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
Ed Ruscha: Parking Lots
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
They Managed to Mess Up an Art Heist Movie
There must be a lesson in Vasilis Katsoupis’s film Inside about the vacuousness of the art market or the claustrophobia of exhibition spaces — I just don’t care.
Ten Painful Stories of the Dutch Colonial Slave Trade
The Rijksmuseum’s traveling show strives to remind us that we are all, in some way, a part of this chapter of human history, whose legacy continues today.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Textured Histories at Shiprock Santa Fe
The Santa Fe gallery features Indigenous textiles and jewelry from the early 19th century to today.
Renaissance Portrait of “Ugly Duchess” Likely Depicts a Man
A curator at London’s National Gallery believes the subject of painter Quinten Massys’s painting “is most likely a he.”
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Hokusai’s “Great Wave” Makes a Splash at Auction
An edition of the iconic woodblock print broke records when it sold for $2.8M this week.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?