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


By Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant |


Titus Kaphar
Shifting Skies
December 16, 2016 – January 28, 2017
Jack Shainman Gallery
524 West 24th Street and 513 West 20th Street, New York

Titus Kaphar’s latest two-part show, Shifting Skies at Jack Shainman Gallery examines the racial injustices of mass incarceration in the United States. His show on 24th street, Destiny, began after Kaphar attended a panel at the Studio Museum in Harlem about a female inmate called Tina Reynolds, who was forced to give birth to her son while shackled to a bed. This image traumatized Kaphar and triggered him to start examining mass incarceration and the endemic racism that exists. Destiny, a common name in the African-American Community to symbolize hope and optimism, became a racial identifier for Kaphar. He typed the name Destiny into and, and the name itself quickly became the antithesis of hope and optimism. Using the found mugshots, he painted their portraits, layering one over the other. The outcome was shocking; Destiny had become a racial profiler within the incarceration system and he realized that the system was already scaled against these women.  Destiny represents the artist’s effort to humanize the countless women of color who, like Reynolds, who have been lost in the prison-industrial complex, whether they committed a crime or not.

Hyon Gyon

She’s A Riot
December 20, 2016 – February 5 , 2017
Shin Gallery
322 Grand St, New York

Hyon’s latest show, She’s a Riot is a veritable visual playground of found objects, painting and sculpture, fusing materials from satin to cement to create energetic and gestural works with an open dialogue.  Combining objects such as boxing gloves, gold leafing, sex toys, clothing, and linguistic markings in both English and Korean, Hyon allows the interpretation of each piece to be defined by the viewer… and this viewer felt the fire of sexual politics.  The passion, chaos, rage, and femininity of a woman’s personal riot in the current political landscape can be seen throughout the works, with the vibrant colors, physical gauging of the paint, tearing and pressing of materials into the canvas, and the placement and destruction of female objects creates a fiery and feminine event.

Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid
December 8, 2016 – January 21, 2017
Leila Heller Gallery
568 West 25th Street, New York

Leila Heller Gallery, New York, presents the oeuvre of the internationally acclaimed late, great architect Dame Zaha Hadid. For over 30 years Hadid engaged with architecture as a form of landscape painting, transforming the traditional hard, geometric edges of building into organic, liquid-like forms.  This show explores her innovation in materials and scale, from the delicately tactile to the high-gloss industrial. These signature elements in the evolution of her gesture translate into lyrical condensations in the interior, domestic, or personal space.

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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