First published in W Magazine - 01.12.23 

Words By Maxine Wally

Describing the early 2023 arts calendar as “stacked” feels like an understatement. The sheer number of exhibitions, group shows, retrospectives, and openings is overwhelming in both number and scale. But fear not: we’ve put together a list of the highlights from the first few months of this year in New York City, Los Angeles, and other select cities throughout the United States. Consider this your grab-bag guide to the can’t-miss exhibitions of the season, and check back often—we’ll be updating this list as more events roll in.


Angel Ortiz’s Ode 2 NYC

 If you only know the pioneering artist Angel Ortiz in the context of his close collaborator and friend Keith Haring, an upcoming exhibition will allow you to see him in a whole new light. Ode 2 NYC, opening May 18-June 18 in New York City’s SoHo gallery Chase Contemporary, will feature a unique body of Ortiz’s geometric, abstract work—all of which is dedicated to his love and admiration for Manhattan, his hometown. (The show follows a sold-out exhibition in London last fall, which marked Ortiz’s international solo debut). Born and raised on the Lower East Side, Ortiz’s work captures the frenetic and bustling energy of that area through images that resemeble hieroglyphics or an advanced form of calligraphy. (That tracks—his signature motif is the street tag “LAII” or “LA2,” which drew Haring’s interest back when Ortiz was a 13-year-old tagger). The artist’s work has been featured at the Whitney, MoMA, Guggenheim, and many other New York City institutions—but Chase Contemporary’s exhibition gives Ortiz a homegrown, downtown feel that corresponds directly to the crux of his work.


LAII (Angel Ortiz), “SHAZBOT,” 2023.
Courtesy of the artist and Chase Contemporary


LAII (Angel Ortiz), “Silver on Blue (H&T),” 2022.
Courtesy of the artist and Chase Contemporary


Sarah Sze at the Guggenheim


Sarah Sze, “Work in Progress,” 2022.
© Sarah Sze. Photograph Courtesy of Sarah Sze Studio via Guggenheim

Sarah Sze is an artist known to push the limitations of form. Her paintings, installations, and architectural works will often extend far off the canvas, extending onto the floor or creeping up toward the ceiling. This month, Sze’s signature sculptural practice arrives at The Guggenheim Museum, in a series of site-specific installations called Sarah Sze: Timelapse. Opening March 31, the artist’s work will interact with the Guggenheim’s iconic architecture, turning the building millions flock to a year into a tool for timekeeping, and a rumination on the ways people mark and experience time passing. The show will run at the Guggenheim until September 10, 2023.


Robert Grosvenor at Paula Cooper Gallery

Robert Grosvenor, untitled, 2022.
Photograph courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.


At last year’s Venice Biennale, the American sculptor Robert Grosvenor displayed three of his signature super-sized installations; those three pieces became sources of inspiration for Grosvenor’s next show at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York City. The artist, who is known for his large-scale room installations that toe the line between sculpture and architecture, created untitled—a bright orange, VW Buggy-looking car sitting directly on the gallery’s floor—just for Paula Cooper. But rare photographs he snapped between 2000 and 2013 will be on display as well. The show closes on January 28.

Julia Chiang: Salt on Our Skin at Nicola Vassell Gallery


Julia Chiang, So Far So Close (2023).
Courtesy of Nicola Vassell Gallery


Through February 25, Nicola Vassell Gallery is highlighting the work of Brooklyn-based painter, sculptor, and installation artist Julia Chiang. Chiang’s pieces reflect her obsession with repeating patterns—and offer commentary on the idea of transformation and assimilation. “I grew up with parents who didn’t throw things away,” Chiang writes of her inspiration for the show. “Sometimes out of thrift, but often because my dad would give old things a new life. An old chair leg would become a new railing. A hand-painted wood carving would show up as a holder for some new kitchen gadget. Piles of newspapers in Chinese and English would be twined together, waiting for recycling, but there were too many piles to ever really disappear. There were textures and materials for all kinds put aside for later use, we just weren't sure what.”