* Ryan Gander "The Happy Prince" @ Doris C. Freedman Plaza (Central Park, 60th St @ 5th Ave). Nice!! The Public Art Fund entrusted this aggressively conceptualist in creating a large-scale outdoor public artwork, so of course it's a properly surrealist take on Oscar Wilde's eponymous children's story, the ruins of the fallen statue.
* "Redressing" @ Bortolami / 520 W 20th St. This edgy gallery christens its new larger space w/ a huge group show of gallery artists and properly "downtown" others, incl. Hope Atherton, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Jonathan Horowitz, Thilo Heinzmann, Peter Peri — and some surprises, like Cecily Brown, Terence Koh, and Rashid Johnson. Excessively hip, but it's got my attention.
* Sol LeWitt "The Complex Form" @ Dorfman Projects / 529 W 20th St 7th Fl. Look, anytime LeWitt's works are mentioned, you've got my full, undivided attention. This one, centered on his '88 metal work "Complex Form #6", w/ related geometric works on paper and sculpture, is, obviously, essential.
* David Shrigley @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. The Glasgow-based artist's formula is darkly humorous, dashed off yet engaging cartoonish, text-heavy drawings, w/ the addition of crude mixed media abstracts thrown in to switch it up. They don't carry the ironic contemporary darts that Dan Perjovschi's informed "graffiti" do; think way more surreal.
* "Max's Kansas City" @ Steven Kasher Gallery / 521 W 23rd St. Way to inaugurate the fall gallery season, w/ a MAYJAH rock'n'roll downtown-vibed photo show and related book-launch. Anton Perich, Dustin Pittman, Nicky Latzoni, Kate Simon, Lily Hou and others contribute the kind of colliding art/music/fashion scene from the '70s that, unless you lived during it, you wish will all your might still existed today.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Mostly Men" @ Leo Castelli / 18 E 77th St. You're reading this correctly: another Lichtenstein show, after the thorough still-lifes exhibition at Gagosian this past summer and concurrent w/ "Reflections" at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in W.Chelsea and the upcoming b&w drawings show at the Morgan Library and Museum, on SEPT 24. This career-spanner delves into the rarer male figure in the artist's oeuvre. I'll tell you, beyond his classic "In the Car" (1963), I can't name very many Lichtenstein paintings, comic-derived or otherwise, that feature men.
* "The Hunger" (dir. Tony Scott, 1983) screening at BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 6:50/9:15p. Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie as vampires + an iconic lesbian vampire scene (b/w Deneuve & Susan Sarandon!) in a genre replete w/ lesbian vampire scenes + Bauhaus "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on the soundtrack = an urbane, steamy film way ahead of its time.
* "Never Let Me Go" (dir. Mark Romanek, 2010) screenings @ Sunshine Cinema / 143 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave). This looks…really really good, Romanek's equally subtle and chilling adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's fascinating dystopian alternate-Britain novel, set b/w a super-strict boarding school and the broader world.
* "Honeymoons" (dir. Goren Paskaljevic, 2009, Serbia/Albania/Italy) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 4:30p. The Serbian director Paskaljevic, who was forced out of Belgrade by the Milosevic regime and had a brilliant retrospective at MoMA in 2008, returns w/ his latest film, bridging Serbian and Albanian worlds and lives of young couples seeking a more open, multinational Europe.
* Frankie Rose & the Outs (album release party) @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$10. I love this dreampop band so much, and seeing them from inception (at the Slumberland 20th Anniv. party last Nov) through now, their very dope album release party, I couldn't be more stoked. w/ Light Asylum
* Screaming Females (album release) @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 9p/$10. Two hot album release parties, in Williamsburg, on the same night. Pitted against Frankie Rose, though, and I'll choose Frankie, but make no mistake: NJ's Screaming Females rock HARD. Especially screaming female Marissa Paternoster, vocalist/guitarist and an exceptional rockstar.
* Heliotropes @ The Woods / 48 S 4th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/FREE. Brooklyn's Heliotropes play doom metal in 3.5 minute pop bursts, smart and verrrry heavy. w/ Translations
* Blank Dogs (live at Wierd) @ Home Sweet Home / 131 Chrystie St (F to 2nd Ave), 12:30a. The illustrious Mike Sniper (lead 'Dog and head of Captured Tracks) and friends unleash an electro-drenched post-punk frenzy, on the eve of their big European tour. Catch 'em before they go and don't be surprised if you find yourself dancing.
* "50 Years at Pace" @ Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St + 534 W 25th St + 510 W 25th St + 32 E 57th St. MASSIVE. A celebration of this iconic NY gallery's support of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop Art, New-Wave Chinese, all that and more, + a look forward to future trends in art and the ability of the gallery setting to encapsulate (and one-up) the museum experience. Each of Pace's (now) four NY galleries host a thematic collection: "Highlights from the 50 Years of Thematic and Historical Exhibitions" at 57th St (w/ its rarely shown Picassos, Giacomettis, de Koonings and Johns etc, it gives the MoMA a sweet challenge); "Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art" at 25th St (again preceding MoMA's overhaul by two weeks, and feat. Rothko, Marden, Pollock, Warhol, the heavyweights); "Minimalism/Phenomenological and Conceptual Art/Post-Modern and Post-Minimal Art" at 22nd St (ha, guess where I'll spend most of my time? feat. Ryman, Turrell, Lee Ufan, Judd etc); annnnd inaugurating their new 510 W 25th St location w/ "Art in the 21st Century" (a stunning suite of Sugimoto, Zhang Xiaogang, Keith Tyson, Tara Donovan…you know, the kind of contemporary artists who keep me up at night b/c they're that dope). MASSIVE, w/ special extended-reception hours 5:30-9p.
* Sarah Sze @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Get ready for a gravity- and even logic-defying splash from the incredible installation artist, in her debut show at the gallery. She has full command of the entire space, the main downstairs space and the gallery's upstairs loft, and she is conjuring some pretty amazing stuff, fractured lines and angles, animated light and shadows, and something like a portable planetarium. Very wicked.
* An-My Le @ Murray Guy / 453 W 17th St. Le addresses globalization in further travels w/ America's armed forces on humanitarian missions around the world and set amid vast expanses of ocean. Her underlying roots maintain a strong sense of space and location.
* John McCracken "New Works in Bronze and Steel" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 533 W 19th St. Time to stop messing around. This premise just READS "badass". The seminal "surface Minimalist" from the '60s Cali scene drops some heavy metal on W.Chelsea, planks of highly reflective stainless steel and (new to the artist) bronze. This show has my name written all over it.
* James Busby "White & Black" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. BIG Busby fan here, since his extraordinary, all-white experimental paintings at the gallery back in 2007. He pairs news white canvases w/ scarred, textured all-black media for double the dopeness. One of the most intriguing contemporary artists working in monochrome. You heard it here first.
* Airan Kang "Light Reading" @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / 505 W 24th St. Kang's visually addictive glowing bookshelves caught my eye at the gallery's inaugural show this time last year, in its new location on 24th St. She further explores this w/ her "digital Book Project", recreating bookstores from all over the globe in her signature resin and LEDs. I'm enchanted just thinking about it.
* Joan Snyder "A Year in the Painting Life" @ Betty Cuningham Gallery / 541 W 25th St. Snyder's blossom-infused works make me feel great, looking at them and sinking into their surfaces. Over a dozen gorgeous new textural abstract paintings from the artist, including a massive unfurled mural incorporating herbs, flowers and other media. She is also represented in "Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism", which just opened at The Jewish Museum uptown.
* Dana Melamed "Black Tide" @ Priska Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. You've not seen ANYTHING like this before, unless you've witnessed Melamed's works in person. Her brilliant melted and fused sheet metal, photographic film, industrial bits and painted reliefs remind me a bit of El Anatsui's wavelike recycled-labels "structures" (and perhaps a bit of Mark Bradford as well), but these alchemic works, w/ a blowtorch as brush, are uniquely her own.
* Dale Chihuly @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. The twisty, aquatic-lifeform handblown glass sculpture artist adored in corporate lobbies. Still, you can't deny the intrinsic beauty of these works, the super-sized blooms and crystalline "rocks" snaking up columns and walls.
* Matthew Day Jackson "In Search of" @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. The eponymous work in the this show, MDJ's second one-person at the gallery after a properly spacey "Terranaut" in 2008, is a 30-min film based on the titular '70s TV series starring Leonard Nimoy. Elements of it figure into the related sculptures and wall-based works in this exploration of figurative and literal artistic "journeys".
* Matthew Day Jackson "The Tomb" @ Peter Blum Soho / 99 Wooster St, special preview 2-6p. One room-filling installation based off the 15th C. "Tomb of Philippe Pot", attributed to Antoine LeMoiturier, but thoroughly MDJ in this case, w/ astronauts in place of hooded monks and biomedical prototypes, industrial materials, and a multiplying one-way mirror.
* "The Personal Dimension" @ Arario NY / 521 W 25th St. Four "X Generation" Chinese aritsts, born amid the rapidly modernizing nation, depoliticized and self-aware. Feat. Gao Lei (installation), Jia Aili (narrative oil paintings), Li Qing (referential paintings) and the duo WAZA group (mixed media sculpture & video art).
* Feng Mengbo "Yi Bi Te" @ Chambers Fine Art / 522 W 19th St. Technology-infused silkscreens, fields of mottled color and silver leaf accentuated by pixellated figures and hanzi.
* Adam Fuss "Home and the World" @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. The experimental photographer works on the theme of snakes and ladders, cons and pros, quite literally in large, calligraphic slithering C-prints and massive daguerreotypes.
* Andreas Hofer "ON TIME by Andy Hope 1930" @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. Empty picture frames as portals to the "infinite", a "3D painting", austere "paintings" as blanks on otherwise bare walls… oh and a Star Trek multilevel chess set as a readymade. I'm withholding judgment until I see the show myself.
* "Americanana" curated by Katy Siegel @ Bertha & Karl Leubsdort Art Gallery, Hunter College / 68th St & Lexington Ave, West Lobby (6 to 68th St). The echoing in the title is deliberate: this is a show of American artists referencing Americana (specifically industrial, pre-Civil Wa-style) in their regular work, ranging from Jasper Johns' flags, to Kara Walker's antebellum white racist imagery, to Robert Gober's lovingly handcrafted outmoded items (I don't know what else to call it: he shows a "butter churn" here). A total of 13 modern and contemporary artists show in this tight slice of history.
* Franz Xaver Messerschmidt @ Neue Galerie / 1048 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). Something admittedly new for me, and I'll bet new for you, too: a focused look at the 18th C. Austro-Bavarian sculptor's oeuvre, specifically his neoclassical, boldly expressive "character heads", the first exhibition of its kind in the States. I mean, one is titled "Variation of 'Strong Odor'" and another "Afflicted with Constipation", so there's an underlying sly humor to many of these.
* Ryan Gander "Loose Associations" lecture @ The New School / 66 W 12th St (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 6:30p/$$10 (students free). Less a lecture than a free-association performance, AKA the coolest narrated PowerPoint presentation you've ever attended. This is ahead of Gander's site-specific installation at Guggenheim, "Intervals", opening OCT 1.
* ContemporAsian Short Films @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 5p. One massive four-piece from MoMA, feat. "A Letter to Uncle Boonmee" (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009, Thailand/Great Britain/Germany), "Madam Butterfly" (dir. Tsai Ming-Liang, 2008, Italy/Taiwan/France), "Cry Me A River" (dir. Jia Zhangke, 2008, China/Spain/France), "Lost in the Mountains" (dir. Hong Sang-soo, 2009, Korea). Of note: Weerasethakul's full-length "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" won the 2010 Palme d'Or at Cannes and is debuting here at the NYFF at the end of the month. See this "prologue" first.
* Sue Williams "Al-Qaeda is the CIA" @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. A 20-year survey of the artist's oil and acrylic paintings and works on paper, up to present day. Her shrink-wrapped fields of organic shapes, sliding flora to viscera to pure jagged abstraction, open up here and there w/ stunning moments of calm figuration.
* Cecilia Edefalk "Weeping Birch" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. I'm excited for this one, b/c the Swedish artist furthers her practice of raw, representational bronze busts, along w/ her process-art in muted figurative paintings.
* Aki Sasamoto w/ Saul Melman performance @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to Courthouse Sq), part of "Greater New York", 2-4p. Sasamoto's cocoon-like performance "Skewed Lies", in the mosquito-net-draped back alcove of the boiler room, is partially a treatise on comedians and mosquitos, partially Sasamoto's Kafka-esque metamorphosis, zapping at the bug-lights with a straw, climbing and hanging from the pipes while belting out "Let It Be". It takes her normally athletic lecture/performances to a whole 'nother level. Melman, meanwhile, continues his own methodical metamorphosis in "Central Governor", transforming the old schoolhouse's boiler into a glittery, gold-gilt life-form. ALSO SAT & SUN, same time
* Tokyo Dolores @ Lucky 13 Saloon / 273 13th St, Park Slope (DF/G/NR to 9th St-4th Ave), 10p. Let's try something different: Cay Izumi, who is equally one of my favorite actresses and favorite pole-dancers, returns to the States w/ some extra ammo, namely the girls of Tokyo Dolores, Izumi's Tokyo-based burlesque troupe, the fierce Alk and the cutie Aloe. Their systematic takeover of America begins w/ a go-go dance, think "Coyote Ugly" only way better, like Piper Perabo intensified 1000x. And that's only the beginning.
* "The Anchorage" (dirs. C.W. Winter & Anders Edström, 2009) screenings @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 7:15/9:15p. This beautiful, meditative duet b/w Japan-based photographer Edström and writer Winter finally premieres in NY. The story as it were is the daily routine of a middle-aged woman living in a cabin in the wilderness of the Baltic, whose world is abruptly changed by the introduction of a deer-hunter. But that's really just the tiny core, encapsulated by broad tracking shots and a soundtrack lush w/ wind through the branches, birds, and occasionally jarring machine sounds. THRU 9/23, w/ additional screenings SAT & SUN at 5:15p.
* "Eraserhead" (dir. David Lynch, 1977) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). The industrial clank of shadowy machinery, the hiss of a radiator (almost obliterating the piano-led ragtime filtering out of…somewhere), the organic wheezing and slobber of something that may or may not be human. Lynch's debut defines the concept "head trip". ALSO SAT
* "Catfish" (dirs. Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, 2010) screenings @ AMC Loews Lincoln Square / 1998 Broadway (1 to 66th St). By now you may nor may not know what "Catfish" is, but if you only seen the charming-into-confoundingly-truncated trailer, that's OK. It's a budding romance, filmed as a documentary and set on Facebook, only…
* Moon Duo + Crystal Stilts @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$12. Nice one, the porgy psychedelia of Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada, as Moon Duo, w/ Crystal Stilts distilled, artsy rock, which inevitably hooks you in w/ a fierce groove.
* "Metalux + Aki Onda/MV Carbon @ ISSUE Project Room / 232 3rd St, Gowanus (DF/G/NR to 9th St-4th Ave), 8p/FREE. Local experimental electronic musician MV Carbon pulls double duty tonight in her monthly ISSUE residence, 1st w/ sonic improvisor Jenny Graf Sheppard (together as Metalux), then w/ Onda, who (seriously) rocks a cassette Walkman w/ his field recordings.
* Mat Brinkman "Phantasmatgoria" @ The Hole / 104 Greene St. Member of band-art collective Forcefield, who famously performed during the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Beyond his harsh-noise circuit-bending, Brinkman's art style is graphic, contrasty, w/ a printmaking basis, like his "Teratoid Heights" comic series. Rock 'n Roll!
* Tyler Dobson "A Luxury is Difficult to Do Without" @ Real Fine Arts / 673 Meeker Ave, Greenpoint (G to Nassau). Paintings based on New Yorker cartoons.
* "Open Studios" w/ robbinschilds @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave (E/V to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to Courthouse Sq), part of "Greater New York", 12-3p. Check installation/performance duo robbinschilds and their work-in-progress contribution to "Greater New York", 'I came here on my own'.
* Cay Izumi v. Kaiji Big Battel! @ Kaiji Big Battel Arena / 50 N 3rd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 4p/$15. Or….more specifically, this is unparalleled Japan-based pole dancer, actress, and leader of burlesque troupe Tokyo Dolores — that would be Cay-chan — modeling for Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, along w/ bonkers Boston-ish performance artists/wrestlers — that would be Kaiju Big Battel.
* "Let the Right One In" (dir. Tomas Alfredson, 2009) screening at BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 4:30/6:50/9:15p. In the contemporary age of "Twilight" and so many other teen-geared, watered-down vampire romance drivel, we have this chillingly discomfiting bijou. One bullied teen boy, one mysterious teen girl, lots of bloodletting. If you've never seen it, trust me you're not properly prepared for how effective this film is at 1) defying the rote vampire genre and 2) engraving itself into your conscious.
* Tokyo Dolores + Combichrist @ Crash Mansion / 199 Bowery (FM/JZ to Delancey/Essex, 6 to Spring St), 9p/$17. As alluded to earlier, Cay Izumi and her burlesque crew Tokyo Dolores have hit stateside and, by the looks of things, are going to conquer it fully. Their next course of action, after laying waste to Kaiju Big Battel? Fetish performance at an industrial party, obvs, w/ the Combichrist DJs (Andy LaPlegua of Icon of Coil + Joe Letz of Imperative Reaction). Oh come on, yes I was into EBM and aggrotech at one point…& luckily, I only wear black.
* Heliotropes + Mondo Drag (Iowa) @ Pianos / 158 Ludlow St (FM/JZ to Delancey/Essex), 8p/$10. Jessica of Brooklyn's Heliotropes wields her axe like an overdrive-induced chainsaw, and that's a good thing in this writer's mind. Mondo Drag are touring (this is their last NY stop) and their smooth, hazy jams are the ideal complement for Heliotropes' stoner rock.
* Dum Dum Girls @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$12. Dee Dee & co play "blissed-out buzz saw" w/ some '60s girl-group inclinations, and they harmonize like nobody's business. w/ Reading Rainbow
* "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1992) screening at BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 3/6/9p. I still remember when this lavish production came out, from Gary Oldman's old-man vampire mug on the cover of "Fangoria" (b/c I was not of age to see the film in theaters, but I snuck the magazine all the same). Completely apropos for the time: Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Sir Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing (perfect! In an operatic vein…). And who can forget Keanu Reeves being assaulted by Dracula's henchwomen, Monica Bellucci et al….
* Cassie Ramone + Red Romans @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$6. A pretty sick who-who's of newish local indie, headlined by Ramone (guitarist/vocalist of Vivian Girls, Babies), w/o a doubt the biggest "name" on the list. Come early, though, for Red Romans (aka Sennott Burke, former Beach Fossils lead guitarist), stay for the sun-tinged garage-rockers Web Dating and riot grills The Shining Twins.
* Geoff McFetridge "You Can't Put a Hat on a Hole in the Sky" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth St. New works from the graphic artist and founder of Cali's Champion Graphics (plus his graphic work appears in Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides" and prolifically in Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are").
* Ra Ra Riot @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Delancey), 8p/$20. Be honest: you'd never peg me for a Ra Ra Riot fan, right? But I am, or more appropriately I became one, BIG TIME, w/ their new album "The Orchard", which is smart, groovy pop w/ a kickass strings duo. And I retroactively fell hard for their previous tracks and am now incorrigible. I'm seeing them again tomorrow, same time, same place, different opening bands. Yes you should, too.
* Wavves + Christmas Island @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7:30p/$15. Nathan Williams of surf-punk Wavves remains a polarizing force. You either subscribe to his catchy/noisy/party antics ("Beach Goth", "Weed Demon", "Post Acid") or you don't. Who I CAN attest to, w/o doubt, is So-Cal's Christmas Island, raw jangle pop w/ a dark side. w/ Babies
* Suzan Frecon @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525 W 19th St. A refreshing, subtle knockout, in a veritable sea of new art. Frecon's contemplative abstract oils w/ their reductive palettes and soft geometric shapes, recalling sunsets over desert landscapes, may sound like a lulling experience…at least on paper. Live, it's not the case AT ALL: these works, incl. the dual-panel massive oil on linens, electrify w/ form and depth. This sapphire blue she uses throughout glistens from a gentle luster to a haute jeweled pool, which amid the earthy reds and oranges is an enlivening splash in the face (for visual reference, think of the hidden cove scene in Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Red Desert", after like 75 minutes of industrial murk and hazard hues). One of my favorites this season, w/o a doubt.
* Gerhard Richter "Lines Which Do Not Exist" @ Drawing Center / 35 Wooster St. As mayjah as it gets: the 1st proper stateside exhibition on the legendary artist's works on paper, b/c though he's known for his mix of blurred photorealism and oil-slick abstraction, Richter has worked extensively in watercolor, ink and graphite since the mid-60s. This is absolutely essential and a destination exhibition. Richter had a love-hate (or really a general disdain) w/ drawing, eschewing it for photographic studies that led to his paintings or just painting by itself, as it bore the most instances of experimentation and chance. Yet, he drew anyway, on "his own terms" as it were, and the results are equally mind-altering and effortlessly his own. Wavy, rose-bud-like forms in "Untitled" (1966) created w/ graphite on a drill, the field of blurred apparitions amid seismic zaps in "27.4.1999 (5)" (1999), the (exceptionally) realistic "Gebirge/Mountains" (1968), which remains a fury of crosshatchings, the sensual nude in "20.9.1985" (1985), De Chirico-esque and drawn from a photographic source. The majority of the lot is graphite and ink, and they're riveting, but there are several Richter-style colorful examples here and there, glorious saturated worlds more emotional than physical, delving deep w/in the viewer to command our full attention. Intensely delicious.
* Masako Inkyo "Shin-ra-ban-shou" @ Onishi Gallery / 521 W 26th St. I'm convinced one conjures the nuances of traditional Japanese calligraphic art w/ contemporary aesthetics like Inkyo-sensei. I feel compelled to call her "sensei" b/c, full disclosure, she is one of my professors at Japan Society, so I must be deferential! That said, her work is knockout, and that goes beyond subjectivity. The exhibition title is a yoji-jukugo (four-character idiom) that roughly translates as "all things in nature", which is dope. Inkyo-sensei represents "the forest", for instance, w/ a haze of tree and forest characters. A waterfall looks very much like that, rough, flowing strokes w/ coagulated droplets. Even more dramatically, she forms shimmering moon shapes entirely out of kana — you can think of it as cursive long-hand writing, if that helps — writing out a poem related to the element.
* Zsolt Bodoni "Fehérlofia, Son of the White Mare" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Huge Bodoni fan here, who enjoyed a fab inclusion in the four-artist "Year One" show at this gallery during the summer. He returns w/ ferocity in large-scale, grimy industrial oils/acrylics of factories, car-parks and ruined landscapes, interspersed w/ hints of Hungarian folklore. I get undercurrents of Anselm Kiefer and the mighty haunt of Francis Bacon here, as figures remain half-hidden or evaporate in Bodoni's palette of murky tones and acid color accents.
* Zilvinas Kempinas "BALLROOM" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. The Greek curious-installation artist stole the show during "Especes d'espaces" w/ a hula-hoop-sized magnetic tape loop "suspended" b/w two industrial fans. He ups that perceptual excitement to the nth degree w/ this temporal riot, a shimmering, humming cerebral disco, like out of Gaspar Noe's "Enter the Void", composed of Kempinas' usual bag of tricks (magnetic tape, fans, swinging incandescent bulbs, reflective paper).
+ Roman Opalka "Passages". The artist's 1st solo exhibition at the gallery, running concurrently at the Paris gallery. His focus in NY are the details, literally, a triptych zoomed in to an infinite number chain, ostensibly a monochrome when viewed from a distance. A total visual palate cleanser after Kempinas' sensorial romp.
* Craig Kauffman @ Danese / 535 W 24th St 6th Fl. Late-period works from the high-gloss Cali minimalist, vacuum-formed acrylic reliefs like submerging yourself in some magical Kauffman-created coral reef. Shapes range from lustrous super-sized pearls to stunning anemonelike forms, gleaming in the center w/ a swell of glitter.
* Al Taylor "Rim Jobs and Sideffects" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 519 W 19th St. It's a cheeky title, but it's also the actual name of two of the artist's late-period series, "Rim Jobs" (from 1995, using Marcel Duchamp's bike wheel readymades as a jump-off) and "Sideffects" (1995-7, an double-sided wall installation), presented comprehensively here. The latter is a bit like Richard Serra's molten lead, frozen in midair, but is actually industrial resin and plastic-coated metal garden stakes, rubbed w/ graphite. The former incl. actual flattened, distorted or extended bicycle wheels and rims, but the most effective part for me (and a cunning take on the readymade) were Taylor's works on paper, which beyond graphite studies incl. collaged images of wheels on Japanese hotel stationery.
* Nathan Carter @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. The full show-title, meandering yet storytelling like Carter's titled works tend toward, is "Pocket Shrapnel Set-ups Veronica Vex and Brooklyn Street Treasures". The last bit's a clue to what's new: Carter maintains his rough-cut painted steel mobiles and shapes, recalling both the non-Euclidean geometries of Joan Miro and physical-industrial nature of Alexander Liberman's large-scale sculpture, but he adds to most of 'em w/ found objects (buttons, metal detritus, toy-like stuff) on walking trips in Brooklyn.
* Yi Hwan-Kwon @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. Yi's first U.S. solo exhibition is a cinematic stunner. You may have stumbled across his unmistakable photorealistic yet absurdly distorted sculpture before, familiar figures warped like at the edge of the event horizon of a black hole. Here we have elements from Yi's films series, incl. westerns and the showstopper "Léon & Mathilda", straight from that pivotal kitchen table scene, where Jean Reno shows precocious cutie Natalie Portman how to put a handgun together.
* Lori Field "The Sky is Falling" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. Field's multilayered colored pencil and encaustic works remind me of chewing through a bag of psylocibin and diving head-first into a field of daffodils. Pop culture and human/animal hybrids poke in and out of these very druggy scenes.
* Jeff Bark "Lucifer Falls" @ Hasted Hunt Kraeutler / 537 W 24th St. The dreaminess, fantasy book-cover nature of Bark's lens, in and around the namesake natural swimming pool and waterfall located in Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes region, is tempered by the slightly disquieting presence of lone nude figures. And while nudes in the wilderness is not a new thing, Bark maintains a "just a little bit off" atmosphere w/ 'em, particularly the two nearly interchangeable torsos (outlying appendages cropped out of frame), male and female only vaguely, that made me think of Suguru Takeuchi's short "Mars Canal" from "Rampo Noir". If ANYONE gets that slightly obscure film reference, two gold stars from me.
* Arlene Shechet "The Sound of It" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. A refreshing exploration of the experimental potential of ceramics. Sounds dope, right? Dope #1: we don't see many examples of ceramics as contemporary art. Dope #2: Shechet stretches the limits of the medium in very intriguing ways, while keeping it grounded in its clay-and-glaze foundation. Some weighty, globular works reveal their (subtly) hollow nature via keyhole-like appendages. Others resonate w/ non-traditional glazes glistening from w/in the form, like a geode w/ a plain, rocky exterior.
* "New Work" feat. Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Martin Honert, Charles Ray, Terry Winters @ Matthew Marks Galleries / 522 + 526 W 22nd St + 523 W 24th St. Think about it: new works by dope mid-career artists. Visual pleasure for first-time viewers and a thrill for art-fiends like myself, who have followed these artists for a long time. Pick your poison: freaky or dreamy. Freaky means 24th St, w/ Goldin's typically saturated and ghostly Cibachromes of burned taxidermy and lone trees, lifted here w/ the ecstatically cute "Ava twirling, NYC". Gober's sculpture of snaking, hairy child's sandaled legs coming out from walls or a sinklike form have never been more discomfiting, at least not in my memory. 22nd holds the dreamy stuff, luckily, some lovely sculpture from Fritsch (both whimsical and obviously extremely high-quality, particularly of an Orange Crush-colored octopus grappling w/ a diving bell), wetly floral abstract paintings from Winters, and a knockout Ray painted fiberglass relief. The title "Two Boys" belies the strength of this massive piece, hung alone in a huge gallery so the two figures emerge spectre-like from the wall. Highly recommended, all this lot.
* Judy Pfaff "Five Decades" @ Ameringer McEnery Yohe / 525 W 22nd St. I vividly recall my first encounter w/ Pfaff, via an exhaustively complete art tome back when I was in grade school. The image was one of her room installations, like the inside of a Chinese dragon (I imagined then). This exhibition keeps to Pfaff's bulging wall reliefs only, but it's an effective span of time and media. Works range from brightly painted metal blooms, predating Takashi Murakami's psychedelic flowers by x-decades, spun-wire cyclones and a pretty wicked graphic explosion of black & white wood planks and floating panels.
* "The Interrupted Image" @ Nicholas Robinson Gallery / 535 W 20th St. Some fine double-take moments in Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath's curated group show, centered on visual perception and its blindspots. My favorite was easily Wafaa Bilal's interactive video installation based on Edouard Manet's "A Bar at the Folies Bergere", where the "painted" figures slowly materialize into live human actors moving about — and the interactive element is you (yes, you!) eventually appear in it. Don't believe me? See for yourself. Also, the usual (but no less interesting) photo-collage stuff (looks like "that" but is really "this") by Birgit Graschopf and Rashid Rana.
* Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao @ Julie Saul Gallery / 535 W 22nd St, 6th Fl. Huge-ass panoramic photographs, up to 8' long, of stuff we know as NYers (whether original residents or transplants), hell even tourists know Coney Island, Times Square etc. But well…they're breathtaking to look at (and digital jigsaw puzzles, collaged from a day's worth of exposures).
* "Stop Motion" - Keith Edmier & Allam McCollum @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. The exhibition is a clue for what's within: McCollum's signature "surrogates" as an array of plaster-molded dogs (in convincing stop-motion) and two basalt-cast human hearts from Edmier.
* Dan Colen "Poetry" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. Consider me pleasantly surprised w/ Colen's debut "proper" show at Gagosian (notwithstanding the painting installation in this gallery's toilets, back in '06). I was expecting, well, a more crowded affair. A row of Colen's trompe l'oeil boulders, a bunch of gum "paintings", maybe trash on the floor… That's not the case here at all. In fact, it's on the sparse side, very proper, very "grownup" (if one can deem a painting made only w/ gum "grownup), and it mostly works. Colen's recomposed brick wall comprises the entry gallery; it's the only thing in the room and, upon approaching it from the reception area, it feels as though you are headed toward a bricked-off room. The large back gallery holds a wooden half-pipe, bearing streak marks from skateboarders and flipped upside down like a tunnel bisecting the room. The walls are lined w/ just three large-scale "paintings" (two bear minty/fruity swaths of gum, textured like they were vomited on the canvas, the third is actual paint streaks, but the colors are nearly obliterated w/ thick bands of white). The narrow side gallery hosts both my favorite piece and an awkward moment. The installation "Cracks in the Clouds", i.e. 13 shiny newish Harley motorcycles tipped over on their side (kicked over by Colen prior to the show), is so loud and fun that it completely overshadows the long canvas of….some painting, I think it's bottles, I really don't remember, b/c I wasn't paying attention. I can't claim the staying power of the gum "paintings" (think of how Piero Manzoni's odd-media "Achromes" didn't age) or even if they're meant to mature, but the motorcycles worked.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Reflected" @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. In the wave of Lichtenstein-related exhibitions (the massive still-lifes show at Gagosian this past summer, the b&w drawings show opening at the Morgan Library and Museum), this tightly edited, intriguing look at his underlying (self) referentiality and forays into abstraction is very smart. Some of my favorites, like "Reflections on Sure!?" act like Lichtenstein-style mirrors, pointed at earlier works but obliterating them in angular planes of Ben Day dots and flat color. The "Wimpy" series is particularly effective here, a trio of wildly abstracted symphonies of dots and crosshatchings w/ the original 1961 "Wimpy (Tweet)" accompanying for reference. That Lichtenstein chose to pump up the color in these later renditions to even more strict primaries is incredibly persuasive.
* Pipilotti Rist "Heroes of Birth" @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. I could do w/o the back gallery in this otherwise blissful exhibition of new Rist works. Eschew that (it holds a lit-up Rist-designed chandelier made of underwear, plus weird mirror-image wallpaper) and linger in the main room. You'll want to, as "Layers Mama Layers" fascinates: diaphanous sheets of paper run diagonally across the room, and two projectors display abstract green shapes and shots of a herd of sheep lolling about a meadow. All this to a winsome music box soundtrack. I had to force myself away from it, after like 15 minutes of zoning out amid the fluffy-coated, bleary-eyed sheep in that spring green grass.
* Tetsumi Kudo "Cubes and Gardens" @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Few artists can muster this balance of beauty and grotesque in me like the Japanese innovator, in this exhibition of two of his finest series from the '60s. When viewing his cubes, jewelry box-sized assemblages of faux-viscera and household materials, keep in mind they're his meditations on the European state of being (he was living in Paris at the time). The gardens are properly earthy, organic and polluted w/ waste amid the blooms. The big chamber in the room, "Garden of the Metamorphosis in the Space Capsule" bears a little doorway on the bottom: peek up inside it to a UV-light chamber of massive wilting plants in a contained, manufactured ecosystem.
+ Michael St. John "These Days: Norman Rockwell Part 2". You won't get any relief from Kudo's strong imagery in gallery 2, St. John's menagerie of small-scale contemporary culture. His riff on Richard Hamilton's famous '56 collage "Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?" is a good starting point. This veers into cobbled Flickr-outtakes and a screenprinted series entitled "Show Us Your Tits", which seems to be based around Mardi Gras but includes a woman in a giant rabbit costume as well, and an all-stickers work centered on Pres. Obama's '08 campaign. That St. John is a senior figure to such culture-miners as Dan Colen and Nate Lowman should be emphasized here.
* Laurent Grasso "SoundFossil" @ Sean Kelly Gallery / 528 W 29th St. I had the most sublime, lucid-dream-like experience in this show, all courtesy of the video installation "Horn Perspective". Eschew the other add-ons and whatnot in the side gallery (they're fine, but they're totally outplayed by the film). Instead, situate yourself amid the huge, carved wood speakers, in front of the screen following a floating-camera through a green, antediluvian forest. It's neither a smoothly mechanical tracking shot nor a jittery handheld, like filmed from an automobile; rather, the experience feels eerily lifelike, if you count flying through a forest lifelike. Every few minutes, a bunch of birdlike figures (computer-animated?) shower the screen before flapping off into the distance and dematerializing. The sum effect is akin to those "rain-sticks" popularized by intelligent science-shops like Grey Matter back in the '80s: you know, you turn the stick over and the beads or whatever inside cascade down, and it sounds embarrassingly pleasant, like rainfall?
* Ingrid Calame "Swing Shift" @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. Boldly colorful oil on aluminum abstractions of inventory numbers stenciled into factory floors at a steel plant in Buffalo NY.
* Angelo Filomeno "The marquis and a bearded dominatrix with a cake in the oven" @ Galerie Lelong / 528 W 26th St. Filomeno gave up skull imagery? Oh I faked you out BIG time w/ that prediction. No, he's full on skulls, both human-like and fantasy, coated in oil or jewels, monogrammed on shimmery swaths of silk, amid S&M imagery in other places. I'd have beef w/ this stuff except it's just damn cool-looking — and the silk-work (where there are no skulls, there are cockroaches!) is incredibly impressive.
* Dan Flavin @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. Brilliant (no pun): after David Zwirner's fantastic Flavin installation last November, plus the year-long reopening of X Space and the stairwell Flavin there, the naysayer may preclude that the city is "tired" of this fluorescent alchemist. No way. The gallery hosts four of Flavin's early works, including a stunning, transcendent pink and yellow "corridor" from 1972-5.
* Jennifer Steinkamp @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. Slithery new 3D animation from the video-installation artist. She eschews flowers (though foliage returns as autumn leaves) this time for arteries and tendons, to a full effect like a late '90s screensaver.
* Marcel Broodthaers "Section Cinéma" @ Marian Goodman Gallery / 24 W 57th St. Broodthaers' conceptual museum, Musée d'Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, Section Cinema, w/ screenings of six of the iconic artist's films. This is first time Section Cinéma has appeared stateside, and it's a heady experience, so understand full immersion will require at least a second visit. Walk about the rooms, observe the filmstrips and the lab-like stacks and materials, let the installation soak in.
* Marcel Broodthaers "Major Works" @ Michael Werner Gallery / 4 E 77th St. Concurrent w/ the Goodman show, this career-spanning exhibition contains, as the title would convey, some of the Belgian artist's strongest (yet in instances very rarely seen) works. From his poetic text paintings and Surrealist imagery, to the mesmerizing late-period installation "Dites Partout Que Je L'ai Dit".
* Lee Friedlander "Recent Western Landscape" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 5th Ave. The beauty of arid, tangled underbrush, as only Friedlander can capture. Shot around Death Valley, Glen Canyon, and the Mojave Desert, in dozens of same-size, intriguingly warm b&w prints.
* Patrick Jackson "Tchotchke Stacks" @ Nicole Klagsbrun / 526 W 26th St #213. Think Jeff Koons (or Jeffrey Vallance, or Damien Hirst for that matter) have cornered the market on banal articles en masse, ridiculous yet undeniably good-looking? Check Jackson's titular installation, like being in a '50s Americana coffeetable hell, a winner in its extreme prodigiousness, and get back to me.
+ Jason Tomme "Paper Lead Poem". The Chinati Foundation artist-in-residence in 2008 (already a winner, in this writer's mind), works w/ sheet lead and shaped paper (mixed w/ spray paint) to create heavy monoprints.
* Rob Pruitt "Pattern and Degradation" @ Gavin Brown's Enterprise / 620 Greenwich St + Maccarone Gallery / 630 Greenwich St. You read that correctly: Pruitt gets a city block to work his contempo-pop magic and, while it's a visually arresting affair, I found it neither confusing nor overwhelming. The bulk of Gavin Brown's lair is devoted to Pruitt's Rumspringa inspiration, w/ spraypainted "Amish quilts" and composite self-portraits (plus a glittery panda here and there) lining the walls of a room invaded w/ silver-taped chairs (straight from a DWR catalogue, plus the wheelchair & Shaker thrown in for good measure) and Pruitt's "prayer books". The "vestibule" gallery features monster-truck tyres full of candy, and the side gallery cheeky silkscreened t-shirt paintings (headless Mickey Mouse, Debbie Harry's lipstick kiss, two glittery fornicating pandas), like an Amish youth's first encounter w/ the outside world, indulgent and fractured. Maccarone figures more into Pruitt's contemporary explorations, w/ heavily impastoed oil paintings based on this season's Ikea wall art and bundled cardboard stacks, outfitted w/ footwear and googly eyes, like massive recycled Wall-Es. Also: more panda art (Japanese video-game style) and a wall of cat images (the same b&w coats as the pandas) culled, I'm guessing, from Google images. So: Gavin Brown's exhibition felt more focused and easier to grasp overall, and Maccarone's requires a bit more effort (though the visual eye-candy is appealing), but it's a nice one overall.
* Liu Xiaodong "Yan Guan Town" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. Liu, a leader of China's "New Generation" figurative painters, traveled to Yan Guan County, Gansu Province, to depict vibrant domestic scenes from peaceful, intermingling non-indigenous Muslims and Christians. Two large canvases, "Z's Family" in a spare church (w/ donkey) and "H's Family" in a narrow storefront, frame the show, w/ smaller paintings framing each individual and two landscapes filling out the rest. The colors are marvelous and warm, earthy and fresh, and Liu's brushwork is evident just as he succeeds in giving personality to each of the people (and donkey) as his subjects. I dug "H's Family" the best: the angled perspective, the youths posing casually like they just paused from their routines, the brightly colored bottles lining the shelves and the patterned tablecloths, I got a strong welcoming feeling from it.
* Alex Gross "Discrepancies" + Esao Andrews "Solid Void" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St. Show some love for slightly creepy, highly figurative, masterfully executed paintings — and chuck the term "low art" forever away. Gross is Cali-based, but his subjects, in their mixture of mythology and luxury name-brand consumer culture, bear echoes of his work in Japan (he did the U.S. paperback cover for Haruki Murakami's "After Dark"). In Gross' cocktail, everyone owns an iPhone and drinks Starbucks, they emerge from dark waters like an old-school screensaver, clutching their smartphones and cigarettes as a wrong-color sky fills w/ confetti and slogans ('Bittersweet', 'End User', 'Envy'). Andrews' style is much darker and warped , w/ his long-limbed figures interacting w/ cloven-hoofed….things…and smears of full-spectrum will o' the wisp against gloomy underworld backgrounds.
* Sarah Peters "An Appeal to Heaven" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. The artist's continued investigation of colonial America, from inky maelstrom-like seascape drawings (the "Mayflower" series) to stylized bronze busts ("Descendants and Believers").
* Karl Wirsum "Drawings 1967-70" @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. We haven't had a solo show from this original Hairy Who member in a lonnnng time, which is esp. notable b/c, if the legends are to be believed, Wirsum uttered the question that led to group's name. This show, culled from the artist's fecund sketchbooks, is good and grotesque. There are a few inky-black or fire-red renderings (for "Playboy"!) that recall fetish, but maybe that's my mind wandering at the heels and whips imagery. The majority are fleshy, muscled, hard-contrast figures, like superheroines exposed to high levels of some alien radiation. And since we were graced w/ a Jim Nutt old & new works exhibition at David Nolan, I can only hope NY sees some of Wirsum's neon-y new paintings sooner than later.
* Yoshitomo Nara "Nobody's Fool" @ Asia Society / 725 Park Ave (6 to 68th St). Finally a major NY exhibition of the seminal Japanese Pop artist. One of his fashion-psychedelia-minded countrymen gets lots of love here (ahem, Takashi Murakami), but Nara's sweetly unsettling oeuvre, deeply rooted in punk music, is precisely my "thing". You may have seen his stuff on cards or album art: lone little girl, big-headed and slyly innocent, wielding a knife or saying something like "damn it all" or shredding on a guitar ("hey! ho! let's go!"). Look, anything involving The Ramones, Guitar Wolf or punk rock in general, you've got my attention. The exhibition crafts a fuller image of the artist, beginning w/ "Isolation", his rather somber works as an art student in Germany in the late '80s of lone dogs and fragile children in solitude, a whole range I've never seen before. "Rebellion" is an obvious one, w/ the punk slogans and Nara's investigations into paper, drawing on exhibition invites and envelopes, plus like "No Hopeless" (2007) where he fashioned an eye bandage out of paper and taped it directly to the canvas. And then there are his massive canvases of stoic girls against generally featureless backdrops (though "Remember Me", 2005, has an active twilit Van Gogh-esque sky, echoed in the girl's fiery eyes). Imagery of the home, present in Nara's earliest works, come alive in his exceedingly awesome installations, a collaborative effort w/ designer Hideki Toyoshima as YNG. I've seen these folksy, whimsical "shacks" before at Marianne Boesky, Nara's NY gallery, but Asia Society one-ups this w/ two large, period-room-style installations, incl. "Untitled (Formerly Home)", a series of interconnected chambers, rough wood and pastel paint everywhere, w/ paintings, drawings, and traces of Nara's handiwork throughout. Oh, and there is a SOUNDTRACK to the show. I mean, dig?
* David LaChapelle "American Jesus" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. I surprised myself in actually liking this LaChapelle show, though I'm notoriously not a fan of the too-slick artist. The titular trio of large-scale C-prints feature Michael Jackson as subject, and though the works (LaChapelle's usual dramatic, crowded staged photography) are all from 2009, parts were initially created way back when. Just check "Thriller"-era Jackson in "Archangel Michael: And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer", my favorite of the three. The fruition from LaChapelle's decades' collab w/ the deceased pop star resonates here. What set this exhibition to the "like" category for me, was LaChapelle's new, massive "Rape of Africa", a lush and ironic print in its own right, but augmented here by a series of watercolor and collage works on paper, studies for the final C-print. Seeing LaChapelle's methodology struck a tone belying my general complaints of the overall synthetic nature of his photography, a well-studied history and process towards those just-so results. I'd like to see more of LaChapelle's behind-the-scenes works in the future.
* Rivane Neuenschwander "A Day Like Any Other" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave). This is bliss. Those words, written (not uttered) by Tadanobu Asano in a pivotal moment in Pen-ek Ratanaruang's "Last Life in the Universe", carried me through this joyous survey of the Brazilian artist's oeuvre. I was turned onto Neuenschwander years ago, thanks to Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, to my understanding the only gallery (or museum) in NY showing her work — and I don't know where else stateside you can find it. She receives much love in Europe for her interdisciplinary conceptualist interventions, so it was with great pleasure and anticipation that I attended this overdue exhibition. One caveat: this is not an all-inclusive, exhaustive look at her ENTIRE career this far. One of my favorite works, the video "Quarta-Fiera de Cinzas/Epilogue (Ash Wednesday/Epilogue)", a joyous Carnivale-esque parade of ants carrying glittering bits of confetti to an O Grivo soundtrack, which I caught at Bonakdar Gallery TKyears ago, is absent. As is "Pangaea's Diaries", another film from Bonakdar Gallery of a shifting reddish map of the world on an ovoid white backdrop — actually a stop-motion animation of ants moving beef carpaccio around a plate. That said, EVERYTHING in this show, besides the namesake blank clocks, positioned in all sorts of funny places about the museum (check the one in the café) is new to me, a mix of intrinsic earlier works and some brand-new ones. The whole 'bliss' thing I felt most strongly on the 4th Fl, the quieter of the two, that embodies a wonderfully discreet motley of visual and aural elements. First, the buckets, "Rain Rains" (2002), aka "Chove Chuva", one of my favorite Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 covers, an array leaking buckets suspended from the ceiling (w/ their mates positioned carefully beneath on the floor). Then these soap-bubble shapes on the floor, everywhere, near the buckets and not, that have a slight tactile quality. These are "Walking in Circles" (2000 but always site-specific), circles of invisible glue that pick up your footprints, slowly exposing the shapes over the course of the exhibition. You may begin to hear a rhythm at this point: the drip-drops from "Rain Rains" are incredibly hypnotic, gamelan-esque, like treated bell tones from Autechre. I stood amidst the buckets for...let's say extended periods of time, I lost track (this is keeping in the show-title and the work "A Day Like Any Other", of course). Can I go so far as to call to the melodiousness of "Rain Rains" like 'groovy'? I'll take it there. The gorgeous crumbled and painted maps, "After the Storm" (2010), lining two walls, are the result of exposing maps of NY counties to Belo Horizante, Brazil's rainy season, then drying and painting them afterward. They pick up the wetness of "Rain Rains" quite nicely, like a before-and-after. Finally, "The Fall" (2009), an absolutely stunning film of an egg-race through the woods, from the spoon's perspective. It is nice to look at but the real golden moment is the audio: you MUST pick up the headphones and listen (and fingers crossed the New Museum adds a few more sets). What you will hear: wind through the branches, birds, an insect's buzzing, crunching footsteps on grass, forest sounds magnified and intensified. Then: like the audio goes in your head, respiration, the egg clattering on the metal spoon's bowl. Like "Rain Rains", "The Fall" works on two levels, visual and sonic, and both must be experienced (slow down and listen) to fully get the beauty of the piece. The 3rd Floor (containing another transfixing new film "The Tenant" and site-specific installation "The Conversation") is busier overall but works in dialogue w/ the more discreet upper floor. It's a fascinating, warming experience overall. You really do lose track of time, lingering over Neuenschwander's works. I think that's the best thing.