Your downtown Art guide for Spring 2020

Which one are you hitting up first?

words by: Team ULTRA
Mar 13, 2020

New York’s art community is known for its seasonal offerings of a range of exciting exhibitions, film series, performances, and other cultural events – we don’t want you to miss out on any of these events that are sure to make you feel lucky to live in a bustling beast of a city such as this one. And while museums and galleries across all boroughs are beginning to welcome Spring, we’ve compiled your ultimate guide to conquering the downtown art crawl. Here are our recommendations:


Tyler Mitchell: I Can Make You Feel Good

January 25 – May 18

International Center of Photography



“In 2018, Tyler Mitchell made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue, for Beyoncé’s appearance in the September issue. In 2019, a portrait from this series was acquired by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery for its permanent collection. This, alongside many other accomplishments, has established Mitchell as one of the most closely watched up-and-coming talents in photography today.

This exhibition offers a deeper dive into Mitchell’s recent work, focused on his idea of ‘what a Black utopia looks like or could look like.’”


Jordan Casteel: Within Reach

February 19 – May 24

The New Museum



Bringing together nearly forty paintings spanning her career, including works from her celebrated series Visible Man (2013–14) and Nights in Harlem (2017), along with recent portraits of her students at Rutgers University-Newark, “Within Reach” will be Jordan Casteel’s first solo museum exhibition in New York City.

Portraying people from communities in which the artist lives and works – in these richly colorful works, Casteel draws upon ongoing conversations on portraiture that encompass race, gender, and subjectivity, connecting her practice to the legacy of artists like Alice Neel, Faith Ringgold, and Bob Thompson, among others. Casteel’s studies in anthropology and sociology also inform her works, which can often be read as a reflection on the presentation of the self in everyday life and as an investigation of the relationships that tie together intimacy and distance, familiarity and otherness.”


Firelei Báez

March 5 -April 18

James Cohan Gallery



Rendering her subjects in complex layers of pattern and imagery, New York-based artist Firelei Báez casts cultural and regional histories into an imaginative realm, where visual references drawn from the past are reconfigured to explore new possibilities for the future. In exuberantly colorful works on paper and canvas, large-scale sculptures, and immersive installations, Báez combines representational cues that span from hair textures to textile patterns, plantlife, folkloric and literary references, and wide-ranging emblems of healing and resistance.”


Raque Ford

April 10 – May 17

Martos Gallery



“Raque Ford’s practice is one that embraces the ‘and’ as opposed to the ‘or,’ continually juxtaposing unlikely materials and subjects and working at the intersections of painting and sculpture. Her first solo exhibition at Martos will feature an installation that draws on pop culture and elements of the ‘modern female experience.’”


Godzilla vs. The Art World: 1990-2001

April 23 – September 13

The Museum of Chinese in America 



“Godzilla vs. The Art World: 1990-2001 will examine the work of Godzilla: Asian American Art Network, which launched a generation of young artists and curators. It catalyzed a needed political and aesthetic conversation at a critical time in the histories of alternative arts, “multiculturalist” politics, and the shifting Asian diaspora. And it produced a body of exhibitions, collaborative projects, critical writing, and connections that reshaped the contours of American art.”


All art/photos courtesy of the respective artist.