* Bruit de Fond/Background Noise @ Dashwood Books / 33 Bond St, 6p. The U.S. launch of JSBJ's (Je Suis une Bande de Jeunes) interdisciplinary book Bruit de Fond/Background Noise, feat. 46 emerging international art photographers who blur the line b/w image-making genres.
* "Noise" (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2006) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 6:50/9:15p. You've probably never seen a rock doc like this one, Assayas' fractured A/V collage w/ friends and artists Sonic Youth, Metric and Jeanne Balibar (chanteuse and star of Pedro Costa's "Ne Change Rien") in a kinetic made-for-French-TV bijou.
* Tokyo Dolores "Spanking the LES" @ Nurse Bettie / 106 Norfolk St (FM/JZ to Rivington/Essex), 10p. Tokyo Dolores — the fiercest Japan-based pole-dancing/burlesque troupe — begin their final week in NYC w/ a systematic citywide takedown. Target #1: the casual go-go scene, w/ a rippin' routine on the LES. Be forewarned: the venue is tiny, so show up on time or be cast outdoors, pressing your face against the glass while the girls work the pole inside. You don't want that.
* Deerhoof @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (6 to Bleecker, ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 8p/$15. Don't put Deerhoof in a corner! These perpetually creative art-punks have a new album on the way, the cunningly titled "Deerhoof v. Evil", and if track "The Merry Barracks" is any indication Satomi, Greg & the dueling guitar boys will get you dancing and rock your socks off.
* Kordan (album release) + ZAZA @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. Few bands pair shoegaze w/ an electro polish as deftly as Kordan, whose record release party is anchored by ZAZA's dreamy pop soundscapes.
* Fendry Ekel & Chris Jones @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Cristea's gallery is quickly becoming one of my favorites in the city, and this two-artist show should continue my general stoked excitement. Both work in seemingly banal imagery, w/ Amsterdam's Ekel reappropriating icons in his mixed media works and London's Jones working up a decaying, familiar assemblage.
* Kwun Soon-chul @ Gana NY / 568 W 25th St. A series of large oil on canvas works from the Paris-based Kwun, his first solo U.S. show, renderings culled from Korea's postwar history in a weathered, rugged realism.
* Julian Stanczak "Color Grid" @ Danese / 535 W 24th St 6th Fl. Op till you drop. This is the real deal, incl classic Stanczak acrylics and new works, taking Josef Albers' "Homage to the Square" and putting it on DMT.
* Kyoung Tack Hong "Pens" @ Doosan Gallery / 533 W 25th St. Visual overstimulation via these dense, obsessively detailed, full-spectrum colorful paintings of, yes, pens.
* "Six Degrees of Separation: A New Generation of Canadian Artists" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. Noah Becker's all-in-one "Realms", these floating multitiered worlds of the human condition, both suffering and happy, are one part of this group show the Vancouver-based artist guest curated. Also feat. are Toronto's Alex McLeod (whose hyperreal, utopian 3D renderings I caught at Jonathan LeVine Gallery's summer group show), James Nye (cropped, layered graffiti'ed structures), Catherine Heard, Trevor Guthrie and more.
* Rose Wylie "What with What" @ Thomas Erben Gallery / 526 W 26th St 4th Fl. I am entirely intrigued. The works of this 76-year-old British artist, art-historical symbols reworked on unstretched canvas, rougher than Donald Baechler, as Pop-ish but more humanistic than John Wesley — I have trouble pinning down who this evocative artist counts as peers. Luckily, this exhibition encompasses two decades of her work, post-Royal College of Art, London, so it provides and excellent experience to get to know Wylie.
* Yoan Capote @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. An intensely visceral look at the human experience from the Havana-based artist, via stone block and cast-bronze bones for portrait stand-ins, and paintings of waves created w/ blood-mixed oil paint and covered w/ fish hooks.
* Julianne Swartz "Close Portfolio" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. The artist's latest photo series uses the appearance of a fingertip in frame as the impetus for framing a minimalist, austere "self-portrait".
+ Mary Temple "Among Friends and Enemies". A temporal exhibition, composed of digitally scanned ink drawings by Temple of figures in the media, swapped out daily by the gallery.
* Bo Bartlett "Paintings of Home" @ PPOW / 511 W 25th St #301. This exhibition of Bartlett's childhood memories of Georgia, done in a traditional American realist style, is a breather from the dual waves of Abstract Expressionism and contemporary abstraction currently flooding W. Chelsea.
* Tokyo Dolores "Meaner Harder Leather" @ Vig 27 / 119 E 27th St (6 to 23rd St), 12a. Night #2 of Tokyo Dolores' (aka Cay, Aloe & Alk) NY conquering is the saucy vibe of this neither-downtown-nor-uptown posh lounge. This joint caters to an upscale crowd who KNOW their burlesque, so expect the girls to bring it, Tokyo-style.
* Heliotropes + Gross Relations @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$6. A tasty combo: Locals Heliotropes will pull you in w/ their groove-driven doom-pop, then Gross Relations will enchant w/ their retro-ish lo-fi indie rock.
* Run DMT + Woodsman @ Shea Stadium / 20 Meadow St, Bushwick (L to Grand), 8p. A night of heavy, mind-altering ambience, w/ Brooklyn-by-way-of-Denver's Woodsman and the Baltimore psych collective Run DMT (think about that acronym for a minute). Should be a trip. w/ Night Manager
* Daniel Zeller "Incomplete Analysis" @ Pierogi Gallery / 177 N 9th St. Zeller's dense ink & acrylic paper works bear such marvelous titles as "Matagenopolis" and "Quasimorphic Node", which may give you a clue to their highly detailed, bacterial subject matter.
* "Plain Air", curated by Brian Willmont @ Cinders Gallery / 103 Havermeyer St, Williamsburg. The artist-publishing collective Apenest continue their embrace of local underground art w/ the theme of landscape as the space around us. Feat. Cody Hoyt, Sophia Cara Frydman, Hilary Pecis, Conor Thompson, Corey Anderson and more, in literal to totally abstract renditions.
* Alison Blickle "Zabriskie Point" @ Thierry Goldberg Projects / 5 Rivington St. Lush realist brushwork of lithe figures against a dazzling, hallucinogenic Death Valley landscape (the exhibition title echoes Michelangelo Antonioni's eponymous film) all sounds like my style.
* Joy Garnett "Boom & Bust" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. Garnett eschews smeared-color freeways and landscapes for fireworks in this new collection of paintings, though look at 'em from a certain angle and they resemble anemones and underwater marvels.
* "Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents" panel discussion @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 6:30p, $10. Artists Lin Tianmiao and Hang Rui, plus MoMA's Sarah Suzuki (Asst. Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books), Jane DeBevoise (chair of Asia Art Archive's board of directors) and others gather for a discussion on contemporary Chinese art.
* Aki Sasamoto + Saul Melman FINAL PERFORMANCES @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq), 2p, part of "Greater New York". We are in the final stretch of MoMA PS1's latest quinquennial "Greater NY". Sasamoto's collaborative performance w/ Melman in the PS1 boiler room, "Skewed Lies/Central Governor" (she speaks, he gilds) takes on a progressive, participatory nature in their final three performances, same time and place, thru SUN.
+ A.L. Steiner open studios. Steiner presents FACADE/FASAD in the basement vault, adjacent to the Sasamoto/Melman performance, from 2-5 thru SUN. Catch 'em first, then catch Steiner.
* "Carlos" (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2010) special roadshow edition @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Assayas' epic docudrama on Carlos the Jackal is really just the core for an enlightening look on the gestation of contemporary terrorism, spanning Carlos' international criminal career through his eventual incarceration. This is the FULL version, the three-part 330 minute film, so it is a rare treat to see the film as the director intended on the big screen. The buzz I've been hearing from trusted film critic friends, how Assayas and Carlos' Edgar Ramirez far exceed Steven Soderbergh's "Che" and how this won over both Cannes and the NYFF have got me convinced. It screens through NOV 2.
* "Band of Outsiders" (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston). Is this my favorite JLG film, or possibly my favorite of all Nouvelle Vague films? Quite possibly YES. But is this hyperactive heist film my favorite portrayal of super-cutie Anna Karina? Her singular "Madison scene" w/ costars Claude Brasseur and Sami Frey in the crowded café totally puts it there, but then we have her big-eyed turn in the earlier "Une femme est use femme" and her fab banter w/ Paul Belmondo in "Pierrot le fou" (let alone her mystique in "Alphaville")… so while I'll tentatively call "Band of Outsiders" my all-time favorite Anna Karina role, it's a close one.
* "Kwaidan" (dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 1965) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (456/7 to 42nd St/Grand Central), 7:30p. If you're a fan of J-Horror (particularly the droopy black-haired "yurei" style a la "The Ring") or just love a good spine-tingling fright, you owe it to yourself to see the film whose title translates to GHOST STORY. Kobayashi's classic culls from Lafcadio Hearn's collections of Japanese folk tales, to frightening conclusions. I mean, one of the tales is called "The Black Hair". Don't expect today's gore and cheap shocks: rather, Kobayashi's suite are filled to the brim w/ fleeting beauty and steady, tense crescendoes.
* Tokyo Dolores performance at Trash! / 125 E 11th St, basement (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 10p/$10. Night #3 of Tokyo Dolores' systematic takedown of NYC's nightlife scene is a darkly glamorous affair for nightowls and electro-kids. Leather and bare skin in effect. This dance should be extra-special.
* Deerhunter + Real Estate @ Webster Hall / 125 E 11th St (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 6p/$20. I appreciate Deerhunter's transition since their foggy "Cryptograms" days, back when I 1st got into 'em (though it wasn't that many years ago). Tape loops guitar noise have steadily given way to really remarkable, enlightening garage-rock w/ staying power, and their new album "Halcyon Digest" is near-perfection. Ridgewood NJ's Real Estate, bearing nostalgia-tinged surf-rock ditties, share the stage. Oh and technically, due to showtimes, you could catch this show AND Tokyo Dolores' in the basement, afterward. You love NY, non?
* Lightning Bolt + Dan Deacon Ensemble + Casiotone for the Painfully Alone @ Ridgewood Temple / 1054 Bushwick Ave, Bushwick (JZ to Gates Ave), 8p/$15 (or advance tix for $12 at Desert Island Books, 540 Metropolitan Ave (L/G to Lorimer)). The final NY show, evah, for Owen Ashworth, whose CFTPA project has a cult following that I am admittedly not part. But if you are, or if you're curious to the charming effect lo-fi keyboards + frank vocals makes, you'll not want to miss it. Now: adding Deacon's ensemble into the mix, i.e. the hairy guy w/ the coke-bottle glasses & microphone + like a dozen percussionists/noisemakers, ups the happy hysteria level to 11. Only to be blissfully decimated by Lightning Bolt's flood of white-hot drumming and FX-laden shouts, mostly coming from one-man army Brian Chippendale, which makes me proud we share the same given name.
* Parts & Labor @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Willamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$8. A PopGun party w/ Brooklyn's genre-crippling math-rockers Parts & Labor at the helm = good times. Bonus props for seemingly many-limbed drummer Joe Wong, who scored Frankie Latina's exploitation film "Modus Operandi".
* Roxy Paine "Distillation" @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. The latest edition to this mutable artist's (who works effortlessly in hyperreal 'shroom sculpture, machine paintings & steel-coated "trees") "Dendroid" series (remember his stainless-steel tumbleweed "Maelstrom" on the Met rooftop last year?), one massive, gallery-filling metallic organism, piercing through walls and cohabiting in the main gallery. Plus, a wall installation from Paine's "Replicant" series, i.e the eukaryotic/botanical fungi, fun and psychoactive!
* Andisheh Avini "Screw, Spread, Slip, Suck, Stab, Fall, Cross and Writhe" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth St. Avini's new exhibition continues his pop-media silkscreens (here the American hostage crisis in Iran), but further pairs them w/ marquetry in a pre-Islamic architectural style.
* "Clean" (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2004) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 4:30/6:50/9:15p. My favorite Assayas film, and that's a toughie considering the director's grade-A output of dreamy, sexy, cinematic gems. But no question: this bittersweet spiral into and climb out of heroin abuse and the vigilant music world, starring Maggie Cheung as the lead substance abuser and rocker and Nick Nolte (incredibly) as her weathered father-in-law, I count as some of the rawest, most compassionate performances of their kind. David Roback's contribution to the film's soundtrack is icing on the cake.
* "The Darjeeling Limited" (dir. Wes Anderson, 2007) screening @ 92Y Tribeca / 200 Hudson St (ACE/1 to Canal St), 9p/$12. Anderson's signature weathered-lovely road story, feat. Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson & Jason Schwartzman in & around the eponymous train on a soul-searching quest through India. N.B. this screening would be way cooler had 92Y preceded it w/ semi-prologue "Hotel Chevalier".
* Tokyo Dolores "RoboGeisha" @ Crash Mansion / 199 Bowery (FM/JZ to Delancey/Essex, 6 to Spring St), 10p/$17. The gloves are off in the final night of Tokyo Dolores' NY tour. Cay, Aloe & Alk return to Japan, but not before unleashing a properly naughty sendoff on this wicked downtown fetish party, hosted by Stimulate. The theme flows w/ Cay's films (she was one of the two Tengu girls in Noboru Iguchi's "RoboGeisha"), and the girls are pulling out all the stops to make this a night you'll not soon forget.
* Electric Temple Presents "Drone Marathon" @ ISSUE Project Room / 232 3rd St, Gowanus (FD/G/NR to 4th Ave/9th St), 2p/$10. A day-long event of sustained tones and multilayered soundscapes ranging from harsh to mellifluous from some of the most talented and challenging contemporaries musicians of the genre. Feat. the ineffable Tony Conrad (performing his classic "Three Loops for Performers and Tape Recorders" from 1961), Phill Niblock (a group conceptual A/V drone), Marcia Bassett (aka Zaimph), Margarida Garcia, Aki Onda, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Noveller (Sarah Lipstate's searing guitar-drone outfit), and collective Ancient Ocean/Tom Carter/Century Plants.
* Turbo Fruits + Pujol @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/. Define EPIC: in terms of Southern indie rock, this is it, Nashville's party-minded Daniel Pujol & crew + country-fried rockers Turbo Fruits, who I haven't seen since they leveled Market Hotel (remember when that was still open?) back in February w/ a singalong to "Sweet Home Alabama" (seriously, it was wicked). w/ Liquor Store & Dream Diary, just to make this night even cooler.
* Open Ocean @ Cameo Gallery / 93 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7:30p. NY's fashion-y dreampop quartet Open Ocean do an enchanting live show. w/ Warm Ghost
+ Apache Beat (album release party) w/ MINKS, 11p/$5. Stay for the late show, w/ the lovely glam-gloom darlings MINKS & smart progressive pop from Apache Beat, (props to their new record "Last Chants"). w/ Von Haze
* robbinschilds "Instruction Construction" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq), 12p, part of "Greater New York". Loads of performances are going down at PS1 on the eve of "Greater NY"'s closing. Brooklyn performance duo robbinschilds augment their gallery/studio to a movement-based score w/ audience participation. Download an mp3 file from the duo's site and join in on the action.
+ Aki Sasamoto & Saul Melman "Skewed Lies/Central Governor" at 2p, the finale of the duo's collaborative performance in the PS1 boiler room (see FRI for more info).
+ Mariah Robertson "Experiment #17" at 3:30p, and I'll admit I'm totally intrigued by what this darkroom alchemist has in store for her performance.
+ Ryan McNamara "The Finale" at 4:30p. Oh yes. one final gallery-crossing hurrah, a dance performance to end all dance performances. Let's see what our man McNamara has learned from his "Teach Ryan How to Dance" contribution to "Greater NY".
* Sweet Bulbs + MINKS @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/. A who's-who of what's hot in Brooklyn right now. Yes, Total Slacker are playing this show, but they go on before my favorite new-ish glam-gloom lovelies MINKS and the enchanting, noisy Sweet Bulbs.
* Beach Fossils + MINKS @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7p/FREE. This should be fun. While I can't quite see the twilit gorgeous MINKS performing in a bowling alley (catch 'em later in the night at properly dive-ish DbA), I can totally jive w/ the sunny, buoyant bliss from Greenpoint surf-rockers Beach Fossils.
* "demonlover" (dir. Olivier Assayas, 2002) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 7p + Q&A w/ Assayas! Four words: interactive 3D anime porn. That's the core of this corporate thriller, which could mark Assayas' foray into New French Extremity (think Gaspar Noé, Coralie Trinh Thi, Alexandre Aja, Bruno Dumot and Bertrand Bonello).
* "HHH: A Portrait of Hou Hsiao-Hsien" (dir. Olivier Assayas, 1997) screenings @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins, C to Lafayette), 6:50/9:15p. I absolutely love this, Assayas' turning the camera on his artistic influence, Taiwanese New Wave auteur Hou, whose naturalistic, minimalist post WWII dramas ("A City of Sadness" above all), through his neon drenched millennial dances "Millennium Mambo" and "Three Times" and his pensively beautiful "Café Lumiere" (an ode to Yasujiro Ozu) and the French-produced "Flight of the Red Balloon" mark him as one of the most influential directors today and a personal favorite.
* CMJ 2010: Yo La Tengo w/ Screaming Females @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE. Friends, this is not the textbook way of opening CMJ 2010 (free party, bowling alley), but if you brave the line you'll see NJ's maelstromic rock trio Screaming Females and indie heavyweights Yo La Tengo, for free. What a way to spend your Tuesday night.
* (unofficial!) CMJ 2010: Gary War, Big Troubles, PC Worship @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$10. Another ace, LIST approved option for your 1st night of CMJ, the Friendship Bracelet/Rose Quartz Party. Take a fuzzier trip to the dark side w/ the ever-increasingly brilliant shoegazey young dudes in Big Troubles, plus the subterranean lo-fi of Gary War & PC Worship. w/ Raw Thrills & Total Slacker
* Joan Miro "The Dutch Interiors" @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). In late-fall 2008, the MoMA held a stunning decade-spanning show of Miro's genre-busting oeuvre entitled "Painting and Anti-Painting", a sliver of the artist's oeuvre but a richly beautiful, cerebral wealth of technique and experimentation, that still strongly resonates in my consciousness. The Met takes a scalpel to that exquisite exhibition, mining out his three "Dutch Interior" paintings from his time in Montroig (near Barcelon), plus one of the two related canvases from that trip ("The Potato"), work studies, sketches, several delicious earlier works and — because this is the Met we're talking about — the two Dutch Golden Age paintings that inspired "The Dutch Interiors". An exemplary feat. Miro visited the Rijksmuseum during a 1928 trip to Amsterdam and, taking postcards back of two works that struck a chord w/ him, Hendrick Sorgh's "The Lute Player" (1660) and Jan Steen's fanciful "Children Teaching a Cat to Dance" (1660), distorted, abstracted, exaggerated, and updated them into three lyrical, poetic paintings. The first, based deceptively closely off "The Lute Player", is a riot of semi-figurative forms on an eye-popping green backdrop, w/ the window overlooking a smeared blue and yellow town scene. Miro played more w/ the second canvas, deemphasizing the dancing cat and lutist in favor of the foregrounded hound and an onlooking child's rapt gaze. The third interior is the loosest, floating planes of color and predated Calder-esque mobile forms on a sea of bright yellow and yellow-green. In essence, this is more than enough, seeing Miro's marriage of structure and experimentation w/ the Dutch compositions, but the Met augments it w/ several works from its own collection, incl. the stunning, gradient- and texture-rich "Animated Landscape. Study this one closely after viewing "The Dutch Interiors" and their work drawings, as the truths hidden in this lovely work are far more opaque.
* "The Last Newspaper" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave). I could detect no apocalyptic end to print media at this cryptically named yet terribly rewarding, accessible and predictably info-packed exhibition. The closest resemblance in name comes from the Latitudes news team's weekly newspaper "THE LAST TKTK" (the one out now is slugged "THE LAST POST"), created/written/edited/printed by the Barcelona-based group, w/ in-residence editors Max Andrews and Mariana Canepa Luna enlisting YOU (yes, you!) for pitches and editorial suggestions (send 'em here: firstname.lastname@example.org if you can't find the duo at their desks on the 3rd floor of the museum, typing away). No, print media, specifically newsprint and even more specifically its dissemination, recycling, re-appropriation as a newsmaker, is very much alive here, from its long tradition as a medium for artwork (I still distinctly recall seeing Pablo Picasso's and Georges Braque's early Cubist collages incorporating newsprint) to its persistence as analogue journalism — meaning in addition to Latitudes' publication, we also get "The New City Reader", headed by Joseph Grima of Domus magazine and Kazys Varnelis, the director of Networked Architecture Lab at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture. The 3rd Fl has this newsroom setup, w/ a grid of desks, some occupied by the aforementioned project-participants, others vacant of humans but chock-full of their media: Brooklyn's Center For Urban Pedagogy created these visually stunning (and vaguely depressing) toolkits for Affordable Housing (a Velcro-ish graph, directing how your income and rent/mortgage interplay) and a Lego Zoning Toolkit. Another fantastic one, and one of the few video-media, is Jeffrey Inaba and C-Lab's (Inaba's group at Columbia U's architecture grad school) interactive and predicative screens on U.S. weather in 20-odd cities, operating as part-forecast, part-GNP-ticker. I found it fascinating, and while that could be b/c I'm an American who talks extensively about the weather (my emails w/ my parents, both ways, include at least two intro paragraphs about JUST the weather), I think you'll find it fascinating as well. There is little static media in the non-project art. I loved Adrian Piper's three "Vanilla Nightmares", her charcoal and oil crayon drawings directly on yellowing copies of the NY Times, but even the earliest work in the exhibition, Arte Povera artist Luciano Fabro's "Pavimento (Tautologia)" (1967) will operate as the artist intended, w/ a large rectangle of newspapers spread out on the floor swapping out daily, throughout the exhibition. Wolfgang Tillman's "Truth Study Center" vitrines, a brilliant and jarring juxtaposition of collaged news clippings and photographs intertwined in broad-stroked explosions of political and religious violence, will update as well. Hans Haacke's seemingly prehistoric "News, 1969/2008" is hooked to an RSS feed and that archaic printer/typewriter will indeed unfurl noisily the international atrocities on a regular basis. Mike Kelley's amalgam broadsheets feature an intriguing, personal twist: the slugs come from places he's lived, the images from high-school yearbooks (though the instances of Goth costuming, neo-Christian evangelism and hot girls could easily stem from Kelley's "Day is Done" opus), and the texts from his own troubled imagination. William Pope.L restates his "Eating the Wall Street Journal" (2000) w/ six Obama-masked assistants on a sporadic basis (like OCT 16). I'll be reporting back, pun-intentional but warranted.
* Dieter Roth & Bjorn Roth "Work Tables & Tischmatten" @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. A first-time exhibition of the senior Roth's studio cardboards, vivid visual diaries of the artist's work process, intermixed w/ notes and scribbles from daily interventions. These are complemented by several actual work tables from Roth's studio, working ephemera and all, preserved by his artist son, Bjorn.
* Jeff Koons "Made in Heaven" @ Luxembourg & Dayan / 64 E 77th St. On the 20th anniversary of Koons' notorious/iconic contribution to the 1990 Venice Biennale, we get nine of his pornographic, photorealist canvases and a sculpture of the artist and his then-wife and former porn-star Ilona Staller. I'll call 'em "controversial", but the gallery does a fine job of making that literal, by hanging these massive silkscreened canvases opposite one another over two floors of a very narrow space. We look one way and we're swimming in powdery blues and pinks of "Hand on Breast" (probably the most mainstream media-friendly of the lot). Turn around and there's the blood-orange saturation of "Red Doggy" or the shimmering white of "Ilona's House Ejaculation", too big to fully escape our view. It's probably the only way to really experience these works.
* Sol LeWitt & Allan McCollum "Seriality" @ Armand Bartos Fine Art / 25 E 73rd St. An intriguing pairing: McCollum's interest in personalizing mass production v. LeWitt's order and precision. Though I consider LeWitt a Minimalist w/ his reductive construction vocabulary, his works in this show exemplify a chanciness that goes beyond the mechanical (but still human-produced) wall drawings. His "Irregular Form" gouaches on paper and the monolithic "Splotch" are excitingly amorphous (his nearby painted wood "Incomplete Open Cube" puts 'thinking outside the box' into a literal form). McCollum's graphite drawings and cast-hydrostone vessels (or "Perfect Vehicles", w/ their opalescent tones) become the most ordered forms in the room, which is interesting b/c though each retains the artist's hand, they still feel more 'proper' than the looser LeWitt works.
* Chris Ware "The Acme Novelty Library #20" @ Adam Baumgold Gallery / 60 E 66th St. You may well be up on Ware's high-technique, early 20th-C graphic design cartooning style, emblematic in such Americana as "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth" and "Quimby the Mouse". Even if you eschew comics as either 'kid stuff' or 'geek stuff', you owe it to yourself to check Ware's intensely detailed renderings. This exhibition intrigued me as it features an installation of large-size work drawings from an entire serialized story, chronicling the character Jordan Wellington Lint from birth to death, in blue-lines and black ink. Following the circuit around the gallery to the several color examples (manipulated in post, on Ware's computer) reminds 1) how richly vibrant Ware's final product tends to be and 2) how much I prefer his work in full-color.
* Marisa Merz @ Gladstone Gallery / 530 W 21st St. An incredibly little show from the sole woman artist in the Arte Povera movement, feat. three enormous painted aluminum figures in her "Living Sculpture" (1966), like suits of couture armor, and the remarkable "Sedia" (1966) 'chair', a small aluminum-covered wooden form made even tinier in its juxtaposition to the huge, hanging suits.
+ "Group Show". A tasty five-course in my-style Minimalism, feat. a painted grid box from Sol LeWitt, a river of white marble chips from Richard Long ("White Line") that bisects the room, a Mario Merz stone-slab 'igloo', a whitish Dan Flavin fluorescent sculpture and Carl Andre's lightly pungent "The Way North and East", three uncarved Western red cedar blocks in a most regal arrangement.
* Cecilia Edefalk "Weeping Birch" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. This exhibition ties together two of Edelfalk's studies on the mask, with a 2002 small-size oil & acrylic painting transmogrification entitled "To view the painting from within", covering the back gallery wall w/ some two dozen canvases, w/ her recent cast-bronze masks, outfitted here and there w/ brick or wood, painted w/ tempera, adorned w/ bronze leaves, wings, feathers. This naturalistic array is completed w/ a table of very realistic cast-bronze and tempera branches, resembling what you might find on a trek through the Alpine.
* New Editions @ Pace Prints Chelsea / 521 W 26th St 3rd Fl. Five artists (Ingrid Calame, Tara Donovan, Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman and Dan Walsh) created tasty new prints and works on paper. Perhaps unsurprisingly (if you know me well), I was immediately drawn to the pair of beguiling Ryman works, both same-sized handmade, watermarked paper w/ a collage element (one a chicken-soup matte brown, the other an oddly glittery, marbelesque white). Walsh's aquatints are playfully psychedelic whilst retaining the artist's rounded-shape vocabulary. Donovan's I suppose originated from pin-holes, resulting in these black-stippled forms not entirely unlike Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Nets".
* Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mayumi Terada @ Robert Miller Gallery / 524 W 26th St. I dove into this three-artist show like one would a serving of Neapolitan ice cream, the striped chocolate-vanilla-strawberry kind, as I didn't immediately glean an underlying theme/tying element b/w the three. Case 1: the Basquiat selection (paintings, screenprints etc) are typically beautiful, particularly the large "Back of the Neck" (1982), a horizontal silkscreen on black w/ contrasty white musculature and shimmering gold accents. The Mapplethorpe center will either be your favorite or least, as it mainly consists of 13 b&w photographs from his graphic "X Portfolio" from '78 (which this gallery represented), shocking even Mapplethorpe in its imagery of fisting, golden showers, bondage and docking (or I guess you could call it "self-docking"? If anyone has the more appropriate word…). The found-object "The Perfect Moment", a pseudo-anti-Christian altar, was supposedly incredibly controversial when it first debuted (1970), but maybe I'm just jaded: it didn't do much for me. Terada's exhibition at the back gallery is stunning when you realize what she's doing: the large C-prints of empty rooms w/ frameless windows and overcast skies evolve from her austere dioramas and mini-sets, several of which are displayed in the show.
* Tony Oursler "Peak" @ Lehmann Maupin / 201 Chrystie St. Have you seen Dave McKean's warped fantasy film "MirrorMask"? The amorphous mechanical figures in it were the 1st thing I thought of when taking in Oursler's engrossing new show, eight minuscule mixed media/video works suspended on snaking metal pedestals. These are nearly devoid of Oursler's spectacle-creating shots of wrong-hued blinking eyes and sputtering lips, speaking dissonant soliloquies to the viewing public. Instead we get these multilayered, very involved little vignettes like "Castouts", w/ intermingling male-female speakers and an overall cyberpunkish aura. "Bunker" is another cool one, the action occurring in like a torn-open cave w/ a hoodie-wearing figure in the foreground plus a violet-toned woman encased in a glass globe in the back. The contents of the dialogue throughout are still Oursler-esque: obsession, frustration, isolation, but I think the small-scale nature of them totally works in his favor.
* Robert Wilson "Deafman Glance" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 465 W 23rd St. I got the vibe of Chantal Akerman's "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles", her deviously stark domestic melodrama, when viewing this 27-min video adaptation of Wilson's own 7-hr silent opera, of a mother in ballroom attire mechanically washing dishes and murdering her children. It's an uncanny experience, viewing Wilson's film, which is shown on six video monitors (the better to cascade the clattering, jarring sounds) and whose lead moves less in slo-mo than in Michael Myers' cold determination. An early Halloween reward.
* Katharina Wulff "Wanwizzi" @ Greene Naftali Gallery / 508 W 26th St 8th Fl. There is a strong underlying force of JABO in Wulff's oil & charcoal paintings and works on paper, and this is precisely the instance when this sometimes-used acronym ("just a bit off") is meant for praise. I dug how she keeps us off-balance in these vaguely sinister compositions, from the formal couple portrait w/ the faceless woman to the mannequin wearing either a bondage mask or a vinyl bag over its head, to the pastoral landscape interrupted by 1) a supine nude figure and 2) a wildly cartoonish dog-cat beast in the foreground.
* Airan Kang "Light Reading" @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / 505 W 24th St. The centerpiece of Kang's solo show is her stunning "library" of LED-glowing resin books, art tomes and classic literature, flickering on mirrored shelves like something out of one of the later "Star Trek" series (they don't come off retro to me) w/ a colorful neon read-me energy.
* 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.
* 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 (and hustle, as the show is about to conclude). Walk about the rooms, observe the filmstrips and the lab-like stacks and materials, let the installation soak in.
* Dan Colen "Poetry" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. Well, it's ending, this polarizing "proper" debut from Colen (his installation in Gagosian's toilets back in '06 notwithstanding). 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, in pure spectacle if nothing else.
* "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.
* Andreas Hofer "ON TIME by Andy Hope 1930" @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. Ohhh this is a tough one, I know it's Hofer's thing (or Hope 1930's thing), being challenging and whatnot, but I could only abide w/ 1/3 of this one. The austere "paintings" as blanks on otherwise empty walls and the Star Trek multilevel chess set (a "readymade") rubbed me the wrong way. I dig, however, get into these wooden tube-like structures w/ empty picture frames fastened at one end. You peer into these portals and suddenly experience a mad spatial disruption. That was pretty wicked and worth the visit (just skip over the other stuff, unless it gets you off).
* 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.
* 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.
* TM Davy @ Eleven Rivington / 11 Rivington. Sumptuous blurred-color paintings of domesticity, w/ the artist and his lover lounging about, paired w/ lush foliage.
* Dale Chihuly @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. Feel what you want about this corporate lobby-loved artist, he's an alchemist at hand-blown glass and this new lot, a wall- and ceiling-mounted "garden", plus crystalline forms snaking up glass "vases" and "columns", is damn beautiful.
* 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.
* "50 Years at Pace" @ Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. The 1st (of 4!) Pace shows to end, and the most "future-thinking". It gave me hope of what's to come, plus some great trips down memory lane. I loved the inclusion of Michal Rovner's "Data Zone, Cultures Table #1" (2003) and still have fond memories of her lava-like "Fields of Fire" show back in 2006; Zhang Xiaogang's "Comrades" (2006); Fiona Rae's "All around us, our own world of wonder!" (2009) straight off a brilliant show uptown; Chuck Close's portrait of "Zhang Huan I" (2008), both for its intrinsic, mosaiced beauty & the power of these two artists; and Hiroshi Sugimoto's "Henry VIII and His Wives" (1999), a thrill and surprise, as I've never seen this side of the photographer before.
* 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.
* "Greater New York" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq). 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
- performance: see above, particularly FRI & SUN, for some specials, incl the conclusion to Aki Sasamoto & Saul Melman's collaborative effort "Skewed Lies/Central Governor". ENDS MONDAY