This May, our picks of NYC museum exhibitions highlight a wide range of mediums and materials with artists working in assemblage, painting, mixed media, quilts and other crafts, and installations. Exhibitions showcase subject matter that reframes and uncovers previously overlooked or underrepresented histories—including those of Southern African American artists, Afro-Caribbean/Afro-Latina women, and residents on the United States-Mexico border—and narratives of materials and labor. Continue reading for our monthly roundup of the New York City museum shows we’re most excited about.

Schomburg Center: “Firelei Báez: Joy Out of Fire”

May 1 through November 24, 2018

Presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, “Firelei Báez: Joy Out of Fire” is a solo exhibition in the Center’s Latimer/Edison Gallery that aims to reframe the history of significant yet overlooked women.

Firelei Báez, whose work has long been interested in the representation of women, particularly Afro-Caribbean/Afro-Latina women, reimagines important women of color in history in conversation through imaginative portraits. Using reproductions of archival photographs, notes, diaries, letters and manuscripts, Báez showcases women from different eras and walks of life to bring attention to women of color whose contributions have been overlooked or seen as tangential to the work of their male counterparts.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (135th St and Malcolm X Blvd), New York, NY, 10037.

Click here for exhibition details.

New Museum: “Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History” & “Aaron Fowler: Bigger Than Me”

May 2 through August 19, 2018

New Museum will present “Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History” and “Aaron Fowler: Bigger Than Me.”

“Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History” will be the first solo exhibition of the Armenian-Egyptian artist’s work in the United States. Bringing together a selection of recent cut-out paper figures, mixed media works on paper, collage paintings in beehive frames, a large-scale painted sailcloth and hand-painted texts on the gallery wall, the exhibition will showcase Anna Boghiguian’s raw and expressionistic oeuvre that explores economics, philosophy, literature and myth. Throughout her career, Boghiguian has addressed issues such as wars and revolutions, histories of material and labor, the ancient roots of modern imperialism, and her own feelings as an outsider and foreigner through mediums that invoke popular forms of storytelling, such as folk theater, film scripts and pages of books.

Click here for Anna Boghiguian exhibition details.

As part of new series of window installations, Aaron Fowler will present a new installation of his work in the window of the New Museum’s 231 Bowery building. Fowler, who creates elaborate assemblage paintings from discarded found objects and unconventional materials, depicts both imagined and concrete narratives from his personal experience. In portraits of incarcerated family members and friends lost to acts of violence and fantastical scenarios incorporating historical figures, role models and public icons, the artist uses compositional cues from American history paintings and religious iconography in works made of oil and acrylic paint, castoff furniture, iridescent CDS, water bottles, LED lights, sneakers and plastic bags.

Click here for Aaron Fowler exhibition details.

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

The Museum of Arts and Design: “Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care”

May 8 through October 2, 2018

The Museum of Arts and Design will present “Tanya Aguiñiga: Craft & Care,” an exhibition examining art and activism.

Tanya Aguiñiga, a Los Angeles-based artist, creates craft as a medium to generate dialogues about identity, culture and gender, using design as a way to express the political. Her work, which exists at the intersection of fiber art, design, social practice and activism, inquiries into how community is created and how craft, design and materiality play into its formation. The exhibition will feature Aguiñiga’s “AMBOS (Art Made Between Opposite Sides)” series alongside seven other projects from her ongoing design and artistic practice in photographic documentation, radio broadcasts, ephemera, data and an installation. Originally started as a month-long activation at the San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana, Aguiñiga’s “AMBOS” series developed into a long-term initiative that activates sites along the United States-Mexico border. With collaborative art-making and storytelling projects, Aguiñiga records and paints a picture of life along the border at 13 ports of entry. Intended to be completed in 2018, the series has fostered a greater sense of interconnectedness and has become a multifaceted project of documentation, collaboration, activism and exploration of identity.

“La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border,” a thematically linked exhibition, will also be on display.

The Museum of Arts and Design is located at 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019.

Click here for exhibition details.


"Border Quipu/Quipu Fronterizo" by Tanya Aguiñiga, 2016. Recycled dress and bathing suit straps. Variable Courtesy of Gina Clyne Photography.


Bronx Museum: “Dialogues: Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon”

May 16 through July 15, 2018

The Bronx Museum will present “Dialogues: Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon,” an exhibition that highlights the importance of dialog.

The exhibition brings together the work of Tim Rollins & K.O.S. alongside that of Glenn Ligon. Tim Rollins, who passed in 2017, was deeply influenced by the educational theories of Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire and applied them in his own work as a public school teacher combining lessons in reading and writing with the production of works of art in the South Bronx in the 1980s. The resulting sense of pride and belonging among his students, who often felt alienated from the mainstream, became an integral part of his work with these students—K.O.S, the Kids of Survival—which could be seen as sustaining a dialog between members of the group as well as with interlocutors of the past such as W.E.B. DuBois or George Orwell.

Also borrowing from such literary sources as James Baldwin and Zora Neale Hurston, Glenn Ligon’s dialog with noted precursors was essential to his practice. In his work the artist was intent on speaking through the languages of others, as seen in his 1992 series of lithographs, “Runaways.” The exhibition will allow viewers to see parallels and divergences in the work of Tim Rollins, K.O.S and Glenn Ligon, approaching their practices in similar ways but arriving at different results.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is located at 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456.

Click here for exhibition details.


"Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (after Harriet Jacobs)" by Tim Rollins. Courtesy of The Bronx Museum.


The Morgan: “Wayne Thiebaud: Draftsman”

May 18 through September 23, 2018

The Morgan will present “Wayne Thiebaud: Draftsman,” the first retrospective of the artist’s works on paper.

Exploring the full range of his works on paper, from quick sketches to pastels, watercolors and charcoal drawings, the exhibition will showcase Wayne Thiebaud’s prolific career. The California-based artist began his career as an illustrator and cartoonist and later became known best for his luscious paintings of pies and ice creams. With subjects from deli counters to isolated figures, Thiebaud’s work injects poetry and nostalgia into the everyday.

The Morgan Library & Museum is located at 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016.

Click here for exhibition details.


"Nine Jelly Apples" by Wayne Thiebaud, 1964. Watercolor and graphite. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of George Hopper Fitch, B.A. 1932. Photography by Tony De Camillo, © Wayne Thiebaud/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.


The Met Fifth Avenue: “History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift”

May 22 through September 23, 2018

The Met Fifth Avenue will present “History Refused to Die: Highlights from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Gift,” an exhibition featuring work from African American artists of the American South. Diverse in media, technique and subject matter, the works on display are rooted in personal experience and regional identity, featuring common legacies of slavery, post-Reconstruction histories of oppression under the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, and national and international events. The exhibition will showcase the mixed-media art of Thornton Dial (1928-2016); quilts made by artists such as Lucy Mingo, Annie Mae Young (1928-2004) and Loretta Pettway; and other work from artists such as Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett (1965-1988) and Nellie Mae Rowe (1900-1982).

The Met Fifth Avenue is located at 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028.

Click here for exhibition details.


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