* 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 a few other chances)
* "Two in the Wave" (dir. Emmanuel Laurent, 2009) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston). A suitably jumpy doc on Nouvelle Vague, w/ its lens focused on JLG + François Truffaut, feat. period footage plus classic scenes from their oeuvre, incl. the overlap w/ recurring lead actor Jean-Pierre Léaud. I thrilled myself several times just WRITING this.
N.B. this is a week ahead of the 50th Anniversary restoration of JLG's classic "Breathless", appearing in next week's LIST.
* "Cremaster Cycle" (dir. Matthew Barney, 1994-2002) screenings @ IFC Center / 343 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). Oh it's back, again, Barney's epic, nonsequential art-film(s) on the process of transformation, via spermatogenesis, Vaseline, racecars, uh...satyrs, the Guggenheim...um, Houdini, speed-metal...yeah, I've seen 'em all and I still can't concisely tell you what it's about. BUT now is your chance (again!) to see them all. They play as follows: 1-2 together, 3 alone (the long player and 'newest' of the lot) and 4-5 together. THRU JUN 3
*** Note: Barney IN PERSON at THU 7p screening (of "Cremaster 4-5") so if you want to see the whole thing in one fell swoop and coincide that w/ Barney, start w/ "Cremaster 3" at 3:30p, then see "Cremaster 4-5" straight after and then "Cremaster 1-2" at 9:25p. YES I realize this is completely out of order but that's the beauty w/ these nonlinear art-films innit?
* Carsten Nicolai "Moiré" @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. The test-pattern artist, Nicolai's visual interference interventions take on the moiré, overlapping dot-patterns, via installations and works on paper.
* Romain Bernini "Despite Walls and Landscapes" @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. I LOVE dystopian landscapes, b/c w/ every future cultural passing they can morph into something relevant to the times. Bernini's migrants fight through a particularly metaphysical realm, though the undertones of it could be applied to immigration (and anti-immigrant sentiment).
* Haeri Yoo "Body Hoarding" @ Thomas Erben Gallery / 526 W 26th St 4th Fl. An essential exhibition, esp. for those high on all the (deserved) praise for Amy Sillman's show at Sikkema, Jenkins, which closed last week. Yoo is (in my opinion) a way under-appreciated 'bodily' artist, whose abstract paintings reveal loads of vulnerability and memory beneath the rough physicality of the media.
* John Zurier, Jason Fox, Richard Allen Morris @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. Three takes on painting from three abstract-delving artists. Zurier's fall along the most minimalist, w/ Morris' heavy on impasto (despite their small sizes) and Fox's loosely geometric and industrial.
* "The Piano Teacher/La Pianiste" (dir. Michael Haneke, 2001) screenings @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (FV to 2nd Ave), 7p/9:30p. A truly disturbing film from Haneke's truly disturbing oeuvre. Isabelle Huppert as the titular character is equally self-demoralizing and bloodthirsty, and the director keeps it minimally violent while still hammering the dread deep into your skull.
* NYC Popfest @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 7p/$12. Annnnd thus it begins, 2010's NYC Popfest, and opening night is where it's at. Veronica Falls (UK) headline + Horowitz (also UK, who have this dreamy song titled "Sweetness, I Could Die in your Arms") and locals Dream Diary and Elephant Parade.
* Anna Gaskell "Turns Gravity @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. This new suite of photographs from the artist are as psychologically-imbued and cinematic as ever, and if we're able to actually piece them together into a running sequence we'd probably have a dope short film.
+ Christian Vetter "The Presence of Absence". Very moody grayscale paintings from the Swiss artist should be a properly sombre accompaniment to Gaskell's photography.
* Liz Magic Laser "Chase" @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. Laser reinterprets Bertolt Brecht's "Man equals Man", filming the performance in ATM vestibules, which have always tended to creep me out just slightly. Check Laser at MoMA PS1's 'Greater New York', opening SUN.
* Burt Barr + Valérie Belin @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co / 530 W 22nd St. Video from the former, photography from the latter, both mostly b&w (except for Barr's punnily titled "Black and White", feat. two dancers of those respective races) and both relatively isolated from narrative context.
* Matthew Barney "Ancient Evenings" Storyboards discussion @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (FV to 2nd Ave), 7p/$8. Barney is everywhere! If you missed his appearance at THU's "Cremaster Cycle" @ IFC Center, don't worry. This one is a totally different deal: he previews his new project, a seven-act opera based on Norman Mailer's "Ancient Evenings", only in this reincarnation takes the form of a '67 Chrysler. Thank you for not making it explicitly Vaseline-related, Barney, though I'm sure it'll appear somewhere.
* "The Rock" (dir. Michael Bay, 1996) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 343 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), part of "Cage Heat: Nicolas Cage at Midnight". Yeah, let's one up this "Cremaster" business w/ this week's installment of ALL NIC CAGE, ALL THE TIME* (*at midnight Friday and Saturday only). Alcatraz w/ explosions and gaping plotholes, w/ Cage as a particularly strung-out FBI agent against Sean Connery. I WILL, however, caution you from seeing this straight after a "Cremaster" film, b/c the doubling effect may be too much for anyone, even a seasoned gonzo/giallo film-goer such as myself, to handle.
* NYC Popfest @ Don Hill's / 511 Greenwich St (1 to Christopher St, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), 7p/. This is a tough one for me, as it's Pants Yell! (MA)'s last show, so show support + say sayonara to their pitch-perfect indie-rock w/ style. w/ the thoroughly addicting Tender Trap and Allo Darlin' (both UK, and both cute).
* ALL THAT! '90s Dance Party @ Coco 66 / 66 Greenpoint Ave (G to Greenpoint), 10p/FREE. I was devoted to '80s night back in uni, but now that I'm a bit older it's all about the '90s, like Tone Loc + Dinosaur Jr '90s. Peggy (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) and Shirley (NYNoise) wield the turntables like nobody's business. You're not afraid to dance, yeah?
* Judith Schaechter "Beauty and the Beef" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. Another incredible exhibit by Schaechter, a mind-melting collection of stained glass works mixing traditional technique (what else is there?) w/ the artist's own pioneering improvisations.
* "If You See Nothing Say Something" @ The Invisible Dog / 51 Bergen St, Cobble Hill (F/G to Bergen), 6-10p. Kiya Kim curated this exhibition on exploration and discovery, w/ Julie Evanoff, Sea Chang Chun, Woolga Choi, Megan Prince and others.
* Rodney Graham "Music and Dance" @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. Staged lightbox-mounted prints on the mythos of the performer and audience (everything from the saloon and dive-bar to 14th c. concert-halls).
* NYC Popfest @ Bell House / 149 7th St, Gowanus (F/M/R to 4th Ave/9th St), 6:30p/$18. The 'big' night of Popfest, as it includes the super-classic The Wake, UK's post-punk-turned-indie-pop sensation, annnnnd they've never played stateside before. w/ My Teenage Stride (NYC), Very Truly Yours (IL), BOAT (WA) + more.
* The Beets + German Measles @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/. My pick for #1 NYC Popfest 'alternative'. The Beets, Jackson Heights' finest garage-rock singalong trio, are back, finally, and bring the drama w/ party-rockers German Measles. w/ Psychic Flowers.
* "Greater New York" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/V to 23rd St/Ely Ave, G to 21st St). The 3rd iteration of this 'quinquennial', which means it occurs every five years, will be HOT. A trove of NY-based artists (feat. Ei Arakawa, Tauba Auerbach, William Cordova, Tala Madani, Zak Prekop, Aki Sasamoto and about 60 more) open their respective creative processes, which beyond new works incl. works-in-residence and creative interventions in the museum space.
* Chainsaw Brunch Show @ Silent Barn / 915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood (L to Halsey), 1p/$3.50 (all-you-can-cook brunch). Help w/ the food and listen to some sick-ass bands, like Nonhorse (the twisted tape DJ from Woods) and noisy no-wave becostumed Globular Cluster. For the ultimate, go to this for a few hrs then head to MoMA PS1.
* NYC Popfest @ Littlefield / 622 Degraw St, Park Slope (M/R to Union, D/M/NR to Pacific) 2p/$12. Full lineup for the last day of Popfest, feat. For Ex-Lovers Only (FL), Bunnygrunt (MO), Neverever (CA), The Embassy (Sweden) and loads other cute-sounding bands.
* "The Accidental Gangster and the Mistaken Courtesan" (dir. Yeo Kyun-dong, 2008) screening @ Tribeca Cinemas / 54 Varick St (ACE/1 to Canal St), 7p/FREE. Take a Korean period drama (set during the Gibang Riot of 1724) and lace that w/ acid-neon colors, a hip-hop soundtrack straight out of "Step Up" (you know, that Channing Tatum dance-off romance, and no I didn't just make that up), and lots of necessarily coked-up action scenes.
* Depreciation Guild @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7p/$12. The shimmering marriage of shoegaze w/ 8-bit undertones, feat. two of the cuties from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. If this sounds impossible, it's not b/c Depreciation Guild do it, giant-style. w/ Wild Nothing.
* Darren Almond "Sometimes Still" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 523 W 24th St. Almond's new six-screen film, tracing the path of a Tendai monk engaging in a rigorous process toward Buddhahood near Kyoto, is a thrillingly immersive video experience. Though your arrival during this 25-min film will vary person to person, hopefully it'll go somewhat like mine: you feel your way into the pitch-dark room, to the echoing chants of a Buddhist monk. Suddenly five of the screens light up w/ flashes of the forest, tree trunks at night spanning all cardinal directions as, in the center screen, the camera tracks a solitary nascent monk ascending a stone staircase.
* "Like a Rolling Stone" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Nice trio of relative newbies — at least on American shores. I particularly liked the juxtaposition from young, NY-based painter Peter Gerakaris (surreal, acid-toned paintings and works on paper) w/ German-based Alexander Esters (metaphysical mixed media paintings, mining Di Chirico and early Ernst).
* Sungmi Lee "Behind My Door" @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. Lee's 1st exhibition at the gallery is a meditation on her father's death, spanning sculpture and paintings created w/ resin and — shall we say — more tenuous mediums. The effect of "Crying For You", a life-size, mushroom-shaped (or I guess frozen fountain-shaped) whitish resin form, lengthened by dripping stalactites that formed the adjacent 'painting' "Painting By Sculpture" (which is fitted on plywood and looks like a tactile whirlpool), is major. Then she starts incorporating crushed automobile glass and blown incense smoke into dangerous pillow-shapes and Plexiglas boxes. She's got my attention.
+ Sun-Tai Yoo. Metaphysical still-lifes, feat. tiny cyclists and Di Chirico-esque distended shadows and shapes against crowded, complimentary objects.
* Andy Coolquitt "We Care About You" @ Lisa Cooley Fine Art / 34 Orchard St. I hesitated when walking into the gallery, filled as it was w/ these fragilely composed, kooky assemblages — epoxied lighters, bent rods, lightbulbs, fabric — all w/ a heavy emphasis on 'found' objet. They're great, super-colorful and cheekily titled (the seat cushion on the wall is "A nice soft place for meeting people", while this double metal-and-lightbulb mechanism is "l___i", recalling the shape) and create a seamless installation. And for the naysayers, check the assemblages replete w/ little lewd-gesturing hands, and quit being so bloody snobbish.
* Scott Musgrove "How is the Empire?" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. I think I'd love to live in Musgrove's un-Darwinian world, full of lush big-eyed (and usually long-necked) critters, sumptuously rendered in oil-on-panel dioramas. His exhibition is furthered by sculpture in varying forms, from the massive bronze to wee carvings out of wood, plastic and other media, to a stunning wood-inlay motif w/ meandering glass 'river', to a furry composite called "Abominable Backhoe" (complete w/ googly eyes), like the baddest-ass toy you ever wanted but couldn't have.
+ Louie Cordero "Sacred Bones". The Manila-based artist mixes Filipino mythology w/ what looks like classic Bollywood imagery and American cult classics in feverishly colored acrylics.
* "A Vernacular of Violence" @ Invisible-Exports / 14A Orchard St. A fierce, tightly composed show that distills ubiquitous media imagery to throw us a bit off balance. Lisa Kirk and Walid Raad lead the fray w/ their charged emphasis on the banal, via her video and his printmaking. Other highlights include a hypnotic car-fire from the collective Claire Fontaine and Rita Sobral Campos' disturbing mechanical drawings.
* Johannes VanDerBeek "Another Time Man" @ Zach Feuer LFL / 530 W 24th St. Compare/contrast VanDerBeek's room-filling mix-matched craft objects w/ Coolquitt's offering. Though in this case, they're more traditionally linear and artsy. VanDerBeek works in such diverse throwaway mediums as painted paper towels (shuffling out a slew, rabbit-breeding-like to put Josh Smith's productivity to shame) and painted aluminum mesh, formed into lifesize figures like a trippy hippie.
* John Grade "Circuit" @ Cynthia Reeves Gallery / 534 W 24th St 2nd Fl. Grade's room-filling sculpture is like the meandering carapace of some megafauna. The combination of ceramic and gypsum gives it a bewilderingly organic affectation.
* 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.
* Katherine Bernhardt @ Canada / 55 Chrystie St. Take a trip w/ the artist to Tombouctou, shimmering in the heat in her large acrylic paintings, rendered as angular figures and brightly patterened fabrics.
* Guo Hongwei "Things" @ Chambers Fine Art / 522 W 19th St. Isolated or fragmented articles, in discreet arrangements and painted against expanses of white.
* Jim Campbell "Exploded View" @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / 505 W 24th St. The man is doing some wild stuff w/ LEDs. Take the 'standard' Campbell, a bustling street-scene in grayscale that looks like a blurred photograph, and upgrade that to still photography (a rocky beach) w/ 'waves' or 'rolling mist' composed of a crafty LED sequence. Then knock that sucker totally out of the park w/ a suspended grid of exposed lights, blinking on and off that, from a distance reveal themselves to be a figure running down a hill.