Must-See Art | Jul 2017 Must-see art exhibitions in New York right now


By Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant |


Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Through September 17, 2017
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York

Arguably one of the most prominent New York artists of the Twentieth Century, Robert Rauschenberg was the consummate contrarian to the popular trends of the art world in the 1950’s through to the 1990’s — and arguably one of the most beloved and generous artists within the New York community. Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends is the follow up to the Tate exhibition that opened in late 2016 and features masterpiece, after masterpiece, such as Monogram and Mud Muse (rarely seen) on loan from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This show not only presents a survey of his work but is demonstrative of Rauschenberg’s deep connections to the New York artist community and the collaborations that he undertook. So often connected with Jasper Johns in the history books, some of Rauschenberg’s most famous collaborations also included John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer and Susan Weil. His invariable ability to disrupt what is considered ‘art’ is blindingly clear from the show, removing art from the vertical wall and placing it on the floor, turning painting into sculpture, and experimenting with incorporating cutting-edge technology (for the time) into his work. As a New Yorker, this show should not be missed.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher
May 3, 2017 – September 3, 2017
New Museum
235 Bowery, New York

British artist and 2013 Turner Prize finalist, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is one of the most renowned painters of her generation. Her lush oil paintings conflate the conventions of historical European portraiture with imagined characters, almost always black, that draw upon political and autobiographical traits from her own West African heritage. Through bold brushwork and monochrome settings, these elegant characters are brought to life, re-positioning the black figure within the previously absent narrative of European painting. At the New Museum, we see 17 new paintings installed on a deep maroon wall. This color, which corresponds and dialogues with the paintings, triggers a sort of atmosphere and creates a connective tissue making them appear as a unified body of work.

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium 
July 14, 2017 – October 1, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York

“How to Understand Hélio Oiticica’s Journey From Art Visionary to Coke Dealer and Back Again,” is the title of Artnet’s review of Helio Oiticica’s first retrospective in New York and, honestly, this sums him up accurately. Oiticica was always focused on making ‘un-art,’ working outside of the constraints of the Canon and finding new ways for the viewer, or ‘participator,’ to interact with art. In this show, there is an apparent duality in his work, seemingly related to location. While working in his home country of Brazil, he drew on traditional production techniques and incorporated iconic elements from the Favelas, Samba Schools, nature, and wildlife. During the seven years he spent in New York, the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and scenes from a wild, drug-fueled downtown New York in the Seventies, comprise Oiticica’s films, complete with hammocks and mattresses to lounge on, drug-den-style. The interactive nature of many of the works in this show, and his bold irreverence to the traditional art scene, make for a wild exhibition and simply put, it’s FUN.

artREAL contributor Nicole Bray is the founder of Mercer Contemporary and guides private and corporate clients through each step of acquiring, selling, managing, and displaying artwork. She received her Masters in Contemporary Art (Hons.) from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York. She was the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Emerging Curator Fellowship 2015, and has worked at both an Auction House and for a distinguished private family. If you would like to contact Nicole, or if you are interested in starting your own collection, please email her at or visit

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