On Exhibit

On Exhibit

Fascinating Art Displays
(©Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. De Silver Fund, 74.64. Creative Commons-By. Photo: ©Brooklyn Museum Adejoke)

Cover-ups

As African artists know, masks are transformative: By changing the wearer’s identity, they define relationships between individuals and communities. Pairing masks by contemporary artists with works like “Helmet Mask for Sande Society (Ndoli Jowei)” by the Nguabu Master (Mende) (pictured, late-19th/early-20th century), “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art” shows the power of art through obscuring. | Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 718.638.5000, thru Sept. 18

(Courtesy of the artist and Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery)

Painted Poetry

After experimenting with figurative art, Spanish-born artist Esteban Vicente (1903-2001) immigrated to the U.S. in 1936, embraced abstraction and teamed up with Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, whose New York studio was on the same floor as Vincente’s. An artist of poetic eloquence—his work fills a museum in Segovia—Vicente painted almost until his death at age 97 in Bridgehampton, New York, creating lyrical abstractions like “Color Luz” (pictured left, 1999) and “Untitled” (pictured right, 1999). | Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, 525 W. 22nd St., 212.445.0051, thru May 21

(Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photo: ©Vicente De Mello)

Not So Pure

In her perceptive, razor-sharp work, Adriana Varejão confronts the tensions between race and ethnicity in her native Brazil. Informed by her studies of anthropology, colonial trade and demography, “Kindred Spirits,” her new self-portrait series (detail pictured, 2015), questions the idea of racial-purity paintings and reminds us that cultures are evolving constantly. | Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie St., 212.254.0054, thru June 19

(Courtesy Mnuchin Gallery. Art: ©David Hammons. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging)

Biting Elegance

Renowned for influential, idiosyncratic conceptual work addressing race and power in America, Illinois-born David Hammons is art’s Greta Garbo, forgoing interviews and exhibiting rarely. That makes “Five Decades” an event. In this biting but elegant 33-piece retrospective set to Japanese court music, Hammons’ gimlet eye transforms the gallery’s white-walled East Side town house, pairing, among other things, a paint-splashed fur coat with a boarded- over mirror and redefining the meaning of art. | Mnuchin Gallery, 45 E. 78th St., 212.861.0020, thru May 27