Opening: Philip Guston at Hauser & Wirth
Unlike most artists, Philip Guston’s late-career experimentation is what has come to define his legacy; his mid-career abstractions are less known today. This show at Hauser & Wirth, the first Guston exhibition at the gallery, zeroes in on the work the painter made between 1957 and 1967, a decade of Guston’s career that has become unfairly overlooked. Curated by Paul Schimmel, the show charts Guston’s progress as he played with Color Field painting, moved into grid-like abstractions, and came gradually closer to figuration, combining the visual languages of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. You can see Guston culling elements from his peers—Rothko’s floating blobs, Pollock’s wild brushwork—and then making them his own, conjuring dark scenes that resemble stormy weather or sadness. Many feature black forms in a sea of strokes, and they’re called portraits, strangely. As Guston himself once said, “I think the best painting that’s done here is when he paints himself, and by himself I mean himself in this environment, in this total situation.” —Alex Greenberger
Hauser & Wirth, 511 West 18th Street, 6–8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
This show features work created between the 11th and 13th centuries, from present-day Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean. The creators were the Seljuqs, a Turkic empire of Central Asian descent. During their relatively short reign—from 1038 to 1307—economy and culture flourished, accompanied by significant achievements in science and technology. The exhibition will offer 270 objects made of ceramic, glass, stucco, paper, wood, metal, and various textiles, all of which are on loan from public and private American, European, and Middle Eastern collections. Some of these pieces are the first to leave their home institution, and a dozen works from Turkmenistan are the first the country has allowed to leave on an extended loan to an American museum.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 1000 Fifth Avenue, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
Talk: “Neither Here Nor Now” at the Studio Museum in Harlem
To celebrate the publication of Triple Canopy’s book On Value, which came out in January, artists Adam Pendleton and Ralph Lemon and Triple Canopy associate editor Lizzie Feidelson will be on hand to discuss ephemeral art. The book, which Lemon co-edited, came out of a series of talks at the Museum of Modern Art called “On Value,” and it has essays from Claire Bishop, Thomas J. Lax, Yvonne Rainer, and many more. Pendleton, who wrote a piece for the book, will be discussing the idea of how art that ceases to exist can challenge institutional frameworks with Lemon. How can something be exhibited if it only can be seen through documentation? What if print books and essays are really the best way of addressing the problem?
Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, 7–9 p.m. Free with museum admission
Musician, composer, and artist Jason Moran will premiere his first solo exhibition, titled “Staged,” at Luhring Augustine’s Bushwhack space. Comprised of a range of works on paper as well as two large-scale sculptures previously shown at last year’s Venice Biennale, Moran explores the intersection of American history with that of cultural production—namely jazz and art. According to a press release, Moran “provokes the viewer to reconsider notions of value, authenticity, and time.” Moran, as well as several of his collaborators, will perform musical compositions throughout the run of the show.
Luhring Augustine, 25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29
Opening: Ragna Bley at Hester
The trope of abstract painting hinting at bodies is a tired one, but in Ragna Bley’s work, it’s a little more nuanced than that. Washed-out fields of color are usually pitted against off-white backgrounds, causing them to look like specimens under a microscope. Monumental in size and ambiguous in content, Bley’s work evokes a combination of organic and inorganic matter. (In the past, this has been literal—one sculpture she did featured egg yolks on limestone.) For her first U.S. solo show, the young Oslo- and London-based artist will show just a few canvases, all of which are about eight feet tall. Though bigger than viewers (and Bley herself), they still feel grounded—you get the sense that a human really did make them. —Alex Greenberger
Hester, 55-59 Chrystie Street, 12–6 p.m.
Opening: Steve McQueen at the Whitney Museum
For the fifth and final edition of the museum’s “Open Plan” series, which has featured Andrea Fraser, Lucy Dodd, Michael Heizer, and Cecil Taylor, artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen will present End Credits, a documentary on Paul Robeson’s FBI file. Additionally, McQueen will show Moonlit (2016), an original sculpture which will be shown in the United States for the first time.
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m
Opening: Alexander Ponomarev at Richard Taittinger Gallery
Water is the subject in Alexander Ponomarev’s latest show, “Stored in Ice,” at Richard Taittinger. Or rather, ice is. The exhibition, which features installations as well as drawings, examines the Russian artist’s “lifelong research and quest for preserving cultural memory within the undefined terrains of the Antarctic Circle,” according to a press release. Ponomarev is also responsible for the upcoming Antarctic Biennale, which will similarly seek to preserve cultural history in ways similar to the preservation of the earth in the deep ocean seas.
Richard Taittinger Gallery, 154 Ludlow Street, 6–8 p.m.
SATURDAY, APRIL 30
Opening: Leslie Hewitt at SculptureCenter
“I want to push against nostalgia,” Leslie Hewitt once said of her video installations. Though very much about memory, Hewitt’s work never feels like it’s stuck in the past. If anything, her work, which often deals with archives and the nature of photography, remains uncomfortably lodged in the present, a reminder that we have a tendency to remember things in ways that may not correspond to how they happened. For this exhibition, Hewitt will show her most famous work to date—Untitled (Structures), 2012, a two-channel installation featuring silent scenes shot at important sites in the civil rights movement in Chicago, Memphis, and the Arkansas Delta. (Bradford Young, who shot Ava DuVernay’s Selma, did the cinematography and often collaborates with Hewitt.) Here, spaces construct memory, as do certain types of photography, patterns, and surfaces throughout the other works in this show. In Hewitt’s work, one thing’s for sure: images allow us to remember places we’ve never been. —Alex Greenberger
SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves Street, Queens, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Thornton Dial at Marianne Boesky
“We All Live Under the Same Old Flag” marks the first show of Thornton Dial’s work since the artist’s passing this past January. This series of paintings, created across the span of two decades, spotlight Dial’s critiques of contemporary social and political issues including but not limited to poverty, war, and homelessness. According to a release, this show “explores this conceptual and aesthetic transition, and emphasizes Dial’s ability to capture a broader, national consciousness on canvas.”
Marianne Boesky Gallery, 509 West 24th Street, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.