April is shaping up to be a strong month for solo shows, particularly those devoted to women artists (and we love to see it). From Alice Neel’s first New York museum retrospective in decades to a powerhouse Julie Mehretu survey at the Whitney, there’s much to peruse.

But alas, we’re still in a panorama (or pandemic, if you want to be all scientific about it), so don’t forget your masks and book those appointments where required.

Dessane Lopez Cassell

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Neighboring Scenes

From Silvia Prieto (1999), dir. Martín Rejtman (image courtesy Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical)

When: through April 12, 2021
Where: Film at Lincoln Center (online)

Co-presented by Film at Lincoln Center and Cinema Tropical, Neighboring Scenes offers up an exciting selection of nine Latin American films from 2020, as well as the landmark 1999 comedy Silvia Prieto, directed by Martín Rejtman and newly restored by Museo del Cine and EYE Filmmuseum. Two free talks, with Rejtman and with Marco Dutra and Caetano Gotardo, the Brazilian filmmakers who directed “All the Dead Ones,” will accompany the screening series.

Julie Mehretu

Installation view of Julie Mehretu, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2021 (from left to right: “Retopistics, A Renegade Excavation” (2001); “Stadia II” (2004); “Dispersion” (2002); “Untitled 2” (2001); “Mogamma, A Painting in Four Parts” (2012) (image courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art)

When: through August 8
Where: Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort St, Meatpacking, Manhattan)

Gargantuan yet intricate multi-layered abstractions informed by contemporary social concerns, from civil unrest to climate change, overtake the walls in Julie Mehretu’s robust mid-career survey, which travels to the Whitney Museum from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition spans over 20 years of the celebrated artist’s ever-evolving practice, with thirty paintings and forty works on paper, as well as an insightful film of Mehretu at work, shot by fellow artist Tacita Dean.

Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves: The x in florxal is silent when spoken

Installation view of Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves: The x in florxal is silent when spoken, Artists Space, 2021 (image courtesy Artists Space, New York; photo by Filip Wolak)

When: through May 1
Where: by appointment at Artists Space (11 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca, Manhattan)

At Artists Space, a solo show of work by the Pushcart-nominated poet Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves presents collages, drawings, photographs, and a site-specific installation featuring, among other things, assorted crystals, a knight figurine, and a slew of living plants with human names. The exhibition expands upon major themes in Greaves’ magazine of ethnobotanical literary criticism, The Florxal Review.

Kusama: Cosmic Nature

Yayoi Kusama, “Pumpkins Screaming About Love Beyond Infinity” (2017), mirrors, acrylic, glass, LEDs, wood panels (image courtesy New York Botanical Garden)

When: April 10–October 31
Where: New York Botanical Gardens (2900 Southern Blvd, The Bronx)

This highly anticipated exhibition, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, presents indoor and outdoor installations of work by the contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, spread over the 250 acres of the New York Botanical Gardens. The show will feature a variety of artworks from across Kusama’s career, including botanical sketches, and debut four new pieces such as the artist’s first “obliteration greenhouse” and a sixteen-foot pumpkin sculpture.

Allison Janae Hamilton: A Romance of Paradise

Allison Janae Hamilton, “Once Again Amid the Pine Trees” (2021), signed and dated in ink (verso), archival pigment print, image dimensions: 40 x 60 inches, framed: 40 7/8 x 60 7/8 inches; edition of 5 plus 2 AP (image courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery)

When: through April 24
Where: Marianne Boesky Gallery

For her first solo show with the gallery, Hamilton continues her exploration of myth-making in the US South, the region that she and generations of her family have long called home. Presenting a new body of photographs and sculptures, A Romance explores the tensions between colonial legacies, continued environmental exploitation, and the Edenic narratives once employed to justify violent expansion into the region.

Rindon Johnson: Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies + In Practice: You may go, but this will bring you back

Rindon Johnson, “Coeval Proposition #2, Last Year’s Atlantic, or You look really good, you look like you pretended like nothing ever happened, or a Weakening” (2021), realtime Portrait Animating Program, projectors, platform, computer (image courtesy SculptureCenter)

When: through August 2
Where: by reservation at SculptureCenter (44-19 Purves St, Long Island City, Queens)

In his first museum solo show, interdisciplinary Berlin-based artist and writer Rindon Johnson, who is perhaps best known for his virtual reality artworks, presents a sculptural reimagining of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid and a visualization of weather data in an area of the Northern Atlantic particularly affected by climate change, halfway between SculptureCenter and Chisenhale Gallery, London, where a companion exhibition will follow in November. Elsewhere in the museum, SculptureCenter’s yearly open call group show, In Practice, features work about grief and processing by a cohort of emerging artists.

Lucía Vidales: Sudor Frío

Lucía Vidales, “Fickle” (2020), oil and encaustic on canvas, 20 x 15.50 inches (image courtesy PROXYCO Gallery)

When: through April 24
Where: PROXYCO Gallery (121 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

For Sudor Frío (cold sweat), Vidales presents a suite of recent paintings, each of which revels in the artist’s signature themes of mortality and muted, gestural abstraction. Errant limbs and gracefully emotive streaks of color abound.

Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439 – 39202

Azikiwe Mohammed, “King Manor, Queens, NY” (2021), embroidery 9 ¼ x 13 inches (image courtesy the artist)

When: through April 23
Where: by appointment at the Yeh Art Gallery at St. John’s University (8000 Utopia Pkwy, Jamaica, Queens)

The thirty textile works on view in Azikiwe Mohammed’s solo show at the Yeh Art Gallery are embroidered with stylized portraits of Black subjects hailing from Queens, New York to Jackson, Mississippi (the two zip codes in the exhibition’s title) as well as a distinctive iconography of candles, flowers, and alcohol. In tribute to places of importance to Black American communities, the installation references log cabins in the rural South where quilting took place as well as Black basement bars of the ’60s and ’70s.


Installation view of Precious Okoyomon’s FRAGMENTED BODY PERCEPTIONS AS HIGHER VIBRATION FREQUENCIES TO GOD, Performance Space, New York, 2021 (image courtesy Performance Space New York; photo by Da Ping Luo)

When: through May 9, 2021
Where: by appointment at Performance Space (150 1st Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)

In Performance Space’s Keith Haring Theatre, New York-based artist and poet Precious Okoyomon constructs an organic environment that gives space for mourning, bringing together moss, insects, dirt, gravel, and wet kudzu ash from a Japanese plant used to heal the soil where cotton has been grown. The winner of Frieze’s annual Artist Award, Okoyomon will also present an overlapping site-specific, performance-activated installation for Frieze New York this May.

Alice Neel: People Come First

Alice Neel, “Andy Warhol” (1970), oil and acrylic on linen, 60 × 40 inches (© The Estate of Alice Neel; image courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

When: through August 1
Where: the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Titled after a quote by the artist culled from a 1950 interview, Alice Neel: People Come First is Neel’s first New York museum retrospective in two decades. Following the arc of her oeuvre from her early pieces from the ‘20s to work made in 1984, the year that she died, the expansive show displays the psychologically revealing portrait paintings for which Neel is acclaimed — depicting famous figures and everyday New Yorkers alike — along with her lesser-known still lifes, landscapes, and cityscapes, while nodding to the political and activist dimensions of her practice.

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.

Cassie Packard is a Brooklyn-based art writer. (cassiepackard.com)

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