Galleries Get It Right: NYC’s Not-to-Miss Spring Exhibitions Are All Female Solos

Anja Niemi, The Imaginary Cowboy. Steven Kasher Gallery

There’s a veritable surplus of art to see in New York as Armory Week gets underway, bringing nearly a dozen art and design fairs—and all their related events and parties—to the already art-packed island of Manhattan. But there’s no need to brave the frenzied fairs to see some of the freshest work out there. We’ve scouted the fiercest gallery shows on view this week that you can visit, no VIP pass or entry fee required. This year, it seems that New York City galleries have largely chosen to put solo shows by women front and center during Armory week—arguably their most important exhibition dates of the year. Changes in the wind, perhaps? 

Hannah Levy at Clearing Brooklyn
January 21 – March 11

Hannah Levy, Swamp Salad, 2018. Clearing

Levy’s centerpiece for her first show with Clearing is a mesmerizing and mildly pornographic—if not viscerally moving—video of manicured nails digging pearls out of the soft, fleshy bellies of giant yonic oysters, a commentary on the capitalistic fetishization and corresponding exploitation of luxury lifestyles and lady parts. Get in before this one closes, you won’t want to miss being able to weigh in with your take on Levy’s pearl diving during Armory conversations.

Yapci Ramos at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery
January 26 – March 11

Yapci Ramos’s installation at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery. Catinca Tabacaru Gallery

The Spanish artist evokes a kind of primordial ritualism in her new 18-channel video installation, in which she diaristically writes one word once a month for two years, in a red liquid—menstrual blood?—on her bathroom mirror after showering, prompting the question of what means to be cleansed.

Liu Shiyuan at Tanya Bonakdar
February 22 – April 7

Liu Shiyuan’s installation at Tanya Bonakdar. Tanya Bonakdar

The strength of this show is its felt lounge in which the 32-year-old Chinese-born artist covers an entire gallery from floor to ceiling—and on floor and ceiling—with fabric squares in varying shades of flesh-tones. Each is emblazoned with a single sentence describing a unique but unremarkable moment in time or person in passing. Cafe folding chairs and bistro tables in the space invite visitors to sit down and essentially “people watch.”

Sue Williams at Skarstedt Gallery
February 22 – April 22

Sue Williams, Big Red ShoesCourtesy Skarstetd and Artist Skarstetd/Sue Williams

Williams made a name for herself in the 1980s with her figurative, feminist sexual imagery. Her first show at Skarstedt features 15 large format paintings from 1997–98, a transitional time in her formidable career when she moved toward pure abstraction, subverting the male-dominated tradition of AbEx made famous by major mid-century artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko with bulbous, swirling boob forms, gesturally curvaceous lines and bright Pop colors.

Carrie Moyer at DC Moore Gallery and Mary Boone
February 28 – March 22 and March 1 – April 21

Hot on the heels of her inclusion in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Brooklyn-based Moyer is taking New York by storm this spring, with concurrent exhibitions of her kaleidoscopic abstract canvases washed and stained with vibrant colors. Take advantage of this rare two-for-one deal by heading to DC Moore’s “Pagan’s Rapture” and Mary Boone’s “Seismic Shuffle” in Manhattan.

Anja Niemi at Steven Kasher Gallery
March 1 – April 14

Anja Niemi, The Fictional Roadtrip. Steven Kasher Gallery

For her first U.S. solo show, Norwegian photographer Anja Niemi explores the mythic American West. Her latest series of images, “She Could Have Been a Cowboy,” features an anonymous blonde woman decked out in retro western wear, alone save her horse and a map as she braves and arid expanse of land that once beckoned with promises of a manifestly better destiny.

Deana Lawson at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
March 1 – April 7

Another Whitney Biennial stand out from last year thanks to her crisply constructed yet seemingly casual photos of the black lived experience, Lawson’s first show with Sikkema Jenkins & Co. presents a brand new body of work. It’s the outgrowth of the artist’s travels to South Carolina, Swaziland, Jamaica, and South Africa—as well as her explorations of her own Brooklyn neighborhood—in an effort to capture a fragmented black identity across the African diaspora.

Kiki Kogelnik at Simone Subal Gallery
March 4 – April 8

Born in Austria in 1935, Kogelnik moved to New York in the 1960s where she created a unique Pop aesthetic integrating science and technology visual references. Simon Subal’s presentation chronicles the late artist’s work from the ’70s and ’80s, when Kogelnik became active in the growing Women’s Liberation Movement and began exploring the sexist depictions of women in media.

Marsha Cottrell at Van Doren Waxter
March 8 – April 21

Cottrell’s minimalist works—the result of painstaking process using nothing but complex computer codes to create dense, layered printouts using electrostatic printers—explore the crux of contemporary life: sitting in front of a computer all day. The artist’s latest exhibition, “Screen Life,” boasts three large-scale platinum prints, the technology behind which was developed nearly 200 years ago, positing perhaps that our screen-driven culture predates computers.

Barbara Hepworth at Pace
March 9 – April 21

Film still from Figures in a Landscape, 1953. Youtube

One of the few women to rise to international prominence in modern sculpture, Hepworth is the grande dame of modernism—quite literally, since she was knighted by the Queen for her contributions to British art. Featuring 25 sculptures as well as a handful of paintings, Pace’s career-spanning show marks the first presentation of her work in the U.S. in nearly 20 years.

Galleries Get It Right: NYC’s Not-to-Miss Spring Exhibitions Are All Female Solos