September marks the start of the busy fall schedule for the art industry. In New York, collectors, curators, and dealers descend on the city for the ever-growing list of fairs. Mostly taking place the second weekend in September—with VIP previews on the 6th and 7th, depending on the event—the roster of fairs is centered on the heavy-hitting Armory Show, which returns this year to the Javits Center alongside the New York debut of PHOTOFAIRS. Joining these are Art on Paper, the beloved artist-forward SPRING/BREAK, and the latest edition of Independent dedicated to 20th-century art.
The Armory Show is also staging public installations across the city, from Times Square to Astor Place to the U.S. Open. A highlight of the latter is Zizipho Powsa’s bronze sculpture Mam’uNoBongile (2023), presented by Cape Town–based gallery Southern Guild. Inspired by the artist’s Xhosa spirituality and traditions, the piece pays homage to the women in Poswa’s community.
As the fairs draw international audiences of industry leaders, September presents local galleries with an opportunity to showcase their best established and emerging artists. Following a summer of now-typical group shows, many galleries are opting this September for the solo and two-person formats that provide deeper looks into artists’ practices. From conceptual investigations of natural forces to a particularly strong selection of female figurative painters, artists across the city are offering their personal reflections on some of the experiences that connect us all.
Here are 10 standout shows on view during Armory Week.
Carlos Motta, “Jjagɨyɨ: Air of Life”
Sep. 8–Oct. 7
For two decades, artist Carlos Motta has produced thoughtful, carefully researched multimedia and collaborative installations that highlight repressed histories, including the ongoing ramifications of colonialism through the lived experiences of marginalized people. Working closely with Indigenous cultural leaders in the Colombian Amazon, Motta’s newest body of work in “Jjagɨyɨ: Air of Life” examines the loss of intersectional, cultural knowledge as a result of Capuchin Missions and the schools they created in the area.
The exhibition features the artist’s collaborations with Elio Miraña, ELO, Gil Farekatde Maribba, Higinio Bautista, Kiyedekago, Rosita, and Yoí nanegü, who are all artists, musicians, leaders, and craftspeople exploring and preserving Indigenous traditions. The show includes wood sculptures, paper and cardboard installations, audio pieces, and video footage documenting firsthand experiences of ongoing cultural erasure. Through these artistic interventions, Motta and his collaborators fight for the survival of Indigenous traditions, underscoring both what has been lost and what remains.