15 Art Shows to See in Upstate New York This Summer

With the equinox behind us, we are in full swing of a season of abundance and fun. The flourishing art scene in Upstate New York welcomes a host of institutional exhibitions, including rarely seen photographs by Carrie Mae Weems at the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College and Arlene Shechet’s monumental outdoor sculptures at Storm King Art Center. Nathan Young engages with his Indigenous roots in a series of new sonic experiments at Art Omi, while Dia Beacon presents a stunning light and sound installation by Steve McQueen. The Center for Photography at Woodstock features more than 60 photos by Fred W. McDarra, legendary gay photographer for the Village Voice, while an exhibition at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College celebrates the intergenerational work of women artists from Argentina. As poet C. P. Cavafy writes in “Ithaka” (1975), “May there be many summer mornings” — and afternoons, and evenings — filled with “what pleasure, what joy.”

Pride & Protest: Photographs by Fred W. McDarrah

As we continue to grapple with identity politics, we must pay homage to those who defined selfhood on their own terms. Photographer Fred W. McDarrah was a hero of his generation: As a staff photographer for the Village Voice, he captured gay and lesbian culture and civil rights protests in New York City from the late 50s through the early 90s. Curated by the esteemed photo critic and author Vince Aletti, Pride & Protest: Photographs by Fred W. McDarra at the Center for Photography at Woodstock features more than 60 photos that highlight moments of struggle, community, and revelry during a bygone era.

The Center for Photography at Woodstock (cpw.org)
474 Broadway, Kingston, New York
Through September 1

Nathan Young: Tune It Or Die!

Taking inspiration from the iconography and medicinal sacraments of the Native American Church, Delaware/Kiowa/Pawnee artist Nathan Young engages his Indigenous roots with experiments in sound, performance, and documentation. Curated by Sara O’Keeffe with Guy Weltchek, Nathan Young: Tune It Or Die! at Art Omi in Ghent will present a new body of work that explores the transformative potential of the sound of dirt bikes and motorcycles in a series of event scores. 

Art Omi (artomi.org)
1405 County Route 22, Ghent, New York
July 6–September 3

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

Showcasing a new bead art practice known as ndwango (“cloth”) developed by a community of women in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, the exhibition Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College is a visual feast. Employing textiles as canvas, the artists transform flat cloth into a contemporary celebration of sacred beadwork that embodies a practice handed down by generations of women. 

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College (vassar.edu)
124 Raymond Ave, Poughkeepsie, New York
Through September 8

Tall Shadows in Short Order

The crew of artist-professionals that run the community-oriented Wassaic Project consistently fill the seven floors of the unique Maxon Mills building with lively exhibitions. This season is no exception: The group show Tall Shadows in Short Order features 30 artists working in diverse mediums including interactive works, painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, fabrics, ceramic, and installations, expressing the joy of summer. 

Wassaic Project (wassaicproject.org)
37 Furnace Bank Road, Amenia, New York
Through September 14

Daniel Giordano: Crystal Blue Persuasion

As the planet grapples with a proliferation of plastics and detritus, artists such as Daniel Giordano whip discarded material mayhem into glistening sculptural formations and glorious scenes of artistic wreckage. The Newburgh-born-and-bred artist’s gritty genius is on full display at the Hyde Collection with works including a large-scale installation and sculptures that reflect his eclectic and adventurous style of art-making.

The Hyde Collection (hydecollection.org)
161 Warren Street, Glens Falls, New York
Through September 15

Vorágine: Yente and Cecilia Biagini

Bringing together artworks by acclaimed 20th-century Argentine artist Yente and contemporary Argentine artist Cecilia Biagini, Vorágine: Yente and Cecilia Biagini is a rare encounter with the history of women abstractionists. The creative prowess of this intergenerational dialogue is on full display in this selection of painting, sculpture, tapestry, artist books, and installations by both artists.

Tang Teaching Museum & Art Gallery at Skidmore College (tang.skidmore.edu)
815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York
Through September 22

Nina Chanel Abney: LIE DOGGO

Among the blockbuster exhibitions in Upstate New York this summer is Nina Chanel Abney’s dynamic, Cubist-inspired paintings, sculptures, digital art installations, and site-specific murals at Jack Shainman Gallery’s The School in Kinderhook. Abney’s bold graphics contrast with their clever and subtle messaging about navigating race, homophobia, and colonial attitudes.

The School (jackshainman.com)
25 Broad Street, Kinderhook, New York
Through October 5


In the lands of northern New York, Indigenous Onondaga potters transformed local clay into distinctive wares for hundreds of years prior to American colonization. The group exhibition Clayscapes at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse celebrates clay as a common presence in our daily living, including its religious and spiritual purposes. The show highlights the diversity of the Everson’s collection of ceramics, including contemporary, commercial, and commemorative works. 

Everson Museum of Art (everson.org)
401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, New York
Through October 20

Native Prospects: Indigeneity and Landscape

Tucked into the lush landscape of Catskill, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site presents the original home and studios of the early environmentalist-artist who founded the influential art movement now recognized as the Hudson River School. Curated by Scott Manning Stevens, Native Prospects: Indigeneity and Landscape features a series of historic artifacts and contemporary artworks that juxtapose an indigenous approach to land with the paintings of Thomas Cole, highlighting the paramount importance of our relationship with the earth.

Thomas Cole National Historic Site (thomascole.org)
218 Spring Street, Catskill, New York
Through October 27

Mis/Communication: Language and Power in Contemporary Art

The group exhibition Mis/Communication at the Dorsky Museum at the State University of New York New Paltz features work by 16 international artists who explore the dynamics of spoken and written communication in various national or societal cultural contexts. Curated by Amy Kahng, this diverse show includes video, sculpture, drawing, and interactive media to explore vernacular hierarchies and class implications as expressed through words, gestures, and tonalities.

The Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York New Paltz
Haggerty Circle Parking Lot 16, 35 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, New York
Through November 3

Arlene Shechet: Girl Group

With work in more than 50 public collections around the world, generational powerhouse Arlene Shechet’s bold sculptures have continually redefined contemporary sculpture. Running through the fall, the works in Arlene Shechet: Girl Group range in size from smaller indoor works to monumental outdoor sculptures that embolden and enliven the landscape. 

Storm King Art Center (collections.stormking.org)
1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York
Through November 10

Carrie Mae Weems: Remember to Dream

For more than 30 years, Carrie Mae Weems has explored the socio-political paradigms of racism and sexism through a diverse creative practice that includes performance, photography, video, and installation. Carrie Mae Weems: Remember to Dream includes rarely exhibited and lesser-known works, painting a fuller picture of the pioneering artist and activist’s practice and personal history against the political backdrop of racial reckoning. 

Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College (ccs.bard.edu)
33 Garden Road, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York
Through December 1

Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective

Artist-duo and brothers Einar and Jamex de la Torre expand the careful art of glass in their charismatic exhibition Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro‑Perspective at the Corning Museum of Glass. Amassing nearly three decades of their combined practice and featuring more than 40 bright mixed-media works that charm and delight, these unique glass artworks blend poetic wit and critical commentary to consider society, art, history, and religion through glass. 

Corning Museum of Glass (whatson.cmog.org)
1 Museum Way, Corning, New York
Through January 5, 2025

Steve McQueen

Dia Beacon celebrates its 50th anniversary with a stunning immersive installation by maverick photographer, screenwriter, videographer, film director, and producer Steve McQueen. “Bass” (2024), a joint commission between Dia Art Foundation and the Schaulager, Laurenz Foundation, is a powerful site-specific installation that spans the full spectrum of visible light, accompanied by a sonic component.

Dia Beacon (diaart.org)
3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York
Through April 14, 2025

Opus 40

Critic Brendan Gill once deemed Opus 40, the life project of sculptor Harvey Fite, “one of the largest and most beguiling works of art on the entire continent.” The unique site, nestled in a sprawling landscape that was home to the Mohican, Munsee Lenape, and Schaghticoke people for 12,000 years, is now a contemporary sculpture park, gallery, and museum located on 50 acres of forested and meadowed land. With a remarkable earthwork sculpture on six-and-a-half acres at the heart of this complex, exploring Opus 40 is a quintessential yet atypical summer adventure. 

Opus 40 (opus40.org)
356 George Sickle Road, Saugerties, New York

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