Though the city’s galleries tend to tone their operations down in the summer (some close, others reduce their hours, this year more than a few have gone out of business), many take advantage of the slow months to air out their collections instead of pushing new work. This is how we end up with a bunch of marquee names in museum-caliber group exhibitions at galleries all over town. Here are some of the best and biggest:
Wiser Than God at BLT: Conceived as a response to the New Museum’s first triennial Younger Than Jesus (part of which, apparently, was extended again through Sunday), this show features living and working artists who are 83 years or older. Included: Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois, Dorothea Tanning, Nancy Spero, Jonas Mekas and Ellsworth Kelly. Closes 7/31.
The Female Gaze at Cheim & Read: A totally epic exhibition of female artists who depict women in their art, inverting the familiar sexual dynamics of the relationship between artist and model/subject. Included: Marina Abramovic, Diane Arbus, Vanessa Beecroft, Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Tracy Emin (work pictured), Nan Goldin, Jenny Holzer, Maria Lassnig, Zoe Leonard, Marilyn Minter, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker and Lisa Yuskavage. Closes 9/19.
6 Works, 6 Rooms at David Zwirner: Going for sparse elegance over super-saturated and star-studded surveys, this show still feels a little empty. Certain pieces just don’t work in a giant, cavernous gallery (On Kawara, Sol LeWitt and Richard Serra, to be exact), but others (Dan Flavin, Fred Sandback and John McCracken) occupy the space magnificently. Closes 8/14.
The Pig at Deitch Studios: In Deitch’s massive waterfront Long Island City warehouse, the noisy, bright and brash works by artist-curators Jim Drain, Paul Chan, Jeff Koons, Swoon, Mario Grubisic, Paola Pivi, Simon Martin, Roberto Cuoghi and Schuyler Maehl have all the room to breathe and be loud that Manhattan galleries simply can’t afford, which makes this feel even more like a big group show surreally transplanted to Queens. Closes 8/9.
Négritude at Exit Art: Taking advantage of their massive Midtown space, Exit Art always puts on big group shows whose strengths outstrip their weaknesses. Such is the case with their latest, which looks at representations of racial identity in the work of Afro-Caribbean artists. Includes: Purvis Young, François Ziliff, Lonnie Holley, Arthur Jafa, Andre Juste, Vladimir Cybil Charlier Juste, Ronald Lockett and Tierney Malone. Closes 7/25.
My Summer Show at Galerie Lelong: The closest thing to a common thread here is the use of abstraction in some form or media by each of the artists. Predictably, the results vary immensely and some pieces (like Josh Smith’s) carry the day over others. Includes: Josh Smith, Matt Sheridan Smith, Josef Strau, Josh Brand, Alex Hubbard and Richard Aldrich. Closes 7/31.
No Bees, No Blueberries at Harris Lieberman: Working from an analogy between bees and artists, each participant here demonstrates in some way (however unintended) the resourcefulness of artists in dire economic times. Includes: John Baldessari, Andrea Blum, The Bruce High Quality Foundation and Martha Colburn. Closes 7/31.
White Noise at James Cohan: As the name suggests, artworks in this show blur the boundaries between music, visual art, sonic installation and sound art. Includes: Joseph Beuys, Nick Cave, Martha Colburn, Anne Collier, Rodney Graham, Jacob Kirkegaard, Robert Morris, Yoko Ono, Robert Smithson and Fred Tomaselli. Closes 8/12.
Lover at On Stellar Rays: Just the right size of dense little show for this literally stellar LES gallery, Lover features pieces in every media that question the iconographies of love and lust. Includes: Nancy Bowen, Franklin Evans, Nan Goldin, Deorah Kass, Marilyn Minter and Karen Yasinsky. Closes 7/26.
We’re All Gonna Die at Sue Scott Gallery: Playing up both the comic and tragic implications of our current penchant towards doom and gloom stories and sayings, We’re All Gonna Die offers visions of a world on the brink of… something. Includes: Kara Hamilton, Miyeon Lee, Markus Linnenbrink, Marilyn Minter, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Charles Spurrier and Fred Tomaselli. Closes 8/2.