Sotheby’s Magazine

Gearing Up for New York's Delightfully Art-Filled Autumn

By Gareth Harris

T he art scene in New York never slows down and visitors can sample a whirlwind of exhibitions, fairs and auctions across Manhattan this autumn and winter. The Whitney Museum of American Art’s vast monographic exhibition dedicated to Andy Warhol – the first organised in the US since 1989 – will be a talking point, but Tintoretto and Bruce Nauman blockbusters will also be a draw. Meanwhile, more than 90 international galleries, ranging from antiquity specialists to Old Masters dealers, are participating in the third edition of the prestigious art fair Tefaf New York Fall at the Park Avenue Armory (27–31 October). For art lovers on the move, there’s still time to catch the latest contemporary art commissions gracing the High Line, the elevated former train track transformed into a public park. The prominent UK sculptor Phyllida Barlow is showing Prop, a typically brutalist piece comprising two large concrete panels which stands on a railway spur at 16th Street.

TEFAF New York Fall at the Park Avenue Armory in 2017.
Maxine Helfman, Historical Correction, 2012, from Elle Shushan at TEFAF.

Abstract Thinking

Jackson Pollock, Number 28, 1950, 1950. Courtesy: Jonathan Muzikar. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Werner and Elaine Dannheisser.

Art titans and less well-known figures come together at the Met Fifth Avenue in an ambitious analysis of abstraction. “In varied ways, Epic Abstraction suggests the long and rich legacy of Abstract Expressionism, an unavoidable touchstone for much of the art that followed,” say the organisers. Major works such as Jackson Pollock’s Number 28, 1950 and Louise Nevelson’s Mrs. N’s Palace, 1964–77, are shown alongside others by under-the-radar names such as Judit Reigl, the Hungarian painter known for her Mass Writing (Écriture en masse) series, 1959–65. A room full of Rothkos provides a contemplative oasis for visitors, who can also savour Mark Bradford’s Duck Walk, 2016. “The reduced colour palette, monumental scale and jagged contours of [Bradford’s] work all refer to Abstract Expressionism,” according to the Met’s online catalogue.

Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, opens 17 December.

Time for Tintoretto

Jacopo Tintoretto, Portrait of an Elderly Bearded Man, Head and Shoulders, circa 1570. Courtesy: Private collection JT.008.

The Venetian painter Tintoretto has been overlooked for much of the 20th century, but a string of shows this year celebrating the 500th anniversary of the artist’s birth has returned him to the spotlight. Curators at the Met are focusing on a little-known aspect of his practice: small-scale informal portrait heads, which are drawn from US and European collections. “The paintings on display are heads or bust-length studies. They are profound and sometimes startlingly modern explorations of individual characters of real psychological penetration,” says Andrea Bayer, the Met’s interim deputy director for collections and administration. The show features 22 works in total, and explores the complex working relationship between Tintoretto and his son Domenico. The drawings reveal the ways their artistic practices converge and diverge, says Alison Manges Nogueira, associate curator in the Robert Lehman Collection. “For both artists, the dramatic expression of the human form was of central concern.”

Celebrating Tintoretto: Portrait Paintings and Studio Drawings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 16 October–27 January 2019.

Unfolding Nauman

Bruce Nauman, White Anger, Red Danger, Yellow Peril, Black Death, 1984. Artwork: 2018 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: 2018 The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

A touring retrospective of works by Bruce Nauman, the man considered the grandfather of conceptual art, arrives in New York after a stint at the Schaulager in Basel. Spanning more than 40 years, the show proceeds chronologically, featuring seminal pieces such as the immersive installation Contrapposto Studies, i through vii, 2015–16, and the neon work Sex and Death by Murder and Suicide, 1985. “The emphasis on Bruce’s extraordinary agility on paper remains: the New York presentation includes 75 drawings and prints from all phases of the artist’s career,” says co-curator Kathy Halbreich. How does this show differ from the 1994 retrospective also co-organised by Halbreich? “I think there is a greater emotional range,” she says. “That was purposeful, but also simply a matter of how life unfolds, or at least how Bruce’s has.”

Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 21 October–18 February 2019; MoMA PS1, New York, 21 October–25 February 2019.

Getting There

For visitors travelling from afar, Sotheby's private aviation partner Sentient Jet can provide a seamless, customized experience to ensure you maximize this art-packed season in New York. Visitors are welcome to visit to enquire.

More Exhibitions to See

Sarah Lucas, Get Hold of This, 1994. Photo: Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel
New Museum, until 20 January 2019
The Young British Artist brings her brand of surreal and sexual art to the New Museum for her first survey show in the US. More than 150 works are on display, including the famous 1996 image Self Portrait with Fried Eggs and biomorphic sculptures such as the stuffed-stocking Bunnies, 1997–ongoing, and pieces from her Penetralia series, 2008–ongoing.

It’s alive! Frankenstein at 200
Morgan Library & Museum, 12 October–27 January 2019
The story of Frankenstein, the monster created 200 years ago by Mary Shelley that has seeped into the public consciousness, is told at the Morgan Library in an exhibition of artworks, publicity stills, comic books and movie memorabilia, including portions of the original manuscript and Henry Fuseli’s 1781 masterpiece The Nightmare.

Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome
The Frick Collection, 31 October–20 January 2019
Silver plates, tureens, salt cellars and other tableware by Luigi Valadier feature in this wide-ranging survey that reflects the 18th-century Italian silversmith’s technical innovations. The exhibition also demonstrates how he dabbled in different styles, from Baroque to Rococo.

RH Quaytman: + x, Chapter 34
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, 12 October–3 February 2019
The US artist RH Quaytman presents a new group of paintings in conjunction with a selection of works by Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). “In these new paintings, Quaytman engages [with] the Swedish artist’s aesthetic language and spiritually charged subject matter,” the organisers say.

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