Bye 2020. You’ve been a whole lot. For this final month of a wild year, we’ve pulled together a list of shows and film series that provides both ample distraction and some opportunities for reflection. Scroll below for our top 10, the majority of which are available online or by appointment.
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Sheida Soleimani: Hotbed
When: through December 23
Where: Denny Dimin (appointments available) (39 Lispenard Street, TriBeCa, Manhattan)
For her first solo exhibition in New York, Soleimani presents a series of photocollages focused on the increasingly timely issue of the strained nature of US-Iran relations. Myriad crises-within-the-crisis manifest in her layered compositions, yielding intriguing, if occasionally unsettling visual treatises that reflect on power and corruption.
Alex Ito: Half Life
When: through January 10, 2021
Where: Interstate (appointments available) (66 Knickerbocker Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
In this meditation on environmental waste and degradation, Alex Ito charts a dystopian vision of our present and near-future. Steel sculptures and elements of science-fiction blend with Americana ephemera, evincing a vision that’s at once surreal and starkly familiar.
Nick Quijano: Memories of Puerto Rico
When: through January 02, 2021
Where: Fort Gansevoort (online)
The latest in Fort Gansevoort’s series of online exhibitions — many of which have focused on under-celebrated artists working in 2D media — Memories of Puerto Rico celebrates the everyday intimacies and vibrancy of the island. For his first solo show with the gallery, painter Nick Quijano presents a series of brightly hued gouaches that nod to the rich history of Caribbean vernacular art.
Jesse Krimes: American Rendition
When: through January 23, 2021
Where: Malin Gallery (515 W 29th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
For his third exhibition with Malin, Krimes presents a vibrant selection of quilt-based works which reflect on notions of home. Formerly incarcerated, the Philadelphia-based artist often makes work that critiques the dehumanization of individuals maligned by the state. For visitors not yet ready to see art inside, check out his large-scale “Rikers Quilt” which will be displayed on specific days on the gallery’s exterior and visible from the High Line. (Another massive work by Krimes can also be seen in PS1’s ongoing exhibition, Marking Time.)
Sareh Imani: Center is not a particular point on the earth’s surface + Rachelle Dang: Couroupita/Corpus
When: through December 20
Where: AIR Gallery (by appointment only) (155 Plymouth Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn)
Projected on stacks of moving boxes, Sareh Imani’s movingly mundane recent video invites the viewer to slow down and reflect on what makes a space home. Shot using a single, stationary camera, the multi-channel work layers footage of the artist packing, unpacking, and rearranging her domestic space while in quarantine — a process that ultimately culminated in her leaving the city. Nearby, Rachelle Dang’s exquisite sculptures reflect on colonial conquest and the fraught nature of anthropological research, all in luminous shades of blue.
Working Together: the Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop
When: through March 28, 2021
Where: Whitney Museum of American Art (advance tickets required) (99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking, Manhattan)
Spotlighting 14 members of the celebrated Black photography collective Kamoinge (a Kikuyu word for “a group of people acting together”), Working Together highlights the importance of self-representation. Founded in 1963, the images produced by these distinct luminaries chronicle times of significant social upheaval and reflect nuanced perspectives on communities long mischaracterized by news media.
The World of Wong Kar Wai
When: through January 1, 2021
Where: Online via Film at Lincoln Center
Five weeks of films by the cinematic giant who brought us gems like In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express, and Happy Together — need I say more? In a partnership with distributor Janus Films, Film at Lincoln Center’s full retrospective features several new restorations of Wong’s most celebrated films, as well as an opportunity to catch some of his lesser-known but equally important works.
Projects: Garrett Bradley
When: November 21, 2020–March 21, 2021
Where: Online and in-person at the Museum of Modern Art (advanced timed tickets required) (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)
Building off of her celebrated film America (2019), Bradley’s solo exhibition likewise aims to fill in the gaps of Black film history by focusing on the stories of individuals lost to time and institutional neglect. Twelve short black-and-white films, shot by Bradley and scored by artist Trevor Mathison and composer Udit Duseja, center figures like the African American composer and singer Harry T. Burleigh and Bahamian-American performer and actor Bert Williams, whose once-lost-and-now-restored film Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) remains a progressive example of how cinema could have treated Black stories (but didn’t) in its early days.
When: opens December 3
Where: Online via 8th Floor
Originally conceived as a physical exhibition, support structures looks at our foundations. Bringing together the work of eight artists whose practices consider the presence (and absence) of structures that undergird our society — be they physical, emotional, architectural, or social — support structures hones in on issues of sustainability and interdependence.
Programmers’ Notebook: New York Lives
When: December 4, 2020–January 3, 2021
Where: Online via Brooklyn Academy of Music
A cinematic tour of the city, New York Lives offers a welcome revisiting of a landscape that’s felt so close yet so far away amid these many months of quarantine. Featuring celebrated works like Los Sures (1984) and Dark Days (2000), alongside recent gems like Through the Night and In Sudden Darkness, New York Lives highlights local talent and offers a refresher on the many quirks and complications of this city we call home.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Artists Show What They Can Do With a Google Phone’s Camera
Works by 20 photographers are now on view in Manhattan for the seventh season and 100th project coming out of the Google Creator Labs.
Met Museum Kicked Me Out for Praying to My Ancestral Gods
My danced prayer to looted Cambodian antiquities was too much for the New York museum.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
A Museum Guard’s Ode to the Healing Power of Art
In All the Beauty in the World, Patrick Bringley revisits the many ways that art meets life, and life art, and how death is often the bridge between them.
UK Extends Export Ban on Coveted “Portrait of Omai”
London’s National Portrait Gallery was given a few months to acquire the work, which depicts the first Polynesian visitor to the UK.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
The Sculptor Making Art With Loved Ones’ Ashes
Inspired by the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julian Stair’s exhibition honors the lives of eight people with cinerary jars.
Art Institute of Chicago Under Scrutiny Over Sacred Nepali Necklace
The 17th-century object remains on display at the Chicago museum despite Nepal’s calls for repatriation.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.