The One-Stop Option
If you only have time for one stop downtown before summer, make it Zoya Cherkassky’s expansive solo exhibition at the preternaturally on-the-pulse gallery Fort Gansevoort in Meatpacking. “I usually start with some graphic gibberish that only I can understand,” says Cherkassky of her process, translating personal experience—whether her memories or her perspective as wife of a Nigerian emigrant and mother of a mixed-race child in Israel—into sophisticated drawings, which become remarkable figurative compositions. “I call it tuning, removing everything that does not belong there to find the puzzle of body and objects,” she adds.
Her subject matter is a prickly, layered terrain, touching on the Ukrainian-born artist's childhood in the USSR, her husband’s illegal immigration across the Israeli-Egyptian border, and the poignant space shared by both Holocaust survivors and citizens of colonized African nations. “I was a little bit thrilled to see how these works would be accepted in the United States because I know these are sensitive issues,” Cherkassky told me. “But I’m not representing Americans in this show. I’m not American. My husband isn’t American. I bring the story that belongs to my region, where I live now in Israel, and there are so many African immigrants and refugees here. I always tell stories about something that I know personally.”
“The Arrival of Foreign Professionals” is on view through June 3, 2023 at Fort Gansevoort.
Feast Your Eyes
Luckily, you’ve got several more weeks to catch “Xiyadie: Queer Cut Utopias” at The Drawing Center in Soho. Organized by one of last year’s CULTURED Young Curators, Rosario Güiraldes—the newly appointed curator of visual arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis—the show features works by Chinese artist Xiyadie, which translates to “Siberian Butterfly,” a pseudonym that reflects the reality of life in the Shaanxi province, the capital of the ancient art of paper-cutting, where he could not live openly as a queer artist.
Over 30 spellbinding paper-cuts dating back to 1980 hauntingly convey his longing to express queer desire while nodding to traditional folk form, Chinese iconography, and decorative imagery. The result is a celebration of eroticism and fantasy realized through haute craftsmanship.
“Queer Cut Utopias” is on view through May 14, 2023 at The Drawing Center.
The Institutional Critique
From Andrea Fraser to Guillaume Bijl, I’m always a fan of a strong institutional critique, whether of museums or the fair-to-auction pipeline. Peruvian-born multimedia artist Gonzalo Hernandez’s first solo exhibition in New York at Kates-Ferri Projects offers up a new series—AB, short for Art Basel—that shines a light on the randomness of art world stardom and success, all through the lens of 10 Art Basel Miami Beach catalogs from different years that Hernandez bought off Craigslist.
The Miami-based artist incorporates images of fair artwork in his own canvases, an intricate collage of textile and oil paint practice, begging the question: what happens to artists after they reach that supposed Art Basel apex? When he opened the Art Basel Miami Beach catalog from 2002, he was struck by the domination of white male artists which, 20 years on, looked quite dated. “I am talking about the system in general. How does an artist live today?” Hernadez asked me. “As an emerging artist, I’m interested in the ping-pong, up-and-down of the market and how it has evolved.”
“WE WILL HAVE TO TEAR DOWN ALL THESE WALLS” is on view through May 20, 2023 at Kates-Ferri Projects.
Tribeca’s Where It’s At
In a few short years, Tribeca has usurped Chelsea as the city’s arts district and the go-to neighborhood to spend a Saturday afternoon. The trend shows no sign of abating with Timothy Taylor’s freshly opened 6,000-square-foot flagship on Leonard Street. The inaugural exhibition tops my must-visit list with a debut of large, lusciously abstract paintings by Hayal Pozanti.
The works begin with en plein air landscapes that the Turkish artist sketches on her travels or at home in Manchester, Vermont. Over the last decade, Pozanti has honed what she calls “Instant Paradise,” an invented visual system of 31 symbolic shapes that represent numbers and letters in the English alphabet—fast on the rise, she’s an artist to watch closely.
"The World for a Mirror” is on view through May 27, 2023 at Timothy Taylor.
In My Queue
Homelessness in New York has reached levels not seen since the Great Depression. This winter, nearly 22,000 children slept in the city’s main shelter system nightly. Next month, the Coalition for the Homeless will launch its third edition of the Artist Plate Project. Co-founded during the pandemic and curated by New York art maven Michelle Hellman, the program has partnered with nearly 100 of the greatest contemporary artists.
Funds provide emergency food and clothing to the most vulnerable families in the city. This year’s roster is once again an art world who’s-who, launching in-person at Frieze New York with the first 75 editions of each artist’s plate—the rest of the limited series will be available online starting May 22 at Artware Editions. Here’s your chance to own an Anna Weyant, Hilary Pecis, Robert Nava, Louise Bourgeois, Amoako Boafo, and many more. Fair warning: the most sought after designs and hottest names usually sell out quickly.