Autumn in New York’s art world: Must-see shows across the city


Yayoi Kusama is returning to David Zwirner Gallery this fall for a highly anticipated show of new immersive art. Pictured is an image from a past installation. “Kusama with Pumpkin,” 1998, Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner, and Victoria Miro © YAYOI KUSAMA

Whether you’re more interested in fine art, immersive installations or fashion, there is an exhibit (or three) for you this fall in New York. The weather is finally turning cooler and there’s no better way to spend a beautiful autumn day than strolling museum halls or gallery browsing. The MoMA is reopening after months of being closed, the grande dame of immersive art is returning for a sure-to-be-packed show, and there’s still time to see futuristic fashion designs before the Pierre Cardin retrospective closes at the Brooklyn Museum. We’ve rounded up enough shows to keep you busy until the holidays.


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Fine art that’s also diverse

There’s no shortage of fine art in New York, and in one weekend you could see all the masters if you wanted to. This season’s lineup adds some excitement with fall shows featuring women, POC, and queer artists.

Through November 6, Basquiat, Guggenheim

If you were unable to get tickets to the Brant Foundation’s incredible Basquiat retrospective last year, you’re in luck with “Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story” currently at the Guggenheim. Much smaller than the Brant, this show features 20 paintings examining Basquiat’s celebration and studies of black identity, his stance against police brutality and the visual language of empowerment he strove to create through his art. Guggenheim, 1071 5th Avenue, Manhattan

Through December,She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919-2019,” Gracie Mansion

Visit the mayor’s home to see what sounds like an interesting show consisting of 60 works of art about the persistence of women, featuring some very well-known names: Mickalene Thomas, Guerilla Girls, Alice Neel, and Cecily Brown just to name a few. Plus, you get a tour of Bill and Chirlane’s abode. Gracie Mansion, E. 88th St., Manhattan.

Through December 8, “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” Brooklyn Museum

This exhibition commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and features 28 LGBTQ+ artists born after 1969 whose work speaks to our current political climate. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.

Opening October 21, Betye Saar, the reopening of the MoMA

Recommended in our October Culture Calendar, the reopening of the MoMA (which has been closed for four months) is the season’s most anticipated event. With a new performance space and reconfigured galleries, the museum will hopefully have a better flow for the throngs of people who will be visiting to see the Betye Saar show of haunting prints. MOMA, 11 W. 53rd St., Manhattan

November 21-March 22, “Rachel Feinstein: Maiden, Mother, Crone,” The Jewish Museum

This is the first survey of artist Rachel Feinstein’s work in the US, and examines the idea of “the feminine” as it appears in our collective consciousnes using sculpture, painting, drawing, and video. The Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue, Manhattan.



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Immersive art

If your idea of a perfect museum includes a pop up celebrating Ice Cream or Pizza, you may be interested in experiential installations. These Instagram museums have been churning out the photos and excitement (did you get tickets to the Friends pop up?) but their roots are planted squarely in the art world.

Through November 24, Jacolby Satterwhite, Pioneer Works

Recommended in our October Culture Calendar, this exhibit sounds spectacular. “You’re at Home” is an immersive environment set in a large coliseum featuring digital avatars, mythological creatures, shifting architecture, leather-clad performers, and featuring music sung by the artist’s schizophrenic mother. Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St. Brooklyn.

November 9-December 14, Yayoi Kusama, David Zwirner Gallery

The grande dame of all immersive art, Yayoi Kusama, is widely credited for being ahead of the curve with installations she started creating in the ‘70s featuring polka dots, metal spheres, and other hallucinatory environments. Unlike today’s Instagram surface dream worlds, Kusama’s deeply personal work also reflects childhood trauma and stints in mental institutions. She returns this fall with a new Infinity Mirror Room and other work that New Yorkers will stand in line for hours to see. David Zwirner Gallery, 537 W. 20th St., Manhattan. 

Through January, Arcadia

This actually is a pop-up Instagram immersion, but what sets this apart from the others is its focus on climate consciousness. You’ll “journey” through the earth with Virtual Reality and experiential photo ops while also learning about lifestyle changes that can benefit the planet. We’re game. Arcadia, 718 Broadway, Manhattan.


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We all know that fashion is art. At least the museums across NYC think so, considering the number of star-studded fashion shows at galleries and museums in the last decade. The Met’s Costume Institute shows draw crowds (and money) for the museum, and therefore other institutes have followed suit. Supplement your attendance at Fashion Week with all these “haute” events.

October 21, 6:30pm, “The Atelier with Designer Vera Wang,” Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thirty years ago Vera Wang launched a business that would make her a household name, especially to brides everywhere. This conversation will span from her start as a competitive figurine skater to becoming a Vogue editor and then starting her own line. $40, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium entrance at Fifth Avenue and 83rd Street.

Through January 5, “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion,” Brooklyn Museum

If you haven’t gotten a chance to pass through this show over the summer, there’s still time to get your timed tickets. The retrospective covers the career of futurist designer Pierre Cardin and his high-concept, space-age garments such as illuminated jumpsuits, unisex knitwear and origami-inspired ensembles. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn. 

Through February 23, “The World of Anna Sui,” MAD museum

This show features over 100 looks from the designer’s “rock and roll romantic” archives, and recognizes her part in fashion history with over-the-top narratives that she created with her clothing line. MAD Museum, 2 Columbus Circle, Manhattan.

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