Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei’s pieces dot the cityscape, an African American multimedia show mounts in Harlem, and at the Whitney, a visiting L.A. painter nods at pop culture. With your bags already tucked inside the confines of Mondrian Park Avenue’s creative, cultural hub, venture outside for more. This fall, a slew of new shows shine a spotlight on social and political themes with a lineup of well-known artists and buzzy newcomers.
Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
New York City
In a partnership with the Public Art Fund, the Chinese artist Weiwei has constructed a series of 300 works of fencelike pieces sprinkled throughout the city. It’s impossible to miss the large sculptures in Central Park (a gold edifice), Washington Square Park (a 37-foot tall steel cage), and Queen’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park (a circle fence). In the East Village and Lower East Side, five banners nod to the neighborhood’s storied immigrant history (through February 11, 2018).
Studio Museum Harlem
In Harlem, nineteen emerging African-American artists from around the country present a new multimedia show. The L.A.-based artist Jazin Urrea examines junk food from a childhood diet of bodega snacks while Baltimore-based Amy Sherald’s paintings like The Make Believer (Monet’s Garden) study vibrant clothing, skin tones, and ultimately exchange ideas on African descent (through January 7, 2018).
Club 57: Film, Performance and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983
In 1978, the famed East Village stretch of St. Mark’s Place hosted the low-budget Club 57 in the basement of a Polish church. The result was an edgy underground venue where resident artists like Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring held court—and is said to have influenced every club since. The MOMA retrospective features a spread of films, photos, drawings, fashion, and zines, showing off the era’s booming creative counterculture (through April 1, 2018).
Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, and Robert Longo
The Brooklyn Museum
Organized by Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, three innovative international artists (from Spain, Russia, and America) combine their starkly different mediums of black-and-white etchings, film stills, and charcoal drawings. The outcome is a chronicle of perspectives on major events and worldly symbols from mutiny on a Russian battleship to a lens on American riot police to the haunting results of war (through January 7, 2018).
Judith Bernstein: Cabinet of Horrors
The Drawing Center
These days, heightened political times call for heightened political art. Artist Judith Bernstein is no stranger to the space; her anti-Vietnam war drawings date back to the ‘60s. Her latest body of work looks at Donald Trump—a collection of 18 pieces from large-scale murals with oversized three-dollar bills to vintage piggy banks and door prizes including free political campaign pins (through January 21, 2018).
Whitney Museum of Art
Just at the base of the High Line, the Whitney Museum’s latest survey features the gifted Los Angeles-based artist Laura Owens. Her sixty large-scale pop abstract paintings (from the mid-‘90s) employ silkscreen, digital printing, and computer manipulation. A reflection on a pop culture adventure, there’s a mashup of bright personal allusions and whimsical doodles from blooming flowers to kissing couples. You’ll leave uplifted (through February 4, 2018).
*Featured Image: Robert Longo, courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum
- Story by Kate Donnelly