* "Anton Chekhov's The Duel" (dir. Dover Kosashvili, 2010) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston). Did you know this year is the Russian writer/playwrite's sesquicentennial? "The Duel" is probably my favorite novella from the master of starkly emotive prose: the foppish aristocrat v. the abrasive scientist, set in wonderful sea- and countryside locations. I hope the British cast in Kosashvili's film does the master justice.
* "Silvestre" (dir. Joao César Monteiro, 1982) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins), 6:50/9:30p. I'm sold on the fact alone this is loosely based on "Bluebeard", though it combines that w/ a 15th C. Portuguese legend of a young woman disguised as a knight, which makes me hope she (in knight garb) is the one who beheads the murderous king.
* Frightened Rabbit @ Sound Fix / 44 Berry St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 6:30p. Glasgow rockers play the cavernous dungeon that is Webster Hall later in the evening, but the doper option is to check them at an in-store performance at my fav Wsburg record store! Show up early.
* Mark Ryden "The Gay 90's: Old Tyme Art Show" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. Erm...new Ryden show in NY? Yes please!!!!! The decade in the title is, natch, the 1890s, fin de siecle Paris w/ contemporary kitsch, bereft w/ religious imagery and tasty meats. I'm there.
* Fernando Botero "Monumental Sculpture" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. Big-ass sculpture, curvy, sumptuous bronze figures in Botero's typically beguiling style — a hefty departure from his Raphaelite oil paintings.
* "Daughters of Turan" – Almagul Menlibayeva w/ Leeza Ahmady + Priska Juschka conversation @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl, 7p/RSVP: gallery@priskajuschkafineart . Part of the ArteEast, Across Histories series of dialogues, the artist Menlibayeva (whose show I'm totally all about) is in conversation w/ independent curator Ahmady and gallerist Juschka.
* "Reprise" @ Paula Cooper Boutique / 465 W 23rd St. Wayne Gonzales, Christian Marclay, Walid Raad, cool newish combo Seth Price + Kelley Walker and others focus on recordings and re-presentaiton, underlying concepts in all their respective works.
* Shirazeh Houshiary "Light Darkness" @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. Veiled and layered abstract paintings, like the sky at dusk, plus her related video animation and works on paper.
* Mamma Andersson + Jockum Nordstrom "Who is sleeping on my pillow" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525-533 W 19th St. The first concurrent U.S. exhibition by the Swedish couple, who thus far have maintained mutually individual artistic practices. Andersson's classic landscape and interiors paintings v. Nordstrom's 2- and 3D paper sculptures and collages, plus two collaborative works.
* 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).
* "Tron" (dir. Steven Lisberger, 1982) screening @ 92Y Tribeca / 200 Hudson St (1/ACE to Canal St), 8p. This is the SECOND circa-'82 film in my LIST this week. And: apparently Disney's making a 2010-quality sequel to the classic '80s cyber drama, replete w/ Daft Punk soundtrack and Jeff Bridges back in his lead role. Is this a cool idea? I can't answer that! I'm skeptical of a reboot/sequel whatever, but what I am CONFIDENT about is the original, the synthesizer-heavy, early CGI stunner, which you should see tonight.
* Kiki Smith "Lodestar" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Stunning: Smith's 1st major NY gallery show in eight years, and concurrent w/ her exhibition at Brooklyn Museum, centers on the woman's life-cycle via stained-glass panels.
* "Mercy" (dir. Patrick Hoelck, 2010) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). I know Hoelck for his music videos (like Alicia Keys "Girlfriend", which was my JAM back in the day), and this is the director/photographer's 1st feature: the cynical young emotionless bastard (actor/writer Scott Caan) and the titular Mercy (Erika Christensen, who suffice to say shakes everything up).
* Claude Monet "Late Work" @ Gagosian / 522 W 21st St. Tough as it was for me to let go of MoMA's 'Waterlilies' show closing, I'm pleased that Gagosian brings together the heat — "the most significant gathering of Monet's late paintings to take place in New York in more than thirty years", so says the promo materials! Strong statement, but I believe it.
* Shepard Fairey "May Day" @ Deitch / 18 Wooster St. And here we are, the final show at LES stalwart Deitch Projects. And while I wish for a blowout bash courtesy of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black and/or Mika Tajima's New Humans (since Dash Snow's untimely passing, we can't have another 'Nest'), I've got a feeling Fairey's pro-worker, pro-activist exhibition should be a resonating conclusion — love him or hate him — to the gallery.
* "Rites of Spring", a benefit for Haiti @ Above the Auto Parts Store / 600 Bushwick Ave, Bushwick (JMZ to Myrtle/Bushwick), 8p/$15 — tix avail. at Record Grouch Records / 441 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford). Auspicious characters like Bjork, David Longstreth and Tyondai Braxton play DJ sets and all proceeds benefit Partners in Health. But to get in, you need a ticket (see info above), and considering the gravity of this show you'd better book ahead of time.
* Themselves + Buck 65 @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Delancey), 8p/$16. A who's who of furiously avant-garde Anticon Records, led by Doseone + Jel (Themselves) and folksy old bastard Buck 65, w/ live DJ face-off b/w Jel & Odd Nosdam (Nosdam all the wayyy!!) and Stabbing Eastwood (aka Mr. Adebimpe from TV on the Radio, perhaps you've heard of 'em?).
* "Knight's Move" @ SculptureCenter / 44-19 Purves St, Long Island City (E/V to 23rd/Ely, G to Court Square), 7-9p. Fionn Meade curates a dynamic group show of young and prominent artists working in the themes of modernity and progression: leaping forward, feints and dodging if you will. feat. Mika Tajima, Tamar Halpern, Sara VanDerBeek, Allyson Viera, Esther Klas and more, w/ related performances (many of these artists have ties to music, incl. Tajima's New Humans) throughout the duration of the show. Stay tuned to future LISTs for updates.
* New Russian Literature @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St, 6 to Bleecker), 7p/FREE. Since I cannot live on art/film/music alone, I stumbled upon this little gem, four contemporary Russian authors (Inga Kuznetsova, Pavel Nastin, Natalia Sannikova and Sergei Sokolovskiy) straight off the PEN World Voices Festival, reading selections of their poetry and prose w/ translation. If you know me, you know I am a FIEND for 19th- (and in tenuous degrees 20th-) C. Russian lit, so this could be a good one.
* "Picasso in the Met" @ The Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). Part three of the Picasso compendium (parts one and two, if you've been paying attention, are lovely print-based shows at the MoMA and Marlborough Gallery, respectively) is the weightiest, not just b/c of the inclusion of paintings but b/c this is the Met and the art on view are ALL the Met's Picasso works. This is major in the sense of the word, a timeline of the master's fin-de-siecle-esque pastels, through his Blue and Rose Periods (of note: "The Actor" is back, and so big we would've missed it had it not been repaired in time for the previews), past Cubism and the '30s (though the Met doesn't own a decade piece like "The Three Musicians" or "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon", they have some NICE surprises in both fronts), into an entire room of linocut and other prints (the Met one-ups my favorite "Luncheon on the Grass (After Manet)" from the MoMA by including a wicked terracotta plaque of the scene in standard view), and to the master's final, effervescent Musketeer-and-nudes-laden works. Oh it's major, all right. I'm still wrapping my head 'round it, like the prevalence and mutability of Picasso's "Head of a Woman" theme, as an example. That the Picasso show is in the same galleries of the overcrowded Francis Bacon retrospective means foot-traffic and lines-of-sight will be issues, but this is one of the best exhibitions in town, so you know you can't miss it.
* "Tanguy/Calder: Between Surrealism and Abstraction" @ L&M Arts / 45 E 78th St. The subtitle reads like my life, half the time. But seriously: this is a match-made exhibition. That 'museum-quality' show has been dropping in the news constantly of late, and this is further evidence of that: the friendship of perhaps unlikely artists — boisterous American Calder and terribly French Tanguy — but the blurring here, w/ the former's spidery abstract sculpture and the latter's lonely, subconscious landscapes, practically bristles w/ symbiosis. Seeing the two artists' work simultaneously elevates them both. Essential show.
* Lee Bul @ Lehmann Maupin / 201 Chrystie St. I'm all about the flotilla of compressed/abstracted wood-and-metal architecture hanging in Lee's new exhibition. It's a great 'next step' for the artist, moving beyond the highly-accessorized glitz of her previous show into something cleaner, sharper and much darker.
* Carrie Mae Weems "Slow Fade to Black" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. Lots to see here, in Weems' multimedia take on the historical drama, and extending far beyond her solid command of the portrait-photograph, from her blurred inkjet prints of Eartha Mae Kitt and a whole panoply of Black actresses and singers (the show's titular piece), incl. Billie Holiday, Lena Horne and Josephine Baker, who despite the Gaussian blurs are inherently recognizable via their poise and dress, to "Afro Chic" video installation, the fiercest runway you've probably ever seen.
+ Lynette Yiadom-Boakye "Essays and Documents". Large, expressionistically painted figures, each embodying an intense spirit and lifelike quality, which is tricky b/c they're all from the artist's imagination. Her very painterly approach, reminding me a bit of Alice Neel's style, really engages the eye.
* Mohamed Bourouissa "Périphéries" @ Yossi Milo Gallery / 525 W 25th St. A powerful show from the young Paris-based photographer, of cinematic scenes set in 'the other France', the multicultural suburbs of Paris and elsewhere. "Périphérique" sums up the message: two white girls staring warily at a group of black men at night, as they walk through an underpass. There are many beautiful works here, like "The Window" (a tattooed boxer and his trainer) and "The Hand", a moment of intimacy (and perhaps suggested pregnancy) between two lovers — and the banal titles are intentional, drawing our gaze to the (you guessed it) peripheries of the images.
* Joan Linder "Cost of Living" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. Linder continues to amaze viewers w/ her brilliant large-scale pen-and-ink drawings. Her lovingly meticulous renderings of weeds are fantastic, one-upped by her recreation of a bunch of junkmail, in ink, assembled like a swath of rubbish on a desktop.
* Patrick Lee "Deadly Friends" @ Ameringer McEnery Yohe / 525 W 22nd St. Startlingly detailed graphite portraiture of dangerous-looking men in downtown LA, conveyed masterfully via Lee's hand. Features fade out from the paper like through mist, and yet when they hit sharp-focus, every pore and every hair, every tattered bit of fabric and tattoo-line is photograph-clear.
* Lia Halloran "The Only Way Out is Through" @ DCKT Contemporary / 195 Bowery. Paintings of crystal caves and icebergs w/ dope titles. But wait! Halloran has a lot of metaphors going on here (partially transmitted by work titles, like "You're the Best/Worst Thing That Ever Happened to Me" and "The Things We Never Said") and the works, specifically the diluted ink layers on drafting film (a vellum-like medium) are fascinating, painstakingly imagined.
* "Landscape and Solitude" @ Kumukumu Gallery / 42 Rivington St. Mako Wakasa curates this smart group show around a seemingly chestnut of a concept: the landscape. But it's dope! There's a range of mediums and ideas here: Yusuke Nishimura's hazy sunset C-prints, Ofer Wolberger's slightly off-putting staged photography (remember the masks in "The Strangers"?) and particularly Amy Bennett's "Trespassers", a resined and reflective oil painting of a quiet cove that is disarmingly photorealistic.
* Allyson Vieira "Oxymandias" @ Laurel Gitlen/Small A Projects / 261 Broome St. Vieira's plaster and concrete reliefs reminded me of the 'hands' in Jim Henson's "Labyrinth", but the knockout installation in the main gallery, "If I was a...but then again, no (1-18)", a series of adult-sized plinths that literally fill the space, echoes Rachel Whiteread in the coolest way.
* Catherine Opie "Girlfriends" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. I'm quite fond of this sweet, portraiture-driven exhibition. Opie's new body of work, portraits of friends and lovers of the 'butch-dyke' persona, is elevated by an array of square-format b&w prints from her archive, never before printed before now. The latter acts almost diary-like, recalling Opie's ties to the S&M community in LA and San Francisco from the early '90s, and some of its subjects (like the riveting Pig Pen) recur in the new series, nearly 15 years later. Among the portraits include a regal k.d. lang against a Canadian wilderness, Jenny Shimizu in leather on a pristine white-sheeted bed and Idexa, tattooed and barechested, crouching on a rock. But I kept going back to Pig Pen, from her almost waifish figure in '94, wearing a play-piercing 'crown of thorns' for a performance in Mexico City, to her tanned, mature figure in '09, a thorn-wrapped heart tattoo emblazoned on her chest.
* Miao Xiaochun "Microcosm" @ Arario NY / 521 W 25th St. This extensive multidisciplinary exhibition — full of computer renderings transferred to canvas and multi-panel wire-model etching-like drawings — center around the titular piece, Miao's take on Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights", a ridiculously detailed nine-panel C-print of a world utopian and chaotic, and its related extra-psychedelic film. You've GOT to watch the film, or at least part of it, where Miao's legions of self-rendered naked men prance about the landscape and dunk in shimmering ponds and, um, take on the impression of potatoes and cucumbers and get sliced up, so wire-model birds can sneak off w/ a piece? It was about here that I felt like I'd dosed a heady hallucinogen, but no it's all part of Miao's process.
* Ursula von Rydingsvard "ERRATUS" @ Galerie Lelong / 528 W 26th St. There is a complex awe and elegance to von Rydingsvard's rough-hewn cedar sculpture — the sort that follows Louise Bourgeois' non-spider sculpture (like the Personages) rather than the steel/cubular/mobile stuff of other large-scale sculptors. Her works tower and crawl, ripple and bend. The wavelike "Droga", for instance...OK permit me to geek out a bit, but it TOTALLY reminded me of the massive 'land worm' beast from Final Fantasy VI (anyone get the ref?). The incredible "Blackened Word" is canyon-like, smoothly flowing on one side and replete w/ gullies and Paleolithic nooks on the other. I encourage you to peer into this one: besides the fact it smells good, the closeness to the wood mutes outside sounds.
* Elliot Hundley "Agave of the Bacchae" @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. I got strong echoes of Dave McKean's "Sandman"-era cover work, specifically the 'Brief Lives' series, from Hundley's stunning large-scale collage works (paint swooshes, multiple photographs of the actors, and cut-out lettering amid forests of pins), which takes cues from Euripides.
+ Inez Van Lamsweerde + Vinoodh Matadin & Eugene Van Lamsweerde "Sculptographs". I thought back to the power photog couple's knockout show at Matthew Marks Gallery back in 2005, and recalled they collaborated w/ Inez's uncle Eugene in that one too, but this show, filled w/ the couple's discreet, lovely bodily works augmented by Eugene's metal and mixed media, is way more thorough and fine-figured. Nearly all these pieces are very small, locket-sized prints w/ dabs of enamel or wax and reedlike appendages of scrap metal, like mechanical fairies.
* Charline Von Heyl @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. Lots of great abstract shows in W Chelsea, and von Heyl's pairing linework w/ splashes of color and undulating shapes (to sometimes collage-y effect) is a winner. Check especially "Yellow Guitar", w/ vibes of Picasso/Braque Cubism and "Black Stripe Mojo", a chimeric figure laying over a precise jaillike b&w grid.
* 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.
* André Butzer "Nict 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Fiona Rae "Special Fear!" @ The Pace Gallery / 32 E 57th St. I tweeted that Rae's exhibition reminded me of manga on acid, shortly after viewing the show, even though I don't read manga. But I think the comparison is appropriate, since these exuberant, large-scale, many-colored and -textured canvases conceal in their cloudy swooshes stuff like speed-lines, flowers and PANDAS. There's even like butterflies or something in the violet-hued "Build a fairyland for you" — all Rae's works have lovely names like this. Bit sugary viewing, but very very cool.
* "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.
* 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.
* Joe Zucker "Tales of Cotton" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 Fifth Ave. Classic large-scale works done in Zucker's signature applied-cotton style, dabs and tears of the stuff heaped into wetly textured gobs that, from across the room, reveal themselves into chilling antebellum scenes, and the beauty of "Amy Hewes" paddleboat can't quite overcome the visions of the slaves laboring w/ carts of cotton.
* 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.
* Gabriel Vormstein "Baby abc" @ Casey Kaplan / 525 W 21st St. Tasty stuff: Vormstein blew up and colored enormous Egon Schiele portraits on newsprint backdrops.
* 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.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Homage to Monet" @ Benrimon Contemporary / 514 W 24th St 2nd Fl. The inaugural exhibition in this W.Chelsea space doesn't waste any time! What w/ the impending Gagosian one-two Lichtenstein still-lifes and Monet late-works, let's get our fix NOW w/ Lichtenstein's reverence to the plein-air Impressionist, which in itself is further testament to the Pop artist's inventive techniques. His 'Cathedral' and 'Haystack' multiples are effectively trippy, but its his takes on the beloved water lilies, w/ and w/o Japanese footbridge, that really knock this show up several million notches. The works were silkscreened onto stainless steel, but not before Lichtenstein took a drill-bit to the metal, hand-carving this whorl pattern (not entirely unlike enlarged Ben-Day dots) that trippily echo rippling water, integrating rather effortlessly w/ the water lilies.