* Air Waves + Beach Fossils @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 9p/FREE. Well I know what I'm doing tonight! Free concert w/ the lovable surf-rocker(s) Beach Fossils and equally summery Air Waves, in a bowling alley in Wsburg. Very much yes.
* Gutai: A "Concrete" Discussion of Transnationalism @ Guggenheim Museum / 1071 5th Ave (456 to 86th St), 6:30p/$10. Alexandra Munroe, the Gugg's senior curator of Asian art, moderates a panel discussion on the Conceptualist Gutai Art Association, which preempted many art tendencies in the 1960s. Discussion topic: the message of Gutai in an increasingly transnational world.
* Blanca Munoz "The Blue Dance" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. Munoz's exciting wavelike stainless steel sculpture, inlaid w/ shots of cobalt blue perforated steel, affect a lightness belying their obvious weight. And apparently her works play off the natural light in the room, adding a second layer to the experience. This is the Madrid-based artist's NY debut.
+ Alejandro Corujeira "The Accessible, Dressed in Salts". The debut NY show from the Spanish artist (also based in Madrid), feat. his meandering linework and pleasant, pale color palette in a suite of acrylic paintings and works on paper.
* Lynda Benglis @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. New oozy, gravity-defying and -threatening sculptural works from the master of urethane and slippery cast aluminum.
* Richard Mosse "The Fall" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. A photographic survey of intense, remote locations (from the tip of Patagonia to far-north Canada) plus Mosse's works as an embed w/ the US military.
* Norbert Schwontkowski "Ångstrœm" @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 528 W 26th St. The artist's surreally cartoonish oil paintings feat. hand-ground pigments, which should add to the intrigue of viewing these things in person.
* Pearlstein/Held "Five Decades" @ Betty Cuningham Gallery / 541 W 25th St. I'm digging this parallel comparison on two divergent American artists, the figurative realist Philip Pearlstein (whose name befits his pearly capture of bare skin) and the uber-abstract artist Al Held. Both entered the art world around the same time and (though Held recently passed) they're nearly the same age, but their styles seem so totally different — right? Why not have a closer look?
* William J. O'Brien @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St. The youngish artist pairs his cheery, trippy colored pencil works w/ glazed ceramic abstract sculpture, so it's kind of like looking at two different artists at once.
* Jerry Hirshberg @ Danese Gallery / 535 W 24th St. Hirshberg will teach you that photorealistic acrylic closeups of bamboo forests are really really cool to look at and contemplate.7
* Shinya Yamamura "Urushi Decorations" @ Ippodo Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Splendid, deftly prepared and finely colored traditional lacquer works, culled from the resiny urushi tree (same genus as poison ivy, I looked it up!).
* Kim Nam Pyo "Instant Landscapes" @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. I've seen Kim's collage-y mixed media works before (his use of faux fur and diluted black paint to mimic traditional Korean ink painting is interesting), and this solo show should offer a broader view of his oeuvre — heavy, it seems, on equine imagery.
+ Andy Warhol "Small Paintings". Whenever the gallery hosts a non-Korean exhibit, it tends to be something thoughtful and quietly iconic. As in, Warhol's small-scale Maos, Flowers and Robots.
* Tom Hall + Sawako @ Monkeytown / 58 N 3rd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7:30p/$7. A truly multisensory, space-exploring paring w/ discreet sound artist Sawako and mixed media performer Tom Hall.
* "Mammoth" (dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2009) screenings @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). Emphasis here is less the solid cast (Michelle Williams and Gael Garcia Bernal, as the poor rich kids) than that this is the Swedish director's 1st NY-based film. His oeuvre incl. the charmingly gritty-sweet "Show Me Love" (1998), the visceral experiment "A Hole in My Heart" (2004) and standout "Lilya 4-Ever" (2002), whose ex-Soviet human-trafficking story is like a pickaxe to your heart.
* Ulrich Lamsfuss "Birdie" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 521 W 26th St. The Berlin-based artist reinterprets advert imagery in a series of oil paintings, watercolors, and pencil on paper portraits.
* "Broken Embraces" (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2009) screenings @ Sunshine Cinema / 143 E Houston St (FV to 2nd Ave). The beauty of self-referential cinema, as properly executed by Almodóvar w/ a strong noirish hand. And good as Quentin Tarentino is, placing the history of film w/in his films, the signature powerful women leads (Penélope Cruz, Angela Molina and Lola Dueñas, for three) and the gorgeous camerawork put Almodóvar on top. It's no surprise this was a big inclusion at this year's NYFF.
* ZAZA @ Cameo Gallery / 93 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p. Brooklyn's dreamy, druggy ZAZA lead a nice lineup of positive-vibe indie-pop, which also feat. My Other Friend and Heliotropes.
* "Frontier of Dawn/La Frontiere de L'Aube" (dir. Philippe Garrel, 2008) screenings @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (FV to 2nd Ave), 7p+9:15p. Garrel's exquisite camerawork (I adored "Regular Lovers") continues in this story of l'amour fou, feat. his son Louis as a photographer and Laura Smet as his subject and object of desire. ALSO SAT/SUN 4:45, 7, 9:15p
* Crystal Fighters + Lemonade @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford) 9p/$8. Pepped up electro outfit Crystal Fighters hail from Spain, + their new single "Xtatic Truth" is refreshingly anthemic, but w/o the trashy saccharine undertones of trance music. And Lemonade's slinky grooves should pair nicely.
* Fluffy Lumbers + Family Portrait @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 8p/$7. YES, this is a stellar lineup, courtesy of sunny, surfy Underwater Peoples. Begin w/ the folky, slightly beneath-the-waves "Mega Secrets" (Family Portrait), conclude w/ the bright sounds of "Cruisers" (Fluffy Lumbers).
* The Beets + Beachniks @ Death by Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$7. Bit upset they're pitting my favs The Beets against Fluffy Lumbers (et al, @ Cake Shop, same time, different borough). Well, I do love the boys' stirred-up sing-along barbershop punk, so we'll see...
* "What Time is it There?" (dir. Tsai Ming-Liang, 2001) screening @ Asia Society / 725 Park Ave (), 5p. The finale of a mini sort-of retrospective of my favorite Taiwanese New Wave director is perhaps my favorite film from his enrapturing output. This Taipei- and Paris-set Nouvelle Vague journey begins a loose trilogy of unrequited love b/w recurring leads Lee Kang-Sheng and Chen Shiang-Chyi (followed by the polarizing soft-core musical "The Wayward Cloud" and the Kuala Lumpur-set, nearly dialogue-free "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone", both sadly absent from this festival). Enigmatic and heart-rending, and totally recommended.
* Noveller @ Death by Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$7. Sarah Lipstate brings the destruction via her bow, loop pedals and FX and a wicked double-necked guitar. One minute you're blanketed w/ Sigur Ros-like reverb, the next a maelstrom of gorgeous, hot noise. Recommended!
* Talib Kweli @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$10. I hear this often: what's the matter w/ indie hip-hop in NY? We've got Jay-Z commanding the radio and the Wu Tang basically scattered about (though R&Bish Ghostface is still dope), but what about that non-mainstream voice? Tell me you know Brooklyn's Kweli, of Black Star (w/ Mos Def) and Reflection Eternal (w/ DJ Hi-Tek) amid others. You're welcome.
* Clair/Picabia/Bunuel @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (FV to 2nd Ave), 5:30p. Feat. "Un Chien Andalou" (Bunuel w/ Dali, 1928), "Entr'acte" (Clair w/ Picabia, 1924), and Bunuel's solo project "Land Without Bread" (1932) — if you missed the brilliant Dada show @ the MoMA a few years back, consider this your golden primer on maddeningly essential Surrealist cinema.
* Melt-Banana @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Delancey), 8p/$15. Oh man, I've such memories of getting nasty sweaty to Japanese noise-rock outfit Melt-Banana back in uni. Maybe they've added increasing melody to their later works (which extend past the two-minute-mark, believe it or not), but if their earlier Knitting Factory show was any warning they're still intense as hell.
* The Specific Heats w/ Family Portrait @ Bruar Falls / 295 Grand St, Williamsburg (L/G to Lorimer), 8p/FREE. This will be dope, from beginning to end. Come early for undeniably good-vibey Family Portrait (see my SAT listing), stay late for Boston's high-fiving guy-girl-harmonizing The Specific Heats.
* Urs Fischer "Marguerite de Ponty" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (FV to 2nd Ave, 6 to Spring St). It's a safe bet many of us art-lovers (and sometimes-enthusiasts) have been anticipating Fischer's gallery-filling solo show. Maybe for his gleeful irreverence to standing architecture (aka 'investigation of space', as in the floor-razing "You" at Gavin Brown's Enterprise a few years back), maybe for his multitalented mixed medium works (melting candle figures, cast-aluminum 'soft' sculpture, anti-Dada 'readymades'). Lots of scare-quotes here, sorry, but it's necessary. And Fischer's exhibition, of works from the past few years, exceeds in expectation whilst simultaneously lifting his cred as a serious artist. The sole hole here, the advert-spoiler "Noisette", is a motion-sensitive tongue that thrusts itself out a tennis ball-sized wall gash: it's a bit of a raspberry to his naysayers, maybe, but it's playful, innocent, innocuous, and by far the best thing. Start from the 4th fl, amid the towering cast-aluminum abstract forms, and decide for yourself what they mean. Maybe "Ix" is a horse-head (the missing head from Mauricio Cattelan's famous "Untitled"? Or Berlinde de Bruyckere's unsettling taxidermy?), or the stunning "David, the Proprietor" a primeval sea beast lashing up from the ocean's depths, or the eponymous "Marguerite de Ponty" a stately, voluptuous lifeform? The other bits in this room, the Robert Gober-esque (in a terribly surreal way) "The Lock", w/ its truncated subway bench and hovering cake, and the bizarrely-titled "Violent Cappuccino" (more aluminum and paint, in the guise of a skeleton fighting off 'cardboard boxes'), are cool to look at but are recurring characters in Fischer's past works. The 3rd fl is trippy, nearly empty save for the aforementioned "Noisette" and a melting (cast-aluminum again) piano. But the great surprise here is the site-specific environment, the collaborative effort w/ graphic designer Scipio Schneider, an installation where the empty gallery was exhaustively photographed and then reprinted as wall- and ceiling-paper. The result: soft pinks, purples and greens w/ trompe l'oeil shadows, sky-light, and public-safety signs. You need several minutes to really take in the unsettling effect — leave the floor if necessary but come back to see it again. He's done this before (the doubled "Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns" environment in Tony Shafrazi Gallery last year, replete w/ Shafrazi 'guards', was a trip), but the sneak-up quality here exceeds the earlier works. The 2nd fl, beginning or preferably the end, is Fischer's new multipart work "Service à la Française", but what this means is dozens of mirrored chrome boxes, silkscreened on all surfaces w/ a single object each: a sofa-sized tennis shoe, a milk-crate-sized Balenciaga strappy heel, a canoe-sized sausage. This piece works so well: it's Fischer having fun again but it's a joy to explore. Check the repetitions: halved red Bartlett pear here, rotting red Bartlett pear there; wax-candle cupcake here, deliciously-rendered chocolate-frosted cupcake (replete w/ sprinkles, naturally) there. The effect of it all, and seeing glimpses of yourself in the mirrors as you dash from one objet d'art to the next, is stimulus-overload, exhilarating, thoroughly recommended.
* Richard Serra "Blind Spot/Open Ended" @ Gagosian Gallery / 522 W 21st St. A thrilling pas de deux of Cor-Ten giants for W Chelsea. These related massive sculptures play off one another in form and function. "Blind Spot" is the scarier one, for me anyway, as it features odd little sharp right angles as you navigate the shell-like spiral, passing similar structures and you feel like you're walking in circles until suddenly the path truncates in this tight V deep w/in the sculpture. "Open Ended" has two entrance/exits (thankfully), but feels more dynamic in a way, as the sides rush up at you like waves of several-tonne steel as you loop up and cross back.
* Wayne Gonzales @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 521 W 21st St. This suite of hypnotic paintings, hung singly and in pairs and trios, function sort of like alienesque test patterns, as if Gonzales blew up his trademark dot-patterns to exceptional scale.
* Mark Manders @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. The Dutch artist's last solo show (his first @ the gallery) was a thorough exercise in dread: windows papered over w/ freaky gibberish 'news', crumbling office-like installations, stolid clay-fired figures. This exhibition continues Manders' telltale unease but w/ a far sparer setup. The monumental set-pieces (w/ wild names like "Livingroom Scene with Enlarged Chairs" and "Large Figure with Book and Fake Dictionaries") often have an entire room to themselves, affording uninterrupted contemplation on such good-vibey stuff like bifurcated epoxy heads, threadbare clay-infused chairs, and iron towers. Proceed w/ caution!
* Kaz Oshiro "Setting Sun" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. Oshiro takes his trompe l'oeil shaped and painted canvases to glorious heights, mainly in this wicked installation of 'Orange speaker cabinets'. If only Wata (and all of Boris, my fav Japanese stoner-rock trio) were present too! Plus slightly bent abstract canvases and 'rubbish bins'.
+ Robert Ryman. Lots going on w/ these three ostensibly Minimalist white paintings, from the late '60s and early '70s. The two larger canvases feat. a subtle banding and a yellowish tint (one seems to have heavier coats of paint near the bottom), and the smaller canvas has a waxy white chevron pattern, like Ryman taped the thing off to create the effect.
* Peter Fischli + David Weiss "Sleeping Puppets" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 526 W 22nd St. Fischli and Weiss have the run of Marks' three W Chelsea galleries, and I love this one the best. In the spare boutique-y space, they've installed a like 1/3 scale version of their avatars Rat and Bear, fast asleep on a pile of blankets. Observe closely their addicting repose: a hidden air apparatus subtly inflates each puppet's chest to echo their 'breathing'. Delightful.
* Peter Fischli + David Weiss "Sun, Moon and Stars" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St. This symphony of advertisements under glass looks incredibly annoying and asinine from the doorway, but I strongly encourage you to venture in and walk the array, skimming over the chromatic and thematic groupings. By like halfway in I began to find the transitions (and even the subject of these ads) terribly hilarious.
* Dan Flavin "Series and Progressions" @ David Zwirner / 519-533 W 19th St. A gorgeous, sobering investigation into the Minimalist's core practice of repetition and color. Begin w/ the jewel-box "alternating pink and 'gold'" at 519, a three-wall installation of sugary pink and goldenrod fluorescent rods. Note the fuzzy-edged vibrations, how pairing the two colors turn the pinks whitish and the yellows lemony. In 525 you pass through a series of rooms, from the warm yellow and cherry-red pairings through the shock-saturated blue/reds and shimmering greens, ending on almost a sunrise-like blast of brightness. The seminal all-white "the nominal three (to William of Ockham)" acts as a palate-cleanser before the brilliant cage-like "untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with love and affection"), a white-hot bluish latticework extending across the breadth of 533's space.
* Peter Fischli + David Weiss "Clay and Rubber" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 523 W 24th St. A delicious assortment of the artists' bare clay or cast-rubber sculpture, mostly of banal objects (a cup, a pipe, a tree-root), from the past two decades. I especially dug the rubber stuff, incl. this incredible life-size 'leather' ottoman, w/ every stitch and dimple in place.
* Mike Kelley "Horizontal Tracking Lines" @ Gagosian Gallery / 555 W 24th St. Goodness, Kelley is a weirdo. His latest show is one heady trip, but it builds on his earlier accomplishments (coital rag-dolls, modified Abstract Expressionism, quirky video) so if you're familiar w/ his trickery, use his reputation to your advantage here. Expect: misshapen canvases bearing crudely rendered cartoonish or pornish figures amid smeared paint — and each of these is mounted on flat-color polychrome panels like massive pixels. Even better: the eponymous installation "Horizontal Tracking Shot of a Cross Section of Trauma Rooms", which feat. more polychrome bars and three test-patterened video screens that project, once the click-track ends, random, split-second (and generally hilarious) Youtube clips. Think less his narrative-driven "Day is Done" and more like Luis Gispert's "Pony Show".
* "The Irreverent Object: European Sculpture from the '60s, '70s and '80s" @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. A solid collection of disquietingly beautiful (and sometimes just undeniably disquieting) works from a range of talent. We get the banal ingredients (a lovely look-twice Dieter Roth and several approachable Martin Kippenbergers), the brain-trust (blood-red Lucio Fontana, intriguing Joseph Beuys, epic Louise Bourgeois) and several stunning glassed display boxes from Arman — and I dare you to pick the more disturbing, the assortment of gas masks or the boozy detritus credited to Robert Rauschenberg.
* Eric Fischl "Corrida in Ronda" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. Confession: bullfighting is like the furthest from my cup of tea, but I still find Fischl's typically large, center-lit canvases dazzling. Though I did sort of avert my eyes from the more violent lot (there's one solo canvas, at the entryway, feat. just the bull, no toreros, that is quite lovely).
* Yue Minjun "Smile-isms" @ Arario NY / 521 W 25th St. Yue's guffawing, grimacing 'self'-portraits are a bunch of active men, throwing baseballs, climbing trees, sitting crosslegged on a diving board like a bunch of demure bathing beauties... What's the dialogue? Well, in these gorgeous color lithographs, maybe Yue means, in order to do these activities properly, the State wants you to enjoy the hell out of them. Be happy all the time! Check the gigantic Yue, yawning mouth stretching over a field of cattle, for a more literal impact.
* David Hockney "Paintings 2006-2009" @ Pacewildenstein / 534 W 25th St. I never thought I'd enjoy a straightforward landscape painting show as much as I enjoyed Hockney's. His renderings of Yorkshire, which mostly involves glades, felled trees and bunches of hawthorne, through various seasons, are magnetizing. The colors are fanciful (purplish roads, orange grass) yet visceral in his capture of the specific lighting. And the depth of these, esp. the woods, stretch for miles away. You know those scenes in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up", when David Hemmings is in the park and all you hear is the sound of the wind through the trees? That's what this exhibition feels like.
* Tim Eitel "New Paintings" @ Pacewildenstein / 545 W 22nd St. Eitel's stark humanist renderings are moodily humorous as ever — figures in uncomfortable repose, homeless tents, misshapen piles of clothes, ruffled birds — but he's shrunk his canvases down now to book-sized, permitting nothing but the intensity of what's on paint to engulf your vision.
* Kristin Baker "Splitting Twilight" @ Deitch / 18 Wooster St. The energy in Baker's troweled acrylic on PVC panels is palpable as usual, but the subject matter — her 'remixes' of landscape style — is way more my thing. Her signature collage-y, mixed textural technique is in high effect, and she operates across the entire color spectrum like James Rosenquist, but there's a serious depth to these ostensibly 'flat' works that draws you in. One resembles a mashup of Nouveau Soho (cascading prisms of grayscale glass) w/ meteoric blobs of yellow and violet (like the graffiti-covered building across the street from the gallery). Another drifts woozily in a red-tinted tropical landscape amid fat 'palm tree' columns. A third, the dealmaker, is a three-panel study of restless blue waves under a multitonal sunset.
* Paul Chan "Sade for Sade's sake" @ Greene Naftali / 508 W 26th St 8th Fl. Word of advice before entering this brilliant narrative projection, arguably the standout work when it premiered at the 53rd Venice Biennale: you won't see the whole thing. Chan's centerpiece is nearly six hours long and there are no benches. But linger over the stark shadowy figures in various states of coitus and violence, covered now and then by abstract floating geometric shapes. If you're lucky, you'll see multicolored blocks, like translucent tinted tiles, sweeping across a landscape of de Sade's making. But if you hang around even for 10 minutes you'll experience the unnerving, graceful ballet of orgy, whippings, beatings, masturbation (with figures now and then speaking to one another), amid shapes that either obscure the action or flood past like the great shadows of trees and landscapes from the window of a train. Chan's loose ink drawings in the side galleries augment the action on the wall.
* Sean Scully @ Galerie Lelong / 528 W 26th St. The neatest part of Scully's show is sorting out which canvases are linen and which are aluminum, as the fuzzy-edged blocks of paint take rather well to each. Though, like the press release, I dig "LANDBAR" quite a bit, as he exposes one panel of aluminum amid the painted surfaces.
* Bill Viola "Bodies of Light" @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. Love or loathe Viola, his exhibitions, which tend around watery slo-mo video, draw insane crowds. Like this one, which is total eye-candy (try to NOT be visually arrested by "Incarnation" and "Acceptance", even though they're sort of like being filmed in the shower) but by no means insubstantial. In fact, the "Pneuma" installation (this grainy video on three of four gallery walls) is a super palate cleanser from the fussier shows on the block.
* Teresita Fernandez @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. I really do dig Fernandez's graphite-only show, as the shimmery v. matte 'landscape' reliefs and soft v. rocky wall installation bear a meatier, dirtier aesthetic than her previous slick glass forays.
* Wolfgang Laib "Frieze of Life" @ Sean Kelly Gallery / 528 W 29th St. The standout piece here, in Laib's typically spare show, is his rather literally titled "Pollen from Hazelnut". This belies the impact of the enormous fuzzy-edged yellow rectangle on the gallery floor, the result of several jars of hand-sifted pollen. It's like Rothko on the floor, sort of.
* Walton Ford @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. This has got to be the most violent Ford show I've seen, and the Audubonesque artist's masterfully watercolored and gouached large-scale works typically feature some sort of unrest or distress amid the regally rendered beasts of the earth. But these new works are another story: several are suicidal (incl. a dignified gorilla, twisting a rifle's barrel into its mouth), others bloodthirsty (a chilling caged deathmatch b/w two tigers and a lion and the infamous "The Island", a globe of wolflike thylacines gnawing at lambs and one another).
* Alighiero e Boetti "Mappa" @ Gladstone Gallery / 530 W 21st St. The first retrospective of the Arte Povera artist's 'Mappa' series: hand-embroidered world maps composed of respective country's flags. That is a simplistic summary, though, as these geopolitical works, working off Boetti's global consciousness, are both graphically and mindfully relevant.
* Tony Feher "Blossom" @ D'Amelio Terras / 525 W 22nd St. The show title draws from Feher's latest venture: super-duper big yet ominously feather-light extruded-polystyrene 'fans'.
+ Yoshihiro Suda. Fun thing about Suda's discreet trompe l'oeil wood-carved, hand-painted plants is how, on a rainy day like this past weekend, when people would track like the odd leaf or whatever into the gallery space, you can't quite tell whether that leaf is from outdoors or is intentionally placed there by the artist — his sculpture is THAT realistic.