* Michael Asher's Biennial Project "Open All Day and Night" @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 77th St). We're fast approaching the end of the 2010 Whitney Biennial, which I dug loads more than 2008's. So for two days, beginning midnight WED and ending 11:59p FRI, the LA-born conceptualist opens the doors for those stragglers and night-owls to see what's good at the Whitney.
* Aki Sasamoto "Strange Attractors" @ Whitney Museum (part of 2010 Whitney Biennial), 6a, 9a, 4p, 7p. Sasamoto, the hardest-working NY-based performance artist, IMO (outside Marina Abramovic's durational work at MoMA, but even so), creates FOUR Beuys-ian performances during Michael Asher's 24-hrs Biennial. She'll also be at MoMA PS1 (as part of "Greater New York") in June.
* "Provacateurs of Japanese Photography" @ Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts / 526 W 26th St #605. The title alone got my attention! This show, spanning the '70s (Shuji Terayama and Kohei Yoshiyuki) through the present (Tomoko Sawada, Miwa Yanagi), plus lots of Araki, もちろん.
* Leslie Wayne "One Big Love" + Jonathan Seliger "Spoils" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. Small shaped-canvas oil and mixed media paintings, like painted reliefs really, by Wayne and steel/enamel fabrications of the mundane (supersized milk carton, Hermes bag) by Seliger.
* KRATOS - ABOUT (ILLEGITIMATE(D) POWER @ Team Gallery / 83 Grand St. Raphael Gygax curates this exhibition investigating the exchange of power in a social context, feat. Maja Bajevic (film), Maria Eichhorn (re-photographed manipulated photography, does that make sense?), Teresa Margolles (installation, + coming off a stunning role in last year's Venice Biennale), Gianni Motti (photography of staged events) and Artur Zmijewski (documentary visual diaries, set in Berlin and Mexico City).
* Dan Deacon + Eternal Summers + Big Troubles @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 7p/$10. Want to see insanity? Come to Cake Shop's basement venue late THU when Dan Deacon — you know, the guy w/ the tabletop electronics who plays off the stage w/ the crowd amassed around him, pogoing like they're on sweet sweet acid and having a blast — shows up. I don't recall the last time he played such a not-large space, but it should be dope, in a sweaty way.
* Noveller + unFact @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7:30p/$7. A killer voyage into ambient metal and noise, led by drone-guitar maestro Noveller (Sarah Lipstate) and surprisingly calming unFact (that would be David Wm. Sims of The Jesus Lizard). Are you ready?
* Sarah Walker "Edge of Everywhere" @ Pierogi / 177 N 9th St, Williamsburg, 7-9p. Lovely, dirtily abstract acrylics on panel — a super-duper marriage of Mark Bradford's razed, reappropriated signage w/ Gerhard Richter's 'signature' abstraction. Seriously: Walker may well have that edge, carrying the torch of the 'new abstraction'.
+ Ken Weathersby "Perfect Mismatch. Weathersby 'attacks' and intervenes in his generally minimalist canvas works, modifying the mountings and space to create intriguing double-sided results.
* "Breathless" (dir. JLG, 1960) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFV to W 4th St). The 50th anniversary restoration of the landmark Nouvelle Vague classic. The super-adorable, pixie-cut Jean Seberg paired w/ thuggish hangdog Jean-Paul Belmondo on the run in the sexiest "Bonnie & Clyde" motif, ever. And if you ever wondered where the jump-cut came from, you have JLG to thank for that.
* "Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies" (dir. Arne Glimcher, 2010) screenings @ Cinema Village / 22 E 12th St (L/NRQW/456 to Union Square). Martin Scorsese narrates not a doc on Cubism but rather cinema's (and 20th c. aviation's) effect on dual Modern Masters Picasso and Braque, and their resonating effects on future artists.
* "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" (dir. Werner Herzog, 2009) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFV to W 4th St), part of 'Cage Heat: Nicolas Cage at Midnight'. Now it gets fun: fake Louisiana-accent drawling Cage getting increasingly unhinged in one of the most convoluted film titles I've ever heard.
* Twin Sister record release party @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 9p/$8. Twin Sister's starry nouveau trip-hop thing is magnetic. They are SO HOT right now, and deservedly so: their live shows are even more captivating than what's on album.
* Tony Castles + Darlings @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. Annnd just down the street from the Twin Sister party is the Famous Class Records showcase, brimming with fun (Darlings) and funk (Tony Castles). Fingers crossed Curren$y joins Tony Castles for a bit of that old-school hip-hop.
* Sour Notes + SUSU @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/. What I'm denoting the 'sleeper hit' of Wsburg tonite: Austin's deeply wicked Sour Notes (boy-girl harmonies, taut melodies) are touring, hitting Webster Hall (*shiver*) tomorrow. Come to Bruar Falls instead, where they share the bill w/ SUSU, one of Brooklyn's fiercest art-rock acts.
* SkowheganTALKS presents Judy Pfaff, Jessica Stockholder and Cheryl Donegan @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (FV to 2nd Ave), 3p/$8. WOW, I like all these artists, in conversation together about...installation, maybe? Pfaff, w/ her kinetic, floating-dragon-style mixed media installations, I've adored for a long time. Stockholder's bright amalgams challenge my thinking on sculptural composition. Donegan I know best for her 'physical' static works v. her performances, but I dig the pairing.
* Moonmen on the Moon, Man (rotating sets) + My Teenage Stride @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 6:30ish/$5. For me, this is an ace way to conclude Memorial Day weekend: get out of town, hit the beach, whatever, then return to the city late-ish MON and catch the final night of Cake Shop's 5-year anniversary, feat. the house contingent Moonmen... playing revolving sets w/ loads other bands, for cheap!
* Le Sphinxx + Omega Jarden @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (FV to 2nd Ave), 8p/$6. (almost) All-girl New Wave? I'm down! They're all Brooklyn-based and the Omega Jarden contingent prove that breathy EBM can be VERY fierce live.
* "Greater New York" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/V to 23rd/Ely, 7 to Courthouse Rd). NYC is one of the most fertile grounds for artists and creative collectives in the world. Just step foot on the grounds of PS1, in the third iteration of this quinquennial (means 'five years') exhibition, and you'll know what I mean. All the artists (an international-background cast) live in the metropolitan area, and all the works are w/in 5 years old. And there are relatively few 'traditional wall-mounted' paintings. That much is clear, so let's have some fun:
- installation: many of the artists took on the schoolhouse atmosphere of PS1 (lots of odd chambers) and ran w/ it. Ranging from David Brooks' news-garnering 'rainforest', composed of nursery-grown trees totally coated in ashy cement, to Maria Petschnig's "Uninvited" (a carpeted domestic quarters replete w/ framed S&M photography, oops!) to David Adamo's "Untitled (Rites of Spring)", a floor-filling array of baseball bats; Franklin Evans' "Timecompressionmachine" is like Dash Snow + Dan Colen's "Nest", but made out of gallery PR materials!
- photographic series: Hank Willis Thomas's "Unbranded Reflections on Black Corporate America, 1968-2008", comprised of familiar media w/ all taglines removed; LaToya Ruby Frazier's (New Museum triennial alum) uninhabited urban decay v. Alice O'Malley's b&w portraits of edgy NYers
- interplay: b/c many artists share a room, Amy Yao's acid-colored doorways bound off David Benjamin Sherry's color-saturated photography; sparse corporate media installation by Vlatka Horvat against Tala Madani's brutal animations and small works on paper; the DAS INSTITUT pairing of Adele Roder and Kerstin Bratsch, which wins the award for most color-intense room, maybe
And more, much much more. There is a revolving gallery on the 1st floor, currently hosting "The Baghdad batteries", curated by Olivia Shao and feat. a relatively conceptual arrangement of new (Reena Spauldings, Josef Strau) and old (Walter de Maria, Robert Breer). There is also a 'best of' room, highlights of five years of NY gallery (and museum) scene, the site of Terence Koh's whirlwind 500+ years cultural lecture opening day. There are ongoing performances (Aki Sasamoto, the hardest working performance artist perhaps aside from Marina Abramovic, though Sasamoto's take a decidedly more Beuysian vibe) and films. And as this organic exhibition demands, I will be revisiting and filing new reports. So check "Greater NY" out, and often.
* Haeri Yoo "Body Hoarding" @ Thomas Erben Gallery / 526 W 26th St 4th Fl. A fantastic physicality exists w/in the realm of Yoo's kinetic mixed media paintings. While she may be moving away from total representation, you still get beautiful glimpses of that, most directly in the really tiny canvases in this fine show, like the sensual "Kiss" and "Back Rub". The blurred "Family Unit" could be a reimagined Arshile Gorky, while the absolutely fantastic, bluish "Honeymoon Island" looks to me like animated gestures and poses, brimming with life beneath the paint.
* William Pope.L "landscape+object+animal" @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. This is the 1st Pope.L exhibition I recall where the artist — "the friendliest Black artist in America" — is not present for his typically enduring performances. That said (and there is an ongoing performance here, w/ volunteers, called "Cusp" that involves a figure in oversized PJs, clutching a brimming cup w/ green ink on a mound of soil), Pope.L's presence is palpable in this installation, from the scattered and ripped stuffed animals to the paintings and slogans that cover the walls ("Green People Are a New Kind of Shit"). It's like he visits the gallery every night, his 2nd studio, and moves things around unbeknownst to us.
* Richard Hughes @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. Talk about disturbing. The centerpiece of Hughes' sculptural installation (made of convincingly realistic casts of objects, in glass, cloth and artificial materials) is the floor of like a gutted house, insulation and brick dust powdering the ground. This plays off "Dead Flies", cast-resin shoes slung over 'power lines' shoefiti-style and the Robert Gober-esque particleboard-looking slabs (a mix of paint, fiberglass, and resin) — to equal a very unsettling vibe.
* "Fleurs: 1880-2010" @ Benrimon Contemporary / 514 W 24th St 2nd Fl. You might not believe me when I say an exhibition on 130 years of flowers in art has something for everyone. The sweep here is vast, from gorgeous and representational (Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Marc Quinn, Andre Derain) to Pop-inflected (Andy Warhol, Donald Baechler, Tom Wesselman) to wildly abstract (Vik Muniz, Natalia Goncharova, Niki de St Phalle). And for every delicate arrangement in a vase, there is a macho counterpart (Jim Dine, Ori Gerscht). And everything, these dozens of canvases lining the perimeter of the gallery, has equal footing. I mean, who hates flowers anyway? That's just cruel.
* Carsten Nicolai "moiré" @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. The many iterations and eye-trickeries of the interference pattern. Nicolai takes us from the deceptively simple (film tape stretched in a grid between two points, creating these bending shadows and varying thicknesses) to the installation-complex (a darkened room illuminated by whirling coils of light, or at least I think they were moving...). Sculpture (a Dan Graham-esque semi-reflective block in the main gallery) and works on paper are quieter overall but nothing is entirely 'static' here.
* John Zurier, Jason Fox, Richard Allen Morris @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. An excellent interplay b/w these three artists, all ostensibly abstract. I loved Morris' most quickly, his straight-from-the-tube squeezes and spreads across certain delineated portions of otherwise pristine painted canvas. Zurier's room of subdued bluish-purplish-greens, striping massive canvases, slightly recalls the Rothko Chapel w/o the reverence (and somehow gloomier). And Fox's mostly monotone (reds) set echoes both artists, w/ his stripes (Zurier) and his carefully pared-down canvases (Morris).
* Bill Beckley "Etcetera" @ Tony Shafrazi Gallery / 544 W 26th St. A great headlong dive into Beckley's color-conscious abstract photography, from the cheeky '70s stuff to the super-saturated, non-representational current works. Think flower stems as tall as you are, set against a gradient backdrop. Think photographic juxtapositions, sort of like James Rosenquist (usually incl an abbreviated body part) w/ poetry. And the most head-scratchingly sharp captures of glistening water and reflections, everything juicily colored like the sexiest product adverts.
* Jim Nutt "'Trim' and Other Works: 1967-2010" @ David Nolan NY / 527 W 29th St. This is a delightful little gem buried 'way up' on 29th St. One of the more...twisted of the Hairy Who movement, who balanced their grotesqueness w/ psychedelic color and intriguing media pairings. The acrylic portraitures on MDF, the new stuff, bears that weird, almost Picasso-style abstraction that Nutt does so well, but it's the back room that got me going. It contains a stash of old works, the iconic "Miss Sue Port", an acid-colored acrylic on plexiglas, and other plexiglas-painted works and works on paper of gender-vagues and quirky personages.
* Stuart Cumberland "Gone/There" @ Nicholas Robinson Gallery / 535 W 20th St. Some of my favorite 'painterly' elements, all in one place. Take Roy Lichtenstein's Ben Day dots and recontextualize those for today, filtered through a Keith Haring palette w/ bold black squiggles and washes from Christopher Wool's world.
* Judith Schaechter "Beauty and the Beef" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. Nobody is doing what Schaechter is doing, in her trademark stained glass lightboxes. The figures and arrangements are as sumptuous as ever (and her skill in composition is unparalleled), but she's created a fantastic depth to these new works, like "Cold Genius Study" and "You Are Here", where the backdrop recedes far out as the subjects float in space.
* "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.
+ Justin Allen. His trompe l'oeil paintings on wood panel of the most banal (plastic bags and rubbish bags) are beautiful, if banal, and tiny.
* Romain Bernini "Despite Walls and Landscapes" @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. The setting of Bernini's new suite of large oil paintings is an anonymous, barren landscape w/ a poisonous wrong-colored sky, sparsely populated by anonymous figures trudging along and attempting to surmount a fortress-like wall. Dig it? Cues on immigration, Arizona's current laws, border patrol, and the broader world (Israel/Palestine, Russia/Georgia) — this couldn't be more timely.
* Martin Creed @ Gavin Brown's Enterprise / 620 Greenwich St. The Scottish conceptualist created a very tactile, very IDably beautiful installation this time, blanketing the floor of the gallery w/ marble planks in varying colors. That's essentially "it", but the work stretches beyond the perimeters of the public space, into the offices and further back, organically.
+ Jonathan Horowitz. The artist restages his notorious "Go Vegan!" installation at La Frieda Meats, at 601 Washington and just around the corner from Creed's show. His work, a combo of screenprinted cute animals, portraits of vegan celeb, and video of cows being bled in a slaughterhouse work brilliantly off the steel walls, hooks, and rubbery doors of the empty meat-market. I wonder, though, if it were like in a white-box space if it would have the same propulsion. Here, though, it's excellent (though I'm still carnivorous).
* Dina Recanati "Gathering Winds" @ Flomenhaft Gallery / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. If you've ever wondered the legacy left by Piero Manzoni, whose terribly brief art career ended decades ago, just check the wrapped-linen canvases in Recanati's great exhibition. They totally reminded me of Manzoni's early "Achromes" (read: rumpled bedsheets). She furthers these w/ twisted and painted linen and gauze in all sorts of creations, but it is the simplest that really do it for me.
* Anna Gaskell "Turns Gravity" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. Gaskell ups the haunting, cinematic factor in this vaguely religious set of large photographic prints shot in some snowy forest in Iowa, though it could be anywhere, at a vague time period too. Young, suited boys leap out of frame or pull another (who could be either resisting or injured, I can't quite tell). Another, truncated at the waist as he kneels behind a tree (is he sick?). Just what ritual are they performing?
* Bjarne Melgaard "The Synthetic Slut" @ Greene Naftali / 508 W 26th St 8th Fl. Caution, dear reader, if you've never experienced a Melgaard installation, and 'experience' is the apropos word here. We talk about 'experiencing' art; well that's precisely the thing when diving into the gritty, paint-soaked, malodorous, dark realm of his oeuvre. His show at Greene Naftali, inundated w/ images of Serbian-set atrocities and hard-porn sex, w/ a liberal dousing of squeezed paint, violent pickup lines and detritus everywhere, will linger under your skin long after you take the lift back down from this shocker.
* Liz Magic Laser "chase" @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. Laser videotaped a rather creative bunch and their soliloquies (ranging from the comedic to unhinged) to ATM booths inside banks — get the show-title now? Also: check Laser at MoMA PS1, her film on the Da Vinci Surgical System (robot-assisted surgery) on her handbag is not as immediately gratifying as the gallery show, but dope anyway.
* Burt Barr + Valérie Belin @ Sikkema, Jenkins & Co / 530 W 22nd St. Nice duality here: Barr's films focus on either a barely moving or rapidly-repeating subject (a moored ship, a lawn sprinkler), so they look like static b&w prints. The deliquescing bubbles at the bottom of a sink is a charmer, though. Belin's lush C-prints of mostly floral arrangements and objet are pulled out of context and abstracted.
* Nina Yuen "White Blindness" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 531 W 26th St. I was transfixed for about 20 minutes in this show, Yuen's four new short-film works. Maybe it's her honeyed voiceover, even when she reads Virginia Woolf's suicide note or a missing person's report. Maybe it's the artist acting onscreen as a stand-in for her mother ('Don') or idiosyncratically concocting new laborious hygiene methods ('Clean'). Or it's the dreamy soft-focus that pervades all these tightly edited, surreal encounters, over like a daydream just as you're falling deep into them.
* Amy Yao "Come to My Opening!" @ Jack Hanley Gallery/ 136 Watts St. Evidence of Yao's past performances riddle the gallery space, the peanut shell-covered floor in the side gallery and the paint splashes and discarded oil pastel nubs in the main room. These work well off the conceptual installation, Yao's 'doorways' w/ shock-bright painted accents (check some of these at her room in "Greater NY") and wood dowels w/ newsprint clippings ("An Enigma", "Don't Cry").
* "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.
* 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.
* Alex Guofeng Cao @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. Digital photo-mosaics of classic celebrities, composed of a related figure (like Chairman Mao made of tiny Andy Warhol faces, or Mother Theresa of Ghandi). The smaller the mosaic, the smoother and more 3D quality the final portrait (the larger mosaics tend toward jagged, pixellated versions of lesser renown).
* Fernando Botero "Monumental Sculpture" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. I'm all for massive sculpture, when it works, but quite honestly I prefer Botero's sumptuous oil paintings of chubby characters (in both classical and timely situations) then these hefty, slightly scandalous bronzes.
* 2010 Whitney Biennial @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 77th St). A fine biennial, smaller-scale, unthemed, and yet way cooler than 2008's seam-busting array. Loads of great moments here, incl: Jessica Jackson Hutchins' Pres. Obama-newspapered sofa w/ ceramics and David Adamo's just-happened split wood scattering (check Adamo at PS1's "Greater NY"); Charles Ray's ink-drawn flowers, mutant-'Avatar'-world dandelions, childishly conceived but so perfectly rendered, and in such an array that they produce a much-needed calming effect; The Bruce High Quality Foundation (the collective whose NY-themed piece, projected on the windshield of a car, somehow combines the vibe of Youtube clips w/ poetic narrative, to captivating results — they've got a way minimal installation at "Greater NY"); Josephine Meckseper (her red/blue-tinted 'Mall of America' piece; Roland Flexner's ink-inundated works are determined by gravity and his breath, rather than a brush (think Max Ernst's decalcomania landscapes); Jim Lutes masks his portraits in smoky swaths of colorful egg tempera (check 'Piece of Barbara', those eyes...); and of course Aki Sasamoto's performances. ENDS SUN
* Marina Abramovic "The Artist is Present" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/V to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). Sitting across from Abramovic, the most powerful contemporary performance artist, IMO, is indescribable, the light filtering from overhead, the pervasive calm emanating from her, though she's been enduring this for 2+ months. If you've not experienced this, I do encourage to to sit w/ her, queue up (there will be a queue, no doubt, but it's worth the way). Then check out the upstairs, the volunteer performers re-performing "Point of Contact" (1980) and the much talked about "Imponderabilia" (1977) and the videos of Abramovic's collaborative works with Uday and her solo projects, plus the singular "Seven Easy Pieces", Abramovic re-performing pivotal works from six renowned performance artists (Joseph Beuys, Gina Pane, Vito Acconci), plus one of her own, at the Guggenheim in 2005. ENDS MON