* Akira Kurosawa centennial festival @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St) - THRU FEB 4. OK film freaks, this is what you need to know about this absolutely dope Kurosawa full-career retrospective: each film (be it classics "Rashomon" or "The Seven Samurai" or kookies like "Kagemusha" or "Dreams") plays for one day only but w/ multiple screenings that day. So if you're like 'oh I can't make "Drunken Angel" tonight, I'll try for tomorrow', well, you're out of luck, partner. Visit this page for the full festival and showtimes, and I'll do my best to keep you apprised on Kurosawa's doper films (granted, there are many).
* "Stray Dog" (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1949) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 7/9:30p, through JAN 14. Kurosawa does the neo-noir hardboiled detective drama and he does it WELL. This is the exception to the festival rule, as "Stray Dog" has its own screen for over a week at Film Forum, and you'd be doing yourself a great favor in checking this out. Feat. Kurosawa stalwarts Toshiro Mifune (clean-cut and hangdog-ish) as the young detective and Takashi Shimura as the grizzled vet. Oh, and the femme fatales! My goodness.
* Patti Smith w/ Steven Sebring "Objects of Life" @ Robert Miller Gallery / 524 W 26th St. 2010 in W Chelsea kicks off in a big way, w/ a collaborative multimedia effort from musician/artist Smith and photographer/filmmaker Sebring. w/ 'Objects of Life', source materials for Smith's own photography and collaborative photo-collages b/w Smith and Sebring, and more highlighting the creative process.
* Babies + Beach Fossils @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7:30p/$7. Glasslands is famous for its extra-packed music rosters, and this one, feat. the beachy suntoned pop of Beach Fossils and headlined by motley Babies (w/ Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls and some of the Woods guys, among others), who used to rarely play but now have been reappearing more and more — this should be a long, very fun night.
* Diane Arbus "In the Absence of Others" + Williams Eggleston "21st Century" @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. A dual photography show, feat. Eggleston's new highly-textural works (concurrent w/ a show at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London) and Arbus' emotive, spare photography from the '60s.
* Keith Sonnier "Oldowan Series" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 5th Ave. The source inspiration for Sonnier's new collection of bent neon tubing sculpture are Paleolithic tools!
* Pascal Grandmaison "The Inverted Ghost" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. The show's namesake comes from a series of large color inkjet diptychs of oily smears, like scarred featureless masks. The Canadian artist accompanies these with two films, incl. the recent "Light My Fiction", which marries decrepit Coney Island amusement parks w/ decades-old video game consoles.
* "Urbanization and Globalization" @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. Contemporary Korean artists, based in the country and abroad, balance traditional approaches w/ genre-bending variety in their respective takes on modern Korean society.
* Andy Warhol "Still Lifes and Feet" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. This concisely (though perhaps slightly off-putting) titled show is really like one big sketchbook, Warhol's prolific early ballpoint pen figure studies of, you guessed it, human feet and simply rendered objet and patterns.
* Annette Lemieux "The Last Suppa" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 511 27th St. Livestock, milkmaids, religious imagery — continuing Lemieux's investigation into the manner of the cow and country fair.
* Alessio Delfino "Metamorphoseis" @ Kips Gallery / 511 W 25th St. Photography and static video work based around gold-painted nude models.
* Marlo Pascual @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. Pascual's marriage of silver screen starlets (via C-prints) and heavy physical objects (rocks, shells, bricks etc) reminds me of a cross between John Baldessari (or Rene Magritte) and Lee Ufan, meaning the semi-obscuration of a famous subject and the pairing of unlikely objects.
* Anne Lindberg + Johnny Swing @ Cynthia Reeves Gallery / 535 W 24th St 2nd Fl. Another fine meeting of opposites at this gallery, as Lindberg's soft graphite on cotton abstracts act as the white-noise backdrop to Swing's massive steel twists and steel-and-light installation.
* Works on Paper group show @ Danese / 535 W 24th St. Some two dozen artists, gallery roster and otherwise, contribute to this no-doubt solid group show. The fact we've got such a range of talent, from Su-en Wong's (self-) figurative works to the geometric abstracts from Barry Le Va and Joel Shapiro, I think this could be pretty great.
* Kirsten Nelson "Assembly Required" @ Frederieke Taylor Gallery / 535 W 22nd St 6th Fl. I dig Nelson's stark sculptures, composed of materials you could quite easily find @ Home Depot (sheetrock, plywood, drywall etc)...though the effect is way less than perusing a hardware store than it is noticing the details of the compositions.
+ dNASAb "dataclysmic", in the project room. The title and concept, wild video sculptures utilizing phosphorescent silicone and consumer electronics, might sound a little too easy, eye-candy-ish, but the press materials, at least, look mind-blowingly gorgeous.
* Fluffy Lumbers w/ Bonus Eventus @ Silent Barn / 915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood (L to Halsey), 8p/$5. Slammin' surf-rock from Fluffy and hook-driven party rock from those young Massapequa boys Bonus Eventus = a fun night of indie. w/ Shark?.
* Alex Bleeker & The Freaks + Drink Up Buttercup @ Webster Hall / 125 E 11th St (NRW/456/L to Union Square), 7p/$10. It's nice when big ol' Webster Hall shows some local love, and what's even cooler that good-vibey Drink Up Buttercup is the smooth folksy tones of Real Estate's Alex Bleeker and friends.
* "Banners of Persuasion" Group Show @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. Also known as: 'Demons, Yarns & Tales', it's a show of hand-woven tapestries from 13 international artists, who ostensibly do not use tapestry as their primary medium. Like: Paul Noble, Kara Walker, Shahzia Sikander and Gary Hume. Dope, non?
* "On the Square" @ Pacewildenstein / 32 E 57th St. The gallery pulls from its roster of minimalists and geometric heavyweights for a group show based around that deceptively simple four-cornered shape.
* Peter Peri @ Bortolami / 510 W 25th St. This London artist's reductive mixed media paintings, gloomy canvases marred by either razor-sharp linework or the occasional tonal explosion, creep me out in a really good way. It's sort of like taking Tomma Abts style, enlarging it, then painting over it.
* "Primary Atmospheres" California Minimalism 1960-1970 @ David Zwirner / 519-533 W 19th St. These dozen artists share an acuity for utilizing light and space in their works, adding a layer of sunny SoCal emotion to otherwise minimalist works. Think Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Mary Corse and more, in this special exhibition of seldom-seen works.
* Martin Wilner "A Life in Days" @ Sperone Westwater / 415 W 13th St. Highly detailed graphic drawings in two series, 'Making History' and 'Journal of Evidence Weekly', utilizing equal measures cartoon and cartography, displayed alongside text-heavy pieces.
* "Blood of a Poet" Group Show @ Thierry Goldberg Projects / 5 Rivington St. Named after Jean Cocteau's 1930 film, this seven-artist show approaches nouveau minimalism and conceptualism.
* "In Search of Memory" (dir. Petra Seeger, 2008) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). Much as I loved Astra Taylor's thoughtful take on 'rock-star' philosopher Slavoj Žižek, you can bet I'm into Seeger's look at Eric Kandel, professor of biochemistry and biophysics @ Columbia Uni and perhaps the world's 1st 'rock-star' neuroscientist.
* "L'eclisse" (dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962) screening @ Rubin Museum of Art / 150 W 17th St (1 to 18th St, ACE/123 to 14th St), 9:30p/$7. Quite possibly my favorite Antonioni film, and certainly his most riveting, w/ the howling silence b/w muse Monica Vitti and her ex-lover juxtaposed w/ overwhelmingly raucous stock-exchange scenes, and everything a gorgeous, luxurious b&w.
* Open Ocean @ ArtJail / 50 Eldridge St, 6th Fl (BD to Grand, F to Canal), 9p. This sounds super duper fun. NYC's most fashionable female four-piece, led by Jill Bradshaw's honeyed vocals and solid bassline, w/ the jammy Brooklyn dudes from Big Game.
* Teengirl Fantasy @ Monster Island Basement / 128 River St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. The cringe-worthy name aside, Brooklyn's Teengirl Fantasy are back in town, finally, and their fractured, woozy, held-together-w/-scotch-tape-style house beats are so dope you owe it to yourself to pay 'em a welcome back. w/ Blondes and Light Asylum.
* SUSU + The Sour Notes (Austin) + Rowzero (Houston) @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 8p/$7. Brooklyn's dissonant masters SUSU round out this Texas-heavy lineup.
* Anamanaguchi @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$10. Ever heard Gameboy-punk? This is Starscream's album release party, but I've got my $ on Anamanaguchi, who have successfully married guitar noise to NES beats and yet make the whole mix totally danceable.
* Jeffrey Vallance "Relics & Reliquaries" @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Super-precious altarpiece-style installations containing absolutely mundane objects, a deft combo of religious imagery and suburban banality.
+ "Strange Travelers" Group Show, curated by Mark Dion, plus Dion's "Travels of William Bartram – Reconsidered". The latter sounds right up Dion's alley: a travelogue based on 18th C. American naturalist Bartram. He also oversees a show of six artists unique to the gallery, but who share his delight in travel as discovery and adventure.
* Joseph Beuys "We are the Revolution" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. Mary Boone is certainly starting strong this season, w/ a new exhibition of Keith Sonnier's fuzzy-edged neon works uptown and this solid, extensive collection from Beuys' long, influential career. Feat. his famous multiples (like 'Sled', 'Felt Suit'), blackboards, loads more.
* William Daniels @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. Perhaps the contemporary master of the niche-like small scale renderings of Old Masters via found-objet, Daniels turns to abstract foil surfaces for his source material whilst keeping the lushly painted canvases tiny. Delicious.
* "Antichrist" (dir. Lars von Trier, 2009) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/V to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 2p. Midafternoon is probably the ideal time to see this terribly unnerving, sparse film from a director notorious for his sparseness (and unnerving-ness). Unless you've been on the moon, you've probably heard a bit about the disturbing goings-on b/w Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe in the forest, but I won't give anything away except I kept closing my eyes during certain scenes.
* Beachniks @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. Beachniks had a wild record release party last week. This amalgam who's who, feat. members of German Measles, Crystal Stilts etc, proves that party indie rock is really really dope.
* Audrey Chen, Nate Wooley, Gil Arno Trio @ ISSUE Project Room / 232 3rd St, Gowanus (F/M/R to 9th St/4th Ave), 8:30p, $10. Beyond their propensity for delivering awesome solo talent, ISSUE's programming is notable for crafting intriguing multidisciplinary jam sessions. As in cellist/lyricist Chen, free-improv trumpeter Wooley and sound collagist Arno. w/ solo guitar sets from Kenta Nagai (who also plays the samisen) and Bram Stadhouders.
* Led Er Est + Light Asylum @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 9p/$7. Don't be embarrassed by attending a synthpop dance party! Hey, if they spin The Cure or VNV Nation, it's all good (you heard it here first), and Led Er Est, who've played alongside the crackling-dark Blank Dogs, just may surprise you in how dope they are.
LAST CHANCE (closing this weekend)
* Audrey Kawasaki "Hajimari – a prelude" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. The gorg solo debut from the young NYC-based artist, feat. works on paper and sumptuous oils and graphite on wood panels. This is Kawasaki's strongest suit: she exercises a fair level of restraint w/ the paint, allowing the grain and natural scars and imperfections of the wood shine through her fantastical, fairytale-like, and Japanese-inspired renderings of young women. She incorporates backgrounds into her portraits, too, ranging from subtle color gradations that seem to follow the wood's natural pigments to lush rooms and natural environments.
+ James Marshall (Dalek) "And There Was War in Heaven". A hard-edged slew of geometric bijoux to accompany Kawasaki's lovingly organic exhibition. Dalek's works are sort of like late-period Al Held (in palette and technique, but only straight lines) crossed w/ Imagination Station.
* Norbert Schwontkowski @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 528 W 26th St. Schwontkowski's muted color palette, in a slew of mostly smallish oils on canvas, is due to his cache of hand-ground pigments. These lend a murky, De Chiricoesque air to his spare compositions, which do indeed channel the metaphysical Surrealist in certain measures, plus Dali and early Magritte.
* Su-Mei Tse "Words and Memories" @ Peter Blum Gallery / 526 W 29th St. A delight for the eyes and ears; Tse's latest really transcends easy description, but it's a joy to experience. Her tubular fluorescent sculpture, here a swing, there a birdcage, are fun but are diminished by several audio-rich installations, augmented by her partner Jean-Lou Majerus. These include "Many Spoken Words", a bubbling cast-iron ink fountain, think the reverence of Charles Ray w/ the opportunity for a huge mess (a la Paul McCarthy or Andres Serrano, maybe); the hypnotic "Floating Memories" (whose shimmering walnut veneer and resin platform plays off the skipping LP); and deceptively simple "Sound for Insomniacs", five large C-prints of cats w/ related MP3 players — listen in and hear the saturated, satisfied purrs, and challenge yourself not to be lulled to sleep.
* Gerhard Richter "Abstract Paintings, 2009" @ Marian Goodman Gallery / 24 W 57th St. This is a massive, museum-quality exhibition of Richter's newest signaturely abstract paintings, composed on canvas, wood, and metal (and that's not counting the flotilla "Sindbad", a 'diptych-esque' suite of gooey lacquer between glass panels). You should choose to either begin or end w/ Richter's monolithic monochromish works, hung together in the opening gallery, whose glistening whitish surfaces conceal the wild chromatic abstraction beneath. In a few instances, slices through the translucent layering here and a general dilution of the white paint there, the colors (green, red, blue mostly, but in one vertical example a long smear reminiscent of a rainbow rocket popsicle) gleam through. Elsewhere, note how Richter's varying choice of surface interacts w/ the lesions and acid-stripped baths of paint. How the metal provides a smoothly blurred vibe, the wood either soaks up the color (a brilliant several lava-reds) or is macerated by it, and of course "Sindbad". Each notebook-sized panel is a delicious standalone work on its own, but taken as a whole, the two-wall installation is saturation mastery at its finest.