This October, New York City museums are offering a wide variety of retrospective exhibitions. Museums such as the Guggenheim, MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum are looking back at the making of groundbreaking works, the important roles of museums and different venues for viewing art, the careers of innovative artists, and geopolitical effects on emerging art scenes. Below, check out our picks for opening museum exhibitions through October.

New Museum: “Pursuing the Unpredictable: The New Museum 1977–2017”

September 27, 2017 through January 7, 2018

In honor of its 40th anniversary, the New Museum will present “Pursuing the Unpredictable: the New Museum 1977-2017,” which looks back at pivotal moments in the museum’s history.

The New Museum, founded by art historian and curator Marcia Tucker, was created to showcase groundbreaking art and ideas, while critically questioning the structures and functions of museums. The exhibition features archival documents and select artworks to show previous exhibitions, programs and initiatives, as well as the entire collection of New Museum publications and a timeline designed by Project Projects featuring highlights from the Museum’s history.

In the adjacent Resource Center, the museum features a pressroom that presents critical and popular responses to past New Museum exhibits. The exhibition allows viewers to look back at how the New Museum has used feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial politics, as well as its anti-authoritarian and self-reflexive approaches to curatorial work, to engage with artists and make work accessible to the public.

The New Museum is located at 235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002.

Click here for exhibition details.

Guggenheim Museum: “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World”

October 6, 2017 through January 7, 2018

The Guggenheim Museum will present “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” an exhibition focusing on contemporary art from China between 1989 and 2008.

The interpretative survey of Chinese experimental art includes more than 70 artists and collectives and features 150 iconic and lesser-known works. Framed by the geopolitical dynamics surrounding the end of the Cold War, the spread of globalization and the rise of China, the exhibition examines how Chinese artists have been both agents and skeptics of China’s emerging global presence. Another stated goal is to reposition China-based art history in a way that shows how Chinese artists have been integral to the emergence of contemporary art worldwide.

The title of the show comes from an installation by Huang Yong Ping featured in the exhibition and composed of a caged arena with hundreds of live reptiles and insects devouring each other over the course of the show. The exhibition is divided into six chronological and thematic sections and features mediums such as film and video, ink, installation, land art, performance, painting and photography. Documentary footage of avant-garde exhibitions and archival materials will also be on view.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located at 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128.

Click here for exhibition details.


"5 Hours" by Chen Shaoxiong, 1993/2006. DSL Collection. Performance view: "The Third Artistic Event of the Big Tail Elephant Working Group," outside Red Ant Bar, Guangzhou, November 24, 1993. © Chen Shaoxiong. Photo: Courtesy the artist.


The Met Breuer: “Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs”

October 11, 2017 through January 2, 2018

Met Breuer will present “Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs,” a retrospective of Singh’s photography.

Raghubir Singh (1942-1999), a pioneer of color street photography in India, had a prolific career from the late 1960s until his death. The retrospective of his work, featuring 85 of his photographs, will follow the trajectory of his career, situating his work at the intersection of Western modernism and traditional South Asian pictorial modes. The exhibition will also include the work of Singh’s contemporaries and examples of Indian court painting styles that inspired him. Singh, who recorded India’s dense milieu in complex frieze-like compositions, blended tenets of modern photography with the bright colorful traditions of India to forge his own style and an Indian modernist photography aesthetic.

The Met Breuer is located at 945 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10021.

Click here for exhibition details.

Whitney Museum: “Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined” 

October 20, 2017 through – Undetermined

Whitney Museum will present “Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined,” the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New York.

The exhibition features an interconnected series of fictional portraits that chronicle the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families.

Ojih Odutola’s fictional portraits chronicles the lives of the two Nigerian families set against backdrops of domesticity and leisure. Made with charcoal, pastel and pencil, the intimate drawings explore the complexity and malleability of identity and reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture. The life-size drawings showcase Ojih Odutola’s intricate mark-making and her attention to detail regarding the nuances of space, class and color.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014.

Click here for exhibition details.


"Pregnant" by Toyin Ojih Odutola, 2017. Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper, 74 1/2 x 42 inches. ©Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.


Brooklyn Museum: “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making”

October 20, 2017 through March 4, 2018

As part of a yearlong series of exhibitions celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Brooklyn Museum will present “Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making.”

The exhibition centers on the making of Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party (1974-1979), a meticulously executed banquet table set for 39 women from myth and history and honoring 999 others to celebrate women’s achievements in Western culture. The exhibition examines Chicago’s evolving plans for The Dinner Party, which stood against the absence of women from mainstream historical narratives and validated mediums traditionally considered domestic craft in Chicago’s experiments with China painting, porcelain and needlework. With rarely-seen test plates, research documents, ephemera, notebooks and preparatory drawings, the exhibition encourages the exploration of the work’s formal, conceptual and material progress.

The Brooklyn Museum is located at 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

Click here for exhibition details.


Judy Chicago Designing the Entry Banners for "The Dinner Party," 1978. Courtesy of Through the Flower Archive.


MoMA PS1: “Cathy Wilkes”

October 22, 2017 through March 11, 2018

In conjunction with the inaugural Maria Lassnig Prize, MoMA PS1 will present “Cathy Wilkes,” the artist’s first solo exhibition in a New York museum.

Cathy Wilkes, who has been working since the 1990s, creates sculptural tableaux that engage with the rituals of life, employing quotidian products and residual materials drawn from her domestic life. Her work combines the universal and the personal by drawing the banalities of daily existence to larger archetypes of birth, marriage, child-rearing and death. Wilkes is the first artist to receive the Maria Lassnig Prize, created by the late Austrian artist before her death to encourage artists who were not yet familiar to the public.

MoMA PS1 is located at 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101.

Click here for exhibition details. 

MoMA: “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983”

 October 31, 2017 through April 1, 2018

The Museum of Modern Art will present “Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978-1983,” an exhibition that examines the scene-changing, interdisciplinary life of Club 57.

Club 57, which ran from 1978 to 1983 in the basement of a Polish Church at St. Mark’s Place, was a no-budget venue for counterculture music and film exhibitions. A center of creativity in the East Village, Club 57 encouraged experimentation with new modes of art, performances, fashion, music and exhibition, and influenced all the clubs that followed in the East Village. The exhibition, which shows how the convergence of curation with the club environment led to a new spirit of interdisciplinary endeavors, will present the accomplishments of Club 57, including films, theater works, photography, collages, zine, fashion curation and more. Viewers will also have a chance to see works that have not been publicly exhibited since the 1980s.

The Museum of Modern Art is located at 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY, 10019.

Click here for exhibition details.


Acts of Live Art at Club 57. Pictured: Larry Ashton. 1980. Photo: Joesph Szkodzinski. Courtesy Joesph Szkodzinski.



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