Seven Art Shows to See in NYC Right Now

New York’s art world is a zoo this summer. Well, not quite, but animals populate some our favorite shows right now. Walton Ford’s “birds and beasts” (in the words of the exhibition’s title) are a wild counterpart to the playful dogs, cats, and bears of Maija Peeples-Bright and Roy De Forest, while Julia Isídrez’s creatural ceramic vessels create a world of their own. Beyond the animal kingdom, don’t miss surveys of beloved art luminaries like Eva Hesse and mid-career charmers such as Loie Hollowell, the latter a little out of town, in Connecticut. By the end of the day you may be itching for a painting … or a pet. —Natalie Haddad, Reviews Editor

Painting Within a Painting

This one-room exhibition is a glass of cold water on a summer’s day. All eight artists (Nell Blaine, Joe Brainard, Rudy Burckhardt, Jane Freilicher, Louisa Matthiasdottir, Fairfield Porter, Larry Rivers, and Trevor Winkfield) knew one another, and three of them even studied together with Hans Hoffmann at his renowned art school. Each painter has exhibited at Tibor de Nagy Gallery before, so the show offers a look at the gallery’s own artistic lineage too. The artistic conversation is rich, and the idea of a painting within a painting plays out as an intermingling of landscapes, still lifes, and studio scenes, and you can sense that all the painters retained their own voice while freely being in dialogue — and sometimes you can see shared sensibilities. Freilicher’s large studio scene is a focal point of the exhibition; in it she paints her former Fifth Avenue penthouse studio that looks west toward New Jersey. All the artists have something to say, and even Matthiasdottir’s large, strange paintings of Iceland look very much at home here. Really wonderful. —Hrag Vartanian

Tibor de Nagy Gallery (
11 Rivington Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan 
Through July 26

Eva Hesse: Five Sculptures

So much has been written about Eva Hesse that it’s hard to find something new to say. The pioneering postminimalist looms large in the annals of Western modern art history; her visceral pieces undermined the phallocentrism of hard-edged minimalist sculpture by incorporating supple materials and skin-like textures. Yet seeing her work in person is a wholly unique experience, once that’s hard to contain in language. Her art can be hard to locate, with much of it dispersed across various museums. Though this show, organized by Barry Rosen and Briony Fer, isn’t huge, Hauser & Wirth’s vast space gives Hesse’s impressive pieces room to breathe. The opportunity to spend time with them shouldn’t be missed. —Natalie Haddad

Hauser & Wirth (
542 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan 
Through July 26

Maija Peeples-Bright & Roy De Forest

It’s hard to imagine a better artist pairing than Maija Peeples-Bright and Roy De Forest. Replete with vibrant hues, glitter, and animals on adventures across rainbow-colored landscapes, the two artists, brought together so fluidly by curator Adrianne Rubenstein, masterfully breathe sparkling life into the sterility of the white cube. But don’t let the show’s exuberance trick you into thinking the art is just fun; both Peeples-Bright and De Forest excel at using color and composition to make those adventures as dynamic and engaging as possible — it’s tempting to head out with De Forest’s dog sculpture on an escapade of your own. Just think of the show as a party you won’t want to leave. —NH

Venus Over Manhattan (
39 Great Jones Street, Noho, Manhattan 
Through July 26

Julia Isídrez: Mundo de Julia

Paraguayan artist Julia Isídrez, whose work is featured in this year’s Venice Biennale, draws from the Indigenous Guaraní tradition of ceramics passed on by her mother. At Kasmin Gallery, in her first United States solo exhibition, Isídrez’s variously sized anthropomorphic vessels are presented on a more intimate stage, allowing viewers a close experience with her undeniably tender, moving visions. As the exhibition’s title suggests, it’s Julia’s world — we’re just living in it. —Valentina Di Liscia

Kasmin Gallery (
297 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea, Manhattan 
Through August 9

Susan Te Kahurangi King: The Gradual and Inevitable Dissolution of Mickey Mouse

King’s personal story often dominates conversations about her work — the New Zealand-based artist is autistic and hasn’t spoken since the age of eight — but that isn’t always helpful when confronted by her colorful drawings, which incorporate popular culture figures in a way that comes across as unexpected and original. 

Writing about her work on these pages back in 2017, Patrick Price skillfully summarizes what makes it so enthralling, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly why: 

Her treatment of various cartoon ducks is a reminder that all communication originates in the body, in its actions and passions, affects that must be cathected onto objects or surrogates if they are to be tamed and integrated. These figures appear riven by nameless forces, twisted this way and that, gesticulating wildly, dismembered, or literally tied up in knots. There’s implicit wisdom in King’s choice of classic cartoon characters as vehicles for pre-linguistic affect, recognition of something in their structure that speaks to the early experience of omnipotence, of the childish or regressive body. 

This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself in her work. —HV

March Gallery (march
62–64 Avenue A, East Village, Manhattan 
Through August 9

Loie Hollowell: Space Between, A Survey of Ten Years

Brooklyn-based Loie Hollowell’s first survey includes three groups of work, her more recent bas-relief paintings, a decade of drawings, and a body of art that she created after her second pregnancy, focusing on time and abstractions of breasts and nipples. She’s skilled at creating soothingly symmetrical paintings that channel Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, or other early 20th-century modernists, but her surfaces can also resemble formica, and she freely quotes Tantric imagery, while a relationship with the Light and Space movement is also evident. The work feels universally hopeful. The drawing gallery is the most moving — she explains in the audio guide that this stark and graphic style emerged for her after an abortion back in 2013, which transformed her aesthetic — and you can see how she’s pushing her forms in a way that is very different from her more stylized paintings. You also get the sense that she’s only getting started. —HV

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (
258 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut
Through August 11

Walton Ford: Birds and Beasts of the Studio

Walton Ford’s art is an enigma. It seems at once to lay an analytical gaze on the animal world and to summon its mystery. This small but otherworldly show takes viewers through Ford’s process, from early pencil sketches to detailed watercolors and, finally, large-scale paintings of the animal kingdom’s awe-inspiring rulers. Beneath the majesty of his subjects is the pathos the artist bestows on them: Among the works is a cluster of images paying tribute to a panther who was viciously killed by a farmer after escaping from the Zurich Zoo. If this show has one takeaway, maybe it’s the example of respecting nature and other species that nonhuman animals can set for humans. Accompanying the show is a small collection of animal imagery from the Morgan’s collection. —NH

The Morgan Library & Museum (
225 Madison Avenue, Murray Hill, Manhattan 
Through October 20

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