THE CHURN OF THE NEW YORK ART WORLD slows down in August with many art galleries on hiatus until after Labor Day. Nonetheless, in the waning days of August, there is still plenty to see in New York, this week and next, before the transition to fall shows in September.

Terrific solo exhibitions and group shows are on view in the city’s galleries. At her newly opened, eponymous gallery, Nicola Vassell is presenting a group exhibition focused on landscapes. Jenkins Johnson has gathered a variety of artists working in abstraction. Solo shows of Julie Mehretu, Arcmanoro Niles, February James, and Texas Isaiah are also on view. Here are 8 gallery shows to see now, plus a few more for the record:


Installation view of “Arcmanoro Niles: Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room For Me: Failure Is A Part Of Being Alive,” Lehmann Maupin, New York, N.Y. (June 3-Aug. 28, 2021). Shown, at left, “Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room For Me (Failure Is A Part Of Being Alive),” 2021. | Photo by Daniel Kukla, Courtesy Lehmann Maupin

“Arcmanoro Niles: Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room For Me: Failure Is A Part Of Being Alive” @ Lehmann Maupin, West 24th Street | June 3 – Aug. 27, 2021

Last September, Lehmann Maupin announced its representation of Arcmanoro Niles. For his first exhibition with the gallery, the Brooklyn-based artist is presenting new portraits, a landscape, and still lives and interiors “that become surrogates for the figure.” The exhibition, “Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room For Me: Failure Is A Part Of Being Alive,” closes today.


JASON STOPA, “Ideal City (House of Sun Ra),” 2021 (oil on canvas, 28 x 23 inches / 71.12 x 58.42 cm). | © Jason Stopa, Courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery

“What’s It All About” @ Jenkins Johnson Gallery, Brooklyn | July 17-Aug. 28, 2021, By Appointment Only

“What’s It All About” is a group exhibition that brings together a variety of artists working in abstraction. The show features works by Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola, Patrick Alston, Carmen Neely, Esteban Ramón Pérez, Emma Soucek, Jason Stopa, Dewey Crumpler and Lisa Corinne Davis. Writer and critic Amarie Gipson moderated a virtual conversation with three of the artists (Alston, Neely, and Stopa) on Aug. 13. Jenkins Johnson is a Black-owned gallery.


JOSEPH ELMER YOAKUM, “Untitled,” n.d. (pen, colored pencil on paper, 12 x 19 inches / 30.5 x 48.3 cm). | Photo courtesy the artist and Venus Over Manhattan, New York

“The Earth, That is Sufficient” @ Nicola Vassell Gallery, New York, N.Y. | July 15-Sept. 1, 2021

With a title inspired by the Walt Whitman poem, “Song of the Open Road,” the group exhibition “The Earth, That is Sufficient” presents paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photography inspired by landscapes, in all manner of forms, literal and theoretical. An intergenerational slate of 12 artists from a variety of backgrounds is featured: Etel Adnan, Alvaro Barrington, Sholto Blissett, Lauren Halsey, Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017), Shara Hughes, Marcus Jahmal, Ana Mendieta, Walter Price, Ugo Rondinone, Uman and Joseph Elmer Yoakum (1890-1972). Nicola Vassell Gallery is a Black-owned.


CAL BOCICAULT, “It’s Gotta Be…,” 2020 (acrylic and oil pastel on canvas, 48 x 24 inches each / 48 x 48 inches total). This painting is complemented by another canvas “The Shoes” 2020 (15×17 inches, framed). | © Cal Bocicault, Courtesy the artist and Black Wall Street Gallery

“All Black: Cal Bocicault” @ Black Wall Street Gallery, 42 Hudson Street | Aug. 19-Sept. 5, 2021

Cal Bocicault is presenting 20 recent paintings from 2020 and 2021, alongside two works from 2014. The visual style of his portraits and figurative scenes are influenced by his graphic design studies in college. A Connecticut native of Haitian heritage, Bocicault’s subject matter reflects Black life, his momentary pursuit of sports, and affinity for HBCUs. On the occasion of “All Black,” the gallery is hosting an artist talk on Aug. 28. Black Wall Street Gallery is Black-owned.


Installation view of “February James: When the Chickens Come Home To Roost,” Tilton Gallery, New York, N.Y. (May 21-Sept. 11, 2021). | Courtesy Tilton Gallery

“February James: When the Chickens Come Home To Roost” @ Tilton Gallery, 8 East 76 Street | May 21-Sept. 11, 2021

For her first solo exhibition in New York, February James is presenting new paintings, watercolors, and sculpture made in 2020 and 2021. “When the Chickens Come Home To Roost” features her evocative and mysterious portraits. The artist has said her watercolors are “amorphous shapes that seem not to have an identity, but rather an emotion.” James grew up in Washington, D.C., and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


TEXAS ISAIAH, “On God,” 2018 (color inkjet archival print, 30 x 45 inches), Edition of 3. | © Texas Isaiah, Courtesy the artist and Tilton Gallery

Texas Isaiah @ Tilton Gallery, 8 East 76 Street | May 21-Sept. 11, 2021

Texas Isaiah primarily photographs Black people of queer, trans, nonbinary, and gender expansive experiences. Working in both black-and-white and more frequently color, Isaiah employs natural light to showcase the beauty and humanity of his subjects. He is presenting a series of striking portraits, both interiors and outdoor images, produced between 2018 and 2020. Brooklyn-born Isaiah is based in Los Angeles.


ELIAS MUNG’ORA, “Introspection 2,” 2021 (acrylic on phototransfer on canvas, 120 x 100 cm). | © Elias Mung’Ora. Courtesy the artist and Montague Gallery

“Elias Mung’ora: Gathering of Small Fires” @ Montague Contemporary, 526 West 26th Street, 4th Floor | Aug. 5-Sept. 11, 2021

For his first solo show, Kenyan artist Elias Mung’ora is presenting a new body of work produced over the past year. The paintings featured in “Gathering of Small Fires” capture individuals, pairs, and small groups in public spaces, seeking respite in one another’s company and the comfort of community. Mung’ora is a “keen observer of lived spaces.” Reflecting on the past year, his latest work considers the power of collective will and access to common spaces, which has historically been limited by the actions of Nairobi’s ruling elite and private land developers.


JULIE MEHRETU, “Auguries,” 2010 (12-panel, 10-color etching, 87 x 180 inches / 221 x 457.2 cm), Edition of 24. © Julie Mehretu, Courtesy Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl

“Julie Mehretu: A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L.” @ Gemini Gel at Joni Moisant Weyl, 535 West 24th Street, 3rd Fl. | March 26-Sept. 18, 2021

Presented to coincide with Julie Mehretu‘s mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, “A Decade of Printmaking at Gemini G.E.L.,” showcases all 13 prints the New York artist has made with the highly regarded artists’ workshop. Produced from 2008-18, the selections include four benefit prints for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s Presidential Campaign (2008), Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE), and New York City’s Studio in a School. Some of the larger prints on view rival the size of Mehretu’s paintings. Among them, “Auguries” (2010) measures 7 x 15 feet in 12 panels and features marks that reference avian flight patterns. Another sizable series, Six Bardos is comprised of six multicolor aquatints made using up to 31 different colors. Originally scheduled to conclude July 30, the show has been extended to Sept. 18.

Plus, these notable exhibitions recently closed. Check them out online:

Installation view of “diedrick brackens: rhyming positions,” Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York, N.Y. (July 15-Aug. 20, 2021). Shown, from left, “summer syllables” (2021) and “a season without gravity” (2021). | Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery

“diedrick brackens: rhyming positions,” Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York, N.Y. | July 15-Aug. 20, 2021

Textile artist Diedrick Brackens lives and works in Los Angeles. Exploring “narrative, allegory, and memory,” his weavings read as paintings. For his second show with Jack Shainman Gallery, Brackens presented eight new gem-colored works. Invoking nature as a place of sanctuary, several draw on the “history of queer and femme folks who have gathered in nature, creating safe spaces for ritual and communion.”


Both photographs DONAVON SMALLWOOD, Untitled, 2020, from the series Languor. | © Donavon Smallwood, Courtesy the artist

“Donavon Smallwood: Languor” @ Baxter Street Camera Club of New York | July 25-Aug. 25, 2021

Self-trained New York photographer Donavon Smallwood won the 2021 Aperture Portfolio Prize. The award included $3,000, publication of his work in Aperture magazine, and an exhibition hosted at Baxter Street. Captured in the natural surrounds of Central Park, Smallwood’s black-and-white images of Black tranquility provide a counter narrative to the destruction of Seneca Village, the 19th century African American community that was displaced to make way for Central Park. A short video about the history of the land inspired Donavon’s project.


DAAPO REO, “three and a half bales,” 2021 (mixed Media Assemblage, 60 × 36 inches / 152.4 × 91.4 cm). | © Daàpo Reo, Courtesy the artist and Richard Beavers Gallery

“daàPò réo: Ìdí mì wa lórí ìjókò méjì (My bottom is on/between two seats)” @ Richard Beavers Gallery, Brooklyn | July 31-Aug. 26, 2021

Daàpo Reo makes mixed-media flags and textile installations embedded with memory, history, and narratives. The Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist describes himself as a “story tailor.” He presented a dozen new works all created this year in “Ìdí mì wa lórí ìjókò méjì,” For the show’s title, Reo chose a Yoruba expression that translates “to have one’s bottom on/between two seats; a fitting description for his experience of twenty-plus formative years spent in Nigeria mirrored with an almost equal amount of time lived in America, as an adult.” Richard Beavers Gallery is Black-owned. CT


The exhibition catalog “Julie Mehretu” was published on the occasion of the artist’s traveling mid-career survey. “Arcmanoro Niles: Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room For Me: Failure Is A Part Of Being Alive” was produced to document the solo exhibition of Arcmanoro Niles at Lehmann Maupin. “Diedrick Brackens: darling divined” is forthcoming in November. The volume accompanies the recent exhibition Brackens presented at the New Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin.


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