* Huma Bhabha in a Public Art Fund Talk @ The New School / 66 W 12th St (ACE/1/FV to 14th St), 6:30p/$10. Absolutely wicked: Bhabha, she of the disturbing and emotive junk-assemblaged figurative sculpture (incl. a fab stately piece at the 2010 Whitney Biennial) speaks about her works themes and the underlying essence of death.
* "Mad, Bad...& Dangerous to Know: Three Untamed Beauties" @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (6 to 51st St, E/V to Lex/53rd St). OK, so nearly this entire festival, on beautiful, transgressive mid-century Japanese screen-starlets, occurred when I was in Japan (incl the no doubt kick-ass 'Dressed to Kill' party). How ironic. Luckily, the third arm of the festival, Mariko Okada (aka 'The Discreet Charm of the Adulteress') is this week! Read on through my LIST for her three films.
* "Impasse" (dir. Kiju Yoshida, 1967) @ Japan Society (part of "Mad, Bad...& Dangerous to Know"), 7:30p. A middle-class couple's breakdown, as Okada rebels off her sterile, bland husband and yearns for the biological father to her artificially inseminated son.
* Nina Yuen "White Blindness" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 531 W 26th St. The 1st solo stateside exhibition of the Amsterdam-based artist's films, a combination of fiction based on Yuen's childhood and multiple-POV encounters w/ people in her life, w/ Yuen playing each character.
* Barbad Goishiri "Nothing Is Left To Tell" @ Thomas Erben Gallery / 526 W 26th St 4th Fl. The conceptual artist's 1st US solo show, w/ echoes of looping and 'Aktion' via video pieces, a sound installation and works on paper.
* Amy Sillman "Transformer" @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co / 530 W 22nd St. Sillman hits her rhythm b/w figurative and abstract in this exhibition of new paintings and drawings. Bodies are fractured by thick lines and reappear like wireframe shapes, and everything is bathed in Sillman's typically rich color palette.
+ Anna Sew Hoy "Holes". Found-object sculptural conglomerates, at once recalling the figure (probably due to Hoy's use of sunglasses and denim) yet disfigured w/ gaping holes. It sounds like a good match to Sillman's show.
* Almagul Menlibayeva "Daughters of Turan" @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. Photography and video based on mythological themes of the artist's native Kazakhstan.
* Matthias Schaller "Elfering - 1642" @ Danziger Projects / 534 W 24th St. An exhaustive documenting of German collector Gert Elfering's major sale to Christie's in Oct '05. Schaller's forte is interiors devoid of human activity, so it should be interesting to see his photographs of portraiture.
* Jim Campbell "Exploded View" @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / 505 W 24th St. A pioneer of LED technology, Campbell augments his series of pointillist-style LED photographic works w/ the titular piece, a 3D grid of a street-scene.
* "The Affair" (dir. Kiju Yoshida, 1967) @ Japan Society (part of "Mad, Bad...& Dangerous to Know"), 7:30p. I've heard this compared to a Japanese Lady Chatterley, w/ Okada creating a love triangle w/ a sculptor (and her mother's former lover) and a day laborer.
* Sisters + Darlings @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$7. The dissonant one-two thump of Sisters is tempered by the absolutely kick-ass indie-pop harmonies of Darlings. NB: in celebration of "Kick-Ass" (see FRI), I will attempt to use the word, whenever possible, throughout this LIST.
* Aki Sasamoto "Strange Attractors" @ Whitney Museum (part of 2010 Whitney Biennial), 4p. I caught Sasamoto last year at Zach Feuer and I was hooked. I have this vision in my head about Joseph Beuys' chalkboard 'teaching' performances, and to me Sasamoto's stream-of-consciousness forays into the sociopolitical, the mathematical and the mundane (somehow she balances all this, coherently) is, to me, like a Beuys. Her lair @ the Whitney, astrewn w/ video cameras and hanging net bags containing microphones and water glasses, is the site of her shows, performed at 4p on dates incl the numerals '6' and '9' (so if you can't make this one you've other chances).
* Hanna Liden "As Black as Your Hat" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth St. The NY-based photographer sucks out the color of her usually moody prints for a by-the-numbers-Goth (though no less beautiful) exhibition.
* "Northern Exposures: Social Change and Sexuality in Swedish CInema, 1913-2010" @ Walter Reade Theatre / Lincoln Center @ 65th St (1 to 66th St). Wow, sounds good to me! Long-spanning scope to this festival, but a lot of jewels buried in there too. Some of my picks:
- "The Girl Who Played With Fire" (dir. Daniel Alfredson, 2009)
- "Prison" (dir. Ingmar Bergman, 1949)
- "I Am Curious (Yellow)" (dir. Vilgot Sjoman, 1967)
- "Kisses & Hugs" (dir. Jonas Cornell, 1967)
- "Sebbe" (dir. Babak Najafi, 2010)
Full festival details and showtimes here. THRU MAY 4
* "Kick-Ass" (dir. Matthew Vaughn, 2010) screenings in wide release. It takes exceedingly unique circumstances for me to hype a mainstream film, but I've been digging "Kick-Ass" since I caught the 1st trailer way way back, w/ Chloe Moretz doing just what the title says. I mean, have you SEEN the trailer, where she slo-mo leapfrogs over a table and double-kicks the dude in the chest, nabbing his gun and firing it into the guys behind him? Think of the smartest high-school awkward-funny film you've ever seen, but extremely violent. I don't even mind that Nick Cage is in this! And McLovin too, for added enticement.
* Beach Fossils + Total Slacker + Air Waves @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$8. Friday is like the night for newbies to the indie Brooklyn-area scene. This is my pick: bliss-pop by Air Waves, stoner-pop by Total Slacker, and the maddest, dopest surf-pop you've ever experienced, ever, by Beach Fossils. I hope y'r ready to dance!
* Real Estate w/ Family Portrait @ Monster Island Basement / 128 River St (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$9. My 2nd pick for dope music: this is the Ridgewood scene, surf-psychedelia from Family Portrait and Real Estate's knockout pop-surf summery haze. I'd totally be at this if the Bruar Falls show (above) wasn't already so essential. w/ Big Troubles
* Pterodactyl + Fiasco @ Death By Audio / 149 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JMZ to Marcy), 8p$6. Pick #3 for dope music, now on the noisier end of the spectrum. Guitar mayhem from Fiasco and the trundling, riff-spewing, falsetto-spitting Pterodactyl, prepared to incite mosh-pits and all that. w/ psych-rockers Dinowalrus.
* "All That! Mega '90s Dance Party @ Coco 66 / 66 Greenpoint Ave (G to Greenpoint), 10p/FREE. Annnnnd to cap off your night of Wsburg indie rock, head to this most-essential dance party, courtesy of the fiercest DJs Peggy Wang (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) + Shirley Braha. All the 'alt-90s, hi-nrg, eurodance' you can take — and I hope they play "How Bizarre"! Kick-ass!
* Joel Shapiro @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. I've always thought of Shapiro's heavily formed stacked boxes as graceful and architectural, spanning and exploring the greater space they occupy. This suite of new works takes that notion further: painted wood planar shapes suspended from the walls, floor and ceiling in like exploded balletic motion.
* Karel Funk @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. Funk's deceptively simple C-print portraiture goes a long way into our discomfit level, in that the subjects, set against stark backdrops, are never looking at us.
* Jennifer Poon "A Temporary Space" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. I'm really digging Poon's roughly figurative watercolors, composed of fragmented paper and, in her new show, acting more as an installation than a bunch of wall-based works.
* "Sebbe" (dir. Babak Najafi, 2010) screening @ Walter Reade Theatre (part of "Northern Exposures"), 9:15p. A challenging neorealist film set in a Gothenberg housing complex and centered on a junk-collecting boy. The debut full-length from the Iranian-born Najafi.
* The Beets + German Measles @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 10:30p/$7. The programming at this show would make an ace mixtape for art-music lovers: Eternal Summers and German Measles deliver the catchy refrains and good vibes before The Beets bring the roof down w/ their three-part harmonies, trashcan beats, and surf-inflected refrains.
* Nancy Spero, A Public Commemoration of Her Life and Work @ Cooper Union / 7 E 7th St (6/RW to Astor Place), 3p. Feat. Kiki Smith, Donna De Salvo, Hans Ulrich Obrist and others in talks on the exceedingly influential 20th- and 21st-C artist, whose encompassing oeuvre — from her early 'Black Paintings' and 'War Series' to her figure-imbued scroll works and fantastic later paintings — explored Feminism and Postmodernism w/ a pervasive personal attitude and emotion. She was the linchpin, too, of Chiara Clemente's moving doc "Our City Dreams", the engaging, approachable matriarch of the five NY-based women artists.
* "Woman of the Lake" (dir. Kiju Yoshida, 1966) @ Japan Society (part of "Mad, Bad...& Dangerous to Know"), 6:30p. This sounds like a combination of Michelangelo Antonioni — the hazy, somnambulant journey w/ unfulfilled sexuality — and Shinya Tsukamoto's "A Snake of June", though I wonder if Tsukamoto took reference from Yoshida's film?
* North Highlands + The Charming Youngsters @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$8. Lots of earnest folk-tinged indie rock tonight, headlined by L Magazine's "10 Bands You Need to Know 2010" winner North Highlands.
* Darlings + The Sneaks @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. If you're like me and can't get enuff of Darlings' breezy, jangly-guitars indie-pop, it gets even better w/ inclusion of New Zealand's Casio-pop quartet The Sneaks. w/ possible BBQ early, I hear, so don't sleep on this!
* Knyfe Hyts @ Death By Audio / 149 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JMZ to Marcy), 8p. Massive lineup at this show, incl Xray Eyeballs and Telecult Powers, but the draw are the headliners, Brooklyn's sharp-edged no-wavers Knyfe Hyts in their original lineup.
* "Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Utagawa Kuniyoshi" @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (456 to Grand Central, 6 to 51st, E/V to Lex/53rd). Tattooed dudes fighting giant octopi, tigers, massive spiders, uh crocodile-sharks? Women too! As many gorgeous color woodblock prints of "Woman in a Hilltop Teahouse", there seems to be its equivalent "Woman Taking Down a Marauding Dragon Spirit" — or something like that. And if you get this 'pulp-comics' vibe from the lot — or you manga lovers, you see a lot of familiar images — that's b/c Utagawa-san was endlessly influential to loads of today's artists. These works hail from like 150 years ago but it's a good glimpse at pop culture of the time, tall-tales, debauchery, heroism (there is a sequence from the classical "Water Margin" on display) and poetry. Plus a lot of super trippy stuff, like Kabuki actors and this gigantic cat spirit, or, uh "Octopus Games", which has Utagawa-san replacing humans w/ dancing octopi in a festive scene (there's one like this too only it's got a bunch of cats instead of octopi). I can't make this stuff up, I'm not that creative.
* Susan Philipsz "I See a Darkness" @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. I'll admit, I wondered going into this show how a sound-artist — though Philipsz is the PREMIERE sound-artist — could carry a ground-level solo show. I mean, it's a room full of speakers. But she does, in a truly brilliant sculptural sound journey, converting the main gallery into a cavernous lair filled w/ her voice, such a rush each time it streams out the speakers that, like Odysseus's men, we're transfixed through her choral refrains. Absolutely brilliant.
+ Siobhan Hapaska "The Nose that Lost its Dog". But what to counter the wonderfully ethereal Philipsz show? Hapaska's earthy, cheekily-titled mixed media sculpture. Coyote pelts (and glass eyes) and an entire upturned olive tree are just some of her organic v. machinelike materials, coming from her residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios.
* Magdalena Abakanowicz @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. A full-frontal assault of Abakanowicz's deconstructed-human sculptures in cast aluminum from the late-'80s march toward the windows facing 25th St, an artillery of smaller-to-larger than lifesize torsos and legs. It's a pleasantly off-putting experience, as is the rest of the show, composed of her newest pieces (a creepy morgue-like space of cast-burlap appendages, a wall of crudely welded steel bird 'paper-airplanes'), incl a massive cast-alumimum seated figure, run through w/ poles.
* James Welling "Glass House" @ David Zwirner / 525 W 19th St. So Philip Johnson's iconic Glass House in New Canaan CT is SO DONE, not quite ubiquitous but well-photographed, but Welling's luminous experimentation makes the experience of these familiar images fun. Like the field of snow beneath a red-Jello sky, this wonderful prismatic scene w/ a rainbow cutting through the lower centre of the image, and a landscape scene bisected into warm autumnal and bluish deep-sea colors.
* Antony Gormley "Breathing Room II" @ Sean Kelly Gallery / 528 W 29th St. This is a terribly disturbing experience, this exhibition. Gormley, whose 'Event Horizon' 2doz+ bronze sculptures you've probably seen (or at least read about) hanging out on Flatiron-area rooftops, composed this 'light' sculptural piece in a very, very dark room of the gallery. It fills the space, to the extent that you have to hug the wall and shimmy around it. Due to its glow, your eyes never adjust to the surrounding space. Cautionary for both agoraphobes and claustrophobes.
* "Great Photographs of the 20th Century: Staged and Startled" @ Hasted Hunt Kraeutler / 537 W 24th St. I mean, where to begin here, in this century's-worth of brilliant photography? The classic Richard Avedon "Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent" (enamoring and huge) or the Avedon "Marella Agnelli" from three decades earlier? The lonely Harry Callahan, echoing Di Chirico (and if I may, the beginning of Michelangelo Antonioni's "Red Desert")? The singular Irving Penn (of his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives, in Marrakech) and the surreal Lee Friedlander prints?
* Guo Hongwei "Things" @ Chambers Fine Art / 522 W 19th St. Isolated or fragmented articles, in discreet arrangements and painted against expanses of white.
* Eric White, Nicola Verlato, Fulvio di Piazza "Three-Handed" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. Whoever said figurative oil painting was dead is an asshole. LeVine Gallery's 'Pop Surrealism' is the real deal, as is the case w/ these three talented painters. di Piazza's skews the most fantasy-like, wetly green living garden-sculpture beasts/landscapes in a near-future scenario. Verlato's tightly composed scenarios of race and cultural struggle are all-too-familiar surreal manifestations. White's broad monochrome crowds feel urgent and cinematic at the same time.
* "If My Soul Had A Shape..." @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 521 W 21st St. How you do a group show 101: check Paula Cooper Gallery. I couldn't decide my favorite shape-conscious piece here, the four-array of Kelley Walker cast-chocolate, spinning disco balls; or the Carl Andre aluminum ingot stacked pyramid. But maybe beyond these (and a superb brushstroked Sol LeWitt and a fantastic 'removed' Dan Walsh) is the essential McDonalds 'Orange Drink'-colored Donald Judd painting, a textural mix of plywood, painted sandpaper, and obsidian-glossy black mirror.
* Josef Bolf "The Wolf" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Inky, disturbing paintings of figures in desolate urban environments from this superstar young Czech artist. Think Di Chirico's settings, only set in formerly Communist Czech Republic: parking garages and housing blocks, occupied by solitary characters or pairs, offset by close-ups of the artist as a long-haired, androgynous character, eyes blacked out. At least half the works here look either decayed by rust or stained w/ blood. All said, kick-ass.
* Gabriel Vormstein "Baby abc" @ Casey Kaplan / 525 W 21st St. Tasty stuff: Vormstein blew up and colored enormous Egon Schiele portraits on newsprint backdrops.
* Keita Sugiura @ Max Protetch / 511 W 22nd St. Super subtle C-prints of cloud formations, whitish-blue rectangles that seem to shimmer and change color depending on your POV to each piece. I'm not sure how much of Sugiura's compositions are chance-related, but he achieves something pretty cool here, and totally mellow.
* André Butzer "Nicht furchten: Don't be scared!" @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. Super-sized gooey oil abstracts at Metro Pictures — are we at the right gallery? Oh yes, and why is it this strong photo-showing joint has perhaps the dopest abstract show in town? Think if Kazuo Shiragawa was into pop colors. Oh I'm taking it there: think blow-ups of finger-paint renderings, layers and layers of impasto and rivulets of congealed paint, whole tube's-worth spend on lines and curves. A lovely all-black piece must have like a million gallons of the glistening stuff just hanging out there, waiting to pull you in.
* Liz Craft "Past and Present" @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St. A sort of 'best-of' from the super creative figurative sculptor, from her gorgeous bronze "Tree Lady" to a distorted field of checkered fiberglass and an outsized porcelain egg in a bronze baby carriage.
* Jonathan Prince + Wang Tao @ Cynthia Reeves Gallery / 535 W 24th St 2nd Fl. Another deft pairing from the gallery, in Price's seductively rendered polished granite forms (think Jean Arp, but as huge sculpture) against Wang's vivid acrylics on antique Chinese paper.
* "Pastiche" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. AKA a group show of a bunch of colorful stuff slopped together. The roster is only heavyweights but that doesn't mean it can't quickly veer into nauseous eye-numbing territory. I preferred the older works as a whole (a fine watery Jim Dine, a strong-lined Jean Dubuffet, a Cubist sewn-fabric Lucas Samaris) to the newer models (gratuitous Keith Tyson and much as it pains me to write I cannot get down w/ James Rosenquist's motorized canvases).
* Barbara Kruger "The Globe Shrinks" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. One of the most exciting shows I've seen this year! An incredible approx-10-min video installation, people throwing out declarations, intercut w/ glimpses of violence, disembodied voices and Kruger's signature running sans serif type commands. Even the funny parts — and there are some jokes, of the Richard Prince type — are unsettling.
* Donald Baechler @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. Lots of fun Baechler's having: massive pastel-toned acrylics of colorful balls and cartoonish flowers on drop-cloth 'canvases', plus a set of gesso and mixed media flowers on collaged paper.
* Kim In Sook "Inside Out" @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. The astute art-goer surely remembers Kim's scintillating large C-print "Saturday Night" from the 2008 Armory Show, that jewel-toned voyeuristic look into the happenings at a hotel (incl the artist's self-portrait as a 'hanging victim'). That's on display here, in her 1st US solo show, plus a lot of her other signature outside-looking-in captures of metropolitan life.
* "In Praise of Shadows", Dirk Braeckman & Bill Henson @ Robert Miller Gallery / 524 W 26th St. A moody, sexy photo duet, of figures and empty spaces. I preferred the inky grayscale of Braeckman's the best, whether the flutter of a curtain or the mist-lined scene of a naked woman's back on a bed, to Henson's dusky landscapes filled w/ Ryan McGinley's style of androgynous youth.
* Eric Swenson @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. Perhaps you remember Swenson's unnerving installation from the 2004 Whitney Biennial, a porcelain-skinned young deer thrashing against an afghan rug? That's here, along w/ a few other deer in varying states, incl the new piece "Ne Plus Ultra", tucked away in its own gallery, a completely disturbing half-decomposed carcass that I caution you against: photos don't do the real thing justice, it is intense.
+ Beatriz Milhazes "Gold Rose Series". A good palate cleanser after Swenson's disturbing output, colorful woodblock and screenprints of geometric and curvy abstract shapes, named after seasonings.
* Nari Ward "LIVESupport" @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. An intense multilinear solo offering from the artist, incl. enlarged X-ray images bordered w/ ink-covered shoes, ink-stained church pews modded into like a divided wheelchair, an entire ambulance w/ whited-out signage and fogged up windows. The more subtle works include vintage photography that Ward recontextualized w/ black ink and the short-film 'Fathers and Sons', which creates a palpable tension b/w its long silences and layered, rushed dialogue.
* Ross Rudel "Burgeon" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. Rudel's flexible mastery of organic sculpture (sans the gorgeous bronzed 'Ouroboros 2', the 1st in that media for him, most of the works are various woods) is tempered by his thoughtful acrylic resin 'collages' on wood, which incorporate carrion blossoms into lush nighttime scenes. He handles abstraction well (the walnut-carved 'Ouroboros' and the disquietingly damp-looking 'Phantom', a knot of resin-slickened bed linen on wood) but I'll bet you've never seen Los Angeles river algae handled quite like his shamanic 'Green Man Resurrection'.
+ Todd Hebert. Paintings and works on paper in a hyperrealistic style that somehow, probably due to the lighting (cityscapes, christmas lights etc) and the use of blurring, become cleverly abstract, in a fogged-window, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" sort of way.
* Ryan McGinley "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" @ Team Gallery / 83 Grand St. Much as I can get down w/ McGinley's ecstatically-tinged soft-focus C-prints of naked youth romping about in fields just after a spring rain (sounds great, right?), I really dig the starkness of this b&w portrait show, part of the 150 subjects the photographer chose and snapped from around the world over a two-year period. Perhaps strains of Robert Mapplethorpe run in these nude, generally androgynous youths (bare breasts and cocks aside), but Mapplethorpe was before my time; I am experiencing McGinley NOW and I find a freshness to it. Now, his subjects aren't entirely anonymous — I picked out Rila Fukushima straight off the bat, but then again how many other enamoring platinum blond, high-cheekboned Japanese women does one know? — but they're suitably 'clean-slate'. Roughly half have some piercing or tattoo, or several, and many are lean to the point of 'waifish' or 'gangly'. But there's a lot of beautiful moments here, like Rila's, like India's clasped hands, Chloe (who could be a young French starlet), Sal (whose sculptural contortion nearly hides his wrist-brace), Owl (either that's the girl's 'name' or the name of the wide-eyed bird on her ass), Janelle (another classic starlet's visage) and Christina's lithe physique and gentle Afro crown.
* Robert Adams "Summer Nights, Walking" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 523 W 24th St. The gallery writes that Adams' nocturnal landscape photography (this series is from '76-'82) 'vacillates between quiet foreboding and tranquil domesticity', but I'd take that one step further and call some of it tipping toward voyeurism. But don't mistake me: they're gorgeous, this lot, including the slightly creepy ones: a barely lit porch, a rather striking garage door, covered by the massive shadow of an unseen tree (trees in particular and foliage in general figure into most of Adams' works). Another fab instance: shrubbery in the foreground backlit by the flooding glare of headlights, as if someone enacted their revenge on his sneaking lens. A few others show a faraway cityscape caught b/w the shadowy trees and the multitudinously gray night sky, which is the closest to me to a warm summer's night.
* Joseph Smolinski @ Mixed Greens Gallery / 531 W 26th St. Smolinski continues his dialogue on American wildlife w/ infringing technologies w/ these creepy mobile phone towers, disguised in his detailed works on paper as trees. You'd better believe the bison, kodiaks, wolves, woodpeckers (and non-native beasts, like an elephant) know what the jig is and do everything in their power to dismantle said shady devices. I especially dug "Disconnected - Beaver Dam", where said animal grins toward the viewer liked 'don't worry about us, mate, we've got it under control'.
* R. Crumb "The Bible Illuminated" @ David Zwirner / 519 W 19th St. This is indeed the entire Crumb book of pen & ink woodcut-like drawings based on the Book of Genesis, but just b/c you've seen the whole thing laid out on the gallery walls doesn't mean the publication deserves a 2nd look. I was a bit skeptical going in, that the show would reveal everything and leave the publication irrelevant, but Crumb's work — each and every one of these text and image pages — is so lastingly detailed that, if you're engaged w/ it, you need something portable to refer back to, multiple times, to fully appreciate it.
* "The Drawings of Bronzino" @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 5th Ave (456 to 86th St). It is my duty, as curator of my LIST, to inform you of current dope cultural events, no matter the degree to which I can conceivably explain them. Hence is the case w/ this brilliant exhibition of Agnolo Bronzino at the Met, nearly all the lush, sensual drawings attributed to him (60 here), the leading Italian Mannerist. The Times' Holland Cotter and The New Yorker's Peter Schjeldahl, amid others surely, have already done a far more eloquent job than I'll ever muster. SO, I will do my very best of being Bronzino's hype-man and encourage you, nay, entreat you to this very essential, very beautiful show. The vast majority of these drawings were made in black or red chalk on paper (sometimes prepared w/ a color wash), though Bronzino took what sounds to me like a cumbersome medium and totally elevated it. His lines are masterful, confident, tracing out figures then shading in their supple musculature. Richard Hawkins, for one, would have a field day deconstructing the fleshy amorousness in the posing nude youths. Bronzino depicts women, too, incl. personal fave 'Head of a Smiling Young Woman in Three-Quarter View', whose exacting title belies the riveting rendering, her downward-cast eyes, the highlight on her cheekbone. He also does draping, which by that I mean like folded cloth, and if that sounds simplistic you need to take a look at his drawings, the incredible capture of shadows. A few 'modellos' are included in the show, drawings augmented by 16th C. ink and washes that are jarringly intense when seen alongside his singular, concentrated figure studies. And while I've just skimmed the surface her, trust me when I say Bronzino is where it's at. (ENDS SUNDAY)