According to the calendar, spring is officially here, though it has yet to fully commit to the reliably warmer temperatures we so desperately crave. (These days, we don’t know whether to take a leisurely art stroll or to bundle up and run from show to show.) Erratic weather be damned, the one thing we can count on this season is a solid roundup of aesthetically pleasing exhibits. Because if New York City is consistent in any capacity, it’s in its ability to inspire the mind. Herewith, some of the best art shows running this month.
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible
Formally the home of the Whitney Museum, the Marcel Breuer-designed building looming on the corner of East 75th Street has since been taken over by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to house its modern and contemporary art program. The Met Breuer‘s inaugural exhibit, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, explores a subject critical to an artist’s practice. Many of the pieces here are left incomplete by their makers, and therefore beg the question: when is a work of art technically finished? Comprised of 197 works, dating from the Renaissance to the present, these pieces give insight into the process of their creation, possessed by an aesthetic that embraces the unresolved. Running through September 4, 2016.
A hop, skip, and a jump away from the Met Breuer is the Venus Over Manhattan gallery, currently presenting Fétiche. This group show examines a vast collection of significant African and Oceanic works displayed alongside post-war and contemporary art. In this smart juxtaposition, one explores the power of these ancient objects, as well as the metaphysical value placed on them over the years. Running through April 16, 2016.
Ibrahim El-Salahi: Alhambra
Ibrahim El-Salahi is recognized as the father of African and Arab Modernism. His influences draw from the murals of the Mexican Social Realists, the abstract geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian, and the cutouts of Henri Matisse. His current show at Salon 94, Alhambra, features paintings from his dynamic Flamenco series, the physical manifestation of the artist’s time in Andalusia, Spain during 2009. Running through April 23, 2016.
Laura Poitras: Astro Noise
In the first solo museum exhibition by artist, filmmaker, and journalist Laura Poitras, Astro Noise is an immersive installation of new work that builds on topics like mass surveillance, the war on terror, and the United States’ drone program. Hosted by the Whitney Museum, the environments created within the show are aided by documentary footage, architectural interventions, primary documents, and narrative structures that encourage visitors to interact with the material in extraordinarily intimate and candid ways. Running through May 1, 2016.
In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11
On March 11, 2011, a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, triggering an ongoing nuclear crisis. This event has led to an overwhelming outpouring within the country’s arts community, changing the contemporary Japanese cultural landscape. In the Wake, now on display at the Japan Society, showcases an impressive range of photographic responses to the disaster, as well as the artistic directions that lie ahead as Japan continues to rebuild. Running through June 12, 2016.
Barbara Takenaga: Waiting in the Sky
Continuing her work through concepts encircling imagined spaces and natural phenomena, Barbara Takenaga expands our horizons with her carefully constructed compositions. In a new exhibition at DC Moore Gallery, she creates a series in her signature style of dots and splashes, outlined and traced in vivid, shimmering hues of acrylic in large-scale paintings on linen and panel. Many of these powerful pieces present a duality of meaning, making reference to familiar objects and spaces all the while oscillating between the positive and negative, the microscopic and infinite. Running through April 30, 2016.