5 Must See Contemporary Art Shows This Fall

With the fall art season officially in full swing, there are many exciting contemporary art shows currently on view. From the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Chelsea Gallery scene and various museums shows there is bound to be an exhibition up that will be sure to capture your imagination. These unique, hand-picked shows are some of the best art offerings occurring around NYC right now.

Contemporary art shows - bougeouise, spider. 1997. Steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold, and bone.
Louise Bourgeois, Spider. 1997. Collection The Easton Foundation. © 2017 The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY. Source: Museum of Modern Art

Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait at MoMA

Looking at over 300 works from the MoMA’s own archive Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait show explores another aspect of the creative process of the artist. Bourgeois left her immense imprint on the art world though the large-scale spider like sculptures she would come to be known for. Many of the prints and drawings were created in the last two decades of the artist’s life, as well as early on in her career.

While Bourgeois would come to be primarily known for her sculptural works and installations, print and book making would also play a role in the artist’s life. This show puts both elements of her creative practice into conversation in an exciting way. The exhibition also features an online catalog titled Louise Bourgeois: The Complete Prints & Books that brings together 4,000 plus printed sheets of the artist’s work, making it accessible to the world. The show is on view until January 28, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Contemporary art shows - kusama
Yayoi Kusama. Source: David Zwirner Gallery

Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner Gallery

This month David Zwirner will present the work of celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  It will consist of two concurrent exhibitions taking over three spaces across the city at the New York: Festival of Life at 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea and Infinity Nets on 34 East 69th Street on the Upper East Side. The shows will feature 66 paintings, an iconic polka dot environment, two Infinity Mirror rooms, and a new collection of paintings and sculptures.

Over the course of Kusama’s almost five decades long career, the artist has engaged in some of the most important movements within the art world from minimalism, pop, feminism, and beyond. Kusama who has come to be known for her complex and colorful installations and sculptures, which utilize fabric, mirrors and other materials has also become a fashion icon in her own right. It is the artist’s eclectic style, and unique artistic vision, that has left viewers intrigued for years. This exhibition will be on view until December 16.

Contemporary art shows - Hockney,Gregory Sleeping,1978 Pen and ink on paper
David Hockney, Gregory Sleeping, 1978. Source: Paul Kasmin Gallery

David Hockney: Works on Paper 1961-2009 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

British artist David Hockney will unveil his second solo exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery on November 9. The show considers the larger artistic trajectory of Hockney and includes drawings from early as 1961, when he was a student at the Royal College of Art. These early portraits take on a much different feel compared to later works that explore the landscape and nature of East Yorkshire, England.

This show will feature a range of Hockney’s works in various mediums from charcoal, ink, pencil, and later, even the use of the iPad. The pieces in this exhibition reflect the larger development of the artist’s practice overall and help to give a fuller impression of Hockney’s process. David Hockney: Works on Paper will also run alongside a retrospective of the artist that will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This show is on view until January 9, 2018 at Paul Kasmin Gallery.

Contemporary art shows - krasner, Seeded, 1960 Oil on canvas
Lee Krasner, Seeded, 1960. Source: Paul Kasmin Gallery

Lee Krasner: The Umber Paintings, 1959-1962 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Feminist Abstract painter Lee Krasner’s seminal series, The Umber Paintings, will also be on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery until January 13. Done in collaboration with the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, this exhibition explores twenty-four paintings the artist produced between 1959-62. These works represent some of the most ambitious paintings to come out of the artist’s career, and were created shortly after the loss of her husband, Jackson Pollock and her mother.

Using large scale brush work, nuanced used of color, and fueled by several crushing personal losses, The Umber Paintings represent some of the most vital work Krasner would ever produce. Eight of the paintings on view in this exhibition are held in major institutional collections as well. It is Krasner’s gestural use of color combined with the physicality of her work and the larger history surrounding the artist, that makes this one of the must see shows of the season.

Contemporary art shows - wagner, Metropolis, 2017 Ink and oil on canvas
Virginia Wagner, Metropolis, 2017. Source: Kate Oh Gallery

Virginia Wagner Metropolis at Kate Oh Gallery

Rounding out the contemporary art shows, painter Virginia Wagner debuted her solo exhibition at the Kate Oh Gallery last week. The show titled Metropolis explores 1920’s German film in an almost post-apocalyptic world. Wagner’s lush canvases pit dire, utilitarian structures against desolate industrial backdrops. The imagery is powerful and draws on Wagner’s background in literature.

Working with a variety of mediums including ink and house paint, Wagner works the canvases until they achieve an almost photorealistic finish. Her brush work and unique imagery makes it one of the stand out shows to see this season. It will be on view until December 9.

These contemporary art shows offer some of the most interesting things to see during some of the soon-to-be coldest months of the year. With many of the art happenings occurring around the city, be sure to become a part of the conversation by seeing these exhibitions.

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About the Author:

Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to several online publications including Boston based publication, The Dig, New York Arts Magazine, and ArteFuse among others. She holds a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University, an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and an MA in Performance Studies from New York University.