* "Drive" (dir. Sabu, 2002) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p. Perhaps the epitome of Sabu-san's "stressed salaryman" oeuvre, starring recurring figure Shinichi Tsutsumi as the titular character, caught in a Yakuza hijacking (an all-star cast of thuggish actors, incl. Masanobu Ando and Susumu Terajima) but stone-faced in his reluctance to obey their demands! They just f##ked with the wrong salaryman, is what this is.
* Vicky Chow "the (un)prepared piano" @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 10p/$10. Chow performs a program of recent works for prepared and standard piano, incl. "Wind-Up Bird Preludes" (2005-10, by Ryan Anthony Francis), "Glimpses" (2006, by Vivian Fung) and "Vick(i/y)" (2008, by Andy Akiho), exemplifying Chow's versatility on the instrument and her upcoming Tzadik release w/ composer Francis.
* Robert Kushner "Wildflower Convocation" + Romare Bearden "Idea to Execution" @ DC Moore Gallery / 535 W 22nd St. The inaugural exhibition in this gallery's new space is a serious double-header. It features a rare grouping of Bearden's classic collage works, from maquettes to book jackets and projects to scaled murals, buzzing with the energy of '80s downtown Pittsburgh. Kushner's latest solo at the gallery is comprised of new vibrant floral arrangement paintings and works on paper, all against visually textural backdrops.
* James Rieck "Enter the Dragon" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. Rieck draws sharp focus to the ironic T-shirt, superimposing action stills from Bruce Lee's famous film across girls' truncated figures, then diminishing the color palette to three hues and naming the works cheeky double-entendres related to the action imagery. It's getting hot in here.
* Robert Zandvliet "Pier and Ocean" @ Peter Blum Soho / 99 Wooster St. The Rotterdam-based artist retains his abstract patterning language in these new icy landscapes, though he pushes the envelope to perhaps his most realistic works yet.
* Robin Williams "Rescue Party" @ PPOW / 535 W 22nd St, 3rd Fl. Celebrate PPOW's new location w/ Williams' new exhibition, bright and representational paintings recalling springtime and youth.
* 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.
* Michael Reafsnyder "Feast" @ Ameringer McEnery Yohe / 525 W 22nd St. I hope you're not afraid of color, as in a "Paint Feast" whipped up by this SoCal artist's debut the gallery, medium and large-sized canvas smothered in textured color.
* Michael Benson "Beyond" @ Hasted Hunt Kraeutler / 537 W 24th St. I totally have to use that canned describer "out of this world" in describing this exhibition, of Benson's vivid C-prints that span beyond the Earth's borders, into the solar system.
* Sue de Beer "The Ghosts" @ Park Ave Armory / 643 Park Ave (6 to 68th St), 5/6p. This is de Beer's latest two-channel film, about an occult hypnotist who can retrieve lost lengths of time from peoples' memories and return them to the patient anew. The film installation lasts through SUN, w/ free screenings as above, plus FRI 5/6p, and SAT-SUN 3/4p.
* In Conversation: Tedd Nash Pomanski w/ Dominica Paige @ Bose Pacia / 163 Plymouth St, DUMBO (F to York St, AC to High St), 6:30p. Brooklyn-based artist and photographer Paige discusses Pomanski's exhibition, "At the Foot of the Lighthouse", at the gallery.
* Arturo Herrera "Les Noces" @ Americas Society / 680 Park Ave (6 to 68th St), 7-9p. The modernist abstraction pioneer's first "moving collage" filmic work, a two-channel digital projection based on Sergei Diaghilev's 1923 Ballet Russes and scored by Igor Stravinsky. Plus a related photography series and other works.
* "Cold Weather" (dir. Aaron Katz, 2010) screening @ reRun Theatre / 147 Front St, DUMBO (F to York St, AC to High St), 7p/FREE. Creative siblings Stella and Vito Schnabel host this preview screening of Katz's latest (the film opens properly FRI at IFC Center). The intrigue and edginess of this rainy Portland detective thriller gives the Brooklynite director some serious staying power.
* Meaner Harder Leather @ Vig27 / 119 E 27th St (6 to 23rd St), 11:30p. So the "Harder" part of this weekly burlesque & badassness trio — i.e. Go-Go Harder — is off this week post-birthday, but Misty Meaner (hostess w/ the most-est) and Stormy Leather (the fiercest in NYC) have a slammin' lineup of girlies (and "girls"). Feat. Runaround Sue (of Sugar Shack Burlesque), Melody Sweets (she's adding her honey-toned vox to the TRASH! party on FRI) and Veruca La'Piranha (don't mess w/ the empress!). Fun for girls and boys!
* Happy New Year + North Highlands + Sweet Bulbs @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. One of those beginning-to-end super-duper lineups, heavy on the fuzz (guitar, not cops). Come early for Sweet Bulbs' lovely noise-pop, stay on for North Highlands' power-pop duet and Eleanor Logan (solo project Happy New Year, and Adult Themes' frontwoman — hey, they play DbA on Tuesday).
* Ryan Sawyer + Shahzad Ismaily @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 10p/$10. An inspired pairing of two cutting-edge locals in the experimental/post-rock vein of dope music. Bassist Ismaily plays in Marc Ribot's mind-melting power trio Ceramic Dog and Sawyer's drummed w/ Rhys Chatham, Stars Like Fleas, Jandek and Boredoms' 88 Boadrum.
* Alex Bleeker and the Freaks @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$8. Nothing warms the soul in the dead of winter quite like Real Estate's bearded bassist, Mr. Bleeker, who mans the guitar and vocal duties in his country-folk outfit The Freaks. San Fran's blurred-pop trio Melted Toys share the stage, and I've been hearing a lot of dope things about 'em. w/ Speculator
* Telenovelas + La Big Vic @ Pianos / 158 Ludlow St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 8p/$8. Technically this is Alex Schaaf's residency at the venue, playing w/ his band Yellow Ostrich, but I say show up early for spacey locals La Big Vic (getting lots of buzz) and Telenovelas's blistering shoegaze — few do it as well as they do.
* ALSO: tix on sale for Film Comment Selects at Walter Reade Theatre!!!
You think this will be major, the punk younger stepchild of Lincoln Center's NY Film Festival, hosted on a shoestring budget of brutality and awesomeness? Check the facts: Subway Cinema co-presents "Cold Fish" (dir. Sion Sono, 2010, Japan), "I Saw the Devil" (dir. Kim Ji-woon, 2010, S. Korea) and "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" (dir. Andrew Lau, 2010, China), plus heavies like "Burke and Hare" (dir. John Landis, 2010, UK), "Insidious" (dir. James Wan, 2010, USA) and "Domaine" (dir. Patric Chiha, 2009, France/Austria). Yes. Very major. Stay tuned to my blog (feeslist.blogspot.com) for further details and impressions.
* Jim Campbell "4 Works" @ Hosfelt Gallery / 531 W 36th St. Four new massive custom LED works by pretty much the leading genius on LED tech-as-art (seen his "Scattered Light" installation around Madison Square Park yet?). This promises to be infinitely badass. Ahead of his commissioned installation for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's atrium.
* "Pornucopia" @ Allegra LaViola Gallery / 179 E Broadway. The depiction of abundance, from provocative pairings to breakfast cereal landscapes. Feat: Ryan Alexiev, Kara Maria, Tom Sanford, Amanda Church, Catherine Howe, Pannie Malekzadeh and about a dozen more.
* Martin Kersels @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. Humorous and thought-provoking works from the LA-based artist's first NY show in a decade, feat. handmade hanging "Charms" sculptures and vivid, laborious drawings whose imagery comes from their absence of coloration.
* Los Carpinteros "Rumba Muerta" @ Sean Kelly Gallery / 528 W 29th St. The Cuban duo work with transformation over three sculptural installations, inspired by the PanAmerican stadium in Havana, plus references to salsa music and literature.
* "The Great Upheaval: Modern Art from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918" @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). A chorus of powerful art movements and advances crashed together in the years leading up to WWI, incl. Der Blaue Reiter, fearless expressionism and Cubism in Paris. This exhibition encompasses that time period with over 100 works from its collection, from Vasily Kandinsky to Fernand Léger.
* "The Blessed Bell" (dir. Sabu, 2002) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p. Before Satoshi Miki's lackadaisical heart-warmer "Adrift in Tokyo", there was Sabu's "The Blessed Bell", chronicling laid-off blue-collar Susumu Terajima, wandering about the city and encountering a bunch of pitiful cases (from Yakuza flunkies to stressed salarymen) worse off than him. A surreal and touching stroll.
* "The Roommate" (dir. Christian E. Christiansen, 2011) screenings in wide release. So mayyyyybe this is "Single White Female" for the new millennium, or just maybe there are some refreshing scares in this university-set thriller, about that lovely but then creepy and then homicidal roommate you got paired w/ freshman year. Full disclosure: I want to see this. And Minka Kelly's a cutie (Leighton Meester too, kinda).
* "Cold Weather" (dir. Aaron Katz, 2010) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Did Brooklynite Katz's 2007 film "Quiet City" charm the pants off you too? A mumblecore sonnet for the masses! His latest, which premiered at 2010 SXSW, is a thrilling departure, a Portland-set twentysomething detective story that retains his previous film's gently worn edges.
* "Anaconda" (dir. Luis Llosa, 1997) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Ah the '90s. I'm not too proud to admit I saw "Anaconda" in theaters! My reason: young Jennifer Lopez (HELLO, obvs). Plus, it's got Ice Cube (a total 180 from his classic role in "Friday") and there's a Danny Trejo cameo at the beginning. Oh yeah, and a long-ass, animatronic snake. ALSO SAT
* Heliotropes + Weird Owl @ Union Pool / 484 Union Ave, Williamsburg (L/G to Lorimer), 8p. For those who like it heavy, and I know that you do. Weird Owl: nice boys, mind-altering psychedelia. I'm waiting for Merzbow to remix 'em, like his hour-long Deep Purple burnout. Heliotropes: nice girls, melodic doom-pop. Like a sledgehammer made of psilocybin 'shrooms. w/ Ancient Sky
* Charlene Kaye & the Brilliant Eyes @ The Gutter Bar / 200 N 14th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Nassau), 8p/$5. That other Williasmburg bowling alley/music venue is barely a month ago, though it boasts a solid lineup of harmonic indie tonight. The culmination of which is the ineffable Charlene Kaye, her golden vocals and chamber-pop band The Brilliant Eyes. w/ The Grey Race
* Woods (acoustic duo guitars set) + Ducktails @ Monster Island Basement / 128 River St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$9. Slow jams and chill vibes are what I've come to expect in even the most propulsive freak-folk Woods tunes, but this acoustic set should be way soothing. And Matt Mondanile's Ducktails act can do no wrong in those sweetened snow-icing guitar-loop soundscapes. w/ Metal Mountains
* Grooms + Darlings + Tony Castles @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$8. I'm only dealing w/ like 1/2 this massive lineup tonight at DbA: it's literally overflowing w/ dope local bands. The one-two noisy garage-pop punch of Darlings and Grooms sets the tone for Tony Castles' freak-funk grooves. Plus, Powers (aka Anna & Pat of These Are Powers) headline the epic night. w/ Class Actress and Snakes Say Hiss
* TRASH! w/ Cut Copy album release party @ Studio at Webster Hall / 125 E 11th St (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 11p/$10 ($5 w/ RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org). How you put one of Friday's best '80s-drenched parties over the top? Add the tunes from those synthy Aussies Cut Copy (plus Chromeo, DJing a late one upstairs supporting Mr. Oizo's significant bash), and a cabaret featuring the incomparable duo Melody Sweets and Magdalena Fox. My head just nuked. Did yours?
* Francesco Vezzoli "Sacrilegio" @ Gagosian Gallery / 522 W 21st St. I can barely believe this is the Milan-based titillater's FIRST NY solo exhibition. I fell into admiration during the 2006 Whitney Biennial and Vezzoli's "Caligula" (starring Gore Vidal, Courtney Love, Helen Mirren and loads others). He's not one to shy from spectacle, and he's transforming Gagosian's spacious 21st St space into a Renaissance chapel — only this is Vezzoli, so expect imagery of supermodels (rendered in needlepoint and mixed media) instead of the Madonna, plus his new video installation in the space's "crypt of memory". Think of it as celebrity worship, literalized.
* Maria Petschnig "Erolastika" @ On Stellar Rays / 133 Orchard St. Two new videos and related photography from the NY-based Austrian artist, confronting voyeurism and intimacy boundaries. Petschnig furthers this by involving another photographer, a Russian-based bloke whose kinky portraits of anonymous women was an inspiration for this new body of work. Plus: the artist stages a performance on FEB 24 at 7p (check back on that LIST for more info).
* Beatrice Caracciolo "Cercare nella Terra" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 465 W 23rd St. Photogravure and etchings of plowed fields and natural landscapes from the Paris-based Italian artist.
* "Highways Connect and Divide" @ Foxy Production / 623 W 27th St. Mining the Information Age and post-Internet era, feat. genre-busters like Nam June Paik, Cory Arcangel, Sterling Ruby, I/O/D, JODI, Kerry Tribe and the Bureau of Inverse Technology.
* SkowheganTALKS: Patty Chang & Jeannie Oleson @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave, BD to Grand), 3p/$8. The Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture organizes this ongoing series of artist-to-artist conversations. This one pairs two Brooklynites, both working in the realms of performance, audio/video and and photography.
* "Troubleman" (dir. Sabu, 2010) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd, 6 to 51st St), 5p. Whoa: the international premiere of Sabu's written-for-TV action comedy. Basically it's an unlucky insurance agent (Kato Shigeaki) drawn into a puzzling web of interconnected problems, from the Takei-gumi thugs to apartment residents' confessions.
* OKEVERYTHING @ Silent Barn / 915 Wyckoff Ave, Ridgewood (L to Halsey, M to Myrtle/Wyckoff), 2p/FREE ($10 after 7p). What a way to spend your Saturday, out of the cold and in the cozy Barn. This is non-institutional learning, feat. a workshop for producing mini-comics (by The Center for Cartoon Studies), game design lectures by the Global Game Jam, and BANDS!! Like: Anamanaguchi + nullsleep, the 8-bit punks and the chiptune soul-brova, playing after nightfall.
* Monotonix + Pujol @ 285 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/TK. I wonder how high the ceiling is of 285 Kent. B/c garage-rockers Monotonix came all the way from Tel Aviv and notably energetic frontman Ami is probably aching to climb that ceiling and crowd-surf. Their potent live act plus Nashville's Pujol, more country-fried punk ditties than you can handle, make for a sweaty way to beat this winter. Plus, rumors are aswirl that this just may be Monotonix's final round of touring. Now lose your minds. w/ Federation X
* Widowspeak @ Cameo Gallery / 93 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$8. Do you like stand-up drummers? Do you like the '90s? Those are but two draw of this show. I'm digging the nostalgia-riddled haze of garage-rock tiro Widowspeak, which should pair well w/ the Cross-Colors '90s Dance Party following the bands, helmed by requisite fly girls Shirley Braha & Peggy Wang, in celebration of Dustin Payseur's (i.e. Beach Fossils) birthday.
* "Face" (dir. Andy Warhol, 1965) screening @ Museum of the Moving Image / 3601 35th Ave, Astoria (E/M/R to Steinway St, N/Q to 36th Ave/Washington Ave), 7p. An hour-long close-up of Edie Sedgwick being herself. I think Warhol once said he wanted to film a day in the life of Edie (this was around the time of his non-narrative multi-hour "classics"); "Face" may be the closest he ever came to doing it. Downtown NYC in the mid-'60s, quantified onscreen.
* Deerhoof @ Europa / 98 Meserole Ave, Greenpoint (G to Nassau), 8p/$15 (advance tix available at Desert Island Books / 540 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L/G to Lorimer). You mean to tell me you haven't been to Club Europa in awhile, like in several years? That makes two of us!!!!! Here's the perfect reason to return: Deerhoof, the sharpest, furthest point on that beveled cutting-edge of envelope-pushing art-rock bands, play there in celebration of their new album "Deerhoof vs. Evil". w/ Buke & Gass
* Patrick Jacobs "Familiar Terrain" @ Pierogi / 177 N 9th St, Williamsburg. I love this exhibition's title: it felt totally appropriate as I practically dove face-first into the warm, endless meadows realized in Jacobs' awesome works — they're a combo of meticulous diorama and convex Claude glass lenses, so they appear as 3D photographs. I count myself the requisite city-dweller, a hardcore urbanite who likes his parks but is most comfortable on pavement, transit platforms and structures several stories off the ground. But I was beyond charmed by these swaths of greenery, recalling everything from some English glade to upstate New York, just off the beaten path. "Fairy Ring with English Daisies" (2010) bears a flattened oval of grass in its foreground. The tiny "Dandelion Cluster" (a 2-inch lens) is stuffed to the brim w/ thistles and that blossoming weed, like seeing it from the POV of tall grass. Water features, distant powerlines, water-towers, and other elements slowly reveal themselves in Jacobs' compositions, as our eyes soar back toward the horizon. This Cali-born, Brooklyn-based enchanter is featured in the upcoming "Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities" group exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design — but those feelings of delight when peering into a Jacobs' lens are totally natural.
* Leon Ferrari @ Haunch of Venison NY / 1230 Ave of Americas, 20th Fl. Following Ferrari's enriching dual exhibition "Tangled Alphabets" (w/ the ineffable Mira Schendel) at MoMA in 2009, Haunch of Venison stages the 90-year-old Argentinian artist's next major U.S. retrospective. Think about that for a moment and weigh those words: this seminal Latin American artist's first major museum exhibition was at MoMA, less than two years ago. No time to waste, then: nearly 50 years worth of work, including Ferrari's wire sculptures and "written drawings", including "Opus 113" (seen in the MoMA exhibition, though staged in its own room at Haunch, a spiky grid of stainless over a lightbox) and what I call the 'room of confections', a grouping of hanging steel, copper and acrylic forms, like massive clouds of spun sugar, plus the quiet elegance of "Instrument Edition" (2010), a hanging cascade of steel bars and among the latest works in this exhibition. Ferrari's works on paper should not be missed: the scope here ranges from seminal early collaged works like "The Impregnating Tree" (1964) to all sorts of ink- and dripped-paint patterns, to later collaged drawings for Jorge Luis Borges, like "The Wait" from 2003. One of my favorites, in the gallery adjacent to "Opus 113", is this layered glass composite from 2006, covered in swirls of silvery paint, creating this soap-bubble effect.
* Kenny Scharf "Naturafutura" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. Scharf achieves a brilliant depth in these new large-scale paintings, based off his coastal studio in Bahia, Brazil, a mix of flat and textural oil, acrylic and enamel so that you have to visually part the meandering blue and gold kelp of "Vivagua" (2010) and the goofy Jurassic fronds of "Bear Jungle" (2010) as your eyes trace back into the mist and the layered background critters and flora. His very large "Oil Painting" (2010), painted in reaction to BP's Deepwater disaster, actually looks like Scharf splashed crude on the linen, a shimmer of varnish and gooey black specters sloshing about the otherwise pristine blue water.
+ "Three Dozen!" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 511 @ 27th St. Nothing to hate on here, unless you have something against donuts, which makes you a philistine! A bunch of sugary same-size paintings of psychedelic pastry — "Chocolate Frosted in a Stellar Sky", "Old Fashioned Donut Hovering on a Lovely Day", "Glazed + Calm" (all 2011) — that may epitomize eye-candy, but I don't care, I love 'em.
* Gillian Carnegie @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Carnegie returns with a quiet half-dozen paintings of architecture, interiors and a flowering tree, all fractured angles, in a moody and sumptuous palette of grays and browns. The odd "Moot Assembly" (2009-2010), a diamond pattern on paper, is the most colorful, but b/c it's rendered in pastel it remains pulled back and muted alongside its darker neighbors, like "Prince" (2010), a black cat sitting rather princely in a stairwell, seen from slightly below eye-level.
* "Sculpture" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 521 W 21St St. I break down this pretty rad group show into two flavors: stuff that looks like one thing but is another, and stuff that you probably wouldn't expect to be sculptural material. Now, the latter is sort of free-range, thanks to neo-assemblage, but I was pleasantly surprised w/ Liz Glynn's take on looted artifacts returned to Italy from the Getty Museum, titled here as "California Surrogates for the Getty" (2008). They're an amalgam of plaster and paper and backyard detritus (dead leaves, twigs), and somehow, from a distance (in photographs, definitely) they appear ornamental and glazed pottery. I'm not making this up. Justin Matherly does a pretty neat thing w/ cut concrete and ambulatory walkers, like a beastly take on Huma Bhabha, channelling Edward Kienholz. Michael Sailstorfer's tied up tyres, like ginormous chalky black knots, called "Clouds" (2010), are urban smog hyperbolized. That leaves stuff that looks like one thing but is another: Amy O'Neill contributes a deconstructed American flag, or it could be an illusion of that b/c what we get is 13 sand-stuffed burlap "stripes" and a sand-stuffed square arranged in an American flag-like pattern on the floor. For me, Nadine Robinson's trio of oversized berries and woofer win the day: they're styrofoam-molded and graphite-colored, but placed across from Sailstorfer's "Clouds" they take on the impression of being composed, somehow, of tyres.
* Juan Navarro Baldeweg "Pintar, Pintar" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. It's particularly notable that the Spanish artist behind these vividly colored paintings is also a renowned architect, b/c spatial representation figures heavily in his angular semi-abstract renderings, particularly the diamond shaped canvases of figures pouring paint into line crisscrossed rooms.
* Jeppe Hein @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. The Danish-born artist returns to NY w/ an even more perception-tripping installation. Begin w/ the tiny porthole outside the gallery and to the left of the doors. Peer into it. I'll not tell you what you see, you have to do that yourself! Then go inside, walk amid the (stationary bicycle-powered) chandelier, swelling and contracting like a Brobdingnagian light-covered umbrella (or a breathing giant squid-lights…thing). Plus I noticed a manhole on the floor of the gallery, which I've never seen before. It may have always been there and I just never noticed, or it may be Hein messing w/ us again, but it's definitely there.
* Christian Marclay 'The Clock" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. This is a brilliant "time waster". That's tongue-firmly-in-cheek, obvs, b/c I loved Marclay's new 24-hour film. The concept is terribly simple: Marclay has culled tons (thousands? more?) of film footage of timepieces — wristwatches, clocks of all kinds — and sewn them into a flowing realtime narrative synchronized to the actual time it's screened. Meaning: I went at 6:20p, stayed until 6:45p, and all the excerpts I viewed occurred during those 25 minutes in the evening. People around the dinner table, people leaving work in a downpour, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson quixotically staring at a Mac computer in "Zoolander", Keanu Reeves leaving the Oracle's kitchen in "The Matrix"…and so on. Plus, the gallery-hangar converted into a screening-room was like a cozy charcoal-colored cocoon, and a full-house to boot. The gallery hosts 24-hour screenings of Marclay's entire film every Friday, like this Friday, beginning at 10a and lasting until 6p on Saturday. It's a killer way to escape the snow for awhile.
* Martin Boyce "Winter Palms" @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Welcome to post-armageddon 2011, or so you might think walking through Boyce's latest exhibition. Think twisted metal park benches, reconfigured as undulating screens, overturned bike racks bearing some sort of coded language, and jesmonite and steel "collages". I wiki'ed jesmonite: it's a gypsum-based material in acrylic resin, used in sculpture — here Boyce has turned it into a wood slats-like mentality.
* Leslie Thornton "Binoculars" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. The experimental film pioneer — her several-decade opus "Peggy and Fred in Hell" had a special screening during PS1's "Greater New York" — debuts at Winkleman w/ a deceptively simple, and therefore thoroughly amazing, exhibit. She presents a series of flat-screen, two-channel monitors, each bearing a circular field of some animal, filmed in the wild, plus a second circular field, projecting the same image but remapped as a kaleidoscope. The resulting diptych — a regal black parrot preening along against its jewellike abstraction, a lizard on a branch vs. its geometric opposite — may cause us to recast our feelings on which field, the legit or the manipulated, contains the most life.
* Adam Marnie + Tom Thayer @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. Both artists take on the cut-and-glue medium, w/ Marnie riffing endlessly off a vase of flowers photographed in his studio and Thayer's Arte Povera-style puppets and collages (elements to his stunning lo-fi animations) framed here like bizarre family ephemera.
* "Untitled (Painting") @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. Want hot abstract paintings? The gallery sets the tone of dope group shows this year w/ a stunner: Josh Smith (who's got a solo opening here in February) reworks his name-only paintings into an even more twisted soup. There's a badass Christopher Wool in the main room, sharing the space w/ a pixellated (and Wool-esque) Albert Oehlen plus a vicious big-X Wade Guyton and another Tauba Auerbach "Fold" painting, bearing a subtle, shimmering gradient. I've never counted myself a Bernard Frize fan, but his "Fabia" acrylic in the 2nd room, a fuzzed-out network of spraypaint-like lines, will blur your vision in the coolest way.
* 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.
* Deborah Luster "Tooth for an Eye" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 513 W 20th St. This photographic archive of contemporary and historical homicide sites in New Orleans is a punishing feat, but well deserving a close look. Luster achieves this on multiple levels. She frames her large b&w prints as circular images, pitching the viewer forward into the city's landscape itself, and she exhaustively titles each work based on the crime's location, date and descriptions on the violence committed. Finally, the breadth of works on display, the dozen or so leading into the main room are just the tip of the iceberg. Check the installed bookshelf, lined w/ bound oversized volumes, and the several ledgers open for perusal, feat. a dizzying array besides those framed.
* Johannes Wohnseifer "Another Year" @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. The show's title is indicative of the artist's thought process: mutability, the passage of time, mortality. The standout seems to be a series of sleep-cycle influenced "Light Sleeper" abstract paintings and related "Stacked Studio Lights", a sculpture of fluorescent lightbulbs attuned to Wohnseifer's REM/NREM cycles.
* "On Line" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). Score one for MoMA (two really, if you count the outstanding "Abstract Expressionist New York" on the 4th Fl), and if you've been avoiding this institution for whatever reason: CHECK IT OUT. This survey on the line, its transformation from "mere" pencil-and-paper to explorations in space, even performance, since the early 20th C., is pretty major and well outfitted. It boasts both the best of MoMA (a peerless archive of works) and the museum's potential to launch a kickass show (by drawing key and obscure works from that peerless archive). Oh there are loads of usual favorites, which lose absolutely zero even if you've seen 'em dozens of times. Like: Jean (Hans) Arp "Untitled (Collage with Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)" (1916-7), Man Ray's majestic "The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows" (1916), Carolee Schneemann's classic "Up To & Including Her Limits" (1973-6, shown fittingly as an installation) and, at the very end, Julie Mehretu's "Rising Down" (2008), which is actually a very important step for MoMA, in their ongoing curve of including important (young) women artists in their collection. Plus there's loads of less-seen-but-known gems by big names: Robert Rauschenberg's awesome "Automobile Tire Print" (1953, created by John Cage's auto!), Eva Hesse's "Hang Up" (1960, counted as her 1st 'major' work), Fred Sandback's spiky purple-yarn cascade from '67, and Michael Heizer's "Circular Surface Planar Displacement Drawing" (1970, which is infinitely more badass than its cut-and-dry title). BUT: MoMA balances this lot w/ a whole bunch of artists you may well NOT know, seamlessly incorporating their contributions to the ongoing dialogue w/ the line. Like: Belgian abstract sculptor Georges Vantongerloo (a bunch of plastic/Plexiglas forms from the early '50s), Brazilian Anna Maria Maiolino (incredible cut-paper interventions from the '70s), and Swede Sophie Tottie (rippled ink works "Written Language" from 2008) — and of course the mighty Gego, aka Gertrude Goldschmidt, a whole slew of her heavy-metal works incl. "Drawings Without Paper" from the '80s, which succinctly sums up a theme of this exhibition. ENDS MONDAY