November is upon us, which means it’s once again time to commemorate a settler holiday and undergo some unsettling midterm elections. Rather than linger on present tensions, however, the city’s art spaces are reflecting on the last year of programming and looking ahead to 2023 with exhibitions dedicated to the abolitionist roots of skateboarding, traditions of community organizing in Brooklyn, and the Indigenous roots of Latin American art. Stay warm, New York, and don’t let Daylight Savings get you down!
Chinese-American photographer Baldwin Lee is widely known for portraits and landscapes from the rural South. In a new retrospective, Howard Greenberg Gallery highlights his commitment to unearthing post-Reconstruction disinvestment in Black communities. Workers, families, and childhood friends congregate in Lee’s expansive frames, occasionally juxtaposed with towering symbols of state power and often in dismal living conditions. Many of them gaze directly into the camera, making Lee’s oeuvre appear as an archive of untold stories.
Howard Greenberg Gallery (howardgreenberg.com)
41 East 57th Street, 8th Floor, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Through November 12
The Greatest American Art Form
Court Tree Collective is giving Brooklyn a much-needed vernacular study of skateboarding in New York City. Photographs of contemporary skaters complement their self-designed decks in a nearby installation, revealing how skaters perceive the board as an extension of the body. A collaboration between photographer Clarence K. and pro skater Louis Sarowsky, the three-part exhibition unpacks skating as a realm devoid of judgment and opposed to police violence from the start.
Court Tree Collective (courttree.com)
51 35th Street Building 5, Suite B235, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Through November 12
Triton Mobley: Keloid Archives
Artist and educator Triton Mobley’s first New York exhibition examines how technology often misinterprets race and class. Curated by multidisciplinary artist Melissa Joseph, Keloid Archives repurposes archival materials from the African diaspora into a sprawling glitch in the cultural matrix. The computational animations in Mobley’s Outside the Loop series, for example, purposely conflate Black migration patterns with the spreading of Black Death as a critique of technological anti-Blackness. In this way, Mobley exemplifies the artistic responsibility to resolve systemic disruptions.
Soloway Gallery (solowaygallery.com)
348 South 4th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Through November 13
Las Nietas de Nonó: Posibles Escenarios, Vol. 1 LNN
Siblings mulowayi and mapenzi nonó identify as one artist in their immersive world-building project, Las Nietas de Nonó. Across the ground floor of Artists Space, the artist’s first solo exhibition gathers elements of performance, video, and mixed media into a journey of radical possibility. Several dreamlike “scenarios” occur in rapid succession across the gallery, guiding visitors through biodegradable installations and surreal workspaces. In this way, Nonó cleverly implicates us all as actors in this history.
Artists Space (artistsspace.org)
11 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca, Manhattan
Through December 3
In with the Old: (Nearly) Six Years of Project Art Distribution
Project Art Distribution (PAD) was formed six years ago to promote affordable art practices. More than 200 PAD artists contributed to the 400-piece In with the Old, a retrospective named for the platform’s efforts to reverse market decadence. Pieces from previous sidewalk exhibitions in Manhattan, Munich, and Miami span the walls and floor of Yeh Art Gallery around their signature “pad column,” which often forms the centerpiece of their shows. Despite their brief tenure, PAD’s oeuvre feels like a time-honored collective experience that undermines art-world individualism.
Yeh Art Gallery (sjuartgallery.org)
8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, Queens
Through December 10
Defend / Defund
Interference Archive’s latest exhibition positions community organizing as the first line of defense against police violence. Zines, posters, and print materials from the 1960s to now recall past revolutionary movements like the Flatbush Rebellion, as well as contemporary abolitionist organizations such as INCITE! and Critical Resistance. As tenant and labor unions regain a foothold across the boroughs, Defend/Defund provides primary sources for fueling the flames.
Interference Archive (interferencearchive.org)
314 7th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Through January 29, 2023
New York Latin American Art Triennial
In the Bronx, Governors Island, and Manhattan, the NY Latin American Art Triennial is honoring ancient Indigenous traditions that continue to inform contemporary artists. The first since the onset of COVID-19, this year’s triennial traces a lineage of materials and methods that gradually evolved with each wave of colonization and displacement. Named after the region originally targeted by Spanish conquistadors, Abya Yala returns to the sources of all Latin American creative expression in an effort to reconcile their contradictions.
700 Manida Street, The Bronx
405-B Colonels Row Gallery
Building 405, Governors Island
Kupferberg Center for the Arts
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, Queens
Lehman College Art Gallery
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, The Bronx
Through November 5, November 16, December 9, and January 28, 2023
Sink or Swim Climate Futures
Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual fellowship exhibition addresses climate change through the interactive contributions of its 2022 resident artists. A lifted porch with a shimmering thatched roof by Cheyenne Conception resembles colonial-era Filipino structures to reference rising sea levels. Meanwhile, Daniel Sheih sculpted a large staircase tunnel that leads to nowhere, critiquing Elon Musk’s space travel non-solutions. Many of these riverside artworks allow visitors to congregate within them, perhaps making this the ideal place to discuss their implications.
Socrates Sculpture Park (socratessculpturepark.org)
32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens
Through March 12, 2023
Firehouse: The Photography of Jill Freedman
Throughout the 1970s, photographer Jill Freedman documented New York City firefighters on the job, culminating in the release of her popular 1977 book, Firehouse. These images form the basis of the New York Fire Museum’s new Freedman retrospective. Photographs of newly displaced Black and Brown families bring to mind how many racist landlords still refuse to meet basic infrastructural standards, while scenes of camaraderie celebrate moments of joy between tragedies. These images are devastating yet pertinent and highlight inequalities that still exist, all while celebrating the hard — and often voluntary — labor of working-class New Yorkers.
New York City Fire Museum (nycfiremuseum.org)
278 Spring Street, Soho, Manhattan
Through April 2, 2023
Jimmy DeSana: Submission
Queer icon Jimmy DeSana contorted his own body to reveal its true elasticity. His first museum retrospective shows how the East Village-based artist embodied the 1970s No Wave movement, which was often described as “anti-art.” Portraits of Debbie Harry and Laurie Anderson complement his contorted self-representations and punk album covers designed for friends. While DeSana’s career was cut short by the AIDS crisis, his art resonates amid renewed critiques of gender conformity and the American dream.
Brooklyn Museum (brooklynmuseum.org)
200 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights, Brooklyn
November 11, 2022–April 16, 2023