* Richard Serra "Junction/Cycle" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. Epic? Define epic. If that means two new massive weatherproof steel configurations by the living master of monolithic Cor-Ten sculpture w/in a Chelsea gallery space, then Serra's new exhibition is totally that.
* Gabriel Orozco "Corplegados and Particles" @ Marian Goodman Gallery / 24 W 57th St. Don't expect an easy journey w/ Orozco, who just completed his highly conceptual retrospective tour that began two years ago at MoMA. He introduces two new bodies of work in this exhibition, his life-sized folded-paper "Corplegados" drawings and "Particle" paintings, utilizing grids and photographic representations of Orozco's earlier photographs (and in the same vein as his "Samurai Tree" paintings).
* Pamela Rosenkranz + Nicholas Gambaroff "This is Not My Color/The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" @ Swiss Institute / 18 Wooster St. An overdue NY exhibition for the cross-media artists, plus the inaugural show at this gallery space. I'm intrigued by Gambaroff's abstract paintings and "anti-collages" (so appropriately dubbed by Art Fag City, to Gambaroff's inclusion at this year's Independent Art Fair), and reviled — in a good way! — by Rosenkranz's skintone liquids and smeared acrylic on stretched, emergency blanket foil (second skin, anyone?).
* Carrie Moyer "Canonical" @ Canada / 55 Chrystie St. Moyer pushes her painterly technique w/ masking and transparency, bolder lifework beyond her work drawings, and a freedom of color. As Wallace Whitney writes, Moyer's paintings "lightly walk a line between Saturday morning cartoons and the fourth floor of MoMA." There you go.
* Centerpiece Theater: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1977) screening @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 7p. Spielberg's still-magical, culturally significant alien classic should pair nicely w/ Ezra Masch's celestial "Music of the Spheres" installation.
* "Piranha" (dir. Joe Dante, 1978) screening @ Texas Spirit Theatre at Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum / 1800 Congress Ave, 7:30p/$5. Sign me up, man. Props to the Texas State History Museum for screening this American B-movie classic. You're not gonna want to skinny dip in Deep Eddy anymore, kids.
* "The Girl Who Knew Too Much" (dir. Francis D. Lyon, 1969) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St. Lyon may be best known for editing Academy Award-winning classic "Body and Soul", the '47 bruised-knuckle film noir whose fight scenes influenced "Raging Bull". But it's his final directorial effort that is celebrated tonight, a Cali-cool caper feat. Adam West vs. Communism….plus a bunch of beautiful women filling out the cast. Also: according to Wikipedia, it has yet to be released on DVD or VHS (let alone Blu).
* "My Sucky Teen Romance" (dir. Emily Hagins, 2011) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Village / 2700 W Anderson Ln, 7p. Teenage humans vs. teen-vampires at a sci-fi convention. Please keep reading: the Austin-based director is like 18 and this is already her third feature-length film — that she keeps to genre (her 2006 debut "Pathogen" is all zombie epidemic) and fully utilizes today's very necessary social media outlets ("MSTR", which debuted at this year's SXSW, was partially funded by crowdsourcing) earns my respect. Plus, that this is a teen vampire romance/horror film by a teen director, at least we'll get an authentic voice.
* VHS Summer: "Bad Girl's Dormitory" (dir. Tim Kincaid, 1985) + "Scream For Help" (dir. Michael Winner, 1984) @ Beerland / 711 Red River, 9p. I say, if you're featuring two VHS-only coal lumps from the dregs of mid-'80s cinema, better have 'em in a bar. That way you can drink (lots) to combat the discordant horror of "Scream For Help" (written, incredibly, by Tom "Fright Night" Holland) and the jailbait pain of "Bad Girl's Dormitory". Don't say I didn't warn you.
* Mickalene Thomas "More Than Everything" @ Lehmann Maupin / 201 Chrystie St. That I can use "rhinestone-encrusted" and "quietly contemplative" in the same breath might sound funny, but it's an apt dichotomy for Thomas' latest exhibition. She guides us through a history lesson of her inspirations and sources via a salon-style arrangement of work collages, photography and drawings.
* Ad Reinhardt "Works from 1935-1945" @ The Pace Gallery / 32 E 57th St. The gallery focuses on the iconic abstract artist's early works, including some 50 geometric paintings and works on paper that bear Cubism's influence through American eyes. Reinhardt's own reductionism — specifically his famed "black" paintings of the '60s — would follow this important period.
* Tabaimo @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. I've been a major Tabaimo fan since I caught her debut "Hanabi-ra" video animation installation in her gallery debut back in…2005? She represented Japan at the 54th Venice Biennale this summer and returns to James Cohan in her third solo outing, presenting "BLOW" and "danDAN" (both of which premiered at Tabaimo's 2009 solo exhibition at the Yokohama Museum of Art). "BLOW" is particularly immersive, projecting its watery world as a curved ramp that you can walk through. Highly recommended!
* Zhang Enli @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. The gallery marks Zhang's debut solo exhibition in the U.S. with some 20 extraordinarily "ordinary" paintings, channeling a bit of Giorgio Morandi's spare still-lifes (and even Eva Hesse's particularly organic shapes) and then extinguishing some of the realism by leaving his orthogonal grids visible beneath the paint.
* Meredyth Sparks "Striped Bare, Even and Again" @ Elizabeth Dee / 545 W 20th St. The Brooklyn-based artist follows her exhibition at VeneKlasen/Werner in Berlin with more augmented digital prints on canvas, lacing them with stitching and patterned fabric, plus several sculptural works that comment on figures and events from the early 20th century.
* Jenny Saville "Continuum" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. A recent array of Saville's intensely physical figurative paintings and lyrical work drawings — her first NY exhibition since 2003.
* Aaron Johnson "Freedom from Want" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. Johnson returns to the gallery w/ ferocity, delivering gruesomely gorgeous paintings that blend big-box Americana w/ classic mythology and compresses generations of art history into all that. His laborious technique of layering shock-color acrylic paint on clear plastic, peeling away layers and mounting the result on polyester net, is in total, visceral effect. Wipe your eyes, claw your skin, and rejoice.
* Rosy Keyser "Promethean Dub" @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. Keyser pushes the limits of her canvases in this kinetic offering of process-driven abstractions (some dotted w/ fire markings), incl. a set stretched beyond the parameters of their backings. Plus the exhibition's title just rocks.
* Vincent Desiderio @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. My first up-close encounter w/ Desiderio's grand-sized "new history" style paintings came in late 2008 and left me fumbling for vocabulary. His latest explores the emotional impact of paint and scale, echoing José Clement Orozco in one and an overall period-unspecific virtuosity and menace throughout.
* Pawel Wojtasik "Nine Gates" @ Priska C. Juschka Fine Art / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. Wojtasik's videos are, in a word, visceral. Check the squalling "PIGS" and "LANDFILL" (you can almost smell its humidity) for evidence. He presents an investigation into transcendence via sexual passion in this exhibition, via close-up images of the body's orifices in the titular high-def video and related duratrans prints in lightboxes. And while the gallery may well steam up, at least the subject matter should look pretty.
* Emi Anrakuji "A Decent Life" @ Miyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects / 547 W 27th St 2nd Fl. The Tokyo-based photographer uses herself as subject in her dreamlike b&w prints, adding in location shots that create a film noir kind of narrative.
* Paul Winstanley @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. Really dreamy photorealist paintings (as if seen through sleep-blurred eyes), taken mostly from Winstanley's own photographs, that at once distance the artist from his subjects as we are drawn closer to the canvases.
* "Social Media Show" @ The Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. Co-presented by SVA's Video and Related Media Dept! Includes David Byrne, whose "Tight Spot" is literally wedged in the adjacent space beneath the High Line! Also feat. Christopher Baker, Aram Bartholl ("Google Portrait Series", manifested by a QR-code), Jonathan Harris, Robert Heinecken, Miranda July & Harrell Fletcher ("Learning To Love You More"), Sep Kamvar, and Penelope Umbrico!
* Richard Aldrich "Once I Was" @ Bortolami Gallery / 520 W 20th St. Aldrich's mostly abstract, obliquely figurative paintings are…damningly challenging, but they keep you looking and earnestly unearthing just what he's accomplished. Like for instance his contribution to "Le Tableau", Joe Fyfe's curated surface abstraction exhibition at Cheim & Read in 2009, was "Untitled (Grey Corner Painting)", this ghostly white and faintly smeared taupe (blood?) painting accented by an early Brice Marden-styled gray wax triangle in one corner. Other works barely manifest faces, Paul Klee-like objects, and letters as he experiments.
* Melissa Meyer @ Lennon, Weinberg Inc / 514 W 25th St. I dig Meyer's style of lyrical abstraction, particularly when she allows wetly colorful bursts of color to either dominate the canvas or minimize their respective flows, permitting a bit of soft breathing room in all the visuals. Her "9th Avenue Quartet" miniseries looks particularly promising.
* Tris Vonna-Michell @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. The youngish, rakish Brit is a hell of a storyteller. He injects some of that layered installation-narrative into his debut at the gallery, via a new sound edit combining "hahn/huhn" (meandering since 2003) and "Leipzig Calendar Works" (since 2005, recalling the peaceful '89 demonstration of E. German citizens at Stasi district headquarters in Leipzig).
* Andy Warhol "Paintings from the 1970's" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. Compare/contrast w/ the multi-decade "Liz" series opening at Gagosian tomorrow. Actually, just compare/contrast the works in this show, as the '70's find Warhol at his most iconic and yet most blatantly abstract. Think Mao and his glammed up "Ladies and Gentlemen" series vs. his "Oxidations" and "Shadows".
* Lothar Hempel "Suedehead" @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. Hempel constantly, if obliquely at times, references the show's title — those modish skinhead offshoots w/ their tailored suits and prickly demeanors — via photomontages and collages imbued with steel elements, Moroccan carpets, and cast concrete.
* Heliotropes @ Saint Vitus / 1120 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint (G to Greenpoint, 7 to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave), 8p/$5. My favorite all-girl doom-pop quartet headlines a night of psych-drenched heaviness, which also coincides w/ Heliotropes' Amber's birthday. I wish my birthday were at Saint Vitus! w/ Dead Stars and Chumps
* Peter Bjorn and John w/ The Suzan @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/SOLD OUT. Those darling Swedish indie rockers PB&J have been touring the hell outta new LP "Gimme Some" since April, and they've got a bunch more local dates (which have been systematically selling out) before heading to the West Coast. Monday's Brooklyn Bowl show kicked things off w/ Toronto's hazy lovelies Memoryhouse, but tonight's is of particular mention as Japanese tropic-pop girls The Suzan (whose debut "Golden Week for the Poco Poco Beat" was produced by Björn Yttling) share the stage. w/ Niki & the Dove
* "Julia's Eyes" (dir. Guillem Morales, 2010) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Village / 2700 W Anderson Ln, 10p. Spain will remind you that there needn't be gratuitous violence and bloodshed to make a film viscerally scary. Just check Guillermo del Toro-produced "Julia's Eyes", where the titular character, suffering from a debilitating eye condition shared by her recently deceased (murdered?) twin sister, navigates creepy investigators and creepier nurses to sort out just what the hell is going on.
* Yuck @ DUO Music Exchange / 2-14-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (JR lines to Shibuya Station), 7p/5000 yen. London's cutest indie rockers, unearthing C86 memories one set at a time via jangle-pop ditties and hook-driven propensity, conquer Tokyo. We should all be so lucky.
* "Fiber Futures: Japan's Textile Pioneers" @ Japan Society / 333 W 47th St (E/M to 53rd/Lexington, 6 to 51st St). Japanese fiber art. Stay with me here, as it looks pretty dope. Now, I'd love to see Rei Kawakubo's (of Comme des Garçons) signature boiled wool or Yohji Yamamoto's timeless gabardine…but that may be reaching a bit. What we do get, in a collaboration w/ Tama University Art Museum and International Textile Network Japan, is a dynamic exhibition of artists operating comfortably w/in traditional and highly technological means, like Akio Hamatani's space-age indigo and rayon, Kyoko Ibe's gossamer mulberry nets, Hitomi Nagai's disarmingly organic cotton weave and Machiko Agano's mirrored inkjet installation…which is probably the furthest from "textile".
* Andy Warhol "Liz" @ Gagosian / 522 W 21st St. Gagosian NY wheels out its blue-chip fall program in measured doses (two new Richard Serra sculptures on WED, a slew of Jenny Saville paintings THU), concluding w/ a familiar, thorough arc of Andy Warhol's oeuvre: Elizabeth Taylor. Expect an array of Warhol silkscreens and explosively colorful paintings featuring Liz throughout her career, from archival child-actress renditions to Cleopatra and silver-screen starlet.
* Agnes Martin "The '80s: Grey Paintings" @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. Pace marks the centennial of the seminal southwest artist's birth with an important grouping of unusually tactile, nearly monochromatic grey paintings, a departure from her subtle color washes that represented the greater part of her career.
* Matthew Barney "DJED" @ Gladstone Gallery / 530 W 21st St. I'll never forget when Barney rolled into town for "The Occidental Guest" at Gladstone, back in spring of 2006. The line for entry to the reception — I heard Bjork was there but I still don't know if that was true — was prohibitively, impossibly long, and I missed out, but still did OK w/ some girls and Tia Pol nearby. What I'm trying to say here is: this new exhibition of large-scale sculpture (from Barney's ongoing "Ancient Evenings" project, in their first NY exhibition)could well be a major to-do. So if you simply must see a monumental cast iron sculpture and other conceptual representations of the 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperial, queue up early.
* David Byrne "Tight Spot" @ The Pace Gallery / 508 W 25th St. The gallery inaugurates its new plot underneath the just-expanded High Line, immediately adjacent to Pace's one-year-young 510 acquisition, w/ a temporary site-specific installation by David Byrne called "Tight Spot". I felt like I needed to recite all that for you (and me) to grasp the nature of this thing. The Talking Head is wedging a massive, inflatable elementary school-style globe between High Line pillars, filling its interior w/ humming speakers imbued w/ his voice. You might recall Byrne's major public artwork "Playing the Building" installed way down in Battery Park City in 2008.
* "Three" (dir. Tom Tykwer, 2010) @ Angelika NY / 18 W Houston St (BDFM to Broadway/Lafayette). The awesome, dialogueless trailer for Tykwer's latest is bracing, belying the offhanded comedy that apparently propagates this love triangle. What he's injected into this familiar premise — longtime married couple each secretly has affair w/ a ruggedly handsome dude, then wife becomes pregnant…by whom? — it's something I can't put into words but seems to cut through all the noise as the three people realize their situation.
* "Escape From L.A." (dir. John Carpenter, 1996) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). This and its classic predecessor "Escape From New York" are truly the stuff of near-future cyberpunk legend. I mean, "Escape From New York" was set in dystopian 1997, fercrissake. Here, we get "Los Angeles Island" and an electromagnetic weapon in enemy hands, and it's up to a one-eyed Kurt "Snake Plissken" Russell, armed w/ a submachine gun, a holographic projector and infinite stores of badassery, to save the day. ALSO SAT
* "School of the Holy Beast" (dir. Norifumi Suzuki, 1974) midnight screening @ Sunshine Cinema / 143 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave). Wow!…seemingly culled from left-field in terms of creative late-night programming comes this "nunsploitation" "classic" of young Yumi Takigawa navigating lesbian mothers superior and brutal, masochistic rituals in the Sacred Heart Convent! As perverse as it is beautiful — no, seriously, Suzuki shot this in gorgeous, glossy color. ALSO SAT
* ELKS (EP release) w/ Heliotropes @ Union Pool / 484 Union Ave, Williamsburg (L/G to Lorimer), 9p/$6. Brooklyn heavies drop the "Destined for the Sun" EP, and I do believe that's some Mastodon-sized riffs and sludge I'm detecting on "Two Moons of Mars". These guys have charisma to spare, as do LIST faves Heliotropes, four women harnessing doom-rock's melodic side (w/ lots of low-end propelling their deft arrangements). w/ Iron Tides
* Peter Bjorn and John w/ The Suzan @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 8p/SOLD OUT. See THU for more effusive praise on Stockholm indie-rock trio PB&J and Japanese cuties The Suzan. w/ Niki & the Dove
* "Straw Dogs" (dir. Rod Lurie, 2011) in wide release. I'm totally stoked for this. It's not accurate to say I "liked" Sam Peckinpah's original, w/ Dustin Hoffman's shattered lenses iconized in the film's poster. It's brutal and it's cathartic. From the 2011 trailer, starring James Marsden as the bespectacled lead, Kate Bosworth his antebellum wife and Alexander Skarsgård leading the "good ol' boys", I've full faith Lurie's remake is gonna really take it there.
* ACL Aftershow: Smith Westerns (Chicago) + Cults (NYC) @ The Parish / 214C E 6th St, 10p/SOLD OUT. OK so here's the deal: I totally missed the boat w/ ACL Fest. I was in NY or possibly Tokyo when tix went on sale, whatever, so guess what: I won't be attending! Lucky for us, there's a bunch of ACL official after-parties, but you gotta be on the ball for 'em as this most excellent lineup, Chicago's Brit-rock-tinged Smith Westerns and NYC dream-pop cuties Cults (Madeline Follin and her ineffable voice! plus those bearded, long-haired dudes!), is sold out too! Props if you made it in: it promises to be mayjah.
* ACL Aftershow: Twin Shadow (NYC) + Cut Copy (Australia) DJ Set @ Emo's / 603 Red River, 10p/$22. George Lewis Jr. is a busy dude, bringing his glammed out pop to ACL Fest before returning to the Big Apple to play alongside LIST faves The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Plus: I've really come around to Cut Copy (well, mostly "In Ghost Colours", though "Need You Now" from their new LP are pretty slammin' electro-pop, too), so this DJ set by 'em should be more ass-shaking grooves you can handle.
* PINK! Pole Dance Show @ Warehouse 702 / B1 1-4-5 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku (Toei Oedo Line to Nishi-azabu Station, Hibiya Line to Roppongi Station), 10p/3500 yen. If I were in town, this is exactly where I'd spend my Friday night. CyberJapan hosts an all-night pole-dance performance feat. like FIFTY artisans from across this beautiful nation. The showcase incl. dancers from 052 Queen Soldierz (Yumiko, Ayumi, Tokiko), PLD, Luxurica, Japan Pole Dance (incl. Tokyo Dolores' Aloe) and Miss Pole Dance Japan 2011 champion Yukari! Then there's like two a dance-off w/ CyberJapan's own pole-dancers and an "S&M: Black x White" performance by Pink Force (Reiko, Pippi, Hirosumi, IG). I mean…just check the promo. Damn.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Entablatures" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. I have little sense of classical architecture, nor Greco-Roman revivalist stuff and early 20th C. Beaux-Arts, but that's where the consummate Pop artist drew inspiration for his early '70s "Entablatures" series. They look sort of like crown moulding to me, railroad tracks, abstracted pipes and machine gears, all incredibly reductive and horizontal.
* Frankie Rose + Dirty Beaches (Montreal) @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 9p/$12. If Frankie Rose's hypnotic cover to The Strokes' "Soma" (plus her titling upcoming sophomore LP "Interstellar") is any indication, she's eschewing some of that doo-wop and garage-rock noise for electro sheen. But just check the harmonies (anchored by Rose's ethereal vox) and thumping rhythm, and her innate ability to emotively transport us is totally present. Alex Zhang Hungtai adds just the right dose of smoky croon, filtered through Wong Kar-Wai's lens, as Dirty Beaches. w/ Lantern
* LTJ Bukem @ Brooklyn Bowl / 61 Wythe Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 10p/$12. Bukem in session at the Bowl! Dudes and dudettes: this OJ of atmospheric drum 'n bass conquers dance-floors with percolating beats, warm basslines and sensual jazz samples. He's been doing it for nearly 25 years! Despite the absence of MC Conrad, his charismatic partner-in-crime, I've no doubt Bukem's gonna work it out.
* Tim Kerr, Jim Houser & friends "MOSTLY 2+" @ Domy Books / 913 E Cesar Chavez. HUGE Jim Houser fan thanks to much exposure to his intricate cross-media oeuvre at NY's Jonathan LeVine Gallery (plus Houser repped the gallery at VOLTA NY 2011). Stoked to see what he does with Tim Kerr, who bears 20+ years of music experience along w/ his angular illustrative technique. This show is "mostly" them, though they're joined by Merrilee Challiss (equally deft w/ gorgeous menagerie assemblages and text-heavy show posters), photographer Chrissy Piper, and Dan Higgs (the post-hardcore legend and psychedelic artist).
* Ditch the Fest Fest 2 @ Cheer Up Charlie's / 1104 E 6th St, Red 7 / 611 E 7th St, Scoot Inn / 1308 E 4th St. +more, 2p (5p for Scoot Inn)/$2 per venue or $5 for wristband. Full details: http://lucythepoolde.com/ditchthefestfest. A pretty dope antidote for us lot hankering for lots and lots of bands but missed the ACL Fest boat. A bunch of local bands spread out across five downtown venues. I'd spend most of my time at Cheer Up Charlie's, which features The Sour Notes AND Elaine Greer, plus Little Lo, Alien She, Obsolete Machines and Lost River/Old River over three stages, but Scoot's got Noise Revival Orchestra and Shakey Graves (late-ish), coinciding w/ Rayon Beach and Cheap Time at Red 7. I suggest moving in one direction (either beginning at CUC/Scoot and heading west, or vice versa), but you can't really go wrong here.
* "Metabolism, the City of the Future" @ Mori Art Museum / Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (53F), 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). The Metabolist Movement emerged in the late '50s, via a group of young Japanese architects and designers like Kisho Kurokawa, Kiyonori Kikutake and Takashi Asada. Their modus: traditional fixed forms and function in postwar Japan were obsolete, and large-scale, flexible and expandable structures exemplifying organic growth was necessary. Think Kurokawa's Nakagin Capsule Tower in Shimbashi, Tokyo, like several stacks of prefab washing machines, and Kurokawa's focus on impermanence, interchangeability and adaptability. In earthquake-prone Japan, and particularly after the devastation of March 11, the themes of the avant-garde Metabolists is evermore vital. This comprehensive exhibition traces the Metabolism movement through the urban planning Osaka Expo '70 and includes the Metabolism Lounge, a site for current and future endeavors like Kenji Ekuan's disaster relief units for the Tohoku region and Shimizu Corporation's GREEN FLOAT Project.
+ MAM Project 015: Tsang Kin-wah. The debut of Tsang's latest installation "The Fifth Seal", an immersive environment of dynamic text and sound and part of his series on philosophy, politics and spirituality. Plus! Tsang leads a talk on his project and other works in the contemporary Hong Kong art scene at 2p. Register here.
* Mitsuhito Wada 「残像の庭」@ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). Wada converts the gallery's already iconic architectural structure into a shimmering work of art, installing specially designed pink and yellow fluorescent tubes to ignite through MA2's windows at sunset. Blue lights add additional ethereality on weekends and national holidays. Sublime.
* "Rabbit Horror 3D" (dir. Takashi Shimizu, 2011) premiere roadshow, in wide release. Alice in Wonderland. Rabbit demon. Hikari Mitsushima. In 3D. Everything I've seen about this film thus far, tiny measured doses of surreally creepy film clips, have freaked me the hell out…which includes scenes of Mitsushima in her absolute most distressed. Also: English title going forward (this was picked up by WellGo, meaning U.S. audiences may very well see it, and soon!) is "Tormented". Makes sense, but I still love "Rabbit Horror".
* 「アジョシ」/"The Man From Nowhere" (dir. Lee Jeong-beom, 2010) @ Marunouchi Toei / 3-2-17 Ginza, Chuo-ku (Tokyo Metro Ginza/Marunouchi Lines to Ginza Station). I absolutely loved this exhaustively violent, crime-riddled revenge thriller when I caught it back at Fantastic Fest 2010. Loverboy Won Bin dons his believably tough-guy persona as hardboiled, black-suited Tae-Sik (called "Ajusshi" — aka "mysterious older tough-guy" — by cutie co-lead So-Mi, wrangled into drug-running for the mob after they murder her addict mom. Thing is: the mob have this black market organ trade (you though Park Chan-wook's "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" was disgusting?), and they've got their eyes (no pun) on So-Mi. So Tae-Sik's got to unleash the ultraviolence on the baddies to get her back.
* "Eternal Rock City 2011" showcase @ Marz / B1F 2-45-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), 11a/SOLD OUT!. Count yourself lucky if you've got advance tix to this all-day, multi-venue indie rock blowout, centered in Kabukicho's Marz but also at live-houses Motion, Marble and LOFT. Pick your poison: groovy instrumental sextet about tees and ferocious math-rockers Zazen Boys play Marz, LIST-faves lines and '80s-imbued CHARLTON handle Loft's bar stage while クリープハイプ (uh, "Creep Hype"?) and Naked Blue Star play Marble. w/ loads others (the show goes 'til at least 10p).
* NINESPICES 4th Anniversary @ NINESPICES / B1 2-1-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), 3p/1500 yen. In case you're not holding tix to "Eternal Rock City 2011", yet you're in Kabukicho during the afternoon and want to ROCK OUT, head to day 1 of NINESPICES 4th Anniversary party instead. Feat. lots of trios, like angular rockers Spinoza, post-rockers Ientupao, and the rather upbeat 軍艦オクトパス (lit. "Battleship Octopus"!).
* "de Kooning: A Retrospective" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). The big daddy of fall museum exhibitions. Why? 1) It's the 1st major museum exhibition devoted to Willem de Kooning's entire career — you don't need a formal degree to recognize he's a prominent figure in the Abstract Expressionist and Action painting movements — 2), and this is huge, it's non-traveling. Meaning: you want to see "de Kooning: A Retrospective", you gotta get to MoMA, b/c this massive array from MoMA's own collection, plus private and public loans that will fill the entire 6th floor gallery, will ONLY be shown at MoMA. And despite under-representing de Kooning at a fabulous, critically acclaimed "Abstract Expressionist New York" exhibition (now traveling!), the museum pulls out the big guns for this one, incl the stunning early painting "Pink Angels", plus his classic "Women" from the early '50s, b&w configurations, gestural abstractions from his later career and a bunch more. Consider this unmissable.
* "Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton" @ Blanton Museum of Art / UT Austin campus, MLK at Congress. The museum culls 58 works exemplifying the expressive and technical range of French drawings from the 16th to 19th C, from sketches and figure studies to finished drawings. Feat. works by Charles-Joseph Natoire, François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Théodore Rousseau, Charles-Antoine Coypel and others. That much of this exhibition comes from the museum's own Suida-Manning collection (i.e. that such art exists on the UT campus) is pretty dope.
* "Sex and Zen" (dir. Michael Mak, 1991) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 10p. Before there was "3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy", like 20 years before, there was Mak's blockbuster adaptation of a 17th century Chinese sex manual that succeeded enormously at the Hong Kong box office (despite its equivalent NC-17 rating) and spun off two sequels ("Sex and Zen II" featured a young Shu Qi!), not to mention Mak's 3D revamp. Despite the lack of J-AV idols in the original, if you're the least bit tantalized in…uh, how it all began, sate your craving tonight.
* Torture Garden Japan @ Nishi-azabu Eleven / 1-10-11 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line to Nogizaka Station, Hibiya Line to Roppongi Station), 10p/4500 yen (strict dress-code!). This is the real deal, lovers of latex and the whip (and those who love to watch). Japan's largest and most notorious fetish party hosts its autumn ball, w/ Madame Pain's Boudoir Circus (Chrisalys) and Roxy Velvet's burlesque stilts performance providing visual stimulation beyond the dungeon. Plus: ear-splitting, ass-shaking beats by the cutest vinyl-clad DJs, ME:CA, RINKO, SOTA.S and the mighty Brit David TG. Have fun tonight.
* "The Human Factor" (dir. Otto Preminger, 1979) screening @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins St, AC to Lafayette), 6:50p. Film critic Dave Kehr leads a Q&A at this screening, adapted by Tom Stoppard from Graham Greene's titular novel about British espionage and that nation's relationship w/ apartheid S. Africa. Also: this was the goddess Iman's feature film debut.
* The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 8p/$20. Brooklyn's cutest indie-poppers The Pains turn up the volume and kick off their U.S. tour, reuniting w/ charismatic kindred Twin Shadow. If you love smiling and pogoing to pitch-perfect indie-pop, you'll want to be front and center for this. w/ Wildlyfe
* Eternal Summers (VA) + Reading Rainbow (Philly) @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$10. Let's hear it for coed duos! I love 'em, like the jangle-pop harmonies conjured by Eternal Summers (award for very appropriate band name) and Reading Rainbow. w/ The Hairs
* "Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron" (dir. Hideo Gosha, 1978) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 7p. AKA "Kumokiri Nizaemon" in original Japanese, which doesn't translate directly (the "Kumokiri" resembles clouds and fog — badass, right? — but is pronounced differently) b/c it's the the lead character's name, in real life Tatsuya "Mr. Charisma" Nakadai. There's a lot of "Kumokiri" gang in the film, in fact, exemplifying their elusive nature as, uh, professional ninja thieves. So while they're the "Bandits" in the English title, the B-movie-sounding "Samurai Squadron" are actually the Tokugawa shogunate's elite police force. Oh it's going to be bonkers, this one, mixing chanbara w/ gumshoe crime drama.
* 「幻獣展」/"Fantastic Beast" @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). Creepy demons and quasi-humans, straight out of medieval W. Europe, re-imagined by Japanese artists incl Mina Takada, Toru Nogawa, Katsumi Asano, Ryo Tanaka, Kozue Kuroki and the terribly awesome Leo Sawaki. On through SEPT 24, and if you're a lover of the horned one you'll not want to miss this.
* Raoul de Keyser "FREEDOM" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525 W 19th St. I was struck by the Belgian artist's sparsely abstract, yet in some cases nearly impenetrable oeuvre throughout his 2009 "Terminus" show at the gallery. That his paintings and works on paper here are mostly small-scale, I don't expect their cryptic nature to be any less diluted, though their inherent spatial elusiveness may be just the thing to inspire much contemplation.
* Yutaka Sone "Island" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 533 W 19th St. Sone's obsessively detailed, surreally realist sculpture is truly marvelous. He exhibits marble sculptures (incl. the stunning, intricate, micro-carved "Little Manhattan") and synthetic trees made from rattan, maintaining an enchanting trompe-l'oeil vibe throughout.
* Bob Dylan "The Asia Series" @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. Gagosian's doing their thing, unfurling one awesome show after the next (Jenny Saville uptown, Andy Warhol's "Liz" series on 21st St, big, bad RICHARD SERRA on 24th!!), and they're keeping that intensity w/ the bard's debut NY exhibition! Because: why not? The show includes over a dozen drawings and paintings Dylan created while touring Asia in 2009-10.
* Deerhoof (Cali) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$17. The mighty San Fran art-rockers Deerhoof unleash another undoubtedly awesome set tonight, fueled by angular riffs and Greg Saunier's manic-machine drumming and tempered by Satomi Matsuzaki's elastic prose and dance moves. w/ White Suns
* Dirty Beaches (Montreal) + Frankie Rose @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston (F to 2nd Ave), 6:45p/$12. Check my love for Frankie Rose and Alex Zhang "Dirty Beaches" Hungtai on my SAT Glasslands review. That's an ideal venue for 'em, though I like how Mercury Lounge swapped for this early show, as Alex's definitely in his gritty element here.
* tUnE-yArDs @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St, 6 to Bleecker St), 8p/$20. Merrill Garbus, the fierce spirit and potent voice behind tUnE-yArDs, is a one-woman groove army. Check single "Bizness" from her sophomore LP, all hiccuping beats, punctuating bass and Garbus' leonine howl. Amazing. w/ Prussia
* "Nailgun Massacre" (dirs. Bill Leslie & Terry Lofton, 1985) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:45p. If you've never seen this messy B-horror film and spoilers just destroy your mood, DO NOT check its Wikipedia page. B/c in like five sentences it unloads the plot and identity of the motorcycle-helmeted vigilante, wielding the titular weapon to awesome effect. And personally, I love the nailgun as a murder device. Its kill-scene in "Final Destination 3" just OWNED.
* Miila and the Geeks + DJs Twee Grrrls Club @ ClubAsia / 1-8 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 7p/2500 yen. This is Milla and the Geek's debut LP "New Age" release party! Think of Morphine, all trundling rhythm and squawking sax, but w/ a really really cute girl (Moe Wadaka, aka Miila) fronting. Yeah I'm stoked. Plus the ineffably adorable Twee Grrrls Club DJing and live sets from THE GIRL (aka Aiha Higurashi, ex-Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her!) and Empire Factory Propaganda (from PILLS EMPIRE).
* 軍艦オクトパス @ Motion / 5F 2-45-2 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), 6:30p/2300 yen. Another chance to catch local prog-rock trio "Gunkan Octopus", sharing the stage w/ Tokyo-via-Hiroshima melodic indie trio Dots Dash.
* "The Anxiety of Photography" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. Matthew Thompson, the associate curator at Aspen Art Museum (which originated this exhibition) noted the fluidity of the photographic medium — plus its probable ubiquity w/ gallery visitors (i.e. nearly all of us have taken a photo, thus we have even basic understanding of "what it is" and "how it's done") — as part of his own anxiety in culling this pretty cool show together. I had a moment of anxiety, or rancor, when noting the exhibition's catalogue cover (a reproduction of Roe Ethridge's "Thanksgiving 1984") looked like a damn fashion glossy advert! Had he turned up model Hilary Rhoda's makeup or super-saturated the backdrop, it could've been a Miles Aldridge. For all I knew, they were marketing Rhoda's gold heart-shaped necklace. Wrong! In fact, this was part of Ethridge's deft modus operandi: he intentionally perverts his commercial photography in newly realized art, so like that shot of Rhoda came from Ethridge's Lancome shoot. His trickster nature is further exemplified by pairing Rhoda w/ "Pumpkin Sticker", a hugely magnified rendition of his daughter's gourd sticker, as Ethridge is just as keen to nab from what's already out there as he is getting creative w/ his own editorial shoots. That got me looking closer. Matt Keegan wants us looking at everything, like the entire gallery space, a bit more carefully, so he placed a life-size cutout of his cat Neptune, "Domestic Cat", in an otherwise bare corner. Colby Bird (subject of a superbly conceptual show at Lora Reynolds Gallery) extends images of (kinda garish, Danielle Steele et al) book-jacket photos at us in an almost still-life video "Books". And as provoking as Liz Deschenes' "Black Panel 2" might be to some, its mirroring quality spotlights us, or those around us, w/in the print's frame. So we ask: "are WE that interesting to look at?" Upstairs, I particularly dug Matt Saunders' duo, one a painted photo-negative angel, the other a direct-contact print created over a painting. Plus: Anthony Pearson's process-driven "Untitled (Pour Arrangement)", which if memory serves contained the silver nitrate-patina'd bronze cast of an unequally plaster-filled box, set atop a gorgeous walnut pedestal, bookended by two solarized prints of a blending stick run through India ink that marked up photo paper. I think. And, a small but crucial point on Sara VanDerBeek's duo: she printed both images, the smallish and dazzling "Presence" and the huge, twilit "Streamers", in their same respective scales, dismissing the illusion of the subjects' presence (or perhaps increasing it, as we can more readily visualize those same-sized objects w/in the gallery space). A few missteps: I am totally over David Benjamin Sherry and his color carnival self-portraits. If physicality in photography is needed, I would have loved to see Zipora Fried or Michele Abedes instead. Also, Mariah Robertson's photogram experimentation would have been dope juxtaposed w/ Dirk Stewen's ink-painted photo paper collage. But still, the exhibit accomplishes what it promises, in really highlighting the malleability of photography and its intrinsic ties w/ trends in the broader contemporary art world.
+ Cao Fei "Shadow Life". Cao last showed this enchanting three-narrative video work at Lombard-Freid, her NY gallery in May. The almost "Blade Runner"-slick futuristic urbanism permeating her recent works — particularly "RMB City" and its relation to her "Second Life" foundation — is stripped away, though via her adaptation of traditional shadow puppetry she maintains her unmistakably contemporary take on China today.
+ Koki Tanaka "Buckets and Balls". I really enjoyed this, Tanaka's deadpan shots at success via varying arrangements of chairs, ladders, planks and a bounced or hurled ball towards a bucket. It bites that the LA-based artist's debut in Austin occurs in a lift, but the film itself is barely three minutes long, and totally fun, so advise you to take that lift up and down 'til you've had your fill.
* Mika Tajima "The Architect's Garden" @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity. Tajima's the artist-in-residence this fall, and she adapts her modular chromatic chaos to fill and cover the VAC's Vaulted Gallery. She pairs a grid of candy-colored spray-painted acrylic frames, her "Furniture Art" (after Erik Satie's "Musique d'ameublement"), on one gallery wall, flat-boards "The Roundabout" covered in paint and tacked-on adverts, and wheeled scaffolds lined w/ geometric silkscreens and huge letters, "Detour (1-7)" and "Untitled (Go)". You can imagine the installation reconfiguring itself, by Tajima's instruction, throughout its three-month span.
+ "Queer State(s)". Noah Simblist (VAC Curatorial Fellow) and artist David Willburn curated this Texas-tied artists group exhibition, which is like half-video art and half-not. This necessarily requires more of our time than just a quick breeze-through, but the strong visual nature of most of the art keeps our attention. We're warned going upstairs of the "strong subject matter" — which I guess is accurate if "queer" is a tough subject for the viewer, but I didn't find too many shockers. Senalka McDonald's textile-imbued photography was startling, though. The (now) San Francisco-based visual/performance artist focuses on the monstrous side of domesticity, according to her bio, displaying that w/in a crocheted gimp-suit "Force". It's not just a little unnerving. Wura-Natasha Ogunji's agonizing performance "Will I still carry water when I am a dead woman?", documented in a 10-minute video of Ogunji dragging herself along the road through Lagos, Nigeria's Ejigbo neighborhood, with two kegs of water tied to her ankles, kept me rapt. She's commenting on women's contributions and struggles kept invisible in the public and political sphere, and the existence of redemption for those efforts. Otis Ike and particularly Paul "CHRISTEENE" Soileau dare to one-up Ryan Trecartin on the immersive video environment front — but CHRISTEENE takes the prize for out-raunching Peaches AND Hunx & His Punks w/ her "Fix My Dick" music video, replete w/ woolly-chested hipster backup dancers. Were she reenacting this live, it might put her in Paul McCarthy territory. Libby Black, another San Fran-based artist, contributes a quieter side of her oeuvre (maybe you've seen her life-size recreations of glitz, like a to-scale Benz and even a Louis Vuitton retail store, at Manolo Garcia Gallery), two restrained realistic paintings of gender-ambiguous figures. On a similarly restrained note, Thomas Feulmer, based in Dallas, framed the Walmart-safe plastic covers of two gay men's interest magazines, "Attitude"'s "The Sex issue" and "DNA", then adapted their blocks of coverup color into two sublime geometric abstracts.
+ Jamie Isenstein " ". I really dug this three-part solo exhibition from Isenstein, and I urge you to take the whole thing w/ tongue held firmly in cheek, or you might not get what she's doing. For one, the ubiquitous sign-in book is part of the show, called "Book of the Dead" in case you signed it w/o checking the cover first. Don't worry. Her "installation Shots (axe, harp, log)" is pretty funny, too: three projectors on pedestals throwing images of what "should be" on those pedestals (i.e. the axe, harp and log)…considering the typical gallery-goer (and even the gullible critic!) to believe whatever's up on the pedestal is meant to be "the artwork". The best, IMO, is her dig at abstract sculpture, her "Dancing Pop-up Fishing Sculpture", a big glob of mixed fabrics and colors w/ the laughably obtuse media listing as "fabric, newspaper, glue, paint, "Worm in a Can" gag dinner mints, human leg, fishnet tights, tap shoe, or velvet curtain, human arm or velvet curtain, "Wishing I Was Fishing" or "Gone Fishing" life preservers, and pedestal" — most of which, if it even exists, is necessarily hidden inside the misshapen form.
* Colby Bird "Dust Breeds Contempt" + Jim Torok "Walton" @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. Bird's exhibition, his first solo at the gallery, encourages repeat visits. Stuff that I witnessed opening night, incl the look of certain sculptures, promises to change throughout the show's duration. He's highlighting the mutability of artwork, from its creation and display to its adaptation in the hands of a collector (or in storage, wherever it goes after its taken off the wall or out of the gallery). An obvious one, which we're not privy to usually, is accumulation of dust. Most of his sculptures, like the candy-colored "33", mounted on two misshapen wood pillars that count as part of the assemblage, include "dust" as a medium, and if that doesn't isn't evident yet, Bird anticipates it on the work's variously flat and angled surfaces as the exhibition continues through the month. Explicit instructions for the staff to not Swiffer that dust away. It's like Walter de Maria's "Trilogies" exhibition that just opened at Houston, TX's Menil Collection: his "Channel Series" had to be literally dusted off from storage for the exhibition. Not the case w/ Bird. He's got a single framed print on view, rotated throughout the show at irregular intervals by staff (I saw this happen at the opening, as it shifted from "Howdy" to "Keira" and strongly encourage watching it), which should become pretty gnarly looking w/ dust bunnies on its display table and grime on the print's glass come November (the show runs through Nov 26). Meanwhile, Torok's super small-scale portraits of upstate NY residents exist as fixed moments in time — yet their incredible photorealism (though still painterly finesse, belying their intimate scales) reminds us of the time Torok spent w/ his neighbors and his laborious effort in painting them. Their figures' respective histories, and Torok's delicate layers of paint and gloss, are as durational as a point in time as Bird's changing works will become.
* "Wild Beasts" @ Champion / 800 Brazos St. Who's afraid of color, of paintings? Of vibrantly colorful, physically rendered, representational paintings…of stuff like portraiture and interior scenes? NYTimes' Roberta Smith writes of the Painting and Sculpture reconfigurings at MoMA, injecting those hallowed halls w/ key contributions from women artists (an EXCELLENT move) and lots and lots of experimental and increasingly non-painterly combinations. She quotes from Douglas Crimp's '81 essay "The End of Painting" in remarking on the Conceptual, Process and Video Art filling the latter part of the (newer) 4th Fl, along w/ stylistic liberties on the (older) 5th Fl, like reducing the (iconic, primary-colored) Piet Mondrian holdings and upping the biomorphic sculptures. Meanwhile in Austin, the young NY-based painter Ryan Schneider culled a potent five-artist exhibition reveling in color and canvas, in realism refracted through a 21st century prism. Check Atlanta native Shara Hughes (who's spent a lot of time in NY, plus is featured in the Saatchi Collection), whose entire current output is based on interiors — for her, "total paintings", encapsulating all her ideas and giving each of us something juicy and personal to grasp hold of. These ain't 19th Century European, I can tell you that much, though like the Met exhibition "Rooms with a View", Hughes uses outside illumination to intriguing effect. The vaguely cosmic, multiplanar composition "If You Don't Know, I Can't Tell You" opens up to floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking an autumnal backyard and a smaller De Chirico-metaphysical doghouse casting long shadows. Daniel Heidkamp — who I've seen paired w/ Schneider before, at Priska Juschka Gallery's "Big Picture" show — pairs surroundings w/ posed portraiture (hell, his ongoing modus is "en plein air"), teasing out unusual and unexpected color combinations by painting these from life. The dry, washed out Texas sun affects his "Carte Blanche" series of portraits painted in situ at Champion, particularly when compared w/ his NY portraits. Schneider throws jeweled patterns over some of his newer compositions, maintaining Skittles-hued palettes he's been championing since I've been familiar w/ his work. The new canvas "Not to Sleep, Just Rest" is one of his most exciting I've seen, cropping a nude (except for socks) female form into a wall-to-wall menagerie of floral mosaic tiles and chevron drapes; even the tabby cat's stripes play into it. While Joshua Abelow's ostensibly reductive works (think graphic symbols, numerals and shapes painted on burlap) might seem at odds w/ their wildly vivacious kindred, the geometries in Hughes' spacier interiors and particularly in Schneider's patterned compositions are totally in play here, along w/ some very intriguing, if limited, color combos. Finally Ezra Johnson reveals two painterly stop-frame animations, like 2009's "The Time of Tall Statues" (shown at Asya Geisberg Gallery this summer). His technique reminded me of vintage painted-cel animations, circa Windsor McKay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland", and if that sounds untrendy and potentially brilliant, it very much is.
* "Candy Cornbread" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. The rub here, in this group exhibition of six local artists, is the collaboration with East Austin screenprinting lab Red Bluff Studios, co-run by two of the participating guys, Jaime Cervantes and Satch Grimley. They executed a bunch of snappy, visually pleasing screenprints with the advising of the show's more "traditional" artists — painters Jeffrey Swanson and Mike Parsons, for example — displaying them in concert w/ their respective mediums. I tried to focus solely on "traditional" my first rotation, eschewing prints in an effort to see what the artists are "really like". Grimley was probably the most contrasted and delightfully surprising: he uses logos and litter from around his East Austin neighborhood in these collaged, resin-y reliefs. His screenprints came off like sloganeering (Ronald MacDonald in violet leaping in front of massive MMs and AHs), whereas his abstract collage works felt way more textural and complex. Swanson seemed to have a lot of fun, displaying whimsically animalike figurative paintings on wood panels, mixing color washes and hard ink lines and placing them around the wood's natural grain to vivid effect.
* Yoshihiro Kikuchi "Observations of Institutional Spectrum" @ Aisho Miura Arts / B1F 2-17-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR lines etc to Shibuya Station). Pure color intensity and variation, like a Photoshop file enlarged beyond the limits of the universe, producing bands of pixellated hues that somehow work well together.
* Ai Shinohara "My Progress" @ Gallery Momo / 2F 6-2-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Toei Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). I love this gallery and I really dig young Kagoshima-born Shinohara. This exhibition feat. about 20 of her early watercolors and ink compositions — think Frank Frazetta filtered through a manga veil — plus some newer works. Recommended! (ENDS SAT)
* Craig McDean "SUMO" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth St. I had no idea Craig McDean, the edgy and very British fashion photographer, spent a year in Japan back in '93, where he documented the traditional world of sumo. Emma Reeves curates this week-long exhibition of prints from that series, which are collected in a new limited-edition manuscript by Mörel Books that she edited. Fluidic b&w images of large males colliding isn't typical McDean, so seeing this 20-year-old series sheds new light on the photographer beyond the fashion glossies. (ENDS SUN)
*"Contemporary Art from the Collection" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). The museum restages part of their cache in the 2nd Floor gallery space every other year or so, but this turnaround resonates quite well w/ me. I dug the lot, overall, but to spare you a massive treatise on the exhibition I'll pick 10 works at random and hype them up:
1. Gordon Matta-Clark "Bingo" (1973) - classic building cut from the Anarchitecturalist, three human-sized rectangles from the facade of a to-be-demolished house in Niagara Falls, NY. Walking around this large structure, both totally IDable as a former residence and yet disconcertingly alien, amplifies the effect of contemporaries like Richard Hughes.
2. Lawrence Weiner "Gloss white lacquer, sprayed for 2 minutes at 40lb pressure directly on the floor" (1968/2010) - the effect of nearly walking into this shiny circular blot on the floor (or watching others do same) is hilarious - it has a way more unexpected effect than its hot-pink kindred, like a deliquescing cotton candy, from Weiner's retrospective at the Whitney.
3. Rivane Neuenschwander "A Volta de Zé Carioca" (2004) - the comic book-style blank speech balloons in planes of solid color, one of the pieces not included in her mid-career retrospective at New Museum
4. Cady Noland "Tanya as Bandit" (1989) - a fab cut-aluminum blowup of that iconic gun-wielding Patricia Hearst publicity photo from the Symbionese Liberation Army
5. Cildo Meireles "Thread" (1990-5) - another Brazilian conceptualist (see: Neuenschwander) I need to get to know better. This gigantic block of hay, cut through w/ gold thread and accompanied, rather cheekily, by a single 18K gold needle tucked somewhere in all that, can be smelled from other galleries
6. Guerilla Girls posters from 1985-1990 - good on MoMA for including them. The sharp, effective graphic design and typography emphasize their eviscerating takes on the museum establishment and the male-artist-dominated gallery scene
7. Gedi Sibony "The Middle of the World" (2008) - incredible how a spread-out vertical blinds on the gallery floor could so easily resemble the skull of some prehistoric baleen whale
8. George Maciunas "One Year" (1973-4) - a case of brightly colored empty boxes and packets of stuff the Fluxus founder consumed that year, like a whopping 36 cartons of cultured buttermilk (for instance)
9. Huma Bhabha "Reconstruction series" (2007) - I don't think I've EVER seen Bhabha's photogravures, I'm more familiar w/ her intense assemblage-like sculpture, and those hulking yet humanistic figures appear in the shimmering b&w landscape images like wire-frame monsters.
10. Robert Morris' iconic Leo Koenig advert from 1974, the "Labyrinths - Voice - Blind Time" ad where he's shirtless and shackled, a huge chain draped across his body in exaggerated bondage mode, which I've NEVER seen the "real" thing before, accompanied quite nicely w/ the famous Lynda Benglis nude ArtForum ad from the same year.
* Miki Kubota "人の山" @ hpgrp Tokyo / B1F 5-1-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (Chiyoda/Hanzomon/Ginza Lines to Omotesando Station). My translation: "Mountain People": Kubota creates wildly interesting sculpture using furniture as her base, sanding, polishing and cutting it to mimic greatly magnified dermis or crumpled paper. (ENDS MON)