* Naked Hearts + The Nasties @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 8p. I really dig Naked Hearts: Amy + Noah pack a lot of punch in their stripped-down guitar-drums duo (and she can sing really well).
* "Hausu" (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) screenings @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). I am so glad IFC Center installed two additional screens, so they can provide such luxe silver screen gems as this heady, Technicolor-fueled, schoolgirl-cast psychedelic freakout. Like Dario Argento through the mind of a preteen girl, super-cute yet incredibly disturbing.
* Erwin Olaf "Hotel & Dawn/Dusk" @ Hasted Hunt Kraeutler / 537 W 24th St. Two new photo series' from the Dutch artist: 'Dawn/Dusk' maintains beautifully ornate rooms but w/ a cast either very pale ('Dawn') or dark ('Dusk'). 'Hotel' seems to be seminude models in hotel rooms.
* Geujin Han @ Gallery Satori / 164 Stanton St @ Clinton. Han manages to work w/ hard-edged geometric shapes AND thickly poured paint, to a interestingly organic abstract result.
* Oh No Ono + The Depreciation Guild @ Union Hall / 702 Union St, Park Slope (R to Union St, 23/45 to Atlantic Ave), 7:30p/$10. Brooklyn's Depreciation Guild (Kurt and Christoph of ultra-cuties The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) pair shoegaze w/ NES beats extremely effectively, but sometimes that makes them an odd addition to a bill. Not so w/ Denmark's electro-dreamy Oh No Ono, in their U.S. debut.
* "Rashomon" (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1950) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 8:20/10:10p. Yes, it comes down to this, sadly, the final week of a giant 100th Anniv. Akira Kurosawa festival. But what a bangin' week it is! "Rashomon" is one of his most famous, a multiple-POV detective story set in 12th-C Kyoto, and feat. Machiko Kyo (the conflicted noblewoman) and Toshiro Mifune (the wildin' thug) at perhaps their most iconic roles.
* "Dreams" (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1990) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 6p. Annnnnd we get Kurosawa at perhaps his most bizarre, a two-hour hallucination in a Van Gogh painting (courtesy of Martin Scorsese, srsly, as the artist) and other 'folk dreams'.
* Tino Sehgal @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th S). I've got a very very strong feeling you'll need to catch Sehgal's solo exhibition more than once... or more than a dozen times, and yet you'll probably leave w/ a totally different feeling each visit. That's b/c Sehgal constructs 'situations', 'performances', 'gestures' — he instructs attendants to then execute these over the course of the show, w/ much opportunity for chance and improvisation. It's going to be fun trying to report on this...
* Family Portrait + Twin Sister @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. Absolutely incredible lineup, the magic-makers behind DC's Underwater Peoples label, Family Portrait, come together, right now, w/ the dreamy torch-song nuances of NY's Twin Sister (who, dare I say it, sound a slight bit like Portishead??), for free. w/ Austin's Pure Ecstasy.
* Oneida + Noveller @ Market Hotel / 1142 Myrtle Ave, Bushwick (JMZ to Myrtle), 8p/$10. Let's call it 'progressive improv' night, the Kraut-rockish Brooklyn legends Oneida and Sarah Lipstate's (Noveller) mesmerizing guitar-drone set. w/ live video from Mighty Robot Visuals.
* Asobi Seksu @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (6 to Bleecker, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 7p/$15. The lovely Asobi Seksu may be working their dream-pop roots overtime (they always had it in 'em), but they keep the volume high and the feedback roiling on their live shows, don't you forget it.
* "Seven Samurai" (dir. Akira Kurosawa, 1954) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 8:20p (ALSO SAT 4:40/8:20p). You cannot top Kurosawa-san in epic fight-scenes. Hence astute leader Takashi Shimura and his odd band of rebels, incl. the always-lovable Toshiro Mifune, who can do no wrong w/ a nodachi.
* Damien Hirst "End of An Era" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. A sea change for the subversive artist? Beyond his glittery photorealist paintings, Hirst includes two stunning installations, the titular taxidermy piece (a coda to "The Golden Calf"?) and a wall of 30,000 manufactured diamonds. I'm serious.
* Wolfgang Tillmans @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. The press release does well in dubbing this a 'constellation' of the artist's new photography: everything's unframed, and shot all over the world, so when taken as a whole perhaps we may sense its mirroring our own collective experience of contemporary society.
* Leonardo Drew @ Sikkema Jenkins @ Co / 530 W 22nd St. Large-scale 'excavation-style' installations (think mud, tree roots branches) plus works on paper and smaller freestanding sculpture. Trickster Vik Muniz furthers his 'Pictures of Junk' series — which if you've not seen, are wildly impressive massive outlined figures made in a junkyard — in the project space.
* Knyfe Hyts + Noveller + MNDR @ DCTV / 87 Lafayette St (6/JMZ to Canal St), 7p. Like a bolt out of the blue, DIY collective Less Artists more Condos drop a fantastic roster for Saturday night. The entire show sounds dope, so show up early for Noveller's (Sarah Lipstate) guitar-drone atmospherics and Grooms' progressive sludge-rock, and stay for no-wavers Knyfe Hyts (81?), one-woman groove act MNDR and Julianna Barwick's chordal ambience, bringing the whole night full circle. Note: unless info changes, the show will be here and NOT St James Church (also in Chinatown), as earlier advertised.
* Damon & Naomi w/ Michio Kurihara @ 92Y Tribeca / 200 Hudson St (1 to Hudson), 9:30p/$12. I've never totally fallen in love w/ Damon & Naomi's dreamy/woozy rock — maybe it's Damon's big ol' acoustic guitar high in the mix, overshadowing the rest — but I don't debate their relevance. Their experimentation has my interest, like their longtime collaboration w/ Ghost guitar maestro Kurihara (who sometimes plays alongside Japanese stoner-rock trio Boris). I pray they let him really WAIL on his six-string, b/c brother he really can.
* Rain Machine + Anti-Pop Consortium @ BAM Howard Gilman Opera House / 30 Lafayette St, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, M/R to Dekalb Ave), 8p/$20. Rain Machine is the solo moniker for Kyp Malone (aka guitarist/co-vocalist of TV on the Radio), whose personal project is more bluegrassy, more jazzy, than TV's own eclectic stylistic stew. And NY's own Anti-Pop Consortium are w/o a doubt the most cerebrally electrifying abstract hip-hop group in existance. Part of the 'Sounds Like Brooklyn' series.
* Total Slacker + Fluffy Lumbers + Sisters @ Shea Stadium / 20 Meadow St, Willliamsburg (L to Grand), 9p/$7. One jam-packed fun-filled night of young Brooklyn indie. Inclusion of Fluffy Lumbers is enuff to get me out there, but I'm digging Total Slacker's loose sing-along sets more and more.
* Twin Sister @ Lofts above Richie's Gym / intersection of Jefferson St & Stanwix, Bushwick (JMZ to Myrtle, it's like a block from Market Hotel), 9p/$5. Chocolate Bobka is sponsoring a jammy loft party w/ Twin Sister and Pure Ecstasy — think of it as a super-indie next-night afterparty from the Bruar Falls show.
* Darlings @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. All is right in the world. January is over and Darlings play a big-hearted, boy-girl-harmonizing, feedback-y indie rock set at a free show in Wsburg. w/ Rifle Recoil.
*"Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage" @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 5th Ave (456 to 86th St). Photocollage and watercolors by aristocratic women in the mid 19th C. I cannot make this stuff up.
* Josh Keyes "Fragment" + Saelee Oh "Infinite Roots" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. VERY good dual show, props to the gallery for finding two artists who balance quite well. Keyes' exquisitely rendered acrylic paintings take up much of the space, and they're a trip. Each is like a 3/4 square of either earth, pavement or water, involving some sort of fauna (elk, bears and sharks are recurring characters) interacting w/ or morphing into the space. Think Shintaro Kago's dreamlike manga (specifically "Abstraction"), only less frightening. Oh's contribution, a combo of wildly realized hand-cut paper mock-ups of detailed human-root structures and wispy mixed media works on paper, similar subject matter to the cut-outs but quite colorful, is a softer counterpart to Keyes' amorphous edges.
* Superflex "Flooded McDonald's" @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. The 21-minute allure of this Danish collective's titular video rivals many of the long-players in theatres right now. Picture this: they mocked up a true-to-life McDonalds (that iconic fast-food institution that has metastasized globally) then inundated it w/ water. Said deluge first appears to come from the loo (hilarious), but then its everywhere, rising w/in minutes. One of the 1st casualties, funnily enough, is the life-size Ronald McDonald statue (made of plastic, I'm guessing, as it floats buoyantly amidst the waves). Then you have the trays of uneaten food sweeping off the tables (the lead-up is palpable, you're like 'oh I canNOT wait to see what happens'). Finally, the electric signage (golden arches et al) fizzle out, and we're left w/ a few minutes of creepy submerged darkness, the odd fry or soda can floating by... Superflex's other two videos don't hold the same power, though their cinematic 'Burning Car' will satiate action-movie freaks.
* David Reed "Works on Paper" @ Peter Blum Soho / 99 Wooster St. Absolutely essential viewing for Reed buffs (self included) or anyone remotely interested in the workings of one of contemporary art's more intriguing abstract painters. I am totally serious here. Check it: Reed paints these ribbon-y, otherworldly, color-saturated abstracts in either skinny verticals or subway-graf style horizontals. I have no idea how he does it, but his mastery and control of the paint is top-notch. This expansive show features his work-sheets (enlarged diary entries, almost, sketches, paint swatches and his draftsman's lettering covering graph paper) and color studies. Read through a suitably detailed work-sheet (they all are, just pick one), get the gist of 'layering', 'transparency', 'removal' etc, then check one of the rough color studies and you will still have NO idea how point A goes to point B — but you'll have some insight into the artist's workings. The suite of color studies in the front gallery, which I strongly suggest you check LAST, are an eye-popping green and dayglo orange mix from this year, progress towards some dope paintings, no doubt.
* Hannes Bend "endlich" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth St. The Berlin-based artist's unique candy-cast sculpture (typical downtown-chic Christian religious imagery, plus an elk head) are really sweet. But seriously, they're pretty damn cool — they look like resin but aren't (like if Mike Kelley and Terence Koh collaborated). His geometric explosions on black ground are masterful, in that there's no bleedthough from the endlessly superimposed circles, and somehow the really glittery colors resemble candy wrappers.
* Anne Collier @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. Collier's super-sharp C-prints w/ their eye-trickery subject matter (check the Rene Magritte-ish 'Open Book' series, plus the crisp 'Cut') totally reminded me of Christopher Williams, the conceptual photographer I most ID w/ when viewing these sort of representational prints.
* Stanley Whitney @ Team Gallery / 83 Grand St. I like Whitney's mostly big blocky oil on linen abstracts, and the cool thing is the 1st 1/2 of them (in the front gallery, check the coolly named 'Bob's (Rauschenberg) Smile') bear the artist's streaky brushstrokes, sometimes as color building over other color. This contrasts the larger paintings in the back gallery, which figure in more hard-edge swaths that abut, just so, to one another.
* Zhang Huan "Neither Coming Nor Going" @ Pacewildenstein / 545 W 22nd St. Zhang's second solo show w/ the gallery is an overall calmer affair than last year's, though it maintains two of his signature recurring elements: monumental scale and ash. This time both figure into one piece, the 18'-tall "Rulai", an ash Buddha imbued w/ relics, copper dishes and unburned joss sticks. It's actually a few feet taller than his cowhide-composed "Giant No. 3", the woman-and-child sculpture from last year's show, but — and maybe this is b/c the subject matter is a Buddha — this compact-ash sculpture just seems more serene, blending in w/ the architecture and beams of the gallery instead of competing w/ it as a huge installation. Framing "Rulai" are Zhang's new large-scale ink and feather paintings on handmade mulberry paper, depictions of deer and landscapes in the manner of 17th c. calligrapher Bada Shanren and 7th c. Tang Dynasty tome "Tui Bei Tu". My final assessment: last year's debut grabbed our attention. This year's solidifies Zhang's oeuvre in our conscious.
* 'Repetition' Group Show @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. I am unofficially titling this five-artist exhibition a 'repetition' show, though one artist, Joel Shapiro, contributes a single plaster-cast cone instead of multiples. Think of it like a trumpet for the others, the earthy creosote-wood slabs from Carl Andre, the architecturally-exacting clean wood Krate Tables from Sherrie Levine (a rotation of same-size planks, to wondrous effect), Jennifer Bartlett's bracing enamel wall installation (a meditation on evolving forms?) and a wildly gridlike wood piece from Sol LeWitt.
* Jon Pylypchuk "The War" @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 537 W 22nd St. OK picture the puppet-characters from a classic dark-hearted Jim Henson film, or perhaps better yet anything by Tim Burton. Now cross those w/ the tribal masks from the Met's Oceanic Arts dept, only cobble 'em together out of hardware store materials. Illuminate 'em all how you see fit, either incandescent or flickery fire bulbs. Actually, Pylypchuk's show is sort of like that Amex "don't take chances, take charge" commercial, where it's like a series of sad faces and happy faces. I am slightly embarrassed to even know this.
* Sharon Lockhart "Lunch Break" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. Really nice exhibition. Lockhart frames an ironworkers' union via indirect means: C-prints focused on their lunchboxes (check the woven-basket one), snack-food commons areas, and this super slo-mo tracking shot of the men at rest. This is executed quite well: we watch the camera slowly, slowwwwly move up this corridor to the din of heavy machinery, passing the workers' lockers and the odd boxy machine, and you probably can't help but gaze at this flanneled dude standing in the middle of the corridor, staring up at something. The guys around him move in and out of frame (albeit very slowly), rustling newspapers or drinking coffee, but this guy stands transfixed, captivated. Finally, once the camera nearly overtakes him, he reaches up, his hands going towards an unseen object, then we realize he was watching the microwave, and out comes a bag of popped corn, and off he goes, away from the camera's eye.