Ah, summer. The season of sunshine, vacations, and, in the art world, group shows. Take advantage of galleries gearing down for the warmer months by scoping out their expansive shows featuring countless artists. If anything it’s an opportunity to find new favorite works and make exciting, previously unseen connections.
Summer hours throw somewhat of a wrench in weekend gallery going, but here are a few of our favorites shows around the Lower East Side that happen to be open on Saturdays and/or Sundays (plus a couple others for those lucky few of you who get summer Fridays).
Courtesy of Gavin Brown.
“If Only Bella Abzug Was Here” at Mark Straus 299 Grand Street
Dedicated to the late U.S. Congresswoman and political activist Bella Abzug, who fought for women’s rights around the globe, this exhibition, organized by Tim Hawkinson and Ken Tan, spotlights the work of some excellent established and emerging female artists. You’ll see works by Nicole Eisenman, of the recent spectacular shows at Anton Kern and the New Museum, and Shara Hughes, whose fantastical landscapes never cease to amaze, alongside Holly Coulis, Shirin Neshat, and Eleanor Ray, to name only a few. Go now and thank us later.
Courtesy of Marc Straus.
“Summer Flats” at Shrine 191 Henry Street
Exuberance and energy are the two driving forces behind this relatively young gallery’s latest exhibition, and boy are they accurate. Here, alongside works by Melissa Brown, Maria Calandra, Ellie Pyle, Mason Salterrelli, and Scott Zieher, you’ll find fun forms from Sadie Laska, who you might remember seeing in CANADA Gallery’s awesome recent “Make Painting Great Again” group show; fantastical, Tal R-ish landscapes by Kyle Breitenbach; and simple, strong, very desirable paintings by Marcus Jahmal.
Courtesy of Shrine.
Caroline Larsen & Adam Parker Smith at The Hole 312 Bowery
Okay, okay, you got us: This isn’t technically a group show. However, these two neighboring solos make for a fun compare and contrast exercise — on one hand you’ve got the remarkably woven paintings by Caroline Larsen that exude a cheeriness even when depicting something not so friendly, and on the other, there’s populist sculptor Adam Parker Smith, making assemblages with objects that belie their own materiality, e.g.: Jeff Koons-esque balloon sculptures with exposed posteriors. Fun times all around.
Courtesy of The Hole NYC.
“Goulding the Lolly” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise 291 Grand Street
Shows like this one need a book written about them. Curated by the popular and lovable artist Brian Belott, “Goulding the Lolly” pulls in contemporary art stars like impasto master Gina Beavers; the funky and fresh Katherine Bernhardt; genre-defying painter Jamian Juliano-Villani; Josh Kline, of the immensely affecting exhibition “Unemployment” that showed at 47 Canal downstairs; stylistic connector Annie Pearlman (who you can and should see until July 16th at White Columns in Chelsea); plus Spencer Sweeney, Torey Thornton, and many, many more. These people will be (or already have been) in museums. You’ll have seen them when.
Courtesy of Gavin Brown.
“Peachtree Industrial” at Bodega 167 Rivington Street
Bodega’s hosted some of our favorite shows of this past year, with solos for Orion Martin and most recently Alexandra Noel. They keep generating street cred with “Peachtree Industrial,” a seven-artist group show curated by Atlanta-based space Species, which includes, among others, “the cloying Seussical work” of Lily van der Stokker (who shares some vibes with the wonderful Cary Leibowitz) and sculptures by the late Southern self-taught artist Bessie Harvey.
Courtesy of Bodega.
“The City & The City” at the Denny Gallery Pop Up 150 East Broadway
There’s something for everybody at LES staple Denny Gallery’s pop up exhibition, “The City & The City.” Inspired by a China Miéville novel of the same name, the group show examines how residents of the city interact and co-mingle in a world where not everyone is equally visibile, and features six of the gallery’s artists — Justine Hill, Erin O’Keefe, Caris Reid, Jordan Tate, Russell Tyler, and Amanda Valdez (seriously, what a list) — plus other rising stars like Trudy Benson and John Dante Bianchi.
Courtesy of Denny Gallery.
Out early on a Friday afternoon? Go see these shows.
“Simple Pleasures” at Cuevas Tilleard 142 Henry Street
Open only since 2014, this gallery’s staged some super shows in its short history — their most recent, “Minerva,” which showcased recommendations from the eponymous hit podcast, was a real treat — and the run continues with “Simple Pleasures,” which features paintings by Karen Lederer, whose work you can also see at Driscoll Babcock in Chelsea, and a cool pseudo-cyanotype by returning artist Andrea Bergart, along with pieces by Genesis Belanger and Sharon Madanes.
Courtesy of Cuevas Tilleard.
“Record Lines This Summer” at Magenta Plains 94 Allen Street
In a humorous take on summer travel, curator Ellie Rines, who runs nearby gallery 56 Henry, has selected works that reflect the necessary annoyances of airfare and TSA lines. (Dan Herschlein’s sculpture with a removed belt is a laughably literal inclusion.) Also be sure to swing downstairs and take a peek at (aforementioned) artist Melissa Brown’s wonky but wonderful tarot-inspired paintings on aluminum.
Courtesy of Magenta Plains.
“A Being in the World” at Salon 94 243 Bowery
Organized by gallery partner Fabienne Stephan and gallery artist Jayson Musson (formerly of the spectacular Art Thoughtz by Hennessy Youngman) around the semi-serious conceit of art as “innate human desire” and navigational tool, this group exhibition places old and young artists in concert with each other to a rather pleasing effect. Goofy forms from James Ullmer and Katie Stout contrast quite nicely with work by luminaries James Castle and Bill Traylor.
Courtesy of Salon 94.
WHAT TO DO Nosh & Shop
All that gallery going can really work up a sweat. For the nutritionally-minded, try Football Cafe on Forsyth Street for their extra strength superfood shakes (and cool merch) to get you back on your feet and raring to go. Bonus: enjoy your healthy treat by taking in a soccer game at Lions Gate Field across the street.
Shop at Coming Soon 37 Orchard Street
This "Design Gift Shop” is full of things that fall somewhere between objets, functional art, and must-haves. We guarantee you’ll find something to obsess over from their rotating array of cool nicknacks and homeware items, just be sure to go after pay day.