Art We Saw This Spring: From our critics, reviews of closed gallery shows around New York City.

Will Heinrich, Jillian Steinhauer, Martha Schwendener, Max Lakin, John Vincler, Holland Cotter, Roberta Smith and Aruna D’Souza, The New York Times, April 6, 2022


Julia Wachtel

Through June 4. Helena Anrather, 132 Bowery, Manhattan. 917-355-7724;

There's an enormous picture window at one end of Helena Anrather's new gallery space, three panes of glass joined, or divided, by thin white epoxy seams. It looks over a block on which at least three different versions of the Bowery - one in Chinatown, one dotted with luxury hotels, and one in the old lighting fixtures district - are all jammed together.

It's the perfect setting for six new paintings by Julia Wachtel. These landscape-oriented pieces, each made of as many as five separate panels placed edge to edge, juxtapose silk-screened found photographs of contemporary life with oversized hand-painted cartoon characters. In "Fulfillment," the piece that gives the show its title, a photograph of an endlessly receding Amazon warehouse is placed beside a cartoon reindeer with piercing blue eyes. In "Duck," a shot of the heavily bearded cast of the reality TV series "Duck Dynasty" is interrupted by a jauntily marching Donald Duck.

At first, the cartoons just come off as comments on the photos. The reindeer is an ironic nod to the cheery mascot that hides every dystopian corporate reality; Donald brings some levity to the weirdly serious "Duck Dynasty" cast. But the characters are so crisp and straightforward next to the fuzzy, ambiguous photographs that they slowly begin to read as an alternate reality, one in which America's disintegrating public discourse is replaced by the narrow but reliable certainties of art. Whether you find that comforting or unnerving depends on which side you're looking at.


'With Her Voice, Penetrate Earth's Floor'

Through June 5. Eli Klein Gallery, 398 West Street, Manhattan; 212-255-4388,

Before she was murdered in February in her apartment in Chinatown, Christina Yuna Lee studied art history as an undergraduate at Rutgers University and went on to work at Eli Klein Gallery for four years, during which time she made a painting for her boss. It depicts the cover of a pack of Golden Bridge cigarettes, with a pool of maroon paint behind the brand name. Looking at the painting recently, I read foreboding into that dark red mass. But it was my mind's imposition. I was searching for meaning in Lee's senseless death.

In a more formal way, the exhibition "With Her Voice, Penetrate Earth's Floor" does the same. Curated by Stephanie Mei Huang, it honors Lee with an altar of offerings below her painting and creates a space of mourning for Asian American and Pacific Islander women. The nine participating artists grapple with personal and communal traumas in complementary ways, from Maia Ruth Lee's paintings of atomized sewing patterns, from her series "Language of Grief," to Hong-An Truong's stills of anonymous Vietnamese women in videos shot by American soldiers in the '60s - '70s. "My mother could have been captured on this footage," Truong writes in the catalog. The show's title, too, refers to tragedy: It comes from "Dictee," an experimental novel by the artist and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, who was also murdered in Lower Manhattan, in 1982.

The gallery is suffused with loss, but the artworks are open and layered. Their existence and convening offer a small countermeasure of hope.


Tommy Malekoff

Through June 3. Presented by New Canons. International Building, 630 Fifth Avenue, concourse level, Manhattan.

An artist looking for visual metaphors can do worse than visiting Florida, a place that can seem to exist like a dream, and not always a good one. Over the past two years, the artist Tommy Malekoff has been filming in and around the Everglades, where images of intense beauty crash into abject horror with astonishing regularity.

Six wall-size screens pulsate with his footage, a kaleidoscopic, at times punishing array of natural splendor punctuated by ecological calamity. The usual players of human encroachment figure here - burning planes, belching smokestacks, unregulated development - but the tenor is less polemic than balletic. Malekoff depicts a danse macabre, the way nature adapts to our havoc, or doesn't: Manatees, a popular tourist attraction, are drawn to waters warmed by chemical runoff, where they starve to death; raging fires are deliberately set to control sugar cane crops, an agricultural shortcut banned most everywhere except Florida, where it attracts gawking tourists, and chokes the poor communities nearby. Set to a droning score by Joe Williams that fills the space like a dissonant sound bath, the effect is like channel surfing through the apocalypse.

Situating the work in a spooky, disused storage room in the bowels of the Rockefeller Plaza's International Building is a neat coup. Malekoff's looping nightmare disturbs the building's Deco-gentility, its own kind of touristic ecosystem plunked in the center of Midtown, where grace and garishness are inextricable. The non-place heightens the subject matter's otherworldliness, and the infinite loops in which we trap ourselves.


Michaël Borremans

Through June 4. David Zwirner, 525 West 19th Street, Manhattan. 212-727-2070,

Michaël Borremans may be the greatest living figurative painter. Based in Ghent, Belgium, home to Jan and Hubert van Eyck's epicaltarpiece, "Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" (1432), he has subsumed 500 years of painting into his art. Yet his work is informed by history, not mired in it.

"The Acrobats" provides an opportunity - all too rare on this side of the Atlantic - to see the genius of Borremans in the flesh. He renders skin with such intensity that the living, breathing, blood-coursing nature of the human being becomes vividly alive. In "The Witch," Borremans seems to be teasing the viewer with a knowing contradiction: The left hand - hands being famously difficult to paint - is awkwardly held before the ambiguously gendered figure's chest to suggest the form of a witch's broom, while at once being meticulously rendered with sinew, tendon and veins. In "The Double," the sitter is costumed in a metallic quilted suit, as if offering protection from an immense heat, with a pink-orange glow reflected off its surface. The face glistens: pink in a pink balaclava, eyes slightly closed. But the magma heat also seems to be creeping up and radiating from an underpainted layer on the canvas. Borremans's paintings all seem to stop at a near-final moment, with just enough of the brush work and layering left observable. As if a solid thing suddenly has emerged from some elusive vaporous material. It's painterly magic. A major New York museum retrospective is long overdue.


Robyn O'Neil

Through June 4. Susan Inglett Gallery, 522 West 24th Street, Manhattan. 212-647-9111;

I spent a long time looking at "American Animals," the title piece of a new show of work by Robyn O'Neil, a Nebraska-born artist who lives in the Pacific Northwest. A graphite-on-canvas drawing nearly 12 feet wide, the piece shows white male heads - 162 of them, according to the gallery - with various hairstyles and a sprinkling of mustaches, emerging from or face-planting into a series of low ridges. These ridges, striated like muscle but with the dull sheen of much-corrected homework, could pass for billowing waves or the buckling of a grassy field, but what they most look like is hair.

A much smaller drawing shows another man and a pit bull labeled "the 2 most deadly animals in America"; others feature a bison, a whale and a bald eagle covered in marauding, ant-size humans. The mood overall is retro-apocalyptic, and at first I couldn't help taking the heads of "American Animals," which look like so many escapees from a 1950s barbershop poster, as the unexorcised ghosts of America's sexist and racist demons. After all, few of them are upright, and even those seem unable to look farther than the next ridge. There's something discouraging, too, about the contrast between the drawing's grand scale and the impermanence of its medium.


But after noticing how the ridges drop, like a descending brook, in the lower right corner, I realized that fully half of the faces were skipping upstream like salmon. Maybe there's hope after all.


Through June 4. Flag Art Foundation, 545 West 25th Street, Manhattan. 212-206-0220;

The first thing I heard about Peter Uka, a Nigerian painter based in Cologne, Germany, is that his father was a sign painter. I couldn't help finding echoes of this family business in Uka's New York debut, a suite of incredibly appealing scenes, painted from memory and imagination, of the groovy Nigeria of his 1970s childhood.There's the mileage he gets out of large blocks of color, like a bright yellow door set in a cool gray wall in "Dengue Pose II." And there's the slick pop of the colors themselves - the orange wall behind a young woman in a white dress in "Front Yard Things," the deep red backdrop behind three giddy young men in "Sunday Folks." There's the graphic zip of his compositions, as jaunty and well-balanced as avant-garde record album covers. And there's his overall economy, the way he confidently foreshortens a pointing finger or builds convincing faces from nothing but highlight and shadow.But in the end what struck me most was how comfortable Uka is giving visual pleasure. It's interesting in this respect to compare his "Basement Barbers" (2018) to Kerry James Marshall's 1993 masterpiece, "De Style." Where Marshall's painting is grand, political, aggressive and inspiring, Uka's is quieter and more intimate, a real everyday moment presented just as it is.

TRIBECAJudith Linhares

Through May 27. PPOW Gallery, 392 Broadway; Manhattan; 212-647-1044,

Judith Linhares's show at PPOW, "Banshee Sunrise," is part of a wave of downtown exhibitions that celebrate women's history, bodies and power: Mary Beth Edelson at David Lewis and Squeak Carnwath at Jane Lombard are two other notable examples. What Linhares brings to the conversation is a carefully cultivated simplicity and naïveté that recalls ancient talismanic figures and traditions. She paints vibrantly hued nudes, and this show pays homage to the banshee, a traditional female Irish spirit whose nocturnal, mournful wailing foretold the death of a family member.In canvases like "Banshee Sunrise" (2021) and "Falcon" (2022), nude women painted in Linhares's thick, chunky style, with confident stripes of color, inhabit natural settings, climbing trees or communing with wildlife. Other paintings focus on animals or still lifes that call to mind those of van Gogh or Cézanne. Two still lifes feature images near the base of the flower vases: one of Abraham Lincoln and another, an ancient sculptural figure with bulging eyes.Acid-colored and with a subtle politics that celebrates the historic power of women - and specifically women's relation to the natural world - Linhares's figures are wide-eyed and spectral. They are deeply contemporary, yet reminiscent of prehistoric stone carvings of women or the Sheela na gigs - female figures on medieval European churches that expose exaggerated vulvas - meant to ward off evil spirits. Painting is power too, and Linhares treats the canvas as a method for raising a ruckus, like a true banshee.

CHELSEATerry Adkins

Through May 28. Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, Manhattan; 212-255-1105,

Paula Cooper is staging its first show from the estate of Terry Adkins, the African American artist who died in 2014 at age 60, after making his mark by erasing the boundaries between music and sculpture. The show presents a range of his found-object sculptures: A big bass drum is at the heart of a homage to Bessie Smith; an ancient tuba becomes the sculpture "Mrs. Brown," from an Adkins project that honored the abolitionist John Brown.But the showstopper is "Flumen Orationis (From the Principalities)," a 41-minute video from 2012 that is projected floor to ceiling in the gallery's rear space. Century-old photos of blimps and other lighter-than-air vehicles succeed each other onscreen, conjuring thoughts of escape and freedom. At first, the video's soundtrack seems of a piece with those images: It blends the unmistakable voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a guitar riff by Jimi Hendrix, one of music's greatest chain breakers. But listen longer and you realize that there's more pain than exultation and uplift in what you hear. King's sermon is the searing one he read at Riverside Church in New York in 1967, when he dared to condemn the Vietnam War. Hendrix, who trained as a paratrooper in the Army's 101st Airborne Division, is heard playing his antiwar number "Machine Gun." With those sounds, the blimp images stop seeming quite so benign. A good number of them clearly come from military contexts. They are as much about death from above as about liberation and flight.

STATEN ISLANDMichelle Grabner

Through May 28. The Alice Austen House Museum, 2 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island; 718-816-4506,

The wings of moths, snowflakes and albino snakeskin all seem to emerge from the surfaces of the quietly formidable paintings of lacework by the Wisconsin artist Michelle Grabner. Doilies and lace are also the subject of an accompanying suite of photographs by her. The exhibition "Unremarkable Handiwork" is, in fact, quite remarkable and worth the journey, not far from the shadow of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge on the shore of Staten Island.


You may feel as if you've escaped the city in this building that partly dates back to the end of the 17th century, but if you look out the window of the gallery, you can see the towers of the neighboring boroughs, Manhattan and Brooklyn, across the bay. The venue, Alice Austen House, is named for the pioneering female photographer who resided here for much of her life and is best known for her prodigious output of more than 7,000 photographs (and posthumously as a Victorian lesbian icon). Taking inspiration from the historical collection, Grabner zeroed in on patterned decoration in the dress and décor of Austen's pictures, as well as a few artifacts of this handiwork in the small museum's holdings. (Advanced reservations are required.)The canvases are the stars here. At a glance they look all white, but on closer inspection, they are alive with a delicate range of colors from sky blue to pale marigold yellow. Deceptively plain yet luminous like Emily Dickinson poems, they demand that you get close to read their surfaces.

UPPER EAST SIDE'Pompeii in Color: The Life of Roman Painting'

Through May 29. Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 East 84th Street, Manhattan. 212-992-7800;

This unusual loan of Pompeian frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy - arranged by the curator Clare Fitzgerald - is a rare chance to catch ancient Roman visual culture mid-stride.

Consider one six-and-a-half-foot-tall portrait of Hercules and Omphale - a queen who briefly enslaved the famous demigod. At first, its colorful but faded surfaces give you the impression of a sketch waiting for final details, though you can still appreciate the cunning composition. Drunken Hercules, leaning on a helper, turns one way and severe Omphale the other, yet they're both head-on to the viewer, with a discreet crowd of extras tucked neatly behind their shoulders. A delicate balance of pinks and blues makes the picture vivid but not aggressive - perfect dining room décor.


But enough detail does survive not only to make the picture engaging, but also to make its mythical scene seem less like a religious archetype than a homey fairy tale. Hercules, the strongest man in the world, is blind drunk and staggering - you can see it from the way his legs turn and his eyes gape open - and he's put on Omphale's clothes. Omphale's look is harder to parse. Is it contempt? Indignation? Either way, she's clearly unamused. Two attendants turn to each other, one with a gossipy "can you believe this?" look, the other praying; an old man supporting Hercules is too worried about keeping him upright to spare a thought for disapproval.


Born in Kenya to parents of South Asian descent, raised in London, art-educated there and in New York City and Los Angeles, the photographer Al-An deSouza has made the state of being migrant in culture, place and time the subject of his work.

This focus took a specifically autobiographical form several years ago in a solo show at Talwar Gallery called "The Lost Pictures." Composed of digital prints of vintage, dust-blurred family snapshots, it commemorated the death of the artist's mother and was accompanied by a stirring prose memoir that shifted back and forth between present and past.


The artist's new photographic series, "Flotsam," at Talwar is similarly time-traveling and memorial in function. (The works are not documentary photographs but digital paintings based on a photographic original.) In this case, the pictures are of material possessions left behind by deSouza's father after his death in 2018: clothes spilling out of suitcases; books and magazines strewn across a bed, jumbles of lotions and toiletries and handwritten packing lists. All suggest preparations for a trip, or the unsettled aftermath of one completed. The crazy-quilt of labels, languages and personal and generational tastes speak of a life unsettled, on the move. And here and there from this pileup of mortal souvenirs family photographs emerge, confirming the artist's intimate investment in all of this.DeSouza is now in his early 60s, with a career stretching back to the 1980s. Now it's time for a museum retrospective that will encompass that span.

CHELSEAJohn Divola

Through May 21. Yancey Richardson, 525 West 22nd Street, Manhattan; 646-230-9610,

The photographs of John Divola's 1977-78 "Zuma" series are on their way to becoming classics of their kind. At least they always provide a visual thrill; and their complexity remains undiminished - in fact, it has increased with time.

A native Californian, Divola came across an abandoned two-story beach house overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Zuma Beach. He entered it and photographed its interior and the ocean views framed by its various deteriorating picture windows. He paid repeat visits, sometimes bringing cans of spray paint, adding color and pattern (think graffiti wallpaper). In between his visits, others made their presences felt, most notably the local fire department, which used the structure for training. And throughout the series, the magnificence of the changing light and ocean underscore the sense of passing time and nature's ultimate victory.

 "Zuma" dates from a time when the photograph was infiltrating and becoming equal in stature to art mediums that had previously been deemed superior. But Divola flipped the script, demonstrating how photography could effortlessly absorb the competition - painting, sculpture, installation art, architecture and performance - while touching with insuperable joy and lightness on a clutch of traditional, fairly weighty themes including beauty, waste, loneliness, nature, impermanence, death. Divola's photographs tease, charm and sadden. They provide much to think about and to feel, and they've not been seen in New York in such numbers in a decade.


Through May 22. Maxwell Graham/Essex Street, 55 Hester Street, Manhattan; 917-553-8139,

Recent decades have seen the rise and eclipse of downtown art districts like SoHo and the East Village. John Miller's "Civic Center" at Maxwell Graham/Essex Street offers a glimpse into another downtown area (not exactly a "neighborhood"): the district that houses City Hall, One Police Plaza, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, several courthouses and New York's F.B.I. offices.Photographic close-ups of brick walls, reflective glass, utility boxes and a few tawdry storefronts are arranged in geometric compositions that nod to modernist painters like Piet Mondrian and Kenneth Noland. Many of the works, like the photographic vinyl wallpaper "Still Life" (2022) and "Confession" (2022), a photo-and-mirror work, also hark back to the deadpan post-1960s Conceptual art that Miller encountered as a young artist in New York.

Several works include impastos of brown acrylic paint - a signature gesture for Miller - and there are two monochrome industrial carpets in the same hue. Miller's earlier sculptures were slathered in brown paint, a comic reference to Freud's theory of artmaking as a sublimation of the infantile desire to play with one's own feces. Decades later, the brown paint is contained in smaller areas on the works. The color reads differently, too: more as paranoid constipation or Freudian repression than artistic sublimation. Rather than the now-mythical art neighborhoods of downtown, Miller highlights the banal, high-security spaces of government and power, where recent protests have also occurred. It's a sobering vision, compared with the celebration of effulgent artistic energy - but perhaps a necessary one.


Mary Manning

Through May 21. Canada, 60 Lispenard Street, Manhattan. 212-925-4631;

Everyone is a photographer now. With cameras in nearly every phone, we're overrun with snapshots taken and either posted or forgotten, accruing in the cloud. Mary Manning's photographs in "Ambient Music" made me feel awakened to looking at pictures again. The New York-based photographer juxtaposes 35-millimeter prints in clusters and pairs to make beautiful and open compositions that playfully draw you in.In "Genuflect" (2022), a swan's head disappears into dark water in the larger central photo. Below is a small photo that looks like a drain (but probably isn't), neatly scaled to match the diameter of the bird's neck. In "Bar Soap" (2022), a large still-life of peach tissue paper emerges plantlike from a nested stack of mint green baskets that typically hold berries. This is paired with a vertical arrangement of three images including two of Merce Cunningham dancers in a rainbow of monochrome costumes. In the top one, the dancers are in a line across the stage; below they are diffusely distributed in a variety of movements - from afar the figures are so small they are merely pointillist flurries of color. Like Cunningham, Manning shares a cultivated sense of ease and play that feels undergirded by practiced attention and discipline.Surrounded by the work, I sensed an affinity with the immersive installations of Wolfgang Tillmans, but the effect here is less busy and more introspective. Manning conjures a careful, slow, and, better world for looking at photos, at least while you're in the gallery.


Through May 21. Field Projects, 526 West 26th Street, #807, Manhattan;

With their novelty buildings and "Futurama" attractions, world's fairs can seem like absurd spectacles, but in her exhibition "I Have Seen the Future," the artist Johannah Herr, aided by the writer Cara Marsh Sheffler, explores their dark side.The show takes inspiration from the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs. Mint green gallery walls, trippy wallpaper pieces and linoleum flooring create a '50s-meets-'60s aesthetic. It seems fun until you start looking closely. The Brooklyn-based artist uses this tactic often, drawing in viewers with dazzling visuals that are loaded with political significance.Rotating on pedestals are seven colorful, flocked architectural models for buildings in an imaginary fair. Their designs satirize harmful trends and policies of the time, like "The American Home Pavilion (Suburban Jubilee)," 2022, a house with a picket fence so high it recalls prison bars, suggesting the exclusionary ethic of the suburbs. Wall texts by Marsh Sheffler are enthusiastically caustic; one for the "International Pavilion (Exporting America)" (2022) - a globe occupied by pieces of the U.S. map - reads: "See the entire world from a single point of view!"The show is anything but subtle, but neither are world's fairs. Herr and Marsh Sheffler deftly adopt their subject's style and parody it to the point of painful exposure. It's not limited to the gallery, either - they've created a guidebook that mashes up found texts with vintage ads. Like a General Motors pin at the 1939 expo that read "I have seen the future," it's the ultimate souvenir.LOWER EAST SIDELukas Quietzsch

Through May 14. Ramiken, 389 Grand Street, 917-434-4245,

Painting is always in an uncomfortable position. On the one hand, it harks back to basic instincts, like the marks made by children with whatever materials they can find. At the same time, it's an academic discipline that demands a measure of philosophical significance to exert its critical and economic value. Credibly bridging these poles is a challenge, which the Berlin-based painter Lukas Quietzsch pulls off in his show "Parallel Warnings in Simple Arrangements."The seven large paintings here are simultaneously casual but meticulous, dumb and sophisticated. Quietzsch paints with gouache on canvas, giving the works a weathered look. The carefree acid-house approach is pushed further in canvases like "Untitled" (2021), which depicts an egg yolk wearing sunglasses at the center of a multicolored sunflower. Other works are more abstract and rigorous, with jigsaw compositions or blown-out centers, suggesting the collapse of painterly order and linear perspective.Two "Untitled" (2021) canvases - one mostly black and white, and one dominated by passages of juicy crimson - include an elegant jumble of shapes that perform a perceptual bait-and-switch. Confusing background and foreground, the geometric forms here open into other possible paintings, like a series of portals.As the exhibition title suggests, Quietzsch's practice aims to work on multiple registers. This applies to ethos and credibility too, which are established through painterly marks. After all, who do you trust more in today's world: the rational, cultivated painter or the transgressive naïf? Quietzsch attempts to split the difference and largely succeeds.

Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova

Through May 14. Heller Gallery, 303 10th Avenue, Manhattan. 212-414-4014;

When the midday sun floods the windows of the Heller Gallery in Manhattan, the 19 pieces of cast glass by the Czech artists Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova illuminate the room like a medieval chapel. That's no accident. Works by the internationally acclaimed couple - Libensky died in 2002,Brychtova in 2020 - include windows for St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, and an extraordinary tiny chapel in the Czech town of Horsovsky Tyn. Applying their talents to what had long been the province of goblets and chandeliers, they explored glass as a sculptural medium, teasing out its secrets of light and color.The exhibition showcases such gems as "Tall Head," a foot-high casting with a reverse-relief head encased in its folds. Its color shades from amber to burgundy, varying with the light and the thickness of the glass. Heads were a common theme for the couple: With "Cross Head," a brutally angular piece in orange, inner voids make the light play with the thickness and polished surface of the glass, while "T-Head," a 400-pound half oval of gray-green glass, is inspired by bronze Hellenic helmets in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Some of the pieces here are maquettes, small trial versions of what would eventually be castings 3 or 4 feet tall. This includes the exquisite 8 ½-inch high "Arcus III," a keyhole-shaped piece whose color ranges from sapphire blue to pinkish brown. The artists' use of color creates a vibrant emotional pull: The pastel hue of "Diagonal," a raspberry-sorbet-colored square arch seems to exude happiness.CHINATOWNMorgan Bassichis

Through May 14. Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, 2nd floor, Manhattan. 646-896-1368;

The comedic performer Morgan Bassichis is probably best known for shows that are a kind of queer, lefty, Jewish love child of cabaret and stand-up comedy. But the artist, who uses the pronouns they/them, has also made videos, albums and books, elements of which are featured in "Questions to Ask Beforehand," their first solo exhibition (accompanied by a few live performances).It's a tricky transition. Bassichis's work turns so much on the energy of human interaction, I found the gallery a little lonely. But four videos provide good grounding. In one, filmed in a bathtub, Bassichis sings rousingly about how "you can do anything in the bathroom"; in the others, from a series called "Pitchy" (2020), the artist answers an interviewer's questions with coy, chanted improvisations, repeating phrases until they gain an incantatory power. Bassichis is masterly at creating a feeling that's simultaneously conspiratorial and uncomfortable, like when someone tells a joke, and you're not sure you totally get it, but you laugh anyway.Bassichis's persona is a fool who's actually a wise man (I think). In the titular installation, made with DonChristian Jones, a set of pamphlets lists questions to ponder in advance of different situations. One for joining an organization reads, "Are we sure history will look favorably on us?" along with, "I forget, we are or we are not anarchists?"I relate to the anxiety that drives such inquiries, and I admire Bassichis's ability to turn it into art. What I get from their work, in addition to much-needed laughter, are ideas for how to critically, caringly and creatively approach the daunting world.

Carlos Villa

Through May 8. The Newark Museum of Art, 49 Washington Street, Newark; 973-596-6550;

Carlos Villa was born in San Francisco in 1936 to immigrant parents from the Philippines. After Pearl Harbor, they made him stop speaking Ilocano for fear of being mistaken for Japanese, and he grew up with little other connection to his parents' homeland. He studied at what became the San Francisco Art Institute, then spent five years in New York exhibiting abstract painting and sculpture. But in 1969, he returned home to teach at his alma mater and to find an art practice that felt more authentic to his experience."Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision," a terrific if streamlined first museum retrospective for Villa, who died in 2013, charts a varied trajectory as much about rejecting the flat, doctrinaire affect of 1960s New York as it was about asserting a non-Western identity. Beginning, helpfully, with a powerful gray-tone canvas Villa produced in 1959, the show runs through brightly colored marker drawings; garment-like paintings, or painting-like garments, adorned with hundreds of feathers; face prints reminiscent of David Hammons; shamanic performances; and a brief return to Minimalism with three monochrome wooden boxes.Together, the works form a fascinating document of Villa's bold and experimental, but deeply considered, search for the means of self-expression. The high point is the feathers. Laid into paper-pulp shoes or body casts, they look like brushstrokes come to life. In "Painted Cloak" (1971), they seem like the ethereal inner guts of the work, as if Villa had turned his own painting inside out to reveal the otherwise unseen powers driving it.

Cameron Welch

Through May 7. Yossi Milo Gallery, 245 10th Avenue, Manhattan. 212-414-0370;

Cameron Welch's solo show, "Ruins," at Yossi Milo is a knockout - in almost the physical sense. It is full of large, ambitious, brilliantly executed mosaics full of so many disparate cultural references, snarling faces and masks and intimations of violence that it can initially be hard to focus.


Such artistic confidence and artisanal finesse can feel like Neo-Expressionism all over again and is especially reminiscent of the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, although Basquiat had a finer appreciation of empty space and breathing room. Welch seems guided by an unwavering horror vacui. His mosaics carom from the Greco-Roman-African worlds to our own uneasy time, with many stops in between.At the center of his mosaic "Fugue State," is a Pietà, with some role reversal: A woman in a Burberry plaid shroud lies across the lap of a probably male figure, perhaps Christ enthroned. To the left, a cherub and the Lamb of God. To the right, a prone female nude out of Modigliani, a devil wielding a brush and palette and a protester holding an anti-police sign who resembles Jordan Wolfson's demonic animatronic puppet, ambiguously titled "Colored Sculpture."Welch, who is 31, was making painting-collages before taking up mosaic four or five years ago. He has improved rapidly, enriching and updating his medium with pieces of marble, stone and several kinds of reverse glass imagery (abstract painting, photographs of ancient pottery, his handprints). To say that he might have discovered his artistic destiny is putting it mildly.

Tuan Andrew Nguyen

Through May 7. James Cohan, 52 Walker Street, Manhattan. 212-714-9500;

This exceptionally moving solo takes its title, "Unburied Sounds," from its main work, a 58-minute narrative film that screens on an hourly schedule in the gallery. Its protagonist, a woman named Nguyet, runs a scrapyard in the coastal province of Quang Tri, an area where the ground is seeded with unexploded bombs and land mines from the American war in Vietnam. Nguyet's younger brother was killed by a cluster bomb fragment, and she copes with her own crippling PTSD by making abstract, Alexander Calder-style mobiles from salvaged bomb metal.


The film slowly reveals - to us and to her - art to be her salvation. Through a Buddhist monk, she learns to turn the mobiles into musical instruments with healing properties. And through her skill with metal-casting she creates prosthetic limbs for a young man who was brutally disfigured by the same explosion that killed her brother, transforming him into a kind of golden-armed Buddha.The artist, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, who is a co-founder of the Propeller Group, a collective based in Ho Chi Minh City, supplements the show with chime-like sculptures like those that appear in the film, all fashioned from weaponry and tuned to therapeutic frequencies. But it's the film, which is far more nuanced and surprising than my description suggests, that's the treasure. This spring, New York City is rich in full-length videos - a handful form the soul of the 2022 Whitney Biennial - and Nguyen's is one of the best.

Lula Mae Blocton

Through April 30. Skoto Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, Manhattan, 212-352-8058,

I encountered Lula Mae Blocton's art for the first time only three years ago in the traveling exhibition "Art After Stonewall, 1969-1989." In that febrile, figure-intensive show her 1975 abstract geometric painting "Summer Ease" was a meditative stopping point. The politics of the era were present but indirect: The colors were those of the rainbow flag, but tonally nuanced and applied to an off-center grid of rectangles. The work didn't directly read as gay or Black, or feminist, which may be one reason Skoto's tight survey of two decades of early work, from 1970-1980, curated by Barbara Stehle, is Blocton's first New York City solo since 1978.

It's a beauty. The early geometric oil paintings and wonderful colored pencil drawings, with their stroke-by-stroke textures and blurred contours, have the look of soft woven cloth. With the 1980s, their foursquare geometry splinters into diagonals in adjustable, multipanel compositions. Illusionistic space turns some of these paintings into galactic landscapes. And the interest in prismatic color intensifies: Light, optical and, one senses, metaphorical, becomes a primary subject.


Her work beyond the 1980s has been much influenced by African textile designs, as will no doubt be evident in future shows at Skoto, which is planning a career survey as a series of solo exhibitions shows. I look forward to seeing this visual narrative unfold and to being brought up-to-date on what's happening with this artist-illuminator, who is in her 70s, in the Now.

Barkley L. Hendricks

Through April 30. Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, Manhattan; 212-645-1701,

The African American painter Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017) is best known for his portraits, but the sixteen Basketball Paintings now at Jack Shainman, made between 1966 and 1971, are just as exciting. (During lockdown, Shainman featured them in an online show.)Some are straight-ahead depictions of hoops and backboards and balls. Others take the game's signature forms - the ball's circle, the arcs and right angles of a court's markings - and turn them into pure pattern.

The standard way to talk about such works is in terms of late '60s battles between abstraction and representation: They seem to hesitate between the two, as though Hendricks had yet to settle on his trademark figuration.


I prefer to read them metaphorically, less about issues of style as about the game of art, and the skills and positioning it takes to score in it. If art is like basketball, then painting becomes more verb than noun, more action than object. It's about a set of moves, and the rules that shape what counts as fair or foul - and who gets to play at all.The Basketball Paintings stage a witty demonstration of all the ways there were to score points in their era, from the new hyper-realism to the latest in color-field art.Hendricks was between college and graduate school when he made most of them, so we can think of him as still semipro but picturing life in the majors.These brilliant paintings prove he was already there.

Maggi Hambling

Through April 30. Marlborough, 545 West 25th Street, Manhattan. 212-541 4900;

The British artist Maggi Hambling has painted churning seas, violent sprays and other roiling bodies of water for the last two decades, but the suite of pictures she made last year, emphatically rendered snow-capped peaks dissolving into glacial melt, on view in her current show, "Real Time," are sparer and sadder. Their calligraphic marks and impressionistic application recall Chinese literati and Japanese nanga painting, but with reverence for the natural world displaced by rage.


Hambling's stuttering strokes seem to cascade like condensation, whorls of indigo and optic white weeping into marine and slicks of silver. In places the paint is caked onto the canvas in icing-thick impasto, elsewhere it's ghostly thin, so delicate as to seem to seep through from the back of the canvas - an elegy for the rapidly vanishing. The cool palette can feel soothing, until you remember you're looking at a cataclysm.These are joined by another series of human crimes against nature: animals in captivity. Like Hambling's liquefying landscapes, these rattle between abstraction and figure, so that the defeated heap of a lion jolts into view as quickly as it fades away again, and the silhouette of a polar bear flickers as it's overwhelmed by a fluid blue-gray field. These are not happy paintings. Hambling depicts her creatures inching toward death or having already arrived there. They're also proxies for the rest of us, and the prisons of our own design. A dancing circus bear, its torqued face shifting between euphoria and agony, suggests there's more than one way to dissolve.


Through April 30. Pace Gallery, 540 W 25th Street, Manhattan; 212-421-3292,

The exhibition title links the name of a Thelonious Monk tune back to the Greek poetic device of a repeating line or phrase. The vocabulary of jazz is built partly on artfully working repetitions: rhythms, melodic lines, the standard. In the gallery, repetitions and revisions enact a call-and-response play across old and new works by three friends - Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam and William T. Williams.

I arrived as an unabashed fan of Sam Gilliam's work, particularly his immense draped cloth paintings. Here "'A' and the Carpenter II" (2022) features layers of warm oranges, cool blues, brown-purples flowing in a parabola over a wooden sawhorse, with a gathering of cloth on the floor, knotted into a sphere larger than a basketball. Williams is represented by two paintings of geometric abstractions and three works of asemic writing nodding to Arabic calligraphy and graphic scores.


The revelation is Melvin Edwards's series utilizing chains and barbed wire, first in mixed-media paintings on paper from the 1970s and then in an untitled 2022 installation. The new piece is paired with a second Gilliam painted-cloth construction and his sketch of draped spilling cloth from 1969. It feels like Edwards has picked up Gilliam's theme in the drawing and transformed it some 50 years later in his deconstructed web of gleaming barbed wire and, at bottom, curtain-like arcs of chain. The result is a lively dialogue across the decades on freedom versus confinement, and lightness versus heaviness.

Joana Choumali

Through April 30. Sperone Westwater, 257 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-999-7337,

Embroidering on reality, Joana Choumali takes color photographs in her native Ivory Coast, prints them on cotton canvas and embellishes them with stitching. Shocking-pink balloons, flowering-branch headpieces or silver lines that radiate like energy fields transform a windswept beach or a littered unpaved street into a fairyland.A sequence of twelve embroidered iPhone photographs that she made of Grand-Bassam, a beach resort that was devastated by a terrorist attack in 2016, won the prestigious Prix Pictet three years later. Choumali titled the series "Ça va aller," a local expression that translates loosely as "It's gonna be all right."

Those pictures are included in "It Still Feels Like the Right Time," her first solo exhibition in this country. Most depict solitary pedestrians with a melancholy stillness that is complicated by the colorful handwork. The instantaneous snap of the picture-taking is countered by the laborious meditative process of the stitching.


In a subsequent collection produced this year, "Alba'hian," which in the Anyin language denotes the energy of dawn, Choumali works on a larger scale, portraying groups of people, sometimes in multipanel compositions. These photographs have been collaged to create theatrically flamboyant skies and larger-than-life figures. The tropical scenes are lusher, with luxuriant vegetation, and the embroidery denser. They are covered with a delicate voile, as if shrouded by a humid mist.In one, "I Am Enough" (2022), a sorceress juggles planets as she stands alongside a beach pier, conjuring the cosmic in the quotidian. It could be Choumali's self-portrait.

Jordan Belson

Through April 23. Matthew Marks Gallery, 526 West 22nd Street, Manhattan. 212-243-0200;

The exhibition of Jordan Belson's collages may be titled "Landscapes," but its true subject is light. Best known as a filmmaker who tried to represent interior states in mandala-like shapes and strobing color, Belson, who died in 2011, has become an almost mythic figure of cinema because of the scarcity in digital formats of his experimental films from the 1960s onward. But the collages here, all made from 1970 to 1973, seize the potential of reflected rather than projected light. Belson first trained as a painter, even showing at the Guggenheim Museum in the late 1940s. For the collages on view, all untitled, Belson followed the centuries old Japanese practice of chigiri-e, using torn colored paper to create seascapes, nested hillsides and backlit dawning ridgelines. The compositions recall Etel Adnan's lyrical paintings, but the effect, despite the humble materials used, brings to mind the California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and '70s. (Think James Turrell in miniature.)

Two elements especially vivify these works on paper. Intense spotlights cause the bright shades and brilliant fluorescents to almost throb with glowing color. Second, exposure to light over the decades has altered the backgrounds, creating slight variations where the shadow of the frame has offered some protection. Artworks keep living beyond the life of their creator, sometimes slipping past the artist's own intentions. The once uniformly monochrome backing papers have been transformed by their environments, giving them a transcendent quality, creating visible auras that record a history of absorbed light.

Susan Meiselas

Through April 23. Higher Pictures Generation, 16 Main Street, Brooklyn. 212-249-6100;

"Carnival Strippers," the 1976 book by Susan Meiselas, was a landmark in photographic publishing. Its black-and-white images of "exotic dancers" came with documentation of how these women viewed their work. Photography's natural voyeurism seemed counterbalanced by genuine sensitivity. The project began Meiselas's distinguished career as a photojournalist, producing celebrated images from war-torn Nicaragua, El Salvador and Kurdistan.She recently discovered color slides she'd shot alongside her black-and-whites. Higher Pictures Generation is showing them for the first time in "Carnival Strippers Color, 1972-1975," alongside the interview notes with her subjects.The exhibition's 14 color prints yield a "reality effect" absent from Meiselas's black-and-whites. They bring us that much closer to these women and their garish surroundings in rural carnivals: red signage matches scarlet bras. That made me realize that the sensitivity in these pictures may come from psychic links between shooter and subjects: As a 20-something woman in the male-dominated world of 1970s photography - of '70s America - Meiselas was facing the same issues of gender expectations and agency that the strippers discuss in their interviews. "I'm too bright to just sit around in the kitchen or just sit around and clean house," said one performer named Lisa, who had done just that. She had "a splittin' thing," and needed to take off and "do something that I wanted to do."Was "Carnival Strippers" Meiselas's own means of "splittin'" from expectations?In "Shortie on Stage," the four men ogling the dancer could easily stand for Meiselas's male colleagues gawping as she dares to snap the shot.

Pier Paolo Calzolari

Through April 23. Marianne Boesky Gallery, 507 and 509 West 24th Street, Manhattan. 212-680-9889;

Pier Paolo Calzolari is the rare conceptual artist whose paintings really look like paintings. Of course they look like conceptual pieces, too. Several recent works in the show "Painting as a Butterfly" are monochromes adorned with delicate objects like a walnut shell with a feather stuck in it, or a yawning, iridescent razor clam shell that casts a drooping shadow. They're funny, but Calzolari's attention to surface and color means that they also stand up to closer looking. Both shells hang in front of grainy, bright red surfaces made from pigments and salt, but the even application behind the walnut calls to mind a clay ball court, while the dry, white-streaked surface behind the clam feels more like a sunburned wall overlooking some Mediterranean beach.Calzolari came out of the radical 1960s Italian scene later known as Arte Povera, literally "poor art," and like many of his peers, he sometimes lets the interest of an unusual material carry too much weight. But most of the time he adds just enough expressive gesture - a few yellow drips crossing a blue stain in "Venetian Landscape" (2017), or a cluster of blotchy red jellyfish on a nearby untitled triptych - to balance things out. "Monocromo blu," from 1979, a movie-screen-size tempera on cardboard landscape showing in New York for the first time, takes this balance especially far. Thick ridges of tempera lend gravity to the painting's storms of multicolored dashes, while the dashes serve to heighten the beauty of the tempera's transfixing midnight-blue.

Kira Dominguez Hultgren

Through April 23. Heroes, 162 Allen Street, Manhattan. 510-701-4684,

The textile artist Kira Dominguez Hultgren cites the Nahua weaver, educator and artist's model Luz Jiménez (1897-1965) as a major influence. But not much work survives by Jiménez, so she appears in this exhibition only in a few reproduced drawings and photographs. What remains is essentially a New York solo debut for Dominguez Hultgren, whose textiles, which incorporate alpaca and camel fur, strips of her Punjabi grandmother's clothing, rope from a Utah climbing gym, her own hair, plastic zip ties, ratchet straps, and a shredded reprint of an exhibition catalog titled "Luz Jiménez, símbolo de un pueblo milenario 1897-1965," are draped and tied across ad hoc looms made of salvaged wood.On paper, the gallery's explanation for this eclectic array of materials - that they represent the artist's multicultural heritage - sounds a little literal. But it's actually this kind of transparency that makes the work compelling. Three strips of yellow and blue woven fabric stretch down a ladder of wooden bars in "In the Silence Between Mother Tongues," with the rubbery-looking climbing rope snaking in and out between them, while five separate burlap-colored panels meet in a loose knot at the center of "Colita de Rana or Zip Ties."No single knot or stretcher bar stands out more than any other, but they don't quite blend together, either. Instead, the impression made, say, by "Colita de Rana" is less like a singular picture than like a complex spiritual machine.

'Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library'

Through April 17. Hispanic Society Museum & Library, 613 West 155th Street, Manhattan. 212-926-2234;

After a yearslong renovation, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library partially reopened last fall with a heart-stopping exhibitionof polychrome and gilded wood sculptures. For its second show in the new gallery - located in the same stately Beaux-Arts complex just north of Trinity Church Cemetery - the curator Madeleine Haddon gives fans a chance to reconnect with some of the museum's more famous treasures: Goya's impossibly crisp "The Duchess of Alba"; El Greco's Saint Jerome, with the beard of a philosopher and body of a basketball star; an extraordinary "Portrait of a Little Girl" by Velázquez.


But Haddon also brought out a number of less familiar artifacts and canvases, among them "The Family of the Gypsy Bullfighter," a festive 1903 scene by the Basque painter Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta, and the Catalan painter Ramón Casas i Carbó's 1915-1916 "La Santera," a near life-size study of a religious mendicant with a haunting gaze. Another Catalan, Miguel Viladrich Vilá, places two subjects sideways against bright, slightly surreal backgrounds in a pair of highly accomplished portraits from the mid-1920s. Turning her face toward the viewer, "The Woman From Montevideo" is nervous but defiant, while "The Man From Montevideo," peering only from the corner of his eye, seems to be waiting uneasily for the viewer to leave. In both cases Viladrich makes you feel just how extraordinary it is to capture something as evanescent as a personality in a painting.

Sascha Braunig

Through April 16, François Ghebaly, 391 Grand Street, Manhattan; 646-559-9400, Through April 21, Magenta Plains, 94 Allen Street, Manhattan; 917-388-2464,

In her latest Neo-Surrealist paintings, Sascha Braunig has gained in narrative complexity what she has lost in formal punch. It is a worthy trade-off - although I miss the power of some of her earlier works, especially the mysterious, Magrittean heads shrouded in exquisite, glowing trompe-l'oeil patterns that matched the background. These may have reached their culmination in the artist's shows at Foxy Production, her former New York gallery, in 2015, and MoMA/P.S. 1 in 2017.In the years since, Braunig's work has increasingly focused on the human body, or at least on a highly attenuated headless intimation thereof, cryptically defined by narrow tubular lines both smooth and thorny. In ambitious shows of new paintings and related studies at Magenta Plains and François Ghebaly, two galleries in the Lower East Side, she has pushed more deeply into a slightly ominous feminist territory, one where suggestions of performance, dressmaking and ambiguous power dynamics circle one another.Expanses of hanging fabric, in which Braunig's love of color and light are especially strong, suggest stage curtains, but have been cut open and sharply gathered, usually by the wiry figures, to suggest both gowns and hourglasses. This occurs most clearly in a painting at Magenta Plains, where a yellow curtain is transformed into a gown by an attenuated figure of red lines which seems more puppet master than mannequin. The painting's title, like the show's, is "Lay Figure." Aptly enough, this is the term for wood dolls with adjustable limbs that figurative artists use as substitutes for living models.

Mungo Thomson

Through April 16. Karma, 22 East 2nd Street, Manhattan; 212-390-8290,

Mungo Thomson's "Time Life" at Karma is a thrilling accomplishment, adding a new chapter to the long conversation about photographs, mechanical reproduction and ways of seeing. It may not be for everyone, though: I watched all seven rapidly flashing videos, made with images scanned from vintage instructional manuals, catalogs and cookbooks, and I left the gallery feeling like I'd just ridden a high-speed roller coaster.The premise of "Time Life" is simple: sifting through a vast, sometimes absurd archive of images and presenting them at breakneck speed. "Volume 2. Animal Locomotion" (2012-22) shows people demonstrating various forms of exercise, accompanied by a pulsing track by the electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel. "Volume 6. The Working End" (2021-22) features fingers tying knots and the percussion of the avant-garde composer Pauline Oliveros. The show's opus might be "Volume 5. Sideways Thought" (2020-22), with an original score by Ernst Karel, which animates the expressive but inert bronze and marble sculptures of Auguste Rodin.Thomson's project draws fruitful comparisons to other artists and theorists: Eadweard MuybridgeGerhard RichterArthur Jafa and Richard Prince, who, as a young artist, actually clipped publication images at Time-Life Inc. There are also echoes of Aby Warburg's 1920s "Mnemosyne Atlas" and André Malraux's "Museum Without Walls" (1949). What Thomson's adds is a hydraulic-launch speed: We are not "supposed" to look at images this fast. And yet, the jarring somatic experience of "Time Life" offers a chiropractic antidote to scrolling aimlessly on your phone, languidly consuming pictures and casting a few of your own into the universe of technical images.

Pat Adams

Through April 16. Alexandre, 291 Grand Street, Manhattan. 212-755-2828;

Pat Adams is something like the Jan van Eyck of postwar American abstraction. Her paintings have a fineness and excess of detail - and therefore of meticulous technique - that astound the eye. Thin precise lines of two or more colors - which imply a three-hair brush - bound, spiral or loop through fields of paint splatters and smears and geometric detritus. The resulting pictorial space is complicated and suggestive: simultaneously cartographical, microscopic and celestial. A recurring motif, as seen in "Out Come Out" (1980) or "On the Table" (1979), is a jutting plane intruding from an edge, its surface emphasized by the addition of mica, sand or broken eggshell. The effect is jarring, at once physical and cosmic. Born in California in 1928 and schooled in art at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1940s, Adams came East in 1950, and exhibited until 2008 with Zabriskie Gallery in Manhattan. Her current exhibition - her first in New York since then - surveys paintings from the 1970s and '80s. It presents the visual and philosophical richness of a style long at odds with so many first principles of New York painting in decades past: flatness, simplicity and straightforward process. Those decades are now over, making it easier to see Adams's work as an inspiring depiction of diversity and unpredictability - vital to life as much as to art. Surprisingly her canvases are not yet represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art or the Metropolitan Museum. Just saying.

Walid Raad

Through April 16. Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, Manhattan; 212-255-1105,

In a darkened, cavernous space, rushing waterfalls spill down the gallery walls surrounding the viewer on three sides. Minuscule figures stand on the floor at the edge of the wall, in the digitally projected cascades, casting their tiny shadows behind. As you approach, crouching down to bring these figures into focus, they reveal themselves as familiar personages at approximately the same height as their innumerable reproductions in newspapers: Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and others, rendered small in history's unceasing flow.


A churning intermingling of the natural, geopolitical and fantastical characterizes the heady, mischievous work of the Lebanese-born and New York-based artist Walid Raad. Brief texts - part encyclopedic essay and part speculative fiction after Jorge Luis Borges - introduce each of seven series of works that make up "We Have Never Been So Populated." Concurrently presented with three museum shows of the artist's work in Spain, Belgium and Germany, the exhibition presents Raad as sharp and funny as ever, in an experience that feels like an intellectual theme park. At times the narrative concepts are stronger than the exhibited objects, as in a set of facsimile wall maquettes of a Beirut museum where incisions mark the places where the shadows of paintings might fall. But each series rewards with both mystery and insight, most notably a set of photographs winkingly documenting undiscovered cloud studies, possibly painted by John Constable, found hiding on the backs of canvases.

Michael Raedecker

Through April 16. Grimm Gallery, 54 White Street, Manhattan. 212-280 3877;

Shadowy cabins, abandoned pools, tree houses, lonely suburban homes and vacant parked cars with doors ajar: Michael Raedecker's unpeopled landscapes glow in eerie monochromes in his current exhibition, "Now." His paintings - if we can call them that - are laser-printed on canvas from digitally scanned preliminary compositions, then heightened with dripped paint and finished with sewing and embroidery. Raedecker sometimes adds glitter and beading as in "Long-Term" (2021), a nearly all-black painting of the mouth of a cave where these elements suggest moisture and the reflection of moonlight.Foliage crowds his environments where tangled branches, vines and shrubbery are embellished with creeping tendrils of thread. In "Circuitous" (2022), a yellow inflatable lounge raft floats in a pool in an otherwise blue-and-black painting, with the poolside chairs toppled over as the overgrown forest crowds in. Raedecker's pools share little in common with David Hockney's pictures of bright and casual L.A. glamour, but they do evoke Hollywood by way of 1980s horror films. They feel at once distinctly American and fantastic. This fantastical character continues in the treehouse paintings, leaving American suburbia for a primitive utopia recalling an Ewok village or some imagined post-apocalyptic commune.The artist's use of thread provides these works with their most remarkable - and beautiful - aspect, which cannot be reproduced and demand to be seen in person. The predominant bright colors and distilled neo-noir mood make for a strangely charming pairing.EAST VILLAGE'Beneath Tongues: Architecture and Design Series'

Through April 17. Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, Manhattan; 212-925-2035,

For the 6th edition of Swiss Institute's architecture and design series, the artist Sable Elyse Smith has assembled an exceptionally rich group show in which language, seen and heard, as image and sound, is the pivotal medium.Smith understands language as having both entrapping and liberating potential. It's presented as an instrument of control in E. Jane's four-part video about Black femme divadom under surveillance. It's source of potential misunderstanding in Christine Sun Kim's translations from standard English into deaf signing. By contrast, hand-drawn images of household items are a way to catalog and savor the world in the art of Patricia Satterwhite, who died in 2016. And printed words are vehicles for political messaging in the large-scale collage by the Los Angeles artist Lauren Halsey.Much of the language Smith has included is nonvisual, even nonverbal. A soundscape emanating from an assemblage by Cudelice Brazelton IV - a young artist to keep an eye on - is a kind of auditory argument between industrial clammer and rushing water. Three glass biomorphic sculptures by Lydia Ourahmane are equipped with mics to pick up the ambient sounds of the gallery itself. And the show's second floor is a wraparound wall of sounds and words, with a musical composition by Smith, the composer Tariq Al-Sabir, and the vocalist Freddie June and album playlists chosen by artists (Nikita Gale, Jacolby Satterwhite) available on headphones. Finally, for a words-only experience, pick up a booklet of commissioned texts by seven writers responding to the show and the stimulating ideas about looking and listening it's generating.

Adelita Husni-Bey

Through April 8. Brooklyn Army Terminal, 80 58th Street, Annex, Level C, Brooklyn;

Two years into the pandemic, much art about it that I've seen has felt somewhat small and introspective. What makes Adelita Husni-Bey's "These Conditions," organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, refreshing is that her inquiry into Covid-19 steered her outward. She looked to previous pandemics and invited others to tell their stories.Husni-Bey is interested in the possibilities of collectivity, which she explores in workshops where she prompts people to share and interpret their experiences. Part of "These Conditions" is an installation of three rooms that forms a set for sessions she's conducting with participants who've had to work in person through the pandemic. The spaces contain references to a plague-inspired rebellion by Italian gravediggers and the AIDS crisis that serve as educational and inspirational material.Husni-Bey will record parts of the workshops to make a film debuting this fall. The two artworks in the show, both from 2021, help illuminate her approach: "On Necessary Work," a film featuring Danish and U.S. nurses who discuss their jobs and going on strike, and "Cronaca del Tempo Ripetuto" ("A Chronicle of Histories Repeating"), a sound work made with a collaborative chamber orchestra. They represent contrasting ways to process Covid-19: one political, one poetic; one contemporary, one historical; one more literal, the other more abstract. But both cast it as a collective phenomenon as much as a personal one. They insist on Covid as a social experience - a reminder that we are responsible to others and we're not enduring it alone.

Harriet Korman

Through April 9. Thomas Erben, 526 West 26th Street, Manhattan; 212-645-8701,

Harriet Korman's paintings have been good for a while. Now they're getting better. In "New Work," she continues her longtime practice of destabilizing geometry, making it a living, breathing, uneasy thing through asymmetry, personal touch and an unyielding palette. Especially important is her virtual banishment of white - which is so closely tied to geometric abstraction's supposed purity, from Malevich and Mondrian forward.For most of the 2000s, Korman specialized in paintings that were seemingly fractured into varying triangles, interrupted by occasional curves and ovals. Around 2016, she went symmetrical, most impressively with a series of cruciform compositions defined by right-angled bands of slightly jarring colors radiating into the paintings' corners. They seemed to almost stretch before your eyes.Now Korman has turned to concentric rectangles. These also radiate toward the edges, but concentricity bestows all sorts of associations - with picture frames, television logos, underground film and especially irreverent riffs on Josef Albers's "Homage to the Square" paintings. In contrast to the master's carefully calibrated proportions and colors, Korman's homages to rectangles jump in and out, thanks to abrupt changes of width and color. Their frequent caramels and khakis flirt with tastelessness while bonding with adjacent blues, reds, greens and yellows, usually not very pure. Korman's refusal of rulers also adds vitality. Made strictly by hand, the bands of color wobble and occasionally curve emphatically. These are delightful, elucidating paintings, with their own off-center ideas about beauty. Most of all, they are alive.

Mel Leipzig

Through April 2. Gallery Henoch, 555 West 25th Street, Manhattan; 917-305-0003,

Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Mel Leipzig studied painting at Cooper Union and Yale, where his interest in realist portraiture was discouraged by such eminences as Josef Albers. But he stuck to his vision, and since 1970 he's been chronicling the lives and contexts of friends and neighbors in Trenton, N.J. - where he taught for 45 years - with precision, empathy and a volume of detail that would overwhelm a photograph.


That's not to say that he's literal-minded. Leipzig frequently distorts perspective to fit things in, or to emphasize the centrality of his subjects in their environments. He doesn't shrink from moving a couch, adding a window or even changing the color of the sky if it serves a painting's overall composition. He also glances against as much painterly self-awareness as any younger artist. "Gregory at Gallery Henoch" catches an employee of Leipzig's own gallery posing in front of another one of his portraits, and in "The Woodcut" (1994), Leipzig paints himself and his daughter Francesca reflected in the glass over his own 1957 woodcut of his mother and sister.But what he's consistently infatuated with is the endless quantity of visual material presented by the real world. ("That's the thing about realism," he likes to say. "Everything is paintable!") A portrait of Louis Draper, with whom Leipzig shared an office at Mercer County Community College, surrounds the photographer with books, papers and acoustic ceiling tiles, all rendered with as much attention as the man himself.

Spain Rodriguez

Through April 2. Andrew Edlin Gallery, 212 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-206-9723;

Some underground comix creators of the late 1960s and mid-1970s have become mainstream famous, like R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman. But many others helped shape the rebellious, pathbreaking movement. Among them was Spain Rodriguez (1940-2012), whose work is featured in a mini-survey, curated by Dan Nadel, titled "Hard-Ass Friday Nite" after one of the artist's stories.

Born Manuel Rodriguez in Buffalo, he was a self-described juvenile delinquent before dropping out of art school. He worked in a Western Electric plant and rode with a motorcycle club. In 1967, he moved to New York City, where he began publishing comix and working at the alternative newspaper The East Village Other. Two years later, he crossed the country to join the Bay Area scene.


Rodriguez's socialist politics informed his work. The star of the show is Trashman, "agent of the 6th international," who uses paranormal abilities and brute strength to battle tyrannical forces in a post-apocalyptic world. There's also Manning, a corrupt cop; tales about his biker group, the Road Vultures Motorcycle Club; and one-offs like a wacky story about a murderous refrigerator.Like many underground comix, the work is violent, and women are largely absent - although Rodriguez drew female leads that aren't represented here. But his blocky, shadowy art, detailed cityscapes and inventive layouts are so engrossing, you'll want to spend time with them. What comes through most is Rodriguez's rejection of respectability and constant questioning of the established order. Even with his blind spots, that's worth admiring.


Through April 2. Lomex, 86 Walker Street, Manhattan; 917-667-8541,, zany animal antics on TikTok may be the only thing holding civilization together at this point. In the art world, H.R. Giger's dark depictions of erotic aliens and posthumans are the nonpartisan glue. His show, "HRGNYC," organized with Alessio Ascari of Kaleidoscope media, is easily one of the most popular in downtown right now. In addition to sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs in the gallery, Lomex's Instagram account also documents people showing off their Giger-inspired tattoos, tributes and costumes.

Giger (1940-2014) was a Swiss artist who used airbrush techniques to create "biomechanical" figures that merged humans with machines and imagined a future in creepily gothic terms. His contributions reached a high point in his designs for films like "Alien 3" (1992) and Alejandro Jodorowsky's unrealized version of "Dune." However, in true Swiss fashion, Giger was also obsessed with wristwatches - a merger of body and mechanized time - and these appear frequently in the show, like in a purple aluminum and bronze "Female Torso (1994) that is actually a design for a Swatch watch.


Giger's aesthetic is the touchstone for a variety of communities. The opening for "HRGNYC," for instance, brought together members of the band Slayer as well as Comic Con devotees. Much like Tom of Finland's over-the-top fantasy depictions of gay men cruising, Giger's salacious drawings lean toward kitsch - but kitsch that's become culturally relevant in these dystopian times. For most of the attendees here, it's a not-so-guilty pleasure. I'm more of a recent, if reluctant convert.
Lucia Love

Through April 2. JDJ Tribeca, 373 Broadway, B11, Manhattan. 518-339-6913;

Think of paintings of angels, and art-historical images probably come to mind: fair-skinned, female Renaissance figures attending to a baby Jesus. In Lucia Love's paintings, angels are shape-shifting characters that may appear cartoonish or statuesque. They have impressive wings, but no heads; instead, floating above their bodies are rings of stick figures with connecting arms, a symbol that might recall a logo for a nonprofit organization or two sideways crowns.But the biggest change may be that, as the title of this show - "Angel at the Wheel" - suggests, here the angels have gone from sidekicks to protagonists, and they're harnessing some cosmic forces. In "Saint George and the Dragon" (2022), an angel on horseback vanquishes a reptilian creature headed by Walt Disney, who's carrying the Nazi aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun and surrounded by smirking Mickey Mouses. "Excelsior" (2021), rendered in a style I want to call surrealist socialist realism, could be a tribute to the marvels of air travel, except the planes seem poised to drop bombs on us viewers down below.Previous paintings by Love, a Brooklyn-based artist whose influences include Peter Saul and Neo Rauch, have sometimes felt weird just for the sake of it, but this show has a conceptual coherence that strengthens the work. I recommend reading the zine Love made explaining the symbolism of each piece, but even if you don't, you can still get lost in these terrifically trippy images of spiritual beings that seem only as good as the people who power them.

Takesada Matsutani

Through April 2. Hauser & Wirth, 542 West 22nd Street, Manhattan; 212-790-3900,

In post-World War II Japan, a group of artists rejected tradition to create an art that emphasized individual freedom and the action of making. Under the banner of Gutai - "gu"meaning tool and "tai" body - they prefigured the emergence of performance art in the United States by decades.The paintings here show Takesada Matsutani, once one of the Gutai group's youngest members, still working at the age of 85 with the vinyl glue he began experimenting with in 1961. Now Paris-based, Matsutani blows air with straws or fans underneath the surface of the glue as it dries, creating canvases with delicate bulbous protrusions. As you enter the gallery, look closely at the egg-yolk yellow painting on the cover of his 2019 Centre Pompidou retrospective catalog on the gallery desk. It displays "Circle Yellow-19" from that same year but in a very different state than the painting now in the gallery: The inflated blister on its surface has since partly collapsed. At some point - on the plane from France, as it was unloaded in the midwinter cold of Chelsea? - the painting has exhaled the artist's breath.This is painting pressed to an extreme limit, or stuck in a cul-de-sac. Several works here repeat variations of inky near-black blue or purple vinyl featuring a bisecting line on white, creating abstractly floral constructions. Are flowers beautiful even when they are wilting and dying?

Abby Lloyd

Through April 3. Alyssa Davis Gallery, 2 Cornelia Street, No. 1102, Manhattan. 401-263-4093;

Abby Lloyd's show "Goodbye Dolly" consists of precisely one work: a huge, 12 foot-tall rag doll that colonizes an entire end of the gallery, an 11th-floor prow-shaped apartment in Greenwich Village. Lloyd has frequently returned to dolls for her subject matter, making detailed, unsettling sculptures in various media that conjure the often frightening parts of childhood. Here, though, Lloyd's doll is simple and straightforward, a classic children's toy scaled to monumental proportions, cut from uncomplicated fabric and filled with packing peanuts.Lloyd began the work after the death of her mother, whose own childhood Raggedy Ann and clothespin dolls she came across when organizing her effects. It's an effective manifestation of the way grief can fill an entire room, sucking up its oxygen - a Raggedy Ann bled of color, nearly blotting out an entire window's worth of daylight. (The gallery's domestic setting adds to the effect, allowing entry into someone's private interiority.)In its tender, lovingly rendered affect, it's like an anti-KAWS: unpolished, lumpen, inescapably human. All dolls are slightly creepy, but Lloyd's shades less sinister than vulnerable. Its mismatched button eyes and missing clothes, instead of jarring, suggest a quality of being fiercely loved, and bring to mind the roadside memorials that gradually wilt in the sun and decay. The textile medium usually invites an analysis of craft and women's work, but here the ache overpowers any appetite for symposia. Lloyd's doll smiles sweetly with its tremendous arms outstretched, waiting for an embrace that can never fully be returned.