See This Art: Jerry Saltz’s Walking Tours of New York Galleries and Museums
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Jerry Saltz’s Walking Tour of New York Galleries and Museums

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Downtown (Walking time: 6 hours)

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Margaret Lee, closer to right than wrong/closer to wrong than right (2014)

Jack Hanley Gallery, 327 Broome Street

Lee—who is also a partner in another great gallery, 47 Canal—is a hell of a complicated and funny photographer. Adept at camouflage painting, sculpture, and photography, here she turns art into a pup. While you’re there, ask Hanley how he almost got me arrested once.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Untitled (2013)

White Columns, 320 West 13th Street

How fantastic is it that one of New York’s vanguard spaces regularly features the work of fabulous so-called outsiders, like the ceramic face thingies that I so want by the incredible octogenarian Magdalena Suarez Frimkess.

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Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Karlheinz Weinberger, Black Engel’s (1960)

Maccarone, 98 Morton Street

This gallery is my Werner Herzog—no matter what it’s doing, I always feel grateful that it’s doing it. Like this show of the forgotten, beautifully grubby pre-punk photographer Karlheinz Weinberger and his outlaws in uniforms and homemade garb.

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Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Ferran Adrià, Plating Diagram (2000–4)

The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street

Adrià, often called the greatest chef alive, is also a good artist. His diagrams and drawings look a lot like whatever it was that I tasted when I was ravished once in his restaurant El Bulli. Delectable.

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Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Katherine Bernhardt, Hamburgers, French Fries, and Basketballs (2013)

Canada, 333 Broome Street

One of the most out-there, loose painters working right now. The show is packed with large-scale forays into still life via depictions of Americana. The color is brash enough to make you clap—or run.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Brian Belott, Phone (2013)

Zürcher Studio, 33 Bleecker Street

A good group show of the graphic masters; don’t miss the drawing-force-of-nature Brian Belott, who has never seen a surface or wall he doesn’t want to aesthetically assault.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Rachel Mason, Doll Audience (2014)

Envoy Enterprises, 87 Rivington Street

Once I saw this gremlin’s 2004 sculpture of herself kissing George W. Bush, I understood that she had a chance to wreak havoc. Here she’s back doing some sort of mad voodoo with mirrored dolls of female artists.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Charles Mayton, Untitled (2014)

David Lewis, 88 Eldridge Street, fifth floor

Eldridge Street just keeps getting better. In this weird-ass Charles Mayton picture, a hovering eyeball mutates into a neo-Redon-like image by way of formalist abstraction, German Expressionism, and graphics.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Deborah Grant, God’s Voice in the Midnight Hours (2013)

The Drawing Center

Everything is a bit off in this playfully illustrative odd collage, where a Hasidic Jew walks with a little black girl.

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Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Pawel Althamer, Venetians (2013), and Laure Prouvost, For Forgetting (2014)

New Museum, 235 Bowery

Two to lose yourself in: Pawel Althamer’s ghostly sculptures of beings from other worlds and dimensions, and Laure Prouvost’s immersions in media, video, and space.

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Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Laurie Simmons, Blue Hair/Red Dress/Green Room/Arms Up (2014)

Salon 94 Bowery, 243 Bowery

Images of adults who dress up like little girls who dress up like sex kittens who turn into uncannily surreal views into strange inner places.

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Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Austin Lee, ___ (2013)

Postmasters Gallery, 54 Franklin Street

Postmasters is going great guns in its new Tribeca home, still discovering artists like Lee and his eye-popping pictures that look like Guston-meets- graffiti-meets-computer-graphics.

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Midtown & Chelsea (Walking time: 3.5 hours)

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Michelle Segre, Self-Reflexive Narcissistic Supernova (2013)

Derek Eller, 615 West 27th Street

Often overlooked in the rush to whatever’s next in good gunky sculpture, Segre combines geometry, nature, weaving, and whatever else artists do with their rat-piles of material. This one looks like a nightmare catcher.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

David Altmejd, The Flux and the Puddle (2014)

Andrea Rosen Gallery, 525 West 24th Street

Room-filling sculptural vivisection of mythical beings, sexual encounters, insects from the id, and werewolfian creatures at a table; a great gaudy part-by-part congealing into a whole tour de force.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Richard Serra, 7 Plates, 6 Angles (2013)

Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th Street

Richard Serra, man-o’-steel, fashions a heavy-metal mountain range in a gallery that is our own personal Babylon, Niketown, and museum.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Iván Navarro, This Land Is Your Land (2014)

Madison Square Park, Broadway at 23rd Street

You people from warm climes who think we New Yorkers don’t go outside until spring: I give you this sculpture of hard-core light-emitting water-tower shapes. Who you callin’ soft?

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Acme Photography Bureau, Carving Lincoln on Rushmore Granite (1937), in “A Collective Invention: Photographs at Play”

The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue

This seriously serious institution lets its beautiful hair down in a show of photography just wanting to have fun, including this one of Honest Abe getting a nose job.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

William Bailey, Afternoon in Umbria IV (2012–13)

Betty Cuningham Gallery, 541 West 25th Street

Who’s largely to blame for artists like John Currin and Lisa Yuskavage and their exaggerated realisms? The longtime Yale teacher William Bailey: Here, he’s going his own Balthus-meets-Cézanne-and-Courbet way on the grass. An argument-starter.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Julia Wachtel, A Dream of Symmetry (1988)

Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 545 West 20th Street

A forgotten ’80s artist who’s back with appropriations of cartoon figures and photographs that combine in funny-strange-sick-silly ways, becoming underground Hallmark cards.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Doug Wheeler, LC 71 NY DZ 13 DW (2013)

David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street

Get ready for more long lines to see the first-ever NYC show of this well-known 1970s light-and-shade installation-maker. I hear there may be special early “artist hours.” Pull strings if you can.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Michel Majerus, Pornography Needs You (2001)

Matthew Marks Gallery, 522 West 22nd Street

A much-needed survey of this Luxembourgian artist, killed in a 2002 plane crash, whose shaped, graphic canvases and use of text, collage, and installation predicted much of what was to come. This one’s a recruiting poster of desire.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Beverly Semmes, Eight (2013)

Susan Inglett, 522 West 24th Street

Well known for making imposing clay vessels and gigantic garments, Semmes now takes on porn, showing just enough ’tude and body to slap a few faces.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Collier Schorr, Picture for Women (2010)

303 Gallery, 507 West 24th Street

My choice for this generation’s great woman art dealer is Lisa Spellman of 303; my choice for one weird picture is Schorr’s shot of a brunette in red bra and pencil skirt next to a Richard Prince tome. She holds onto the doorjamb like some giantess.

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Midtown & Chelsea

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Lisa Sanditz, Crop Dusters (2013)

CRG Gallery, 548 West 22nd Street

Lisa Sanditz lets loose in wild-style pictures of towns, cities, landscapes, and this great psychedelic scene of crop dusters. Don’t eat the purple lettuce.

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Brooklyn & Queens (Total time: 2.5 hours, including two subway rides)

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Christopher Moss, Freedom Blowjob (2014)

Theodore:Art, 56 Bogart Street, Bushwick

Paintings covered with grit that have holes and protrusions that morph into faces. This one’s a mix between voodoo doll, paper-bag mask, and excavation site.

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Brooklyn & Queens

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

David M. Stein, The T-Shirt Times (2014)

Regina Rex, 1717 Troutman Street, Ridgewood

This artist proves printed newspapers aren’t dead by silk-screening headlines on T-shirts and giving them away at a makeshift stand on the streets. There’s some scary shit on these!

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Brooklyn & Queens

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

William Powhida, W’Burg 2000 (2011)

Pierogi, 177 North 9th Street, Williamsburg

No one does charts and diagrams better than this long-excellent Williamsburg outpost. In the current group show, there’s our own Hogarth, William Powhida, laying out all things art world and annoying.

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The Museum of Modern Art (Walking time: 2 hours)

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Jasper Johns, Flag (1954–55)

Two things you may never have noticed about this icon: It is a triptych—made on three panels placed together—and the words UNITED STATES curve over the shoulder of the bottom-left star. Go look again.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night (1889)

It’s an absolute masterpiece, always worth ogling, even though you’ll never get to really see it because of the hordes of tourists taking pictures and selfies with the poor thing. I wish we could build a museum for it, the Mona Lisa, and Velázquez’s Las Meninas.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Piet Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942–43)

This is where this great artist was heading when he died. A blueprint to thousands of past and future artists. One of the most generative works in this hemisphere. The title alone is an art-world madeleine.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jerry Saltz/New York Magazine

Claude Monet, Water Lilies (1914–26)

All young art lovers need to park themselves in front of this masterpiece to trip out all day. In the old days, there was carpeting and kids would sprawl. I once met a girl there.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jerry Saltz/New York Magazine

Donald Judd, Untitled (1989)

I know, it just looks like a big metal box. Think of it as a color chart, where everything is telling you about its scale, what it’s made of, and how color becomes a concrete thing even though we have no idea what it really is. Just like this tremendous thing.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

This is Picasso’s shot heard round the world. With everything that’s been written about it, I never noticed—until an artist named PE Sharpe pointed it out on my Facebook page— that these Spanish prostitutes have Brazilian waxes and no armpit hair. Clairvoyant!

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, American Folk Art Museum (2001)

45 West 53rd Street

With MoMA almost certain to raze this building, fans should say their final good-byes. Yes, it’s useless for the display of art—but it’s still better than what MoMA plans to build there.

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The Museum of Modern Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Marcel Duchamp, In Advance of the Broken Arm (1915; reproduced 1964)

One of the beginning points for art being made today, inconspicuously displayed: two of Duchamp’s readymades, the found, sometimes altered objects that this genius deemed art. My favorite of all is the shovel, because it has the least aesthetic oomph and really puts you to the test.

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Upper East & West Sides (Walking time: 3 hours)

Photo: Courtesy of the museum

Jacob van Ruisdael, Landscape With a Footbridge (1652)

The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street

The Monuments Men may be meh, but this masterpiece—confiscated from Baron Louis von Rothschild by the Nazis and saved with thousands of other artworks, probably via a mine in the Alps—will make you glad that others loved art as much as you do.

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Upper East & West Sides

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Ragnar Kjartansson, A Russian Diplomat Posing As Prince Igor (2014), in “Imaginary Portraits: Prince Igor”

Gallery Met, Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center

At an amazing little space inside the Met, more than 20 artists’ portraits of imagined and real opera characters, including this aristocratic Prince Igor.

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Upper East & West Sides

Photo: Courtesy of the gallery

Gregory Gillespie, Lady With Jewels (1969)

Forum Gallery, 730 Fifth Avenue

An excellent representative work from this show of a late realist-Surrealist master of the macabre, mutilation, and darkness. Sex never looked so disturbing.

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Upper East & West Sides

Photo: Courtesy of the museum

Gerardo Dottori, Aerial Battle Over the Gulf of Naples or Infernal Battle Over the Paradise of the Gulf (1942)

Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue

I love late Italian Futurism, when it went totally off-the-wall, as in this image of airplanes making sweeping pinwheels over the Bay of Naples.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Walking time: 75 minutes)

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, A Woman With a Dog (1769)

Gallery 615

One of the sexiest paintings at the Met is this ample aristocrat with flushed cheeks holding a teeny white pup; the brushstrokes are pre–de Kooning juicy by way of luscious icing.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Fragment of a Queen’s Face (ca. 1353–1336 B.C.)

Gallery 121

The greatest piece of sculpture in New York, this yellow-jasper fragment of a queen’s face is a glimpse into the power of New Kingdom Egyptian art. After millennia of stylized figuration, the mid–18th Dynasty achieved perfect realism. Then the Egyptians abandoned it for more stylization.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Headdress Effigy (Hareiga) (late-19th–early-20th century)

Gallery 354

I imagine this awesome 15-foot female god—made in Papua New Guinea of bark cloth, paint, bamboo, and leaves—doing magical tangos and spectral dances in front of all the other art. It’s the Met’s spirit animal.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photo: Jeanne Verdoux

Jonah and the Whale (ca. 1400)

Gallery 455

The Qur’an, like the Old Testament, relates the story of Jonah being saved from the belly of a whale by an angel of God. The bold colors, blocked composition, and monumental figures in this large Iranian painting may represent a lost tradition of painting.


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