It’s January. Ready for a scene change? “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes,” Marcel Proust wrote, “but in having new eyes.” Luckily, in New York, new eyes make their way from across continents and centuries to share visions with us. There are always novel artistic landscapes to discover without leaving Manhattan, and galleries have something for everyone. You know the drill. Check with websites for visitor information. Reservations may be required; COVID protocols are in place.
Master Drawing Week (January 21-29) has returned to the city. Old Masters, Modern masters, and up-and-coming masters are on view in galleries across the Upper East Side. Christopher Bishop Fine Art is participating, but also extending “Paper Unbound: The Drawn Menagerie” all the way through February 19. Look for charming works on paper by major artists, like Alexander Calder’s butterfly, snail and mouse in pared down shapes and bright primary colors, just waiting to scamper into your imagination.
Victoria Munroe Fine Art is presenting paintings and pastels by contemporary artist Adrian Nivola that feel simultaneously timeless and nostalgic. Dozens of galleries up and down Madison Avenue will be participating, and lectures, symposia and related exhibitions (some virtual, some in person) are planned at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library, NYU’s Institute of Fine Art, and more. Check the website for complete information: masterdrawingsnewyork.com/
Howard Greenberg Gallery is taking a look at how women artists see the world. “A Female Gaze: Seven Decades of Women Street Photographers” is on view through April 2. When the legendary photographer Berenice Abbott was asked by an editor why she photographed in the Bowery, since nice girls didn’t go there, she replied “I’m not a nice girl. I’m a photographer. I go anywhere.” Thank goodness artists like Abbott, Vivian Maier, Mary Ellen Mark, Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt, and more found their muses in everyday people and places. Street photography takes bravado, skill, speed, assurance, and compassion, but more than anything else, it takes a great eye, and each of the 12 photographers included had just that. More than four dozen masterful, idiosyncratic, and surprising works reveal what’s behind “A Female Gaze.”
Anita Shapolsky Gallery is presenting “Salon du Papier” a collection of works on paper by masters of 20th Century art. Shapolsky has spent decades championing artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement, both renowned and underappreciated. This exhibition includes works by Karel Appel, Christo, and Antoni Tapies, whose work you may be familiar with, but also pieces by artists you may not know, but should, like Ethel Schwabacher, Yvonne Thomas, and Amaranth Ehrenhalt, an accomplished and prolific, though under-the-radar, New York painter who died last year at age 93. With over 50 works by more than 20 artists, new horizons are sure to open.
For a different city altogether, head to Leila Heller Gallery for “Parinaz Eleish Gharagozlou: Amnesia of a Forgotten City.” Gharagozlou mixes media (acrylic, oil, pencil, paper, collage and more) with literature (via quotes from Orhan Pamuk, Sohrab Sepehri, and Elie Wiesel), plus imagination and fantasy to depict a metropolis of the mind and memory. Streets and buildings unfurl and unravel at once, as lines and strokes both build and decompose. Her “Amnesia Series” locales escape memory, but linger in the mind.