August is a traditionally slow month in the art world. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to see. The following exhibits are totally worth a look, and not just for the free air conditioning.
1. 'Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World'
Whitney, through Oct. 16
Feininger, a New York-born artist, was a major force in the German Expressionist and Bauhaus movements in the early part of the 20th century. This retrospective highlights that part of his career in addition to his less well-known comic strips, photographs and more.
2. 'Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever'
MoMA PS1, through Sept. 3
Critics have been raving about this exhibit, which collects seven video works by the young world-beater. Trecartin's over-amped films present a frenetic and disorienting world that nonetheless manages to be captivating.
3. 'The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara'
Asia Society Museum, Aug. 9 through Oct. 30
For this exhibit, Asia Society secured a loan of Pakistani Buddhist sculptures, many never before seen in the U.S. These works date from as early as 100 B.C.E. and showcase the wealth of cultural influences - from Greco-Roman to Far Eastern traditions - that existed in the region at that time.
New Museum, through Sept. 25
In the 1990s, "ostalgie" emerged as a term to describe a nostalgia for the time before the fall of the Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This exhibit looks at art made with that sentiment in mind and reveals the complex sociology of the post-Soviet societies.
5. 'Bronx Calling: The First AIM Biennial'
Bronx Museum of Art and Wave Hill, through Sept. 5
The Bronx Museum celebrates the 30th anniversary of its Artists in the Marketplace program, which nurtures emerging local artists, with a strong group exhibition featuring promising new work.
SCHOOL IS IN
James Franco is a busy man. But he's making time this summer to teach "Summer School" at MoMA PS1. The actor, along with director Gus Van Sant and art theorist Francisco J. Ricardo, Ph.D., will be leading a series of lectures and discussions on contemporary art throughout the month of August. PS1 also will be screening the film "My Own Private River," a collaboration between Franco and Van Sant. For more details, visit PS1.org.