Want to see new art this weekend?

Start in Chelsea with Lula Mae Blocton’s early geometric oil paintings and wonderful colored pencil drawings. Then head up the street to Maggi Hambling’s icing-thick impasto. And don’t miss Kira Dominguez Hultgren’s rich textiles in the Lower East Side. Head back to Chelsea for three artists — Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam and William T. Williams — showing together in homage to their longstanding friendship.


Through April 30. Skoto Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, Manhattan, 212-352-8058,

I encountered Lula Mae Blocton’s art for the first time only three years ago in the traveling exhibition “Art After Stonewall, 1969-1989.” In that febrile, figure-intensive show her 1975 abstract geometric painting “Summer Ease” was a meditative stopping point. The politics of the era were present but indirect: The colors were those of the rainbow flag, but tonally nuanced and applied to an off-center grid of rectangles. The work didn’t directly read as gay or Black, or feminist, which may be one reason Skoto’s tight survey of two decades of early work, from 1970-1980, curated by Barbara Stehle, is Blocton’s first New York City solo since 1978.

It’s a beauty. The early geometric oil paintings and wonderful colored pencil drawings, with their stroke-by-stroke textures and blurred contours, have the look of soft woven cloth. With the 1980s, their foursquare geometry splinters into diagonals in adjustable, multipanel compositions. Illusionistic space turns some of these paintings into galactic landscapes. And the interest in prismatic color intensifies: Light, optical and, one senses, metaphorical, becomes a primary subject.

Her work beyond the 1980s has been much influenced by African textile designs, as will no doubt be evident in future shows at Skoto, which is planning a career survey as a series of solo exhibitions shows. I look forward to seeing this visual narrative unfold and to being brought up-to-date on what’s happening with this artist-illuminator, who is in her 70s, in the Now.



Through April 30. Marlborough, 545 West 25th Street, Manhattan. 212-541 4900;

The British artist Maggi Hambling has painted churning seas, violent sprays and other roiling bodies of water for the last two decades, but the suite of pictures she made last year, emphatically rendered snow-capped peaks dissolving into glacial melt, on view in her current show, “Real Time,” are sparer and sadder. Their calligraphic marks and impressionistic application recall Chinese literati and Japanese nanga painting, but with reverence for the natural world displaced by rage.

Hambling’s stuttering strokes seem to cascade like condensation, whorls of indigo and optic white weeping into marine and slicks of silver. In places the paint is caked onto the canvas in icing-thick impasto, elsewhere it’s ghostly thin, so delicate as to seem to seep through from the back of the canvas — an elegy for the rapidly vanishing. The cool palette can feel soothing, until you remember you’re looking at a cataclysm.

These are joined by another series of human crimes against nature: animals in captivity. Like Hambling’s liquefying landscapes, these rattle between abstraction and figure, so that the defeated heap of a lion jolts into view as quickly as it fades away again, and the silhouette of a polar bear flickers as it’s overwhelmed by a fluid blue-gray field. These are not happy paintings. Hambling depicts her creatures inching toward death or having already arrived there. They’re also proxies for the rest of us, and the prisons of our own design. A dancing circus bear, its torqued face shifting between euphoria and agony, suggests there’s more than one way to dissolve.


Lower East Side

Through April 23. Heroes, 162 Allen Street, Manhattan. 510-701-4684,

The textile artist Kira Dominguez Hultgren cites the Nahua weaver, educator and artist’s model Luz Jiménez (1897-1965) as a major influence. But not much work survives by Jiménez, so she appears in this exhibition only in a few reproduced drawings and photographs. What remains is essentially a New York solo debut for Dominguez Hultgren, whose textiles, which incorporate alpaca and camel fur, strips of her Punjabi grandmother’s clothing, rope from a Utah climbing gym, her own hair, plastic zip ties, ratchet straps, and a shredded reprint of an exhibition catalog titled “Luz Jiménez, símbolo de un pueblo milenario 1897-1965,” are draped and tied across ad hoc looms made of salvaged wood.

On paper, the gallery’s explanation for this eclectic array of materials — that they represent the artist’s multicultural heritage — sounds a little literal. But it’s actually this kind of transparency that makes the work compelling. Three strips of yellow and blue woven fabric stretch down a ladder of wooden bars in “In the Silence Between Mother Tongues,” with the rubbery-looking climbing rope snaking in and out between them, while five separate burlap-colored panels meet in a loose knot at the center of “Colita de Rana or Zip Ties.”

No single knot or stretcher bar stands out more than any other, but they don’t quite blend together, either. Instead, the impression made, say, by “Colita de Rana” is less like a singular picture than like a complex spiritual machine.



Through April 30. Pace Gallery, 540 W 25th Street, Manhattan; 212-421-3292,

The exhibition title links the name of a Thelonious Monk tune back to the Greek poetic device of a repeating line or phrase. The vocabulary of jazz is built partly on artfully working repetitions: rhythms, melodic lines, the standard. In the gallery, repetitions and revisions enact a call-and-response play across old and new works by three friends — Melvin Edwards, Sam Gilliam and William T. Williams.

I arrived as an unabashed fan of Sam Gilliam’s work, particularly his immense draped cloth paintings. Here “‘A’ and the Carpenter II” (2022) features layers of warm oranges, cool blues, brown-purples flowing in a parabola over a wooden sawhorse, with a gathering of cloth on the floor, knotted into a sphere larger than a basketball. Williams is represented by two paintings of geometric abstractions and three works of asemic writing nodding to Arabic calligraphy and graphic scores.

The revelation is Melvin Edwards’s series utilizing chains and barbed wire, first in mixed-media paintings on paper from the 1970s and then in an untitled 2022 installation. The new piece is paired with a second Gilliam painted-cloth construction and his sketch of draped spilling cloth from 1969. It feels like Edwards has picked up Gilliam’s theme in the drawing and transformed it some 50 years later in his deconstructed web of gleaming barbed wire and, at bottom, curtain-like arcs of chain. The result is a lively dialogue across the decades on freedom versus confinement, and lightness versus heaviness.



Through April 30 at Petzel, 456 West 18th Street, Manhattan; 212-680-9467,

Joe Bradley has been having solo shows in New York galleries since 2003. But his latest at Petzel — his first in six years — feels like the first show of the rest of his career.

His new paintings are strong-colored works that balance gracefully between representation and abstraction. They may be the most conventional of Bradley’s career, but they are also the most engaging.

Bradley devoted the first decade of his CV to what might be called ironic, anti-painting paintings. They were post-conceptual and challenging: You had to decide if they qualified as paintings. The best of these bare-minimum works was a series of enormous raw canvases that boasted a single motif outlined in black oil crayon. While monumental, they had the intimacy of doodles and were drawn all at once without adjustments, which was impressive.

Then came a transitional phase during which Bradley started applying paint with a wide brush to dirty canvases whose footprints and paint drips were part of the composition. These were rough and beautifully scaled. But the play of intention against accident was familiar, from somewhere between Julian Schnabel and Abstract Expressionism. ROBERTA SMITH

Read full review here.

Lower East Side

Through April 16, François Ghebaly, 391 Grand Street, Manhattan; 646-559-9400, Through April 21, Magenta Plains, 94 Allen Street, Manhattan; 917-388-2464,

In her latest Neo-Surrealist paintings, Sascha Braunig has gained in narrative complexity what she has lost in formal punch. It is a worthy trade-off — although I miss the power of some of her earlier works, especially the mysterious, Magrittean heads shrouded in exquisite, glowing trompe-l’oeil patterns that matched the background. These may have reached their culmination in the artist’s shows at Foxy Production, her former New York gallery, in 2015, and MoMA/P.S. 1 in 2017.

In the years since, Braunig’s work has increasingly focused on the human body, or at least on a highly attenuated headless intimation thereof, cryptically defined by narrow tubular lines both smooth and thorny. In ambitious shows of new paintings and related studies at Magenta Plains and François Ghebaly, two galleries in the Lower East Side, she has pushed more deeply into a slightly ominous feminist territory, one where suggestions of performance, dressmaking and ambiguous power dynamics circle one another.

Expanses of hanging fabric, in which Braunig’s love of color and light are especially strong, suggest stage curtains, but have been cut open and sharply gathered, usually by the wiry figures, to suggest both gowns and hourglasses. This occurs most clearly in a painting at Magenta Plains, where a yellow curtain is transformed into a gown by an attenuated figure of red lines which seems more puppet master than mannequin. The painting’s title, like the show’s, is “Lay Figure.” Aptly enough, this is the term for wood dolls with adjustable limbs that figurative artists use as substitutes for living models. ROBERTA SMITH

East Village

Through April 16. Karma, 22 East 2nd Street, Manhattan; 212-390-8290,

Mungo Thomson’s “Time Life” at Karma is a thrilling accomplishment, adding a new chapter to the long conversation about photographs, mechanical reproduction and ways of seeing. It may not be for everyone, though: I watched all seven rapidly flashing videos, made with images scanned from vintage instructional manuals, catalogs and cookbooks, and I left the gallery feeling like I’d just ridden a high-speed roller coaster.

The premise of “Time Life” is simple: sifting through a vast, sometimes absurd archive of images and presenting them at breakneck speed. “Volume 2. Animal Locomotion” (2012-22) shows people demonstrating various forms of exercise, accompanied by a pulsing track by the electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel. “Volume 6. The Working End” (2021-22) features fingers tying knots and the percussion of the avant-garde composer Pauline Oliveros. The show’s opus might be “Volume 5. Sideways Thought” (2020-22), with an original score by Ernst Karel, which animates the expressive but inert bronze and marble sculptures of Auguste Rodin.

Thomson’s project draws fruitful comparisons to other artists and theorists: Eadweard Muybridge, Gerhard Richter, Arthur Jafa and Richard Prince, who, as a young artist, actually clipped publication images at Time-Life Inc. There are also echoes of Aby Warburg’s 1920s “Mnemosyne Atlas” and André Malraux’s “Museum Without Walls” (1949). What Thomson’s adds is a hydraulic-launch speed: We are not “supposed” to look at images this fast. And yet, the jarring somatic experience of “Time Life” offers a chiropractic antidote to scrolling aimlessly on your phone, languidly consuming pictures and casting a few of your own into the universe of technical images. MARTHA SCHWENDENER

Lower East Side

Through April 16. Alexandre, 291 Grand Street, Manhattan. 212-755-2828;

Pat Adams is something like the Jan van Eyck of postwar American abstraction. Her paintings have a fineness and excess of detail — and therefore of meticulous technique — that astound the eye. Thin precise lines of two or more colors — which imply a three-hair brush — bound, spiral or loop through fields of paint splatters and smears and geometric detritus. The resulting pictorial space is complicated and suggestive: simultaneously cartographical, microscopic and celestial. A recurring motif, as seen in “Out Come Out” (1980) or “On the Table” (1979), is a jutting plane intruding from an edge, its surface emphasized by the addition of mica, sand or broken eggshell. The effect is jarring, at once physical and cosmic.

Born in California in 1928 and schooled in art at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1940s, Adams came East in 1950, and exhibited until 2008 with Zabriskie Gallery in Manhattan. Her current exhibition — her first in New York since then — surveys paintings from the 1970s and ’80s. It presents the visual and philosophical richness of a style long at odds with so many first principles of New York painting in decades past: flatness, simplicity and straightforward process. Those decades are now over, making it easier to see Adams’s work as an inspiring depiction of diversity and unpredictability — vital to life as much as to art. Surprisingly her canvases are not yet represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art or the Metropolitan Museum. Just saying. ROBERTA SMITH


Through April 16. Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, Manhattan; 212-255-1105,

In a darkened, cavernous space, rushing waterfalls spill down the gallery walls surrounding the viewer on three sides. Minuscule figures stand on the floor at the edge of the wall, in the digitally projected cascades, casting their tiny shadows behind. As you approach, crouching down to bring these figures into focus, they reveal themselves as familiar personages at approximately the same height as their innumerable reproductions in newspapers: Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and others, rendered small in history’s unceasing flow.

A churning intermingling of the natural, geopolitical and fantastical characterizes the heady, mischievous work of the Lebanese-born and New York-based artist Walid Raad. Brief texts — part encyclopedic essay and part speculative fiction after Jorge Luis Borges — introduce each of seven series of works that make up “We Have Never Been So Populated.” Concurrently presented with three museum shows of the artist’s work in Spain, Belgium and Germany, the exhibition presents Raad as sharp and funny as ever, in an experience that feels like an intellectual theme park. At times the narrative concepts are stronger than the exhibited objects, as in a set of facsimile wall maquettes of a Beirut museum where incisions mark the places where the shadows of paintings might fall. But each series rewards with both mystery and insight, most notably a set of photographs winkingly documenting undiscovered cloud studies, possibly painted by John Constable, found hiding on the backs of canvases. JOHN VINCLER


Through April 16. Grimm Gallery, 54 White Street, Manhattan. 212-280 3877;

Shadowy cabins, abandoned pools, tree houses, lonely suburban homes and vacant parked cars with doors ajar: Michael Raedecker’s unpeopled landscapes glow in eerie monochromes in his current exhibition, “Now.” His paintings — if we can call them that — are laser-printed on canvas from digitally scanned preliminary compositions, then heightened with dripped paint and finished with sewing and embroidery. Raedecker sometimes adds glitter and beading as in “Long-Term” (2021), a nearly all-black painting of the mouth of a cave where these elements suggest moisture and the reflection of moonlight.

Foliage crowds his environments where tangled branches, vines and shrubbery are embellished with creeping tendrils of thread. In “Circuitous” (2022), a yellow inflatable lounge raft floats in a pool in an otherwise blue-and-black painting, with the poolside chairs toppled over as the overgrown forest crowds in. Raedecker’s pools share little in common with David Hockney’s pictures of bright and casual L.A. glamour, but they do evoke Hollywood by way of 1980s horror films. They feel at once distinctly American and fantastic. This fantastical character continues in the treehouse paintings, leaving American suburbia for a primitive utopia recalling an Ewok village or some imagined post-apocalyptic commune.

The artist’s use of thread provides these works with their most remarkable — and beautiful — aspect, which cannot be reproduced and demand to be seen in person. The predominant bright colors and distilled neo-noir mood make for a strangely charming pairing. JOHN VINCLER

East Village

Through April 17. Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, Manhattan; 212-925-2035,

For the 6th edition of Swiss Institute’s architecture and design series, the artist Sable Elyse Smith has assembled an exceptionally rich group show in which language, seen and heard, as image and sound, is the pivotal medium.

Smith understands language as having both entrapping and liberating potential. It’s presented as an instrument of control in E. Jane’s four-part video about Black femme divadom under surveillance. It’s source of potential misunderstanding in Christine Sun Kim’s translations from standard English into deaf signing. By contrast, hand-drawn images of household items are a way to catalog and savor the world in the art of Patricia Satterwhite, who died in 2016. And printed words are vehicles for political messaging in the large-scale collage by the Los Angeles artist Lauren Halsey.

Much of the language Smith has included is nonvisual, even nonverbal. A soundscape emanating from an assemblage by Cudelice Brazelton IV — a young artist to keep an eye on — is a kind of auditory argument between industrial clammer and rushing water. Three glass biomorphic sculptures by Lydia Ourahmane are equipped with mics to pick up the ambient sounds of the gallery itself. And the show’s second floor is a wraparound wall of sounds and words, with a musical composition by Smith, the composer Tariq Al-Sabir, and the vocalist Freddie June and album playlists chosen by artists (Nikita Gale, Jacolby Satterwhite) available on headphones. Finally, for a words-only experience, pick up a booklet of commissioned texts by seven writers responding to the show and the stimulating ideas about looking and listening it’s generating. HOLLAND COTTER

Union Square and East Village

Through April 17 at Gordon Robichaux, 41 Union Square West, Manhattan, 646-678-5532,; and at Karma, 188 and 172 East Second Street, Manhattan, 212-390-8290,

“Stop flitting around the house and take off that ridiculous outfit.” These words, the artist Stephen Tashjian says, were often directed his way in the Armenian American household of his childhood in Leicester, Mass., when he was already a young professional puppeteer as well as a busy multitasker. They were prophetic because in the early 1980s, fresh from art school in Boston, Tashjian would land in New York and within days begin his rise to fame — in costume — as a drag performance artist on the East Village art scene, at the Pyramid Club and other establishments of gay downtown.

He quickly assumed the stage name of Tabboo! and also busied himself establishing the graphic style of the period with a multitude of grittily elegant posters, announcements and fliers for events at Pyramid and elsewhere. Their lavish curlicue lettering echoed, robustly, that of Warhol’s advertising work of the 1950s; their style often evoked German Expressionism by way of underground comics. ROBERTA SMITH

Read the full review here.

Washington Heights

Through April 17. Hispanic Society Museum & Library, 613 West 155th Street, Manhattan. 212-926-2234;

After a yearslong renovation, the Hispanic Society Museum & Library partially reopened last fall with a heart-stopping exhibition of polychrome and gilded wood sculptures. For its second show in the new gallery — located in the same stately Beaux-Arts complex just north of Trinity Church Cemetery — the curator Madeleine Haddon gives fans a chance to reconnect with some of the museum’s more famous treasures: Goya’s impossibly crisp “The Duchess of Alba”; El Greco’s Saint Jerome, with the beard of a philosopher and body of a basketball star; an extraordinary “Portrait of a Little Girl” by Velázquez.

But Haddon also brought out a number of less familiar artifacts and canvases, among them “The Family of the Gypsy Bullfighter,” a festive 1903 scene by the Basque painter Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta, and the Catalan painter Ramón Casas i Carbó’s 1915-1916 “La Santera,” a near life-size study of a religious mendicant with a haunting gaze. Another Catalan, Miguel Viladrich Vilá, places two subjects sideways against bright, slightly surreal backgrounds in a pair of highly accomplished portraits from the mid-1920s. Turning her face toward the viewer, “The Woman From Montevideo” is nervous but defiant, while “The Man From Montevideo,” peering only from the corner of his eye, seems to be waiting uneasily for the viewer to leave. In both cases Viladrich makes you feel just how extraordinary it is to capture something as evanescent as a personality in a painting. WILL HEINRICH


Through April 23. Matthew Marks Gallery, 526 West 22nd Street, Manhattan. 212-243-0200;

The exhibition of Jordan Belson’s collages may be titled “Landscapes,” but its true subject is light. Best known as a filmmaker who tried to represent interior states in mandala-like shapes and strobing color, Belson, who died in 2011, has become an almost mythic figure of cinema because of the scarcity in digital formats of his experimental films from the 1960s onward. But the collages here, all made from 1970 to 1973, seize the potential of reflected rather than projected light. Belson first trained as a painter, even showing at the Guggenheim Museum in the late 1940s. For the collages on view, all untitled, Belson followed the centuries old Japanese practice of chigiri-e, using torn colored paper to create seascapes, nested hillsides and backlit dawning ridgelines. The compositions recall Etel Adnan’s lyrical paintings, but the effect, despite the humble materials used, brings to mind the California Light and Space movement of the 1960s and ’70s. (Think James Turrell in miniature.)

Two elements especially vivify these works on paper. Intense spotlights cause the bright shades and brilliant fluorescents to almost throb with glowing color. Second, exposure to light over the decades has altered the backgrounds, creating slight variations where the shadow of the frame has offered some protection. Artworks keep living beyond the life of their creator, sometimes slipping past the artist’s own intentions. The once uniformly monochrome backing papers have been transformed by their environments, giving them a transcendent quality, creating visible auras that record a history of absorbed light. JOHN VINCLER


Through April 23. Higher Pictures Generation, 16 Main Street, Brooklyn. 212-249-6100;

“Carnival Strippers,” the 1976 book by Susan Meiselas, was a landmark in photographic publishing. Its black-and-white images of “exotic dancers” came with documentation of how these women viewed their work. Photography’s natural voyeurism seemed counterbalanced by genuine sensitivity. The project began Meiselas’s distinguished career as a photojournalist, producing celebrated images from war-torn Nicaragua, El Salvador and Kurdistan.

She recently discovered color slides she’d shot alongside her black-and-whites. Higher Pictures Generation is showing them for the first time in “Carnival Strippers Color, 1972-1975,” alongside the interview notes with her subjects.

The exhibition’s 14 color prints yield a “reality effect” absent from Meiselas’s black-and-whites. They bring us that much closer to these women and their garish surroundings in rural carnivals: red signage matches scarlet bras. That made me realize that the sensitivity in these pictures may come from psychic links between shooter and subjects: As a 20-something woman in the male-dominated world of 1970s photography — of ’70s America — Meiselas was facing the same issues of gender expectations and agency that the strippers discuss in their interviews. “I’m too bright to just sit around in the kitchen or just sit around and clean house,” said one performer named Lisa, who had done just that. She had “a splittin‘ thing,” and needed to take off and “do something that I wanted to do.”

Was “Carnival Strippers” Meiselas’s own means of “splittin‘” from expectations?

In “Shortie on Stage,” the four men ogling the dancer could easily stand for Meiselas’s male colleagues gawping as she dares to snap the shot. BLAKE GOPNIK


Through April 23. Marianne Boesky Gallery, 507 and 509 West 24th Street, Manhattan. 212-680-9889;

Pier Paolo Calzolari is the rare conceptual artist whose paintings really look like paintings. Of course they look like conceptual pieces, too. Several recent works in the show “Painting as a Butterfly” are monochromes adorned with delicate objects like a walnut shell with a feather stuck in it, or a yawning, iridescent razor clam shell that casts a drooping shadow. They’re funny, but Calzolari’s attention to surface and color means that they also stand up to closer looking. Both shells hang in front of grainy, bright red surfaces made from pigments and salt, but the even application behind the walnut calls to mind a clay ball court, while the dry, white-streaked surface behind the clam feels more like a sunburned wall overlooking some Mediterranean beach.

Calzolari came out of the radical 1960s Italian scene later known as Arte Povera, literally “poor art,” and like many of his peers, he sometimes lets the interest of an unusual material carry too much weight. But most of the time he adds just enough expressive gesture — a few yellow drips crossing a blue stain in “Venetian Landscape” (2017), or a cluster of blotchy red jellyfish on a nearby untitled triptych — to balance things out. “Monocromo blu,” from 1979, a movie-screen-size tempera on cardboard landscape showing in New York for the first time, takes this balance especially far. Thick ridges of tempera lend gravity to the painting’s storms of multicolored dashes, while the dashes serve to heighten the beauty of the tempera’s transfixing midnight-blue. WILL HEINRICH


Through May 14. Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, 2nd floor, Manhattan. 646-896-1368;

The comedic performer Morgan Bassichis is probably best known for shows that are a kind of queer, lefty, Jewish love child of cabaret and stand-up comedy. But the artist, who uses the pronouns they/them, has also made videos, albums and books, elements of which are featured in “Questions to Ask Beforehand,” their first solo exhibition (accompanied by a few live performances).

It’s a tricky transition. Bassichis’s work turns so much on the energy of human interaction, I found the gallery a little lonely. But four videos provide good grounding. In one, filmed in a bathtub, Bassichis sings rousingly about how “you can do anything in the bathroom”; in the others, from a series called “Pitchy” (2020), the artist answers an interviewer’s questions with coy, chanted improvisations, repeating phrases until they gain an incantatory power. Bassichis is masterly at creating a feeling that’s simultaneously conspiratorial and uncomfortable, like when someone tells a joke, and you’re not sure you totally get it, but you laugh anyway.

Bassichis’s persona is a fool who’s actually a wise man (I think). In the titular installation, made with DonChristian Jones, a set of pamphlets lists questions to ponder in advance of different situations. One for joining an organization reads, “Are we sure history will look favorably on us?” along with, “I forget, we are or we are not anarchists?”

I relate to the anxiety that drives such inquiries, and I admire Bassichis’s ability to turn it into art. What I get from their work, in addition to much-needed laughter, are ideas for how to critically, caringly and creatively approach the daunting world. JILLIAN STEINHAUER

Lower East Side

Through April 30. Sperone Westwater, 257 Bowery, Manhattan; 212-999-7337,

Embroidering on reality, Joana Choumali takes color photographs in her native Ivory Coast, prints them on cotton canvas and embellishes them with stitching. Shocking-pink balloons, flowering-branch headpieces or silver lines that radiate like energy fields transform a windswept beach or a littered unpaved street into a fairyland.

A sequence of twelve embroidered iPhone photographs that she made of Grand-Bassam, a beach resort that was devastated by a terrorist attack in 2016, won the prestigious Prix Pictet three years later. Choumali titled the series “Ça va aller,” a local expression that translates loosely as “It’s gonna be all right.”

Those pictures are included in “It Still Feels Like the Right Time,” her first solo exhibition in this country. Most depict solitary pedestrians with a melancholy stillness that is complicated by the colorful handwork. The instantaneous snap of the picture-taking is countered by the laborious meditative process of the stitching.

In a subsequent collection produced this year, “Alba’hian,” which in the Anyin language denotes the energy of dawn, Choumali works on a larger scale, portraying groups of people, sometimes in multipanel compositions. These photographs have been collaged to create theatrically flamboyant skies and larger-than-life figures. The tropical scenes are lusher, with luxuriant vegetation, and the embroidery denser. They are covered with a delicate voile, as if shrouded by a humid mist.

In one, “I Am Enough” (2022), a sorceress juggles planets as she stands alongside a beach pier, conjuring the cosmic in the quotidian. It could be Choumali’s self-portrait. ARTHUR LUBOW


Through April 30. Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, Manhattan; 212-645-1701,

The African American painter Barkley L. Hendricks (1945-2017) is best known for his portraits, but the sixteen Basketball Paintings now at Jack Shainman, made between 1966 and 1971, are just as exciting. (During lockdown, Shainman featured them in an online show.)

Some are straight-ahead depictions of hoops and backboards and balls. Others take the game’s signature forms — the ball’s circle, the arcs and right angles of a court’s markings — and turn them into pure pattern.

The standard way to talk about such works is in terms of late ’60s battles between abstraction and representation: They seem to hesitate between the two, as though Hendricks had yet to settle on his trademark figuration.

I prefer to read them metaphorically, less about issues of style as about the game of art, and the skills and positioning it takes to score in it. If art is like basketball, then painting becomes more verb than noun, more action than object. It’s about a set of moves, and the rules that shape what counts as fair or foul — and who gets to play at all.

The Basketball Paintings stage a witty demonstration of all the ways there were to score points in their era, from the new hyper-realism to the latest in color-field art.

Hendricks was between college and graduate school when he made most of them, so we can think of him as still semipro but picturing life in the majors.

These brilliant paintings prove he was already there. BLAKE GOPNIK

Upper East Side

Through May 29. Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 15 East 84th Street, Manhattan. 212-992-7800;

This unusual loan of Pompeian frescoes from the National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy — arranged by the curator Clare Fitzgerald — is a rare chance to catch ancient Roman visual culture mid-stride.

Consider one six-and-a-half-foot-tall portrait of Hercules and Omphale — a queen who briefly enslaved the famous demigod. At first, its colorful but faded surfaces give you the impression of a sketch waiting for final details, though you can still appreciate the cunning composition. Drunken Hercules, leaning on a helper, turns one way and severe Omphale the other, yet they’re both head-on to the viewer, with a discreet crowd of extras tucked neatly behind their shoulders. A delicate balance of pinks and blues makes the picture vivid but not aggressive — perfect dining room décor.

But enough detail does survive not only to make the picture engaging, but also to make its mythical scene seem less like a religious archetype than a homey fairy tale. Hercules, the strongest man in the world, is blind drunk and staggering — you can see it from the way his legs turn and his eyes gape open — and he’s put on Omphale’s clothes. Omphale’s look is harder to parse. Is it contempt? Indignation? Either way, she’s clearly unamused. Two attendants turn to each other, one with a gossipy “can you believe this?” look, the other praying; an old man supporting Hercules is too worried about keeping him upright to spare a thought for disapproval. WILL HEINRICH


Through June 11. Blank Forms, 468 Grand Avenue, Brooklyn. 347-916-0833;

Jerry Hunt (1943-93) was a lot of things: a “virtuoso talker,” according to a new book devoted to the artist; a modern-day shaman who was a cross between a 1950s insurance salesman and the Beat writer William S. Burroughs; and an electronic music pioneer who lived in Texas but was better known in Europe. “Transmissions From the Pleroma” at Blank Forms examines Hunt’s career, showcasing his videos, photographs of his outré performances, handwritten musical scores and enigmatic objects such as his totem-like “wands,” made with the assemblage artist David McManaway.

Born in Waco, Texas, Hunt was trained as a classical pianist and plied his craft everywhere, from jazz clubs to strip clubs. However, he once said, “I might have given up on music altogether if it hadn’t been for John Cage and the new emphasis he gave to communication.” Cage’s experimental influence can be felt everywhere in Hunt’s work, from videos in which he carries on absurd conversations to musical scores that look more like abstract drawings. The curious “wands,” often used in performances, cobble together sticks, old gloves and hardware parts.

One deadpan video is titled “How to Kill Yourself Using the Inhalation of Carbon Monoxide Gas” (1993). The work calls to mind the famous existentially tinged quote by the French writer Albert Camus: “There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” Hunt’s video adds to that proposition a consideration of everyone else who might be affected by that decision. Suicide, after all, as he stresses, involves more than the individual performer. MARTHA SCHWENDENER

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