ARMORY ARTS WEEK
There are a BUNCH of art fairs occurring this week, most from MAR 3 through 6, spanning Piers 92 & 94 (The Armory Show) to DUMBO.
* The Armory Show / Piers 92 & 94 at 12th Ave (CE to 50th St), MAR 3-5 (12-8p) & MAR 6 (12-6p)
* VOLTA NY / 7 W 34th St (BDFM/NR to 34th St/Herald Sq, 6 to 33rd St), MAR 3 (2-7p), MAR 4-6 (11a-7p)
* ADAA: The Art Show / Park Ave Armory at 67th St (6 to 68th St), MAR 2-5 (12-8p), MAR 6 (12-6p)
* Independent / 548 W 22nd St (CE to 23rd St), MAR 3 (4-9p), MAR 4-5 (11-8p), MAR 6 (12-4p)
* Fountain NY / Pier 66 at 12th Ave (CE to 23rd St), MAR 4-6 (12-7p)
* Moving Image / 269 11th Ave (CE to 23rd St), MAR 3-5 (11a-8p), MAR 6 (11a-3p)
* Pulse / 125 W 18th St (1 to 18th St), MAR 3 (1-8p), MAR 4-5 (12-8p), MAR 6 (12-5p)
* Red Dot / 82 Mercer St (6 to Spring, BDFM to Broadway/Lafayette), MAR 3 (11a-6p), MAR 4-5 (11a-8p), MAR 6 (11a-6p)
* Scope New York / 320 West Street (1 to Houston St), MAR 3-5 (12-8p), MAR 6 (12-7p)
* Verge Art Brooklyn / 81 Front St, DUMBO (F to York St, AC to High St), MAR 3-5 (12-10p), MAR 6 (12-6p)
* "Involuntary", curated by Neville Wakefield @ Ford Project / 57 W 57th St, Penthouse. A site-specific, and as the press release goes "site-responsive", group exhibition eliciting our most visceral and human emotions. Considering the cast, from Laurel Nakadate, SUPERFLEX and Scott Campbell to Naama Tsabar, Liz Magic Laser and Miranda Lichtenstein, you may form some preliminaries ideas of what's in store for us. Me, it is my first time in the space so I'm a bit stoked.
* "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" (dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston, ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). It has been a long time coming for this surreal and touching bijoux from the Thai indie director, from the buzz to its Palme d'Or win at last year's Cannes to its inclusion in the NY Film Festival. A man at the end of his life contemplates reincarnation, as his family and friends sit bedside with him out in the countryside.
* "The Good, the Bad and the Weird" (dir. Kim Ji-woon, 2008) screening @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins St, AC to Lafayette), 6/9p. You've never seen/heard of Korean westerns? Few are as badass as this: three superstars (Jung Woo-sung, Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho) play a bounty hunter, hitman and thief on the ultimate Ghost Market caper.
* Summer Camp @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave), 6:30p/$10. Whispery, dreamy electro-pop from this cute coed London duo. Nothing wrong w/ that! Their proper LP is on the way. w/ High Highs
* "Longing for Identity: Postwar Japanese Photographers" @ Yoshii Gallery / 980 Madison Ave. An array equally rare, important and jaw-droppingly gorgeous, via seven of Japan's heavyweights from the '50s through '70s, replete w/ advances onto unpaved paths of modernism, experimentation and expressionism. Feat. Seiji Kurata, Eiko Hosoe, Kazuo Kitai, Shoji Ueda, Shomei Tomatsu, Daido Moriyama AND Nobuyoshi Araki. I know: mayjah, right?
* David Wojnarowicz "Spirituality" @ PPOW / 535 W 22nd St, 3rd Fl. If the world didn't know this key New York artist, thank goodness for the outcry over "A Fire in My Belly"'s banishment form the National Portrait Gallery and its rightful presentation to the public eye. PPOW worked with Wojnarowicz for years and hosted their own screening of that work. Now they've mounted a survey of the artist's works to sate your appetite, from his lithographs and acrylic paintings to photography (including his "Ant series") and sculpture.
* Tara Donovan "Untitled (Mylar)" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Donovan converts the gallery into a Mylar wonderland, a sorta-lunar sorta-underwater-vibe installation of shiny surfaces and iridescent blooms. We've not had a large-scale work by Donovan like this since her big one at the Met in 2007.
* "Unpainted Paintings", curated by Alison Gingeras @ Luxembourg & Dayan / 64 E 77th St. The UES space mounts its spring show, feat. rare works by artists not limiting themselves to actual paint on canvas. Think Piero Manzoni's "achromes" and Robert Rauschenberg's odd-media, plus Lynda Benglis, Paul McCarthy, Jean Dubuffet, Otto Muehl and more.
* "Malevich and the American Legacy" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. Six of Kazimir Malevich's pivotal paintings form the backbone to this exhibition of modernism and Minimalism, which also feat. works by Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Ryman and James Turrell — a combo of thoughtful borrowings from personal collections and dutiful lending from major institutions, incl. MoMA. Wow. In a gallery setting, this show. Remember that.
* Martin Kippenberger "Eggman II" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. Nine paintings, a sculpture and related drawings by the electrifying postwar German artist, all completed shortly before his premature death in 1997. Also: the works were last show together in the final exhibition of Kippenberger's lifetime, in Städtisches Museum Abteilberg, in Mönchengladbach, Germany.
* Ali Banisadr "It Happened and It Never Did" @ Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects / 535 W 22nd St. New lush semi-abstract paintings blending classic Miniaturist technique with an almost epic Medieval energy.
* Ian Francis "Fireland" @ Joshua Liner Gallery / 548 W 28th St, 3rd Fl. I think I am very into these: Francis combines jagged, gestural brushstrokes with random imagery culled from the web, but it all works together like in some refreshingly original cyberpunk way. This is the Bristol-based artist's 1st solo show in NY.
* Harry Callahan/Jackson Pollock "Early Photographs and Drawings" @ Pace/MacGill Gallery / 32 E 57th St. Has this pairing ever occurred before? Callahan's forays into formal abstraction in American photography vs. Pollock's envelope-pushing drawings? Art geeks love this stuff (speaking for myself).
* José Parlá "Walls, Diaries and Paintings" @ Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery / 505 W 24th St. Big canvases pregnant w/ histories of Parlá's travels, through Istanbul, Havana, Tokyo and New York, rendered in fluid acrylic, textural enamel, ink and collage.
* "Conundrum" @ Bose Pacia / 163 Plymouth St, DUMBO. Paintings, drawings, sculpture and mixed media works by contemporary Indian artists, from the technical and figurative to the loosely representational, feat. Aditya Pande, Anita Dube, Arunkumar H.G., Raqs Media Collective, Mithu Sen and Suhasini Kejriwal
* Jack Pierson & Elliott Puckette @ Danziger Projects / 534 W 24th St. This is a pretty cool collage show for the respective artists. Pierson goes beyond his word-assemblage sculpture in using only cut C-prints to compose his works, while Puckette reverses her usual painterly process (excising color w/ a razor blade) by creating gestural marks on paper and then inking them.
* Ivan Navarro "Heaven or Las Vegas" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. New fluorescent light sculptures recalling floor-plans of iconic skyscrapers, interspersed w/ agitprop phrases, in the Chilean artist's debut solo show at the gallery. Plus the title makes me think of Cocteau Twins.
* "Insidious" (dir. James Wan, 2010, USA) @ Walter Reade Theatre / Lincoln Center at 65th St (1 to 66th St), part of FCS, 8:45p. Mr. Wan returns to form (hopefully!!) in this slithering, super-creepy ghost story, involving more than just your usual haunted house. To say I am stoked — it's not properly released here until APR 1 — is a tremendous understatement. Way to close out FCS 2011!
* "!Women Art Revolution: A Secret History" (dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson, 2010) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 6:30p, w/ intro by Gloria Steinem & discussion w/ Leeson. Four decades of the feminist art movement, interwoven with antiwar and civil rights movements and highlighting visionaries across generations and genres. Feat. interviews w/ Janine Antoni, Miranda July, Nancy Spero, Martha Rosler, Judy Chicago, Yael Kanarek, Marcia Tucker and loads others.
* Rudolf Stingel, curated by Francesco Bonami @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. It's like a meditation on Stingel's process, from his (self)portraiture, moving from grayscale to color (a new thing), to carpets drenched in metallic paint, to huge, scuffed gold paintings.
* "I Saw the Devil" (dir. Kim Ji-woon, 2010) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). You are not ready for this. One of the heaviest, morally darkened films I've seen in a good long while gets a proper screening run at IFC. It's a dark sphere of gruesome energy, a revenge tale so sickening that it pushes the envelope way further than you'd ever dare. That said, I loved it. If you've seen Park Chan-wook's "Oldboy" and wondered what happened to that rugged slice of man-muscle named Choi Min-sik, well he's back as the evilest sociopath since Hannibal Lecter.
* "Rango" (dir. Gore Verbinski, 2011) screenings, in wide release. I've been keeping a close eye on this one since that beguiling teaser way back when of a orange plasticky windup fish toy slowly crossing a deserted highway. That led to Johnny Depp as the titular character, an earnest chameleon in an existential crisis (get it?), seeking to do good in the Old West. But don't take my word for it, watch the trailer and see the awesomeness for yourself.
* "Carancho" (dir. Pablo Trapero, 2010) @ Village East Cinema / 181 2nd Ave (L to 3rd Ave, 6 to Astor Place). One of the darkest films of 2010 comes from Argentina, this gripping crime thriller of ambulance-chasers cloaked in big-city nighttime.
* "Instrument" (dir. Jem Cohen, 1999) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 7p. A decade's collaboration b/w the bracing, inspiring director and Fugazi, from recording sessions to concerts to casual moments. But w/ Cohen even the most incidental requires a close, thoughtful look.
* Dum Dum Girls + Frankie Rose & the Outs + MINKS @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Delancey), 8p/$13. When West Coast all-women doo-wop/garage rockers Dum Dum Girls called off their tour to a family emergency, I worried when they'd ever be back. But they are, and in top form, taking it up a notch w/ East Coast's all-women doo-wop/garage rockers (and LIST faves) Frankie Rose & the Outs. AND they've got Brooklyn's fashion-y-est post-punk contingent MINKS to round out the nostalgic experience.
* Rirkrit Tiravanija "Fear Eats the Soul" @ Gavin Brown's Enterprise / 620 Greenwich St. The title comes from Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1974 film "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul", love bridging the existential divide, as the significantly awesome Conceptualist presents a soup kitchen and t-shirt factory, plus other durational and food-minded activities, w/in the gallery.
* Gary Baseman "Walking Through Walls" + Andy Kehoe "Strange Wanderings" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St. Baseman's balloon-headed characters and Kehoe's masked anthropomorphic figures in flickering landscapes each aim to transport you the viewer somewhere far away. And, brother, they are successful.
* Fahamu Pecou "Art History NeXt" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. The Brooklyn-based artist focuses on art history and pop culture through the 20th C. through his own vividly rendered self-portrait.
* "Potiche" (dir. François Ozon, 2010) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 7p (part of "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2011"). Rendez-Vous is bringing the HEAT this year, w/ Catherine Deneuve and Judith Godreche both attending this adaptation of the comedic 1970s play, about a trophy wife taking over her wicked husband's factory during a strike.
* "Love Crime" (dir. Alain Corneau, 2010) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 9:30p (part of "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2011"). FOCUS: In Corneau's final film, the delicious thriller's star Ludivine Sagnier is attending the screening. Ludivine Saginer. In person. MAYJAH.
* Charlene Kaye @ Littlefield / 622 Degraw St, Park Slope (R to Union St), 6p/$8. It all goes back to the voice, Kaye's ineffable pipes, in her effortless blend of old-soul and nouveau-classic edge. The band adds an eclectic chamber-pop element, but when Kaye straps on the Strat — I'm calling it a "Strat" b/c of the alliteration, full disclosure, my knowledge of guitar models is beyond deficient — she's going to rock your socks off. And you'll love it.
* "The Sleeping Beauty" (dir. Catherine Breillat, 2010) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 1p (part of "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2011"). Remember Breillat's sexy and sinister adaptation of "Bluebeard" last year? Wondering what she'll do w/ this classic fairytale? She's attending this screening, too, which is just extra-dope.
* "Krush Groove" (dir. Michael Schultz, 1985) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 5p. Amazing. The dramatic retelling of Def Jam Recordings, feat. Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Sheila E and of course Russell Simmons — and the film that inspired legendary Japanese hip-hop DJ Krush (and legions others, worldwide).
* Datarock + The Suzan @ Santos Party House / 96 Lafayette St (ACE/NR/6/JZ to Canal St), 7:30p/$15. Here's my thing w/ The Suzan: these Japanese riot-girls are bonkers. I caught them almost by accident at Cake Shop way back (might have been their 1st U.S. show?) and was intrigued… then I realized Bjorn (of Peter Bjorn & John) was already into 'em, and they totally blew up and played TERMINAL 5 (supporting Chromeo) like…two weeks ago? Bonkers, I tell you. I like 'em in smaller venues like this, but properly high-octane, against the Norwegian shouty-electro group Datarock. w/ Dinowalrus
* Parts & Labor (album release party) + Pterodactyl @ Monster Island Basement / 128 River St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/. The local music scene — I guess it's like this everywhere? — moves bloody FAST here. So seeing noise-rock maestros Parts & Labor (celebrating their new LP "Constant Future") alongside jittery post-punk blokes Pterodactyl takes me cleanly back AT LEAST two full years, like before all that surf-rock swept through Brooklyn. Good times.
* Raekwon (album release party) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$15. HUGE. You can't top Raekwon. His "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" set the standard for Wu Tang member releases (much as I love GZA's "Liquid Swords" and Ghostface's "Iron Man"). Throughout the ensemble's movements, separations, reunions, Rae always brought it back to the flow. His latest album "Shaolin vs. Wu Tang" should advance his authenticity to classic East Coast sound.
* Josephine Meckseper @ The FLAG Art Foundation / 545 W 25th St, 9th Fl. The NY-based artist's previous local solo show, at Elizabeth Dee Gallery last summer, transformed that space into a glowing car-dealership corridor. She's got a lot more room to play within FLAG, and she utilizes and customizes that space to maximum impact. The lights are gone again, swapped out for floor-level fluorescent bars. Cut-pane horizontal mirrors cover some of the walls, simultaneously lengthening and decapitating your reflection depending on where you're standing. Then she fills the space with chromed platforms of mixed objects, like the combination of mannequin chest, assisted walker, high-priced mens shorts and motor oil container — entitled "Thank a Vet". She's also included vitrines, mixing a small-size geometric abstract painting with oversized rabbits-feet (like to hang in a rearview mirror), plus a wall of blank canvases covered in colored cellophane and shrinkwrapped: they manage to evoke both some precious new abstraction style and the cleanup after an accident. Their relative juxtaposition to a skittering, static-riddled video of a busted windshield amplifies that vibe.
+ Gerhard Richter "Sinbad", 10th Fl. I'd seen the ineffable Richter's flotilla of little abstract panes, swirling clouds of lacquer sandwiched between glass, at his huge Marian Goodman exhibition in late-fall of 2009. Though FLAG has installed them to his original intent: 98 paintings in 49 diptychs cover one wall of their upstairs space, in the baddest-ass rec room of your wildest imagination.
* Berlinde de Bruyckere "Into One-Another To P.P.P." @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. You tell me there's an exhibition by Belgian artist Berlinde de Bruyckere in the city AND that she's dedicated it to bracing Italian modernist director Pasolini, well you've totally got my attention. She took his films, his writings and poetry and distilled them down into three resonating emotions of pathos, vulnerability and seduction. Her three large vitrine works, each featuring a contorted humanlike figure in frozen pose, are numbered after the exhibition's title. They are lovely: if you've never seen a De Bruyckere sculpture up close, they're disconcertingly realistic, cast in wax and painted into a pale pigment of someone who's never seen sunlight. We nearly press ourselves against the glass as we gaze inside: at the figure slumped in a half-fetal position, "her" breast turned toward us; at another form's arched back, simultaneously agonizing and sensual; and the pair of figures, one supported by the other. That the artist chose to include "Inside Me II", the newest sculptural work, in this exhibition but outside a vitrine, really ties the whole experience together. She paired what looks like flea-market sawhorses (but could be a crude gurney) with a crush of tattered fabric (bedsheets and classic Flemish painting) and tangle of super-sized human entrails — actually cast from ivy branches, which doubles the notion of embrace and envelopment — to show us literally what's inside. It's a very vulnerable act, hearkening back to one of the underlying moods of the show, and the lack of glass permits us to get very close and personal. Unlike the other three sculptures, which are both protected in their vitrines but, at the same time, destined to never escape, this one exists fully in our world, to benefit or peril. De Bruyckere included fascinating works on paper, too, the effectively titled "Wound" watercolors which do evoke bloody gashes and streaks, and the almost weightless, ethereal presence of "Romeu 'my deer'", flickers of a loping humanlike form dissolving into the weathered paper. These are unframed, too, requiring us to look deeper.
* Caroline Walker "Vantage Point" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. There's a subtle kinky undercurrent in this British artist's stateside debut. Her oil paintings connect mundane domesticity with resonating voyeurism, both via her painting female models, in the prolific use of mirrors in these settings, and then from us the viewers. We see what she sees, multiplied and reflected from various POVs like in "Second Opinion" or abstracted in "Upstairs Downstairs" and "Vantage Point".
* José Manuel Ciria "The Execution of the Soul" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. This is the first instance in a U.S. exhibition that the Spanish painter presents figurative works, enormous masklike portraits against his famed vividly lyrical backgrounds. The color palette pairs hot reds and yellows with ashen grays and blacks, so that the haunting mugs practically vibrate off the canvases, their coal-black eyes burning holes in your skull.
* Tomory Dodge @ CRG Gallery / 548 W 22nd St. Tomory Dodge collides bright bands of repeating color — sometimes complementary shades, other times totally contrasty choices — with slathers and gestural brushstrokes of more bright colors. He executes these on huge-ass canvases, Abstract Expressionism in wingspan, so the effect is way visceral. You could get lost in "The Future", the diptych work that flips its bands horizontally beneath a mirrored Rorschach-like abstraction. "Horrid Torrid Times" is a messier square canvas, its colors like when you shake a CLR to drag out the neon at a garage-rock show.
* Joan Mitchell "Paintings from the 1950s" @ Lennon, Weinberg Inc / 514 W 25th St. There is a big ONE Mitchell painting in MoMA's "Abstract Expressionist NY" exhibition, her lovely '57 canvas "Ladybug". If you're like me and wanting more of that, before she switched from allover brushwork to focused saturated fields (though I love her sunflowers, who doesn't?), you must see this show. It culls together over a dozen paintings, punctuated by the glorious "Untitled (La Fontaine)" (1957), an asymmetric whirlwind steeped in oceanic blue. Compare that w/ the structured nuance of "Untitled" (1954-5), a companion to her "City Landscape", which does in fact look like that, scaffoldings of cool gray around a blur of textured marks.
* Stefano Cagol "Stockholm Syndrome (always with you)" @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St. Ahead of Cagol's solo project "Concillo" during the 2011 Venice Biennale, he presents cross-media works examining blended national identity. His "Evoke/Provoke (the border)" video, shot on location in Norway during his residency there, manages to evoke riots and unrest in about the most beautiful, serene landscape still existing on earth, thanks to his blowtorch in the distance, waved about like a Molotov cocktail against the icy terra. His other video "Always (with you)/With you (always)" has the artist on a blustery Manhattan rooftop, the Empire State Building in the distance, as he waves a Cuban flag across the blue sky. That's like three minutes of the video; the other nine feature a hypnotic, undulating Cuban flag on a featureless field, bisected and mirrored, and you stare at that long enough and you'll see the American flag w/in it. Maybe he's saying we're not so different or divergent?
* Yayoi Kusama "Heaven and Earth" @ Robert Miller Gallery / 524 W 26th St. Kusama's 1991 installation of 40 white boxes stuffed w/ wilting tendrils, like blanched aloe vera, is naturally very dope. It's in the back of this gallery grab-bag show, which also feat. some Andy Warhol drawings and Gilbert & George postcard "abstracts", if yr into that.
* "here and there" @ hpgrp NY / 529 W 20th St 2nd Fl. Three Japanese contemporary photographers trace memories in their respective mediums. Motohiro Takeda's "River" series, all taken at his grandfather's family house in the country, appear like blank sapphire panels, almost like Allan McCollum's "plaster surrogates", until you get up close and the purposefully underexposed images suddenly, sharply reveal themselves. Yasutaka Kojima's images of the Tokyo skyline, which he's been recording since '08, embody the fleeting past of this perpetually futuristic metropolis. Yu Kanbayashi exhibits one large photograph, a stark field of scratched-up ice, emblematic of marks on history.
* David Hammons @ L&M Arts / 45 E 78th St. The thought-provoking and elusive New York artist returns to the gallery from his spare and brilliant 2007 fur-coats exhibition with a show literally shrouded in mystery. Wildly colorful — or even garishly, tackily colorful, if you want to go that far — abstract paintings hang like in just any gallery exhibit, except Hammons' has concealed them in layers of torn plastic, or burlap, or drop-cloths. An antique dresser is shoved up against one, and what looks to be wetly-applied garbage bags climb up another. Two works upstairs are actually JUST plastic, one a ghostly, translucent layering, the other augmented by shiny black…but don't be surprised if you catch yourself contemplating these closely. Hammons upends boundary of art as hung and displayed and trash on the curb, hinting at the "beauty" wrapped within while maintaining a sly artsiness to the enveloping elements.
* Stephen G. Rhodes @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. Last time I saw Rhodes, it was his compact and destroyed presidential chair "Interregnum Repetition Restoration, Upholstered" (2008) at the New Museum's 'Younger than Jesus' group exhibition. The ghostly "portraits" that hung behind this installation recur as "Vacant Portrait: Rousseau" in Rhodes' gallery-filling ode to Immanuel Kant, a labyrinth of curved temporary walls covered in graffiti-like renderings and spotlights, ceramic mugs and extension cords. The central four-channel projection, revolving on a furniture pedestal and punctuated by Rhodes-as-Kant's clomping footsteps amid corridors and grasslands, is either the eye of this sensory-overload hurricane or the center of a particularly pernicious whirlpool. Either way, dive in.
* Kai Althoff "Punkt, Absatz, Bluemli" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. Step confidently onto that pollen-looking surface (it's actually water-based yellow paint, already dry) and this Cologne-based artist's latest solo exhibition. There's a Chagall-ian dreaminess to this, in the attenuated figures painted on canvas or fabric, plus the life-size sculpted couple cavorting against a screen of multicolored artisan mugs. The underlying fantasy element is tempered by several very realistic renderings of young Orthodox Jewish men. Add the deep fuchsia curtains and there's something domestic about the whole installation, too — it opens another door into Althoff's imagination.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Dave Miko + Tom Thayer "New World Pig" @ The Kitchen / 512 W 19th St. Miko's enamel on aluminum abstract paintings and Thayer's lo-fi stop-motion animations are match-made. The arcing narrative here, a folktale about a hunter, his dog and a pig, is tenuous at best unless you really spend time watching them, but a cursory perusal of the flickering, melting landscapes and toxic-bright color saturation is quite lovely, to scrape it surface-level anyway.
* 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.