Staff Recommendations: Spring art shows


Clockwise from top left, photo courtesy of Piotr Uklański, Skarstedt Gallery, Janette Beckman, Hauser & Wirth.

WSN Staff

As spring is often a busy time for the arts world with new exhibitions and shows opening, the WSN staff recommends art exhibitions for spring 2015.

“Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell”

Located in Chelsea, the “Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell” exhibition presents five major works on canvas from the American artist. The exhibition is on display at Skarstedt Gallery until April 18 and presents artwork with a variety of paradoxical themes, including life and death; religion and sexuality; innocence and experience; good and evil; and heaven and hell. Though Haring is frequently recognized for his artwork with cartoonish figures, “Heaven and Hell” portrays a darker, more aggressive side of him, creating visual contrasts between heavy and light subjects. Haring also has a background in social activism, which “Heaven and Hell” supports through its canvases that stand to make political statements regarding street culture. — Alexa Spieler,  Arts Editor

“Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Selects from the Met Collection”

New York-based photographer Piotr Uklański’s picks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, on view concurrently with his much-deserved first survey, are based around the connection between sex and death in art. Rather than being pretentious, this show is unabashedly kinky and, weirdly enough, illuminating. See a 16th-century beaded ivory rosary with a couple carved into it next to a 20th-century, pop-inflected photograph of a nude woman by Robert Heinecken. Compare a Laurie Simmons photograph of a gun with a Weegee photograph of a crime scene. Uklański’s combinations of images are strange, uncomfortable and, most of all, rewarding.  — Alex Greenberger,  Editor-At-Large

“Fabio Mauri: ‘I was not new’”

Hauser & Wirth present the first major solo exhibition dedicated to the avant-garde Italian artist Fabio Mauri in New York with “Fabio Mauri: ‘I was not new.” In the exhibition, Mauri’s artwork, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, installation art and writing, displays his expressions and explorations into the ideologies associated with the Holocaust, World War II and the rise of Fascism. Consistently displayed throughout the exhibit is Mauri’s dedication to creating artwork that is frequently associated with language and meaning. “Fabio Mauri: ‘I was not new’” was organized with the assistance of Olivier Renaud-Clément and will be on display at Hauser & Wirth’s East 69th Street until May. — Alexa Spieler,  Arts Editor

“Hip Hop Revolution”

The Museum of the City of New York is currently hosting the “Hip Hop Revolution” exhibit, featuring over 80 photographs documenting New York’s old school hip-hop culture. The exhibit, curated by Sean Corcoran, shows photographs that were captured between 1977 and 1990 by Martha Cooper, Joe Conzo and Janette Beckman. It offers insight into the genre’s transformation and evolution, from reveling in the underground scene in Harlem to becoming accepted in mainstream culture. Its depiction of hip-hop culture incorporates the genre’s prevalent elements including DJing, rapping and breakdancing, most of which began in New York City in the 1970s. The photographers’ works depict early hip-hop figures including Run DMC, the Beastie Boys and the Cold Crush Brothers, intending to show hip-hop’s New York roots and its evolution. — Alexa Spieler,  Arts Editor

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 8 print edition.