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8 Art Shows to See in New York City This May

Maybe it’s something in the springtime air — all the new growth and wild nature — but fantastical landscapes and creatures seem abundant in galleries this month. While Sanam Khatibi’s uncanny scenes feel like memento mori transplanted to a land between life and death and Joy Curtis’s strange anatomies reimagine life as we know it, Hell Gette’s brightly colored worlds combine art history with a Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Goyette and Florencia Escudero delve into technicolor imaginations as Julia Bland, Claude Lawrence, and Annette Wehrhahn saturate the gallery spaces with the soaring colors of their abstract works. — Natalie Haddad, Reviews Editor

Sanam Khatibi: We Wait Until Dark

Many landscape painters phone it in when it comes to bark, lavishing attention on foliage instead. Refreshingly, Sanam Khatibi paints bark worth looking at, evoking aspens with black and white speckled textures in paintings like “Open Season” (2024). But those frilly blue leaves — pruned like a bonsai — do not bud from the branches of any real tree. Khatibi masterfully renders remarkable details in this exhibition of witchy landscapes whose ritualistic imagery is open to interpretation. The show also features still life paintings that may be varnished like the Dutch Old Masters, but the artist is more fantastical: close inspection reveals intriguing fictitious plants as well as eclectic objects like an Egyptian blue faience statuette of Thoth. — Daniel Larkin