Top Art Shows in the Big Apple

Spring is here and everything old is new again. Part of the city’s April renewal includes a slew of art shows in full bloom, from 17th-century to contemporary works, from American to international.

Your chances of visiting more than 80 international photography galleries in one day? Zip, which is why we love art fairs and make a beeline to the AIPAD Photography Show, the grand-scale emporium of contemporary, modern and 19th-century photography showcasing 89 of the world’s top dealers at the Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Ave., 202.317.1158, Apr. 16 thru 19). Amble past museum-ready pictures, here a 1919 Georgia O’Keeffe portrait by Alfred Stieglitz, there a new trove of Margaret Bourke-White’s contact prints of Depression-era burlesque dancers. Then take in the show’s ripped-from-the-headlines highlight, photographs by contemporary Cuban artists, many never before seen in the U.S.

Big Show

Thinking of tackling Art-expo New York, billed as the world’s largest art show and marketplace at Pier 94 (711 12th Ave., Apr. 23-26, artexponewyork.com)? We suggest running shoes. Consider: 400-plus artists, galleries and publishers exhibiting work in 133,000 square feet of exhibition space. The juried, one-stop-look-and-shopathon of original work encompasses nearly every medium imaginable—paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, lithographs, glass: You get the idea.

Cuba Libre 

Talk about fast work. Just months after the seismic shift in U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba, we see Cuban art almost everywhere we look. That’s always been the case at Magnan Metz Gallery (521 W. 26th St., 212.244.2344), where Cuban art is the house specialty and politically energized canvasses by Carlos Quintana, Roberto Diago and René Francisco headline a curated show by established Cuban artists (thru Apr. 25). Another longtime Cuban art champion, The Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx, 718.681.6000) offers witty, socially charged contemporary works in Cuba Libre! (thru Jun. 21), epitomized by Meira Marrero and José Toirac’s “Looking for Happiness,” side-by-side images of a grizzled Ernest Hemingway nursing a rum and a youthful Fidel Castro swilling a Coke.

AIPAD Photography Show New York

Something Old

Nothing puts a gleam in our antiques-loving eye like a huge cache of finely honed silver. You’d have to frequent Hungary’s museums to tally up more Hungarian silver ewers, pitchers and chalices than what’s socked away at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave., 212.535.7710) following a lavish bequest by a former U.S. Ambassador to Budapest. Hungarian Treasure: Silver From the Nicolas M. Salgo Collection celebrates the goldsmiths’ craftsmanship and the collector’s eye (Apr. 6-Oct. 4). Elsewhere, you can hightail it to Life of Cats: Selections From the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection at the Japan Society (333 E. 47th St., 212.832.1155, thru Jun. 7). Complementing these classic Edo-period (1615-1865) wood-block prints of felines are enough kitty paintings, drawings and sculptures to make you purr.

Going Once

Auction exhibitions focused on a subject or genre can inform, especially at a small house like Swann Auction Galleries (104 E. 25th St., 212.254.4710). Witness Ascension: A Century of African-American Art (Apr. 2), bookended by Henry Ossawa Tanner’s poetic “Boy and Sheep Under a Tree” (in a family collection since 1883) and prints by Kara Walker and Carrie Mae Weems. Place a bid and take something home!