Jessica Labatte, The Brightness Year, 2010

Archival inkjet print, 71 x 59 inches. Courtesy Higher Pictures

With an ever-growing number of galleries scattered around New York, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Where to begin? Here at A.i.A., we are always on the hunt for clever, memorable shows that stand out in a crowded field. Every Thursday, we'll post the 10 shows our team of editors can't stop talking about.

This week we check out Rene Ricard's big, '80s-style canvases peppered with seemingly arbitrary images and nearly nonsensical inscriptions; Nadia Khawaja's carpal tunnel-inducing rhythmic, abstract pen drawings; and Peter Blake's cheery, butterfly-covered prints. See all 10 picks below.




"Always the Young Strangers" at Higher Pictures, through July 9
Named after a 1953 MoMA show curated by Edward Steichen, this summer's version also features young, up-and-coming artists. The photo-based work here-all by women-includes Polaroids of a partially nude woman posing with some kind of sculptural construction by the collective MPA+Katherine Hubbard, Jessica Labatte's inkjet print that looks like layered cut-out paper highlighted with neon spray paint, and LaToya Ruby Frazier's annotated hospital fundraising letter.


Nadia Khawaja at Thomas Erben, through July 22
For her first solo show in the U.S., Lahore-based Nadia Khawaja has brought out a diverse body of work. Examples include a grid of 30 small color photos, all diptychs; videos that incorporate urban noises with close-ups of the artist's face; and several intricate large-scale pen drawings that alternately resemble close-ups of fingerprints, vascular systems and tangled rope.


Barry Frydlender at Andrea Meislin, through June 18

The aptly titled "Travelogue in Pictures" includes recent, large-scale color photos-each a digital composite of multiple snaps-depicting five cities: New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Nazareth (Frydlender lives in Israel). In this succinct show, a park with stone walkways overlooking Paris contrasts sharply with the group of black-clad officers blocking a shop-lined street in Nazareth.


Jan Frank at Paul Kasmin, through June 18

The 30 recent drawings in this suite, accompanied by one painting, are rendered in ink and correction fluid on handmade paper. The trailing, energetic lines, offset by areas deliberately obscured or "veiled," create a graphic dance that alludes to, without aping, Abstract Expressionism—especially the work of Frank's fellow Dutch émigré Willem de Kooning.


Rene Ricard at 522 W. 23rd Street, through June 23

Sixty-five-year-old poet, art critic and scenester Rene Ricard was an early champion of Julian Schnabel, whose art-impresario son, Vito, here returns the favor by filling a Chelsea showroom with a selection of new paintings collectively titled "Sonnets from the Portuguese" (a reference to a series of 19th-cenury love poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning). It's difficult to say exactly what relationship-except irony—the canvases have with the high seriousness of Victorian verse, but they're certainly good fun to look at and puzzle over.


Richard Long at Sperone Westwater, through June 25

Richard Long takes on Sperone Westwater's vast new (as of last fall) space on the Bowery, filling the gallery with his site-specific meditations on nature and travel. A giant mud-and-acrylic orb, 27 feet in diameter, is accompanied by photographs, text installations and smaller mud-on-slate wall pieces.


New Yorker Fiction/Real Photography at Steven Kasher, through July 9

Do you ever wonder how the photos that accompany the stories in the New Yorker are chosen? Steven Kasher's show (organized with recently departed visuals editor Elisabeth Biondi), features 40 images published over the last 13 years, alongside excerpts of the stories they accompanied. On June 23, the gallery is hosting a panel discussion with Biondi, fiction editor Deborah Treisman, writer A.M Homes and photographer Malerie Marder.


Jiro Takamatsu at McCaffrey Fine Art, through July 1

Despite being involved in the Mono-Ha movement and a co-founder of the Hi Red Center collective, Jiro Takamatsu (1936–1998) is not well known in the West. This show, his second in two years at McCaffrey, includes sculptures (many in response to the Minimalist cube), paintings and drawings completed between 1965 and '73.


Julio Galán at Ramis Barquet, through July 9

This retrospective offers several major works that are among the best the Mexican-born painter produced in his all-too-brief career (he died in 2006 at age 48). Galán's raw, figurative canvases incorporate references to Catholic and pre-Columbian iconography, Mexican folk traditions and pop culture. 


Peter Blake at Mary Ryan, through June 18

Often called the godfather of pop art, Peter Blake will probably always be best known for his cover design of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But the British artist's work has a boarder range that comes across in this witty show of new inkjet images on paper and canvas.