Nordic Impressions: Contemporary Art from Aland, Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden is on show at Scandinavia House until 8 June. The compact but comprehensive show has 24 contemporary works in a range of media by artists from Scandinavia, including Tal R, Ragnar Kjartansson and Mamma Andersson. Themes important in Nordic culture, such as nature and folklore, light and darkness, and women’s rights, plus pressing current issues such as immigration and climate change, link the works. Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir (aka, Shoplifter), the Brooklyn-based Icelandic artist who will represent her home country in the 2019 Venice Biennale, presents a new large-scale work in rainbow-hued artificial hair. The Sámi artist Britta Marakatt-Labba’s large, narrative textile work, Skymning (At Dusk), is a dreamy, atmospheric showstopper. Aase Seidler Gernes, Uden Title (Untitled), 2013-16. Photo: collection of the artist

Nari Ward: We the People is on at the New Museum until 26 May. The Jamaica-born artist has his first New York retrospective at the New Museum—which gave him his first institutional solo show in 1993—tracing his 25-year career through more than 30 works. These sculptures, installations, paintings and video often use discarded everyday objects such as prams and plastic bags to explore historical memory, the African diaspora, democracy, gentrification and other social themes. The show’s title comes from his large 2011 wall piece, which spells the opening of the Preamble to the US Constitution in colourful shoelaces. Photo: © The Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY

Two Lucio Fontana shows are on until 14 April: Lucio Fontana: On the Threshold is on at the Met Breuer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Lucio Fontana: Spatial Environment (1968) is on at El Museo del Barrio. The Italian-Argentinian artist is best known for puncturing and gouging canvases in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, but this show, spread across The Met’s Fifth Avenue and Breuer locations, explores his work as a whole. The exhibition’s curator, Iria Candela, says his earlier ceramics laid the groundwork for the slashed works, which turned canvases into sculptures. Visitors can also experience Fontana’s experiments with light and space in Spatial Environment with Red Light (1967). El Museo del Barrio has concurrently staged Fontana’s labyrinthine work Spatial Environment (1968). Lucio Fontana (Italian, 1899–1968), Portrait of Teresita, 1940: Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milan: © 2018 Fondazione Lucio Fontana/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is on at the Brooklyn Museum until 12 May. This intimate look at Frida Kahlo’s life and work reveals more than 100 of her personal objects, such as pre-colonial jewellery and traditional Tehuana clothing, most of which were locked away in her bathroom for 50 years after her death in 1954. The Mexican artist used such pieces to craft her image to reflect her political beliefs and culture, and deal with physical disabilities from a traffic accident in 1925. Among the most poignant objects is a hand-painted plaster corset Kahlo made in 1944, which depicts her spine as a broken column surrounded by flowers and fruit. Other works by Kahlo, such as her piercing self-portraits, photographs of her by Edward Weston and Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Mesoamerican objects from the museum’s collection that are similar to objects that inspired her, round out the story. Frida with Idol (1939). Photo: courtesy of Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

Must-see exhibitions during The Armory Show

From Frida Kahlo’s personal items at the Brooklyn Museum to the work of Jamaica-born artist Nari Ward at the New Museum, there’s plenty to see off-pier

Mamma Andersson, Behind the Curtain (2014) Collection of the artist © Mamma Andersson, courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong

Mamma Andersson, Behind the Curtain (2014) Collection of the artist © Mamma Andersson, courtesy of David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong