The New York art exhibitions to see now

From MoMA to the smaller spaces, here are the best New York art exhibitions to catch in May 2024

(Image credit: F.D. Hampson (American, 1871–1947) Panama Hats, from a Sloan-Force Co. Catalogue ca. 1916 Gelatin silver print 7 5/16 x 9 3/16 in. (18.5 x 23.4 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2001 (2001.380.6))

In the 20th century, New York cemented itself as the home of Abstract Expressionism and subversive Pop Art. These days, the city is a canvas for a new school of artists pushing the boundaries of media and holding social justice as their primary message.

World-renowned institutions such as MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, and the Guggenheim continue to draw tourists and art aficionados in equal measure, and leading commercial galleries such as Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Perrotin and David Zwirner all occupy vast square footage, some with multiple locations.

With Manhattan’s art fairs, New York is proving that it remains a powerhouse of creativity, originality, commerce, and connection. Here are the best art exhibitions to see around the city now. Visiting? See the Wallpaper* edit of New York's best design hotels.

The best New York art exhibitions: what to see this month

Wayne Thiebaud: Summer Days

Acquavella Galleries

Until 14 June 2024


(Image credit: Un@tled (Hot Dog), 2019 Oil on board 18 x 20 5/8 inches © 2024 Wayne Thiebaud Founda@on / Licensed by VAGA at Ar@sts Rights Society (ARS), NY)

'Summer Days' traces the artist's career through the decades, from his candy-coloured beach scenes to his capturing of the quotidian, in his trademark nostalgic style.

Anthony Gormley: ‘Aerial’

White Cube New York

Until 30 June 2024

person standing in front of silver grid like structure

Installation view of Antony Gormley, ‘AERIAL’, White Cube New York

(Image credit: © Antony Gormley. Photo © White Cube (Theo Christelis))

New York City itself is an inspiration behind the work that lends its name to Antony Gormley’s ‘Aerial’ at White Cube. The lattice of light but solid aluminium bars invites the viewer in. ‘New York remains, for me, this extraordinary place which has a very clear grid system, but it acknowledges early First Nation pathways that run through it and contradict the absolute grid system, down the cross streets and along the avenues. You feel the wind, you smell the sea view. The light in New York is extraordinary. There's a crispness and clarity,’ Gormley told Wallpaper* arts editor Hannah Silver in an interview ahead of the show’s opening. Upstairs, there’s a chance to see Gormley’s cast-iron Big Double Blockworks (all 2023), connecting stacks of blocks that consider interdependency, the need for human relationships.

'In the Shadow of the American Dream: David Wojnarowicz'

Museum of Modern Art, ongoing

collage picture

(Image credit: Gift of Agnes Gund and Barbara Jakobson Fund. © 2024 Estate of David Wojnarowicz. Photograph by Thomas Griesel)

Wojnarowicz's work has been recontextualised by MoMA, who have presented it alongside his contemporaries from the eighties New York downtown scene including filmmaker Marion Scemama, Donald Moffett, Agosto Machado and painter Martin Wong. Important works here include Wojnarowicz's's 1987 Fire, while Machado’s Shrine is a moving time capsule of ephemera. It includes a ‘Justice for Marsha’ sign, referring to questions around the suspicious death of trans activist Marsha P Johnson in 1992, as well as club flyers and memorial service cards.

Writer: Lauren Cochrane

‘The Real Thing: Unpacking Product Photography’ 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Until 4 August 2024


Image credit: ringl + pit (Grete Stern, Argentinian, born Germany 1904–1999; Ellen Auerbach, German, 1906–2004) Komol 1931 Gelatin silver print 35.9 x 24.4 cm (14 1/8 x 9 5/8 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987 (1987.1100.460). © ringl + pit, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery)

(Image credit: © ringl + pit, Courtesy Robert Mann Gallery)

Comprised of more than 60 works from the first century of photo advertising (beginning in the 1850s), the images in ‘The Real Thing: Unpacking Product Photography’ were pulled solely from the Met’s own collection in New York – a constraint that helped set parameters says curator Virginia McBride, noting that it is not a complete history of commercial photography – and most of the pieces have rarely been publicly exhibited. The curator was keen to rectify this, she says, and moreover she was curious to unpack their role in shaping the visual language of modernism, as the show endeavours to do.

Writer: Zoe Whitfield

‘Harold Cohen: AARON’

The Whitney, until 19 May 2024


Harold Cohen, screenshots from AARON KCAT, 2001. Artificial intelligence software, dimensions variable(Image credit: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Digital Art Committee 2023.20. © Harold Cohen Trust)

(Image credit: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Digital Art Committee 2023.20. © Harold Cohen Trust)

To dismiss the role of the artist in the increasingly frenzied conversations around artificial intelligence (AI) is to bypass swathes of art history which put man on equal footing with machine. For artist Harold Cohen, who developed the first AI artmaking programme in the late 1960s, AARON, the resulting creativity stemmed from an equal collaboration between the programme and the programmer. Drawing directly from rules coded personally by the artist – unlike today’s software, which gathers information from existing imagery, guided by prompts from the user – Cohen’s AARON machine software is an artwork in its own right.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Vivian Grevan: ‘When the Sun Hits the Moon’

Perrotin, Until 23 May 2024

blue pictures with clouds

Vivian Greven. X XIX, 2024
(Image credit: Photographer: Ivo Faber. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin)

(Image credit: Photographer: Ivo Faber. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin)

What does it mean to live in a world organised by the cosmos? A world structured not by humans, not by machines, but by natural forces? Through a distinct painterly style blending technical precision with the layered effects of peering into digital screens, artist Vivian Greven addresses questions like these and more. She dives into Greco-Roman art history to mine the depths of and myths surrounding ancient sculptures; to mirror our existence on a cosmological scale; to reimagine what it means to occupy a body – and this world – today.

Writer: Emily McDermott

Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys

The Brooklyn Museum, until July 7 2024

Amy Sherald 'Deliverance' as part of GIANTS exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum

(Image credit: Amy Sherald's 'Deliverance' courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum)

Alongside their combined sixteen GRAMMY awards, New York power couple Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys are avid art collectors and fierce supporters of Black creatives. Here, for the first time, work from the pair's impressive and sizeable personal collection is on display at the Brooklyn Museum, celebrating Black diasporic artists: nearly forty “giants” of the art world, including Nina Chanel Abney, Derrick Adams, Jordan Casteel, Barkley L. Hendricks, Esther Mahlangu, Gordon Parks, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, and Kehinde Wiley, among others.

Writer: Charlotte Gunn

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.