Basquiat, Mapplethorpe & More: Spring Art Picks

Grandlife guide

Basquiat, Mapplethorpe & More: Spring Art Picks

back to list

Whether you are an art expert or a novice looking for a weekend activity, the art in New York City is among the best in the world. The energy of the art world never seems to cease and this spring promises to be no different. There are multiple exhibitions, art fairs and biennale’s in New York to check out. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites, many of which are yet to open, and included an honorable mention for showstopper Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim.

Basquiat at the Brant Foundation, New York

From March 6 until May 15, the Brant Foundation inaugurates an exhibition and new venue in Manhattan. The foundation, based in Greenwich, CT, was formed to facilitate exhibitions and loans from Peter Brant’s prestigious collection of contemporary art. Their new space located at 421 East 6th Street, is the prior home and studio of artist Walter De Maria who has two permanent installations in SoHo through the DIA Foundation. Opening with a comprehensive survey on the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat organized by Peter Brant and Basquiat expert Dr. Dieter Buchhart, the Brant Foundation has brought the prolific Basquiat home. The artist frequented the downtown scene throughout his brief career and one of his earliest known haunts outside of Washington Square Park, was with a friend on East 12th Street. Renovated by Gluckman Tang Architects, his work fills the 7,000 square feet of exhibition space in what will be one of the most exciting exhibitions of the season.

Robert Mapplethorpe at the Guggenheim

In a two-part exhibition featuring the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe, a series of the late photographer’s Polaroids, collages and mixed media constructions from the permanent collection of the Guggenheim are currently on view. With a focus on portraiture and still-life, Mapplethorpe had a way of exposing his subject through a vulnerability that not many since have been able to meet. Titled Implicit Tensions, the first part of the exhibition opened January 25, and the second part opens July 24, 2019. Already having received a wide variety of attention the first half of the show profiles some of the artist’s best work including a series of self-portraits and images of artist friends including Alice Neel and Andy Warhol. The second half of the exhibition will be composed of contemporary artists who have been greatly influenced by Mapplethorpe both allegorically and technically. Highlights of these artists whose work does indeed have an interesting, engaging dialogue with that of Mapplethorpe include Lyle Ashton Harris, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Catherine Opie.

Whitney Biennial

On May 17, the Whitney Biennial, first introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, will open to the public. Curated this year by Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, the biannual exhibition will feature seventy-five artists. Panetta and Hockley did numerous studio visits in order to select the participating artists and collectives. One of the most important ongoing exhibitions in New York, the Whitney accurately takes the pulse of the contemporary art world, offering a valid representation of artists working across the stretch of the United States. Never without controversy, the show always tends to draw strong criticism, but in the realm of contemporary art and art history, what is an exhibition without true and thoughtful debate?

Hockley, previously of the Brooklyn Museum, is of particular interest as she brings both new and youthful curatorial energy to the mix. Artists to look out for include Agustina Woodgate, Martine Syms, John Edmonds, Calvin Marcus, and Meriem Bennani.

The Frieze Art Fair, Randall’s Island

Frieze New York will once again occupy space on Randall’s Island from May 2-5, showcasing international and local galleries. Galleries to look out for include, Balice Hertling, Paris, The Breeder, Athens, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, Mendes Wood New York, Sao Paulo, and Brussels, Peres Projects Berlin, and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles to name a few. This year also finds Frieze New York collaborating with museum directors and curators including Franklin Sirmans (Perez Art Museum), Courtney Martin (DIA Art Foundation) and Susanna Temkin (El Museo del Barrio). Along with contemporary artists, the fair focuses on formative 20th-century artists as well. Without the need for a compass in hand, it’s possible to visit galleries from all over the world in the comfort and shade of the cavernous tent.

The Armory Show, March 7-10, 2019

Exhibiting 197 galleries from 33 countries, the art fair is a New York staple for collectors from near and far. Divided into numerous sections, two in particular to look out for this year are Focus, with 29 exhibitors organized by Lauren Haynes Curator of Contemporary Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Platform a selection of large-scale artworks by 9 international artists curated by Sally Tallant. Artists in Platform will include Ryan Gander, Xaviera Simmons, and Jessica Stockholder among others. Titled Worlds of Tomorrow, Tallant’s exhibition will present 7 site-specific new works referencing the 1939 New York World’s Fair. “It is through art that we express our hopes and fears, and articulate alternatives and new possible worlds,” stated Tallant. “Artists often speak out for the rights of people on the margins of society and now that we are facing a shift in how those people and margins are defined, we need artists to continue to be brave.”

Honorable mention: The solo exhibition of artist Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim has been an unexpected crowd pleaser. The show titled Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future features a selection of numerous works made during Af Klint’s lifetime, a result of her spiritual and cosmic meditations and research. The artist was ahead of her time regarding her ways of approaching abstraction specifically during a time of the Abstract Expressionists. Closing April 23, the show fills the rotunda of the Frank Lloyd Wright building, inviting all present to go on a metaphysical journey as well as one of art history.

WORDS Katy Diamond Hamer

IMAGES Robert Mapplethorpe, Self Portrait, 1980. Robert Mapplethorpe FoundationJean-Michel Basquiat, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, 1982, © Estate of Jean Michel Basquiat; licensed by Artestar, New York.

Basquiat, Mapplethorpe & More: Spring Art Picks
Jean-Michel Basquiat Arroz con Pollo, 1981, © Estate of Jean Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.
Basquiat, Mapplethorpe & More: Spring Art Picks
Installation view: Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photography David Heald.
Basquiat, Mapplethorpe & More: Spring Art Picks
Meriem Bennani, Siham and Hafida, 2017. Image courtesy the artist. Photograph by Jason Mandella.

You May Also Like

Pastis Restaurant West Village New York

Pastis 2.0: The Rebirth of a New York Culinary Icon

restaurants
stories
Last month saw the bold return of famed French brasserie that closed its doors in 2014. Natasha Silva-Jelly investigates.
Best Outdoor Rooftop Film Series New York City

Films Under the Stars

film
stories
For your viewing pleasure, a roundup of the best outdoor film series at locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the flicks to catch at each spot.
Main Squeeze: Downtown Juice Bars

Main Squeeze: Downtown Juice Bars

food & drink
stories
These local spots serve everything from fresh seasonal juices to organic superfood smoothies.
Feel the Pride: Downtown's LGBTQ Musts

Feel the Pride: Downtown's LGBTQ Musts

art & design
bars & nightlife
entertainment
stories
During World Pride month and even beyond, be sure to check out these six essential, unique, fun, and historically important downtown spots.
Embrace the Heat at these Top 5 Summer Escapes

Embrace the Heat at these Top 5 Summer Escapes

wellness
stories
From Rockaway to Oyster Bay to the easternmost tip of East Hampton—our guide to doing summer right.
New Classics: Gran Tivoli & Peppi's Cellar Open in Nolita

New Classics: Gran Tivoli & Peppi's Cellar Open in Nolita

bars & nightlife
food & drink
music
restaurants
stories
Celebrated Australian restaurateur Jason Scott brings his take on Americana to America with an elevated version of a classic New York bistro and basement bar with live music.
A Sopranos Tour of NYC

A Sopranos Tour of NYC

art & design
bars & nightlife
entertainment
film
restaurants
travel
stories
For the 20th anniversary of the iconic series, we visit the NYC locations featured prominently on the show.  
A GUIDE TO THE BEST ICE CREAM IN DOWNTOWN NYC

A GUIDE TO THE BEST ICE CREAM IN DOWNTOWN NYC

food & drink
stories
Best Rate Promise
Soho Grand Hotel

310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013

(212) 965-3000
The Roxy Hotel Tribeca

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600