Five New York Shows to See Before June Ends

It feels like art is everywhere in the city — from a new gallery in Brooklyn to an Upper East Side townhouse, and even the subway! Make sure you don’t miss the spectacularly playful work of Niki de Saint Phalle, closing soon at Salon94, and check out Alejandra Seeber’s vibrant paintings while you’re uptown. Then head to Brooklyn to see some exploratory art at the Bishop Gallery. And top it all off with a meditative art moment at the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street subway station. Oh, and don’t forget to play mini golf while you’re at the Seeber show. You’ll see what I mean. —Natalie Haddad, Reviews Editor

Niki de Saint Phalle: Tableaux Éclatés

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If you are not yet acquainted with the wondrous world of Niki de Saint Phalle, you have one more week to catch this gem of a show uptown. The French artist who once said that her destiny was to create “a garden of joy” is known for outdoor installations such as playgrounds and parks as well as paintings and monumental sculptures infused with her characteristic vibrancy and humor. Staged across two floors of Salon94’s iconic landmark building on 89th Street are several emblematic series, including her late-career Tableux Éclatés. Through these kinetic compositions, whose motorized elements and colored lights are activated by the viewer via a motion sensor, de Saint Phalle rendered themes of rebirth and the cycles of life in the wake of the death of her husband, artist Jean Tinguely. The centerpiece of the show is “La femme et L’oiseau fontaine” (1967–1988), a functioning fountain anchored by one of de Saint Phalle’s “Nanas,” female figures whose curvaceous lines and festive spirit defy the submissive renderings of reclining women in much Western art. —Valentina Di Liscia

Salon94 (
3 East 89th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan 
Through June 22

Peeling the Onion: Visual Reminders

The titular object of Peeling the Onion at Elza Kayal Gallery is both metaphor and medium. As a metaphor, it stands in for the many layers of generational trauma in the face of war, genocide, and displacement. As a medium, onionskin is the source of dye for artist Marsha Nouritza Odabashian’s paintings. The grandchild of Armenian immigrants and genocide survivors, she is one of four artists in this illuminating and powerful show, which features painting, photography, drawings, and video. Artist Anoushka Bhalla addresses the legacy of colonialism in South Asia with textural paintings, while Kevork Mourad and Adrienne Der Marderosian, in drawings, tapestries, and photographs, ask us what it means to remember events that might be too painful to commit to memory. This must-see show has been extended to June 29. —AX Mina

Elza Kayal Gallery (
368 Broadway, Suite 409, Tribeca, Manhattan
Through June 29

Sula Playing in the Dark

Curator Margarita Rosa invited women and nonbinary artists of marginalized identities to play and explore without boundaries in this group exhibition. Named for the uncompromising Black female protagonist of Toni Morrison’s 1973 book Sulawhose ongoing dialog with her straight-laced best friend, Nel, illuminates the pitfalls of obedience and the price of deviation, the exhibition mines a sense of fringe freedom that challenges damaging societal customs of patriarchy and misogynoir. Drawing on experimental media, Sula Playing in the Dark unleashes a radical individualism that includes a Pepper’s ghost-style projection of a pole dance routine and a motion-capture animation analyzing loneliness and self-actualization in the digital age. —Rhea Nayyar

The Bishop Gallery (
630 Flushing Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Through July 27

Alejandra Seeber: Interior with Landscapes

I’ve always felt there was something dark about mini golf. I can’t quite explain it, but the bite-sized version of a pastime I associate most closely with upper-class retirement gives me an unsettling “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” vibe. This is the perfect backdrop, it turns out, for Alejandra Seeber’s solo exhibition at the Americas Society, where her abstract-ish paintings of domestic interiors are staged around an interactive mini golf course designed just for the show. Alternately flattening perspective and bringing it into relief, Seeber’s compositions from the late 1990s are quietly disorienting amid her ingeniously designed putt-putt stations — some embellished with textile and ceramic elements, another shaped like a painter’s palette. And yes, you can play. —VD

Americas Society (
680 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Through July 27

Jackie Chang and Chloë Bass

It’s morning and I’m on the L train bound for the Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I’ve already had two coffees, scrolled through 50 Instagram reels, read the news, got the blues, hated humanity, loved it back, checked email and Slack, texted and got texted back, opened a book and felt shook, and feared catching COVID or getting shoved onto the tracks. I hardly slept, almost wept, and couldn’t stop thinking about the tragic downfall of the international left.

But then I get off the train and see the recently unveiled glass and ceramic mosaics by Jackie Chang and Chloë Bass, and the day gets a lot better. The two MTA Arts & Design commissions are some of the most sensitive, compassionate, and comforting I’ve seen. Bass’s multi-paneled Personal Choice #5 features cropped portraits of headless subway commuters from the neighborhood, drawing the eye to the rest of the body and how it behaves around strangers in public spaces. “Whenever I’m pulled under by the weight of all I miss, I take some consolation that I have known, and may yet know, another life,” the artist writes beautifully over the mosaics in metal letters. In Signs of Life, Chang presents a series of six murals that emit good vibrations through affirmative wordplay (“truth-trust”, “fate-faith,” “same-sane”) paired with fungi, waves, icebergs, and other natural forms that will long outlive us. Together, the works tell us something we all need to hear these days: Everything’s gonna be alright. —Hakim Bishara

Metropolitan Avenue-Lorimer Street subway station (
Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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