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Three to see

Three exhibitions to see in New York this weekend

From Kent Monkman’s Met commission to radiant 1960s paintings at the Guggenheim

Kent Monkman, Resurgence of the People, 2019 The Metropolitran Museum of Art

Kent Monkman: Mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (until 9 April 2020) is the museum’s first installation for the Great Hall as part of a new series of annual contemporary commissions. The Toronto-based Cree artist, best-known for paintings and performances that appropriate historical European and American works of art, has produced two monolithic paintings that reflect on “the one-sided colonial version of history [...] that dominates the narrative of so many museums”, the artist says. The radical works—called Welcoming the Newcomers and Resurgence of the People, both made this year—reimagine key works in the museum’s collection that tell stories of Western conquest, including Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) and Thomas Crawford’s Mexican Girl Dying (carved in 1848). The commission “marks a historic shift to offer indigenous perspectives on the shared history of this continent”, says Monkman.

The Fullness of Color: 1960s Painting at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (until August 2020) brings together 10 paintings by artists who pioneered the varied fields of non-representational art in the 1960s and 1970s, including Colour Field, geometric abstraction and hard-edge painting. The show is mostly drawn from the museum’s permanent collection and features important pieces by Kenneth Noland, Alma Thomas and Helen Frankenthaler, among other artists. Several works in the exhibition have not been shown in the New York museum for decades. The paintings “are exemplary works by artists who historically had close associations with the museum; the exhibition takes the opportunity to revisit their artistic contributions”, says the curator Megan Fontanella. “In assessing our presentations in New York over the past two decades or so, it became apparent that we were ripe for a rediscovery of our 1960s holdings of artists who were using colour and form in bold ways.”

It’s the last week to see Donald Moffett: Ill (Nature Paintings) at Marianne Boesky Gallery (until 21 December). The artist has produced a series of monolithic sculptural paintings that continue his meticulous exploration of organic forms. The vivid abstract works—which were devised by using layers of wood panel applied with UV coating and epoxy resin, giving them a glassy quality—evoke seen and unseen elements of nature, from evident forms such as tree branches to kaleidoscopic biological forms produced in large scale. The New York-based artist mounted the show with the climate crisis in mind and says that these multi-dimensional pieces were inspired by flora he saw around the Staten Island Museum over the past summer.