In this article, we will guide you through the captivating art scene of New York City, highlighting ten unmissable art shows happening this July. As the city awakens from its slumber, galleries and exhibition spaces burst with life, showcasing a diverse range of artistic talent. From thought-provoking installations to captivating paintings, these ten shows will immerse you in a visual feast, offering a glimpse into the pulsating heart of the Big Apple’s artistic landscape. So, grab your notebook and let us embark on a journey through the must-see art exhibitions that are captivating New York this month.
Zizipho Poswa: iiNtsika zeSizwe (Pillars of the Nation)
Zizipho Poswa’s monumental sculptures, often tending towards the modernist, are inspired by the spirituality and traditions of her Xhosa culture. iiNtsika zeSizwe expands on the thematic interests of her first series of major ceramic sculptures, which stacked abstract forms on top of voluminous bases to create totems of female strength and resilience. These works explore the practice of ‘umthwalo’ (load), whereby African women transport heavy items by carrying them on their heads, often walking long distances in rural areas.
Until 3 September
Brittsense: Reach The World, But Touch The Hood First
What does it mean to be remembered? There are our own memories that keep us connected to the past. There is cultural memory that keeps us tied to our ancestors. However, there is also a social memory that uses half-truths, falsehoods, and stereotypes to create a reputation that sticks in the minds of people, isolating communities. Photographer Brittsense’s signature documentary style reconceives societal preconceptions. The result, empowering images that strengthen a sense of identity and community for melanated people. She not only calls our attention to the places and people that are forgotten but the primordial elements that are embodied that are seemingly being lost. This is about more than remembering people but what it means to be a part of a community, a tribe.
Richard Beavers Gallery (richardbeaversgallery)
Until 5 August
Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter
This exhibition offers an unprecedented look at the life and artistic achievements of seventeenth-century Afro-Hispanic painter Juan de Pareja (ca. 1608–1670). Largely known today as the subject of The Met’s iconic portrait by Diego Velázquez, Pareja—who was born in Antequera, Spain—was enslaved in Velázquez’s studio for over two decades before becoming an artist in his own right. This presentation is the first to tell his story and examine the ways in which enslaved artisanal labor and a multiracial society are inextricably linked with the art and material culture of Spain’s “Golden Age.”
The Met (metmuseum.org)
Until 16 July
Onyeka Igwe: A Repertoire of Protest (No Dance, No Palaver)
Through cinema and installation, Onyeka Igwe’s (b. 1986, London) multidisciplinary practice examines little-known historic events by collecting and combining documentary sources including government records, official reports, material artifacts, and personal memory, as well as gesture, voice, dance, and song. This exhibition features a series of three shorts—Her Name in My Mouth (2017), Sitting on a Man (2018), and Specialised Technique (2018)—presented as expanded cinema. The layered structure of Igwe’s films exposes the narrative multiplicities of contemporary life and contests Western ideology’s singular, progressive origin story. Her rhythmic editing style emphasizes the dissonance, reflection, and amplification between image and sound, set within a spatial installation. The principal subject of the film cycle is the 1929 Aba Women’s War, which Igwe first learned about from family lore. Led primarily by Igbo women, the conflict is considered one of the first anti-colonial uprisings in Nigeria and marks a violent episode in the defense of the British Empire. By conceptually recovering the repressed history of this collective act of resistance, Igwe finds, even in the tragedies of the past, new means for understanding the present. The exhibition highlights the artist’s ongoing interest in the relation between physical movement—that is, dance—and protest movements, especially those enacted by women.
MOMA PS1 (momaps1.org)
Until 21 August
Julien Kent: Everyday Life
A self-taught artist in his early twenties, Kent makes imagined portraits of people caught in the complexities of everyday realities, within the scope of the Black experience. Kent sees his work as “sociological studies of human emotions.” Inspired by the visceral qualities of Chaim Soutine’s paintings, Kent creates his images with strokes of thickly applied oil paint forming a dimensional presence.
Charles Gaines: Numbers and Trees: The Arizona Watercolors
Hauser & Wirth Southampton presents a focused exhibition of twelve new watercolors by Charles Gaines. Inspired by cottonwood trees he photographed on a 2022 trip to Arizona, ‘Numbers and Trees: The Arizona Watercolors’ provides an intimate encounter with the systems and processes through which the celebrated conceptual artist develops his constantly evolving ‘Numbers and Trees’ series.
Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirth.com)
Until 30 July
Trevon Latin: TOYMAKER | BIG BLU & THE WEEPING WALLS!!
In TOYMAKER, Trevon Latin builds a digitally inspired landscape that is inhabited by beings in a state of becoming. Interested in world-building from a young age, gaming and cartoons served as a means of escape for the artist. Growing up as a queer person in the South, his own identity was formed as much in online communities as it was in the physical world. Latin began working on TOYMAKER following his return to Houston, Texas. Consequently, the works on view serve as a reflection on childhood and the metamorphoses of aging and self-becoming. In this latest body of work, Latin explores these motifs through characters that transform between childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, while referencing the artist’s own relationship between the virtual and physical.
Until 28 July
Mark Bradford: You Don’t Have To Tell Me Twice
The artist’s first show in New York since 2015 features a deeply personal exploration of the multifaceted nature of displacement and the predatory forces that feed on populations driven into motion by crisis. Primarily known for his unique style of ‘social abstraction,’ Bradford turns his attention toward figures, including his own, of flora and fauna—predators and prey—that move within dense, dreamlike abstracted landscapes, masses of material, color and line.
Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirth.com)
Until 28 July
Senga Nengudi: Spirit Crossing
Between the time of her celebrated Water Compositions (1969–71) and nylon R. S.V.P. sculptures (mid-1970s onward), Nengudi was immersed in her Spirit Flags. These evocative works comprise boldly colored fabrics cut into the form of human- sized silhouettes, which Nengudi then affixed with ropes to the walls and edges of rooms, and even staged outdoors in alleyways and across fire escapes. As the sculptures pick up currents and breezes, they move, animated both physically and in spirit.
Sprüth Magers (spruethmagers.com)
Until 28 July
Denzil Hurley: To be pained is to have lived through feeling
If I were to tell you, in this day and age, that a show of largely monochromatic canvases is absolutely worth your time, some of you might roll your eyes. But the works of the late artist Denzil Hurley would give Clement Greenberg — the critic who notoriously argued that Minimalism was gimmicky and dispassionate — a run for his money. Hurley, who died in 2021, infused emotion into his oil on linen paintings by arranging them into strips, setting them on worn wooden elements, or subtly marking their surfaces; the result is a quiet but powerful visual vocabulary of humanity and feeling. —Valentina Di Liscia
Canada Gallery (canadanewyork.com)
Until 22 July