Nine Must See Exhibitions For the Spring ‘24 Season

With art on the streets, art in the windows, art in the subways and train halls and hundreds of galleries and museums, it’s no wonder New York is the art capital of the world. Our resident museum columnist Mary Gregory points you to the best shows to put on your “must see” list this spring

| 24 Apr 2024 | 01:24

There’s never been a better time to take a look, and this season’s exhibitions offer expansive visions, voices, concepts and creations all around town. Here are some shows worth a look from the shows everyone’s talking about to some you might overlook.

Museum of the City of New York

”This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture”

We love New York, and we’re not alone. The city itself is an immersive experience without equal. But, you can immerse yourself even more deeply at the Museum of the City of New York. Celebrating its centennial, the curators have brought together films, photos, music and more, all inspired by the city. See how 100 years and countless artists have captured the effervescence, grit, and glory of our town in popular culture. Through July 21.

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Biennial 2024: “Even Better Than the Real Thing”

The Whitney Biennial is not meant to be all things to all art lovers. Rather, it’s a take by the curators of what seems important, innovative and interesting in American art at this moment. The exhibition includes every imaginable form of art from 71 artists and collectives and fills the museum with energy. The theme of the “real thing” engendered artists’ responses on what current reality is, what artificial means can produce, and what’s happening in the natural world. There’s plenty to ponder. One heartening note is the inclusion of artists like Suzanne Jackson, Mavis Pusey, Harmony Hammond, Mary Lovelace O’Neal and Mary Kelly, who’ve been cranking out powerful works for decades with not enough recognition. Through Aug. 11

99 Gansevoort St.,

American Folk Art Museum

”Somewhere to Roost” We all come from somewhere, and images of home have been central to art since prehistoric times. This exhibition explores expected and surprising ways in which self-taught artists have used whatever materials and means they had at hand to express ideas of shelter, family and domesticity, both their own and others’. Thornton Dial’s large 2012 multimedia composition “Birds Got to Have Somewhere to Roost” gives the exhibition its title and somehow evokes thoughts of hewing a home out of nature while still finding refuge within it. Through May 25, 2025.

Museum of Modern Art

”Käthe Kollwitz”

Some artists are revered by other artists, yet little known to wider audiences. Käthe Kollwitz is one. Kollwitz studied in Germany as a painter, but chose to focus her practice on printmaking, producing multiples with the goal of making her art a form of social activism and sharing it widely. Like many late 19th and early 20th century women artists, her subjects were mostly women and children. But don’t look for soft-focused motherly portraits. These are images of women’s struggles, triumphs, grief and loss, borne of the years surrounding the World Wars, labor organization, the suffrage movement and resistance. Kollwitz lost her young son in the First World War. Her etching, “Woman with Dead Child” is regarded by many as the most astute, heartfelt depiction of the anguish of a parent’s loss. Through July 20

While you’re at the museum, be sure to head up to the 2nd floor collection galleries, where Richard Serra’s “Equal” from 2015 has been installed. Serra’s elemental geometries recall structures we see every day, but pared down and altered. They’re there for you to move through, experience and consider.

11 W 53rd St.,

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

”The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism”The early 20th century and the Great Migration to the north brought dazzling, innovative works of art, music, literature and dance to Harlem, but didn’t stop at New York’s borders. Black creativity flowed across major American cities and then traveled to Europe, where it influenced culture in Paris. See how in more than 150 works, many not exhibited before in New York, including paintings, collages, photographs and sculptures by William H. Johnson, Archibald Motley, Jr., Augusta Savage, James Van Der Zee, Laura Wheeler Waring, Romare Bearden, and others. Look at our March 28 article for more details. Through July 28.”Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”Time your visit right – or plan more than one – and catch the Costume Institute’s major exhibition featuring 250 garments spanning 400 years. Expect the unexpected, as A.I., CGI, video, light and sound all play a part in giving a new sense to classic fashions. May 10–September 21000 Fifth Ave.,

Madison Square Park Conservancy

”Seed” is a dual exhibition by Santa Clara Pueblo artist Rose B. Simpson showing related works in both Madison Square Park and Inwood Hill Park. At Madison Square Park, seven figural sculptures, recalling The Pleiades, function as sentinels and witnesses, looking both inwards and outwards, as an eighth smaller female figure is embedded in the ground. Is she climbing from her roots? Returning to them? Acknowledging her connection to the earth? These are the kinds of questions Simpson, whose work is also included in this year’s Whitney Biennial, brings out in work that feels contemporary, ancient and timeless. Through Sept. 22The park is between Fifth & Madison Avenue at 23rd St.,

National Museum of the American Indian

”Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections”

The treasures at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian never fail to inspire. They’re testament to great artistry, complex societies, historical realities, spiritual beliefs, but mostly to the astonishing beauty individual makers imbue objects with. 700 works include sculptures, textiles, ceremonial garb, and everyday items, organized by geographic regions, from South America to northern Canada. The art spans hundreds of years, all the way to 21st century works by contemporary artists, and call to mind the natural world and great mysteries in ways that touch even city-loving New Yorkers. On permanent display.

Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green,

Museum of Arts and Design

”Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other”

Clark’s multimedia works focus on facets of Black lives, history, women’s lives, connectedness, equality and things not so easily named. She’s using fiber, hair, photographs, the community and more to weave together thoughts, emotions, responses and action. Several of the pieces in the exhibition are participatory, with audience members invited to touch, alter and create.

Through Sep 22, 2024

2 Columbus Circle,

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

”Jenny Holzer: Light Line”

Thirty-five years ago, the Guggenheim brought the words and work of Jenny Holzer to their great rotunda. Once again, rotunda ramps will wrap the viewer with Holzer’s text-based artworks expressing observations and ideas about culture, society, life, and power, both personal and universal. Holzer’s texts have shone on the sides of buildings, on natural spaces, and in the halls of the world’s the most prominent museums and galleries. It’s always worth considering what she has to say. The exhibition also includes a selection of her watercolors, paintings and A.I. experiments. May 17–September 29.