It’s finally spring, and NYC’s art galleries are in full bloom. The artists below are exhibiting some of the best in painting, photography, drawing, and sculpture. Some of them end soon, so grab your umbrella or your sunglasses, and hit the street—you won’t want to skip these galleries.
Amy Douglas at Jack Hanley Gallery
A professional art restorer, Amy Douglas has spent years collecting broken Staffordshire Figures, a form of Victorian pottery from the 19th Century. Her unique exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery makes good use of these ready-mades, reassembling them with Douglas’ distinct and surreal sense of humor. She crafts suggestive narratives from these damaged figures (originally toys and souvenirs) with a subtle irony. In one, her figures appear to be in the middle of a bad date; in another, a mother gives birth to quadruplets under her dress. The sculpture titles tell some of the story (“It’s Because I Have a Tilted Uterus”) but her show title says it all: “The Unfortunate Souvenirs of Our Time.” The exhibition runs until May 21.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at The New Museum
Walk a little south on the Bowery and you’ll find British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s first exhibition at The New Museum. These seventeen magnificent new paintings were made specifically for the fourth floor of the museum. Her richly painted portraits of black men and women (all from imagination) recall European portraiture. They also implicate that historical tradition for its erasure of black figures. Yiadom-Boakye’s protagonists, while invented, bristle with life and character. Sometimes alone, sometimes in groups, they’re each set in a brushy, darkly lit space, evoking without naming any specific narrative. The masterful paintings in “Under-Song For A Cipher” will be on view until September 3.
Bryson Rand at La Mama Galleria
Catch artist Bryson Rand’s solo exhibition, “Some Small Fever” before it closes this month at La Mama Galleria, a lower east side staple. Rand’s luscious and emotional photographs depict male nudes in black and white. They’re at once profanely erotic and surprisingly classical. Rand has an eye for the geometry of the body as well as the spontaneity of his subjects. The result is images that radiate with wonder for the human form, packing a punch that can be lacking in contemporary photography. Take “Vincent (Brooklyn)” from 2016, an image that shows a man’s wounded face looking back with resolve and intimacy. Learn more about “Some Small Fever” at lamama.org/galleria.
Robert Longo at Metro Pictures
In Chelsea, Robert Longo’s spectacularly sized charcoal drawings assemble disparate and culturally potent images, including, among other things, riot police, refugees, a Titian painting, and a cracked iPhone screen. His careful, determined hand connects these varied scenes. Longo doesn’t seem afraid to take weighty subjects head on. But he’s also deeply sensitive to the physicality of his images, rendering in painstaking detail the grain and noise of low-resolution source images. These epic drawings have an allegorical power and an in-person presence of immense grandeur. You’ll want to take your time with these, on view at Metro Pictures.
Leidy Churchman at Mary Boone Gallery
Leidy Churchman’s paintings at Mary Boone Gallery treat art as an act of translation. Sometimes appropriating images and the work of other artists, Churchman considers what’s lost and gained in a painted reproduction. Take “Kruger,” his homage to conceptual collagist Barbara Kruger. Based on her image, “Untitled (Seeing Through You),” Churchman stays mostly faithful to the original while altering everything with his distinct touch, and his darker, warmer palette. The result, like much of his work, can feel both familiar and unexpected. He’s a surprising painter, and sometimes a funny one. See his painting “Giraffe Birth” for two stunning moments: the moment captured in the title, and a giraffe’s cast shadow, metaphysical, awkward and all it’s own. “Kindly Bent To Ease Us” at Mary Boone Gallery runs until July 28.