* DJ Spooky and Antarctica Ensemble "The Book of Ice" @ The Stone / 16 Ave C (F to 2nd Ave), 8/10p, $10 per set. The illbient experimentalist Spooky handles the decks in a night of postminimalist chamber music inspired by his trek to the coldest place on Earth.
* Fang Island + People Get Ready @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$12. Your daily requirement of good vibes should be more than met tonight in the combo of E. Coast high-fiving quintet Fang Island (they'll get you chanting along) and Steven Reker's multidisciplinary ensemble People Get Ready, only the best in audio/visual/dance. w/ Fort Lean
* Carlos Rosales-Silva "National Register" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. Austin-based artist Rosales-Silva inaugurates the museum's LOBBY Project with a unique commissioned installation incorporating mixtures and speakers, to multisensory (and no doubt nostalgic) effect.
* "Dream House" (dir. Jim Sheridan, 2011) @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar. I had a curious epiphany when I realized The Guard Bros' 2009 English language film "The Uninvited" was based off the superior Korean horror film "A Tale of Two Sisters", NOT the equally superior Korean horror film "The Uninvited". Confused yet?? So I am openly wondering if "Dream House" — despite its cover art of two sisters — is really based off the Korean horror film "The Uninvited"? Still, it stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in a creep old New England house, so it could be dope, in an atmospherically thrilling sense.
* Hideki Koh "A Boy's Portrait" @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). Koh has been a celebrated Japanese illustrator for decades, but it was only around '98 that he developed perhaps his signature style, delicate drawings and paintings of kimono-clad young men, solo and coupling.
* Mami Tanida @ INAX Gallery / 2F 3-6-18 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Station). A site-specific ceramic installation of a horizontal row of urns, ceramic boards, fragments and dirt coated with a blue glaze.
* David Smith "Cubes and Anarchy" @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 68th St). A nicely titled retrospective on the fine American sculptor, focusing his career-spanning relationship with geometric abstraction and featuring monumental steel sculptures, drawings, paintings and selections from his sketchbooks.
+ "Real/Surreal". The Whitney draws from its permanent collection in this survey of realism and innate Surrealism within 20th C. American art. Feat. Edward Hopper, George Tooker, Helen Lundeberg, Charles Sheeler, Mabel Dwight and others, and spanning mediums of painting, drawing, photography and printmaking.
* Ted Gahl "Night Painter" @ DODGEgallery / 15 Rivington St. Lyrical abstract compositions executed at night, or about the night — though they definitely transport us into Gahl's twilit narrative. This is his debut solo show in NYC.
+ "Go Figure", curated by Eddie Martinez. Props to figuration and props to painting, in this dozen-strong group exhibition. Feat. Joshua Abelow, Allison Schulnik, Jose Lerma, Ted Gahl (also show separately in "Night Painter"), Katherine Bernhardt and more.
* James Blake @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/SOLD OUT. So OK it took me forEVER to submit to youngin' James Blake's mesmeric dubstep soundscapes (particularly the insistence from one trusted friend). Now I'm immersed in the subwoofer doo-wop of "Limit to Your Love", the thriller soundtrack-readiness of atmospheric "Wilhelms Scream". Blake's emotive dopeness warrants all the buzz.
* Dive (mem. Beach Fossils) + Caged Animals @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p, $7. Major fan of Brooklyn's tropic-tinged psych-pop group Caged Animals (from their fuzzed out "Girls on Medication" single to new LP "Eat Their Own"). The addition of atmospheric pop quartet Dive (featuring Beach Fossils' guitarist Z. Cole Smith) makes for one dreamy night. w/ Quiet Lights and Spanish Prisoners
* "A City In Crisis: Photographic Representations" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress, 7p. A lecture by Yasufumi Nakamori (asst. curator of photography, MFAH), reviewing historical, cultural and theoretical aspects of the relationship between photography and a crisis-struck city, tracing Japan's modern and contemporary recovery from war and earthquake devastation.
* Kingdom of Suicide Lovers + Followed By Static @ Beerland / 711 Red River, 9p. Upon moving to Austin several months ago, I made it a point to immerse myself in the local music scene. Cue Kingdom of Suicide Lovers' beautiful doomsday vibe, that makes me miss NYC's post-punk landscape not too much anymore. Followed By Static layer on the fuzz to their Hill Country storytelling. w/ Air Traffic Controllers
* Nobuyoshi Araki "Shakyou Roujin Nikki" @ Taka Ishii Photo / 2F 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). A five-day special exhibition of Araki-san's photography series taken in a three-month span between March's Great East Japan Earthquake and June. Araki shot everything in b&w negative film, which he hand-distressed before printing, a new approach from the master. THRU OCT 10
* Decortica (NZ) + Red Bacteria Vacuum @ O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 6:30p/2300 yen. Auckland NZ trio Decortica begin their "Love Hotel Japan Tour" ahead of their debut LP, blast-beats and huge, hard-rock sonics with melodic refrains. All-girl heavies Red Bacteria Vacuum (who opened for A Perfect Circle on a US tour) add local guitar crunch to a potent lineup. w/ Sunset Drive
* "Real Steel" (dir. Shawn Levy, 2011) in wide release. Huge robots brawling in a kind-of steampunk America sounds like addicting eye-candy, but apparently the feel-good narrative doesn't totally corrode the film's visceral impact.
* "Bicycle Sighs" (dir. Sion Sono, 1991) screening @ Museum of Arts & Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/BD to 59th St/Columbus Circle), 7p. Sono's one of my favorite directors, Japanese or otherwise, and though I consider myself an expert on his films, I've never seen "Bicycle Sighs", his debut 16mm feature film. The coming-of-age drama and deep sense of hope and nostalgia sparked themes that carry throughout Sono's later oeuvre.
* "Weekend" (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1967) screenings @ Film Forum / 209 W Houston St (1 to Houston). While "Weekend" isn't my favorite JLG Nouvelle Vague film (no Anna Karina!!), its blatant middle finger raised at the bourgeoise, told over a chaotically picaresque road-trip, is cinematic gold. THRU OCT 20
* "The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)" (dir. Tom Six, 2011) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St) - NO ONE UNDER 17 ADMITTED! (duh). You demanded it!!! Or…maybe not, but Six delivered, a followup to his notorious surgical nightmare "The Human Centipede" that averts, distorts and one-ups every expectation of a "proper sequel" whilst throwing a middle finger up at the naysayers. Didn't think the 1st was shocking enough? Wondering about its claims to "100% medical accuracy"? Wanting Six to really take it "there"? Are you ever in for a surprise.
* Sound + Vision: "Disco Desert" by Austin Video Bee @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 7p. The five-piece Austin-based multimedia video collective plucked sound recordings and footage from West Texas and re-present the experience as an immersive sensorial collage, awash in desert images and enveloping atmospherics.
* "Restless" (dir. Gus Van Sant, 2011) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. Too twee or juuust right? That's a choice to make in Van Sant's latest, straight outta Cannes, a sweet tale of love and mortality starring Mia Wasikowska in a nuanced role, alongside Henry Hopper and Ryo Kase.
* "The Dead" (dirs. Howard & Jonathan Ford, 2010) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Village / 2700 W. Anderson Ln, 10p. Call it an existential zombie film, depicted in most arid Africa and feat. the slo-mo undead vs. a stranded white U.S. lieutenant and a Black African sergeant amid alien expanses of weathered rock and rolling dunes. Bleak stuff! ALSO SAT-TUES
* "The Evil Dead" (dir. Sam Raimi, 1981) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 11:30p. Beyond George A. Romero's "Living Dead" franchise is this quintessential horror flick, of raging demons powered by the Necronomicon storming Bruce "Ash" Campbell and coed buddies in their isolated woodsy cabin. Feat. a truly incredible, graphic possessed-tree assault and other nastiness that earned it loads of bans back in the day. Thank goodness for "The Evil Dead"!! ALSO SAT
* The Calm Blue Sea @ ND@501 Studios / 501 N IH-35, 9p/$7. Lotsa awesomeness right here. The Calm Blue Sea's self-titled debut LP is out now, and it hits all the right places in my shoegaze/post-rock -loving heart: scorching guitars, vocals as sonic accoutrement, epically propulsive rhythms. w/ The Boxing Lesson and A House a Home
* Buckethead @ La Zona Rosa / 612 W 4th St, 8p/$25. The guitar god, savant of the six-string, alchemist of axe-shredding etc etc, descends upon Austin, TX in what I predict will result in a weekend-long sonic contact high for all in attendance. You can't get such a trip just anywhere, now.
* Koseki Ono "Transplants" @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya). Absolutely…miraculously detailed ink-lined works from Ono, consisting of multicolored dots of ink meticulously arranged in patterns on skulls, eggs and shaped reliefs, like taxidermy overtaken by rainbow-hued lichen only 1000% cooler.
* Toshio Shibata "Concrete Abstraction" @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo Ward Tokyo (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station). A survey of some 50 large-format images of dams and tiered natural and manmade landscapes, injected with Shibata's growing use of aggressive color (vs. his earlier, tensely monochromatic prints).
* Hideki Kuwajima "TTL" @ Radium / 2-5-17 Bakurocho, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Bakurocho Station). The Osaka-based artist eschews sculpture for camera obscura, presenting new works "Through The Lens" that focus on the time spent developing them and their transition from three dimensions to two.
* "Suicide Club" (dir. Sion Sono, 2002) screening @ Museum of Arts & Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/BD to 59th St/Columbus Circle), 3p. Before "Cold Fish" executed a sledgehammer drop on contemporary cinema last year, most people — Americans — probably knew Sono for "Suicide Club", his ultraviolent (and opaquely Japanese) focus on breakdowns in generational communication, told via a series of seemingly disconnected high-school-age suicides.
* Toro y Moi (SC) @ Mohawk / 912 Red River St, 8p/$16. Chillwave's charismatic crooner Chazwick Bundick regales the Hill Country with his deft mix of pop hooks and progressive rock sonics, ahead of his inclusion in All Tomorrows Parties this December. w/ Bass Drum of Death
* Funker Vogt @ Elysium / 705 Red River, 9p/$14. Germany's aggrotech lords blast holes in the venue's Goth-black walls with their rumbling post-apocalyptic anthems.
* Keiichi Tanaami @ Nanzuka Underground / Shirokane Art Complex 2F, 3-1-15 Shirokane, Minato-ku (Namboku/Mita subway lines to Shirokane-Takanawa Station). The seminal graphic designer, illustrator and participant in postwar Neo-Dadaist movements presents a huge mandala-like painting tracing his 70-year personal history, plus life-sized sculptures and drawings.
* Yuka Ohtani "Memories of Dialogs" @ Gallery MOMO Ryogoku / 1F 1-7-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku (Toei Oedo/JR Sobu Line to Ryogoku Station). The Kanazawa-born artist punctuates minimalist fields of saturated color with line-work (signifying depth and dimension), curious little forest creatures, and sometimes central trees erupting in showers of flower petals. In this, she draws us deep into her lush world.
* "About A House" @ Taka Ishii Gallery / 5F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). A co-presentation between the gallery and White Cube, London, an investigation into the visible/invisible and present/absent — plus it's also on view at Taka Ishii's Kyoto gallery space.
* 「おんなの河童」/"Underwater Love" (dir. Shinji Imaoka, 2011) @ Eurospace / 3F 1-5 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit). Pair one pinku eiga maestro (dir. Imaoka) with dreamscape cinematographer (Christopher Doyle), add musical numbers and something about a love affair b/w fish-monger Asuka and a bipedal kappa Aoki (inhabited by the spirit of Asuka's teenage unrequited romantic crush), and you've just made countercultural cinematic gold.
* 「猿の惑星：創世記」 /"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (dir. , 2011) @ Toho Cinemas Nichigeki / 2-5-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku (Ginza/Hibiya/Marunouchi subway lines to Ginza Station). This is gorilla warfare, baby! I'd been…feverishly stoked for this reboot prequel to the whole "Apes" story, devoid of Mark Wahlberg and goofy costumes in favor of tracing the primates' jet-fueled evolution and retribution. That scene when ringleader Caesar roars at the screen…chills, man, all the way. Plus Freida Pinto (HELLO) stars.
* 「夜明けの街で」 (dir. Setsuro Wakamatsu) in wide release. I like this big-screen adaptation of Keigo Higashino's novel — "In the City of Daybreak" — particularly in the moving lead role by cutie Kyoko Fukada, who enters a tense love affair w/ her boss (played by Goro Kishitani)…only for the boss to suspect she had something to do w/ the murder his own father's adulterous lover!
* SpecialThanks + ALMOND @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 7p/2500 yen. SpecialThanks arrive w/ a superbright debut LP "Seven Lovers" full of pop-punk hooks and coed harmonies. Melodic punk trio ALMOND (check debut LP "Memories) provide a properly propulsive accent. w/ (uh) SHIT HAPPENING
* SAUDADE Night @ Super Deluxe / B1F 3-1-25 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station), 5:30p/2800 yen. "Saudade" is nearly untranslatable Portuguese for "deep yearning or nostalgia", which has a similarly vague Japanese equivalent in "natsukashii". It's also Katsuya Tomita's new feature, set in Kofu City in Yamanashi Prefecture, a town hit hard by economic crises but enlivened by its dynamic cultural exchanges…and Japanese-Brazilian b-boy competitions! A mix of DJs and musicians, incl. Stillchimiya, Tokyo Piccadilly, LastDayBikini and a collaboration b/w Masaya Nakahara (Hair Stylistics), Atsuhiro Ito, Iwao Yamazaki and Stillchimiya's Dengaryu fill the venue in celebration of Tomita's film.
* "The Shining" (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1980) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St. When I learned via Badass Digest that Kubrick had purposefully made the Overlook Hotel — still the creepiest residential setting among modern horror films — spatially impossible and phantasmagorically mazelike, it tuned my own emotional response to an already loved film even higher. Enjoy the illusionary awesomeness on the big screen, with manic Jack Nicholson, precocious Danny Lloyd, awesome Scatman Crothers and (frankly) spectrelike Shelley Duvall in the ideal pre-Halloween thriller. ALSO MON
* Hair Stylistics + Coquettish Murder Girls @ Ochiai Soup / B1F 3-9-10 Kamiochiai, Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo Metro Tozai Line to Ochiai Station, JR Sobu Line to Higashi-Nakano Station), 3p/2000 yen. The "Northern Triumphal Song vol. 1" charity event, with all proceeds going towards earthquake relief in Japan's Tohoku region. Plus, anytime Hair Stylistics is whipping up a sonic maelstrom is a good time. And I just love the name "coquettish murder girls", right? w/ 2much crew and DJs
* CAUCUS + BP @ Earthdom / B1F 3-32-2 Okubo, Shinjuku-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Shin-okubo Station), 7p/2500 yen. My love for Cloudberry Records-signed Tokyo dream-poppers CAUCUS should be well-known by this point, ever since I saw 'em live (twice?) in NYC. Skronk-rockers BP kick up a sonic squall by echoing My Bloody Valentine (think w/ only Bilinda Butcher singing). w/ AS MEIAS
* Vladislav Delay/Luomo + Alva Noto @ Womb / 2-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 11p/4000 yen. An international cast of esteemed sonic pioneers conjure an appropriately immersive environment w/in Womb. Check Alva Noto (stage-name of sound artist Carsten Nicolai!!), who's collaborated w/ Ryoji Ikeda, Scanner (Robin Rimbaud), Ryuichi Sakamoto and others along with creating his own powerful "visual sounds". Or Sasu Ripatti, the Finnish minimalist king, slated to perform tonight under both his collagist Vladislav Delay pseudonym and Luomo, his bouncier, microhouse persona. w/ Takamasa Aoki and AGF.
* Artists on Artists: Richard Aldrich on Walter de Maria @ DIA: Chelsea / 535 W 22nd St, 5th Fl, 6:30p. DIA kicks off its autumn dialogue series with the ever-experimenting Brooklyn-based artist Richard Aldrich (who showed at 2010 Whitney Biennial, among solo exhibitions at Bortolami in NYC, Misako and Rosen in Tokyo, Japan and elsewhere), speaking on the mathematical minimalist Walter de Maria. This should be cerebrally stimulating.
* Shinji Masuko (of Boredoms) @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Metropolitan), 8p/$10. Masuko, founder of Tokyo-area Brit-blues channelers DMBQ (Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet) and seven-necked guitar-shredder for Boredoms, pivots between acoustic interventions and electric fury in a solo performance tonight. w/ Soft Circle
* Nicola Conte jazz combo + Erica Mou @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St, 6 to Bleecker St), 10:30p/$35. Conte's "Jet Sounds" and "Garota Moderna" are my go-to for neo-bossa and Brazilian-tinged acid jazz, thoughtfully mixed with melodies echoing '60s Italian film scores. Italian singer-songwriter Erica Mou opens the enchantment.
* "Creepers" (dir. Dario Argento, 1985) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 10:15p. I've always been keen on the perfect mid-'80s cover art for "Creepers", a young Jennifer Connelly clutching a handful of nasty insects! Argento pairs her (as a bug telepath!) with classic Donald Pleasance as they seek out the black-gloved stealth who's been slashing up girls in the boarding school!
* "The Thing" (dir. John Carpenter, 1982) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Village / 2700 W Anderson Ln, 7p. A week ahead of the shiny-new 2011 prequel/remake, revel in the peerless original, proof that cinematic foreboding and psychological dread win over gratuitous gore and blatant visuals if wielded by the master. And Carpenter is that master. Among the scariest, sickening horror films of its time and it's matchless even today. So yeah, it's about an alien unfrozen from Antarctic ice that shape-shifts into members of an isolated crew, converting them one by one unbeknownst to a bearded Kurt Russell et all…but it's so much more than that. Highly recommended!
* "Tommy" (dir. Ken Russell, 1975) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 7p. So technically this is based on The Who's same-name '69 rock opera (and stars frontman Roger Daltrey in the largely mute lead), but it's given the Russell treatment big-time. Think a religious cult w/ Eric Clapton as the preacher, and the Acid Queen (an unforgettable role for Tina Turner!), and Elton John as the pinball king and this hallucinogenic scene involving a television upchucking soap suds, beans and chocolate and a shirtless Daltrey running on the beach and…well it's absolutely bonkers.
* Friendly Fires (UK) @ La Zona Rosa / 612 W 4th St, 8p/$20. Confession time: I'm a big Friendly Fires fan, since the percussive plunge of "Jump in the Pool" and all the way through a new LP and slippery tropic-pop single "Hawaiian Air". These rakish lads know how to bring the party.
* Akino Kondo "KiyaKiya" @ Mizuma Art Gallery / 2F 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku (Yurakucho/Nanboku Lines to Ichigaya Station). The new titular painterly animation work immerses us in a girl's fantastical and subtly disturbing imagination, a superb exhibition from Kondo.
* "An Invitation to the Delight in the Senses vol 2" @ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). MA2 presents "The Quiet Room", featuring contemplative works and objects by Berndt Friberg, Tamotsu Fujii, Akihiro Higuchi, Yasuyoshi Botan, Nobuaki Onishi, Masaaki Kawaguchi, Fumiyuki Okubo and Eri Dewa.
* El Anatsui "When I Last Wrote to You about Africa" @ Blanton Museum of Art / UT Austin campus, MLK at Congress. Anatsui is the first exhibition I attended at Blanton (hell, I'd been away from Austin for seven years — this place didn't even exist last time I was in town). To say I'd been looking forward to the Ghanaian-born artist's retrospective would be a grave understatement. His solo shows and group exhibitions in NYC (at Jack Shainman, plus his inclusion in international art fairs) tended to be show-stoppers, wowing everyone and usurping attention from any other artwork in the room. I mean…those intricate, shimmering tarps of thousands of discarded Nigerian liquor bottle tops… I dug Anatsui's retrospective on many levels, aesthetic being one of them, but to see his early relief carvings, drawings and paintings alongside his famed wall sculptures was a treat. Expansive floor sculptures like "Peak Project" (1999), a field of undulating Peak Milk lids, and "Akua's Surviving Children" (1996), an array of roughly hewn wood figures with ritually scorched "heads" that emulate Africans in the Danish slave trade and first shown in Copenhagen's African international exhibition in '96 — they're dope and they work well in concert w/ Anatsui's more fixated luminous wall sculptures, like the massive "Stressed World" (2011, bearing a large central "netted" section alongside panes of green, red, yellow and black) and the gold "Oasis" (2008). Earlier instances of this patterning are evident in carved and painted wood reliefs like "Coins on Grandma's Cloth" (1992, punctuated with painted striped diagonals); the almost Cubist "Club Windows" (2002); and the show's titular work "When I Last Wrote to You about Africa…" (1986), a scroll-like wood relief with ideogram 'Adinkras' carved into it. The exhibition itself is the largest number of Anatsui works ever assembled in the U.S.
+ Contemporary art selections. After immersing myself within El Anatsui's retrospective and perusing the upstairs drawing galleries, I noted on the museum map that there was a contemporary wing. Sign me up! I was stoked to find a pretty wicked configuration, including another Anatsui untitled relief from 2007, a Glenn Ligon coal-dust silkscreen "Untitled (Hands/Strangers in the Village)" and Pablo Vargas Lugo's "Fortuna 7 / Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Gemini") - coins embedded in felt - on the wall, Richard Long's stately "Summer Circle" (1991, comprised of wood shards in a circular formation) and Isabel Del Rio's meticulous "2244 Modulos" (1997), some 2500 numbered inch-thick plaster slabs on the floor, and Anselm Kiefer's signature-scaled "Sternefall (Falling Stars)" (1998) exploring both wall and floor.
* "Pattern Plan" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. Our relationship with nature is the focus here, varyingly teased out with crafty mock-ups of molecules and what looked to me like Claes Oldenburg-sized Froot Loops (Dameon Lester, moulding these toruses from the Austin-American Statesman and neon-colored paper); renditions of undersea life and slime molds painted on cut and shaped canvas (L. Renee Nunez); and these awesomely intricate, subtle circles and crescents comprised of acrylic mixed with powdered mica, then layered like minuscule bubbles one by one onto the paper (Jessica McCambly). In particular, McCambly's rigorous process and sublime results clinches the exhibition's fusion — but you've got to spend some time with these delicate works and let them soak in. Likewise, there was an intriguing article in the NYTimes on Oct 3 entitled "Can Answers to Evolution Be Found in Slime?", i.e. slime molds, calling them "ancient, alien and sophisticated", and it's of note that Nunez singles them out as subject matter.
* 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.
* "La Carte d'Apres Nature", curated by Thomas Demand @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St. If you're a Rene Magritte freak like myself, you'll recognize the exhibition title from a journal published by the Belgian surrealist. Demand takes that as the jump-off (plus adding three Magritte paintings into the mix, two from Houston's Menil Collection) for a labyrinthine exhibition on representation. Luigi Ghirri's vintage color photographs, films by Tacita Dean and Rodney Graham, a birdsongs recording by Henrik Hakansson (created for this show) and other works contribute to this very special experience.
* Nick Cave "Ever-After" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 512 W 20th St. Cave OWNS the "soundsuit". If you've never seen 'em before, they're typically these flare-headed life-size human sculptures, decked in something organic (like last Armory Show's subtle bundles of tree limbs) or more fanciful, Bowie-esque, as it were. He goes for spectacle this time, coating them with shiny buttons like fashion chainmail and filling their insides with swirling upholstery ombres.
* Frederick Hammersley "Geometrics/Organics" @ Ameringer McEnery Yohe / 525 W 22nd St. An intriguing look at this post-war American artist, who effectively juggled two disparate styles, staid "Geometrics" and flowing "Organics", both replete w/ bold color-blocked fields.
* Alessandra Exposito @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. Exposito's propensity for using found objects in her hybrid sculptures is cool, but past efforts w/ animal skulls didn't grab me that hard. She's now incorporating discarded furniture, seemingly pulled from the roadside or some sad yard sale, and infusing them with organic flora elements to give them new existence. So count me game again.
* Bogdan Vladuta "Urban Archeology" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. The debut stateside showing for the Romanian artist, whose gripping portraiture of Bucharest residents epitomizes his process of uncovering "human artifacts".
* Tim Okamura "Bronx Brooklyn Queens" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. Okamura creates some of the most scintillating portraiture paintings today, beautifully realizing friends and models against the Boroughs' urban backdrops. He incorporates spraypaint and collage into his photorealist oil compositions, oftentimes placing his subjects dead center, their focused gazes locking onto you.
* Deborah Butterfield @ Danese / 535 W 24th St 6th Fl. New cast bronze sculptures of horses seemingly composed of brambles or tree limbs, except it's all cast bronze with patina!
* Maeghan Reid "The Great Lumbering" @ Jack Hanley Gallery / 136 Watts St. The Cali-born, Berlin-based artist will construct her installation — a "temporary mausoleum for the uncanny", according to the press release — during the run of her three-week residency w/in the gallery space.
* Carmen McLeod "Open Structure" @ CRG Gallery / 548 W 22nd St. The Brooklyn-based artist opens opinions on what constitutes painting and sculpture by deconstructing and revising older works with objects in her studio and entirely new compositions.
* Adam Marnie "Locus Rubric" + Matt Kenny @ Derek Eller Gallery / 615 W 27th St. Marnie adapts on the gallery space with an interrelated installation, "remixing" the space with framed collages (adapted from wall reliefs he then cut out and replaced elsewhere), box sculptures and punched sheetrock. Kenny fills the smaller north gallery w/ monotypes created by inking plastic bags and running them through an intaglio press.
* "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.
* 「絵画の血統：脳裏に記する絵画たち」 @ Galerie Sho Contemporary / B1F 3-2-9 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku (Ginza/Tozai Lines to Nihonbashi Station). Or: "lineage of painting: painters attributed to our mind" — and including René Magritte, Salvador Dali, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Makoto Saito, Gerhard Richter, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Jasper Johns, Wayne Thiebaud, Helmut Newton, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol. (ENDS SAT)