The Armory Show, opening to the public on September 8, is the main attraction for many in New York this week. But the art fair, set to take place at the Javits Center, is just a short jaunt from Chelsea, where many galleries are kicking off the season with exciting shows.
Below, ARTnews has compiled five shows in Chelsea that you can’t miss during Armory Week.
Jeffrey Gibson at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Jeffrey Gibson is already well-known for his colorful, bold textiles and beadwork. Now, he is positioned to become even more famous with his US Pavilion for the Venice Biennale next year. Ahead of that big show, he’ll have a solo outing at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. This latest show is titled “Ancestral Superbloom,” in reference to what occurs when a high volume of wildflowers blossom simultaneously in the same area; the artist, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians who is also of Cherokee descent, will once again explore his identities as a Native and queer person. On view starting September 6 are a grouping of multimedia paintings, painted elk hides, and a painted bronze sculpture edition.
Joan Semmel at Alexander Gray Associates
Joan Semmel’s large-scale nude self-portraits are as much a reclamation of the female body as they are an intimate glimpse of her psychology. Known for challenging the objectifying male gaze through a feminist lens, the 90-year-old artist will here debut new paintings that capture her body in motion, evoking the passage of time and embracing a playful relationship with her own shadow. Her exhibition, titled “Against the Wall,” opens on September 7.
Ashley Bickerton at Gagosian
Ashley Bickerton, who died in 2022, was best-known for assemblages that combined painterly and photographic elements, and often took up capitalism, materialism, and his mid-career relocation to Bali. After being diagnosed with ALS in 2021, he started making work that had been “naturally seen through the prism of my mortality,” as he told ARTnews. This show, which opens on September 8, is centered on one of his final bodies of work: his 2022 “Blur” paintings, depicting people in soft focus. These works will be on view alongside earlier sculptures.
Nina Canell at 303 Gallery
A broom sweeping pearls across a conveyor belt, cymbals cracking from use and wear, a puddle sitting in a plate—these are some of the objects that consider questions of production and mechanized labor in Nina Canell’s exhibition “Mother of Dust,” which opens on September 8. Canell’s minimalist sculptures and installations draw attention to both natural and manmade processes, as well as systems that often get overlooked by people caught up in the bustle of everyday life.
Jay DeFeo at Paula Cooper Gallery
Known for producing abstract painting with intensely physical qualities, Jay DeFeo was a celebrated member of the 1950s Beat community in San Francisco. After leaving the city for Marin County, DeFeo further explored herself and her surroundings in photographs, which in turn informed her painting practice. This exhibition, titled “Inventing Objects,” includes more than 70 photographs and photocollages, making it the largest presentation of DeFeo’s photographic works to date. It goes on view on September 9.