* "The Woodmans" (dir. C. Scott Willis, 2010) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Embark on an entrancing faded-memories trip w/ this incredible experimental film - slash - documentary. Key subject is young Francesca Woodman, an amazing late-20th C. b&w photographer (hauntingly self-portraitist) who committed suicide at age 22. Her oeuvre is interwoven in the narrative, remarking on her artistic parents and the ambitious, suffocating NY art scene.
* Cloud Nothings + Toro Y Moi @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston (F to 2nd Ave), 8p/SOLD OUT oops! Talk about red-hot talent. My goodness, it's like the entire roster is barely drinking age, and it puts the smeary electro-pop of Chaz Bundick (aka Toro y Moi, aka frontman for The Heist) firmly in the "adult" category. That's when you place him against Dylan Baldi, brainchild behind the noisy indie outfit Cloud Nothings, and NY-by-way-of-Michigan Indian Rebound, the likes of whom are humblingly young and humblingly talented. Hence why the show's sold out.
* WIERD presents The Soft Moon @ Home Sweet Home / 131 Chrystie St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), midnight. Picture The Cure's "Mixed Up" album, but only the echoey bits of "A Forest (Tree Mix)" and "The Caterpillar (Flicker Mix)", w/ Robert Smith's super whispery vocals. That's a bit like San Fran's The Soft Moon, bringing their somberly gorgeous '80s-bent pop to HSW. Fog machines in full effect, people.
* "L'insoutenable L'égerèté de L'être" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. Translation "The unbearable lightness of being", but it sounds way cooler en Français. This is a joint group show at the gallery's NY and Paris locations, named after Milan Kundera's 1984 novel, and feat. a genre- and generational-spanning cast of the sublime and nightmarish.
* "A Room, In Three Movements: Katy Heinlein, Sheila Pepe, Halsey Rodman" @ Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St. The three sculptors here, Brooklyn-based Pepe and Rodman and Houston, TX's Heinlein will have their works rotated in different parts of the gallery throughout the exhibition, prompting unique responses and modifications as needed. This should be especially interesting w/ Pepe's site-specific maneuvers and Heinlein's kinetic assemblages, and worth multiple visits after the opening.
* Jose Luis Farinas "Skirting the Apocalypse" @ Miyako Yoshinaga art prospects / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. A beastly marriage of Bosch and Bacon that would make Clive Barker shriek with joy. If you like your renderings demon-tiffic and dripping with Dante steez, sell your soul to the discomfiting seduction of Farinas.
* "Gantz" (dir. Shinsuke Sato, 2011) screening @ Regal Union Square 14 / 850 Broadway (NRW/L/456 to Union Square), 8p. OK here's the good news: this promisingly blockbuster Japanese film (part one of two), based off a wildly popular manga I've never read and a TV series I've never seen, debuts in Japan AND here on the same day. The plot is about two reincarnated young blokes assassinating aliens, or something. The bad news: "Gantz"'s U.S. premiere is DUBBED. Take your chances (though I wonder when/if it'll properly screen here, w/ subtitles).
* Satoshi Takeishi & Shoko Nagai @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 8p/$10. AKA Vortex, the starred pairing of electronics/percussion whiz Takeishi and pianist/sonic sculptor Nagai, conjuring ghost stories and ephemeral landscapes in their magnetizing duets.
* Knyfe Hyts @ Secret Project Robot / 210 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. Get on this: Brooklyn's classic no-wavers Knyfe Hyts perform on the 20th of every month this year (until November, I think?), leading an avant-art party until the venue's…close? I seriously hope this graffiti-covered, icebox cold (or alternatively furnace-hot) basement space lives on, either here or somewhere equally as cool. I've seen way too many dope shows here for it to be otherwise. But still: Knyfe Hyts = awesome, & they release a super-limited cassette at this show. w/ Liturgy & K-Holes
* Weird Wives + Weekends @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p. Can't go wrong w/ Miami's Weird Wives, which feat. Thomas Fekete and Marcos Marchesani (guitarist and keyboardist/percussionist, respectively, of Surfer Blood), but they're loads more psychedelic, w/ an early-'90s grime over the whole thing. Plus Baltimore's Weekends, who promise to knock you straight into the weekend w/ those riffs of theirs.
* Patrick Jacobs "Familiar Terrain" @ Pierogi Gallery / 177 N 9th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 7-9p. Jacobs' warm, watery worlds blur the line b/w photography, sculpture and other media in his mind-blowing convex-glass dioramas of like the softest rolling meadows you've ever seen, you want to dive face-first into 'em and roll around, and they stretch miles into the distance and it almost feels as though you could.
* Christian Marclay "The Clock" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. The U.S. premiere of multimedia maestro Marclay's 24-hr long video work "The Clock" — an array of time-pieces from film excerpts — that unfolds in realtime. Meaning the 1st screening begins at the opening 6p and continues through SAT 6p. This isn't Marclay's first brush w/ A/V collage (think 1995's "Telephones", itself a study of Hollywood film phone convos), but it's the most durational.
* Rebecca Morales "While There's Calm" @ BravinLee Programs / 526 W 26th St #211. Smeared-color watercolors and mixed media undersea-like renderings on vellum.
* "The Housemaid" (dir. Im Sang-soo, 2010) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Who isn't up for some bourgeoisie voyeurism and mania-fueled murder. Im amps up the dark depravity of the 1960 original, of an au pair and a cruel upper-class family. Competed for the Palme d'Or at 2010 Cannes, loved at 2010 Fantastic Fest (where it screened against the original). The games rich people play...
* "Mamma Roma" (dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). You don't mess w/ Mamma Roma, aka Anna Magnani, in this classic tough-love Pasolini feature. Magnani owns the screen, portraying an ex-prostitute making good for her thieving teenage son. Her eerie night walks, the camera ahead of her as gaslights bloom and disappear in the twilight, are pure cinematic transcendence.
* "Maboroshi" (dir. Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995) screenings @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Koreeda-san's first feature film, whose full title is "Maboroshi no Hikari" (or "Phantasmic Light") and strikes a tone very close to the core of this vulnerable feature, about a young Osaka couple, loss, remorse. It'll stun you to the core, and it's terribly beautiful. Also SAT & SUN
* "Lemmy" (dir. Greg Olliver & Wes Orshoski, 2010) @ Cinema Village / 22 E 12th St (NRW/L/456 to Union Sq). Hell yes, a proper hard-livin' documentary on Motörhead frontman Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, a living legend in speed-metal and music history. Snake-eyes watching you, baby.
* "Hell" (dir. Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p. Way to cut to the chase: naming your experimental labyrinthine horror film "Hell".
* "Bad Biology" (dir. Frank Henenlotter, 2008) midnight screening @ Sunshine Cinema / 143 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave). I love these "adults only" features! This one sounds extremely over the top. Think I'm joking? Henenlotter notoriously directed "Basket Case" (you bio-creature feature freaks know what I mean), and the grimy-ass RA the Rugged Man (the Suffolk County deep underground MC) co-produced it (along w/ Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks, an indie hip-hop outfit I dig). But that's just the beginning! Our two leads incl. an insatiable woman who births mutant offspring and a dude w/ a drug-addicted member. Think about that for a minute. Also SAT.
* MINKS (album release party) @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JZ to Marcy), 8:30p/$10. Super-smart, '80s-dredging indie-pop that works in cemeteries and runway shows. Meet MINKS, who I've hyped since I had a sonic love affair w/ 'em back when (I think it was at Glasslands, in fact…). w/ Big Troubles & Widowspeak, so expect a properly glamish bash.
* ELKS + Heliotropes + Mirror Queen @ Local 269 / 269 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave, F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 8p/$7. I hope you like it heavy! B/c are YOU ever in luck. Where to begin: show up early for Heliotropes, the toughest all-girl doom-pop band in the known universe. Stay for the psych metal of Mirror Queen and (gasp) ELKS, for extra-majorness.
* Ellen Gallagher "Greasy" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. MAYJAH. Gallagher hasn't had a solo show here since 2005, so her return to NY has got me all excited. We'll find her still mining pop culture and historical references, utilizing Black-interest magazines as raw media for collaged, modified, cut-up, inked over "jams", eruptions of obliterated text and disassembled figures.
* Ray Caesar "A Gentle Kind of Cruelty" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St. Impeccable Maya-modeled babydoll chimeras, now with an even more dreamy, painterly approach. I swear, if Caesar ever created a 3D short film (or something) from his digital oeuvre, that would be mayjah.
+ Erik Mark Sandberg "Get Pretty Now". Think like "Harry and the Hendersons", only rainbow-furred and clad eye-popping tourist outfits. That's one facet of Sandberg's style, along w/ his furiously rendered abstract works.
* On Line/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker "Violin Phase from Fase: Four movements to the Music of Steve Reich" (1982) performances @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). a good portion of the Marron Atrium is covered in sand for this, contemporary dance choreographer De Keersmaeker's excerpt from her seminal early work "Fase" (created when she was 22!). You scan see her dizzying video "Top Shot" (2002) up in the "On Line" exhibition. This performance is like that, spinning on the beach, brought to life. Performances at 2/4p, also SUN 2/4p.
* The Vaccines + Oberhofer @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JZ to Marcy), 9p/$10. Check this out: I know literally two things about The Vaccines. 1) one of their two Myspace promos, "Wreckin' Bar", is 84 seconds of concentrated pop. 2) this is their American debut. Or rather, it is at Bowery Ballroom on THU, w/ local powerhouse Oberhofer, but I'd go for the sweatier, tinier Glasslands if I were you. The leap of faith just might equal the best concert you've ever attended.
* Purling Hiss @ Cake Shop / 152 Ludlow St (F/JMZ to Delancey/Essex), 8p/$10. LIST-certified Philly psychedelia, courtesy of Birds of Maya frontman Mike Polizze. I'm talking Purling Hiss. Good and groovy. w/ Home Blitz
* Ursula von Rydingsvard "Sculpture 1991-2009" @ SculptureCenter / 44-19 Purves St, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq), 5-7p. I am so stoked for this. Von Rydingsvard is one of my favorite contemporary sculptors. She reworks cedar beams into hewn, rippling monoliths, petrified dragons, cavernous entrances. A very cool thing about them is they retain their organic nature: seen outdoors, they fit well into the landscape; indoors, they burst alive from the gallery floor and/or walls. So it's particularly cool that SculptureCenter hosts the beginning of this touring mid-career retrospective, as its indoor/outdoor enough to balance the energy of von Rydingsvard's monumental wood figures. Plus, there's a non-touring cast-resin entity specially installed in the venue's exhibition court.
+ "Vide-Poche". Six artists — Michele Abeles, Samuel Clagnaz, Isabelle Cornaro, Miles Huston, Charles Mayton and Valerie Snobeck — empty form and content through their diverse practices, from Abeles' nouveau still-life photography to Clagnaz's video work.
* Sergej Jensen @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq). The Berlin-based artist's 1st solo NY show, a sublime affair of stained and reductive textile-based abstract paintings.
+ Laurel Nakadate "Only the Lonely". Nakadate's 1st large-scale museum exhibition, feat. a decade's worth of voyeuristic and deeply personal video (incl. the recent "Good Morning, Sunshine" and "The Wolf Knife") plus new durational photo series "365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears".
+ "Modern Women: Single Channel". From the MoMA's collection, eleven women artists in single-channel video from the '60s through '90s. Feat. Lynda Benglis, Dara Birnbaum, VALIE EXPORT, Mako Idemitsu, Joan Jonas, Kristin Lucas, Mary Miss, Pipilotti Rist, Carolee Schneemann and Steina Vasulka.
* "Santa Sangre" (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1989) sneak preview @ reRun Theatre / (F to York St, AC to High St), 10p. The surrealist psychological horror classic you've probably never seen. Severin Films is FINALLY releasing Jodorowsky's cult classic on DVD, so catch this flashback/flash-forward strange circus of abuse, hallucinations and unrequited love — I mean, it's not ALL dark and scary.
* MAP Magazine presents "Difficult Gifts" @ E-Flux / 41 Essex St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 7p/FREE. A program on art as gift, feat. works by Andrea Buttner, BS Johnson, Duncan Marquiss, Shahryar Nashat, Laure Prouvost and Stephen Sutcliffe. The contemporary art quarterly MAP feat. Nashat in their winter issue, which coincides w/ the screening.
* Year of the Tiger @ Union Hall / 702 Union St, Park Slope (D/NR to Union St), 8p/$8. Think Alec Empire mixed w/ Karen O, The Prodigy's air-raid synths crossed w/ Amanda Ghost's searing lyricism. Now meet NY's Year of the Tiger, a melodiously abrasive electro trio, and dance your faces off.
* Yuck @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave), 9:30p/$10. I really really want to love Yuck. They're a youngish coed UK-based lot, they make that addictive indie-pop filtered through raindrops and cigarettes like only a Londoner (like vocalist Daniel, though the group hails international) can…and the last time they were supposed to play here, during CMJ, they had to cancel the tour. So I'm super-duper stoked to see them. w/ Total Slacker
* Suuns @ The Rock Shop / 249 4th Ave, Park Slope (D/NR to Union St), 8p/$10. Those creepy, creepy Canadians, w/ their loop-riddled guitar riffs and whispery vocals and schizo performing. Love 'em.
* Lee Lozano "Tools" @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. Just plain excellent. Put this exhibition high on your must-see list and do just that. Lozano was a brilliantly tortured soul, brimming with genius, whose life WAS her art, as she pursued stricter conceptualist practices in the '70s that drew her away from the art-world (and thereby the public eye). So her surviving physical oeuvre is limited, but terribly intense, and it is fortuitous of the gallery for hosting this rare collection of drawings and paintings of tools from 1963-4, during Lozano's raw expressionist "comix" period in NYC. Think massive clamps and shadowed screws, a hammer-head blurred into motion, wrenches so biomechanical to make Giger blush. One hardcore razorblade titled "hard". More macho and sexier than Claes Oldenburg's suggestive tools. Lozano would eventually turn to Minimalism, in her late-'60s "Wave" paintings, and then fully into the Conceptual practices that moved her into obscurity. I really wish she were alive today, or had still been "making art" in the '70s and '80s. While Eva Hesse died young (against her control) and therefore had a brief career and Lozano self-truncated her own career, I still strongly note this connection of originality and vitality b/w the two artists. Few exhibits move me like this one.
* Tony Feher "Next On Line" @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. Now Feher's no stranger for pushing commercially available materials to their limits — I'm thinking his meditative arrays of tinted water-filled PET bottles — but this new array of snaking vinyl tubing, at once sculpture and static 3D line "drawings", is particularly exacting in its emotional resonance. The works exhibited here, about 871 ft of clear vinyl tubing split amongst five pieces, plus x-amount of food coloring drops mixed into distilled water, everything hung alarmingly (charmingly?) by office-grade binder clips, are lyrical beauties, their intrinsic grace belying their vague respective weights (I mean, we're talking 200-300 ft of water-filled vinyl tubing per, that must weigh something). The opening figure is a great mess of reddish Silly String, enlarged to Claes Oldenburg proportions. A curvy-edged blue one naturally mimics cresting waves, but with a Hokusai clarity. And then there's the big one in the back, a cascade of five separate tubes, intermingling on the floor like the butterscotch topping liberally and artistically applied as some restaurant's dessert de resistance. So don't be surprised if you cull out your own nostalgic imagery whilst viewing Feher's latest: they've a tendency to do just that.
* Jennifer Bartlett "Recitative" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Walking amid Bartlett's largest-scale, eponymous painting, a color celebration over 372 steel plates and 158 feet, spanning three gallery walls, is like a journey through modern and contemporary art history. I encourage you to explore this mammoth from a clockwise direction, beginning at the show-title near the gallery doors and guiding along toward its stunning denouement. That "art history" description has a two-prong meaning: Bartlett mines Minimalism, filtering notions of Jasper Johns (the warm foresty-colored chevron patterns), Sol LeWitt (orderly primaries), Brice Marden (a kinetic whiplike form in black enamel — though its movement over multiple plates reminded me of Elizabeth Murray, too) and Gerhard Richter (in a brilliant "color-chart" array near the "end") through her own unique visual language. She also recalls some of her other seminal wall-works, MoMA's "Rhapsody" (1976, first exhibited at Paula Cooper Gallery) and Cleveland Museum of Art's "Song" (2007) (their media accompanies "Recitative", which is cool to see the recurrence of those orderly primaries, that whiplike black enamel form, plucked from their prior incarnations). It's an animating experience, walking forward and backward around this snaking piece, acting as a visual palimpsest to the power of color, the energy of reduction and reintroduction.
* Ulf Puder @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Neo Rausch might be the best-known name of the 1st Gen. Leipziger Hochschule, but Puder's debut stateside puts him firmly in the need-to-know for younger Eastern European artists. I love these stark, uninhabited landscapes, filled w/ ramshackle buildings seemingly poised at either post-aftermath or approaching unseen destruction.
* Amy Rathbone "suchness" @ Priska Jusckha Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. Rathbone further develops her "flocks" vocabulary (little wire loops or ink pigment exploding on the gallery walls) w/ a blend of natural and artificial materials. She covers a wall w/ conifer branches (recycled from old Christmas trees!), some yanked towards a focal point via wire extensions, terminating w/ a collection of little wire-hung concrete spheres (which made me think of Eva Hesse). She includes some mixed-media works mounted on birch panel, like the "scaffolds", 2D versions of a hanging wood sticks and branches installation in a corner of the gallery, plus these sprayed clouds of ink, watercolor and gouache, like dried raindrops on a windshield.
* Patrick Hill "Clumsy Angels" @ Bortolami / 520 W 20th St. Hill has a handle on gorgeous/dangerous combos, and he elevates that in a double-layered way w/ this inherently naughty exhibition. His latest sculpture utilizes wood beams for structural support in riffs on Classical figurative sculpture, but the cut-marble legs and lower bodies are all spread eagle or appropriating fin-de-siecle burlesque posture, plus he painted the wood acid-glow tones, all yellows, magentas and oranges, to contrast sharply off the marble "skin".
* Piotr Uklański "Discharge!" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. I wanted to like this exhibit way more than I did, in the end. It's been a few years since NY had an Uklański show (his last, "Biało-Czerwona", lit. "white-red", practically christened the gallery's 21st St space), so I was ready. There's some spectacle here, but no mammoth resiny paintings, no soaring sculpture, no gruesome mixed-media installation (nor any thought-provoking video). No, this chameleon's entire output is a bunch of nouveau tie-dyed paintings. Not that spin art that Damien Hirst did (or still does): stretched cotton bedsheets attacked with fiber-reactive dyes and bleach, producing saturated starbursts and corrosive pattens. He sourced his fabrics at Ikea and Bloomingdales (according to the gallery's press release) and made these eye-watering works — plus had fun naming them, if "Orgasmatron" and "Atomic Ovum" are to be believed. The odd one out, a garish pottery relief called "Kinda Kinky", echoes the tie-dyes in 3D, and it's meaty enough to sink ones teeth into. Overall, not my cup of tea. Maybe yours?
* Gia Edzgveradze "Stolen Blanket & Other Short Stories" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. A career-spanning exhibition from the Georgian-born, German-based Conceptualist, the 1st of its kind in N. America — indeed yet again an instance of a challenging, creative artist who shows widely across Europe (and Russia!) but not in the states. Don't miss it: Edzgveradze tiptoes on gender-bending and patriarchy-busting anthems in his "Dancing Bride" series (from the late '90s), his mammoth, brushwork-like "The Big Bra" (1990), even his stunning, mixed media triptych, created from sketched projected enlargements of other sketches, perforated paper and confetti on wood panel, the entire effect mimicking Georgian calligraphic script. He continually superimposes image over image, and himself into these images, resulting in a blanketed text so interwoven with history and personal reflection that, like alluded in the show-title, you might want to claim it for yourself.
* Robbin Hill "Case Discussions" @ Lennon, Weinberg Inc / 514 W 25th St. I like the concept: Hill incorporates decommissioned lab equipment from the University of California at Davis' flea market (she's a member of studio faculty) in this exhibition, turning out wax- and cloth-filled projectors and desks reminiscent of Piero Manzoni crossed w/ Rona Pondick. Only thing is, Hill's telltale cyanotypes (a few are present here) are totally lost in the noise.
* Irvin Morazan "Temple of the Bearded Man" @ DCKT / 237 Eldridge St. The standout work in Morazan's christening of the gallery's inaugural debut on Eldridge is definitely the enormous mixed media headdress he wore during the opening reception/procession from the Bowery to the gallery. It's part-cloud, part-coyote pelts, with a neon beast crowning the top, and it recurs in Morazan's collaged photography, reflecting him as a folkloric shaman.
* Yeni Mao "Dead Reckoning" @ Collette Blanchard Gallery / 26 Clinton St. Mao works efficiently in mixed media installation and photography, the former referencing explorer Zheng He in a flotilla of upturned boats, the latter "The Battle Wizard" feat. almost flip-book-styled Wuxia action.
* Brendan Flanagan "Sightlines" @ Thierry Goldberg Projects / 5 Rivington St. Flanagan's debut stateside solo show is a B-movie success, far as I'm concerned. He's got an excellent handle on controlling his media, coating panels with hazy gradients of oil paint, then introducing his melty, multicolored figures on top, oozily ominous monsters and victims in wet acrylic, practically sliding off the surface. The tiny gallery echoes the creepshow factor, making this more a cohesive installation than just a bunch of paintings hung in a white-box space. Really dope.
* "Paintings & Sculpture" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. Beyond that innocently vague title lies a monster, in the form of Mike Kelley's classic "Torture Table" (1992) his macho do-it-yourself woodworking apparatus grounded in pain and emasculation. Upstairs is relatively kinder, a rather gorgeous (if perhaps quite visceral) Carroll Dunham "Sixth Pine" (1987), painted on pine veneer, a textural Christopher Wool enamel on aluminum, crackling with dark energy, plus a ghostly Albert Oehlen from '89.
* Joe Bradley "Human Form" @ Canada / 55 Chrystie St. The second of concurrent Bradley solo shows in NYC (the other Paleolithic affair is at Gavin Brown's Enterprise) is way subtler, but still ballsily masculine. It's a set of black-ink silkscreened silhouettes in full-on Bangles posing on white canvas. He alluded to this in a billboard outside Gavin Brown, but the arrangement and potential movement of the figures in Canada's bunker-like space (everyone poised in stop-animation like Keith Haring characters) amplifies the experience.
* "Offset Summary" @ Rachel Uffner Gallery / 47 Orchard St. Oh I dug this. The exhibition title and concept stems from spatial intervention and reconfiguration. Back in the day, a different space occupied this gallery, and in it was a Lawrence Weiner work "A 36" x 36" Removal to the Lathing or Support Wall of Plaster or Wallboard from a Wall" (1968). That 40+year old Weiner remains here, sort of, as a covered-over remnant, and it's the jumpoff for a five-artist intrigue. Begin w/ Yves Klein's iconic "Le Saut dans le Vide/Leap into the Void" (1960), retained here as yellowed newsprint from the front page. The literal removal and doubling in this early photomontage harkens back to the semi erasure of the Weiner. LA-based Kathryn Andrews adds some contemplative action w/ one heavy-metal sculpture, a mirrored dresser described w/ a b&w portrait seemingly discarded/forgotten on its surface. Zak Kitnick's metal-on-MDF 'collages' are like Constructivist-style microchips blown up to memoir-size. Mary Simpson collaborates w/ curator/writer Fionn Meade on the very short film "Marsyas", its own abstract of the music-savvy satyr from Greek mythology.
* "Einfluss: 8 From Dusseldorf" @ Hosfelt Gallery / 531 W 36th St. A fertile grouping of young contemporary artists from the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, some of whom bear undeniable marks from their teachers, like Gerhard Richter and A.R. Penck, and most of whom have never shown in the States before. Bernard Lokai's rugged, small-scale abstracts preclude Richter's studies, especially w/in the supposed representational nature of these brilliantly colorful works. Cornelius Volker's (student of Penck) does gestural, realistic little oil paintings, and his nine-part "Meerschweinchen" of long-haired guinea pigs on Pop-monochrome backdrops is half-kitsch, half-cute. Luka Fineisen, the sole sculptor of the lot, blurs that line too in her resin-coated "Milk" relief, which looks exactly like that. Introducing the Next Wave from Germany. Are you ready?
* "Filmschonheit", curated by Albert Oehlen @ Greene Naftali / 508 W 26th St, 8th Fl. Oehlen (w/ some tete a tete by art photographer Christopher Williams) culled together this fab film-minded traveling show, which reached NY's shores after a stint in Galerie Mezzanin, Vienna. And it's Oehlen who contributed the most exacting representation of the filmic beauty theme: a large sparse silkscreened abstract painting, overlaid w/ the video "Untitled (9 1/2 Weeks)", filling the mostly white canvas w/ a ghostly animation. Williams' characteristically super-sharp film prints (plus Josephine Pride's gorgeous silver gelatin prints) are literal, beautiful additions. The combo of Richard Artschwager (two classic "Black Beauty" monochromes on celotex) and John Miller (a maze-like wallpaper and color-sucking carpet installation) contribute both deconstructed film references and visual eye-flickering (stare at the Artschwager, then move immediately to the nearby Miller).
* 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.
* "Sculpture: 12 Independent Visions" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. This gallery knows sculpture. It's got the roster of house artists (Magdalena Abkanowicz's creepy cast-burlap hands and bronzed "Standing Figures"; Fernando Botero's naughty inflated figures; Beverly Pepper's ingenious sliced rock "Grey Silence") and some specials, like the doubly visually dwarfing and mesmerizingly perfumed "Twisting Bowl II" cedar block by Ursula Von Rydingsvard (ahead of her mid-career retrospective at SculptureCenter) and a Giger-esque spinal bronze lipstick "Colonna Recisa Trasversalmente" by Arnaldo Pomodoro.
* Felix Gonzalez-Torres + On Kawara "Amnesia" @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Careful you don't miss Gonzalez-Torres' '92 billboard "untitled (Es ist nur eine Frage der Zeit/It's Just a Matter of Time)", rendered in his characteristically stripped down and inherently relatable style. That's the jump-off. Kawara's contribution is one day per month of the year 1994, w/ related news clippings from the NY Times, the Yomiuri Shinbun, from Hamburg or whatever he happened to be. Rebecca Cleman and Josh Kline, both of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), supply a revolving media program on the basis of memory and history, a flotilla of videos lost in the static of media space. The program through 12/24 includes such gems as Joan Jonas' "Double Lunar Dogs" (1984), Takeshi Murata's disturbing "Infinite Doors" (2010), culled entirely from "The Price Is Right" prize reveals, plus exploitation clips, film trailers, and Dan Graham's "Past Future Split Attention" (1972).
* Brice Marden "Letters" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St. Might sound a bit weird for me to claim nostalgia for Kyoto when traversing this sublime series of related new works, as Marden drew inspiration from his travels to the National Palace Museum in Taipei (when his own retrospective was on at the MoMA). But that is the feeling I get, climbing up the wide, uneven stone stairs of Ginkaku-Ji in Kita-Higashiyama, amid bamboo forests and burbling brooks. The paintings themselves are fascinating, incorporating blank fields of muted color (usually a combination of grays) as framing devices to either side of the action, Marden's complexly layered calligraphic whips of thoughtfully paired colors. The end effect is even more 3D than his earlier works and involving a range of climates and emotions beyond his 1991 Cold Mountain series. Check the foggy warmth inherent to "First Letter", the cloaking rainstorm over "Letter About Books #3, Blue Ground", the punctuating gold emerging from "Third Letter". These seven large canvases are paired w/ a slew of works on paper in an adjacent gallery, rivulets of Kremer ink and either shellac ink or gouache on thick paper. A truly transporting experience.
* Brice Marden "Paintings 1961 - 1964" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 526 W 22nd St. Don't miss this tiny, thoughtful show from Marden's early career, six small- to medium-scale works w/ either impenetrably waxy or intriguingly kinetic surfaces, like the brownish "Arizona", its regular permutations interrupted by almost Abstract Expressionist drips and dribbles of black paint. It's of interest to note that after this work he segued into those quietly regal monochromes, their surfaces flattened out w/ beeswax, and didn't revisit this lyrical brushwork for another 20+ years.
* Djordje Ozbolt @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. I felt I needed to be stoned to truly take in Ozbolt's latest beguiling lot, sumptuous oils done in the mannerism of the Old Masters, w/ these surreal, druggy little add-ons throughout. Not that one necessary HAS to be stoned to appreciate them, though I dare you to stare at "Fear" for longer than 30 seconds, but it could help.