On View Now: Ellsworth Kelly, Avery Singer, Cecily Brown and More

Degas, Klimt, Magritte, di Chirico and Bacon also make appearances.

A painting of a wide, nude white woman seen from behind looking into a bathroom mirror between a toilet and tub
LGDR’s debut exhibition, Rear View, features exactly what you think it will. 1996-98 AccuSoft Inc.

If you’re an art lover in New York, a visit to the Met Costume Institute’s Karl Lagerfeld exhibition or planning for Frieze Week may be top of mind. But there’s lots more to see exhibition-wise, both in the city and beyond. Whether you intend to stay local or make an impromptu trip, here’s our guide to what not to miss at galleries and museums across the globe right now.

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Rear View at LGDR

New York City

The announcement of the union of powerhouse gallerists Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, Amalia Dayan and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn prompted many to wonder what they’d get up to first. Turns out, the question was more what they’d get behind first. Sorry, but it’s impossible to write about LGDR’s debut exhibition, Rear View, without throwing in a few buns—I mean, puns. Butts are everywhere in this two-floor showing, courtesy of Mickalene Thomas, Urs Fischer, Yoko Ono, Jenny Saville, Barkley L. Hendricks, Carrie Mae Weems and so many more. You really see this foursome flexing their power in the museum-worthy loans: Degas, Klimt, Magritte, di Chirico and Bacon also make appearances. Bottoms up!

Ellsworth Kelly at Glenstone Museum

Potomac, Maryland

A stark white room with a yellow triangle with one rounded side on the floor
Photograph by Ron Amstutz courte

Richard Avedon isn’t the only late great who would have turned 100 this spring. In celebration of Ellsworth Kelly’s centennial, Glenstone Museum—a major American institution spanning 300 acres of Potomac, Maryland—has mounted a career survey charting his immense impact on abstract American art. Spanning seven decades, the nearly 70 works on view include loans from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, London’s Tate, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art and Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton. (The exhibition will travel to the latter institution when its run at Glenstone ends in March of next year.) The undeniable highlight: Yellow Curve (1990), a monumental, nearly 100-square-foot floor painting installation on display for the first time in 30 years.

Josh Kline at the Whitney Museum of American Art

New York City

A Walmart shopping cart full of boxes of what appear to be Pringles tubes and hyperrealistic hand sculptures
Whitney Museum of American Art

The works that make up Josh Kline’s first U.S. museum survey, now on view at the Whitney, span the past decade. And yet, nearly all of them feel of this precise moment. That is, of course, an achievement—but no real surprise for the New York City-based artist, given that he’s dealt with issues such as labor, consumerism and climate change for the length of his career. Prepare for a discomfort about the reality of modern-day society that will linger long after you leave the two-floor showing. Even simply the titles of unsettlingly hyperrealistic works such as No Sick Days (FedEx Worker’s Head with FedEx Cap) and In Stock (Walmart Worker’s Arm) pack a punch.

Steve McQueen at Serpentine Galleries


Forget the coronation: If you’re in London between now and May 10, catching Serpentine Galleries’ final screening of Steve McQueen’s Grenfell should be at the top of your list. The British filmmaker has made it his mission to ensure that the 72 people who died in the 2017 collapse of West London’s Grenfell Tower—and the structural incompetence and corruption that led to such a tragedy—aren’t forgotten. The unflinching film is mostly silent, but a viewing of Grenfell makes that mission accomplished. Can’t make it in time? We’ll soon be getting more McQueen: His four-hour World War II documentary Occupied City premieres at the Cannes Film Festival later this month.

Avery Singer at the ICA


Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art has devoted its third floor to a showcase of Avery Singer—and to the museum’s artistic director, Alex Gartenfield, it’s also a showcase of how the New York-born artist is “creating the future of painting.” She does so by embracing new technology such as 3D modeling software, but the works are just as much about the present as they are about the past. “Unity Bachelor” includes repeated references to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase (No. 2) (1912), as well as a reflection on living in New York in the wake of 9/11 through narrative depictions of fictionalized characters.

Cecily Brown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York City

Can an artist really make abstraction and figuration feel seamless? A visit to the Met’s current showcase of Cecily Brown may convince you that the answer is yes. We recommend taking in the paintings that make up “Death and the Maid” both up close and from afar—and looking up referenced works such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559) mentioned in the wall text—for the full effect. Like the New York Times’s acclaimed critic Roberta Smith did for 23 years, you may have reservations about the British artist; if so, know that Smith’s review ran under the headline I Was Wrong About Cecily Brown.

Hito Steyerl at Esther Schipper


Purple lit terrariums hang from the ceiling in a room that looks like a cave with a window to a lava filled room
Andrea Rossetti

Hito Steyerl’s immersive video environment Animal Spirits was on view relatively recently, but not for long. The influential multimedia artist withdrew it from Documenta 15 amid the influential quinquennial’s antisemitism scandal. Now, it’s back in Steyerl’s first solo exhibition at Esther Schipper in her home of Berlin through May 25. As usual with Steyerl, there’s plenty to do with technology—the video projections, the computer-generated animation, the continued exploration of consumerism (this time noting the rise of cryptocurrency and NFTs). Importantly, there’s also nature. Living plants housed in illuminated glass spheres hang throughout the space, and each will be sold for roughly $2,000 to benefit the construction of a health center in the Syrian women’s village of Jinwar.

Bob Thompson at 52 Walker

New York City

A painting of four single-color nudes riding on a cart pulled by two dark horses in a colorful unreal landscape of hills
Robert Gerhardt and Denis Y. Sus

It’s a tragedy that Bob Thompson’s life cut short at just 28, eight years into his painting career. So Let Us All Be Citizens, on view at Tribeca’s 52 Walker through July 8, will leave you wondering just how much impact the late Kentucky-born artist could have had in the decades following his passing in 1966. (And trust that he’s still had plenty: An accompanying group exhibition at David Zwirner’s London outpost showcases his influence on artists such as Chris Ofili.) Curated by the gallery’s senior director, Ebony L. Haynes, the survey highlights the degree to which Thompson looked back on European master painters—and, in doing so, developed a vibrant style that was distinctly his own.

On View Now: Ellsworth Kelly, Avery Singer, Cecily Brown and More