Must-See Art | Dec 2016 Must-see art exhibitions in New York right now


By Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant |


Ai Weiwei
November 5 – December 23, 2016
Deitch Projects
18 Wooster Street, New York

It has been a while since I’ve openly wept in a gallery, but Ai Weiwei’s first exhibition following his political imprisonment in China, heart-wrenchingly examines the displacement of the refugees, specifically in the Idomeni camp along the Greek/Macedonian border.  Ai Weiwei spent time in this camp among others. He saw the refugees live in squalor, be attacked by the police, and ultimately evicted to the long road to nowhere. Women, children, the elderly and disabled, walking the fields aimlessly, fearful, and broken. As the refugees left, Mr. Ai gathered the clothes and shoes they left behind. Back in his Berlin studio, he washed, pressed, and hung each piece, to honor their human dignity. The gallery is filled with racks of these clothes and shoes, sorted into men, women, boy, girl, and baby. The baby clothes are the hardest to see, imagining the story behind each child who wore each onesie. A film plays in the background documenting his time there, and you walk out of the gallery breathless, truly realizing the scale of this international emergency.

Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905 – 2016
October 28, 2016 – February 5, 2017
The Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York

This magical carpet ride through American video art from 1905 to present day, reminds us of the wonder of visual movement and allows us to rediscover an art form that has, in recent years, been neglected institutionally.  The show tracks not only moving image and technology but how artists have manipulated and transformed technology. The works alter space, form and time, to explore themes of identity and narrative, and thus blurring the line between reality and illusion. Make sure you check out the futuristic works by Hito Steyerl and the collaboration between Alex De Corte and Jayson Musson.

Terence Gower

Havana Case Study
November 6 – December 23, 2016
Simon Preston Gallery
301 Broome Street, New York

As the curtains draw on Cuba in the wake of the US lifting their embargo’s, Terence Gower examines American diplomatic architecture as a way to analyze US international relations through a series of installations. In the late 1940’s the US embarked on an ambitious embassy building program, employing the leading modern architects of the day. The architecture was designed to represent the aspirations and foreign policy of the government – simply, a dominant global force. Opening in 1953, and then closing in 1961, the embassy had remained an artifact of diplomatic relations until most recently when Obama once again flew the American flag in 2016. Gower re-created the Ambassador’s balcony at a 1:1 scale in the center of the gallery, flanked by a series of collaged prints which re-imagines the comprehensive architectural exhibition on the embassy building presented in the late 1950’s, at the height of the modernization and expansion in Havana.

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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