Describing the early 2023 arts calendar as “stacked” feels like an understatement. The sheer number of exhibitions, group shows, retrospectives, and openings is overwhelming in both number and scale. But fear not: we’ve put together a list of the highlights from the first few months of this year in New York City, Los Angeles, and other select cities throughout the United States. Consider this your grab-bag guide to the can’t-miss exhibitions of the season, and check back often—we’ll be updating this list as more events roll in.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres at David Zwirner Gallery
Four of the renowned Cuban-American conceptual artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s massive installation works have officially entered one of the most heralded galleries in the world. Through February 25, Gonzalez-Torres’s pieces will take over all three of David Zwirner’s New York City gallery spaces. Notably, it’s the first time his works “Untitled” (1994–1995) and “Untitled” (Sagitario) (1994–1995) have been put on public display (each creation from the artist’s decades-long career are named “Untitled”). According to reps from Zwirner, this is also the first time these pieces have been realized in the manner Gonzalez-Torres envisioned them, prior to his untimely passing in 1996, when he died from complications related to AIDS. Seeing Gonzalez-Torres’s huge billboards and paired circular objects together in a gallery context is a very special experience indeed.
Cy Twombly at Gagosian Gallery
Cy Twombly’s multidisciplinary oeuvre is coming to Gagosian in New York. The artist’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper will be on display across two floors at the 980 Madison Avenue location beginning January 20 through March 4. This particular exhibition focuses on Twombly’s late work—specifically, the final decade of his life. Created in collaboration with the Cy Twombly Foundation, Gagosian’s exhibition also coincides with Making Past Present: Cy Twombly, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from January 14 to May 7, 2023.
Technically, this show opened in October 2022—but it’s so good, we had to include it on this list. (Plus, it’s open through March 26, so there’s still plenty of time to check it out.) Por América examines Juan Francisco Elso’s short but significant career from his home in Havana—where he was part of the first generation of artists born and educated in a post-revolutionary sociopolitical landscape. His sculptures—most of which were made with organic materials—dives into Latin America, Caribbean, and Cuban identity, as well as Indigenous traditions, the effects of colonialism, and Afro-Caribbean religious beliefs.
Drake Carr is taking a page out of Marina Abramović’s playbook. This month, the Brooklyn-based artist presents a residency and exhibition of live drawings at New York Life Gallery. Meaning: Carr will draw both personal friends of his and models by trade (including supermodel and fellow illustrator Connie Fleming) in person at the gallery over the course of 12 days. The sketches, drawings, and paintings born from that nearly two-week period will be installed directly and immediately onto the gallery walls—where they’ll be on view from January 14 to February 9. Plus, the artist will be on site and making drawings periodically throughout the exhibition period while the gallery is open to the public—an opportunity to witness his process.
On view through January 21, this hybrid art and design show curated by the New York and Los Angeles-based architecture and interior design firm Charlap Hyman & Herrero features works by Louise Bourgeois, Heidi Bucher, architects Sam Chermayeff and John Hejduk, and many more artists and makers modern and contemporary whose work reflects a moment frozen in time. Felt “shadows” on the floor and an audio artwork by Emma McCormick Goodhart add an electric, surrealist energy to the proceedings. The exhibition is an homage to a project by the same name that Hejduk opened in 1978.
Through February 25, Nicola Vassell Gallery is highlighting the work of Brooklyn-based painter, sculptor, and installation artist Julia Chiang. Chiang’s pieces reflect her obsession with repeating patterns—and offer commentary on the idea of transformation and assimilation. “I grew up with parents who didn’t throw things away,” Chiang writes of her inspiration for the show. “Sometimes out of thrift, but often because my dad would give old things a new life. An old chair leg would become a new railing. A hand-painted wood carving would show up as a holder for some new kitchen gadget. Piles of newspapers in Chinese and English would be twined together, waiting for recycling, but there were too many piles to ever really disappear. There were textures and materials for all kinds put aside for later use, we just weren’t sure what.”
The Argentine-Italian artist Leonor Fini (1907-1996) spent her life surrounded by sartorial elegance, excess, and high fashion. She maintained personal relationships with Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli, and created decadent paintings, sculpture, and works on paper that explored themes of masquerade and performance. Now, a portion of her oeuvre is on view at Kasmin Gallery in Metamorphosis—a tribute to Fini’s figurative depictions of drama and folklore. This is the first-ever solo presentation of work by the artist at Kasmin, and it will run through February 25.
In January of 1967, Dan Flavin—the artist famous for creating minimal sculptures and installations from fluorescent lights—mounted two groundbreaking exhibitions at New York City’s Kornblee Gallery. On January 10, David Zwirner is recreating those two projects inside its Upper East Side location. The “situations,” as Flavin used to call them are separated into two distinct rooms inside the townhouse at 34 East 69th Street. At Zwirner’s London gallery, there will be concurrent show titled Dan Flavin: Colored Fluorescent Light.
One of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year is coming to New York City’s Museum of Modern Art on February 4. Projects: Ming Smith is a deep dive into the work of the inimitable photographer, who has been living and working in New York since the 1970s and inspired a generation of artists that followed her. Curated by Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, along with associate curator Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Projects is a deep dive into Smith’s archives, and a new examination of her most famed images. If you can’t make it to New York and are hoping for more Ming, no worries—Nicola Vassell Gallery will have a booth at Frieze L.A. with a solo exhibition of the photographer’s work.
On the West Coast, LACMA presents Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982, a show exploring how the rise of computer technology has shaped how art is made. Featuring artists, writers, musicians, choreographers, and filmmakers—some of whose work will be digitally generated—this exhibition will run from February 12 through July 2.
The New York–based Colombian artist María Berrío is taking her large-scale, collaged paintings to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Using Japanese paper and watercolors, Berrío makes artworks that capture riveting, magical scenes, evoking folkloric stories of her upbringing. For this particular exhibition, Berrío blended the history of the Children’s Crusade of 1212 with modern-day migrant stories of displacement, loss, and the unknown. On view from February 16 through August 6.
At last year’s Venice Biennale, the American sculptor Robert Grosvenor displayed three of his signature super-sized installations; those three pieces became sources of inspiration for Grosvenor’s next show at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City. The artist, who is known for his large-scale room installations that toe the line between sculpture and architecture, created untitled—a bright orange, VW Buggy-looking car sitting directly on the gallery’s floor—just for Paula Cooper. But rare photographs he snapped between 2000 and 2013 will be on display as well. See the show soon: it closes on January 28.
When it comes to today’s trends in furniture and interior design, Gaetano Pesce deserves his due credit. The Italian artist, industrial designer, and architect is the forefather of practically every candy-colored Lucite furnishing and home decoration populating your For You Page today. And at The Future Perfect Gallery’s new sprawling Los Angeles outpost, the Goldwyn House, six decades of Pesce’s visionary designs will be on view—including some never-before-seen works alongside rarely exhibited historic pieces—from February 16 through March 31.
…Plus, 정Jeong at The Future Perfect
Another standout show at The Future Perfect’s New York City location: 정Jeong, an exhibition of new work by eight South Korean artists, designers, and craftspeople. Inside the gallery’s West Village townhouse, you’ll find Korean concept furniture made by Seungjin Yang, soft-focus colorfield sculptures by Rahee Yoon, as well as contemporary interpretations of the moon jar, made by Jane Yang-D’Haene and Jaiik Lee (shown above). Don’t miss this very special show, which opens on February 2 and closes March 17.
Gordon Matta-Clark & Pope.L: Impossible Failures at 52 Walker
52 Walker is kicking off the new year with Gordon Matta-Clark & Pope.L: Impossible Failures, an exhibition pairing the work of the site-specific artist Gordon Matta-Clark and the visual artist Pope.L. The TriBeCa space helmed by Ebony L. Haynes will unveil on February 3 an examination of the two artists’ careers—specifically, their shared fixations on the problematic nature of institutions, language, scale, and value. Running through April 1, Impossible Failures will also feature a new site-specific installation by Pope.L, presented in collaboration with Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Personally, we can’t wait to see the Newark, New Jersey native’s take on Matta-Clark’s preferred medium.
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