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


By Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant |


Carsten Höller
June 20, 2017 – August 11, 2017
Gagosian Gallery
555 West 24th Street, New York

Towering mushroom collages, a maze of mirrored panels, abstract paintings, hyperreal little fishes, an environment for children in the form of a huge dice: Höller unites art, play, and phenomenology to transform the gallery into a laboratory of reason and the incomprehensible. With a professional background in the natural sciences, Höller has long been fascinated by the unique attributes and behaviors of people, fungi, and animals. The Giant Triple Mushroom (2015) sculptures combine enlarged cross-sections of three different species, fungal hybrids that seem at once empirical and surreal. Fly agaric mushrooms make up at least half of these sculptures; like many of Höller’s topics, they are both formally and conceptually captivating, incarnations of “irrationality with a method.” When ingested, these mushrooms can induce hallucinogenic effects—as seen in Muscimol (1996), an early video of the artist under the influence. Flying Mushrooms (2015) is a giant stabile with moving parts, which turns when its lowest arm is pushed, causing a crop of seven fly agaric replicas to orbit slowly through the air, living up to their name. An incredible show to take in over the summer.

Sophie Calle, Sam Durant, Hans Haacke, Charles Gaines, Wayne Gonzales, Peter Moore, Andres Serrano, Carey Young
Group Exhibition
June 2, 2017 – June 30, 2017
Paula Cooper Gallery
521 West 21st Street, New York

The eight artists in this exhibition explore themes of political discourse, employing a variety of strategies from indirect critique to straightforward dissent. Hans Haacke and Charles Gaines examine Nationalism as a constructed, exclusionary and potentially harmful narrative. Other works by Sophie Calle and Carey Young examine the boundaries of repression versus freedom, and censorship versus civil liberties. Both Andres Serrano and Wayne Gonzales blur the divisions of artistic medium to deconstruct iconographic imagery and their associations with political power. As a direct representation of political dissidence, the work of Sam Durant privileges language appropriated from historical events of protest and revolt. In these politically turbulent times, this exhibition brings to the surface the deep historical construct of Nationalism, Patriotism and Freedom.

Raymond Pettibone
April 29, 2017 – June 24, 2017
David Zwirner Gallery
519 West 19th Street, New York

Following his 2017 retrospective at The New Museum, comes Pettibone’s 10th solo show at David Zwirner which includes his renown drawings but also collages which are relatively new to his oeuvre. Pettibon’s aesthetic embraces a wide spectrum of American high and low culture, from the deviations of marginal youth to art history, sports, religion, politics, sexuality, and literature. Taking their point of departure in the Southern California punk-rock scene of the late 1970s and 1980s. The title (rewritten using the artist’s personalized spelling) refers to a 1963 book by American football coach Homer Rice, which details his variation on the so-called T-formation, the precursor to most modern offensive formations in the sport. The potent and aggressive associations of the phrase are echoed throughout the works on view, which shrewdly address facets of contemporary American life. In his usual style Pettibone pairs image and text, with each informing the other in a circular fashion. Ranging from a few words to a number of paragraphs, with the often rhythmic prose reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in poetry and philosophy.

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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