The 2024 Guide

New York–based writer and curator Adrian Madlener shares his picks for Art & Design Weeks

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Photo by Casey Kelbaugh. Courtesy of CKA and Frieze.

In the spring, creators from everywhere convene in New York for festival season, when art fairs and gallery openings are as ubiquitous as the cherry blossoms themselves. With ART& commencing today and DESIGN& around the corner, our travel partners the Essentialist tapped writer and curator Adrian Madlener to share his picks for the most noteworthy destinations in the city, from new and niche fairs to offshoot exhibitions and more.

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By Adrian Madlener

May is New York’s month when it comes to art and design events. Early on,  art fairs Frieze (held at The Shed from May 1st to 5th) and Independent (held at Spring Place from May 9th to 12th) draw in both local and international crowds. Responding in kind, galleries throughout town host blockbuster shows and buzzy openings. Later on, NYCxDesign—otherwise known as New York Design Week—takes over with trade show ICFF/WantedDesign as its flagship event (May 21st to 23rd). The city-wide happening encompasses a bevy of showroom showcases that coalesce around the public Mercer Street Block Party, held on May 17th from 6 to 9pm. What New York’s main design event is perhaps best known for, however, is its thematic group shows, painting a full picture of the city’s ever-evolving independent design scene. A few stellar solo shows also make a splash.   

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Gisela Colón. Autorretrato Tectónico (Oxígeno), 2024. | Lindsey Adelman. Realm of Light Hanging Lamps with Amber Sitting Lamp.

Must-See Exhibitions

Gisela Colón’s Plinths at Efraín López Gallery
On the heels of a major solo show at Museu Nacional da República in Brasilia, organic-minimalist sculptor Gisela Colón is showasing some of her most important works—including one of the iconic, gender-fluid Plinths—at New York gallery Efraín López (356 Broadway, Unit LL5). The retrospective is on view from April 30 to June. 

Lindsey Adelman’s Realm of Light at TIWA Gallery 
New York-based Lindsey Adelman has been taking the lighting design world by storm for over a decade. A new show at Tribeca-based TIWA Gallery (on view from May 9th to June 8th) will debut new oil-lamp concepts inspired by a very personal exploration of ancient religious rituals. The opening will be held at the gallery (86 Walker Street, floor 5) on May 7th (6 to 8pm).

The Haas Brother’s Inner Vision at Marianne Boesky Gallery
Coinciding with a major retrospective at the Nasher Museum and Sculpture Center, The Haas Brother’s Inner Vision show (May 2 to June 8) will reveal new whimsical sculptures and the Los Angeles-based duo’s first foray into painting. As the lines between fine art and design continue to blur, the pair is at the forefront of breaking down disciplinary boundaries.

Dumais Made’s 31 Days
Litchfield, Connecticut-based ceramics studio Dumais Made has been crafting format-defying lamps and object designs since opening shop in 2017. The 31 Days exhibit, on view at Studio Café (195 Chrystie Street) from May 15th to 17th (10am to 5pm), stems from co-founder Charlie Dumais’s desire to look back at the totality of his output thus far, an impressive 62 individual concepts to be exact.

Cabinets Curated by Sight Unseen
Sight Unseen isn’t just a popular design blog turned influential magazine but also a prominent curatorial force. Over the past decade, founders Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer have mounted trend-setting exhibits. During this year’s New York Design Week, the platform is collaborating with new brand Petra Hardware on a series of 10 cabinets designed by leading talents such as Chris Walston, Lauren Geremia, and Pamela Love and displayed in a showroom (25 East Broadway, Floor 2) imagined by Khemsurov. The showcase will be on view May 16th and 17th from 11am to 5pm.


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The Haas Brothers. Ball Simon, 2024. Courtesy of Marianne Boesky Gallery. | Lena Imamura. Flower Messages at Crafting Selfhood.
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Queer-led Design Dysphoria. | Bowen Liu. Side Table at Time and Materials.

Crafting Selfhood
Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month, Co-curated by Female Design Council founder Lora Appleton and Karen Wong, the former Deputy Director of the New Museum, Crafting Selfhood is a group show highlighting distinct artworks and designs by thirteen Asian American female identifying talents who utilize form, technique, and medium to reveal their process. The exhibit is on view at the 3.1 Phillip Lim showroom (48 Great Jones Street) from May 1st to 23rd.

Queer-led Design Dysphoria
According to design practice Studio S II co-founders Erica Sellers and Jeremy Silberberg, co-curators of the Design Dysphoria group exhibit, “the queer community is intimately intertwined with the environments it constructs and inhabits, there continues to be a need and opportunity to establish new places that prioritize queer voices and comradery.” The show brings together furniture, glass lighting fixtures, textile artwork, and interactive design objects by LGBTQIA+ talents like Liz Collins and Grace Whiteside. On view at Studio S II’s Bushwick, Brooklyn workshop (53 Scott Avenue) from May 20th to 25th (10am5pm), Design Dysphoria will also play host to a May 19th (3pm5pm) panel discussion on the issue moderated by Stamatina Gregory, Chief Curator of Leslie Lohman Museum.

The Times and Materials of Assembly Line
Since opening a few years back, Assembly Line (373 Atlantic Avenue) has emerged as BoCoCa, Brooklyn’s main design resource. This New York Design week, the showroom—born out of interior design practice General Assembly—will host a group show exploring the importance of foreground materiality and process. On view from May 15th to June 23rd, the Times and Materials exhibit will include new one-off and limited-edition pieces by Bowen Liu and Danny Kaplan Studio, among others. Opening reception May 18, from 5 to 8pm.

Among the group shows that define New York art and design weeks, JONALDDUDD is arguably the most provocative. Since launching its first showcase in 2015, the platform has exhibited a slew of independent talents with a stated mission of prioritizing self expression over commercial conformity. The 2024 exhibition is guest curated by Charles Constantine, co-founder and Creative Director of Bestcase and is on view May 17–20 at 43 Mercer Street.

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