The 26 Best Art Exhibitions in NYC to Check Out

Hey art lover, we heard you’re going to visit New York City. You’re in for a treat. New York has some of the best art exhibits in the world. Wondering which art fairs and art museums you should check out? Overwhelmed by the number of art exhibits in NYC?

We’ve compiled some of the best art exhibitions going on in New York right now. All that’s left for you to do is book your ticket (some of these art exhibitions are for free)!

The Best Art Exhibitions in New York City Right Now

  1. 01

    Independent Art Fair

    Other Art & Culture in Tribeca
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    Despite having the words “art fair” in its name, the Independent Art Fair in New York strives to go beyond the concept by embracing different art styles beyond conventional and popular genres. It traces its beginnings to the Dia Center for the Arts in Beacon, New York. The eventual success of the museum and foundation led to the Chelsea neighborhood becoming a thriving art community.

    • When? May 5 – 8, 2022

    My tip: These are the Best Things To Do in New York in May.

  2. 02

    Frieze New York

    Other Art & Culture in Hudson Yards
    Frieze Art Fair New York
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    For art enthusiasts, one of the best things to do in spring in NYC is attending Frieze New York. It’s hosted on The Shed at Hudson Yards and features works from over 1,000 artists and 200 international galleries.

    There are many other fun things to do at the festival as well, such as sitting in on one of the famous panel discussions, soaking in the breathtaking views of The Vessel, and most importantly – immersing yourself in many imaginative outdoor and indoor projects.

    • When? May 18 – 22, 2022

    Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze

    My tip: These are the Best Things To Do in New York in May.

  3. 03

    VOLTA Art Fair New York

    Other Art & Culture in Chelsea
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    At the same time as Frieze Week, the VOLTA Art Fair takes place in the former Dia Building in Chelsea’s Gallery District. It presents 49 national and international galleries, and since the Frieze Art Fair is only a 10-minute walk away, it makes sense to visit both art fairs. The best way to do this is to walk along the High Line.

    • When? May 18 – 22, 2022
  4. 04

    Art Exhibitions at MoMA PS1

    Museum in Long Island City
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    Check out the local art scene in the MoMa Ps1 art exhibit, featuring work from 47 local, contemporary artists. This exhibit explores art-making in New York history, the resilience of artists, and the feelings connected with art. You’ll see a huge emphasis on foreign-born artists, their work full of Egyptian, Iranian, Tunisian, Nigerian, Mexican, Argentinian, and Indian influences. There is also an abundance of Native American artists to enjoy.

    • Deana Lawson (through September 5, 2022 – more information here)

    My tip: These are the Best Things To Do in New York in Summer.

  5. 05

    Fotografiska New York

    Museum in Gramercy
    Fotografiska_Museum_NYC_210903083604002
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    Fotografiska New York is a wonderful museum in NYC for all art and especially photo art enthusiasts. Originally founded in Stockholm in 2010, the museum also exists in Tallinn (Estonia) and since 2019 in New York.

    • Unfiltered Jazz Festival (July 7 - July 22, 2022)
    • Black Venus (through August 21, 2022)
    • Memoria by Hames Nachtwey (through August 21, 2022)
    • Milked in Africa by Tony Gum (through August 21, 2022)
    • Puberty by Laurence Philomène (through August 21, 2022)
  6. 06

    The Whitney Biennial 2022 (April 6 - September 5, 2022)

    Museum in Meatpacking District
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    In addition to regularly changing exhibitions, there is one Whitney Museum of Art event that tops them all: the Whitney Biennial. It’s been around since 1932, making it the longest-running exhibition of American art and the museum’s signature event. To get tickets check the website here.

    My tip: These are the Best Things To Do in New York in May.

  7. 07

    Exhibitions at El Museo del Barrio NYC

    Museum in Upper East Side
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    El Museo del Barrio NYC is right at the north end of the Museum Mile and exhibits everything to do with art and culture from Latin America. After its expensive renovation in 2009, the museum is better than ever and offers its visitors a collection of over 6,500 artifacts, as well as many permanent and special exhibitions alike.

    • "A Contextual Retrospective" by Raphael Montañez Ortiz (April 14 – September 11, 2022)
  8. 08

    Exhibits at Guggenheim Museum

    Museum in Upper East Side
    Our Highlight
    Guggenheim Museum
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    First off, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is an architectural masterpiece. Second, but most importantly, it is the permanent home of a large collection of art named after its founder. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright the bizarrely shaped building is one of the most famous in NYC. Not only is the outside spectacular, but it is constantly expanding its permanent collection. Also, many special exhibitions are showcased here throughout the years. It is definitely worth a visit!

    • "Around the Circle" by Vasily Kandinsky (through September 5, 2022)
    • Cecilia Vicuña: Spin Spin Triangulene (through September 5, 2022)
    • Eva Hesse: Expanded Expansion (July 8 - October 17, 2022)
    • Thannhauser Collection (ongoing)
    • Sensory Poetics: Collecting Abstraction (July 8 - October 17, 2022)
    • "Gathering" by Alex Katz (October 21, 2022 - February 20, 2023)
    • "Forothermore" by Nick Cave (October 21, 2022 - February 20, 2023)
  9. 09

    Current exhibitions at Jeffrey Deitch

    Gallery in SoHo
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    Anyone who’s a fan of New York City’s contemporary art scene knows the name, Jeffrey Deitch. He’s an esteemed curator and art dealer who’s best known for his gallery that operated from 1996 until 2010 called Deitch Projects, where he curated projects such as Post Human and Lives. After shuttering his art gallery, Deitch moved to Los Angeles, where he served as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) director until 2013.

    • Vibrant Matters, Curated by Melanie Kress - An Exhibition of New Work By the 2022 Yale School of Art Painting & Printmaking MFA Graduates (July 9 – August 13, 2022, 18 Wooster Street)
  10. 10

    Current exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York

    Museum in Upper East Side
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    A great museum to find out more about the city of New York. Get an exciting look into the histoty of the Big apple and find out more through a variety of pictures, paintings, clothing, toys and books.

    • "Puppets of New York" (until April 3, 2022)
    • "Rising Tide: Visualizing the Human Costs of the Climate Crisis" (through Mai 1, 2022)
    • "The Stettheimer Dollhouse" (through May 20, 2022)

    My tip: These are the Best Things To Do in New York in May.

  11. 11

    Frick Madison Art Exhibition

    Museum in Upper East Side
    Frick Collection in New York
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    In the temporary new home Frick Madison of the renowned Frick Collection, you can admire renowned masterpieces from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century in the latest Art Exhibition at Frick Madison.

    • Where? 945 Madison Avenue
  12. 12

    American Museum of Natural History

    Museum in Upper West Side
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    The American Museum of Natural History is one of the more popular museums in NYC. If the name sounds recognizable it’s because the museum was the center of attention in the movie, Night at the Museum featuring Ben Stiller. Regardless of it’s Hollywood fame, the Natural History Museum is a huge institution that features numerous exhibits. This is a great place for families with kids so they can learn about the world’s geography, plants, different animal species and many other things.

    The American Museum of Natural History is located in the Upper West Side in Manhattan and is the largest natural history museum in the world.

    • When? Starting December 15, 2021
  13. 13

    Exhibits at Marc Straus Gallery

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    Marc Straus Gallery in NYC
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    The Marc Straus Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in New York City. It was founded in 2011 by Marc Straus in the Lower East Side inside of a four story building that has been reconstructed. The gallery is committed to showing art that has not been seen in decades by older artists. This element of discovery and re-discovery will make you feel like an explorer as soon as your eyes land upon one of these forgotten pieces by a famous artist.

    • Rona Pondick (March 2 - April 16, 2022)
  14. 14

    Exhibits at Canada Art Gallery

    Gallery in Chinatown
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    One of the pioneers of the Lower East Side Chinatown gallery scene, CANADA opened in 2000 and has been a major institution, not a typical gallery, ever since.

    • "Biscuit" by Lyric Shen (March 11 - April 11, 2022)
  15. 15

    Exhibits at Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art

    Museum in SoHo
    Leslie_Lohman_Museum_of_Art_front_wall_image
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    The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art is one of the newest museums in New York and is the only one fully dedicated to LGBTQ+ art. It was recognized as a museum in 2016, but its roots trace back to 1969. The founders Charles Leslie and Fritz Lohman exhibited the first artworks in their Soho loft back then, and today they have over 25,000 objects in their collection.

    • "Not Me, Not That, Not Nothing Either" (February 4 - June 25, 2022)
  16. 16

    Newly Renovated Met Museum Galleries

    Museum in Upper East Side
    Our Highlight
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
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    Art lovers, you can’t go to New York without visiting the Met. Even if you’ve been before (lucky you), there is no excuse not to go again since the Met is changing things up. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has moved hundreds of its old art exhibits to new, gorgeously-constructed spaces. The first phase was completed in April 2018, and the second phase will be finished this spring 2022. Don’t miss it!

  17. 17

    River to River Festival

    Other Events in Battery Park City
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    Taking place each summer in Lower Manhattan, the River to River Festival is a free summer arts festival that features live art performances and public art installations.

    Put on by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, this event was started after the events of 9/11 as a way to help heal and celebrate New Yorkers’ resiliency. For tourists to New York, this is a moving way to connect with the city and to experience some beautiful, thought-provoking art.

  18. 18

    The New York Public Library's Treasures: The Polonsky Exhibition

    Building in Midtown Manhattan
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    Interested in old artifacts, manuscripts, and archives? This is a New York art exhibition you won’t want to miss. The New York Public Library has taken hundreds of items from its expansive archive to create a permanent exhibition called “The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures.” This exhibit spans 4,000 years in human history, from Columbus’ only surviving letter to King Ferdinand announcing the discovery of the Americas to the first Gutenberg Bible that arrived in the New World. You don’t want to miss this amazing art exhibit in New York!

    • When? Until December 2025
  19. 19

    McKenzie Fine Art

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    Best_Art_Gallery_NYC_211216102143002
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    The McKenzie Fine Art Gallery has been around since 2002 and moved from the Chelsea neighborhood to the Lower East Side in 2012. It focuses on artists who are mid-level in their career, and utilize painting, sculptures, and drawing as their primary medium, or a mixture of them.

    There have been dozens of artists who have been able to showcase their talent at the McKenzie Fine Art Gallery. Some of those artists include: Julie Allen, Ann Aspinwall, Paul Corio, Lori Ellison, Tom Leaver, Jean Lowe, and Maureen McQuillan.

    • Maureen McQuillan (April 8 - May 15, 2022)
  20. 20

    Exhibitions at LUMAS Gallery Soho

    Gallery in SoHo
    LUMAS Art Gallery in SoHo NYC
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    LUMAS is a contemporary art and photography gallery that features work from artists around the globe. Many guests enjoy LUMAS because they feature works from upcoming and established artists, so they feature a diverse collection of art, which is evident the moment you step through the door or visit their website.

    Unlike some galleries, LUMAS aims to price and position their works in ways that are more accessible to collectors just starting out and definitely lean toward a style that can be described as a modern aesthetic. When visiting LUMAS’ Soho location, each work is meticulously displayed using acrylic mounts and museum-quality paper for printing, so even without a frame, they still look great in many environments.

  21. 21

    Exhibitions at bitforms gallery

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    NoHo gallery NYC
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    The bitforms gallery is a contemporary art gallery that features mid-career artists utilizing the latest technologies in New York City. The Bitforms gallery was founded in 2001 with the idea that A world-renowned contemporary visual art gallery, bitforms is home to established artists and those on the rise.

    • "Up The Ghost" by Siebren Versteeg (May 13 – June 11, 2022)
  22. 22

    Alexandre Gallery

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    Alexandre Gallery in NYC
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    Alexandre Gallery has two locations. The 25 E 73rd Street location has been around for 20 years, and will stay open for private viewings, and American Modernists from the Stieglitz Circle. It will be appointment only. The late 19th early 20th century is a special focus for Alexandre Gallery. Famous artists such as John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Joseph Stella have paintings on display at the 73rd Street location.

    Alexandre Gallery opened its new location at 291 Grand Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan on September 9, 2021 with Lois Dodd doing a one-person exhibition. The gallery has 2,000 square feet, and was previously used by James Cohan.

    • "Weeds & Spores" curated by Faye Hirsch (June 22 – August 12, 2022)
  23. 23

    Several Exhibitions at David Zwirner Galleries

    Gallery in Chelsea
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    David Zwirner is a German art dealer. He comes from a family of artists and grew up with an art studio on the ground floor of where he lived.  He opened his first gallery space in the SoHo neighborhood. In total, there are 3 locations in NY – 19th Street, 20th Street, and 69th Street. In Hong Kong, his gallery is on Queen’s Road Central. In London, you’ll find his gallery on Grafton Street, and in Paris, you’ll see the gallery on rue Vieille du Temple.

    • Barbara Kruger (June 30 - August 12, 2022, location: 519, 525, and 533 West 19th Street)
    • For Keeps: Selected Parkett Editions 1984–2017 (June 30 - August 5, 2022, 537 West 20th Street)
    • Richard Serra (May 4 - July 15, 2022, location: 537 West 20th Street)
  24. 24

    Current exhibits at Krause Gallery

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    Krause Gallery Lower East Side NYC
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    The variety of artforms, and artists presented at the Krause Gallery make this one a must visit. You’ll notice paintings, sculpture, and mostly contemporary art. The Krause Gallery has entered the world of NFT’s. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, and is the latest craze in the art world (a NFT is a digital asset that is unlike any other).

    • "NEW WORLD" by Abby Elizabeth (April 1 - April 30, 2022)
  25. 25

    Current exhibits at James Fuentes LLC Art Gallery

    Gallery in Lower East Side
    Gallery
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    James Fuentes LLC is a contemporary art gallery located in the heart of New York City. The gallery was founded in 2007 by James Fuentes in the Lower East Side and specializes in presenting innovative and experimental artwork by both emerging and established artists.

    • "The Warm Glow" by Daisy Parris (Through July 15, 2022)
    • Allen & Eldridge (Through July 29, 2022)
  26. 26

    Current exhibitions at Sean Kelly Gallery

    Gallery in Hudson Yards
    sean_kelly_Galleries_NYC_190509163013003
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    Sean Kelly Gallery, founded in 1991 in New York City by British-born Sean Kelly, represents established and mid-career artists, particularly with work based in installation and performance.

    • NXTHVN Undercurrents (Through August 5, 2022)
    • "A Different Kind of Paradise" by Landon Metz (September 8 - October 22, 2022)

What art exhibit will you be checking out in New York City first? Let us know in the comments!

About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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