It would take half the gallerists in America to make the vast expanses of Harlem into an arts district as pedestrian-friendly as SoHo, so take it in pieces. Galleries worth visiting on the east side include 1) David Richard Gallery, lately of Santa Fe, which is currently showing the brightly colored steel of the Canadian sculptor Robert Murray (through May 4); the nonprofit 2) WhiteBox next door, just relocated from SoHo, and inaugurating its new home with the thought-provoking group show “Waiting for the Garden of Eden” (through May 5); and 3) Hunter East Harlem Gallery, whose “do it (in school)” plumbs the overlap of conceptual art and arts education (through June 1).
On the west side, the former Chelsea gallerist 4) Janice Guy’s latest show at a project space called MBnB is a terrific run of photographs by Judy Linn (through May 5). Finely observed but never precious, they’re a thrilling demonstration of artistic self-reflection undertaken for its own sake — particularly a sequence that starts with an image of a photo of James Joyce taped to a foggy window and ends with the back of James Caan’s neck on a Trinitron TV. Opening this weekend at 5) Gavin Brown’s palatial establishment on West 127th Street is a show of balletic nudes in green fields and huge new landscapes roiling with stormy energy by the 92-year-old master of slick painterly flatness, Alex Katz (through Aug. 3). And at 6) Columbia University’s Leroy Neiman Gallery, on Harlem’s southern edge, is a multimedia solo show by South African artist Mary Sibande (through May 1).