Here Are the 11 Must-See Exhibitions Opening in New York This January

Joan Snyder, Burlap Bars, 2022. Image courtesy of the artist and Canada.

New York galleries and art spaces are offering an embarrassment of riches this month.

Gallery-goers have the chance to experience new painting and sculpture by veteran artists in their 80s who remain committed to pushing boundaries, like Robert Grosvenor and Joan Snyder, as well as defiantly difficult-to-categorize work by younger talents, like Raphaela Vogel and Mika Tajima.

Notably, if you’ve felt fatigued by the glut of painting on view in New York recently, there will be plenty of sculpture, installation, and screen-based work to shake things up. Here is CULTURED’s rundown of the best art New York has to offer in the month of January.  

Robert Grosvenor, Untitled, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Karma.

"Robert Grosvenor"
January 6 - March 2

The enigmatic octogenarian is debuting two new works at Karma: a 12-foot-long wood panel covered in black spray paint and a modified purple automobile with hubcaps and headlights painted black, a missing dashboard, and a key dangling from the ignition. This is the first New York show of Grosvenor—a master of creating surreal, transporting sculptures with surgical precision—since he left his longtime New York gallery, Paula Cooper, last year.  

Tschabalala Self, Ice Cream, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist, Pilar Corrias, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, and the Swiss Institute.

Bodega Run” by Tschabalala Self
January 11 - January 13  
Swiss Institute

Since 2017, Tschabalala Self has explored the humble bodega as a fertile site of the collective imagination of New York's communities of color. To mark the conclusion of the project, the Swiss Institute will transform into a bodega of Self’s creation for three days; the installation will feature new paintings, sculptures, wall reliefs, and, fittingly, a neon sign in the window. 

Raphaela Vogel, I Am Touching (Film Still), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Petzel.

In the Expanded Penalty Box: Did You Happen to See the Most Beautiful Fox?” by Raphaela Vogel
January 11 - February 17

The fantastical, bizarre art of Raphaela Vogel has attracted a cult following in Europe; visitors to the 2022 Venice Biennale may remember her installation of 10 polyurethane giraffes halfheartedly pulling an oversize rolling model of a flaccid penis. This outing at Petzel represents her first solo presentation in the U.S. It remains to be seen how her humorous, confrontational, and genre-defying work will land here, but one can bet it won’t come quietly. 

Artwork by Bonnie Lucas. Image courtesy of the artist and Trotter and Sholer.

Small Worlds” by Bonnie Lucas
January 11 - March 2
Trotter and Sholer

For four decades, artist Bonnie Lucas has wandered craft stores in Lower Manhattan, building up an extensive collection of beads, plastic figurines, fabric samples, ribbons, and other mass-produced icons of girlhood. Then, she slices, disassembles, and reassembles these treasures into masterful pastel-hued assemblages that feel as if they were created by some kind of collective female subconscious. This outing marks her third gallery presentation in a year, suggesting she’s finally drawing the audience she deserves. 

Brian Buczak, Untitled (Figure on Blue, Red Symbol, Man with Knife), 1982. Image courtesy of the artist and Ortuzar Projects.

Man Looks at the World” by Brian Buczak
Through February 17
Ortuzar Projects and Gordon Robichaux

Two galleries with expertise in recontextualizing artists who have been overlooked by the establishment are teaming up to mount the first solo exhibition of the late Brian Buczak since 1989. The artist, who died in 1987 of AIDS-related complications, befriended an older generation of Fluxus pioneers and created paintings that drew from unlikely sources ranging from childhood textbook illustrations to corporate logos.  

Mika Tajima, Sense Object (January 1st, 2023, United States), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery.

Energetics” by Mika Tajima

January 12 - February 24
Pace Gallery

For her first exhibition since joining Pace Gallery in 2022 and her first solo show in New York in eight years, Mika Tajima will present work inspired by such seemingly disparate forces as spirituality, physics, and big data. That unique cocktail might be best summed up by Sense Object (January 1st, 2023, United States), which the gallery describes as “​​a portrait of the national sentiment in the United States on January 1, 2023, compressed within a 5d memory crystal.” The artist used optoelectronics technology to reduce sentiment analysis of data culled from social media posts on that day into 24 small squares inscribed on an optical crystal. 

Joan Snyder, Sub Rosa II, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Canada.

ComeClose” by Joan Snyder 
January 12 - February 24

The American artist Joan Snyder first gained prominence in the 1970s for her so-called “stroke paintings,” in which she clustered a variety of colors and marks onto unprimed canvas. The abstract compositions evoked everything from a raucous gathering of brushstrokes to a musical score. Now 83, Snyder is debuting a new body of work at Canada: layered, textured, richly colored abstractions given heft and earthiness through the addition of burlap, mud, rosebuds, and twigs. 

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #654, 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

"Cindy Sherman"
January 18 - March 19
Hauser & Wirth 

The legendary photographer will present 30 new works at the gallery’s Soho location, which opened last fall—the same neighborhood where Sherman premiered her famous Untitled Film Stills in the 1970s. To create her latest body of work, the artist digitally manipulated her own features and assembled composites of her face that resemble a variety of characters.

Film still by Cauleen Smith, 2023. Image courtesy the artist and 52 Walker.

The Wanda Coleman Songbook” by Cauleen Smith
January 19 - March 16
52 Walker

The downtown spinoff of David Zwirner has a strong track record of mounting must-see exhibitions, and the immersive video installation by the Los Angeles-based artist Cauleen Smith—complete with a special scent component—is likely to be no different. The show explores Smith’s relationship to the poetry of Wanda Coleman (1946-2013), described as the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles. Visitors will have the opportunity to drop a needle on a limited-edition vinyl EP commissioned for the occasion. 

Artwork by Thomas Hirschhorn. Image courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery.

Fake it, Fake it – till you Fake it.” by Thomas Hirschhorn
January 24 - March 2
Gladstone Gallery 

One of contemporary art’s more inscrutable creators, sculptor Thomas Hirshhorn returns for his first solo show at Gladstone in New York since 2017. The Swiss artist, who has a long history of creating complex art in response to history’s great philosophical thinkers, is taking as inspiration a very different source this time around: the bumper-sticker credo popular among Silicon Valley, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” 

Artwork by Theaster Gates. Image courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me” by Theaster Gates
January 26 - March 2
White Cube

The American artist, who has created music throughout his career as a member of The Black Monks, will bring sound to the forefront in his first solo exhibition at White Cube’s New York outpost. A monumental sculptural work titled Sweet Sanctuary, Your Embrace, promises to explore Gates’s relationship to both Black music and mental health.