12 Awesome Autumn 2019 Exhibitions
September 19, 2019 by Danielle Peters
Betye Saar; Lo, The Mystique City, 1965. Image courtesy of the artist and Robert Projects. On view at The Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Rob Gerhardt.

Although the weather is cooling down, you can still get fired up with these 12 enlivening art exhibitions that will inspire you throughout the semester. From shows honoring the works of such perennially popular artists as Jean Michel-Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe to exhibits paying homage to the medieval, the rich fall lineup that New York City museums have to offer is chock-full of variety sure to pique the interests of all creatives. Not to mention, with their ID, SVA students, faculty and staff can get into several museums for free, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, the New Museum and the Whitney. Get inspired!

<p "="">A largely monochrome artwork with an arc of celestial shapes in the upper part of the composition.

Betye Saar, Lo, The Mystique City, 1965. Image courtesy of the artist and Robert Projects. On view at “Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window,” at The Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Rob Gerhardt.

Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street
Opens October 21
Celebrate the re-opening of The Museum of Modern Art with “Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window,” the first in-depth examination of the artist’s work as a printmaker. This exhibition—based on Saar’s autobiographical work Black Girl’s Window, which began in 1969—will explore the relation between Saar’s chosen medium and her themes of family and mysticism.

The Renaissance of Etching
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue
Opens October 23
This exhibition will follow the first 70 years (1490 – 1560) of etched print—a form of printmaking mostly done on the surface of metal plates—which started in Germany and spread all over Europe to Italy and France. Featuring approximately 125 etchings, “The Renaissance of Etching” displays works produced by both famed and lesser-known artists.

<p "="">A photograph of a white-walled museum gallery with black-and-white photographs lining three walls.
Installation view, “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now,” on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Photo by David Heald.

Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue
Through January 5
Deemed one of the most controversial artists of the late 20th century, Robert Mapplethorpe was well-known for his daring and unique photographs that bypassed social norms. Featuring approximately 194 pieces of Mapplethorpe’s work, this exhibition will also display the works of other artists, such as Rotimi Fani-Kayode and Zanele Muholi, who through photography explore the depths of human identity.

Jason Moran
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street
Opens September 20
Jason Moran, an out-of-the-box jazz pianist, bridges visual and performing arts through his experimental use of objects and sound. On display at the Whitney, “Jason Moran” will be the artist’s first solo museum show, and will feature works in various media, from sculptures to drawings to live performances.

A stylized painting of two tightrope walkers.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Tightrope Walk, 1908 – 1910, oil on canvas. On view at “Ernest Ludwig Kirchner,” at the Neue Galerie New York; via neuegalerie.org.

Ernest Ludwig Kirchner
Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Avenue
Opens October 3
Spanning from 1907 to 1937, this exhibition will present work that artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner made while living in three different cities—Dresden, Berlin and Davos—and illustrate the evolution of his style.

Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue
Through November 6
Based on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1983 painting The Death of Michael Stewart, also known as Defacement, this exhibition shows the significant impact that the violent fate of Stewart, a fellow artist, had on many artists at the time. Alongside this painting, other works of Basquiat will be on view that show his exploration of black identity and empowerment.

Duane Michals, <em>The Illuminated Man,</em> 1968.<span class="redactor-invisible-space"> On view at the The Morgan Library & Museum<span class="redactor-invisible-space">. Image courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.</span></span>

Duane Michals, The Illuminated Man, 1968. On view at “Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan,” at the The Morgan Library & Museum. Image courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue
Opens October 25
Continually exploring the limits of a camera, Duane Michals′ work frequently plays with themes of reality and intangibility. This exhibition follows Michals (the 2000 SVA Masters Series honoree) throughout his career, and documents his efforts to capture human emotions through technical errors common in photography, such as double exposure and motion blur.

Urban Indian: Native New York Now
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue
Opens September 27
Examining the meaning of being Native American in New York City, this exhibition features a mix of contemporary artworks, performing arts and valuable memorabilia that show how indigenous American people are reclaiming their heritage and culture in an urban environment.

Rachel Harrison, <em>Hoarders</em>, 2012. On view at the Whitney Museum<span class="redactor-invisible-space">. Image c</span>ourtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York<span class="redactor-invisible-space">.</span>
Rachel Harrison, Hoarders, 2012. On view at “Rachel Harrison Life Hack” at the Whitney Museum. Image courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.

Bertoldo di Giovanni: The Renaissance of Sculpture in Medici Florence
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street
Opens September 18
The Frick Collection presents the first-ever exhibition on the Italian sculptor Bertoldo di Giovanni, a former student of Donatello and teacher of Michelangelo. With more than 20 statues and medals on display, the show will highlight the artist’s flow through various media such as bronze and wood.

The Last Knight
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue
Opens October 7
This exhibition will examine the lasting significance of European armor at the start of the Renaissance through the perspective of Roman Emperor Maximilian I. Known for his deep passion for knighthood, “The Last Knight” will explore the depth to which Maximilian followed his ambitions with over 180 objects—selected from collections in Europe—on view, including Maximilian’s own armor.

Nicolas Moufarrege: Recognize My Sign
Queens Museum, New York City Building, Corona Park, Queens
Opens October 9
Including approximately 40 different pieces of tapestries and embroidered paintings as well as drawings and photographs, this exhibition examines how sexual identity and changing environments affected the works of Nicolas Moufarrege, an artist and writer raised in Beirut.

Rachel Harrison Life Hack
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street
Opens October 25
Tracking the development of artist Rachel Harrison’s 25-year career to date, this exhibition incorporates 100 works from the early 1990s onward. From room-sized installations and sculptures to photographs and drawings, “Life Hack” examines Harrison’s artistic process and thought.