Installation View of Cy Gavin at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York, on view through March 3.
Photo: Gavin Brown's Enterprise

17 Must-See Gallery Exhibitions in New York During Armory Week

When you leave the piers, here’s what’s on view at the galleries

The Armory Show and its satellites drawing the art world to New York this week may offer an incredible view of the industry at large, but for a true taste of the city’s own art scene, you’ll have to leave the piers and venture inland. The city’s various neighborhoods have a flair for combining exciting exhibitions with their own local flavor, from the blue-chip galleries of Chelsea to the somewhat edgier art spaces to be found downtown. 

Below, Galerie shares 17 must-see exhibitions around New York during Armory Week.

DOWNTOWN

Robert Duran, Untitled, 1970. Liquitex on canvas. Photo: Courtesy of Karma, New York

1. Robert Duran: 1968–1970
Karma, 188 East 2nd Street
Through March 31

This solo show of vibrant paintings by the late artist, who called New York home for the greater part of his career, is the first in the city since 1977.

2. Nicolas Baier: Nervure’s Path
Arsenal Contemporary, 214 Bowery
Through April 18

Canadian artist Nicolas Baier has just opened his first solo exhibition in the U.S. His work investigates the evolution of technology through painting, photography, bas-relief, sculpture, and even video.

UPTOWN

3. Richard Wright
Gagosian, 821 Park Avenue
Through April 26

The artist transforms the architecture of Gagosian’s Upper East Side location in this site-specific exhibition, implementing references to Minimalism, Renaissance painting, de Stijl, Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, record covers, and commercial art.

Installation view of Cy Gavin at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Photo: Gavin Brown's Enterprise

4. Cy Gavin
Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, 439 West 127th Street
Through April 14

Nocturnal landscapes explore the colonial histories of Bermuda and the Hudson Valley, the artist’s father’s homeland and his own place of work, respectively. This is Gavin’s first show with the gallery.

5. Luchita Hurtado: Dark Years
Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street
Through April 6

Surrealist figuration meets geometric abstraction in this survey of the artist’s experimental early works, which spans the 1940s and ’50s and is informed by the Venezuela-born, New York–educated artist’s multicultural life and career.

6. Erik Van Lieshout: Beer
Anton Kern Gallery, 16 East 55th Street
Through March 9

It’s the last chance to see Van Lieshout’s second solo show with the gallery, which dwells on the artist’s acceptance of the Heineken Prize in 2018. At the center of the exhibition is Van Lieshout’s new film, Beer, which dwells on the internal conflict the artist has faced since receiving the prize in spite of its prestige.

Installation view of “Derrick Adams: Interior Life” at Luxembourg & Dayan. Photo: © Derrick Adams/Courtesy Luxembourg & Dayan

7. Derrick Adams: Interior Life
Luxembourg & Dayan, 64 East 77th Street
Through April 20

For this show, Derrick Adams transforms the gallery’s interior with custom wallpaper resembling domestic environments, thereby creating a surreal backdrop for his new portraits on paper.

CHELSEA

Carlos Vega, Malala, 2019. Acrylic on canvas. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

8. Carlos Vega: Correspondences
Jack Shainman Gallery, 524 West 24th Street
Through March 30

Taking the female saints of 17th-century painter Francisco de Zurbarán as his departure point, Vega presents 24 portraits of influential female figures from mythology, history, religion, and even the present day, including Joan of Arc and Malala Yousafzai.

9. Group Exhibition: The Eighties
David Nolan, 527 West 29th Street

Icons of the 1980s New York art scene unite in this exhibition, featuring work by Georg Baselitz, Francesco Clemente, Carroll Dunham, and a handful of others. The works reflect the awareness and anxieties of the artists’ political and societal surroundings, from discussions on feminism to the advent of the AIDS crisis and the Reagan administration.

10. Gretchen Bender: So Much Deathless
Red Bull Arts, 220 West 18th Street
Through July 28

“Gretchen Bender was one of the most radical, and perhaps the least known, artists of her generation,” Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, representative of the Gretchen Bender Estate, said in a statement. Now the multidisciplinary artist, who collaborated with Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman, along with choreographers and musicians, gets her first-ever posthumous retrospective. The show covers the breadth of Bender’s oeuvre and includes considerable additional programming throughout the city.

Highlights during Armory Week include a special project at the Independent Art Fair featuring Wild Dead I, II, III (Danceteria Version) (1984), a recently uncovered early video work by the artist; a “Meet the Makers” talk by artists Eva and Franco Mattes at the New York Public Library, and a gallery tour by Bender’s friend Amber Denker.

Installation view of “Theodora Allen: weald” at Kasmin Gallery Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin Gallery

11. Theodora Allen: weald
Kasmin, 515 West 27th Street
Through March 9

Softly rendered, monochromatic watercolors of botanical imagery and historic weaponry draw influences from musical, literary, and mythological traditions, seeking to embody the humanist search for purpose and meaning.

Installation view of Sarah Charlesworth at Paula Cooper Gallery. Photo: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

12. Sarah Charlesworth
Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 26th Street
Through March 23

A solo exhibition of work by the late conceptual photographer focuses on the rarely exhibited pieces she created between the late 1970s and the early 1980s. To celebrate the show, the artist’s first at Paula Cooper, the gallery will host a panel discussion between Guggenheim senior curator of photography Jennifer Blessing, New Museum curator Margot Norton, and artist James Welling.

13. Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass
Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street
Through March 8

A ten-screen video installation explores the life and achievements of renowned American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The films deftly portray his relationships with historic figures like Susan B. Anthony, African-American photographer J. P. Ball, and Ottilie Assing, a German intellectual and activist who is believed to have been Douglass’s lover.

14. Kiki Smith: Murmer
Pace Gallery, 537 West 24th Street
Through March 30

New work by the celebrated artist employs etching, cyanotype, and sculpture to continue the exploration of the natural and spiritual worlds that has been the basis of her career.

Seduction, Pair 01, 2018. Niwala sandstone. Photo: Courtesy of Friedman Benda

15. Najla El Zein
Friedman Benda, 515 W 26th Street
Through April 13

One to watch, this up-and-coming designer is presenting three new series of sculptures: “Distortion,” “Fragmented Pillar,” and “Seduction.” The organic, gently layered forms are crafted from surprisingly tough materials like terrazzo and sandstone yet communicate a sensuality that speaks to El Zein’s personal experiences.

TRIBECA

If you plan to venture out on the town this Sunday, be sure to head to Tribeca, where a late-morning gallery stroll will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The historic neighborhood, with its classically beautiful prewar architecture and cobblestone streets, is being hailed as the hottest up-and-coming art hub in the city.

Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2019. Oil on linen. Photo: Courtesy of Bortolami, New York

16. Lesley Vance
Bortolami, 39 Walker Street
Through April 20

Calligraphic, textural abstract works call to mind organic forms and even resemble the serpentine hair of Medusa, as curator Douglas Fogle notes in a companion essay to this colorful solo exhibition.

17. Nico Vascellari
The National Exemplar, 59 Franklin Street
Through March 30

Work by the former Venice Biennale participant will be on view at this small venue run by artist Eneas Capalbo.

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