Say what you will about February, but it’s the one month of the year that knows how to keep it short and sweet. Nonetheless, there’s much to see in New York during these compact few weeks, including works by Ed Ruscha, Nina Katchadourian, Luis Camnitzer, Martha Edelheit, and a special group show about our relationship with mushrooms. Starting this month, we’re changing the format of this list, bringing you personal recommendations from editors and regular contributors on our team. Each will explain in their individual style why the shows they recommend are truly worth your time. — Hakim Bishara

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Ed Ruscha: Parking Lots 

Ed Ruscha, “Federal, County and Police Building Lots, Van Nuys” from the series Parking Lots (1967/1999), gelatin silver print, 15 inches x 15 inches (© Ed Ruscha)

Ed Ruscha needs no introduction to serious art lovers, and his parking lot series is a good example of why. Taken from a helicopter, the artist was able to transform the monotony of parking lots into some wondrous forms that resemble the abstract artwork of the era. — Hrag Vartanian

Yancey Richardson Gallery (yanceyrichardson.com)
525 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through February 18


Bruno Dunley: Clouds

Bruno Dunley, “Liéban” (2022) (photo by Charles Roussel, courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler)

In 2020, as supply chain troubles intensified and imported oil paints became harder and harder to come by in Brazil, Bruno Dunley took matters into his own hands. Along with Rafael Carneiro, he co-founded Joules & Joules with the aim of providing affordable, professional-quality pigments created locally. What began as a pandemic project became a love affair with color, the passions of which are on display in Clouds, a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings made over the last two years. The titular forms serve as a vehicle for Dunley to play with repetition, weight, transparency, and pattern, but hue and saturation take center stage in these dreamlike abstractions that evoke cityscapes, poppy fields, lily ponds, and other spaces of tranquil contemplation. — Valentina Di Liscia

Galeria Nara Roesler (nararoesler.art)
511 West 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through February 25


Luis Camnitzer: Arbitrary Order

Detail of Luis Camnitzer, A to Cosmopolite series (2020–2022), Lambda c-type prints in 678 parts, 11 inches x 8 1/2 inches each (© 2023 Luis Camnitzer / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York)

Luis Camnitzer’s latest Alexander Gray exhibition breaks with algorithmic authority. A longtime critic of big tech, Camnitzer now traces the development of his reasoning from works made in the 1960s to the present. Arbitrary Order centers his new A to Cosmopolite series, in which a vast annotated dictionary comes to life through Google Maps coordinates. Words like “arrest” and “addict” do not correlate to the government agencies enforcing criminalization, but rather to innocuous Long Island businesses around his home, such as “Hair Addict.” In this way, Arbitrary Order condemns artificial intelligence’s inability to grasp political nuance or replicate meaning. — Billie Anania

Alexander Gray Associates (alexandergray.com)
510 West 26 Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through February 25


Gabriel Lee: Corpus

Gabriel Lee, “Laying in Wait,” glazed stoneware, 5 inches x 5 inches x 7 inches (image courtesy Artshack Brooklyn)

For Gabriel Lee, sculpting is a radical act of re-embodiment. The nonbinary artist’s latest exhibition, simply titled Corpus, complicates restrictive biological ideals. Body parts build upon and blend into one another, referencing the sculptural process of gender reassignment. Monstrous facial features, too, playfully spoof the ongoing demonization of transness by conservatives and liberals alike. With each fragmentary layer, Lee assembles human consciousness anew, proving that progress rarely looks familiar. — BA

Artshack Brooklyn (artshackbrooklyn.org)
1131 Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Through February 26


La última Coca-Cola del desierto / The last Coca-Cola in the desert

Manuel Mendoza Sánchez, “¡Llama hoy!” (2022), ceramic, glued images, colored pencils, acrylic, sealed with car resin (image courtesy Rachel Uffner Gallery)

What do you think you are, the last Coca Cola in the desert? My friends and I grew up with this sassy Spanish idiom, invoked in cases when someone thinks they’re cooler than they really are. It’s the perfect title for this deliciously irreverent exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery, which pairs Tyler Lafreniere’s silkscreen and hand-painted acrylic works with Manuel Mendoza Sánchez’s ceramics and wooden sculptures. Lafreniere’s paintings lampoon societal and gender archetypes through cheeky pop-culture references (a Playboy magazine cover, a “Gas, Grass, or Ass” bumper sticker), while Sánchez’s objects feature fantastic amalgamations of creatures, palm trees, Perrier bottles, and disgraced business magnates (pictured in one work: Warren Buffett with a case of Coca-Colas in the desert). — VD

Rachel Uffner Gallery (racheluffnergallery.com)
170 Suffolk Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Through March 4


Mushrooms

Maria Bronkema, “A Boost” (2022), collage and acrylic on canvas, 11 inches x 14 inches (image courtesy Fountain House Gallery)

There’s a growing consensus among scientists that fungi played a key role in the creation of life on earth. Some would go so far as to say that we’re descendants of fungi. This exhibition, curated by artist-activist Vermilion, brings together more than 30 artists living with mental illness to explore the myriad ways in which we can learn and benefit from fungi. Related programming includes a mushroom growing workshop, a mushroom walk through Central Park, overdose-prevention training, and other wonderful things. — HB

Fountain House Gallery (fountainhousegallery.org)
702 Ninth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
Through March 8


Javier Castro: Open Wounds

Installation view of Open Wounds at Cuchifritos Gallery, December 10, 2022–March 11, 2023 (photo by Brad Farwell, courtesy Cuchifritos Gallery)

Two massive ships echoing the vessels that forcibly carried enslaved people in the 17th to 19th centuries are composed of small ceramic models of African noses in Javier Castro’s latest exhibition, flanking a series of torn-apart “freedom papers.” For the Afro-Cuban artist, the promises of a so-called “postcolonial” world have been broken. Open Wounds visualizes legacies of trauma and anti-Blackness to show how many decolonization efforts end up reinforcing existing hierarchies. Drawing from Yoruba spirituality and the Soviet avant-garde, Castro’s multidisciplinary approach isolates the spectral remnants of slavery in the Western hemisphere, suggesting a political reckoning may be on the horizon. — BA

Artists Alliance Inc.’s Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space (artistsallianceinc.org)
Inside Essex Market at 88 Essex Street, No. 21, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through March 11


Martha Edelheit: Naked City, Paintings from 1965–80

Martha Edelheit, “Women in Landscape” (1966–68), acrylic on canvas, in three parts, 95 inches x 202 1/2 inches (courtesy Eric Firestone Gallery, New York)

Martha Edelheit has been painting nudes for over six decades, sometimes to the chagrin of the male establishment. At age 91, the pioneering feminist artist is still at it, painting unidealized male and female figures (you know, regular people) into surreal settings. This show will provide a snapshot of Edelheit’s output from the 1960s through the early ’80s, which should be a joy to behold. — HB

Eric Firestone Gallery (ericfirestonegallery.com)
40 Great Jones Street, Noho, Manhattan
Through March 18


Camille Billops: Mirror, Mirror

Camille Billops, “Kaohsiung Series #9” (2012) (© Camille Billops; image courtesy the estate of the artist and RYAN LEE Gallery, New York)

Camille Billops was a powerful force in the New York art community from the 1960s until her death in 2019. Part of the Soho art scene of the 1970s, she was also involved with various Black art groups, including the Black Emergency Culture Coalition Inc., the Black Artist Meeting Group, and the Black Arts Movement. In the 1980s, she focused her attention on some films that pushed the limits of documentary filmmaking, including Finding Christa (1991), which tells the story of her reunion with a child she gave up for adoption. This exhibition focuses on her visual art and its tendency to integrate into life and everyday objects. — HV

Ryan Lee Gallery (ryanleegallery.com)
515 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
February 16–March 25


Uncommon Denominator: Nina Katchadourian at the Morgan

Katchadourian, Nina, Topiary [photograph], 2012, 2019.137

Nina Katchadourian seems to always find a way to do things differently. For example, she could have taken a solo approach to engaging with The Morgan’s collection, but instead, she involved the museum’s staff in curating the show, asking 15 of them to pick some of the objects that would go on display. The exhibition also features a new installment in the artist’s ongoing Sorted Books project, drawing from The Morgan’s vast collection of American literature. — HB

The Morgan Library & Museum (themorgan.org)
225 Madison Avenue, Murray Hill, Manhattan
February 10–March 28

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...

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Valentina Di Liscia

Valentina Di Liscia is the News Editor at Hyperallergic. Originally from Argentina, she studied at the University of Chicago and is currently working on her MA at Hunter College, where she received the...

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Billie Anania

Billie Anania is an editor, critic, and journalist in New York City whose work focuses on political economy in the cultural industries and the history of art in global liberation movements.

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