1. “Lee Friedlander: America by Car”
Friedlander, one of the great American street photographers, started shooting this deceptively casual-looking series in 1995, using his rental car’s windows, windshield, and rearview mirrors to frame the sights and people he encountered on his cross-country rambles. Whitney Museum of American Art; Sept. 4–Nov. 28.
2. “Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, 1736–1783: From Neoclassicism to Expressionism”
The artist’s first Stateside exhibition will focus on his “character heads”—wonderfully manic busts of men cringing, shrieking, and smiling (said to have originated after Messerschmidt suffered a breakdown). Neue Galerie; Sept. 16–Jan. 10.
3. “Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism”
A mini-survey of the growing, changing world of feminist painting since the sixties, starring such artists as Hannah Wilke, Lee Lozano, Eva Hesse, and Nancy Spero. The Jewish Museum; Sept. 12–Jan. 30.
4. “Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936”
A studied look at the ways in which European artists (including Picasso and Matisse), architects, and designers returned to classical motifs and imagery (columns, robes, chiseled jawlines) while seeking tranquility between the wars. Guggenheim Museum; Oct. 1–Jan. 9.
5. “The Big Picture: Abstract Expressionist New York”
A sweeping survey of the Cedar Tavern crowd at its zenith. Drawn entirely from MoMA’s supreme permanent collection, which includes the best of the best: Pollock, Mitchell, de Kooning, Rothko. Museum of Modern Art; Oct. 3–Apr. 25.
6. “The Last Newspaper”
Just like the rest of us, the New Museum is trying to make sense of the speed of information. Artwork from the likes of William Pope.L, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Aleksandra Mir will be on view, along with an interactive “newsroom” that actually cranks out a weekly printed paper. The New Museum; Oct. 6–Jan. 9.
7. “Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958–1968”
A new survey that acknowledges the queens of Pop, long considered secondary to the guys. On view: Yayoi Kusama, Martha Rosler, Vija Celmins, Faith Ringgold, and Marisol. Brooklyn Museum; Oct. 15–Jan. 9.
8. “John Baldessari: Pure Beauty”
The first major U.S. exhibition in twenty years devoted to the SoCal legend—from his photo-collages to wonderfully weird videos like his cheerful, tone-deaf Baldessari Sings LeWitt, from 1972. (See YouTube for a preview.) Metropolitan Museum of Art; Oct. 20–Jan. 9.
9. “Grain of Emptiness: Buddhist-Inspired Contemporary Art”
Meditative installations from German conceptualist Wolfgang Laib; Atta Kim’s photographs of a melting Buddha ice sculpture; and Theaster Gates’s short film of African-American Buddhist monks partaking in their morning rituals. Rubin Museum of Art; Nov. 5–Apr. 11.
10. “The Global Africa Project”
A medley of art, textiles, furniture, and clothing made by some 60 African artists and artisans. Look for the show within the show, spotting all the African-born aesthetics that pop up in cutting-edge design. The Museum of Arts and Design; Nov. 17–May 15.
11. “On Becoming an Artist: Isamu Noguchi and His Contemporaries, 1922–1960”
The lovely little Long Island City museum examines its namesake’s social and professional orbit, pairing Noguchi’s sculptures, drawings, and photographs with those of mentor Constantin Brancusi and such friends as Frida Kahlo, Alexander Calder, and Arshile Gorky. The Noguchi Museum; Nov. 17–Apr. 24.
12. “Rob Pruitt: Pattern and Degradation”
The artist-prankster-showman’s biggest solo outing yet, inspired by Rumspringa, the Amish tradition of letting teenagers try out the larger world for a year. Look for the Amish quilts rendered in gold spray paint, graffiti-style. Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and Maccarone, Inc.; Sept. 11–Oct. 23.
13. “Pipilotti Rist: Heroes of Birth”
New videos and video-based sculpture from the Swiss artist known for composing hallucinogenic, enveloping dreamscapes. Luhring Augustine; Sept. 10–Oct. 16.
14. “50 Years at Pace”
The gallery marks its half-century birthday with a look back at the artists and exhibitions that made it a superpower. Picasso’s late works and Giacometti women will be on view, as will a tribute to the gallery’s seminal 1962 Pop show, plus more recent coups from the likes of Tim Hawkinson and Maya Lin. Pace Gallery (four locations); Sept. 17–Oct. 23.
15. “Guillermo Kuitca: Paintings, 2008–2010”
Sperone Westwater’s new Bowery gallery—almost as big as the New Museum!—opens with a selection of Kuitca’s paintings as well as an elaborate presentation of the artist’s 1992 Le Sacre installation of 54 mattresses printed with sinewy road maps. The latter work will be mounted in Sperone’s “Moving Room”—a twelve-by-twenty-foot elevatorlike space that travels slowly between the second and third floors. Sperone Westwater; Sept. 22–Nov. 6.
16. “Jeff Koons: Exaltation”
The uptown gallery partially restages one of the most howled-about exhibitions in New York art history: “Made in Heaven,” Koons’s 1991 depiction of himself in various states of coitus with his porn-star then-wife. Still outrageous, still prescient. Luxembourg & Dayan; Oct. 6–Jan. 21.
17 Ana Mendieta
A new solo show examines the working methods of the short-lived, underappreciated performance artist, best remembered for her silhouettes rendered in mud and other unorthodox materials. Galerie Lelong; Oct. 28–Dec. 11.
18. Robert Rauschenberg
The first major survey of Rauschenberg’s work since his death in 2008—and since Larry Gagosian snatched exclusive representation of the artist’s estate from Pace in June.Gagosian (21st St.); Oct. 29–Dec. 18.
19. Pat Steir
For a month this fall, Steir will hole up in Sue Scott’s gallery to create an immersive site-specific installation that expands upon the cascading floor-to-ceiling painted abstractions for which she is best known. Sue Scott; Nov. 7–Jan. 9.
20. Huma Bhabha
A two-venue exhibition from the Pakistani draftswoman and sculptor who uses found junk and basic materials (chicken wire, Styrofoam, battered-looking clay) in her wonderfully tactile work. Peter Blum and Salon 94; Nov. 17–Dec. 23.
Sept. 8: “Act-Up New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987–1993.” at White Columns.
Sept. 9: “Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool,” at the Asia Society.
Sept. 10: Arlene Shechet at Jack Shainman; “Alex Hubbard: Death Never Sleeps” at the Kitchen.
Sept. 11: “Gerhard Richter: Lines Which Do Not Exist” at the Drawing Center.
Sept. 15: Lucy Skaer at Location One.
Sept. 18: Sue Williams at 303 Gallery.
Sept. 23: Gregory Crewdson at Gagosian.
Sept. 28: “The Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nov. 4: Erwin Wurm at Lehmann Maupin; Paulina Olowska at Metro Pictures.
Nov. 6: Luc Tuymans at David Zwirner.
Nov. 10: “Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nov. 11: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at the Studio Museum in Harlem.