Uptown, Downtown

No one neighborhood rules the art scene anymore. Here’s a look at a series of fall-show highlights on both the Upper East Side and in Chelsea. Uptown or downtown, it’s just a fast afternoon’s walk through some of the better art in the city.


Raymond Pettibon, “Hard in the Paint”

David Zwirner Gallery

533 West 19th Street

Through Dec. 21


Influenced by the L.A. punk scene (his brother founded Black Flag) and surf culture, artist Raymond Pettibon, of Venice Beach, Calif., tackles all the best taboos in his ink-and-paper drawings: sex, politics, religion and fine literature. His works have earned him a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a string of awards–and a cult following.


Brice Marden, “Letters”

Matthew Marks Gallery

522 West 22nd Street

Through Dec. 23


Brice Marden, now in his 70s, has lived long enough to become an éminence grise of the art world. He has not been influenced by the trends of the day and is unapologetic about it. The large paintings in this show have his trademark graceful squiggles and muted colors. In a back room is the great pleasure of the show: small-scale black-and-white works executed with a moody elegance.


Adrian Piper, “Past Time”

Elizabeth Dee Gallery

548 West 22nd Street

Through Dec. 11


Here, Elizabeth Dee devotes 10,000 square feet of the former Dia building to the works of Adrian Piper, a New York conceptual artist and philosophy professor now living in Berlin. She first became famous for her mid-1960s series LSD Paintings, which pioneered the psychedelic imagery of the time. The exhibition includes a seven-part sculptural series What It’s Like, What It Is #2 (1991), commissioned by the Hirshhorn Museum and not shown in nearly a decade.


Paulina Olowska, “Applied Fantastic”

Metro Pictures

519 West 24th Street

Through Dec. 4


Somehow, Paulina Olowska makes memorable, current art about cold war Poland. The Gdansk-born artist, who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, paints women in the brightly colored, nubby sweaters of her homeland years ago, and commissioned a designer to make the vintage outfits she paints, which are also on view.


Michael Wolf, “i see you”

Bruce Silverstein Gallery

535 West 24th Street

Through Dec. 24


In a version of Rear Window for the 21st century, this photographer snaps the hives and boxes of apartment towers and office skyscrapers, and the tiny people within them. The resulting works convey intimacy captured from a distance.



Damien Hirst, “Medicine Cabinets”


45 East 78th Street

Through Dec. 11


This particular show unites for the first time a series of cabinets Damien Hirst made in 1989, each one inspired by a track off the classic Sex Pistols album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The ultra-clean white gleaming cabinets, filled with drugs, skin products, medicine and remedies, chillingly mix minimalism and Pop Art.


Sam Francis

Helly Nahmad Gallery

975 Madison Avenue

Through November


The Nahmads, three generations of art dealers, are among the biggest buyers and sellers of art in the world, with operations in New York, London, Monaco and Paris. Their rolodex is deep. So when they put together a show of works by mid-century colorist Sam Francis, the works are among his most vivid and historically significant.


John Currin

Gagosian Gallery

980 Madison Avenue

Through Dec. 22


Gagosian’s Chelsea exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg is garnering more attention, but this uptown show is also worth a look. It features new paintings by John Currin, the artist who brought back figurative painting in the 1990s with his voluptuous, caricaturized nudes–acrid takes on Botticelli and the mannerists. 


Modernism + Art 20

Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street

643 Park Avenue

Nov. 11-Nov. 15


This fair turns 25 this year, and organizer Sandy Smith started it when mid-century Modern furniture was considered flea-market material. As prices have escalated, the fair has widened its footprint, and now jewelry, glass and art are also showed off in the few dozen booths on site. It’s a fast walk through 20th-century design history. The opening-night benefit raises funds for the Brooklyn Museum and Planned Parenthood.


Alberto Giacometti, “In Giacometti’s Studio”

Eykyn Maclean

23 East 67th Street, second floor

Through Dec. 18


Eykyn Maclean is a private gallery on the Upper East Side; this is the first show it has opened to the general public since it was founded by two former Christie’s executives in 2006. (Co-heads of the Impressionist and Modern Art department, they made an infamous almost overnight departure to start their own firm.) Here they put on view nearly 100 works by Alberto Giacometti on behalf of the late artist’s family. While he’s one of the most storied, and priciest, sculptors, most of the works aren’t for sale. The ambitious, comprehensive show features five decades of work and documentation.



Uptown, Downtown