communities in Brazil’s favelas, and The Killing of Sister George, a drama about a lesbian actress in a love triangle that became a cult classic. 

Vija Celmins, “Untitled (Big Sea #1),” graphite on acrylic ground on paper, private collection (© Vija Celmins, courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, photo © McKee Gallery, New York)

Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory

When: September 24, 2019–January 12, 2020
Where: The Met Breuer (945 Madison Ave, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

This retrospective will include paintings, sculpture, drawings, and prints from Celmins’s 50-year career. She’s best known for her depictions of the Pacific Ocean, intricately in painstakingly detail, and other natural wonders, but this show will also include works based on everyday objects from her Venice, California, studio.

Henry Chalfant: Art vs. Transit, 1977-1987

When: September 25, 2019–March 8, 2020
Where: Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx)

Street art and graffiti may be used to sell real estate and attract hotel guests, but Chalfant’s photographs documenting the progression of the form is an excellent reminder of its enduring power to amaze. In the late 1970s and 80s, Chalfont hung out on subway platforms, taking pictures of trains from multiple angles to eventually capture the entire exterior. Some of those pictures and tags were from graffiti legends like Dondi, Futura, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, and Zephyr. The Bronx Museum show also includes additional art and objects from the era. 

Jill Mulleady: Fight-or-Flight

When: September 25–December 29
Where: Swiss Institute (38 St Marks Place, East Village, Manhattan)

Mulleady’s last show at Galerie Neu in Berlin featured lush, soft paintings featuring people on the precipice of being swallowed by their surrounding landscapes: a bioluminescent ocean, a fire from a nearby forest. For another 2018 show at Schloss in Oslo, she collected Porsche windows, which she used as a canvas for various cephalopods, viking warriors, a horse’s face, and a few deep sea creatures of her own imagination. Whatever she creates for her fall show in New York, viewers can look forward to a mix of the mundane and the fantastical.

Bruce LaBruce, “Refugee’s Welcome” (2017), color film still, 22 minutes (image courtesy the artist)

On Our Backs: The Revolutionary Art of Queer Sex Work

When: September 28, 2019–January 19, 2020
Where: Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (26 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan)

This group show is not only a portrait of queer sex workers, but also explores how sex work itself is a form of art and activism, and how communities involved have fought for their own liberation. It would be important regardless of when it was presented, but at a time when trans women of color, many of them sex workers, have been killed, a show that celebrates the history of their struggle for freedom, feels particularly relevant now. Featured artists include Bruce LaBruce, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Sprinkle, Xandra Ibarra, Efrain John-Gonzalez, David Wojnarowicz, among others. 

Elias Sime: Tightrope

When: September 7–December 8
Where: Wellin Museum of Art (198 College Hill Road, Clinton, New York)

The Ethiopian artist Elias Sime has long been working with discarded electronic waste to create astoundingly intricate and surprisingly graphic assemblages that read like powerhouse modernist works produced by painters of the New York School. This exhibition brings together some of his well-known works with a selection of early, stitched canvases that incorporated bottle caps, buttons, and sundry found objects. Sime will also show a site-specific sculpture he’s made at the Wellin Museum with the assistance of Hamilton College students. It will be displayed on the museum’s Selch Terrace. 

Utopian Imagination

When: September 17–December 7
Where: Ford Foundation Gallery (320 East 43rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

This year the Ford Foundation inaugurated its new gallery with a planned trilogy of exhibitions that would relate to the theme of “utopian imagination.” The first two, Perilous Bodies and Radical Love have been sumptuous explorations of the theme through a myriad of international artists who, while often very divergent in their practices, have created moments of stunning synchronicity. The third one promises to carry on the torch.

Aloïse Corbaz “Untitled (l’Amérique Stubborn Président” (1941–1951) (third period), colored pencil and sewn paper cutouts on paper, 47 x 30 inches (collection of Audrey B. Heckler, © L’association Aloïse, photo © Visko Hatfield, courtesy the Foundation to Promote Self Taught Art and Rizzoli International Publications, Inc)

Memory Palaces: Inside the Collection of Audrey B. Heckler

When: September 17, 2019–January 26, 20207
Where: American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square, Upper West Side, Manhattan)

Audrey B. Heckler is a prominent collector of self-taught artists, and this show includes 160 pieces, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, mixed media works, and more. In addition to better known Americans like Harvey Darger, the show will include Thornton Dial, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Mose Tolliver, and European art brut members Aloïse Corbaz, August Klett, Augustin Lesage, and Anna Zemánková. It’s an excellent overview of and introduction to artists whose creative work is and was made outside of the art world mainstream. 

Still from Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (image courtesy Niko Tavernise/Netflix)

New York Film Festival + Projections

When: September 27–October 13
Where: Various locations in Manhattan

Martin Scorsese’s latest feature, The Irishman, may be getting the lion’s share of pre-festival anticipation, but there’s a whole world to explore beyond the big names. Look out for revivals and restorations, documentaries, shorts, a newer series of immersive experiences called Convergence, and the experimental series Projections. Tickets go on sale September 8. 

Esperanza Cortés, Canté Jondo/Deep Song

When: September 28–November 3
Where: Smack Mellon Gallery (92 Plymouth Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn)

Cortés’s recent, multidisciplinary work wrestles with the violence implicit in mineral mining. This exhibition will examine the similarities between emerald and other gem extraction, and uranium extraction. There will be skulls made of gemstones, chairs encrusted in diamonds, and other objects as initially beautiful as they are unsettling. 


When: September 25–October 6
Where: Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

The tragedy written by Sophocles nearly 2,500 years ago continues to resonate with new audiences who find the story of a young girl’s willful civil disobedience in the face of the power of the state compelling. This time the examination of morality, law, and justice is carried out by a Japanese director, Satoshi Miyagi, whose new version of this ancient play looks at these issues through the prism of Japanese culture.

Anne Teresa DeKeersmaeker: Rosas danst Rosas (photo by Anne Van Aerschot)

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker: Rosas danst Rosas  

When: October 1–5
Where: New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

First performed in 1983, De Keersmaeker’s Rosas Danst Rosas is minimalist and repetitive, at first glance frustratingly so. The dancers, in previous productions clad in drab gray skirts and tops, add to the monotony. Give the four-dancer piece a few minutes to wash over you however, and it becomes utterly hypnotic. Bodies are flung around the stage; so is clothing. The equally minimalist score, by Thierry de May and Peter Vermeersch, helps.

JR: Chronicles

When: October 4, 2019–May 3, 2020
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

The French artist is known for his enormous portrait diptychs that literally and figuratively enlarge the images of his protagonists and so magnify the issues these people represent. JR’s work operates as photography, social practice, and street art, and this exhibition centers on “The Chronicles of New York City,” a new colossal mural that incorporates the images and stories of over 1,000 New Yorkers. The exhibition also includes JR’s most well-known works from the past 15 years.

American Artist: My Blue Window

When: October 6, 2019–February 16, 2020
Where: Queens Museum (New York City Building, Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, Queens)

American Artist uses the exhibition My Blue Window to investigate the socio-political dynamic of anti-Blackness, by looking at how it might operate within algorithmic systems. Through a multimedia installation Artist peers at predictive policing technologies, which are artificial intelligence tools intended to help deploy officers, and calls attention to the bias encoded within scientific tools that are presumed to be neutral.  

Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes

When: October 6, 2019–January 5, 2020
Where: National Museum of the American Indian (Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, Financial District, Manhattan)

The Salish artist who hails from the Pacific Northwest was once a graphic designer, and this background is evident in his blending of a traditional formline style of the Northwest Coast with characters from American popular culture, particularly those from Marvel comics. In the saga Veregge has devised, the superheroes well known within the Marvel universe are brought together to repel an alien invasion, but these heroes use traditional tribal motifs and phrases from the S’Klallam language. 

Kim Keever, “Abstract 10298” (2016), digital print (image courtesy the artist and Jerald Melberg Gallery, Charlotte, NC)

Weather Report

When: October 6, 2019–March 29, 2020
Where: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (258 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut)

A diverse group of international artists grapple with the topic of weather through sculpture, drawing, painting, installation, and video. Weather Report means to show how the subject is connected to climate change, its emotional effects on people, and how and weather impacts history and politics. The exhibition will feature a one-day cross-disciplinary symposium with meteorologists, researchers, and artists.

Alice Miceli: Projeto Chernobyl

When: October 9, 2019–January 25, 2020
Where: Americas Society (680 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Miceli will display a series of 30 radiographs produced between 2006 and 2010. These images document the persistent effects of the Soviet nuclear plant explosion of 1986 through a method the artist developed that uses film as a record of the gamma radiation still present in the area. By making this pernicious force visible and legible the artist evokes how and under what conditions our vision can intersect with our memory, politics, and our sense of what constitutes our environment.

Garrett Bradley’s America: A Journey Through Race and Time

When: October 11–17
Where: BAM Rose Cinema (30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn)

In this unique program BAM will showcase Garrett Bradley’s revelatory new short “America,” a work produced by Aubin Pictures that creates a joyous alternative history of African-American representation on screen. For this week-long special presentation, Bradley’s insightful vision is paired with seven different programs, each offering a unique prism through which to consider the history and future possibilities of Blackness in American cinema. Plus there will be a program of Bradley’s early short films, and a discussion event: “BAM and Black Portraiture[s]: Responding to Garrett Bradley’s America.” 

The Pencil Is a Key

When: October 11, 2019–January 5, 2020
Where: The Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan)

The Pencil Is a Key displays historical and contemporary drawings by incarcerated people from all around the world. The exhibition includes works by artists who were or currently are imprisoned, shown with drawings by prisoners who became artists while incarcerated, as well as drawings by members of contemporary American prison populations. The conversation around criminal justice reform takes on depth and breadth in this show where drawing is shown to tap into a profoundly human capacity to project the self outside of inhumane circumstances.

Gowanus Open Studios

When: October 19–20
Various locations in Gowanus, Brooklyn

The annual weekend event organized by Arts Gowanus welcomes thousands of visitors to hundreds of studios in one of the city’s most active art neighborhoods. Here’s your chance to explore some normally inaccessible studio buildings, meet a wide array of artists, and get a first look at what they’re working on.

Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window

When: October 21, 2019–January 4, 2020
Where: The Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53 Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

Betye Saar is finally getting her first proper museum retrospective in Los Angeles this year. For those of us on the East Coast, MoMA is offering an in-depth solo exhibition that looks at the connections between Saar’s autobiographical assemblage “Black Girl’s Window” (1969) and her rare, early prints, made during the 1960s. This exhibition also highlights the recent acquisition of 42 works on paper that give viewers an overview of Saar’s smartly intuitive print practice.

Pope. L., “How Much is that Nigger in the Window a.k.a Tompkins Square Crawl. New York, NY” (1991), digital c-print on gold fiber silk paper, 10 by 15 inches (© Pope. L., courtesy the artist and Mitchell–Innes & Nash, New York)

Member: Pope.L, 1978–2001

When: October 21, 2019–February 1, 2020
Where: The Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53 Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

The artist who famously crawled up the island of Manhattan is the subject of an exhibition that displays documentation of 13 of his legendary performances. The performances shown in this exhibition span from 1978 to 2001 and will be represented by videos, photographs, sculptural pieces, and live actions. 

Hans Haacke, “Water in Wind” (1968), spray nozzles, pump, water, and wind, installation view: 95 East Houston Street, New York (© Hans Haacke / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, photo by Hans Haacke)

Hans Haacke: All Connected

When: October 24, 2019–January 26, 2020
Where: The New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

This six-decade retrospective intends to show Haacke in his full capacity as a keen interrogator of the structures that undergird and promote aesthetic production. In addition to the conceptual projects that are typically associated with Haacke, rarely seen kinetic works, environmental sculptures, and visitor polls of the late 1960s and early 70s, will be shown. More, this show will be the New York premiere of Haacke’s “Gift Horse” (2014), a bronze sculpture of a horse’s skeleton embellished with an LED ribbon streaming stock prices in real time.

Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals

When: October 25, 2019–February 2, 2020
Where: The Morgan Library and Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Murray Hill, Manhattan)

This exhibition is the first full-career retrospective of the photographer mounted by a New York City museum. It is also a hybrid which combines the retrospective with a show of works that Michals has found in his investigations of the stores within the Morgan’s vaults.

Félix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet

When: October 29, 2019–January 26, 2020
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Félix Vallotton, a fin-de-siècle painter who was born in Switzerland and educated in Paris created paintings that caught the zeitgeist of that era. Additionally, this exhibition will showcase Vallotton’s woodcuts of the 1890s which showed him to be a compelling and talented printmaker whose politics were a very palpable part of his practice.

Meleko Mokgosi, “Democratic Intuition” (2013–2018), oil and charcoal on canvas, 144 x 94 inches (© Meleko Mokgosi, image courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York)

Meleko Mokgosi

When: November 1–December 21
Where: Jack Shainman Gallery (513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street, both in Chelsea, Manhattan)

Meleko Mokgosi is a painter who is keenly interested in subjectivity, in the ways and means by which human beings recognize each other and share and negotiate social space. For this exhibition he is exploring through the prisms of political theory how large abstract constructs such as the idea of democracy can be translated into lived experience.

Richard Hunt (Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw), “Sea Monster Mask” (1999), red cedar and paint with metal (Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, © Richard Hunt, courtesy Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History)

Place, Nations, Generations, Beings: 200 Years of Indigenous North American Art

When: November 1, 2019–June 21, 2020
Where: Yale University Art Gallery (1111 Chapel St, New Haven, Connecticut)

Guided by the themes in the title, the 75 artworks in this student-curated exhibition showcase works across a wide range of mediums, including basketry, beadwork, textiles, pottery, drawings, photography, and painting. Just as much as being art, the works are also declarations of sovereignty, of commitment to traditions, and the maker’s connection to nature. 

Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011

When: November 3, 2019–March 1, 2020
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens)

This large-scale, group exhibition investigates the legacies of United States-led military violence enacted in Iraq during the Gulf War of 1991. There are more than 100 works from about  50 artists that tackle the confluence of spectacularized violence, xenophobia, fossil fuel dependency, imperialism, nationalist ideologies, and new geopolitical alignments.


When: November 6–15
Where: Various locations in Manhattan

It’s the 10th anniversary of this festival dedicated to documentaries. It will show over 300 films across eight days, plus talks, panels, and other special events, designed to honor legends in the field, celebrate new storytellers, and encourage relationships and collaborations among filmmakers. DOC NYC hasn’t announced the lineup yet, but if previous years are any indication, this is a must-see event. 

A Wonder to Behold: Craftsmanship and the Creation of Babylon’s Ishtar Gate

When: November 6, 2019–May 24, 2020
Where: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) (New York University, 15 East 84 Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

This exhibition explores how ancient craftspeople created artwork that manifested a kind of divine power through the deft manipulation of basic materials such as clay, glass, and stone. On  display will be surviving fragments of Babylon’s iconic Ishtar Gate and Processional Way, plus large- and small-scale artworks from across the ancient Near East, and raw materials in various stages of workmanship. A Wonder to Behold considers Ancient Near Eastern master craftspeople not only skilled technicians, but also artists, historians, and ritual practitioners who brought into being sacred spaces and objects, from seemingly mundane elements.

Rashaad Newsome Studio, collage collaboration with Liliana Dirks-Goodman (photo courtesy Live Arts)

Rashaad Newsome: FIVE Live Arts

When: November 8–9
Where: New York Live Arts (219 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Newsome’s multimedia dance piece is dedicated to the art of Vogue Femme, part of the larger ballroom scene pioneered by LGBTQ, Black, and Latinx communities in the 1970s and 80s. Each of the five performers in Newsome’s work correspond to the five elements of Vogue Femme —hands, catwalk, floor performance, spin dips, and duck-walking. The dancers will also have a technological co-star: motion tracking technology that will track the dancers’ steps, and then use that data to create live action drawings appearing on a screen right above the dancers on stage. The soundtrack that will feature, at various points, a hip-hop M.C., an operatic vocalist, a black gospel choir, and others. 

Mel Bochner, “Measurement: Room” (1969), installation view, Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich, 1969 (collection Museum of Modern Art, New York, © Mel Bochner, courtesy the artist)

Mel Bochner

When: Opens November 9, on long-term view
Where: Dia:Beacon (3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York)

For the 50th anniversary of the first piece made by Mel Bochner’s for his Measurement Room series, Bochner will realize a new, large-scale work. The series uses taped lines and notched marks to measure, subdivide, and use spatial parameters to describe a space. These measurements shape how viewers interact with and understand the space they come to occupy.

Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting

When: November 16, 2019–Fall 2021
Where: National Museum of the American Indian (Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, Financial District, Manhattan)

With 40 paintings from the National Museum of the American Indian’s permanent collection created between 1940 through the present day, this show aims to challenge and expand visitors’ ideas of Native painting. Even as art historical establishment often limited the conception of what Native art could be,  these works span genres, techniques and styles, as diverse as they people who created them. 

Who We Are: Visualizing New York by the Numbers

When: November 17, 2019–August 9, 2020
Where: The Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

On the heels of pitched battled over the United States census, which is to commence next year, The Museum of the City of New York presents an important, new multimedia exhibition that celebrates and imaginatively employs data as a tool for understanding the city and its residents. The exhibition demonstrates the importance of an accurate population count, for ensuring fair political representation and funding for education, infrastructure, and social programs, as well as helping residents come to some answers to difficult questions regarding identity.

Power Mode   

When: December 10, 2019–May 9, 2020
Where: The Museum at FIT (Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Whether through military uniforms, a business suit, fetish wear, or the hoodie of tech company founders, fashion can just easily support existing leaders as it can subvert them, or even establish new ones. This show explores fashion’s relationship with power, including designs and garments from the 18th century through the present. 

Kent Monkman, mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People)

When: December 19, 2019–April 12, 2020
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

For the Great Hall commission the Met has chosen Kent Monkman to create two monumental paintings. Monkman is a Canadian Cree artist who investigates themes of colonization, sexuality, loss, and resilience, as well as the range of complexities regarding historic and contemporary Indigenous experiences. This installation is part of a new series of contemporary commissions that is attempting to make the institution part of the conversation around contemporary work and practices.

With contributions by Ilana Novick and Seph Rodney. 

2 replies on “Your Concise New York Art Guide for Fall 2019”

  1. Wow, I anticipate, one day, this much effort being given to any city other than new york (yes I saw the LA one too).

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