Until 3 October at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, Manhattan
The São Paulo-based artist Aline Motta explores the romanticised history of miscegenation in Brazil in two striking video works that capture a series of expeditions she made to Portugal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and within Brazil to reconstruct her ancestral lineage. The works Bridges Over the Abyss (2017) and Other (Foundations) (2017-2019) are paired with a languid monologue, in which Motta reflects on the amnesiac heritage of descendants of enslaved Africans. “I see themselves in them, but they don’t see themselves in me,” she says, while in Lagos. “But they were on the ship with me when I was forced to leave, and on the plane with me I returned, 200 years later.” Another video titled Natural Daughter (2018/2019)—a piece commissioned by the Museu de arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand for the 2019 show Feminist Histories: Artists After 2000—traces the story of Motta’s great-great-grandmother and a coffee plantation that was once at the centre of the slave trade in Brazil.
Julie Mehretu: A Decade of Printmaking
Until 18 September at Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, 525 West 24th Street, Manhattan
The Los Angeles printshop and gallery Gemini G.E.L. is New York showing every print they have ever made in collaboration with superstar painter Julie Mehretu. This spans a decade’s worth of work, from 2008 to 2018, beginning with a 12 by 14-inch drypoint etching made to raise funds for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, up through a series of intricate aquatint diptychs that get as big as over eight feet tall and use as many as 31 colours. The rich surface quality of printmaking lends itself to Mehretu’s strengths, giving her already rich mark making a steroid hit of beauty. Though the small prints are treats to see, Six Bardos, a massive suite of aquatints named for the Buddhist intervals between life and death, steal the show.
Markus Lüpertz: Recent Paintings
Until 11 September at Michael Werner Gallery, 4 East 77th Street, Manhattan
A series of recent paintings by the German artist Markus Lüpertz can be described as timeless and existing outside of time. The works, all of which the octogenarian artist painted over the last four years, feel contemporary but pull the viewer into the past with references to work from the Renaissance, Cubism and with a spatter Greek mythology. Lüpertz has shown in galleries and exhibitions around the world but never caught on stateside. However, that might be changing. Gordon VeneKlasen, a partner at Michael Werner, says the gallery has been “filled with young people who are clearly painters and artists”, and that the exhibition received a similar reception when it was shown in London last year. “It’s such a wonderful thing for people to discover him at this point in his life.”