* Battles @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 8p/SOLD OUT. No surprise there, kids, as these superfine math-rockers have a suspiciously dope LP on the way, despite sorta-frontman Tyondai Braxton's parting. Maybe you were brilliant and secured advanced tix. Maybe you'll luck out and get in anyway.
* Lightning Bolt @ 285 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$12. Look out!! The two-pronged furor of Providence's Lightning Bolt, aka the two Brians, aka Mr. Chippendale (aka Black Pus) the man-machine mayhem, destroying drum-kits whilst masked…with other Brian delivering further mayhem on the bass. You will sweat. You will stage-dive and be stage-dove on. You will need to rehydrate. You might bleed a bit. But you will love it. w/ Humanbeast + Dogleather
* Okkyung Lee, in residence @ ISSUE Project Room / 232 3rd St, Gowanus (D/NR to Union St), 8p/FREE. Improv cellist and all-around awesomeness Lee begins her three-month residency at ISSUE in collab w/ Tom Rainey (percussion), Liberty Ellman (guitar) and Skuli Sverrisson (bass), mixing her classical background w/ a whole mess of contemporary effects.
* "Locations" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Spacial-minded artists in this eclectic group show, incl Francis Alÿs (subject of an upcoming MoMA exhibition), Sol LeWitt (subject of a classic wall drawings exhibition at Paula Cooper's gallery across the street), Sam Durant, Stanley Brouwn, Lawrence Weiner and more.
* Eli Ping @ Susan Inglett Gallery / 522 W 24th St. An astute blurring of sculpture and painting, in Ping's color-soaked and twisted, shredded and slumped canvases.
* "Constructivists: George Rickey and Kenneth Snelson" @ Marlborough NY / 40 W 57th St. Dynamic sculpture by two American innovators and gallery mainstays — Rickey's air-kinetic stainless steel and Snelson's tensile combinations — in small-scale and massive versions.
* "Helldriver" (dir. Yoshihiro Nishimura, 2010) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p. The splatterpunk god's solo contribution to genre powerhouse Sushi Typhoon (coinciding w/ the label's Splatter Matters) brings back screen-chiller Eihi Shiina (of Takashi Miike's scariest-film-ever "Audition", plus Nishimura's own "Tokyo Gore Police") as the leader of a zombie race taking over Japan. The only person who can stop her is a PYT with a — wait for it — chainsaw-sword. If you're not drooling and blood-lusting already, Nishimura-san and Shiina are attending the screening, w/ a zombie-themed afterparty. Plus 50% of ticket sales go to Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund, so you're doing good whilst getting up to some hedonism. That's how I like it.
* "The Limits of Control" (dir. Jim Jarmusch, 2009) screening @ Museum of Arts and Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/123 to 59th St), 7p. Cooler than cool, this surrealist narrative of the nameless besuited man w/ guitar — Isaach De Bankolé), engaging in clandestine meetings throughout Spain (incl. Paz de la Huerta, HELLO), to a searing Boris soundtrack. You know he's headed on a collision course w/...something…but the big reveal doesn't occur until you're deep down that gorgeous rabbit-hole.
* Anita Cheng DANCE + Gordon Beeferman "HABITATS" @ Abrons Arts Center / 466 Grand St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey, BD to Grand), 8p/$15. A great collab of new music performance and experimental dance, scored by Beeferman and performed by quartet, against three dancers from Cheng's troupe. Plus "For Once Then Something", feat. Beeferman on piano w/ the dancers and video projections by Ronaldo Kiel. ALSO FRI, SAT (8p), SUN (5p).
* Cults + Oberhofer @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/FREE w/ RSVP: noisey.com/nyc. So tell me, did you luck out and get in? An exceedingly auspicious pairing of the incredibly charismatic jangle-pop youngin' Oberhofer & the absolutely darling and entrancing Cults.
* Lightning Bolt + Pterodactyl @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St, 6 to Bleecker), 10p/$14. Keyword here is "percussion". You begin w/ the flailing paleolithic speed-rock of Pterodactyl (what w/ that inhuman rhythm-making), then segue into Brian Chippendale's barely-controlled chaos as 1/2 of Lightning Bolt. It's gonna be a major one, son.
* "Death By Baϟϟ" @ Legion Bar / 790 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Graham), 10p. Deep and dirty ass-rattling dubstep and rap, courtesy DJs William Streng & Alex Kasavin. Fingers crossed for bondage film projections.
* White Wires @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$8. Does Canada rock out? You best believe it! I thoroughly loved White Wires' last(?) show in New York, at Cake Shop — rare do we get that stripped down punk awesomeness w/o the pretension that tends to follow. w/ Baby Shakes
* Invisible Days @ Death By Audio / 49 S. 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. Glorious mind-melting shoegaze that I certify as excellent, plus it's their album release party. Super-awesome! w/ Heaven
* Willem de Kooning "The Figure: Movement and Gesture" @ The Pace Gallery / 32 E 57th St. Pace used to represent John Chamberlain, now Gagosian does. They both mount supreme exhibitions (Gagosian's next week). I don't know if Gagosian ever properly represented de Kooning's estate but they've done some wicked exhibitions of his work in the past. Now Pace represents his estate and mounts a brilliant exhibition of their own. I can't keep up. What I CAN promise you is this show, driven by de Kooning's gestural process (and including "Woman, 1969" showing in NY for the 1st time), is a must-see — and that's before I've seen it. I can feel it in my heart.
* Yoko Naito "Silence of Breath" @ graphite. / 38 Marcy Ave, Williamsburg. Naito photographs animals during her travels around the world, revealing in their respective serenity metaphors for ourselves.
* Stephen Westfall "Seraphim" @ Lennon, Weinberg Inc / 514 W 25th St. New vibrant geometric abstract paintings of chevrons and diamond patterns, plus works on paper.
* Florian Maier-Aichen @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. The artist furthers his photographic experimentation with new works that blur the line of photography, drawing and painting, as he creates abstract and figurative references to landscapes.
* "My Spring Fling Turned Into My Summer Dream" @ Splatterpool artspace / 138 Bayard St, Greenpoint. This pairing of artists (think couplets, or at least artistic statements) is a continuation of curator J. Morrison's 2010 show "A Midsummer Night's Wet Dream" — which totally makes me wish I'd attended Space is the Place and seen that one. Still, even so, sounds dope.
* "13 Assassins" (dir. Takashi Miike, 2010) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). In Miike-san's latest(?) and most polished, he adapts Eiichi Kudo's '63 original into a sprawling nonstop fight-scene, with stalwart actor Koji Yakusho leading his ragtag band of samurai against the decadent masses. They're destined to lose, but not before decapitating a whole mess of bad guys!
* "La Femme Nikita" (dir. Luc Besson, 1991) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Much as I love Maggie Q, you can't remake this super-violent and freshly French classic — it's like "Metal Hurlant" becoming "Heavy Metal". That is, if Besson ever decided to remake his little number, after it's 20-year anniversary… ALSO SAT
* Sweet Bulbs @ Shea Stadium / 20 Meadow St, Williamsburg (L to Grand), 8p. Brooklyn's finest, fuzziest noise-poppers make me bonkers happy. w/ Weed Hounds + Jefferson High
* Mark di Suvero @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 465 W 21st St. This is the 2nd or 3rd small-scale exhibition mounted by the gallery on the epic metalworks artist, focusing on his works on canvas and paper (plus a few new intimate sculptures).
* "Oxide" (dir. Liu Jiayin, 2009) screening @ Museum of the Moving Image / 36-01 35 Ave, Long Island City (E/M/R to Steinway St, NQ to 36 Ave), 2p. Liu's feature-length debut (shot in her parents' 50-square-meter apt, no less) is constructed of nine shots circling a worktable in 45-degree increments, deconstructing a literally deconstructing family in brutal long takes a la Bela Tarr.
* "Flaming Creatures" & "Scotch Tape" (both dir. Jack Smith, 1963/2), screening @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 6p. Two classics from the ineffable downtown subversive, his Bacchanalian coup d'etat in "Flaming Creatures" and the almost precursor, junkyard musical "Scotch Tape". Used to be I could NEVER find screenings of these gems but lately that's be the exception. Go see 'em.
* Richard Serra "Drawing: A Retrospective" @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 5th Ave (456 to 86th St). Bravo to the Met for letting Serra do his thing and mount a truly memorable survey show. Despite the obvious lack of his telltale monolithic sculpture, a trek through this labyrinthine series of rooms permeating with the smell of paintstick and artificially foreshortened by the blackened works' respective scales actually FEELS like walking into and out of a Serra torqued ellipse. That the show begins with a bang, like you're shoved from the back into one of his impenetrable, textured drawings (nearly everything beyond the start is paintstick, lots and lots and lots of paintstick, heavily applied to various papers and linens), w/ only a single introductory text as your guide. Order to rooms? Give me a break. You're in Serra's domain. Though if you require a bit of order, then proceed gently to the right and let the conduits of plutonian rectangles speed you along. "Untitled (14-part roller drawing)" (1973) is an odd duck in the first section, 14 inky smudges like police fingerprinting scaled up to poster-size. Just a bit further in begins what I call the 'portals' experience. We're deposited against "Pacific Judson Murphy" (1978), a blackly black wall corner comprised of two sheets of Belgian linen, covered in paintstick. Beyond the powerful quartet "Forged Drawing" (1977/2008), four geometric forged steels (not unlike his Cor-Ten sculpture) lovingly slathered with paintstick on their faces, is Serra's cunningly titled "Institutionalized Abstract Art" (1978/2011), a wormhole-like circle pitched high on the ceiling. It leads into "Blank" (1978), two larger-than-lifesize paintstick on linen squares like doorways on either side of a narrowed room — which brings us to the deafeningly huge "Taraval Beach" (1977/2011), a floor-to-ceiling swath of Belgian linen, absolutely soaked in twilit paintstick. The vertigo this one induces reminded me strongly of Mark Danielewski's "House of Leaves", a novel-w/in-a-novel (w/in-a-novel) about a house that's bigger on the inside than the outside. Serra is really playing w/ scale here, actually and our perceptive sense of it. The old familiar Met feels quite alien. Onward through a room steeped in paintstick odor, w/ diptych works like "The United States Government Destroys Art" (1989), and another heavy room of paintstick on laminated Japanese paper, acting both as Color-Field and Hardedge but endlessly more textural. His paintstick application is almost impasto-like. Another room of vicious circles, haunting meteoric arrays like "out-of-round IX" (1999) and recent paintstick-on-linen works mimicking the weathered sides of his sculpture. The site-specific "Union" (2011) takes "Blank" from way back there and extends it into two massive wall-filling rectangles of streaked, compressed paintstick, almost like soot. The room of films (incl "Hand Catching Lead", 1968, a physical must-see) and Serra's personal sketchbooks — including super-minimalist roughs of architecture and works like the ill-fated "Tilted Arc", produce such an open effect from the previous journey that we might have been deposited down in the Great Hall, not in some smallish, generic gallery space. It's an exhibition that doesn't quite leave you once you reemerge in the 19th-C wings, still feeling the effects of having really experienced Serra.
+ Anthony Caro, on the rooftop. The Met scales it back from last year's bamboo jungle, courtesy the Starn Bros, with five likable heavy metal sculptures from Caro's extensive oeuvre. Though I'd seen "End Up" (2010), the latest one on view here, at a Mitchell-Innes & Nash exhibition last year. Beyond "Blazon" (1987-90), an incredible jackknife in red-orange, piercing the city skyline, the works are squat and animale, exploring the horizontal like squat, doubled-up Transformers. In this exhibition, the sculpture are more a part of the space that actively engaging it (let alone competing w/ it). I'm not complaining, but beyond the aforementioned "Blazon" (and the oddly bodily "Odalisque"), Caro's typically statement-making sculpture are neatly "just there", esp. evident when the rooftop becomes crowded.
* Kara Walker @ Sikkema, Jenkins & Co / 530 W 22nd St. I got the metaphoric wind knocked out of me at Walker's latest exhibition, "Dust Jackets for the Niggerati—and Supporting Dissertations, Drawings submitted ruefully by Dr. Kara E. Walker". And it's only half the tale, running concurrent w/ a new video works exhibition at Lehmann Maupin downtown, but this gallery's array stands strongly on its own. Walker contributes only huge graphite drawings, lyrically and gesturally rendering the transitory African-American experience in 20th century America, and equally huge hand-printed texts, like old-style signage or typewriter enlarged for impact. Considering Glenn Ligon's "AMERICA" at the Whitney for a moment (they're both American artists of color, though he's nearly 10 years older) and his lauded use of text as imagery, I found Walker's particularly chilling. The blocky letters are very readable, or you want to read them, even the one turned on its side "And the Shrieking Female Was Jerked up into the Air With Frightful Velocity" — whose conclusion is strongly hinted by the title. The exhibition is displayed nearly salon-style, with all works big but arranged above and against one another, for an enveloping array of mural-sized drawings broken up by hammered sentences.
* Yuki Onodera @ Yossi Milo Gallery / 525 W 25th St. Onodera introduces her debut solo stateside show w/ two classic ongoing series. Her "Transvest" began in 2002, featuring silhouetted (yet recognizable) figures, created via a multistep process of finding iconic images, photographing them against strong back-lighting, then collaging their nondescript interior w/ fragmented media and printing it. The thing to keep in mind with "The Eleventh Finger" (from 2006 onward) is Onodera's spontaneity, shooting street-style w/o using the viewfinder, then manipulating the images with lace overlays in the printing process.
* Razvan Boar, Christian Schoeler, Alexander Tinei, George Young @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. Four youngish male European artists disinterested w/ conveying traditional masculine art. That get you going? That's not to say Londoner George Young and Bucharest's Razvan Boar don't create incredibly sexy paintings — incl. Young's entirely on paper tacked to the wall. Or Tinei's acuity with cropping for maximum impact, like his nearly abstract "Blue Feet". I was introduced to Schoeler's sun-drenched work at VOLTA NY 2011, and his soft-focus, tousle-haired young men resemble mirrors back to the artist himself.
* Idris Khan "The Devil's Wall" @ Yvon Lambert / 550 W 21st St. Khan represents the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and stone-throwing at the Jamarat walls in two cerebral flavors. He's removed the three-wall essence for one, leaving three glistening aluminum bowls in their wake, etched with words that disappear as they're sucked into the bowls' respective voidlike interiors. Even more effective, Khan represents the inward contemplation of the pilgrims in his drawings "21 Stones", each a rhythmic stamping of his own thoughts and wishes on paper, blurring phrases like "God is great" and "I wish I knew my mother" into metaphysical echoes of sculptural bowls.
* Picasso and Marie-Thérese "L'amour fou" @ Gagosian Gallery / 522 W 21st St. The 3rd chapter (2nd, stateside) of Gagosian's wonderful exploration into Pablo Picasso is terribly romantic. It falls well after Valentines Day but coincides with springtime in NYC, which is pretty romantic if you ask me. The exhibition itself is exemplary, furthering the gallery's tradition over the past several years of pushing the envelope on what constitutes a "gallery show". Soft lighting, painted temporary walls everywhere, even Met-esque murals and source material set the mood. The works themselves — dozens of paintings, plus a handful of bronzes and works on paper — are stunning, many from private collections (meaning this writer and probably YOU have never seen 'em before) but also some high-profile loans (like straight off the Met's Picasso exhibition), and encompass 13 years of the artist's life with his blond darling. Necessarily a must-see exhibition that will absolutely draw throngs of art-lovers and tourists, but I say get in there and enjoy it.
* Sarah Frost "Arsenal" @ PPOW / 535 W 22nd St, 3rd Fl. "I fly like paper/get high like planes" — no, but really, this is awesome. Frost took impetus from a series of instructional YouTube videos on paper gun-making, created by a group of boys, and crafted an installation of painstakingly detailed (and entirely paper-made) weaponry, from Western pistols to sci-fi assault rifles. The end result, a dizzying array of fragile faux weaponry, shown only at last year's Great Rivers Biennial in St. Louis, is both a celebration of craftsmanship and ingenuity and a meditation on violence, politics and everything these guns signify.
* John Chamberlain @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Maybe you heard the news: Larry Gagosian now reps the seminal heavy-auto artist, beginning with a probably bonkers exhibition next week. BUT FIRST: the Pace Gallery, which has repped Chamberlain since '87 (and shown solo there since '63) mounts a sublime retrospective of sorts, interspersed w/ wall-texts excerpted from critical essays and interviews. The sculpture here is exactingly dope: no huge underwater frondlike screens like up at DIA:Beacon, but the monolithic "Isadorables" (1990), signifying Chamberlain's panache for utilizing every color in the visible spectrum, and the recent-ish psycho-tumbleweed "Smndtyrqurd" (2008), totally make up for that. Plus he titled an '85 crush "Gangster of Love" (the overall violet vibe suits it well), which is just essential.
* Ruud van Empel "Wonder" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. Mural-sized super-sharp and color-saturated groupings of a veritable UN of cute kids that'll bring tears to your eyes. It's like I KNOW they're photographs, ostensibly, but they're surreally exacted, like they're going to jump off their Plexiglas backings. Van Empel's included some more utopian world imagery, too, with one or several kids set within an almost primordial jungle, thick with shadows, sunlight and an almost palpable humidity.
* Haroshi "Future Primitive" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. The badass skate enthusiast's debut stateside is his unique love-song to the Big Apple, created entirely w/ hand-carved skateboard decks. You dig it? Check those beat-up Nike SB Dunks, or that 40-oz swathed in brown paper, or those pigeons. That's all stacked, cut and assembled skate decks. A few are naturally broken to reveal the layering, slogans, stickers beneath the wood. Several of Haroshi's earlier works, like skateboard mosaics forming an 8-bit Mario portrait, complete the picture — and it's beautiful.
+ Souther Salazar "You Come Too". The third trippy mixed media exhibition from the Cali artist is a sunny, pastoral affair as compared to 2009's, like along the lines of Vasily Kandinsky's sumptuous Der Blaue Reiter-era landscapes. Though Salazar takes it 3D too, from diorama-like houses to found-object hot-air balloons and a significantly huge soft-animal installation that neatly achieves the effect of placing you w/in his paintings.
* Marilyn Minter "Paintings from the '80s" @ Team Gallery / 83 Grand St. The downtown artist finally received due attention for her eye-wincingly sharp renderings, taking the fashion advert and drawing out the grime, sweat and imperfections to the surface. This exhibition follows two early bodies of work, "Big Girls/Little Girls" and "Porn Grids" (i.e. the money shot, in dripping enamel), that form Minter's foundation as an iconoclast and breathtaking rule-breaker.
* Folkert de Jong "Operation Harmony" @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. This Dutch sculptor's unsettling tableaux, typically composed in lurid styrofoam and polyurethane foam, tend to get under my skin. If the charred figures and reveling grotesquerie in his monumental eponymous work don't mess w/ your head, then you aren't looking closely enough. Yes he's still disturbing as hell. That was an easy one! The titular large work, with its headless figures splayed against a pink wood-like structure, let alone the dancing figures entitled "Trader's Deal" elsewhere, will haunt your dreams. Have fun!
* SeaHyun Lee "Between Red" @ Nicholas Robinson Gallery / 535 W 20th St. At first glance, Lee's crimson multitiered landscapes against a blanked out "sea" are totally fantastical, until you peer through the layers and realize the blend of Koreas here. Lee paints mountains and land fragments from the North and South, alongside Korean architecture and some modernized buildings, representing his recollections of living in the demilitarized zone during his military service, plus his youth before that. Take it as political if you like, this utopian vision of a combined Korea, or as Lee's personal memories and nostalgia for the past.
* Nyoman Masriadi @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. Hulking, hyperreal superhero types in the Indonesian painter's debut stateside, each rendered with differing degrees of homoeroticism, depending on your take on those skintight jumpsuits.
* Jonathan Monk "Your Name Here" @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. An impressively low-spectacle show from Monk, focused mainly on his time spent in SoCal and narrated via small marble slabs carved w/ the words "YOUR NAME HERE" that punctuate his '98 "Room 11" series of Polaroids and fantastical related (imagined?) texts. His ongoing series "Rew-Shay Hood Project", classic car hoods (Plymouths of all types abound) airbrushed w/ grayscale renderings of Americana fix-up garages sides nicely with the lot.
* "Malevich and the American Legacy" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. I'm not entirely sure this visually- and cerebrally-pleasing (and, yes, museum-worthy) exhibition would benefit from installation in one of Gagosian's downtown galleries, i.e. all on the same floor. By breaking it up over three levels in their uptown domain, we get these focused bursts of creative couplings and inspiration, some of which transcend others. I'm missed the loftlike 6th Fl the first go-round (oops! don't skip it) and was pleased to see the greatest quantity of Kazimir Malevich works here, four beguiling floating geometric compositions, even as they felt sucked into the massive, sinister Mark Rothko color-field adjacent to them. One wing of the 5th Fl was delightful, placing Malevich's magnificent little "Suprematist Composition: Airplane Flying" (1915) opposite Donald Judd's multi-colored Plexiglass w/in Cor-Ten steel boxes — it's not just the colors, but the shapes and somehow lightness of the two works, or Malevich adding buoyancy to Judd, that works so well. Including a textured Richard Serra paintstick work and Charles Ray's ink-filled liquid "monochrome" is just delightful. The 5th Fl's larger gallery hosts ONLY inspired artists: another colorful (and somehow dangerous, w/ the taut steel cable construction) Donald Judd Plexiglas box, a shiny black Banks Violette (big as the Rothko, but holds itself better in this context), a suitably room-filling Dan Flavin. The 4th Fl includes one more great Malevich/Judd pairing, in the same room as a super-waxy Brice Marden triple-monochrome — urging out Malevich's essence — and a copper and steel Carl Andre, but then I love Carl Andre. Nice one and definitely a destination exhibition.
* Gary Hill "of surf, death, tropes & tableaux: The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment" @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. Brace yourself for disorientation! The pioneering multimedia artist returns, manipulating sound, speed and sequence in his concern over homogenized video culture and creating a very sensorial experience. If his backwards-talking lecture in a spikily soundproofed gallery doesn't grab you, I suggest you plunge into the pitch-black back space. But hang close to the walls: there's a huge floating chemical-structure in the center of the room. Every 10 seconds or so a strobe pops on, flooding the room in light before reverting to "perfect" darkness, which for you should now be marred with wild aftereffect visions! How fun, right? Check the endless tide, a soothing video projection just outside, to calm yourself.
* "Proofs and Refutations" @ David Zwirner / 519 W 19th St. Art and math. An exhibition promising something like equations would have me headed straight for the door, you'd think, but I'm always up for a challenge. And of course it's brilliant, to the point I'll boldly state it's accessible for both left-brainers and right-brainers. Take Al Taylor's fantastic "Odd Vows (Bern)" (1992), a rickety Mobiüs-like band of painted wood suspended on rebar-sized metal rods. On one side of these boards he's painted letters A-Z, on the other numbers 2-26 (evens only). Somehow they're ordered to flow together seamlessly, adding this perpetuity to the structure. Likewise the other big works in the room, Bruce Nauman's "Dead End Tunnel Folded Into Four Arms with Common Walls" (1980), off-white plaster forms morphing from triangular prisms to rectangular prisms and back again and Dorothea Rockburne's "Set" (1970), paper and chipboard nailed to the gallery wall in roughly mirrored arrangements, tied together by an electric tape plus-sign. That's all the "easy" stuff, that and perhaps Sigmar Polke's headache-inducing "Lösungen V" (1967), his unsolvable arithmetic rendered menacingly in lacquer on burlap. The exhibition includes four prints from VALIE EXPORT's "Body Configurations" (1972-82) series, documenting the artist physically maneuvering her body around surrounding architecture (wrapped against a pillar in "Vertikal Gel", 1976, for example). And RH Quaytman's duet "Conical Wedge" (2011) w/ "caption" comes from a mathematical model, though the way she's rendered the smaller wood panel, with its triangular black form, to fit keyhole-like into its larger neighbor is particularly impressive.
* Kenneth Noland @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. We draw from our own experiences when looking at art, right? Yes, very much yes. That's how I do it. So when I write that looking at Noland's "Highlight" (1961) — one of a dozen in this grouping of the pivotal postwar painter's early geometric works — I'm totally reminded of 'Simon', that '80s electronic game from Milton Bradley. Or that the orangey crescent in "Epigram" (also 1961) looks like a lovingly applied McDonalds 'orange drink' stain. This is written with all due respect. I REALLY like these: how one gets lost in the rippling concentric pours of "Askew" (1958) or the massive chevrons of "Morning Span" (1964), whose golden yellow, orange and red-orange colors remind me — yes! — a bit of McDonalds again. That Noland's works illicit both nostalgic feelings yet remain timeless, or at least unchallenged in their respective ages (50+ years old for the earliest), reflects his awesomeness.
* Sascha Braunig @ Foxy Production / 623 W 27th St. It's like the young artist composed these saturated-color "portraits" while seated within a Brion Gysin "Dream Machine" (possibly on psylocibin at the time). I like 'em, they way they maintain both a strong realism and their respective sculptural undertones. "Chameleon" nearly acts as a hologram, w/ its competing perspectives of shiny metallic buttons swathing the drapes and the foregrounded figure.
* James Siena @ The Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. Three years of work from this methodical artist, renowned and feared for his "visual algorithms" — OK the feared I made up, but it sounds good — equals a significant output, dozens of small-scale enamel on aluminum paintings and works on paper that line the gallery walls, even the unbound artist's proof to "Sequence I" (2009), some 36 pages of mutating geometric patterns. Yet this is rigorous work, exacting work. Nothing feels dashed off or half-assed. Siena's triangle-based geometric abstractions in particular, the practically flashing "Untitled (iterative grid, second version)" (2009), a diagonal flock of cobalt, black and tan triangles, and the deeply reddish "Untitled (first triangle painting)" (also 2009) are carefully constructed. Even the maddeningly detailed "Sawtoothed Angry Form" (2010), a bramble patch executed in graphic b&w, is a deft exercise in precision. His necessarily looser, organic works, like the long-limbed "Flat Red Girl" (2008) sacrifice none of Siena's painstaking brushwork in their snaking curves.
* Tim Rollins and K.O.S. @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. The previous collab b/w Rollins and student collective K.O.S. was a riveting combination of geometric minimalism and sociopolitical awareness, seeded in the words of Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their new exhibition engages literature and historical texts, too, focusing on Twain, Fitzgerald and Weill and those works' original illustrations. Their interpretation of "The Great Gatsby" is intriguingly abstract, covering book-pages with powdery monochromatic acrylic representing the novel's color-themes.
* Rachel Whiteread "Long Eyes" @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. Whiteread's eighth exhibition w/ the gallery is another foray into awesomeness, as she casts doors and windows in resin and creates sculptures of beverage containers in her exploration of space pervaded with memory and history.
* Lee Kit "1, 2, 3, 4…" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 518 W 19th St. A neat temporal exhibition in the Hong Kong artist's stateside solo debut. I was initially lured in by his hand-painted cloths, revealing song lyrics from My Bloody Valentine, The Style Council, Velvet Underground… but seeing these in concert w/ his other work, like neatly-folded striped cloths reappearing in photographs, even his pastel-toned acrylic and inkjet-printed cardboard works, riffing off skincare products and this European correction fluid Tipp-Ex, obliterating the cartons' designs and text to echo their "cleansing" modicums. Lee's included in Art Hong Kong 11 (with gallery artists Lee Mingwei, Cao Fei, amid others).
* Hannah van Bart @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St. New drawings and paintings of "mood portraits", with a strong color palette shift from her earlier muted style.
* Sandra Cinto "After the Rain" @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Cinto's last solo exhibition recalled Gericault's difficult journey via a flotilla of paper sailboats and digital prints of tumultuous waves. She returns with imagery of the sea, to a far more visceral effect. The front gallery is ensconced w/ a wonderful wall drawing, silvery lines undulating against a midnight blue core, affecting rippling waves or even rainfall depending on how the piece moves you. The back gallery breaks up the effect over medium-sized canvases, with a monochromatic blue canvas anchoring the multi-panel work and acting as visual palate cleanser to prepare our eyes for the silvery effects elsewhere.
+ A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro). Complementing the Sao Paolo-based Cinto is this artist-run gallery based in Rio, feat. works by five artists in the program: Ricardo Basbaum, Carlos Contente, Laura Lima (a co-founder of the gallery), Maria Nepomuceno and Thiago Rocha Pitta. I was most immediately taken by Lima's contribution, "Naked Musician", which she premiered at Frieze in 2009. In this messy, fantastical corner installation, revolving actors don a short-sleeved magician's outfit and casually (though intensely methodically) go about articulating little curiosities out of cards, cut paper, etc. Pitta's video of viscous, sun-dappled honey cascading down rocks, "Danae in the gardens of Gorgona", is vivid in its life-giving effects (though if it were, say, motor oil, that would be a far more disconcerting message). Nepomuceno's sprawling soft-sculptural work, a brightly colored melange of woven rope forms, hanging ceramic spheres and beads, echoes both Rio itself and, in its organic nature, the gallery's senior co-founder, Ernesto Neto.
* Robert Barry "Recent Mirrorpieces" @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. Lovely: new mirrored geometric glass panels, inscribed with block-letter words and negotiating Barry's classic balance b/w Minimalism and Conceptualism.
+ Malcolm Morley "Rules of Engagement". Fighter planes, lots & lots of 'em, incl the classic humongous work "Rat Tat Tat" (2001) from the British artist's 'Picture Plane' series.
* Chie Fueki @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 5th Ave. A fantastic grouping of nearly life-size renderings, toeing the line b/w representational and geometric abstracts, reaffirming Fueki's multicultural upbringing in Japan and Brazil. Figures emerge and recede in her refreshing mixed-media compositions, like "Josh", half hidden behind patterned foliage, or "Aiko and John", a charming domestic scene (he with his book, she with her laptop), in a kitchen filled with pets.
* Mel Kendrick "jacks" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. Did you catch Kendrick's monolithic "Markers" installation at Madison Square Park in 2009? I love public art. He's installed four blocky b&w sculptures in the gallery, which despite its hangar-like space is nearly filled by the supersized quartet. Maybe it's b/c I'm still adjusting to the conclusion of the gallery's previous occupant: one stoic salt hill and silent Terrence Koh circling it, but Kendrick's typically large-scale sculpture feels particularly big and bulky this time.
* Cosima von Bonin "The Juxtaposition of Nothings" @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 537 W 22nd St. Absolute bananas. Think of FAO Schwartz crossed with an '80s underground parking-garage clandestine club night. That's literally the first combo that popped into my head whilst perusing von Bonin's latest show at the gallery. The audio element comes courtesy of Moritz von Oswald, canned electro soundtracks siphoning out of pinpoint speakers (think clear umbrellas) throughout the installation — and it's a key factor in experiencing von Bonin's work. Larger-than-lifesize soft-animal sculpture intersperses w/ Klieg lights, microphones, trashy neon signs (a streetlamp smoking a cigarette?) and stitched fabrics on the wall.
* David Dupuis "Green, Green Grass of Home" @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. Dupuis' personal reactions to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus other current events, filter into his exploration of the human condition in new emotive works on paper. It's a sublimely emotive array, beginning with a realistic graphite drawing of (what I took to be a) tattooed shirtless guy, then large-scale color-pencil and graphite renderings of fields imbued abstractly w/ Army camouflage patterns — which was where I realized that was grass clippings on the guy, like he'd been rolling around in the field (or alternatively, thinking war context, had been found shot dead in the grass).
* Christopher Daniels "People Doing Different Things" @ Number 35 / 141 Attorney St. This young NY-based artist wowed my pants off at 2010 VOLTA NY w/ his incredible, large-scale crayon landscapes on canvas. You read that correctly: super-detailed, pop cultural-referential CRAYON works. His new series incorporates some pencil too and is way starker, but his deftness in encapsulating the mundane and everyday in these vividly conceived renderings is super fantastic. Many come straight from Daniels' photography — guy with a push-cart, woman drinking wine, dude being chased by a hippopotamus…?
* "Drawings, Drawings, Photographs" @ Rachel Uffner Gallery / 47 Orchard St. The gallery delineates b/w Marmie Tinkler's watercolors of everyday subjects, Margaret Lee's (and her collaborators') small-scale photo "accents", and C.F.'s works on paper that conjure a fantastical narrative.
* "Roofless Motifs" @ Laurel Gitlen (Small A Projects) / 261 Broome St. The title steps from a slide lecture by Robert Smithson to architecture students in '72, and there are traces of Smithson in the cross-media works by the three artists here. They each use improvisation and chaos to methodically jell an interesting blend of formalism. Harrell Fletcher re-narrates Smithson's original lecture in a video. Corin Hewitt scans dirt and leaves, pushes their neutral color limits in Photoshop, prints them out, then covers them again with dirt and leaves. Finally Elizabeth McAlpine's recurring performance "Words & Music (Headlines)", transcribing the day's headlines into piano chords. This is its debut stateside performance (which premiered at the Barbican, then in London's Laura Bartlett Gallery), and McAlpine enacts it at 4:45, 5:45 and 6:45 today.
* Sergej Jensen @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to 23rd St/Ely Ave, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq). This Berlin-based artist — whose style he self-described as "painting without paint" — is a serious visual palate-cleanser from the thrillingly overwhelming Laurel Nakadate exhibition dominating most of the 2nd Fl. Astute gallery-goers will remember Jensen from an Anton Kern Gallery exhibition a few years ago. Some of those works are exhibited here, his first in-depth survey at an American museum, plus a bunch I've never seen. This is tricky if you don't take your time w/ it, like many of them are stretched raw silk, or just burlap, or fabric sewn onto other fabric, or canvas treated w/ bleach (maybe gouache if he feels like laying down marks). Yet, they take on an intriguing span of effects, collage, proto-Cubism, Color Field. I mean, Blinky Palermo was one-upping Ellsworth Kelly at the hardedge game w/o paint back in the '70s. But I quite like Jensen's array here; it's not often I see a contemporary artist approach Minimalism and abstraction in this hand-worked way.