New York Artists Are Obsessed With Lighting Right Now


In one of New York’s darkest months, it only seems appropriate that the city’s galleries are brightening the mood by showing lighting designed by artists. Here’s a look at the most illuminating exhibitions up now.


Fred Tomaselli’s “Early Work or How I Became a Painter” at James Cohan Stoners will rejoice at Tomaselli’s percolating lamps. Inlaid with pills and hemp leaves, “Respirators 1 and 2” (1990) represent a window into the artist’s formative years. If you continue into the darkness you’ll stumble upon one Tomaselli’s Cubic Sky — an immersive installation from 1988 composed simply of square lights floating in the blackness. “Respirator 2,”1990. Photo courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York.


Francis Upritchard and Martino Gamper at Anton Kern The lauded art-and-design couple bring their talents together for their first joint installation. A combination of Gamper’s altered furniture pieces and Upritchard’s sculptures, the show marries the two disciplines in a way that feels more organic to a house than a gallery. Take care not to get swept up in the coziness: Just because it feels like home, it doesn’t mean you can touch. Installation view, courtesy the artists and Anton Kern Gallery, New York.


The Lamp Show at 99¢ Plus Tart lemon walls provide an electrifying background for curator Zoe Alexander Fisher’s show of artist-designed lamps. Up-and-comers like Misha Kahn, Esther Ruiz and Quintessa Matranga make the cut with creations that are of varying functionality, but all of which radiate a refreshingly playful energy. Highlights include Aria McManus’s cheekily affirming Personal Growth Lamp and Chad Phillips’s faux fur critter, which the artist titled “My Little Weirdo.” Installation photo courtesy of 99¢ Plus Gallery.


Jeff Zimmermann at R & Company A sculptor by training, Zimmermann has honed his skills in metal casting and glass blowing, but it’s responsive architecture that drives his artistic practice. Sparkling from every angle, his solo show at the TriBeCa showroom transports visitors to a crystallized wonderland that is tailor-made for the jewel-box space.


Ann Veronica Janssens at Bortolami The Brussels-based artist is a light sculpture veteran. Janssens has been making her ephemeral “mist sculptures” since the late 1990s; the latest floods Bortolami gallery’s innermost room with a technicolor haze. Photo courtesy the artist and Bortolami.


Bjarne Melgaard’s “Psychopathological Notebook” at Karma The king of mess-making spills into Karma’s Jones Street space for a last hurrah at the publisher-cum-gallery (they are moving after the show closes). An installation that combines paint, printing, and sculpture saturates the gallery, from the floors to the double-height ceilings. Done in partnership with the furniture designer Katie Stout, the show is populated with some life-like lamps. They beam with as much personality as their creators. Photo courtesy the artists and Karma.