Travel from coast to coast with Artalistic’s curated guide to the best art exhibitions at leading New York and Los Angeles galleries and museums. As America slowly reopens after lockdowns due to COVID-19, galleries and museums across the country are finally able to accept visitors. Many shows were rescheduled and the summer 2021 art exhibition season is brimming with excellent options, so we have created a list of must-see shows to simplify your search.

2021’s top art exhibitions: From New York to Los Angeles

Arcadia Earth: augmented reality art exhibit opening your eyes to the urgency of environmental conservation

718 Broadway, NYC

This immersive art exhibition spans 3 stories and 15 rooms, integrating physical installations,  as well as virtual and augmented reality works from 12 different artists to spotlight environmental challenges our planet is facing - climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing, deforestation, food waste and industrial animal agriculture.

Certainly summer 2021’s top virtual art exhibit, you will be shown another side of our current relationship with nature through stunning visuals while learning educational facts and sustainability tips that you can implement in your daily life.

The show was sponsored by Oceanic Global and money raised from tickets will help support this organization, which is devoted to raising awareness about aquatic ecosystems. In addition, a tree will be planted for each ticket purchased!

Bruce Davidson: Outsider on the Inside, Queens Museum

September 16, 2021 - February 28, 2021

This extensive retrospective of Magnum Photographer Bruce Davidson’s (b. 1933) work captures a unique insider’s view of everyday life in New York. Bruce Davidson: Outside on the Inside features hundreds of photographs that span 1958 to 2008 which transport you from Brooklyn, through the Lower East Side and up to East 100th St.

Davidson is known for his ability to merge with the communities he photographs, using the camera not only as a way to document but as a means to transcribe the relationships he formed with his subjects by gaining their trust and forming a bond of mutual understanding. He has created countless photo-essays that meld art and documentary, including Brooklyn Gang, East 100th Street Subway and Central Park.

This must-see summer 2021 art exhibition should make it to the top of your list if you are interested in delving into Bruce Davidson’s intimate world that transcribes the real New York, giving you raw and rare glimpses of personal moments shared on street corners, park benches and subway cars.

Art exhibition 2021 about social justice

We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz, Jewish Museum

October 1, 2020 - January 24, 2021

This art exhibition features work from 70 artists, highlighting how they used their mediums to make statements about social justice throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The diverse array of pieces weave together a stunning tour de force that explores how artists create work in response to racism, xenophobia, authoritarianism and other forms of bigotry.

Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life, MoMA PS1

March 11, 2021 - August 2021

New York’s first display of works by the French-American feminist and activist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 - 2002) will be featured at MoMA’s sister museum in Long Island City, Queens. Niki de Saint Phalle is known for creating work that is explosively expressive, performative and overtly feminist. She strives to shake up traditional artistic norms by creating artworks that shocks the public - for example, shooting at her canvases during performances.

This exhibition showcases large-scale garden sculptures created for her Tarot Garden in Rome. She is known for creating fantastical playhouses where she imagined experimental societies, “Where you could have a new kind of life, to just be free.”

2021 art exhibitions making waves in Los Angeles

William Brickel: I’d Tell You if I Could, Kohn Gallery

June 5, 2021 - July 17, 2021

This is artist William Brickel’s first solo show with Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition consists of large paintings and works on paper. His intensely emotional style borrows techniques from the British painters of the Interwar period, his two-dimensional figures use large expanses of flat color and are partly representations of himself. The pieces featured in the show are scenes pulled from past memories that preoccupy him. The elongated and emotionally closed off figures are not created to be anatomically correct but are redrawn from his sense of touch.

Nancy Rubins: Fluid Space, Gagosian, Beverly Hills

June 24, 2021 - August 6, 2021

I realized that this stuff has been around a long time, and it’s passed through this odd transition. Before it was in the earth, it was floating as a molecule in outer space—it was part of somebody’s star, or part of somebody’s exploding planet. 
—Nancy Rubins

Nancy Rubins has been creating sculptures crafted from industrial and found objects which resemble the patterns found in rhizomes. Fluid Space features recent sculptures and drawings. The sculptures on display are cast metal animals that have been sliced into fragments, some bound together and suspended by webs of cable and others blooming from tables and stools. The large-scale drawings on paper use dense layers of graphite and steely gray to reflect the metal used in the sculptures.

Steve Turner presents No Rest for the Weary by Karolina Jablonska

July 1, 2021 - July 31, 2021

We finish off this rundown of must-see 2021 art exhibitions with a solo show by Krakow-based artist Karolina Jablonska featuring paintings about the emotional darkness experienced in isolation during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Jablonska’s use of a limited color palette and contrast emphasize the mundane cyclical rabbit hole of everyday tasks and the overall sense of anxiety and dread that prevailed in her life during this period. 

We hope that you enjoyed Artalistic’s curated selection of leading 2021 art exhibitions being held this summer. Feel free to browse our collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures, drawings and limited editions by well-established and emerging artists. Artalistic is one of Europe’s top platforms for exhibiting and buying art online.