* Carsten Höller "Experience" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave). In case you'd heard, THIS is the exhibition that features a visitor-participatory sensory deprivation pool ("bathing suit optional"). That's "Psycho Tank" (1999), one of many immersive, interactive works in the German artist's debut NY survey. Others include a corridor of flashing lights, a mirrored carousel, a 102-ft pneumatic slide (skip the lift!) and other experimental means of awesome disorientation. Take the plunge.
* "Die Like You Really Mean It" @ Allegra LaViola Gallery / 179 E Broadway. NYC totally does dynamic. Artists Paul Brainard and Frank Webster have culled over 20 local artists for a truly expressive encounter. This means many things: Hiroyuki Hamada's reliefs work in contrasty restraint while Doug Young's reversed paintings are like mid-'70s otherworldly. Ryan Schneider unveils a trippy-ass figurative pattern in oils while Oliver Warden, Kanishka Raja and Brainard explode and incise chromatic landscapes.
* "Emotional Excess and the Politics of Hysteria" @ Women & Their Work / 1710 Lavaca, 7p. An evening of conversation between Margaret Meehan (her excellent exhibition "Hystronics and The Forgotten Arm" is still on view) and two local psychologist-psychoanalysts, Drs. Gemma Marangoli Ainsile and Marianna Adler. Hysteria's historical nuances and its current utility, plus the doctors' Freudian knowledge vs. Meehan's striking imagery — Victorian culture, thematic beauty, hypertrichosis — form the framework.
* "The Descendants" (dir. Alexander Payne, 2011) screening @ Paramount Theatre / 713 Congress Ave, 7p. Part of Austin Film Fest! Major Oscar buzz already on Payne's latest, shot a good long while after "Sideways" (remember that time?). I'm intrigued by where George Clooney takes this as the lead, in this dark and sometimes funny drama set in rural Hawaii.
* "Vampyres" (dir. Jose Larraz, 1975) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 10p. This scummy exercise in bad taste amps up the gore AND sexuality to one-up Hammer horror. Perhaps the pinnacle of lesbian vampire films, if that incites your interest.
* Uta Barth + Jack Strange @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Barth consistently pushes the envelope on light and perception in photography. As I am totally missing her presence at the mostly awesome "Anxiety of Photography" exhibition (on now at Arthouse in Austin TX), I am super-stoked for her latest exhibition in NYC. Part of it draws from a body of work conceived for the Art Institute of Chicago, though Barth also includes a new series. Plus the indescribable British artist Jack Strange (who did enjoy at Arthouse exhibition this past summer), continues to enlighten us on the unexpected humor and depth within the everyday.
* Klara Kristalova "Sounds of Dogs and Youth" @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. The Czech artist treats her debut solo NY exhibition for atmosphere, immersing her dreamlike and subtly disturbing figurative ceramic and bronze sculptures with secondhand furniture and mood lighting.
* Llyn Foulkes @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Wow. This incredible LA-based artist and musician (who came of age w/ John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha, plus played in a band w/ R. Crumb) is almost purposefully indescribable. His early contributions to assemblage and American Pop are as deep as his ever-changing oeuvre. This isn't his first time here, either, as Foulkes' meta-work w/in the Dec 2009 artist/curator group show "The Perpetual Dialogue" is still burned into my memory.
* Hiroshi Sugimoto "Surface of the Third Order: Objects and Sculpture" @ The Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. If your only point of reference for Sugimoto-san's transcendent oeuvre are his magical seascapes, you might be quite surprised by this exhibition: two bodies of conceptual 3D work, crystal pagodas inlaid w/ photographs and huge aluminum sculptures based on mathematical functions. It's of particular note that works from this series are displayed simultaneous at the sublime Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX, which just sounds perfect.
* Jacob Hashimoto "The End of Gravity" @ Mary Boone Gallery / 745 Fifth Ave. Hashimoto's previous solo exhibition at Mary Boone (the Chelsea location) was a sublime event, a vivid coupling of ethereal "woven" kite reliefs. He furthers their figurative potential in this new series, moving away from his kaleidoscopic cut-paper collage into mimicking graphic drawings.
* Halim Al Karim "Witness from Baghdad" @ STUX Gallery / 530 W 25th St. Halim's vivid lambda prints get under your skin, in the way he keeps the eyes crystal-clear and piercing, forcing us to "see" and meditate on the blurred figures within and their respective histories.
* "Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Goofy name aside (hey, I jest!), I am very stoked for this group exploration of a century's worth of artists working with the incandescent medium. Feat. Arman, Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys to Keith Sonnier, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Zhang Xiaogang.
* Matthew Brannon "Gentleman's Relish" @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. In this tastily titled solo show, the NY-based artist fills all three gallery spaces w/ new silkscreen and letterpress prints, paintings, sculptures and a collaborative series w/ Carlo Brandelli, the latter based off an unpublished noir mystery narrative.
* Sarah Braman "Yours" @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. Few years back, Braman had a really dope dual exhibition at Andrea Rosen Gallery w/ Joel Shapiro — a tiny one in the side gallery, inspired by a dialogue b/w Rita Ackermann and Rosen. It wasn't my first Braman encounter but I felt it totally worked, her angular, intersecting planes of wood and glass against Shapiro's cascading blocks. I'm interested to see her debut w/ M-I&N, as she deconstructed an entire camper to incorporate it in the other works, mindful of Plexiglas (for light, volume, that pop of color) and cardboard (time, wear).
* "Exte: Hair Extensions" (dir. Sion Sono, 2007) screening @ Museum of Arts & Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/BD to 59th St/Columbus Circle), 7p. My first theatrical experience of a Sono film — it was during Japan Cuts and he was there! So badass… Thing with "Exte", he was mocking and hyperbolizing J-horror (ubiquitous, flowing black hair…now as a killing mechanism!) whilst doing one better for the genre. AND at the center is Sono's signature turn at the family drama, here w/ Chiaki Kuriyama as the good younger sister (to elder Tsugumi, flipping the script on her role in "Noriko's Dinner Table" to pure evil) with a troubled past. Plus, seeing the stalwart Ren Osugi in a wig and American flag shirt is too priceless.
* Boris w/ Asobi Seksu + Liturgy @ Irving Plaza / 17 Irving Plaza (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 7p/$21.50. Besides a My Bloody Valentine concert, never have I recommended earplugs (e.g. some form of ear protection) more than now. Brooklyn "transcendent black metal" dudes Liturgy will roast 'em good, then cutie-pie local shoegazers Asobi Seksu will scorch your synapses. And that's BEFORE Boris, aka Japanese stoner rockers penultimate, aka one of the consistently loudest, heaviest bands I've EVER experienced (I've seen 'em like 14 times live — plus I've seen MBV, Sleep, sunn o))), Merzbow, and two years of No Fun Fest), take the stage. Pure decibel delirium, girls and boys, but then again they're the best.
* Fishbone (LA) @ Emo's / 603 Red River, 9p/$16. Original ska-punks, rejoice! LA rude boys Fishbone are back…and sure the lineup's changed since '79 but even original trumpeter "Dirty" Walter Kibby II performs tonight, supporting a spanking-new EP and ahead of a promised full-length. These dudes even cameoed in Keenen Ivory Wayans' blaxploitation spoof "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka"! w/ Subrosa Union
* Concrete Blonde (LA) @ Emo's East / 2015 E. Riverside Dr, 9p/$25. What up LA band reunions! I credit Rock Video Monthly (and MTV) for getting me into hard-rockers Concrete Blonde, specifically '93 album "Mexican Moon", awash w/ Johnette Napolitano's emotive croon. Their seminal, heavy LP "Bloodletting" enjoyed its 20th anniversary last year. w/ Adrian & the Sickness
* Wild Child @ The Parish / 214 E 6th St, 9p/$8. Austin's natty indie-folk outfit Wild Child just release their debut LP "Pillow Talk", and a celebration is in order! Get on down here, "y'all". w/ Little Lo and Shakey Graves
* Daisuke Kato @ INAX Gallery / 2F 3-6-18 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Station). Realistic life-sized sculptures of girls wearing animal masks, utilizing a technique traditionally employed in crafting Buddhist sculptures. That just sounds dope.
* Tokyo Dolores + BabyDoll Tokyo performance @ Shibuya PARCO / 14-5 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 6p/FREE. On the eve of Tokyo Dolores' Lucca, Italy tour and performances, they host a local bash in fashion central! Expect a stylized pole-dance from the girls AND a fashion show by GothLoli imprint BabyDoll Tokyo. w/ visuals by kokekakiki — a big teaser of what we're missing unless we follow them to Italy!
* The Milky Tangerine + Shojo Skip @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 7p/2300 yen. Love love LOVE local indie-rock quartet the milky tangerine — to me they're like The Brilliant Green of 2011, sweetly strong female vox around lots of guitars. LIST recommended!
* Girls (Cali) @ DUO Music Exchange / 2-14-8 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (JR lines to Shibuya Station), 7p/5000 yen. Despite my deep, unyielding love for Tokyo's indie-rock scene, there's no equivalent I know of to "Honey Bunny", my favorite track on the super-awesome 2nd LP by Cali's sun-dappled groovemeisters Girls.
* Yoko Ono "Uncursed" @ Galerie Lelong / 528 W 26th St. The pivotal cross-media Conceptualist and Fluxus original reminds of our global interconnectivity and universality of human experience in a new installation of doorways, figurative transparent sculptures and more. You bet this evening's reception is a must-see.
* Rene Magritte "Dangerous Liaisons" @ Blain-DiDonna / 981 Madison Ave. Way to cast an inaugural exhibition, by showing a survey of the seminal Belgian surrealist — and incidentally one of my all-time favorite artists, ever — , w/ thirty of his major paintings, gouaches and drawings…the largest scale of Magritte works in NYC in nearly 15 years. Dive in.
* Rebecca Horn "Ravens Gold Rush" @ Sean Kelly Gallery / 528 W 29th St. I consider a Horn exhibition an EVENT, perhaps due to her kinetic, gestural ethos. That the show's title references her '86 NY exhibit "The Gold Rush" (which occurred during international financial uncertainty), plus contains a rarely-seen early sculpture alongside new poignant paintings and a large sculptural installation — plus! the N. American premiere of Horn's film "Moon Mirror Journey", playing at the Rubin Museum a few blocks away — means we're in for something very special. (for Rubin info, read on under SAT)
* Shane Hope "Transubstrational: As a Smartmatter of Nanofacture" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. Lenticular-3D prints customized w/ open-source nanomolecular design software systems…this just sounds mind-alteringly dope. Plus a series involving "parent" and "child" printers, run by open-source/open-hardware. If I were still midway through university, I'd be doing backflips. But still, I am psyched to see Hope's scientific stylings in person.
* Richard Pousette-Dart "East River Studio" @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. I usually gloss over press releases "to get the vibe", relying more on my instincts and history w/ the mentioned artist. But I'm glad I read this show's, as a crucial detail just blew my mind: Christopher Wool (the mighty, the Xerox-looking abstractor) organized this exhibition alongside Joanna Pousette-Dart. See, Wool studied w/ Richard, the youngest member of the Abstract Expressionists, in college! The body of work on view, pairing Pousette-Dart's paintings and wire sculptures, comes from the late 40s to 1951 and mostly hasn't been exhibited in NY again since its initial show at Betty Parsons Gallery in the '50s.
* "House/HAUSU" (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). The now almost-monthly late-night screenings of this spastic art-house horror classic returns just in time for Halloween. Think black cats are the only harbingers of evil? You haven't met Auntie's Himalayan! With enough painted landscapes, in-camera FX, fight-sequence theme-songs and cute girls to overwhelm even the most discerning crowd. See it on the big screen, again! ALSO SAT
* The Beets @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$10. Bruar Falls, the tiny Cake Shop-collaborating DIY Wsburg venue closes its doors at the end of the month. I am mega sad about this and share fond memories of many a sweaty show (a blessing in the winter, a loving torture in the summertime) in this place. But they're going all-out in style. Case in point: BIG fan of the new The Beets LP "Let the Poison Out" (feat. Velvet Underground-style drumming and coed vocal contributions from Chie Mori, a good match for Juan and Jose's nasally sing-alongs). Get rowdy. w/ Beachniks and a Misfits cover band
* Pterodactyl LP release party @ Secret Project Robot / 389 Melrose St, Bushwick (L to Jefferson), 9p. Brooklyn's fiercely indie thrash-rockers Pterodactyl kick off their two-month tour (culminating back home in mid-Dec) w/ a new LP "Spills Out", and if lead track "Nerds" is any indication — high melodiousness and percolating rhythm, plus an upped fuzz factor — it's gonna be DOPE. w/ the lovely Grooms + Dreebs
* "Giorgio Moroder Presents: Metropolis" (dir. Fritz Lang, 1927/1984) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. The Italian synth king and überproducer restored and "remixed" this dystopian silent-screen classic, colorizing it and coating it in mid-'80s sheen…complete w/ a current pop soundtrack (think Pat Benatar and Adam Ant!). Yeah, you bet it was controversial. It's also been out of print since its original '84 release, so this is a particular, limited-edition cinematic treat. ALSO SAT
* "The Exorcist" (dir. William Friedkin, 1973) midnight screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 11:45p. I remember, back when I was a kid I asked my father about horror films. He told me the two scariest he'd seen as a kid were "The Exorcist" and "The Omen". I thought by their 'simplistic' titles they weren't so bad. Ha. Moral of the story: my father has seen "The Exorcist" on the big screen. I (and probably YOU) never have. ALSO SAT
* "The Rum Diary" (dir. Bruce Robinson, 2011) @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. Johnny Depp channels Paul Kemp in this filmic adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's debut novel, down and out in Eisenhower-era America and lolling about San Juan w/ Aaron "Sanderson" Eckhart and pretty fiancé Amber "Chenault" Heard.
* Pure X + Sleep Over @ Scoot Inn / 1308 E 4th St, 8p/$10. Much as I fiercely defend Brooklyn's handle of the lo-fi, woozy "chillwave" scene, I gotta give props to these two awesome Hill Country acts. Pure X (né "Pure Ecstasy") coat their slow-jams in hazy feedback and reverb, and their debut LP "Pleasure" is totally that (plus hearkens back to certain early-'80s UK greats). Stefanie Franciotti's aptly titled Sleep Over (despite the absurd infinity symbol inbetwixt) lulls but never bores, in her hypo-pop bliss. w/ their dreamily retrotastic kindred Silent Diane
* Thea Djordjadze @ Rat Hole Gallery / B1F 5-5-3 Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku (Chiyoda/Ginza/Hanzomon Lines to Omotesando Station, JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station). An installation of drawings and sculptures, in the Berlin-based Georgian artist's debut at the gallery…and in Japan!
* Brainfeeder 2 @ Eleven / B2F 1-10-11 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station), 10p/4500 yen. The name of this fest rightly conjures LA-based experimental hip-hop guru and producer Flying Lotus, so expect some serious-ass bass and lots of fractured beats. Highlight for me is undoubtedly TOKiMONSTA: she's Korean, based in LA but hot in Japan. And her contorted dubstep programming is just killer. w/ Thundercat + Teebs
* Nan Goldin "Scopophila" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St. This is Goldin's first solo exhibition in NYC since 2007 (not counting, obvs, her dreamy/sinister contributions to "New Works" at this gallery last year), and it's a biggie. She unveils the titular slide installation — stay with me here! it's doper than it sounds! —, commissioned by the Louvre Museum last year, nearly a half-hour of over 400 photographs from Goldin's life intermingled w/ classic Louvre paintings and sculpture.
* "Masked Portrait Part II" @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St. Back in early 2008, Midori Nishizawa curated a fantastic grouping of Japanese avant-garde artists, from the Gutai Bijutsu Kyokai (Gutai Art Association) like Atsuko Tanaka and Jiro Yoshihara to realist photographers Daido Moriyama and Eikoh Hosoe and contemporary contributors (from Aya Takano to Yuichi Higashionna) — plus a related Atsuko Tanaka and Akira Kanayama dual exhibit at Paula Cooper Gallery. I REALLY dug the exhibition. Now we have part two.
* Jim Isermann @ Mary Boone Gallery / 541 W 24th St. The Palm Springs-based artist goes after the gallery's iconic trussed-roof ceiling and skylight, installing a modular drop-ceiling grid with tilting planes, transforming the entire space into a Op-Minimalist event throughout the day.
* Peter Hujar "Three Lives: Peter Hujar, Paul Thek & David Wojnarowicz" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 523 W 24th St. Three decades of Hujar's photography, focusing on his most intimate self-portraits and portraits of lovers, artistic iconoclasts Thek and Wojnarowicz. This is a heavy downtown NYC show and highly recommended.
* Leslie Hewitt "Blue Skies, Warm Sunlight" @ D'Amelio Terras / 525 W 22nd St. Hewitt elicits a lot of emotion and meaning from her plainly displayed, subdued prints. Case in point w/ her inclusion in MoMA's new photography exhibition in 2009 and in "The Anxiety of Photography" (on view now at Arthouse in Austin TX). She focuses on the permeability of photos when time is a contributor, resting her prints against the walls and re-photographing ostensibly the same subject w/ minor (crucial!) alterations — in effect, "de-staticizing" it.
* "Moon Mirror Journey" (dir. Rebecca Horn, 2011) screening @ Rubin Museum of Art / 150 W 17th St (1 to 18th St, ACE to 14th St), 4p/$12. The first U.S. screening of international performance and installation artist Horn, a personal retrospective that premiered at the Berliner Festspiele in early 2011. Horn leads a Q&A w/ Rubin Museum's Chief Curator Jan Van Alphen after the screening. In conjunction w/ Horn's new exhibition "Ravens Gold Rush" at Sean Kelly Gallery (opens FRI, see above).
* Bradney Evans @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. Incredible trompe-l'oeil acrylic works on paper, which look like ripped brown shipping paper w/ rays of light piercing through the holes…only they're painted. Amazing. Plus Evans' video "Exposure", which expands upon the themes in the static works.
* Monster Show Six @ Domy Books / 913 E Cesar Chavez, 7-9p opening reception. The art bookstore and gallery's annual group show is a compendium of monster-related artwork, feat. local artists and more from the global scene. It's like they themed this just for me. W/ works by Tim Kerr, Miguel A. Aragon, Keenan Marshall Keller, Katy Horan, Dennis Hodges, Hiromi Ueyoshi and like literally 100 more.
* Zola Jesus (Cali) @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 8p/$10. Zola Jesus (né Nika Roza Danilova) sings kinda like Siouxsie Sioux (though she had a childhood operatic background) and plays scintillating synth-rock that heavily echoes the late '80s. I honestly can't get enough of her. w/ Xanopticon
* Beirut (NM) @ Stubb's / 801 Red River, 7p/$35. Zach Condon and crew conjure musical odysseys. Beirut's new LP "The Rip Tide" continues their signature balkan-folk legacy, transporting us somewhere full of of wide-open spaces and brassy taglines ("Santa Fe"). and w/ Ramesh
* Wild Flag (OR/DC) @ La Zona Rosa / 612 W 4th St, 9p/$15. Indie supergroup Wild Flag is two-thirds of erstwhile Portland riot-grrrl legends Sleater-Kinney, and they inflect that garage-rock aesthetic w/ bluesy bliss. w/ Drew Grow and the Pastors' Wives
* Kae Higuchi @ Kido Press, Inc / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Toei Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). The Sendai-based artist's second exhibition here, featuring soft-toned portraits in oil tempera and mixed media on canvas and paper.
* Kazumi Kurigami "Hi to Hone II" @ Taka Ishii Photography / 2F 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). Kurigami has some 4+ decades of independent, commercial photography behind him. This exhibition focuses on his Polaroid SX-70 and spans nearly his entire career, magnifying the emotive "unrealness" of the Polaroid.
* Plastic Girl in Closet + CAUCUS @ Koenji High / 4-30-1 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku (Chuo Line to Koenji Station), TKTK. A pairing of local indie awesomeness. Both dabble in dreampop, but PGIC lean closer to shoegaze while CAUCUS keep it peppy and punctuated, like best-of C86. LIST recommended!
* RECORIDE DJ set @ Nishi-azabu SPIN / B1F 1-12-5 Nishi-azabu (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station), 10p/1500 yen. I swear, the Karen O of Japanese electroclash, aka Tatta, fronts neon-streaked Tokyo outfit RECORIDE. Check their debut "Zekkyo Midare Rally Land". She's DJing this PARADE Halloween party w/ Mahiro Kazu (MIKU), Heigo Tani (Co-Fusion/WALLS) and more.
* NIGHTMARE Fetish Halloween @ Erebos / 2F 3-11-14 Akasaka, Minato-ku (Chiyoda Line to Akasaka Station), 9p/3500 yen (dresscode: 2500 yen). Tokyo might not boast a lot of Halloween-related decorations (jack o'lanterns, rubber bats, trick-or-treaters etc), but their adult parties are bar none awesome. As this is a fetish party, incorporating rubber/latex/leather into your nurse outfit is highly recommended, plus it's fun! feat. guest DJ's ME:CA (Torture Garden), Zil & more…and this is among the penultimate Erebos parties (the venue closes on 11/2).
* MONSTER! Halloween Bash 2011 @ ageHa / 2--2-10 Shin-Kiba, Koto-ku (JR/Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line to Shin-Kiba Station), 9p/4000 yen (2000 yen in costume!). Mega major four-stage sexy blowout! Who said Tokyo doesn't do Halloween? They do it adult-style! I advise hanging at the main arena, which features DJs Taku Takahashi (m-flo), DEXPISTOLS and the ineffable AMIGA (of Electrical LOVERS), w/ entertainment by Cyberjapan Dancers. The Water stage hosts funky-ass electro and that sort of thing, incl. Naoki (who's been into hip-hop since he discovered the Wu back in 2000) and Kiraz (straight from Sweden). If Erebos's fetish party is too…edgy for your tastes (see above), this multilinear night might be just the thing.
* Bianca Beck "Body" @ Rachel Uffner Gallery / 47 Orchard St. I've encountered this young NY-based artist's intriguing, very physical oeuvre (gestural, abraded abstract mixed-media paintings, small painted-wood sculpture) in group shows only, so I'm totally psyched to see a larger showing of it. In her solo debut here, she includes ripped canvases in "body colors" (makes me think of Ana Mendieta), small-scale sculpture and works that incorporate sculptural and 2D elements.
* Tommy Hartung "Anna" @ On Stellar Rays / 133 Orchard St. Bit of nostalgia here: my 1st (belated) gallery-viewing at On Stellar Rays (now one of my favorite LES spots) was Hartung's debut solo exhibition, the sublime and utterly beguiling "The Ascent of Man" video/installation, which recurred at MoMA PS1's "Greater NY". I've high expectations for Hartung, in this new stop-motion and historical verity video "Anna" (recalling Anna Karenina, naturally), with related and expanded sculptural and installation materials.
* DIVE + Darlings @ Bruar Falls / 245 Grand St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$10. The final Bruar Falls show is stacked w/ new(ish) and stalwart local indie talent. Check LIST favorites, the jangle-pop songwriterly Darlings, and the psych-haze of DIVE (feat. Beach Fossils' lead guitarist Cole on frontman duties). w/ Shark? and Bright Lights
* "Death Drug" (dir. Oscar Williams, 1986) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 7p. Never released on DVD (hell, never released in theaters!), the Philip Michael Thomas you never knew, but always wanted to know! The pre-"Miami Vice" Thomas, wigging out on PCP and hallucinating at home, in the streets, in the supermarket! With wraparound segments and a legit Philip Michael Thomas music video for the belated 1986 VHS release!
* CSS + MEN (Brooklyn) @ La Zona Rosa / 612 W 4th St, 8p/$20. I've been obsessed w/ Brazilian art-punk cuties CSS (and particularly fluorescent-bodysuited frontwoman Lovefoxxx) since…uh, 2005? Pairing them w/ Brooklyn art-punks MEN (aka Le Tigre's JD Samson et al) equals neon streamers, squiggly guitars and sociopolitical shout-alongs. w/ EMA
* about tess + 日の毬 @ Shinjuku Motion / 5F 2-45-2 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), 4p/2300 yen. I never thought I'd hear of a Tokyo band who creates bluesy space-rock like Manfred Man, yet that's totally what 日の毬 (Hi-no-Mari) do! They're backed by instrumentalists about tess (2x the guitars/bass/drums = 2x the awesome), mothercoat, LIST favorites Metro-Ongen + more.
* An Evening with Alejandro Jodorowsky @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 7p. Indecisive on Halloween? Allow me to suggest something dope: i.e. a discussion b/w visionary Chilean director Jodorowksy w/ Klaus Biesenbach (Director of MoMA PS1 and MoMA's chief curator-at-large) and Joshua Siegel (MoMA Dept of Film assoc. curator)…followed by Jodorowksy's classic "The Holy Mountain". Boys and girls, this trove of transgression is guaranteed to titillate and terrify you WAY MORE than the Village Halloween parade. And since it lets out before 10p, you'll still have time to head downtown. Costume optional.
* SBTRKT w/ AraabMUZIK @ Bowery Ballroom / 6 Delancey St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 8p/SOLD OUT. Here's a Halloween bash for you: Providence-area DJ/producer araabMUZIK (whose debut studio LP "Electronic Dream" instills faith in original American-produced legit dance jams), followed by masked Brit wunderkind SBTRKT, maestro of dirty-ass minimalist basslines.
* Gary War + Noveller @ 285 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/TK. Electro-vox sensorial transcendants Prince Rama headline a night of higher sonic vibes. I strongly urge arriving early for Sarah "Noveller" Lipstate's guitar soundscapes, followed by Gary War's undersea garage-rock. w/ Amen Dunes
* "Zombie" (dir. Lucio Fulci, 1979) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 7p. Straight outta Fantastic Fest 2011 is this revival screening of a flesh-eating Fulci classic, a gorgeous print that brings that eyeball splintering scene to even vivider life. What better way to begin your Halloween, Austin?
* "Monster Dog" (dir. Claudio Fragasso, 1984) @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:45p. This is my SECOND favorite Alice Cooper-starred horror film — a distant 2nd to John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness" (ever seen somebody murder somebody with a broken bicycle?), but "Monster Dog" earns its stripes for its director (Claudio Fragasso, in his directorial debut, before the infamous "Troll 2") AND b/c Cooper sings in the film. Think "The Hound of the Baskervilles", with Alice Cooper….kinda.
* Battles + Nisennenmondai (Tokyo) @ Webster Hall / 125 E 11th St (NRW/L/456 to Union Square), 8p/$25. Lemme tell you how hard this is going to rock, since I just saw 'em both in Austin. Battles as a trio have honed that multi-dimensional math-rock to expert (yet playful) precision. Stanier rocks hard as ever, and the lads threaded in a CHILDREN'S CHOIR in place of Tyondai's singsong on "Atlas". Major. Nisennenmondai hit you like a kraut-rock freight train, from Sayaka Himeno's piston drumming to the girls' guitar noise and funky bass throbs.
* SBTRKT @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/SOLD OUT. Here's a post-Halloween bash for you: Providence-area DJ/producer araabMUZIK (whose debut studio LP "Electronic Dream" instills faith in original American-produced legit dance jams), followed by masked Brit wunderkind SBTRKT, maestro of dirty-ass minimalist basslines. And dammit if you had tix to this AND the Bowery show last night.
* Nite Jewel (LA) @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave), 9:30p/$12. "Am I Real?" the simultaneously lullingly downtempo and liltingly sweet track (and 2010 EP title) by LA's Ramona Gonzalez, aka Nite Jewel, holds a special place in my heart. Quaff in her lo-fi disco and be charmed. Local duo Acrylics are a dreamy good opener.
* "10 to Midnight" (dir. J. lee Thompson, 1983) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:45p. Main thing you need to know here: the good guy, the unstoppable, moustachioed force against a raving, nude maniac is Charles "No, you won't!" Bronson.
* SHE TALKS SILENCE + DJ Twee Grrrls Club @ Club Quattro / 5F 32-13 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 5:30p/2000 yen. Indie stalwart and singer-songwriter Minami Yamaguchi totally won me over as the dreamy outfit SHE TALKS SILENCe. Now a duo (w/ drummer Ami Kawai) w/ a fantastic, dense new EP "Some Small Gifts", they're better than ever. They play live tonight and contribute a DJ set alongside powerhouse riot-grrrl contingent Twee Grrrls Club.
* kiiiiiii + ザリガニ$ @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 6p/2800 yen. Eri & Mizuki form chirpy bass-drum combo ザリガニ$ (uh…"crayfish dollar"?), and their new mini-album is called "AVOCADO". OK so we're definitely in Japan. They're joined by completely bonkers noisy art-rock duo kiiiiiii (UT the noisemaker and vocalist, Lakin the drummer and songwriter), and after a hiatus that began in late 2008 these girls are TOTALLY BACK. Plus thrashy dude duo 385 ("Sanhachigo")
* 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.
* "Something Happened Here", curated by Jennie Lamensdorf @ Champion / 800 Brazos St. An inspired dialogue b/w two NY-based artists, Yadir Quintana and Matthew Schenning, who simultaneously make their Texas debuts in this exhibition. And if you've not seen 'em before, this is an incredible opportunity, and an expert pairing by Lamensdorf (Arthouse's Curatorial Assistant and Exhibitions Coordinator). Mark-making and durational qualities are in effect here, most immediately in Quintana's multipanel silver leaf "Portraits"(channelling Rudolf Stingel's studio floor works, yet Quintana's come off far more personal in their clever remnants of the "sitter"), which are left unsealed so the metal gets all wacky and patina'ed over the months and years. Though a closer look at Schenning's series "Some Things Will Fade" — painted walls either added to or manipulated on small-scale photographs of Porto, Portugal residences — finds an intriguing instance of aging in effect: the C-prints will degrade very differently from the layered acrylic paint, perhaps making what's real and what's Schenning's touch more apparent. For now, though, the tromp l'oeil on some of these is quite pronounced. Switching scales and disciplines, Quintana's much smaller "Yadir" set echo other works (quite a bit of his work comes from sculpture) in their surface residues, while Schenning's blow-ups of wheel-streaked walls under the Brooklyn Bridge remind of his background as a skateboarder. Verdict: must-see.
* Margaret Meehan "Hystrionics and The Forgotten Arm" @ Women & Their Work / 1710 Lavaca St. The Austin-based artist moves deftly between photography, sculpture, mixed-media drawing and installation (hell, even SOUND installation) — much like a boxer in the ring, which is just one of the themes of her stunning solo exhibition at the gallery. Another is the "other", blending the Circassian lass with the albino oddity and the hypertrichotic, bloodied and bruised in her whiter-than-white apparel as she feints, dodges and connects with the viewer. Some of this reminded me (on surface level) w/ Ellen Gallagher's maskings and media treatments of women, but the crushed glass glitter (from small-scale prints like "The Haymaker (Glitter)" to the five-row vintage cabinet cards of "The Barnburners"), at times like Glenn Ligon's use of coal-dust, feels very much Meehan's own. That aforementioned sound installation is "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone)", a dreamy collab w/ Austin black metal duo Odessa (aka Mark Garcia and Landon O'Brien) that sneaks up on you as it cycles like every 10 minutes, filling the gallery with walls of guitars and a shouting voice (Meehan's?). It pairs well w/ the installation across from the speakers, "Glass Jaw", a punching bag enclosed within shimmering black glitter.
* "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. (ENDS FRI)
* Pieter Hugo "Permanent Error" @ Yossi Milo Gallery / 525 W 25th St. BIG Hugo fan here. If you've caught his previous photo exhibitions at the gallery (the acclaimed 2007 series "The Hyena & Other Men" and 2009's "Nollywood"), you know his moody, cinematic African settings grip you in. His latest focuses on a massive technological west dump on the outskirts of Ghana's capital, playing on the sad contrast that, rather than bridging the digital divide, this dystopian array of discarded electronics is actually physically harming the nearby residents.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Susan Rothenberg @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. Interesting point: Rothenberg's first solo exhibition was at the iconic 112 Greene St co-op back in 1975, and her large-scale, minimalist renderings of horses already assured her as a powerful artist of her generation. Now nearly 40 years have past, and she's still in top form, presenting 13 new paintings in this exhibition, revealing ravens, doves and ghostly heads.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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!
* 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. (ENDS SAT)
* 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?).
* "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. (ENDS SUN)
* 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. (ENDS TUES)