Arts institutions here and everywhere are still recovering from the devastating personal and economic impact of COVID-19, while responding to the social upheaval following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and too many others. At a time when survival takes on a new meaning, some caution is called for.

Instead, our museums and galleries encourage art that challenges convention and champions the marginalized, and plan exhibitions of old and new works that exemplify and reinforce these notions. As you browse the range of exhibitions opening this fall, you can’t miss the abundance of BIPOC and Latin artists in substantial showcases. Institutions in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens provide invaluable exposure to artists whose work oscillates between engagement and confrontation. But even in ostensible box office catnip like “The Tudors” at the Met, the unequivocal message is that the best art has always benefited from cultural cross-pollination and resistance to dogmatic institutions.

“Truly Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe”
Brooklyn Museum
September 2 – January 1, 2023

Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, “Really Free” examines the life and work of Nellie Mae Rowe, a self-taught artist who discovered creative expression as a child, before setting it aside to satisfy demands of employment and domestic life in the South during and after the civil rights movement. Rowe resumed his artistic path in the late 1960s, transforming his home into a “Playhouse” filled with exuberant drawings, assemblages and chewing gum sculptures. This art, along with a bespoke recreation of his surroundings, are the subjects of New York’s first exhibition dedicated to Rowe in over 20 years.

Lorna Simpson: “1985–92”
Hauser & Wirth
September 7 – October 22

Hauser & Wirth is starting the season strong with exhibitions at its various galleries in the city featuring Jenny Holzer, Christina Quarles and Zoe Leonard, all opening September 8. But pride of place goes to Brooklyn-born photographer and media artist Lorna Simpson, whose collages and image-text juxtaposition pose provocative questions about race, gender and history. Opening a day ahead of others and claiming all three floors of the gallery’s 69th Street location, “1985 – 92” covers a particularly rich part of Simpson’s career with works on loan from museums, collectors private individuals and the artist herself.

Rick Lowe: “Meditations on Social Sculpture”
September 8 – October 22

Gagosian is hosting the first New York solo exhibition of Houston-based painter and community organizer Rick Lowe, best known for leading a coalition of artists in the design and implementation of Project Row Houses, a non-profit community revitalization initiative. conventional in Houston’s Third Ward. Born in rural Alabama, Lowe devoted much time and energy to creating works aimed at solving problems rather than just asking obvious questions. The abstract canvases featured in his Gagosian exhibition, derived from Project Row Houses and similar ventures, somehow evoke both tabletop games and city planning maps.

“.Cataclysm.: The 1972 Diane Arbus Retrospective Revisited”
David Zwirner Gallery
September 14 – October 22

A 1972 retrospective dedicated to the photography of Diane Arbus (1923 – 1971), mounted at the Museum of Modern Art a year after her death, is to date the most attended individual exhibition in the history of the museum. “People walked through this exhibition as if they were in line for communion,” MoMA director of photography John Szarkowski recalled in 2005. This 50th anniversary recreation, edited by Zwirner and the Fraenkel Gallery, could could hardly be more timely, since Arbus rotated it frequently. lens on the marginalized and disenfranchised. (Not exclusively, though: The napping baby depicted in his famous 1968 picture “A Very Young Baby, NYC” is Anderson Cooper.)

Xaviera Simmons: “The crisis makes a book club”
Queen’s Art Museum
October 2 – March 5, 2023

New York native Xaviera Simmons uses the artistic medium and practice at her disposal – photography, video, painting, sound art, sculpture and more – to tackle burning issues like white supremacy, the stratification of wealth and America’s historic urge to build an empire. For the Queens Museum, which has recently shown itself to be always ready for a challenge, Simmons creates new original works, while also designing active interventions in the museum’s galleries and display panels for its exterior facade.

“Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces”
modern Art Museum
October 9 – February 18, 2023

The historic Just Above Midtown (JAM) was a pioneering arts space opened in 1974 by Linda Goode Bryant at 50 West 57th Street. Then a 25-year-old educator at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Goode Bryant sought to achieve two goals: to provide black artists with an exhibition space at a level of visibility easily accessible to their white peers, and to allow them to continue their work in whatever whatever medium and mode suits them, including abstraction, conceptual and performance art, and video. The space provided a springboard for future luminaries like David Hammons, Howardena Pindell and Lorraine O’Grady – a stellar lineage celebrated in a reunited MoMA retrospective featuring Goode Bryant.

“The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
October 10 – January 8, 2023

If you’re planning on lining up for a blockbuster exhibition this fall, this important collection of works created during the stormy reign of the Tudors is the one for you. The show covers a historical period from the ascension of Henry VII in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, a period of creative fruitfulness and promiscuous patronage. Assembled in coordination with the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the exhibition includes more than 100 works – paintings, armor, manuscripts and more – by talented artists and craftsmen from across Europe, while recounting the emergence of a nascent British style.

Abigail DeVille: “Bronx Heavens”
Bronx Museum of Art
October 12 – April 9, 2023

The Bronx Museum’s initial exhibition curated by Eileen Jeng Lynch, who became the institution’s new director of curatorial programs on August 1, is the first solo museum investigation for Abigail DeVille, a New York native based in the Bronx, known for its found object assemblages, installations and performances that probe issues like racism, gentrification and erased history. “Bronx Heavens” is designed to be immersive and participatory — part environmental, part faith-based — and even includes a mobile pod that will be sent out into the field to collect new testimonies to share.

“Edward Hopper’s New York”
Whitney Museum of American Art
October 19 – March 5, 2023

Imbued with a strangely seductive melancholy, the paintings of Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) could make familiar, mundane places alien and disorienting – think ‘Nighthawks’ (1942), his most ubiquitous canvas. Hopper called New York home for nearly six decades and captured the city’s elusive spirit like no one else in his combination of realistic, clear-eyed portrayal and expressive, dreamy lighting. This exhibition by Whitney focuses on Hopper’s relationship with New York City and benefits from information drawn from the newly acquired Sanborn-Hopper Archive of correspondence, notebooks, and personal ephemera.

Alex Katz: “Gathering”
guggenheim museum
October 21 – February 20, 2023

Born in Brooklyn in 1927, the inimitable Alex Katz came of age during the heyday of abstract expressionism and pop, and managed to synthesize the former’s overflowing energy and iconoclasm with the joyful spirits and forms familiar and well-defined from the second to arrive at his signature style – friends and settings in New York and coastal Maine, rendered in a deceptively simple way that may be comical but never cartoonish. Still active in New York, Katz helped organize this retrospective himself.

Meret Oppenheim: “My exhibition”
modern Art Museum
October 30 – March 4, 2023

For any artist, there is a danger in creating a work so iconic that it threatens to eclipse a career. Example: “Object”, a humble cup, saucer and teaspoon is reborn thanks to the skin of a Chinese gazelle, applied in 1936 by the Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim (1913 – 1985). What began as a skylark ended up being one of the most recognizable works of surrealist art. But Oppenheim was among the most accomplished artists active in a medium dominated by daring men, and this exemplary career survey – brought together by MoMA with the Kunstmuseum Bern and The Menil Collection – truly captures his stature with nearly 200 objects.

Theaster Gates: “The young lords and their traces”
New Museum
November 10 – February 5, 2023

It seems almost unbearable to read that this New Museum exhibition is the first-ever solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Chicago artist Theaster Gates, as his work and his influence have become so widespread and ubiquitous. Active in the fields of sculpture, installation and collaborative performance, Gates elevates the thinkers who have shaped society, in his hometown and in the United States, through paintings, sculptures, videos and performance.

Nick Cave: “For Something Else”
guggenheim museum
November 18 – April 10, 2023

The first Guggenheim exhibition curated by Deputy Director and Chief Curator Naomi Beckwith, who joined the institution in June 2021, is an extensive preview of the work of Missouri-born artist Nick Cave, originally assembled by Beckwith for the MCA Chicago. Perhaps best known for his fantastically enhanced sonic combinations, Cage is portrayed in a way befitting his breadth and versatility: from early works inspired by Parliament-Funkadelic and Chicago house music to recent large-scale installations, all reflecting his dedication to representing the marginalized.


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