* "Lush Life", curated by Omar Lopez-Chaoud & Franklin Evans, @ NINE LES Galleries, 6-9p. An LES art-block-party, based on Richard Price's eponymous novel. Each of the nine galleries took a chapter and formed a group show around it. Three are open already (read on under CURRENT SHOWS) but the full-out opening is tonight. And I'm not saying you need to see 'em in order, as you'll be doing a lot of backtracking, but for the three open it was helpful for me to see them sequentially. Sue Scott's provides a great intro to the entire project.
- Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St: Ch 1: "Whistle"
- On Stellar Rays / 133 Orchard St: Ch 2: "Liar"
- Invisible-Exports / 14A Orchard St: "Ch 3: First Bird (a Few Butterflies)"
- Lehmann Maupin / 201 Chrystie St: "Ch 4: Let It Die"
- Y Gallery / 355A Bowery: "Ch 5: Want Cards"
- Collette Blanchard Gallery / 26 Clinton St: "Ch 6: "The Devil You Know"
- Salon 94 Freemans / 1 Freemans Alley: "Ch 7: Wolf Tickets"
- Scaramouche / 52 Orchard St: "Ch 8: "17 Plus 25 is 32"
- Eleven Rivington / 11 Rivington St: "Ch 9: She'll Be Apples"
* Kyoung Eun Kang "In & Out" @ Arario NY / 521 W 25th St, 2nd Fl (part of the "Irrelevant" Group Show), 7p. Kang performs with cotton candy, which is the same medium she's covered w/ in her "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" video screening at the exhibition.
* Oh Sufan "Variation" @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. Think Franz Kline's action-expressionism and Yves Klein's shimmering monochromes, only w/ Oh's proper background.
* Ala Dehghan "I Can Explain Everything!" @ Thomas Erben Gallery / 526 W 26th St 4th Fl. Debut solo show from the young Tehran-based artist, whose richly narrative works on paper combine traditional miniature painting with her contemporary experiences as an Iranian woman.
* Jennie C. Jones "Electric" @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co / 530 W 22nd St. An incredibly intriguing pairing of minimalism, abstraction and abstract-jazz, in Jones' continued exploration of art history and Black history. Feat. her edit of Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way" (minus his trumpet part) matched w/ John Cage's "4'33"", plus collage and ink drawings mimicking music and sculpture from instrument cable.
* Jorge Pardo "Sculpture Ink" @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. If you attended the creative Guggenheim exhibition "theanyspacewhatever", you've seen Pardo's partitioning, silkscreened prints before. But that doesn't make them any less cool in this gallery setting.
* "Big PIcture", curated by Tom Sanford and Ryan Schneider @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. Large-scale paintings by large-scale minds, w/ mash-ups of pop culture, politics, social issues — in short, good-looking art w/ a message. Feat. works by Kamrooz Aram, Holly Coulis, Emily Noelle Lambert, Lisa Sanditz, the curators and more.
* Pterodactyl + YellowFever (Austin TX) @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (F to 2nd Ave), 8p/$8. I don't know what I'm more excited about, seeing the messy indie rockers from my college town back in NY or getting sonically pummeled by Pterodactyl's unrelenting energy. A: both. w/ Dream Diary
* Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival presents "Salute the DJ" @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, WIlliamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$10. A tribute to the beat-miners and wax-scratchers behind the MC, feat. some absolutely dope local legends incl. Rob Swift (X-Ecutioners), Rhettmatic (Beat Junkies), DJ Spinna (who hosted the original "Soundbombing" album) and Mr. Bobbito Garcia himself.
* "You Were There", curated by Thomas Duncan @ Rachel Uffner Gallery / 47 Orchard St. The deceptively simple concept, showing an artist's work from 2005 AND from 2010 (the same timeframe as "Greater New York"), could lead to interesting results, esp. considering those involved: Rita Ackermann, Josh Smith, Sarah Braman, Joe Bradley, Justin Adian and Sara Greenberger Rafferty.
* "in here" @ Laurel Gitlen (Small A Projects)" / 261 Broome St. Five artists decipher the relation between visible/invisible and pictorial thinking, feat. Michele Abeles and Uri Aran, whose respective photography and works on paper are both at MoMA PS1's "Greater New York", in addition to Jamie Isenstein (sleight of hand), Halsey Rodman (assemblage) and Erik Wysocan (mixed media).
* "Con Air" (dir. Simon West, 1997) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). The Finale of "Cage Heat: Nicholas Cage at Midnight". A Nic Cage festival this huge necessarily end w/ a bang, and if that doesn't mean the atrocious, heavily parodied "Wicker Man", then it must mean the explosive prison transport flick "Con Air", w/ a long-haired, drawling Cage in a sweaty tank top, locking arms w/ baddies like a creepy Steve Buscemi, a brooding Ving Rhames and John Malkovich basically playing himself in prison garb. Must be seen to be believed!! Also SAT at midnight.
* YellowFever (Austin TX) + MINKS @ Monster Island / 128 River St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$9. Another delicious, though goth/glammier chance to catch YellowFever, as they're matched w/ local Captured Tracks mega-group MINKS (think New Order w/ girl-guy vocals). w/ UK's Wetdog
* ZAZA + Naked Hearts @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$9. One of the many draws to this show, beyond the dope music, is they've all got really ace vocalists. ZAZA are stellar popstars (it's "music to make out to", after all) and Naked Hearts produce concentrated power-pop refrains.
* Real Estate + Kurt Vile (and band) @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 7p/$15. A sunny, ace lineup perhaps best suited for a backyard party, but I'll take it anyway. Real Estate do that surf-rock thing w/ expert songwriting and shimmering refrains. Kurt Vile's rootsy indie rock is augmented by his full band. w/ the ever-lovable Big Troubles
* Harry Smith program @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 6:15p. A very special screening of Smith's early experimental abstractions, plus the surreal "Oz, the Tin Woodman's Dream" from 1967.
* Wetdog (UK) + Hollows (Chicago) @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7p/$7. 2nd to catch Captured Tracks' rough-edged all-girl Wetdog, this time w/ Chicago's Hollows, who sound a bit like '60s girl-groups (perhaps due to the great vintage organ front-and-center). w/ Loneliest Monk
* Xiu Xiu + Deerhoof play Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" @ The Pool Parties / E River State Park, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), . We're dead in the middle of summer, so it's only appropriate the MAYJAHest of outdoor free concerts debuts today, and though I felt last year's lineup was a bit spotty, this year's is solid. Take it from me. And it begins in a huge way w/ art-rockers Deerhoof and other-art-rockers Xiu Xiu covering Joy Division's seminal album "Unknown Pleasures". Picture Satomi singing "She's Lost Control" in that airy voice amid buzzsaw guitars and pummeling drums. Pair that w/ Jamie doing "Shadowplay" against clanging percussion and NES-keyboards. I'm just postulating here, but it's going to be a dope show.
* MINKS + Blissed Out @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$8. Great lineup, esp. Captured Tracks' New Wave (in a good way) MINKS.
* David LaChapelle "American Jesus" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. I am struggling to withhold comment until I see this potential monstrosity. Hell, LaChapelle could surprise me. But I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.
* The Beets + German Measles @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. Essential summer lineup of hot local indie, w/ party boys German Measles and the sing-along garage-punk sensations The Beets. w/ Liquor Store
* "The Evryali Score", curated by Olivia Shao @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525-533 W 19th St. I am amazed by the crop of inventive summer group shows this year, and Shao's elusive detective story is perhaps the best of all, and will certainly reward you for repeat visits if you've the energy and penchant for a little sleuthing. The exhibition began at MoMA PS1, with Shao's "The Baghdad batteries", the first of four rotating galleries during 'Greater NY', before reconfiguring — and tremendously expanding — at Zwirner. The larger space and multiple rooms is definitely to the exhibition's benefit, I think, as though these are incredibly discreet works, they still require room to breathe and for better contemplation. The 525 space contains much of the reconfigured PS1 show, w/ a few swaps (Marcel Broodthaers' gold under glass replaces Walter De Maria's shiny "Power Bar") and additions, like the stunning, subtly shimmering Willem De Rooij wall-spanning canvas. Though I suggest you begin w/ 533 (if you missed the PS1 version, no biggie), w/ the duet of John Knight's wall projection and (rarely exhibiting) Dutch conceptualist Stanley Brouwn's wooden wall piece. Brouwn's structure, like an inverted cube, calls attention to the gallery wall (and floor) itself, causing us to note its levelness (or slant) and the surrounding space. Craig Kalpakjian offers window-like (but windowless) abstract C-prints. Bernadette Corporation (one of several collectives in the show, the cheekily named Reena Spaulings is another) has a multiscreen Fendi video that works in conversation w/ Josef Strau's lamp installations in both galleries. And I'll bet you've never seen a wooden Claes Oldenburg relief before. And those grayed-out names on the show program, coinciding w/ fake birthdates? That's Sonia Lucerne's "Checklist Intervention". I'm telling you, spend some time with this one, let the clues slowly de-opaque themselves, but don't be surprised if much of it remains elusive even on several visits.
* "Lush Life Ch 1: Whistle", curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud & Franklin Evans @ Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St. I will review these shows in turn, based totally on the visual and instinctual as I haven't read Price's book. But the shows give us much to go on. We get a fair sense of the '80s LES immediately w/ David Shapiro's array of handmade "found objects" — the want ad, the 'steal this book', the NY Post. Alice O'Malley's signature C-prints set the scene (the Mexican restaurant El Sombrero, the Ludlow rooftops) and David Kramer brings not only cheeky reconfigured alcohol adverts but an entire bar (which had what looked to be nearly a full bottle of Jack Daniels last time I visited). Take a stroll, get to know your surroundings.
* "Lush Life Ch 2: Liar", curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud & Franklin Evans @ On Stellar Rays / 133 Orchard St. Thus far, my favorite of the novel's exhibitions, thanks especially to the strong roster at this show. Ezra Johnson's mural-sized word painting, screaming DOUBT, sets the mood. Tim Davis' politically-toned, sharp C-prints depict neighborhood gentrification, as do Manuel Acevedo's suite of modified Polaroids, each w/ a drawn-on "future structure", which are more subtly echoed by Scott Hug's 'pizza slice' collages.
* "Lush Life Ch 3 "First Bird (A Few Butterflies)", curated by Omar Lopez-Chaoud & Franklin Evans @ Invisible-Exports / 14A Orchard St. This one keeps the bird-theme close to its chest w/ a nearly uniform, avian-related show. In that sense it falls short of the explosive humor and dialogue of On Stellar Rays, but it's got some great stuff as well. My favorites: the haunting, long-pan video "Silent Among Us" by Dana Levy, of a flock of live doves in a taxidermy lab and Karen Heagle's huge acrylic and ink work, of crows on the most beautiful mountain of garbage you've probably ever seen.
* Yuan Yuan "A World of Yesterday and Tomorrow" @ Chambers Fine Art / 522 W 19th St. I loved this show. I'm a big Yuan fan as it is, and the young Beijing artist's foggy, mesmerizing paintings — shown here as small-scale groupings in ceramic frames and larger diptychs — are like the soft-focus scenes from a Sofia Coppola film, only clearly from Yuan's memory.
* "Irrelevant: Local Emerging Asian Artists Who Don't Make Work About Being Asian", curated by Joann Kim and Lesley Sheng @ Arario NY / 521 W 25th St, 2nd Fl. I recalled the 2007 exhibition "Making a Home" at Japan Society, which featured nearly three dozen Japanese artists living in NY, when I first heard about this multicultural, emerging artists show. Kim and Sheng culled together an even huger grouping, displaying a hotbed of young, creative artists working in none of the mnemonic, typecasting devices many critics and viewers expect of Asian artists: no manga-cartoony stuff, no renderings of Mao, no calligraphy here. As one example, take Tattfoo Tan, whose several years' worth of environmentally conscious endeavors work as a side-gallery-filling installation, from his mobile gardens to his "master composter" certificate. He'll be giving lessons on just that, composting, next week so stay tuned here (there are loads of performances from exhibiting artists through the end of the month. Mai Ueda, who opened the show last week, remains only as a glittery signature and handprint on the gallery wall). Check Kyoung Eun Kang's disquietingly messy video "HAPPY BIRTHDAY", where she pulls a vintage Paul McCarthy, Nancy Kim's and Youngna Park's enigmatic photography (the former recalling Uta Barth), Jason Tomme's cerebral "Cig Scale" assemblage, Jane V. Hsu's noirish "People Were Made to Disappear" short film, and like 40 other artists.
* "Swell: Art 1950-2010" @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St + Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 537 W 22nd St. Surf-art, specifically California art, is a great idea for a mega summer group show in NY. Seriously. These two galleries (plus NYEHAUS) are chock-full of sunny, salty, subversive, and stunning works, some good and others really fantastic. Metro Pictures wins the day w/ a powerful array of California Minimalists (Craig Kauffman, Larry Bell, Helen Pashgian, John McCracken, Peter Alexander) v. the freaky So-Cal lot (Bruce Conner, George Helms), though Petzel had a few surprising, must-see pieces (Ashley Bickerton's classic coral wave, Alex Weinstein's shimmering "block" and the R.Crumb comix). Vast as the ocean.
* Brion Nuda Rosch @ DCKT Contemporary / 195 Bowery. A stunning solo-show debut for the San Fran-based Rosch. He works w/in a tight color palette — white, chocolatey-brown and a beguiling turquoise (as signature to him as International Klein Blue, only he didn't "patent" the color as his own — and a variety of media, found book pages, angular abstract sculpture, coated figurines, to fantastic effect. Case the gallery very closely and Rosch's many interventions, like the angled sculpture and the robotic "faces" in book pages, slowly and rewardingly reveal themselves. A destination exhibition.
* "Christmas in July" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. It's bloody hot out so why not a summer group show themed to the wintry holiday? Matt Keegan's paste-up Google images-esque chart is a tidy comparison: Santa v. a fat beachgoer, Uggs v. flip-flops, fruitcake v. a sand castle, a wrapped package v. a hot male in a Speedo. Beyond this, which is oddly addicting, is a lot of appropriately either garish or attention-demanding works, some nice classics from John Baldessari and Lynda Benglis, a funny Christian Holstad assemblage of a yellowed square of carpet bearing the imprint (and shed needles) of an absent artificial tree, a Marepe ornament sculpture recalling Jeff Koons only way less precious, and loads else.
* "Shred", curated by Carlo McCormick @ Perry Rubenstein Gallery / 527 W 23rd St. There is quite a range to the concept of collage as fine art, from Brian Douglas' laborious cut-paper rendering that is deeply textured like an Impressionist's painting, to Jess' and Bruce Conner's interventions, to Mark Flood's portrait echoing Jean-Paul Goude, to Dash Snow's deftly impressive pairing, to Judith Supine's elaborate, enigmatic acrylic portrait.
* "Seat-of-the-Pants" @ Museum 52 / 4 E 2nd St at Bowery. A tight little group show of the hot downtown lot (Amy Yao, Siobhan Liddell, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Jacob Robichaux), but the strong personalities of the latter two (esp. Robichaux's tactile "Papier-lacerer" trio) usurp the energy from the former. Liddell's interventions are typically restrained, as they are here, and Yao's discreet, beguiling collages don't embody the same energy as her fantastic installation at MoMA PS1.
* Carol Bove + Sterling Ruby + Dana Schutz @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Q: how to incorporate the respective abilities of these three very different contemporary artists? A: don't even try, just let them do their thing. But in doing so, and w/ some deft planning, the gallery has managed to successfully mute Ruby's atmosphere-sucking quality in his brutal, large-scale sculpture (the slickened, wooden cannon "Consolidator") w/ Bove's pair of scale-defying Plexiglas and metal-mesh boxes. They're elevator car-sized, true, yet the transparent quality and the metallic shimmer tricks the eye and creates an interesting effect w/ the space. Schutz's trio of new paintings are good, primarily the very abstract "Finger in Fan", and adds a color element to the room.
* "...and then some" @ Feature Inc / 131 Allen St. One wall of Tom of Finland's high-performance, works on paper and an audience response on the right, this salon-style mixÚ Mie Yim's fuzzy alien orgy, Bastille's Geiger-esque scenes, Martin of Holland's scatology, Raymond Pettibon's cheeky minimalism, Jeremy Pittu's Richard Prince-esque vintage prints. Lots of penis here, plus some very disturbing subject matter (mainly coming from Martin of Holland), to the point where our hero Tom's works are on the relatively tame edge of the spectrum.
* "Natural Renditions" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. Marlborough's massive summer group show is incredibly trippy this go-around, a riot for the senses. It is too much to take in all at once, but worth repeat, brief visits to zero in on the better works. I was pleased to see Rob Wynne's exquisite blown-glass 'shrooms here and Kim Dorland's tortured mixed-media canvases are fantastic, subtly touching on deforestation. It's saying something when Will Ryman contributes one of the more innocuous pieces in a show. Better, and keeping w/ the overall theme of 'natural', are Valerie Hegarty's and Amit Greenberg's branch-incorporated sculpture.
* Robert Morris "New Felts" @ Sonnabend Gallery / 536 W 22nd St. Anytime Morris is working with industrial felt, you've got my attention. The four new works on view are his first new felts since the '90s, and they're beauties in black and blood-red. The gigantic 20-prong behemoth draped in the entry room reminds me, somehow, of a watermelon, so much so that I can't see anything else but that. In the interior room, the vividly red felt feels quite womanly to me, the all-black like the long Comme des Garçons A/W 2009 menswear skirt and the final red/black sort of tuliplike — so I guess there's underlying femininity in all these. In addition: two pigment drawings in answer to the U.S.'s current world conflicts, done by Morris while blindfolded.