Five Female Art Shows to See in May 2021

Morgan Everhart, A Woman's Thing, May 11, 2021
Art Writer Morgan Everhart selected five of the best female art shows to see in New York City this May.


The weather is fantastic and as we’re getting closer to mass immunization, New York City is bustling with people. I’ve never wanted to be out and about this badly and the shows highlighted in this article underscore all of the feelings I’m having right now. 

Although there is an exceptional range of work on view in the city, the listed exhibitions are about what we’ve all missed so dearly: touch. We’ve long awaited the kind of communication we had before the pandemic and many of us have persisted through this period of isolation through humor and self-care. With this being said, the four solo exhibitors here, Phoebe Boswell, Cristina BanBan, Emilia Olsen, and Rebecca Goyette, should—without question—have an exhibition together.


2. May 5–June 12: “Del Llanto”
—Works by Cristina BanBan

at 1969 Gallery, Tribeca, and Albertz Benda, Chelsea, NYC

This comprehensive show, on view concurrently at two galleries, 1969 Gallery and Albertz Benda gallery, arrives at a pivotal moment in 33-year-old Spanish painter Cristina BanBan’s practice. Working for the first time in oil paint, BanBan debuts a new body of canvases and works on paper made over the past year furthering her exploration of the personal through exaggerated depictions of the female form. Allegorical in scope, BanBan’s newest work departs from overt narrative content while maintaining her interest in autobiographical themes. Their emotive compositional spaces communicate moods derived from the artist’s memories and private experiences. Coded personal symbols such as the stalks of Spanish wheat in Tres dones descansant al Delta or kitchen tiles in La pena de Pilar are suggestive of a nostalgic longing for home, while the studio table lurking in the dense background of Sentadita te pensaba may refer to feelings of creative anxiety or doubt. BanBan’s densely layered brushstrokes and large, distorted bodies advance her characteristic style and reveal an emergent, still-evolving formal language developing in response to the material properties of oil paint. 


Brought together, these paintings catalog a range of psychological states experienced by the artist. BanBan explains, “I definitely focus on how I am feeling because that energy will dictate how the painting will look. I have to connect with myself. Painting is a very honest act for me.” 


Follow 1969 Gallery on Instagram via @1969gallery and Albertz Benda on Instagram via @albertzbenda.