Carmen Herrera’s first New York solo museum exhibition in 20 years, Lines of Sight,at the Whitney Museum of American Art (until 2 January 2017), has been a long time coming. The 101-year-old artist famously worked in obscurity until she was “discovered” by the New York art world in her 80s. Like Herrera’s rigorous, geometric paintings, the Whitney retrospective is a model of restraint. A carefully edited selection of 50 works traces the artist’s evolution between 1948 and 1978, as she refined her signature abstract style. One might think the black-and-white painting she made while living in Paris in 1950 is derivative of Ellsworth Kelly’s Cité (1951)—until you realise Herrera’s came first. The show reminds us that the Cuba-born, New York-based artist was making important work long before anyone took notice, and that she deserves to take her rightful place next to Kelly in the pantheon of hard-edge painting.
Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas at the Museum of Arts and Design (until 22 January 2017) is a colourful show that speaks to a sad reality: the devastation of living marine environments due to climate change and plastic trash. “We think of [the pieces] as being creatures,” says the Los-Angeles based artist Margaret Wertheimer, who launched the ongoing Crochet Coral Reef project—which now has participants around the world creating these intricate works out of yarn and discarded plastic—ten years ago with her sister, Christine. Meanwhile, one floor above, Chris Antemann’s travelling solo exhibition Forbidden Fruit (until 5 February 2017) is pure pleasure. It includes 18th-century-inspired porcelain figurines in saucy vignettes, including mid-banquet group seductions on tabletops brimming with fruit and sweets.
Venture into Daniel Arsham’s basement cave at the Galerie Perrotin, a darkened purple space of thousands of sports balls individually cast in amethyst and hydrostone. Circa 2345 (until 22 October) is his first New York solo exhibition and is the result of the colourblind artist’s recent discovery of the colour spectrum thanks to some nifty high-tech corrective glasses. The exhibition also includes a gallery of sports-themed pieces cast with cobalt and hydrostone, such as a Chicago Bulls jacket, an American football helmet and what Arsham calls “Brancusi-esque” columns of stacked American footballs and basketballs. He describes this white-cube space as a museum-like display of familiar objects from the present day, shown in the distant future as archaeological relics.