Summer is finally here, and while it may be one of the hottest years in history – after last year and the year before – New York art organizations are keeping their cool. This month’s highlights include colossal sculptures along the East River, spectral pottery in South Brooklyn Cemetery and an archive of the city’s radical underground currents. Here are our best recommendations for June.
When: until July 3
Where: Catacombs at Green-Wood Cemetery (500 25th Street, South Slope, Brooklyn)
This was said by the first permanent artist of the Green-Wood Cemetery New Yorker in 2020 that her new installation was inspired by the Khan dynasty funeral ceremonies practiced by her own family. In collaboration with local Chinese funeral homes, she creates works of clay and chains that resemble jade garments worn during Taoist rituals. Emerging from the ceiling and floor of the dark, cool catacombs, Lau’s sculptures are sublime and unearthly.
When: until July 30
Where: Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space (88 Essex Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
With reproductive rights at risk, Ani Liu’s postpartum installations – made with breast milk, formula, diapers, pumps, toys and artificial intelligence – draw attention to the materiality of raising children in a highly privatized and automated public sphere. Located downstairs at Essex Market, Ecology of care translates the artist’s own maternal love into a broader reflection on the underestimated work of parenthood.
When: until August 21
Where: Interference Archive (314 7th Street, Slope Park, Brooklyn)
The Interference Archive examines how New Yorkers have historically achieved and defended public ownership of urban spaces. The gallery’s latest exhibition in Brooklyn collects archival material from neighborhood care and solidarity networks, many of which grew out of conversations between neighbors and colleagues. Our streets! Our city! describes in detail the radical origins of public gardens, food banks and public housing initiatives as a critique of top-down city government planning strategies.
When: until November 27
Where: Brooklyn Bridge Park (334 Furman Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn)
The new group exhibition of the Public Art Fund next to the Brooklyn Bridge examines how a waterway connects all of Africa with New York. Black Atlantic brings together site-specific installations by diaspora artists such as Leila Babirier, Hugh Hayden, Dozi Kanu, Tau Luis and Keen Williams. Located just opposite the original Wall Street slave market, the towering works stand as monuments to black self-determination and challenge Brooklyn people to engage in their own history.
When: until June 19
Where: 56 Henry (105 Henry Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Lakella Brown’s latest exhibition at 56 Henry focuses on the concept of “second growth” or what blooms from an unnaturally clean landscape. All-white sculptures and plastic reliefs are in the form of still lifes depicting vegetables of African heritage such as okra and corn. These compact works seem to merge with the walls of the gallery, listening to the types of avoidance during and after slavery – the very mass eradication event – which guarantees cultural and spiritual self-preservation.
When: June 4 – September 11
Where: New York Botanical Gardens (2900 South Boulevard, Bronx)
Food justice is at the heart of recent discussions on global supply shortages. As such, the New York Botanic Gardens explores the diaspora origins of ordinary household foods through planting and cooking traditions that date back thousands of years. Botanical research from the Bronx Gardens is combined with a series of tables painted by local artists such as Andre Tren and tapestries by Colombian artist Lina Puerta, connecting our favorite cuisine with the people who make it possible.
When: until July 9
Where: Yi Gallery (254 36th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
Sunset Park is much more than a tragic headline, and Kate Casanova’s bizarre exhibition of sculptures is reminiscent of her highlights. Colored, misty shapes of paper clay and plaster are twisted into knots next to hanging tapestries of hand-dyed fabric. Like the ancient Greek perceptions of the four humors, these pseudo-anatomical works emit shades of orange and pink, referring to the major organs that guide our sense of judgment.
When: June 9 – August 25
Where: Korean Society (350 Madison Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan)
Heeseop Yoon works best under stress, often creating his very detailed and mesmerizing murals in one fell swoop. Her new exhibition, Agglomeration, finds her in charge of an entire gallery of Korean society with monochrome still life drawings that incorporate architectural elements of major American cities. These huge, multidimensional works stretch across the ceiling, walls and floors, capturing the disturbing entropy of the city’s growth.
When: until June 25
Where: Jeffrey Deitch, New York (18 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan)
Based on a poem by Jenny Lim, The miracle woman seeks to find common ground between women and non-binary artists in the Asian diaspora. Collecting figurative works by 30 artists, including Chitra Ganesh, Melissa Joseph and Maya Cruz Palileo, curator Katie Huang draws on history, fiction and personal experience to foster this dialogue amid an epidemic of anti-Asian violence. Many artists collaborate in various American cities, making The miracle woman an expression of their solidarity.
When: until June 26
Where: AIR Gallery (155 Plymouth Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn)
Dumbo’s AIR Gallery recently unveiled three new solo exhibitions focusing on language, memory and intergenerational trauma. Yvette Druri Dubinski and Zazu Swistel create mixed media focused on isolation and political unrest in the COVID-19 era. Meanwhile, for her first exhibition in New York, Maya Jefferies examines the orientalist fantasies of 19th-century European women through an experimental video installation, questioning the links between patriarchy and racial exoticism.
When: until June 16
Where: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (521 West 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
For more than four decades, Ernesto Neto has created immersive, socially-minded installations influenced by mid-century Brazilian avant-garde artists such as Helio Oitisica and the concept of biomorphism, in which architectural design resembles organic life forms. Colorful carpets, crocheted sculptures and living plants adorn many floors of the gallery in Chelsea as a whole ecosystem or just a cell under a microscope. The artist encourages viewers to take off their shoes and stay for a while and maybe meditate on our place in the universe.
When: June 2-5
Where: Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, Queens)
This year’s Other Arts Fair continues to offer an alternative to the ubiquitous trade fairs, many of which have overtaken Manhattan in the past two months. His first iteration at the Knockdown Center in Queens will be the dumping of white-walled galleries and VIP ropes to reflect New York’s larger population, with more than 130 independent artists working to overcome the industry’s barriers to entry.