Summer’s finally here, and with it, a well of not-to-miss shows and events, including some you can enjoy outside in the sunshine or from your couch with the AC blasting — choices abound. Particular highlights include Guadalupe Maravilla’s stately commissions for Socrates Sculpture Park and Ming Smith’s glimmering photographs.

Whatever you decide, stay safe and don’t forget your mask.

—Dessane Lopez Cassell

Matthew Wong: Footprints in the Wind, Ink Drawings 2013–2017

Matthew Wong, “The Watcher” (2017), ink on rice paper, 43 3/4 x 42 inches ( ©2021 Matthew Wong Foundation, Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York; photo by Alex Yudzon, image courtesy Cheim & Read, New York)

When: through September 11
Where: Cheim & Read (547 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

For years, Matthew Wong made an ink illustration every morning: nature scenes, dreamscapes, abstractions. Footprints in the Wind presents 24 achromatic ink drawings on rice paper by the self-taught Toronto-born artist, including some of his earliest works in the medium. Wong, who died by suicide at the age of 35 in 2019, pays homage to the legacy of Chinese landscape painting in a starkly moving style that is uniquely his own.

New Red Order: Feel at Home Here

Installation view, New Red Order: Feel at Home Here, Artists Space, 2021 (image courtesy Artists Space, New York; photo by Filip Wolak)

When: through August 21
Where: Artists Space (11 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca, Manhattan)

For its most extensive exhibition to-date, New Red Order, the rotating “public secret society,” presents a range of interventions, video works, and installations that peel back and poke fun at the old colonial desire to “play Indian.” At times mimicking corporate marketing, the NRO employs biting satire and re-appropriation to push for real solidarity with Indigenous people and advance Indigenous futures.

Dominique Fung: It’s Not Polite To Stare

Installation view, Dominique Fung: It’s Not Polite To Stare, Jeffrey Deitch, New York, 2021 (image courtesy the artist and Jeffrey Deitch, New York; photo by Cooper Dodds and Genevieve Hanson)

When: extended through June 26
Where: Jeffrey Deitch (76 Grand Street, Soho, Manhattan)

It’s Not Polite To Stare, an exhibition of painting and sculpture by Dominique Fung, critiques the Orientalist fetishization and ornamentalization of women’s bodies and Asian cultural objects. Hanging artisanal bird cages, which the Ottawa-born, Brooklyn-based artist purchased from estate sales, house ceramic forms; the ornate cages and their unexpected inhabitants reappear as motifs in Fung’s surreal paintings.

Guadalupe Maravilla: Planeta Abuelx

Guadalupe Maravilla and trained sound healers performing a sound bath at Socrates Sculpture Park, background: “Billboard Retablo” (2021); (image courtesy the artist, Socrates Sculpture Park, and PPOW, New York; photo by Scott Lynch)

When: through September 6
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd, Queens)

Titled after an intergenerational “Grandparent Planet” instead of “Mother Earth,” Guadalupe Maravilla’s solo show explores ancestral and Indigenous healing practices, themes linked to the artist’s own experience of colon cancer as well as his migration from El Salvador to the US as a child. The new commissions, all of which have collaborative or communal elements, include a billboard-sized retablo; a ground drawing inspired by the children’s game “Tripa Chuca” (“rotting guts”); and totemic assemblages from his Disease Thrower series, which will be used in sound baths.

Felipe Ehrenberg: Testamento

Installation view of Felipe Ehrenberg: Testamento, Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA), New York, 2021 (image courtesy Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA); photo by Julio Grinblatt)

When: through August 7
Where: The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) (50 East 78th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Rounding off a series of exhibitions devoted to Latin American conceptual and mail art, ISLAA’s latest show presents Felipe Ehrenberg’s “Testamento” (1968-2017), an assemblage incorporating work from nearly five decades of artmaking, completed the year that he died. The 34 collages that comprise “Testamento” integrate a range of photographs, writing, drawing, and ephemera, forming a condensed survey of the pioneering Mexican conceptualist’s work.

Ming Smith: Evidence

Ming Smith, “America Seen Through Stars and Stripes (New York)” (1976), gelatin silver print (image courtesy the artist and Nicola Vassell Gallery)

When: through July 3
Where: online & Nicola Vassell Gallery (138 10th Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Nicola Vassell Gallery’s inaugural show highlights five decades of vintage silver gelatin and archival prints by Harlem-based photographer Ming Smith. Smith was the first woman member of the Kamoinge Workshop, an influential Black photography collective founded in New York City in 1963. Her intuitive and frequently experimental images include landscapes, street and domestic scenes, and portraits of important cultural figures such as Sun Ra and Grace Jones.

Open Call

Aisha Amin, “The Earth Has Been Made a Place of Prayer” (2021) in Open Call; digital video, color, sound, 6 min., 42 sec., Islamic prayer mats. (commissioned by The Shed; image courtesy The Shed; photo by Ronald Amstutz)

When: through August 1
Where: The Shed (545 West 30th Street, Hudson Yards, Manhattan)

27 early-career New York City artists are spotlighted in an exhibition and performance series held for the second edition of The Shed’s open call commissioning program. The wide-ranging offerings include Kenneth Tam’s video and sculptural installation about fraternities’ ritualized violence; Pauline Shaw’s tapestry that references MRI scans to engage with diasporic experience; and Ana María Agüero Jahannes’s performance on reimagining track and field to celebrate Black queer and trans people. 


From Ludi (2021), dir. Edson Jean (image courtesy of Bantufy Films)

When: June 23–29
Where: online at Brooklyn Academy of Music

Every year since 2009, BAMcinemaFest has treated New Yorkers to a slate of the most compelling films making the rounds on the festival circuit. After a 2020 hiatus, the festival returns with a robust lineup, including a spotlight on artist Fox Maxy’s work, the world premiere of Ougie Pak’s Clytaemnestra, three not-to-miss shorts programs, and the Sundance highlight I Was a Simple Man. An extra perk this year: for the first time, audiences will be able to stream the entire lineup at any point during the festival’s weeklong run.

Louise Bourgeois, Freud’s Daughter

Louise Bourgeois, “The Destruction of the Father” (1974), latex, plaster, wood, fabric, and red light (© The Easton Foundation; licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY, Photo by Ron Amstut)

When: through September 12
Where: The Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Couching Louise Bourgeois’ oeuvre in psychoanalytic theory, Freud’s Daughter pairs about 40 works spanning the artist’s career with her rarely seen psychoanalytic writings, including records of her own experience in analysis, dream recordings, and process notes. Notable works on view include “The Destruction of the Father” (1974) — a tableau referencing the artist’s childhood fantasies of killing and eating her father — and “Passage Dangereux” (1997), a “Cell” installation about childhood rites of passage that incorporates animal bones, suspended chairs, and mirrors.

“Pleasures and Possible Celebrations”: Rosemary Mayer’s Temporary Monuments, 1977-1981

Installation view, “Pleasures and Possible Celebrations”: Rosemary Mayer’s Temporary Monuments, 1977-1981 at Gordon Robichaux, NY, 2021, (image courtesy Gordon Robichaux, NY; photo by Gregory Carideo)

When: extended through June 27
Where: Gordon Robichaux (41 Union Square West, #925 and #907, Manhattan)

Pleasures and Possible Celebrations is Gordon Robichaux’s first exhibition dedicated to Rosemary Mayer, a trailblazing Post-Minimalist and founding member of the feminist cooperative AIR Gallery. The show centers Mayer’s “Temporary Monuments,” which employed fugitive materials like balloons or snow and served as a rejoinder to patriarchal notions of monumentalization. A site-responsive “17th Street Ghost” sculpture conceived for this exhibition by Mayer’s estate — the artist passed away in 2014 — is among the works on display.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this list misspelled the surname of Open Call artist María Agüero Jahannes. It Jahannes, not Jahanne. We regret the error.

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. (