What to Watch: Art


“Abstract Expressionist New York,” the Museum of Modern Art, opens Oct. 3

Who knew, or wanted to, that there were once more than 60 Ab-Ex painters in New York? Curator Ann Temkin, apparently, who pulls from MoMA’s substantial 20th-century collection to make a case that the movement was deeper than Janson’s and the like would have you believe. About 300 artworks, in various mediums, are on view in a show that practically shouts (in a masculine, mid-century voice): “Blockbuster!”


Robert Rauschenberg at Gagosian, opens Oct. 29

This is the first show of Rauschenberg’s work that powerhouse dealer Larry Gagosian will stage since wrestling the right to represent the artist (or rather, his estate) from Pace earlier this year. It will take place in the 21st Street space that housed the dealer’s much-praised, museum-quality Claude Monet exhibition last year. Expect all the stops to be pulled out here.


“Modern Life: “Edward Hopper and his times,” The Whitney Museum of American Art, opens Oct. 28

There are many art lovers, familiar with Hopper’s lonely hill and lonely woman and lonely street images, who may skip this show, feeling they’ve seen it all before. These people would be making a mistake. This could well be the strongest show this fall in both curatorial vision and quality of work. The curator, Barbara Haskell, also oversaw the ground-breaking 2009 show of Georgia O’Keeffe that reinterpreted that artist, long dismissed for her postcard-pretty flowers, as a far more interesting abstract pioneer. Here, the Whitney’s collection of Hoppers is rounded out by works by his contemporaries.


“Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, opens Nov. 10

The Met shows off in this exhibition, pulling another blockbuster completely from its own collection. Here, 100 works by three turn-of-the-century (19th, that is) master photographers take over the second-floor photography and drawings galleries.  Interestingly the first photos the Met ever acquired, gifts from the artist, were 22 pictures by Steiglitz.


Art Basel Miami Beach, Dec. 1 (VIP Preview)

The great fair, which has survived the boom and the bust, hits its ninth year. The art world’s Woodstock.


Also on the Radar

“Houdini: Art and Magic,” The Jewish Museum, opens Oct. 29

Houdini, the original performance artist? Many shows recycle the same artists and ideas; this isn’t one of them. This one tells the story of the Hungarian escape artist (son of a rabbi), and juxtaposes some of his never-before-exhibited magic apparatus with artworks inspired by him by artists like Matthew Barney, Petah Coyne, Vik Muniz and Raymond Pettibon.


Peter Greenaway’s “The Last Supper,” The Park Avenue Armory, opens Dec. 2   

Two years ago, the master showman and director staged one of his trademark set piece/happenings at the Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, home of Leonardo’s Last Supper; viewers reported that the figures seemed three-dimensional, and even appared to move. He’ll re-create the event here with a full-size replica of the artwork.


“Jim Campbell: Scattered Light,” Madison Square Park, opens Oct. 21

This ambitious project by the artist/MIT-trained engineer will place nearly 2,000 flickering bulbs around the park; patterns will create the illusion of human forms. Another work, Voices in the Subway Station, provides the soundtrack.


“50 Years at Pace,” ongoing

In any other city, Pace’s salute to its first 50 years, essentially a Cliff Notes four-gallery history of 20th-century art, would be drawing lines. Here, it risks being overshadowed a bit by a strong museum exhibition season. But, though cramped, it holds its own with the best of them, and the whole extravaganza is on view only through Oct. 23.


The International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show, The Park Avenue Armory, opens Oct. 21 (VIP preview)

Miami has Art Basel, but New York has the International. The very tony antiques, art and jewelry fair turns 21 this year. It boasts one-stop shopping for both the newest decorating trends and the people who can afford them: Past shoppers have included Michael Douglas, Martha Stewart, Woody Allen, Oprah Winfrey and Sumner Redstone.

–Alexandra Peers

What to Watch: Art