New York City is the capital city of the art world. While the Big Apple has many sights to see, the art exhibitions of New York are among the most exciting. Art exhibits in NYC are often the drivers of conversation throughout the year in many fields and forms, and photography is no different.
While there are many contemporary photography galleries in NYC always percolating with interesting shows and retrospectives, below is a list of our favorite annual and biannual events. These build on their own history and become a fixture in the calendar for artists, art collectors, and art lovers. So peruse the list, and hopefully we’ll see you there!
The Photography Show is one of the major art exhibitions put on by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD). This is the longest ongoing exhibition dedicated solely to photography.
Every year, the Photography Show features work from almost 100 art galleries and museums in New York City and around the world. Expect to see work from the contemporary, modern, and 19th century periods in all genres including photo-based art, video, and new media. And, as this is a premier event for top art dealers in New York, expect to see a lot of floor space dedicated to selling photography.
On a side note, AIPAD is also beginning a Paris/NYC hybrid photography exhibition called Paris Photo New York. This is meant to set up an “international hub” for the art form. While it might not reach the size and impact of The Photography Show, it is definitely something to keep an eye out for.
Looking for something a little off the beaten path? Fresh is an annual event that brings together the three major forms of showing art: a photo exhibition, online showcase, and printed catalogue. The selected photographers in the Fresh Annual have the opportunity to appear in all three.
Klompching was started in 2007 as a photography gallery in Brooklyn. They began Fresh four years later, making an open call for submissions worldwide. Each year the enormous amount of submissions are narrowed down to ten artists for the online feature, five for the exhibit, and one for the Rhonda Wilson Award (a prize that includes $5,500).
This is the show to look for if you want to see something daring. As far as Brooklyn exhibits go, this is the truest to the burrough. Young, forward looking, and… Fresh.
While only in its fourth year, this is one of the weirdest photography exhibitions in NYC. This juried exhibit showcases dozens of artists from around the United States. What is the weird part? The printing processes that the artists use.
There are the rare but not unheard of kinds: albumen prints, emulsion lifts and transfers, photo intaglio, platinum palladium, and the like. Then there are the much more rare and unheard of printings that create truly one-of-a-kind items. These pieces are sometimes made with glass, wood, fabrics, embroidery, and (according to their website) marshmallows.
Many art gallery exhibits claim to have unique work in store, but the Image Flow’s Alternative Process Photography Exhibition really does. Check this one out for the novelty and talent on display — there is nothing like it.
This is the photography exhibition in New York to find up and coming talent. The Light Work gallery began giving grants to Central New York photographic artists in 1975. These new voices discovered through the Light Work Grants process are awarded with a prize of $3,000 and a place in their annual show.
Light Work is a long running non-profit that is artist-ran and artist-oriented. They support photographic artists with a wide range of activity including residencies and lab space. Their grants are a coveted stepping stone for many artists working in photography.
Because the grants are so sought after and kept available for artists early in their career, this is always a great place to meet the next generation of artists working in photography and related fields. The organization that puts it on is a project worth supporting as well.
This exhibit focuses on “new ideas and talent” and receives support from several public art funds in New York City. This drive to improve the quality of our public arts culture pushes the exhibit to conceptual heights. The yearly theme often pulls inspiration from manifestos and philosophical arguments, and the judges look for work that evokes, twists, and conflicts with the theme in interesting ways. This trait is something you might expect from an event put on by a photography publisher.
If you enjoy more intellectual fair, this might be one of the best art exhibits for you in NYC.
Going for over four decades, the Salmugundi Annual Open Exhibition is a large show with many emerging voices alongside well known talent. The Photography exhibit is only one of several open art shows Salmugundi puts on in NYC annually. They also hold an open for painting, sculpture, and graphics.
The exhibit awards seven photographers with cash prizes and features many more. Work selected for the exhibit appears in Salmugundi Club’s famous two-story gallery.
The Club itself is famous, with many luminaries of the art world making up its past membership including: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Childe Hassam, and William Merritt Chase. Proximity to such names makes the selection in the exhibition a great honor.
Every two years, New Photography presents one of the most anticipated photography exhibits in NYC and the world. As a premier fine art photography exhibition, this is as big as it gets. Put together by the Museum of Modern Art, perhaps the most famous art gallery in New York, this exhibit’s reach is wide and the influence is profound.
New Photography began in the 80’s to highlight the importance of photography in contemporary art. It remains one of the few regular MoMA exhibitions. After more than three decades, they have exhibited over a hundred artists and several curators.
What makes New Photography so special is the importance the series has had on the careers of the artists. Many of the Museum’s first purchases of a photographer’s work happened because of New Photography.
New Photography only comes once every two years with an ever deepening legacy — making it a must-see experience.