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The Best New York Art Shows of 2023

Art is always supposedly in the midst of some crisis of aesthetics; the critics say we’re just rehashing the past. Leave it to artists themselves — new, old, and at the margins — to prove them wrong. There were so many great shows this past year in New York that it was hard to choose just ten.

Most of the fast action was in galleries large and small. At Zwirner, the belly of the Cheslea mega-gallery beast, Dana Schutz took on all of art history and her own demons. Tracey Emin gave us pain, love, and universal suffering at the new White Cube Gallery on the Upper East Side, while the young Agata Slowak, a Pole, created surreal paintings filled with desire in the teeny-weeny Fortnight Gallery on the Lower East Side. Museums flexed, too: Witness the Whitney’s monumental Henry Taylor show, full of wildly rendered images of life and race in America in the 21st century.

Hilary Harkness, “Prisoners From the Front,” P.P.O.W.

These gorgeously nonnarrative, quasi-historical paintings told tales of transgenderism, race-switching, and Civil War–era romance. Also on view: beautiful portraits depicting Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas (as a passive-aggressive power bottom), and a decapitated Hemingway.