Ride Along to Three of NYC’s Most Joyful Reopenings


After a year-plus of social distancing, the New York social scene came back in full force as spring turned to summer and COVID-era restrictions began to relax in the city. Landon Nordeman followed three prominent New Yorkers as they reemerged to their respective social strata.

As Gagosian opened its Chelsea doors on Thursday, June 24, Antwaun Sargent, a new director and curator at the gallery, stepped into a quiet room to look ahead at the next few hours. His group exhibition “Social Works” features 12 Black artists who engage their communities through both art and social practice. “These artists belong to communities,” Sargent said as he surveyed the crowd beginning to gather, “and those communities are showing up.”

Masked guests streamed between the rooms of the gallery, pausing for conversation near Theaster Gates’s installation of the legendary house DJ Frankie Knuckles’s archives or Lauren Halsey’s painted explorations of signage in South Central Los Angeles. “It’s so experiential,” Sargent said, adding, “I’m excited about folks immersing themselves in the exhibition.” Later in the evening, one attendee asked him to autograph the recent issue of Art in America, which Sargent had guest-edited.

Outside Gagosian, a sunny runway formed as guests lined up to get into the gallery. The exhibition was a demonstration of community, Sargent said, among both the attendees and the artists, whose social practices have informed one another. “There are all these different connections, not only conceptually,” he said, “not only socially and politically, but also the way that they’re working in and between communities.” By sunset, the line had stretched around the block. —D.A.