10 exhibitions to visit in New York State this Fall


With its Autumnal colours and enduringly warm weather, Fall is a wonderful time to be in New York State – and it’s also a period packed full of great exhibitions to visit.

(Photo: Iroquois Museum)

Even outside the metropolis of Manhattan, New York State is awash with exceptional museums, many of which play host to both permanent and temporary exhibitions throughout the year. If you’re planning to be in the state during Fall this year, you may want to check out our list below of the best exhibitions scheduled to run over the Fall months 2021.


This exhibition addresses the question of what constitutes tribal membership – who is considered Iroquois, who is not, and who gets to decide. Thought-provoking statements in sculpture, beadwork, and photography illustrate how these definitions determine access to tribal and federal resources, rights, residency options, and other components of cultural and community participation. Work created specifically for the exhibit explores the political and polarising issues surrounding blood quantum, the position and challenges of mixed-race individuals, those whose connections to heritage are through their father’s rather than mother’s lines, and those raised off reservation.

Iroquois Museum, Howes Cave / Through 28 Nov 2021

James G. Pappas: Relative to Music

(Photo: Burchfield Penney Art Center)

This exhibition features a selection of work that spans the prolific career of internationally recognised visual artist James G. Pappas. Pappas’ abstract expressionist style pulls strong influence from his love of jazz music, while also contending with his experience of the socio-political realities of American life for Black communities. The intersections of art, Black culture, empowerment, and social justice translate across Pappas’ work as an artist, educator, and community leader. Like jazz music, his legacy is a lasting testament to experimentation, innovation, and improvisation, breaking the mold to imagine new possibilities and ways of experiencing the world.

Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo / 8 Oct 2021 – 1 May 2022

In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain During the 1700s

(Photo: Corning Museum of Glass)

In the 1700s, Britain was a vibrant nation, its cities hubs of sociability, scientific advancement, trade, and finance. From glittering costumes and confectionery, to polished mirrors and dazzling chandeliers, glass helped define the social rituals and cultural values of the period. This exhibition invites visitors to learn how the elite were prepared for public view during this era. See the dazzling clothes and accessories worn by the ‘polished’ individual, learn the rules that governed how they behaved, and enter a virtual reality reconstruction of the glass-panelled drawing room designed for the Duke & Duchess of Northumberland in 1775. In short see what it meant to be ‘modern’ in the 1700s – and what it cost.

Corning Museum of Glass / Through 2 Jan 2022

Radiant Vision

(Photo: Fenimore Art Museum)

Celebrating both the icon and his iconography, this exhibition is designed to introduce a new generation to the late American artist Keith Haring. Featuring an extensive collection of over 100 lithographs, silkscreens, drawings on paper, and posters, it describes the full arc of Haring’s short but prolific career. Visitors may recognise seminal images like “Radiant Baby” – images that permeated American culture in the 1980s, became emblematic of the time, and are powerful examples of how Haring fought for change and the betterment of youth worldwide., using art as a platform for activism.

Fenimore Art Museum / Through 11 October 2021

Fashionable Frocks of the 1920s

Just before arriving in Albany for a week of fashion shows and talks in 1925, French fashion guru Marceline D’Alroy was caught commenting, “I have heard women in Albany are as smart, as up to date, as keen about styles and fashion as the women of New York City.” This exhibition showcases more than 25 rarely-seen dresses from the Albany Institute’s historic clothing collection to explore fashion trends and transformations from an infamous era. With inspiration from French fashion plates and rich colours, fascinating fabrics, and eye-catching accessories, the exhibition serves to demonstrate how the fashion of the 1920s amounted to so much more than the quintessential flapper’s dress.

Albany Institute of History and Art / Through 2 January 2021

Fire and Vine: The Story of Glass and Wine

(Photo: Corning Museum of Glass)

The entwined histories of glass and wine extend back thousands of years, from lavish feasts of ancient Rome, to dinner parties of post-war America, to our contemporary food culture. In this exhibition, visitors can explore the ways glass touches wine as it travels from grape to goblet, and how the story of glass and wine has particular relevance in the Finger Lakes of New York State, which has been a nexus for both industries for more than 150 years. Independent, entrepreneurial winemakers and glass artists have found a mutual home in this region, building on historical tradition with new creative energy that makes Corning and the Finger Lakes an international hub for the entwined industries of fire and vine.

Corning Museum of Glass, Corning / Through 31 Dec 2022

Difference Machines: Technology and Identity in Contemporary Art

In response to ongoing conversations about what some believe to be enduring systemic inequities in society, this exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists and collectives who creatively reimagine the digital tools that shape our lives. It includes projects that span the last three decades, ranging from software-based and internet art to animated videos, bioart experiments, digital games, and 3-D printed sculptures. Together, they explore the aesthetic and social potential of emerging technologies, including how digital tools can be repurposed to tell more inclusive stories or imagine new ways of being.

Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo / 16 Oct 2021 – 16 Jan 2022

Fashioning Art from Paper

(Photo: Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute)

Acclaimed Belgian painter Isabelle de Borchgrave is widely considered one of Europe’s most creative contemporary artists. Using only paper and hand painting to dazzling effect, she constructs garments depicted in early European paintings and collections – from the Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I to the lavish vestments of the grand courtiers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Comprising nearly 100 intricate artworks that relive seminal elements of history, this exhibition celebrates the artist’s most noted bodies of work, including Les Ballets Russes, featuring interpretations of vibrant costumes designed by Léon Bakst, Pablo Picasso, and others.

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica / 17 Oct 2021 – 9 Jan 2022

Summer Bomb Pop: Collections in Dialogue

(Photo: The Hyde Collection)


The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls / Through 31 Oct 2021


The creation of world-renowned German film-maker and artist Hito Steyerl, famous for her exploration of late capitalism’s social, cultural, and financial imaginaries, this exhibition sits squarely in the tradition of the performance and wordplay of the avant-garde Fluxus art movement that emerged in the 1950s. It features a short, deadpan video showing a LCD TV monitor being smashed to reveal a jagged abstract pattern. The screen is destroyed “on-screen”, and the “physical” viewing apparatus becomes palpably present, powerfully reminding us that images also have a physical existence; the limitations of its production, replication and dispersal can fundamentally alter its impact.

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse / Through 11 Dec 2021

By Paul Joseph