Art and activism have long made good bedfellows. This winter, however, the New York art scene is gearing up for full-scale revolution — at least on canvas and onscreen — as it tackles climate change, political upheaval, a metropolis in transition and more. These exhibitions offer hope that, in the words of Sam Cooke, a change is gonna come.
Adam Straus Retrospective: Two Exhibitions
In a career spanning over three decades, painter Adam Straus has come to be known for his lush, majestic depictions of nature and his concern for environmental issues. His dark humor illuminates how humans have altered the sublime natural world — consider his 1993 painting “McStop,” in which the tiny golden arches of a McDonald’s stick up from a pastoral landscape. Held at the Nohra Haime Gallery, this exhibit features the artist’s current and early work. Nov. 22-Dec. 24, 730 Fifth Ave., Seventh Floor
A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde
On the cusp of the centennial of the Russian Revolution, MoMA brings together major works from its collection to chronicle the period of Soviet avant-garde innovation from 1912 to 1934. This all-star exhibit includes the poetry, films and photo montages of legends like Vladimir Mayakovsky and Alexandra Exter, revealing how art can function as a vehicle for transformation and change. Dec. 3-March 12, 2017, 11 W. 53 St.
Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image
The man who brought us “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” is getting a retrospective in his home borough. The Museum of the Moving Image is mounting an in-depth look at Martin Scorsese’s life, work and love of New York over the auteur’s half-century of transformative filmmaking, including production material from key films, childhood objects, behind-the-scenes images and a large selection of restored classic. Dec. 11-April 23, 2017, 36-01 35 Ave., Queens
New York at Its Core
After much anticipation, the Museum of the City of New York’s first permanent exhibition is here. Tracing how a striving Dutch village came to be the “greatest city in the world,” this permanent exhibit includes three galleries, each devoted a different era in New York City’s evolution, plus 400 significant objects from revolutionary New Yorkers like Alexander Hamilton and Jay-Z. History buffs and pop culture fans, rejoice. Opens Nov. 18, 1220 Fifth Ave.
With the winter solstice fast approaching, “Lights On” is the perfect remedy for the darker days ahead. Held at Chelsea’s iconic First Street Gallery, this group exhibition explores the nature of light and its key role in painting. Featuring the work of local artists including Matthew Dibble and Hank Feeley, the interplay between light and darkness offers viewers a new perspective. Nov. 30-Dec.17, 526 W. 26th St.
Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change
The constant bombardment of images is altering our culture, our politics and our brains — but how? That’s the question curators set out to explore in this provocative exhibition at The International Center for Photography Museum. Focusing on five visual themes — gender fluidity, climate change, #BlackLivesMatter, terrorist propaganda and the refugee crisis — “Perpetual Revolution” explores how the mass production of images is stirring up political and technological change. Jan. 27-May 7, 2017, 250 Bowery
For the rest of the best entertainment in New York City this season, visit ourWinter Arts Guide