NYC Spring Museum Shows

From Kahlo to Schiele, a blockbuster season

This season the city’s museum shows offer insights into how artists shape the way we view the world and how the world impacts the lives of artists.


At the Brooklyn Museum, ‘Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving’, offers a sweeping survey of the work, life and times of this most iconic Mexican artist. As well as important paintings, drawings and photographs the exhibition includes personal artifacts and ephemera from the Casa Azul, the home Kahlo shared with her artist husband Diego Rivera.

Items from clothing to nail polish to corsets and prosthetics show how Kahlo carefully crafted her public persona to reflect her identity as a woman artist, a citizen of Mexico, a lover and a semi-invalid who suffered chronic pain. Until May 12, Brooklyn Museum.



Jamaica-born artist Nari Ward’s first New York museum retrospective celebrates the artist’s engagement with his local community. Many of Ward’s early sculptures were created with materials scavenged from buildings and streets in Harlem: baby strollers, fire hoses, baseball bats, cooking trays, bottles, and shopping carts were chosen for their connection to individual lives and stories within the neighborhood.

In his more recent work, Ward directly addresses complex political and social realities that resonate on both a local and a national level, reflecting the profound changes gentrification has brought to Harlem and the increasingly fractured state of democracy in the United States. He uses language, architecture, and a variety of sculptural forms to reflect on racism and power, migration and national identity, and the layers of historical memory that comprise our sense of community and belonging.
Nari Ward: We The People: until May 26, New Museum.


A landmark exhibition at the Neue Galerie explores a golden-age of the self-portrait: the period of 1940-45 in Austria and Germany. This period of socio-political upheaval saw artists turn their gaze inwards to reflect their discordant relationship with the changing world.
Approximately 70 self-portraits by 30 artists will allow for an in-depth examination of the inner soul of the artist, his or her feelings about their creativity and their place in the world. Among important works on loan from public and private collections internationally are paintings by Max Beckmann, Egon Schiele, Felix Nussbaum and Kathe Kollwitz.
Neue Galerie, Feb 28 – June 24, 2019.



The first major survey of Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) in the US in more than 40 years is at the Met Breuer. The Argentine-Italian artist is widely known for his Cuts series, slashed paintings that became symbols of the postwar era. The exhibition presents extraordinary examples of these, as well as Fontana’s early sculpture and his pioneering environments, attempts to integrate the space of art and the space of the viewer.
The Met Breuer until April 14.




From its beginnings in 1932 the Whitney Museum’s biennial exhibition has been the authority on the state of the nation’s art and culture. Curators scour the length and breadth of the US for the most exciting, innovative and relevant work of the moment and the exhibition is always the subject of debate – and often controversy. The theme of this biennial is still under wraps but put the date in your diary!
Whitney Museum from May 17.