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Spring is *nearly* in the air. As the slow thaw continues, we get that the urge to get back out there is strong. There’s some incredible art to see, including solo shows of work by Lorraine O’Grady, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Kenneth Tam. Hell, temperatures might even creep above 50 degrees this week— wild, I know.
Still, with the pace of vaccination ramping up only slowly and COVID-19 transmission rates still high, it feels worth remembering that now is not the time to get all willy-nilly like it’s 2019. So don’t forget your mask(s) or to sign up for timed-tickets where required.
— Your favorite auntie, Dessane Lopez Cassell
When: through March 22
Where: 56 Henry (56 Henry Street, Two Bridges, Manhattan)
In her second solo show with 56 Henry, Los Angeles-based artist Nikita Gale considers the ways in which we viscerally experience bodies as both absent and present, and the porousness of those categories. Spanning media, the works on view include inverted photographs of audio cables floating in space, a translucent record that plays the sound of breathing on loop, collages that explore the social function of caves, and sculptures referencing public vernacular architecture.
Kevin Jerome Everson: Mansfield Deluxe
When: through March 27
Where: Andrew Kreps Gallery (22 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca, Manhattan)
For decades now, the Ohio-born artist Kevin Jerome Everson has been making sculptures and films attuned to the minutiae of labor and working-class Black life. A nod to the artist’s hometown, Mansfield Deluxe continues his tradition of emphasizing individual experiences often rendered nameless and faceless by the churn of industry. Included in his third solo show with the gallery are three recent films and the titular sculpture, a relic and remembrance of the ghosts of the US auto industry, which once sustained towns like Mansfield.
When: through June 6
Where: New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Originally conceived by the esteemed curator Okwui Enwezor, who died of cancer before the show was completed, Grief and Grievance poetically explores themes of Black mourning, commemoration, and loss in the face of white nationalism. The expansive show, which stretches across three floors as well as the museum’s edifice and lobby galleries, presents a diverse array of work made from the 1960s to the present day by 37 intergenerational Black artists, from Garrett Bradley and Cameron Rowland to Howardena Pindell and Jack Whitten.
When: through March 27
Where: PPOW (392 Broadway, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Referencing his own experiences of immigrating to the US alone as a child to escape the Salvadoran Civil War as well as his struggles with colon cancer, transdisciplinary artist Guadalupe Maravilla considers the ways in which trauma can lodge itself in the body, and the radical potential for healing through non-Western practices. The exhibition, Maravilla’s first with the gallery, displays freestanding “healing machines” inspired by sound therapy; gourd sculptures that represent the stomachs of ancestors; and retablos, or small devotional paintings, that he commissioned from a fourth-generation retablo painter in Mexico.
When: through April 4
Where: Deli Gallery (110 Waterbury Street, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
For her first solo exhibition with Deli Gallery, the Colombia-raised artist presents new and recent paintings of fluidly abstracted, proliferating body parts rendered in vibrant hues with slick, waxy surfaces, as well as two achromatic ink drawings on the same theme. Deriving inspiration from the massive folkloric carnival that occurs yearly in her hometown of Barranquilla, Savdie depicts the ecstatic and excessive body as a site of subversion and reclamation.
When: through May 1
Where: online and by appointment at Artists Space (11 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Tiffany Sia, an artist and filmmaker based between Hong Kong and New York, probes the slipperiness of Hong Kong’s identity in this exhibition held at Artist’s Space and online. Conceptually rooted in, and materially featuring, Sia’s newly published book Too Salty Too Wet, the exhibition presents works on paper, including a “leak” of the book; moving images such as a three-channel video of archival weather reports; and fogged-up gallery windows. A live-streamed landscape film will broadcast at the gallery and virtually from March 14–20.
When: through May 31
Where: the Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)
With a title that nods to the fraught period of rebuilding in the wake of the US Civil War, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America considers the longstanding embedment of anti-Black racism in architecture and urban planning across the nation, and the potential for the American landscape to instead espouse Black freedom and futurity. Ten commissions from architects, designers, and artists, who formed a collective over the course of the exhibition, imagine interventions into ten cities across the US, with creative proposals regarding everything from kitchens to spaceships. The show is accompanied by a free online course, “Reimagining Blackness and Architecture.”
When: through June 23
Where: Queens Museum (New York City Building, Corona, Queens)
Through his work, Kenneth Tam often turns our attention to the performance of gender, as well as the vulnerabilities and expectations that go along with it. With Silent Spikes, his new commission for the Queens Museum, Tam continues his exploration of masculinity via video installation, weaving a poetic narrative that reflects on the iconic cowboy trope, misrepresentations of Asian American men, and the legacy of labor strikes by Chinese workers in the face of brutal westward expansion by the US. With its emphasis on the power of media distortion and racist state policies, Tam’s work makes for particularly poignant viewing amid the current resurgence of anti-Asian violence, issues the artist has worked to draw attention to in collaboration with the group StopDiscriminAsian.
When: through July 18
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)
Lorraine O’Grady has been centering Black subjects in performance, video, collage, photomontage, and critical theory for four decades. O’Grady’s highly anticipated retrospective — mind-bogglingly, the artist’s first — presents twelve projects from across her trailblazing career, showcasing celebrated pieces such as “Mlle Bourgeoise Noire” (1980), the fictive persona that marked her first public performance, and “Art Is…” (1983), an interventionist exercise in framing that incorporated a float in Harlem. The exhibition will also debut her newest performance piece, which involves the sprightly 86-year-old donning medieval armor.
When: March 11–September 6
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens)
A major museum survey, Structures for Life will present more than 200 diverse works by by the interdisciplinary French-American artist, who worked in media ranging from jewelry and perfume to drawing and film. The exhibition places particular emphasis on de Saint Phalle’s large-scale outdoor sculptures and built environments, including Tarot Garden, the fantastical, utopian 14-acre architectural park in Tuscany that occupied her from the late 1970s to her death in 2002.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that the artist Ilana Savdie was raised, not born, in Colombia.