* Cézanne's Card Players @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 5th Ave (456 to 86th St). Another thoughtfully curated instance of the Met rocking out: the museum unites for the 1st time Cézanne's card player canvases (made during the 1890s outside Aix-en-Provence) with their associated oil studies and drawings.
+ "Guitar Heroes". I love love love that the Met is doing this. The full title is actually "Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York", and that historic gathering of Hudson Valley luthiers does indeed sound more like Met-ese than its riff off on the video game. But hell, props to them for culling this intriguing grouping of artisan axes from John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto and John Monteleone.
* Josh Smith @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. The ultra-prolific painter and collagist returns in his third solo show, moving comfortably between increasingly figurative renderings and silkscreens of his own artwork, in one fluid, exhaustive narrative. I am extra stoked about this (Smith's previous solo show in 2009 made my Top Ten LIST-worthy cultural events of that year).
* "The Parallax View", curated by Manuel Gonzalez @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. Observation as conflict, confronting traditional notions of space and light. Feat. a strong cast incl. Eva Hesse, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Robert Smithson, Gego, Mary Heilmann, Robert Irwin, Robert Morris and Teresita Fernandez.
* Liz Larner @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21St St. I am so all about this: Larner continues her investigation into the formal aspects of sculpture, w/ Michelangelo Antonioni's "The Red Desert" as the jump-off point! Color is used as modification and reinvention.
+ Jason Meadows. Pop culture-injected sculpture to complement Larner's sublimely subversive practices downstairs. Meadows' rough-fashioned style might be easier to sink your art-going teeth into, but dwell a bit & see how both artists correlate.
* Jim Dine "Paintings" @ The Pace Gallery / 32 E 57th St. Dine's iconic heart returns as a motive and medium for experimentation and his process-driven painting, in a series of 10 new canvases. This exhibition coincides w/ a major sculptural retrospective at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan (through early May, meaning I've got to get there, somehow).
* Olivier Mosset @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 5th Ave. Solid, signature found abstractions from one of the conceptualist affiliates of Paris '60s BMPT group (the others are Daniel Buren, Michel Parmentier and Niele Toroni), plus brand-new polyurethane monochromes by the continually boundary-pushing artist. Mosset has a concurrent exhibition of new monochromes at Leo Koenig, Chelsea as well.
* Olivier Mosset @ Leo Koenig, Inc / 545 W 23rd St. Concurrent w/ his both archival and new-works exhibition at Mary Boone uptown, the ceaselessly intriguing Conceptualist assembles 40 same-size black paintings covered in glossy truck-liner paint! Hell yes.
* David Stephenson "Light Cities" @ Julie Saul Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. This veteran photographer's management of light over nighttime urban skies is really enthralling. The triptych of Melbourne around the Rialto Tower bears a "Blade Runner" luminescence, and Tokyo seen from its bay and Tokyo Tower is a futuristic wonderland.
* Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison "The Architect's Brother" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. The duo ParkHarrison began this series of well-worn and yesteryear-recalling photography, rendered as prints and hand-painted photogravure, nearly two decades ago, and this is its first in-depth exhibition in NY.
* Geoffrey Farmer "Bacon's Not the Only Thing that is Cured by Hanging From a String" @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. The stateside debut for the Vancouver-based artist, working in a huge photomontage wall work, figurative studies and a multiple-lamp illuminated installation.
* Philip-Lorca diCorcia "ELEVEN" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 519 W 19th St. This exhibition focuses entirely on the prolific photographer's fashion editorial work, feat. eleven projects for W magazine b/w 1997-2008.
* Idle Warship + Dead Prez @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$15. I believe in Talib Kweli. I think he's a sick lyricist and have been down since before he & Mos Def formed Black Star, when he was Reflection Eternal w/ DJ Hi-Tek, dropping such joints like "2000 Seasons" on Rawkus' Soundbombing mix back in '97. So I am entirely intrigued by his duet w/ Philly R&B vocalist Res (hello!) as Idle Warship. And you throw the classic Dead Prez into the mix, who have been doing it since the late '90s, and you've got a solid night. NY's where it's at.
* Tara Donovan "Drawings (Pins)" @ The Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. Tread carefully, but have a close look at Donovan's latest series of "drawings", each comprised of many, many steel pins, expanding upon the perceptual concepts of her sculptural work. The largest of these, a 145" long installed diptych, should be particularly striking in its varying visual field.
* Alyson Shotz @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. The Brooklyn-based sculptural installation artist plays with light and space in her return to the gallery after 2009's "Phase Shift" exhibition (plus Shotz's strong inclusions in Syracuse University's "Drawing Through Space" show and an installation at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH).
* Janet Biggs "The Arctic Trilogy" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. Gallery debut by this NY-based artist, following her travels and filming in the extreme Svalbard islands, located between Europe and the North Pole. Three films, "In the Cold Edge" and "Fade to White" (both 2010) and the disarming "Brightness All Around" (2011), are featured.
* "Carancho" (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2010) @ Angelika NY / 18 W Houston St (BDFM to Broadway/Lafayette). One of the darkest films of 2010 comes from Argentina, this gripping crime thriller of ambulance-chasers cloaked in big-city nighttime.
* "The Evil Dead" (dir. Sam Raimi, 1981) midnight screening @ Sunshine Cinema / 143 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave). A bunch of horror films involving zombies/spirits/diseases and cabins full of good-looking but not-smart kids elicit comparisons of "sounds/looks like 'The Evil Dead'". So see the real thing, which is scarier and way more creative than 85% of horror films today. also SAT
* Noveller + Quiet Lights @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p. A blanketing sonic experience tonight, courtesy of Sarah Lipstate's guitar-drone soundscape project Noveller and the ethereal shoegaze of Quiet Lights. w/ Psychic Reality
* Terence Koh "nothingtoodoo" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. Um…considering Koh's freaky handwritten press release for the exhibition, I'm thinking there will be lots and lots of salt at this? Also: this is smack-dab during NY Collections and will be the fiercest opening in town, obvs, so what you SHOULD be asking yourself is: "what am I going to wear??"
* Ellsworth Kelly "Reliefs 2009-2010" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St + 532 W 24th St and "B&W Drawings" @ 526 W 22nd St. Way to draw sharp focus from these spectacle-heavy PYTs: have 87-year-old legend Kelly distill his palette to the nitty gritty (in this case, nearly totally b&w) and totally conquer most everything else out there. He expands on his prior restrictive-modicum w/ a new set of relief paintings, plus a slew of works on paper from the past 20 years, the modus and archive for these new works.
* Larry Poons @ Danese / 535 W 24th St 6th Fl. An American pioneering painter who keeps the gestural style and scale of Abstract Expressionism continually enrapturing. Poons' displays a series of new broadly horizontal canvases, each its own wet, semi-representational landscape, even if what we're looking at is meant to be, like, a house-boat or something.
* Philip-Lorca diCorcia "ELEVEN" (Freedman Damiani) book-signing @ David Zwirner Gallery / 519 W 19th St, 4-6p. diCorcia's comprehensive publication encompassing his fashion editorial exhibition at the gallery, edited by Dennis Freedman (W's founding creative director).
* Adam Hayes "Of the Triumph It Hosted" @ Number 35 / 141 Attorney St. Hayes manages to pair a sense of extravagance and luxury with sublime delicacy and restraint in his new works on paper, plus a related installation.
* Pablo Picasso "Guitars: 1912-1914" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). The very real possibility of another winner lies in this charming (and vital!) exhibition, a tightly curated affair of borrowed beauties and rarities from the collection, encompassing the master's portrayal of the guitar just before WWI. From collage to sculpture, mixed media paintings and photographs, Picasso does it all. Plus, considering the Met's "Guitar Heroes" exhibition, opening WED, we've got a lot of stringed imagery in NY's finest museums.
* Lise de la Salle @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 6:30p/$20. So I'm a nascent classical music fan. But I know a dope program when I see one, hence the inclusion of French pianist prodigy Lise de la Salle to my LIST. Her ineffable show tonight spans genre and generation, from Baroque (Scarlatti's 5 Sonatas) to modern (Ravel's classic "Miroirs") and contemporary (Dutilleux's "Le Jeu des Contraires"), plus stunners by Liszt, in celebration of his bicentennial. Very much YES.
* Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson Valentine's Day Duo @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 8p & 10p/$40. A lovely post-V-tines soiree, courtesy of NY downtown legends Reed & Anderson, he on guitar, she on violin for two special sets. I love creative-minded couples. w/ Buke & Gass
* "The Great Upheaval: Modern Art from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918" @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). You actually feel the propulsive rush of "The Great Upheaval" when navigating the museum's ramps, ascending those early 20th-C years just after Vasily Kandinsky and Franz Marc coalesced Der Blaue Reiter (DBR) in Munich, through explosions of Cubism in Paris, dazzling Italian Futurist get-togethers, reaffirming expressionism in Austria and Germany and greater dares to experiment and abstract throughout Europe, as the lot blurs together (Suprematism! Synthetic Cubism! Constructivism!), approaching the speed of light — no, wait, that's not the speed of light. That's WWI. And just like that, this watershed große Umwälzung fractures into artists drawn into combat (whether voluntary or otherwise), groups dissolved, Marc killed in combat in 1916, and the global landscape utterly, irreversibly changed once the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Besides the fact this museum has a brilliant focus on this time-period, the thanks to its founder's collaboration with German artist/art-world guide Hilla Rebay in postwar years, the architecture of the space echoes and reaffirms the experience itself.
You bet there's a lot of gorgeous stuff here. Kandinsky's "Blue Mountain" (1908-9) greets us first as we enter the exhibition, its rider hearkening back to his earlier painting that spurned the upcoming ensemble's title (translated as "The Blue Rider"). On that stage-like platform before the spiraling ramps we get four 19th century greats who were terribly influential on the emerging young artists. Paul Cézanne's physical "Still Life: Plate of Peaches" (1879-80), Paul Gauguin's lush "Haere Mai" (1891), Vincent van Gogh's somber "Woman Ironing" (1904), and Henri Rousseau's vibrant "The Football Players" (1908) — each one is singularly lovely and relevant to most everything that follows it. We'll get some subtleties later on, but also instances where it's totally clear who influenced who. After a quick glimpse of spiky Cubist canvases by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque (early stuff, still, and a precursor to the Synthetic Cubism in the following years), we're off and ascending ramps. The museum divides this exhibition about a year per level, with 1914-18 concentrated into one explosive dash at the very top, mirroring the effects of WWI. 1910, art-historically, includes the Neue Künstlervereinigung München's formation (in Brian-ese, it's pre-DBR), and commences w/ a Fruity Pebbles landscape courtesy Kandinsky, titled "Sketch for Composition II". Plus, the majorly badass orphic Cubist "Planes by Colors (Large Nude)" by František Kupka, rendering his reclining wife Eugenie in violet shadows and orange and green outlines. Then two very interesting occurrences, some twisty Eiffel Tower paintings by Robert Delaunay and his "Saint-Séverin No. 3" that specifically themed his transition from Cézanne to Cubism. And like literally we're in 1911, DBR's happening, and we're moving, onward and up! There are a few really neat treats here that I didn't realize were in the Gugg's collection, incl. a properly horizontal, metaphysical mood-shaker by Giorgio de Chirico titled "The Enigma of the Hour" and Picasso's stop-motion burst "Accordionist". One of the trippiest paintings in the exhibition appears in 1912 (coinciding w/ Galerie Der Sturm's inaugural show, of Fauvres and DBR, plus the growing Italian Futurists), is Marc Chagall's "The Soldier Drinks", which'll get you drunk staring into it, as there's like eight planes of sight at work here, as Chagall deftly combines expressionism w/ floating Cubist geometries (plus there's what looks like the Guggenheim's rotunda in the background!). Fernand Léger's "Nude Model in the Studio" takes this combo of personalized Cubism and strongly contoured, brightly colored realism to another dimension, whilst Kandinsky gets weirder w/ "Improvisation #28", sprinkling his landscape w/ black slashes and blue shadows. 1913 finds these guys having a big NY debut, so fittingly the creativity comes to a strong boil: Natalia Goncharova's lovely, and bizarrely phrased, "Cats (rayist percep.[tion] in rose, black, and yellow)" is, I learn now, product of a fusion of contemporary French style and Russian folk art, i.e. Rayism, a twinkling field energized by her felines' respective coats. Plus a wall of six Marc watercolors, including the appropriately dreamy "Dream Horses" and the extra-wide painting "Stables", expertly pairing polygonal fields of color w/ the curvilinear organic nature of the equine subjects. The meditative bronze "Unique Forms of Continuity in Space" by Umberto Boccioni (slam dunk for the Futurists) and Kandinsky's fireworks "Black Lines" is your last chance to take a breath before the final, war-riddled push.
The artists here, on the final floor, dealt with and represented the war in myriad ways. Gino Severini's "Red Cross Train Passing a Village" is literal: war armaments on board a smoke-belcher bisects a pastoral vista of greens and oranges. Piet Mondrian's compositions grow evermore abstract and tense, before ultimately draining into his iconic black lines/primaries boxes modus operandi. Egon Schiele's and Oskar Kokoschka's respective portraits are pregnant with turmoil and grief. Kurt Schwitters' sinister "Mountain Graveyard" prefigures his jackknife into Dada. There's a superlatively lovely late nude by Amedeo Modigliani, but it masks the artist's own torturous personal and professional life. And finally a coda from Emil Nolde, a prominent German printmaker and painter in Die Brücke, then DBR, then denigrated by the Nazis. His "Young Horses" at twilight is a translucent mirror into the future.
* Lynda Benglis @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave). I really wanted to love this exhibition, because I totally dig Lynda Benglis and her continual boundary-advancing achievements to the modern and contemporary art world. Look, this is her first proper U.S. retrospective since 1990, and while I like that it's held downtown on the Bowery, it's all shoved onto ONE FLOOR — plus that narrow glass cubicle adjacent to the cafe, but that doesn't really count. Esp. b/c that glass cubicle hosts her landmark work "Contraband", a 40-foot tidal wave of poured latex the color of Froot Loops once you've left them in a bowl of milk for like an hour, and you can't cross this demarcation on the floor yards away from the work. Now, in times past at the Whitney, I vividly recall traversing around this stunning swath of pigmented ooze, but not here, not at the New Museum. And while the emphasis of this retrospective is on sculpture (a good idea, I mean it's what Benglis is best known for, her pioneering works in loads of classic and unlikely mediums, from congealing lead and cast-bronze to polyurethane foam and resin), the floor staging these is mad crowded. A "photographer" nearly stepped on one of the sherbet-toned polyurethane mounds during curator Massimiliano Gioni's press introduction. So imagine what it's going to be like when hundreds of tourists, art-school groups and art-lovers show up. BUT: it's a beauty, and a vital array, so don't let the crowding and terse guards dissuade you from attending. The rare work "Phantom" demands particular mention: five phosphorescent polyurethane cascades erupting from the gallery wall, which haven't been shown publicly since their initial realization in 1971. If that description sounds even remotely cool, they are a million times more badass in person. Included too are five sets of Polaroid photos, "Secret", which feature some pretty nice closeups of flowers, plus Benglis and Robert Morris playing gender-roles, which gives some context to her infamous Artforum advert. A few videos, too, like "Now" and "Female Sensibility" (both 1973, and both presented by the ineffable Electronics Art Intermix), to round out her impressive oeuvre.
* Robert Kushner "Wildflower Convocation" + Romare Bearden "Idea to Execution" @ DC Moore Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. This seductive duet inaugurates the gallery's new location. Kushner kisses some of his dazzling canvases with gold-leaf, but only to accentuate the ikebana and shimmering backdrops contained within. They're very pretty, but not too precious. This rare grouping of Bearden's classic collage works is masterful, maquettes for book jackets and scaled murals buzzing with the vitality of '80s downtown Pittsburgh. Energetic grooves practically burst from the matter-of-factly titled "Bessie, Duke, and Louis" (1981), a strong horizontal with De Stijl color planes as backdrop.
* James Rieck "Enter the Dragon" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. Uh, I like this. Look, it's cheeky on the surface: Rieck comments on ironic T-shirts by emblazoning Bruce Lee film stills (replete w/ double-entendre titles) across truncated girls' bosoms ("Low Blow", "Cock Block" etc). But beyond the adrenaline-arousal, there's Rieck's technique, the soft-focus realism of his figures, the superimposition of film stills to cottony fabric, the candy-pastel palette. Sure it's sexy, but it's a beautiful execution, too.
* Robin Williams "Rescue Party" @ PPOW / 535 W 22nd St, 3rd Fl. My initial thoughts upon viewing Williams' spring-fresh renderings of youth was John Currin's gentle grotesquerie crossed w/ Lisa Yuskavage's hot-hues palette. That aside, these are very accomplished works for the young artist: her capturing of shiny surfaces (like in the flower wrapped "Tired Prince" ) blends well w/ the dreamy haze permeating the majority of the works. Plus, instances like "Cabbage Patch" break the perspective, revealing this serious diagonal action that I felt totally worked (and it's got bunnies). She expands on the works shown at that pretty dope group show "The Antidote" at Claire Oliver last winter (which also included personal faves Aaron Johnson, Jesse McCloskey and Ulf Puder — who I've been writing about).
* Hope Gangloff @ Susan Inglett Gallery / 522 W 24th St. Some of the most awesome large-scale figurative paintings you've ever seen. For me they're very close, like cinematic stills from my OWN life, house-parties in Brooklyn and the meanderings of everyday life. I found myself reading the titles in on bookshelves acting as cultured backdrops to her subjects.
* Arturo Herrera @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co. / 530 W 22nd St. Herrera's eye for clever abstraction produces staggeringly beautiful results. I've been on the fence about his everything-and-the-kitchen-sink concept shows in the past, but I am firmly convinced he is in the forefront of contemporary abstract artists. The tonal shifts, explosions of color, text and collage elements in "Santiago" and "Igor" are densely gorgeous, and though they're intensely busy they don't translate as happenstance or clumsy. The two-panel "Jack" has a vertical-line orientation, despite its chorus of pure color and scribbly elements. And while I've been hesitant to fully embrace Herrera's experimentation w/ felt, his inclusion of it on "Tail", in a cartoonishly figurative way, floating above the chaos, works: it's like a comic-strip blown up massively, obscuring the background w/ focus on the one figure. I have to see this show again.
* "TRIIIBE" @ DODGEgallery / 15 Rivington St. A resonating NY debut for Boston-based identical triplets Alicia, Kelly and Sara Casilio, whose identity-minded performance art draws sharp focus to stereotypes, with photographer Cary Wolinsky. The results are more fantastical than Nikki S. Lee's chameleonic style, and looser than Cindy Sherman's self-portraiture. The doubling nature of their work (tripling, really) creates a multifaceted POV of each cinematically-composed scene: so like the electric chair, w/ chaplain and police officer "Right to Life", or the 1950s couple "Homeland" (w/ the third sister in military regalia, framed in a portrait photo). Equally intriguing are three takes on the same concept, the Hollywood mugshots of "Triplet Crime" and the hypnotic "Paint by Number" (which reminded me of Rene Magritte's more realistic surrealism). Or particularly so "Equal Opportunity", the sisters made up as if pregnant, but each maintaining a vaguely familiar identity (Goth, college student, low-wage employee) and the societal impressions intrinsically tied to it.
* Mona Vatamanu & Florian Tudor "Land Distribution" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 518 W 19th St. The Romanian duo reexamine a '50s socialist concept of wealth distribution by literally blocking out the main gallery space in teetering rebars and VHS tape. Their materials were inspired by actual contemporary land redistribution in Venezuela, and there's a sense that if you dared to attempt to cross these plots, you'd inadvertently pull the whole structure down. The adjacent sewn banner "LONG LIVE AND THRIVE CAPITALISM" in the room reappears in their video "Poem" (2009), showing a bunch of art students working 'assembly-line style' to create it, while another video "Surplus Value" (2009) is simply a block of metal being filed away, by hand, wasted effort to create nothing. The end effect of these related works resonates long after you leave the gallery's domain.
* McDermott & McGough "Of Beauty and Being" @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. I hesitate to effuse on this culture-mining duo, but their latest collection of restructured advert narratives, firmly situated in 1955, is undeniably gorgeous. They used this tricolor carbon photographic process to print these poster-sized gems, a technique instilled by photographer Paul Outerbridge in the '30s for color magazine adverts. Which is what these look like: saturated maraschino-cherry reds and powdery teals, eye-popping primaries and airbrushed skin. Oh yes, there's a lot of female nudes here, homage to Outerbridge (plus Man Ray, Steichen and others), like "My Song of Love", masked and spotlit in front of red-green curtains, and the dreamlike shadowy curves of "A Woman Alone". The patterned "Always Reminding Me That We're Apart", w/ the foregrounded elbow-length blue glove, bejeweled and grasping a shiny compact, must be seen to be believed, like the more restrained beauty of "When Love is Far Away", emphasizing the luminescence in nails and lips, beyond the bling-y earring.
+ Ghada Amer "100 Words of Love". One epic new sculpture, composed of 100 calligraphed Arabic words for love.
* Yuichi Higashionna "Fluorescent" @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St. As can be gleaned from the show-title, creative light sculpture is Higashionna's modus operandi. He includes some of those twisty circular-bulb "chandeliers" here, but they're augmented by trompe l'oeil black-striped walls and illuminated curtains, throwing moire patterns and "live" Op art stimulation into the mix. His crude Venetian black glass mobiles become lively against the black grids, and this mutant multifaceted sculpture of acrylic-framed mirrors is like a junior-high makeup counter extended to voyeuristic proportions. There's quite a bit of eye-trickery going on here. I'm impressed.
* "112 Greene St: The Early Years (1970-4) @ David Zwirner / 533 W 19th St. The gallery reunites a group show from one of NY's first alternative artist-run venues. Mastermind and "mad scientist" Gordon Matta-Clark's contributions figure throughout, from his photography (the wall-spanning "Graffiti Scroll" of tagged subway cars and related "Small Graffiti: Truck Fragment" bit of steel) to cast-lead objects, paster and construction ingredients and melted beer bottles, to these really incredible, delicate ink and crayon drawings ("Carmen's Fan" and "Three Forms"), the latter totally unlike my general impressions of his excavation-style art gathering. Plus some intriguing sculptures by Alan Saret (the wicked "Four Piece Folding Glade", turning wire into 'trees' decades before Roxy Paine's coated aluminum works) and Richard Nonas (these cerebral "Blocks of Wood") and short films by Rachel Wood, Suzanne Harris and Richard Serra. Brain food for 2011.
* Christopher Williams @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525 W 19th St. I looked back at my notes on Williams' last solo show at the gallery (a similarly titled affair, though "Revision 7") to glean any insight on what I could add to this one. Guess what: I can't! That 2008 entry, in a dozen sentences, amounted to "well I really like what I see but I can't describe it". There's less camera bifurcation going on here, (in one instance, there's an actual window set cutaway in place of destroyed machinery) and there's a lot of repeating red, in a sock or developing trays or advert-luscious fruits. Plus a lone haystack (rendered as a gelatin silver print), adding some innocence to his otherwise ultrasharp renderings. Photography lovers (particular film devotees) will love this.
* 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.
* John Stezaker @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 537 W 22nd St. Two incredible, pivotal series — "Dark Star" (1979-1983, off Stezaker's 'city of voyeurs' opinion of NYC) and silkscreens (1979-1992) — from the London-based Conceptualist. I could spend hours in this exhibit. The silkscreens incorporating pure black (or in a few cases white) fields act like visual windows to some uncertain realm, promising to pull you inward if you lose balance and pitch toward them. A few of the more recent versions, from the early '90s, utilize skewed quadrilateral canvases (think warped Ellsworth Kelly). Triangular canvases, like a three-peat of a man's profile, cover his face w/ his hands, or another of a female nude, her head cropped from view, embody an invigorating sense of surrealism. His "Dark Star" figures are literally cut out from their scenes, leaving "backlit" collages in their absence.
* Miguel Palma "In Image We Trust" @ Nicholas Robinson Gallery / 535 W 20th St. The cycle of war (or militarism, if you want to take it there) proliferates the Portuguese artist's debut at the gallery. From the gadgetry and whiz-bang detailing of the titular moving (literally) diorama, to the mix of nostalgia and evacuation maneuvers underpinning "Action Plan" and "Nautical Installation".
* Irvin Morazan "Temple of the Bearded Man" @ DCKT Contemporary / 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.
* Jesse McCloskey "New World Nightmares" @ Claire Oliver / 513 W 26th St. McCloskey's inclusion at last year's "The Antidote" group show was a teaser for his fascinating debut solo at the gallery. His media — layered vinyl, paint and paper collages, in super-saturated, constrasty colors — resembles woodcuts, and their Old World mythologies echoes that.
* Ezra Stoller @ Yossi Milo Gallery / 525 W 25th St. A succulent exhibition of the architecturally-cognizant photographer's classic gelatin silver prints, depicting various triumphant structures around NY. The TWA Terminal at JFK is particularly otherworldly: Eero Saarinen's creation all supple alien curves and fins. Against that, Mies van deer Rohe and Philip Johnson's Seagram Building is both capacious and cozy.
* Jonggeon Lee & Buhm Hong "I Was There" @ Doosan Gallery / 533 W 25th St. There is something intrinsically personal and relatable in both these NY-based artists' respective works. Lee's fragmented woodworking and molding apparatuses, plus his carved flooring "Bridge of Paradise" makes me think of Brooklyn house parties (you know, those flats w/ lots of room to move around and go crazy, rare in Manhattan unless 1) you own a loft or 2) you live in UES luxury). Hong's combination video projection and mixed-media mobile "Hide & Seek II" (whose primary structure comes from a bunch of copper pipes) is another instance of architecture rooted in soirees, or conversely the opposite.
* 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.