Best Summer Gallery Group Shows in New York

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It’s officially summer in New York City, and that means one thing: group shows.

Before you head for the Hamptons, consider the appeal of a quality group show; there’s a curatorial vision, a thought-provoking theme, and a chance to see several up-and-coming artists all in one place. But, perhaps you’ll want to take a tip from Robert Hughes, “Never go to openings,” the irascible critic told Simon Schama. “It’s just white whining. Go when a show is being installed or with the public.”

Either way, the shows below should provide a list of not-to-miss spots this summer.

1. “Abstraction” at Robert Miller Gallery
Featuring seasoned names like Yayoi Kusama, Lee Krasner, Al Held, Paul Jenkins, and Milton Resnick, this show of dynamic abstract paintings is one of the season’s most buzzed-about. While Kusama enthusiasts will prefer her “Obliteration Room” down the road at David Zwirner, we appreciate this show’s pared-down aesthetic and emphasis on showcasing a variety of paintings.
Abstraction” is on display at Robert Miller Gallery from June 4–July 31.

2. “Old Truths & New Lies” at Rachel Uffner Gallery
Curated by artist Mae Fatto, who notes in a press release that she “just wanted to do a show that felt like the antithesis of a white male abstract painting show,” Uffner’s exhibition is full of up-and-coming young artists ready to thwart the white cube aesthetic. Fatto has also installed a kiddie pool filled with floating flamingos in the backyard of the gallery.
Old Truths & New Lies” is on display at Rachel Uffner Gallery from June 7–July 31.

3. “Inside the Episode” at Launch F18
Photographer and artist Jack Pierson assembled this massive roster of 19 artists from a variety of mediums and generations, all of whom are unrepresented by commercial galleries in New York. According to a press release, “for many of the artists, this will be the first time their work is seen, and for some, the first time in a while.” Let’s see what we’ve all been missing, shall we?
Inside the Episode”  will be on display at Launch F18 from June 20–July 26.

4. “The Written Trace” at Paul Kasmin Gallery
Ariella Wolens curates this show of text-based art by John Baldessari, William N. Copley, Ed Ruscha, Deborah Kass, and others. The focus is on the “indefinable aspect” of text in an art context, which communicates its intentions purely through sight, removed from signification.
The Written Trace” will be on display at Paul Kasmin Gallery from June 25–August 14. 

Karl Wirsum, Show Girl I, 1969. Courtesy Karin Tappendorf/RISD.

5. “What Nerve!” at Matthew Marks Gallery
“What Nerve!” is an overview of alternative figures in American art from the 1960s to today, and will take over all three of the gallery’s West 22nd Street locations, providing ample space for a museum-quality survey. Sounds to us like it could be a worthy companion to an afternoon at the new Whitney museum nearby.
“What Nerve!” will be on display at Matthew Marks Gallery at 502, 522, and 526 West 22nd Street from July 8–August 14. 

6. “Not a Painting” at The Hole
This thought-provoking group show is comprised of works that may feel like paintings, look like paintings, and can even be analyzed with the same tools as paintings, but are actually hybrid forms. The works by Adam Parker Smith, Bob Eikelboom, Evie Falci, Evan Robarts, and others exist in the puzzling, problematic, and increasingly popular space between contemporary sculpture and painting.
Not a Painting” is on display at The Hole from June 9–July 26.

7. “Ordering Nature” at Boesky East
If you’re craving a taste of the natural world but can’t seem to make it out of the concrete jungle, this is the show for you. Nine artists will address the age-old theme of man’s relationship to the natural world, beginning with organic materials that are transformed through human constructs. Boesky will also host a summer group show in their Chelsea location.
Ordering Nature” is on display at Boesky East from June 12–July 31.

Laurie Simmons, Cowboy Pattern (1979). Photo: Venus Over Manhattan.

8. “Rawhide” at Venus Over Manhattan
Co-curated by Dylan Brant and Vivian Brodie, Venus Over Manhattan’s summer group show boasts cowboy-inspired works from a truly impressive roster of artists including Mike Kelley, Richard Avedon, Rob Pruitt, Richard Prince, Cady Noland, Ed Ruscha, and Robert Mapplethorpe. But then again, what else would you expect from a Brant brother?
Rawhide” is on display at Venus Over Manhattan from May 9–July 11.

9. “Bad Boy Bail Bonds Adopt a Highway” at Team Gallery
Team Gallery is bringing the best of the Los Angeles art scene to New York with this show of 14 LA-based sculptors, painters, photographers, and videographers. Curated by Amanda Ross-Ho, the show will span both gallery spaces.
Bad Boy Bail Bonds Adopt a Highway” will be on display at Team Gallery from June 28–July 31.

10. “The Daily Show” at Bureau
“The Daily Show” features 19 individual artists and collectives, each of whom are given one day to fully take over the space. Participating artists include Cory Arcangel, Dynasty Handbag, Ellie Ga, Alex Hubbard, and C. Spencer Yeh. See the gallery website for the full schedule.
The Daily Show” will take place at Bureau from June 26–July 31. 

11. “Yale MFA Painting and Printmaking Graduates 2015” at Garis & Hahn
Garis & Hahn is hosting a group exhibition of 21 grads from Yale, one of the most prestigious MFA programs in the nation. Curated by critic and professor David Humphrey, the show will include painting, sculpture, and video, and is another opportunity for a glimpse at the movers and shakers of tomorrow.
“Yale MFA Painting and Printmaking Graduates 2015” will be on display at Garis & Hahn from July 1–August 8. 

Michael Portnoy, Kolachrome A (2014). Photo: James Cohan Gallery.

12. “All Watched Over” at James Cohan Gallery
Inspired by Richard Brautigan’s 1976 poem “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” this exhibition “brings together a group of artists who apply systems to and in their work…with the promise of a cybernetic techno-utopia as its backdrop,” according to a press release. Curated by Tina Kukielski, the 14 artists transform the kind of data that defines our modern existence into an array hidden messages, unifying theories, and complex diagrams.
All Watched Over” will be on display at James Cohan Gallery from June 25–August 7. 

14. “Freedom Culture” at the Journal Gallery
One of Brooklyn’s most beloved art spaces, the Journal Gallery’s summer exhibition will juxtapose text-based painting and figurative sculpture in an attempt to better understand these two distinct modes of artistic communication. Curated by Graham Collins, the show features work by Jack Pierson, Huma Bhabha, David Shrigley, Elizabeth Jaeger, and several others.
“Freedom Culture” will be on display at The Journal Gallery from July 1–August 9.

14. “New Dominion” at Mixed Greens
Conceptualized by Lauren Ross, curator of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, “New Dominion” will feature a selection of eight artists currently working in the Richard, Virginia area. With subtle nods to the community’s past, present, and future, it’s an easy way to get a sense of another city without ever having to leave your own. While there, don’t miss Sonya Clark’s Confederate flag piece, Unravelling.
New Dominion” is on display at Mixed Greens from June 11–July 17. 

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