8 Must-See Art and Design Exhibitions in May

Don't miss these exhibitions taking place across New York City

Becky Suss's *Hallway,* 2017, at Jack Shainman Gallery.
Photo: Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

A slew of dynamic exhibitions fill galleries across New York City this May. From a revisitation of a 1933 tribal art exhibition on the Upper East Side to an emerging Polish-born designer whose work sits somewhere between furniture and art, these new shows are not to be missed.

A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C., 1971. Photo: © The Estate of Diane Arbus

“Diane Arbus: In the Park” at Lévy Gorvy, through June 24

At Lévy Gorvy’s gorgeous uptown space (a collaboration between the longtime Christie’s Post-War & Contemporary Art head Brett Gorvy and power dealer Dominique Lévy), the duo present Diane Arbus’s photographs of Central Park and Washington Square taken between 1958 and 1971. Alongside the artist’s more famous works, such as Young Man and His Pregnant Wife in Washington Square Park NYC, 1965 (depicting a relationship between a black man and a white woman, which at the time was uncommon), and her perhaps best-known, grimacing Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C, 1962, the exhibition also offers the chance to see some rarer pieces. 909 Madison Avenue. levygorvy.com 

A 1933 exhibition of paintings by Derain and early African heads and statues from the Gabon Pahouin Tribes, organized by Paul Guillaume at the Durand-Ruel Galleries New York. Photo: Archives Durand-Ruel © Durand-Ruel & Cie / André Derain © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

“Imaginary Ancestors” at Almine Rech, through June 15

Almine Rech, the stylish Parisian art dealer who opened her first U.S. gallery on the Upper East Side last November (her fifth worldwide), is showing a radical restaging of the French dealer Paul Guillaume’s 1933 exhibition entitled “Early African Heads and Statues from the Gabon Pahouin Tribes.” Organized with the help of Brussels-based tribal-art specialist Bernard de Grunne, the first room shows the original tribal sculptures juxtaposed with works by the French Fauvist artist André Derain and the German Expressionist painter Max Pechstein. In the second room, visitors can find a collection of modern and contemporary artworks inspired by primitive art, including works by Joe Bradley, Ana Mendieta, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Wifredo Lam, Alexander Calder, and James Turrell. 9 East 78th Street. alminerech.com

An installation view of Colombian artist Ivan Argote’s solo exhibition at the new Perrotin gallery. Photo: Courtesy of Galerie Perrotin

“Ivan Argote: La Venganza Del Amor” at Galerie Perrotin, through June 11

The 33-year-old Colombian artist’s show marks the debut of the gallery’s exciting new Lower East Side space at 130 Orchard Street, taking over the former headquarters of fabric company S. Beckenstein. The exhibition, whose title translates to “Love’s Revenge,” consists of entirely new works, including oversize laser-cut paper and fabric sculptures; rough concrete pieces suspended from the ceiling; a new 18-minute film that explores life in Neiva, Colombia, and Palembang, Indonesia; and a colossal gold-plated sculpture of a 3-D–scanned sweet potato. Going from strength to strength, after signing on with Perrotin at the tender age of 25, he has exhibited in the São Paulo Biennial and, the Palais de Tokyo, and, this year, he was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2017. 130 Orchard Street. perrotin.com

One of Mike and Doug Starn’s pieces of “Big Bambú” furniture. Photo: Courtesy of Cristina Grajales Gallery
A dramatic peacock chair constructed from bamboo and colored rope. Photo: Cristina Grajales gallery

“Mike and Doug Starn: Sits Like a Man, but Smiles Like a Reptile” at Cristina Grajales Gallery, through June 1

The space at Cristina Grajales gallery in Chelsea is taken over by an odd collection of chaise longues, benches, and dramatic peacock chairs that somewhat resemble oversize birds’ nests. The Starn twins’ first foray into furniture is an extension of their famous “Big Bambú” (previously displayed on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop in 2010, and then at the 54th Venice Biennale) and uses the same techniques and materials, but on a much more intimate scale. 3rd floor, 152 West 25th Street. cristinagrajalesinc.com

Roni Horn’s Water Double v. 1 and v. 3 are on display at Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. © Roni Horn

“Roni Horn” at Hauser & Wirth, through July 29

Roni Horn, best known for her ongoing series of mesmerizing blue glass sculptures that resemble pools of solid, frozen water, presents four new bodies of work at the Chelsea gallery this month—with a focus on works on paper. In one area, 67 photographs of all the gifts she received from 1974 to 2015 are on display. There is also a new series of drawings where she slices up the original work with a knife and reassembles it piece by piece into intricate, jagged forms. The exhibition concludes with two of the largest water sculptures she’s ever produced. 448 West 22nd Street. hauserwirth.com

Mauro Mori’s Tres Table at Les Ateliers Courbet. Photo: Courtesy of Ateliers Courbet
Mauro Mori’s new vessels hand-crafted at his studio in Milan. Photo: Courtesy of Les Ateliers Courbet

“Sculptural Furniture” at Les Ateliers Courbet, through June 3

The first New York exhibition of the Italian designer Mauro Mori takes place in the landmarked 19th-century Brewster Carriage House. Known for his hand-carved, sculptural furnishings crafted from solid blocks of material, Mori uses Carrara marble selected from a place near his studio in Northern Italy native Italy, Albizia wood sourced from Seychelles, as well as various metals. Standout pieces in the show include his “Tres Table,” comprising three curved forms stacked upon each other (it comes in wood and a dramatic bronze version), and a series of small glazed vessels. 175 Mott Street. ateliercourbet.com

Becky Suss’s Hallway, 2017. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery
A small still life painting at Jack Shainman. Photo: Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery

“Becky Suss: Homemaker” at Jack Shainman Gallery, through June 3

Since 2011, Philadelphia-based Becky Suss has been creating paintings of domestic interiors, bedrooms, hallways, and other spaces filled with personal objects both real and imagined. It all began when her grandfather’s Long Island home was sold and demolished, and she inherited most of his possessions. “I had this urge to re-create the space,” she says at a recent studio visit. The resulting body of work was the subject of an attention-drawing exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in 2015. The new exhibition at Shainman (her first in New York) is drawn from a mix of distorted memories, dreams, and imaginings. “I treat my paintings like Photoshop, pulling images from everywhere and manipulating the layers.” 513 West 20th Street. jackshainman.com 

Marcin Rusak’s stunning collection of furniture and lighting is inspired by nature. Photo: Courtesy of Twenty First Gallery
Rusak’s pressed flowers seem to float in the resin. Photo: Courtesy of Twenty First Gallery

“Flora Noir” at Twenty First Gallery, through June 16

For the young Polish-born, London-based artist’s first U.S. exhibition, Marcin Rusak is showing a stunning collection of furniture and lighting inspired by nature. After two years of intense research to perfect the technique, Rusak has mastered working with natural and dry flowers in his designs: The first involves encasing flowers in resin, then cutting the blocks to reveal the petals inside—their forms appearing as cross sections of marble. The second involves mixing dark resin with discarded flowers and leaf clippings, giving a giving a pressed-flower effect. The resulting moody, painterly pieces are something between traditional Chinese lacquer art meets Caravaggio still lifes. 458 West 22nd Street. 21stgallery.com