May in New York is chock-full of art fairs and arts programming, and the city’s galleries and museums are keeping pace by bringing the heat. This month, Hélio Oiticica’s radical plans for an immersive outdoor sculptural installation designed in 1971 are finally realized; intertwined corporeal shapeshifters Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge are honored with their first major posthumous solo exhibition; And six decades of Cecilia Vicuña’s work across media will be on view in — bafflingly — her inaugural New York museum solo show. Enjoy and be safe.
When: through May 21
Where: 47 Canal (291 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, Chinatown, Manhattan)
In their 16mm film of paper butterflies ablaze in a community garden alongside the FDR not far from the Chinatown gallery, collaborators Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho explore diasporic resilience and the reclamation of autonomy through communal cultivation of land otherwise used for capitalist purposes or considered architectural dead space. Signaling regeneration, the diaphanous butterflies also appear in the gallery space with skulls, all made from paper composed of organic material such as onion skins, cherry blossoms, and banana peels.
When: through May 27
Where: Alexander and Bonin (59 Wooster Street, 2nd Floor, SoHo, Manhattan)
Willie Cole, whose found-object assembly can also be viewed in the Afrofuturist period room Before Yesterday We Could Fly At the Met, presents sculpture made from repurposed musical instruments as part of Yamaha’s recycling program, along with several works on paper featuring high heels. As he deftly transforms guitars and pianos into elephants, dogs, and birds, Cole also explores the visual resonances between musical instruments and the instruments of slavery. Sales of work will benefit the music department of the public high school attended by the artist, Arts High in Newark.
When: through May 27
Where: Berry Campbell (530 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Nanette Carter first encountered Mylar in architectural drawings in the mid-1980s. Since then, frosted Mylar sheets have become the artist’s medium of choice, as she constructs cantilevered collages by painting and printing directly onto irregular shapes cut from the material. This show of recent collages, including sweeping examples from the artist’s Destabilizing and Shifting Perspectives series, hammers home that Carter is not only a painter concerned with color, texture, and dynamism but also a builder with an interest in balance, weight, and gravity.
When: through June 4
Where: MOTHER (368 Broadway #415, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Taking its title from Donna Haraway’s 2003 book on interspecies kinship, Emilie Louise Gossiaux’s exhibition Significant Otherness explores the intimate relationships between — and the fundamental enmeshment of — humans and animals. Gossiaux makes ceramic renderings of objects of importance to her guide dog London, both apart from and in direct relation to herself; pen-and-crayon drawings depicting coexistence among and tension between species, including the alligators with which the New Orleans-born artist identifies; and hybridized ceramic figures that merge canine or alligator characteristics with human ones.
When: through June 4
Where: Lehmann Maupin (501 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Breaking down divides between the street, the studio, and the gallery, Ward incorporates found materials from his Harlem neighborhood into these recent works. Among the exhibition’s offerings are a large-scale installation with still life arrangements atop step ladders, wall-bound shoelace-based text pieces that reference Claude McKay’s powerful 1919 poem “If We Must Die”, and large copper panels that are patterned off the crosses that form on sidewalks and feature material derived from the street memorials that became particularly prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When: through July 1
Where: 52 Walker (52 Walker Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
Opening on the heels of the Amsterdam-based artist’s performance-publication pool 5 at MoMA, Nora Turato’s first US gallery solo show builds upon her project of denaturalizing our daily deluge of language and typography. Treating words as found objects or sculptural material, Turato paints decontextualized snippets of language — culled from sources including social media posts and exhibition press releases — onto multipart steel panels or directly onto the gallery wall. The artist boldly flouts a modern typographic logic of uniformity and legibility with an irregular typeface made especially for the exhibition.
When: through July 10
Where: Pioneer Works (133 Imlay Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn)
In their multi-year Pandrogyne project, artists and lovers Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge underwent a series of bodily modification operations to fuse into BREYER P-ORRIDGE. We Are But One, the pair’s first major exhibition since Genesis died in 2020, features photographs, sculptures, and works on paper linked to this ambitious undertaking, as well as an elaborate shrine installation created by Genesis’s daughter, Genesse P-Orridge. On May 26, Pioneer Works will screen archival footage selected by Jacqueline Castel, director of an forthcoming documentary on an occult and chaos magic fellowship of which Genesis was a founding member.
When: through July 30
Where: Storefront for Art and Architecture (97 Kenmare Street, SoHo, Manhattan)
The brainchild of artist Miguel Fernández de Castro and anthropologist Natalia Mendoza, The Absolute Restoration of All Things Address the ecological devastation caused by mining in the Sonoran Desert, local communal land holders’ efforts to hold the miners accountable for restoring the damaged ecosystem, and, ultimately, the legal limitations of land rights. Revolving around a court case, the pair’s collaborative inquiry manifests in a film, photographic mural, found mining objects, diagrams, and ephemera at the SoHo gallery — and further afield, a small sculpture in a decommissioned mine in the Sonoran Desert.
When: May 14–August 14
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Queens)
Not long after his arrival in New York City, Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica designed, but did not realize, an immersive outdoor installation for Central Park, the Subterranean Tropicália Projects (1971). A version of the circular structure “PN15” — a maquette of which was recently on view in the first circular leg of This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965–1975 at the Americas Society — will finally be built outside at scale at Socrates Sculpture Park, giving viewers the opportunity to experience Oiticica’s radical vision of a plant- and projection-filled space devoted to shared creativity and leisure.
When: May 27–August 22
Where: Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
For her first New York museum solo show, Chilean-born artist, poet, and activist Cecilia Vicuña will present six decades of work ranging political from surreal figurative paintings to film featuring herly pointed Palabrarmas (“word weapons”), or visual anagrams. The exhibition’s centerpiece will be a site-specific, three-part knotted Quipu installation, part of a poetic series of works that mourn ecocide and reference ancient record-keeping practices in the Andes. This installation will be the site of a one-time participatory performance aimed at fostering collective healing.