* Suzanne McClelland "left" @ Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St. While "gestural" is one way to describe McClelland's abstract paintings, the adverb is even clearer in this exhibition of new works, feat. a site-specific installation, paintings and video that explore classic call-and-response methodology, as she revisits Dara Birnbaum's salient '79 video "Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman".
* Rashaad Newsome "Tournament" performance @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St, 6p/FREE. In conjunction w/ Performa 11 (and simultaneous w/ Newsome's debut "Herald" at the gallery), Newsome hosts a medieval-style freestyle rap "joust" between 10 emerging NY-based lyricists, judged by five cultural impresarios.
* "In the Realm of the Senses" (dir. Nagisa Oshima, 1976) screening @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 7p. Perhaps the most (in)famous film by the pivotal Japanese director is this brutal drama, the entanglement and escalating love affair between a former prostitute and a suave nobleman w/ some basis in a real-life incident in 1930s Japan.
* Nisennenmondai (Tokyo) @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$8. Japanese "kraut-funk" trio Nisennenmondai aim to blow the doors off this tiny venue, what w/ Sayaka Himeno's ferocious drumming forming the core around which Masako Takada's guitar squalls and Yuri Zaikawa's pummelling basslines. w/ Little Women + Pet Bottle Ningen (Tzadik)
* Nite Jewel @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$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. w/ local dreamers Caged Animals
* Talking Art w/ Carlos Rosales-Silva @ Arthouse / 700 Congress Ave, 6p. The local cross-media artist, whose vivid, mixtape-imbued installation "National Register" currently occupies the gallery's lobby, talks about his methodology and practices.
* "Abar: The First Black Superman" (dir. Frank Packard, 1977) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 10p. This under-appreciated blaxploitation film bears the distinction of being possibly the first Black sci-fi film. Consider this: successful Dr. Kinkaide & family are shunned, persecuted and finally physically threatened by their suburban white neighbors. So Kinkaide whips up an elixir, turning his idealistic young body guard into an invincible bald superman to take on those vicious whiteys. Now you have to see it.
* Diego Singh "Table for One" @ Tomio Koyama Gallery / 7F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station). The Argentinian artist lays on the abstraction, muting his palette in moody blues and grays, a departure from the neon shards in "The Indirect Man", his prior solo exhibition here.
* Yoko Kikukawa @ Art Lab Fukagawa Ippuku / 1F 3-2-15 Shirakawa, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station). And while you're out in Kiyosumi, checking out Diego Singh at Tomio Koyama (highly recommended), haul out east and take a break at Yoko Kikukawa's week-long installation of dreamy, figurative prints, in this very unique gallery-cafe collaborative space.
* Yoko Asakai "Northerly Wind" @ NADiff a/p/a/r/t / 1F 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line/Hibiya Line to Ebisu Station). A series of Asakai's new landscape photographs, who explored Aomori Prefecture on foot and by car this summer during her artist residency there. This is a departure from her usual portraiture. Also: this is an INCREDIBLY DOPE art bookstore.
* Joan Mitchell "The Last Paintings" @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. Much as the phenomenal, exhaustively comprehensive De Kooning retrospective at the MoMA is rightfully a must-see (doubly so considering the dearth of De Koonings at the MoMA's prior "Abstract Expressionist New York" exhibition), there's another crucial, much smaller exhibition by a member of the AbEx movement that deserves attention. In fact, Mitchell's initial entry into the older male-dominated movement came in '52, via inspiration and introduction to De Kooning. The gallery gathers 13 of Mitchell's late-work paintings (from 1985-92), some of the most attuned to atmosphere, light and her relationship to the environment.
* Howard Hodgkin @ Gagosian Gallery / 980 Madison Ave. Brushy, gestural oils, both large-scale and tiny, that navigate representation and abstraction "just so". Plus Hodgkin fills and covers the wood frame and supports w/ his maximalist, saturated-color brushstrokes.
* Walton Ford "I Don't Like to Look at Him, Jack. It Makes Me Think of That Awful Day on the Island @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. When I think of Ford, I think of monumental, realist watercolors of animals in almost medieval situations. They're so beautiful, so damn BIG…how can he, like, take it even further? I'm interested to see that, in this exhibition of new works, which features more absolutely enormous watercolors (even a record for Ford, like 9x12 FEET per paper) tracing King Kong's heartbreak (the show's titular quote stems from Fay Wray, of the Depression-era "Kong" film) and a simian-themed series focused on an unsettling passage from Audubon's memoirs.
* Mai-Thu Perret w/ Laurence Yadi "Love Letters In Ancient Brick" @ Joyce SoHo / 155 Mercer St (BDFM to Broadway/Lafayette), 8p/$15. Perret is way underappreciated stateside, IMO, so her Performa 11 collaboration is a particular must-see. She created a dance adaptation of George Herriman's classic Krazy Kat comic and its signature bizarro love triangle, w/ help from choreographer Yadi, singer-narrator Tamar Barnett-Herrin, musician Vincent de Rouuin and costumer Ligia Dias. ALSO FRI-SAT, 8p
* Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kesslar "Seven" @ Nicole Klagsbrun PROJECT / 534 W 24th St, 6p/FREE. A chakra sauna channeling chromatic body fluids from NY to Cradle of Humankind in the African savannah, mixed w/ Rottenberg's videos and Kessler's kinetic sculpture.
* Lili Reynaud-Dewar "Interpretation" @ Calder Foundation / 207 W 25th St, 12th Fl (1/NR/FM to 23rd St), 9p/FREE w/ RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org. The artist weaves Afro-futurist Sun Ra's philosophical texts, free jazz and the Civil Rights movement w/ her own personal story in this Performa 11 feature. She's joined by electroacoustic composer Sabisha Friedberg and Parisian experimental musician Hendrik Hegray. ALSO SAT 9-10p
* Claire Fontaine "Working Together" @ Metro Pictures / 519 W 24th St. Get it? The Parisian collective-as-readymade-artist display two new video works, "Situations" and "The Assistants", plus "her" signature sharp take on art and fashion's couplings, like "Joke Paintings (Richard and Marc)", excerpting conversation b/w Marc Jacobs and Richard Prince and silkscreening it on painted surfaces.
* Jim Lambie @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. Lambie, who inaugurated MoMA's new building (and even some moneyed homes) w/ his site-specific multicolored vinyl tape ZOBOP, cuts into gallery walls w/ "Vortex"es and layers crushed sheets of colorful metal (like very stiff craft paper) elsewhere. His continued usage of nontraditional and industrial media should prove a riot to our senses.
* Simen Johan @ Yossi Milo Gallery / 525 W 25th St. The photographer and sculptor excerpts from his ongoing project "Until the Kingdom Comes", photographing animals in natural preserves, zoos and farms before digitally resituating them in new, oftentimes unnerving if believable environments. Of note: the gallery is moving elsewhere in W. Chelsea in Jan 2012, so Johan culminates with a final exhibition in its 525 space.
* "An Evening with Daido Moriyama" @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to 53rd/Lexington, 6 to 51st St), 6:30p/$14. On the eve of his Performa 11-related exhibition/performance "PRINTING SHOW-TKY" at Aperture Gallery (see FRI), the quintessential Japanese realist photographer discusses his oeuvre, past inspirations and current projects w/ Christopher Phillips (Curator, International Center of Photography).
* "Cold Fish" (dir. Sion Sono, 2010) screening @ Museum of Arts & Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/BD to 59th St/Columbus Circle), 7p. You are DEFINITELY not ready for this. No director around conveys contemporary domestic drama like Sono-san, and while blackmail and murder — lots and lots of murder, dismemberment, tripping over gore in the bathroom etc — figures heavily w/in this adapted-from-reality thriller, as the pace speeds up to a fevered pitch, he remains true to his roots and keeps teasing out the dysfunctional family. All in all, breathless and brilliant.
* Zambri + BRAHMS @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$10. Apocalyptic pop?? So say the blogs to NYC duo Jessica and Cristi Jo's clanging, rhythmic tribal electronic jams. Check "On Call", then cheer for their EP release party tonight. Kindred Autre ne Veut DJs whilst Brooklyn trio BRAHMS add burbling electro-pop jams w/ Martin Gore-emoting lyricism. w/ Beige
* Conversation: "Writing Histories of Art" @ Blanton Museum of Art / UT Austin campus, MLK at Congress, 6p. Art historians and writers Alexander Nemerov (Yale, author of "Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War") and Roberto Tejada (SMU, co-editor of "Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas") discuss the aesthetics of writing on art.
* Ryan Gander "Icarus Falling - An exhibition lost" @ Maison Hermes 8F Le Forum / 5-4-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku (Ginza Line to Ginza Station). The London-based Conceptualist celebrates Le Forum's 10th anniversary as an exhibition space by reflecting on the history of art exhibitions themselves, incl. the 10 years of them in this space. He's also showing at the 2011 Yokohama Triennale.
* Motohiro Tomii + Gen Umezu "Experiential Art and the Potential of Books" @ NADiff a/p/a/r/t / 1F 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line/Hibiya Line to Ebisu Station), 5:30p. Niigata-born artist Motohiro Tomii's bracing, colorful stacks (which I happily caught at this year's MOT Annual "Nearest Faraway") are a bit like Patrick Johnson's tchotchke layerings combined w/ Christopher Wilmarth's signature cut-glass translucence (maybe with a bit of bonkers Keith Tyson thrown in). As the artist celebrates his new monograph, collecting four years of his oeuvre, he discusses the physicality of the book and its relation to experiencing art w/ Gen Umezu, the Chief Curator at Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, and essayist in Tomii's catalogue.
* "Laforet Sound Museum" @ Laforet Harajuku / 6F 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Station), 4/7p, 6000 yen. Only ballers need apply at this live concert in Harajuku's iconic, ever-changing dept store. Those who do are rewarded by something special: a duo with avant-garde jazz saxophonist Naruyoshi Kikuchi and pianist Hiroshi Minami, w/ art direction by flower artist Makoto Azuma.
* SPEED @ Shibuya Ax / 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku (JR line etc to Shibuya Station), 1/5:30p/5250 yen. Oh shit. The final leg of the penultimate Avex J-Pop dance quartet's "FanMeeting" mini-tour, which began in Nagoya last month. Some background: these Okinawan girls were already disbanding just as I began my first Japanese language courses, learning the lyrics to "White Love" (ahem) and "Long Way Home" (and that was circa '99 LP "Carry On My Way"). After a bunch of solo offerings (big reveal: I was never into 'leader' Hiroko Shimabukuro, but favored cutie Takako Uehara WAY more), they regrouped in 2008, but haven't created a proper LP (besides stuff like "Speedland: The Premium Best Re Tracks") in years. Still…talk about 'samishii!'. If I were in town, I'd totally try to go to this.
* Maurizio Cattelan "All" @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). MAYJAH. The Italian provocateur has been pushing buttons since even before he suspended a taxidermy'd horse head-first from high up a gallery wall ("Untitled") and modeled Pope John Paul II felled by a meteorite ("La Nona Ora") — or his infamous uses of a stand-in (replete w/ stock evasive answers and one-liners) for media interviews. So in celebrating his retrospective (over two decades' of his iconic career), Cattelan had to be "Cattelan", no? Hence why some 130 works from all over the world hang suspended in midair over the Gugg's rotunda. So sayeth the NYTimes profile: "The flying Hitler and pope and 35th President of the United States will be joined in the air by a fake skeleton of a dinosaur-size housecoat and a taxidermied donkey hitched to a cart and a 21-foot-long foosball table and a Carrara marble sculpture of a hand giving a middle-finger salute". I reiterate: MAYJAH.
* Andreas Gursky @ Gagosian Gallery / 522 W 21st St. The Düsseldorf-based epic photographer debuts his "Bangkok" series, focusing his abstracting lens on the Chao Phraya, as much a prescient waterway through the city-center as a notorious dumping ground for manmade detritus. Compound that w/ the devastating monsoon floods affecting the Chao Phraya and the Mekong River basins NOW…and it's much more unsettling. Displaying "Bangkok" against his nuanced 2009-10 series "Oceans" only highlights the benevolence and destructive unpredictability of water.
* Byron Kim @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. Kim's debut at the gallery exemplifies his exercise of the "abstract sublime". Previous exhibitions (the UN meditations at Max Protetch, his famous "Synecdoche" at MoMA) had a soothing planar regularity, like emotive Ellsworth Kelly or even flatter Brice Marden. Kim's new one, inspired by his viewings of the nighttime sky, is even sparser, moodier, almost impenetrable fields of black or midnight blue.
* Tom Sachs "WORK" @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. The NY-based sculptor and painter has been busy! His cobbled oeuvre ceaselessly proves that (from his working "Waffle Bike" to that steel-and-plywood "Apollo LEM" lunar module)…and he focuses his tireless creativity on diverse references in this new show, from James Brown ("the hardest working man in show business") to a laminated resin and plywood "Cinderblock" and a plywood, glass and metal model of the gallery itself.
* Michaël Borremans "The Devil's Dress" @ David Zwirner / 525 W 19th St. "Moody", "creepy", "dramatic" — or better yet, "cinematic" — are apt describers to Borremans' murky, ageless portraits and ambiguously staged scenes. He doesn't make the going any easier for us, in this new series of paintings w/ purposefully subtle/sinister titles and a variant three-part work on paper.
* Neo Rauch "Heilstätten @ David Zwirner / 533 W 19th St. The social realist (and subtly surrealist) unveils new oils (in both large-format and intimate flavors), plus a bronze sculpture "Falknerin", a rare instance for Rauch.
* George Condo "Drawing Paintings" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. If these dozen paintings, covered in drafting swoops, lyrical lines and abstract figuration, are anything like Condo's more abstract large-scale works in his New Museum survey, then consider me totally excited. Not that I don't dig his brutally figurative portraits, but Condo's stylized improvisation is particularly impressive.
* Jonathan Meese "Hot Earl Green Sausage Tea Barbie (First Flush)" @ Bortolami Gallery / 520 W 20th St. Meese inaugurates his new exhibition with a German Kasperletheater-style unscripted performance "War 'Saint Just (First Flash)'" beginning at 6:30p. Total art = total metabolism. So says Meese.
* Daido Moriyama "PRINTING SHOW—TKY" @ Aperture Gallery / 547 W 27th St, 4th Fl, 2-4p, $75 (purchase thru www.aperture.org). Usually I don't include baller events on my LIST, b/c I don't consider myself a baller and nearly everything that goes on this LIST is stuff I'd readily attend (viz. "afford"). But this one deserves special mention. The seminal Japanese realist photographer echoes his titular '74 performance, utilizing a photocopier to duplicate prints made in Tokyo over the last 15 years, then assembling them with YOUR help into silkscreen-covered ad hoc photo-books called "TKY" that you keep afterward. Organized by Ivan Vartanian of Goliga and performed in conjunction w/ Performa 11. ALSO FRI 6-9p, SAT 12-3p & 5-8p.
* "Brain Damage" (dir. Frank Henenlotter, 1988) screening @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 7p. If you're like Brian (not me, but the lead Rick Hearst), who's got a malevolent brain-devouring alien parasite mainlining your brainstem w/ hallucinogens, you'll do whatever it takes to keep that sucker satisfied! Viz. find unsuspecting victims (and their brains) for said parasite! Honestly, this film isn't about me, the naming thing is a major coincidence.
* Aphex All Night Long @ Tandem Bar / 236 Troutman St, Bushwick (L to Jefferson), 10p/FREE. Much as I'd love Richard D. James himself to drop by this bar and play like three hours of whatever the hell he wants, DJs Safety Scissors and Don DeVore (of Ill Fits) crafting their own analogue "bubblebath" of Aphex Twin albums is a close second. I mean, have you ever danced to "Windowlicker", or "Laughable Butane Bob"? It's fun!
* Caged Animals (LP release party) + DIVE @ Shea Stadium / 20 Meadow St, E. Williamsburg (L to Grand), 8p. Brooklyn Caged Animals mix dazzling hypnopop and angular, shattered dissonance to astute perfection. Celebrate their debut LP "Eat Their Own", alongside the psych-haze of DIVE (feat. Beach Fossils' lead guitarist Cole on frontman duties). Essential.
* "Looking for a Fight" @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity. Three studio art undergrads and members of the all-female Deluscious Group, Lucy Parker, Isabella Burden (creatively channels Bruce Nauman in her own specific style) and Layne Bell (organizing "Re:Riot Grrrl"), split this cross-media exhibition highlighting gender discourse and their respective feminine identities in a continually male-prone society.
* "Martha Marcy May Marlene" (dir. Sean Durkin, 2011) @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar. Elizabeth Olsen should win big for her lead, multinamed role in this discomfiting and disorienting psychological thriller. She's Martha, fleeing an abusive cult to rejoin bourgeois elder sister and BF at their moneyed country home. She's also Marcy May, deeply connected to said cult, paranoid, and not exactly warming to a new life among the materialists. Demands repeat viewings — you'll know what I mean.
* "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life" (dir. Joann Sfar, 2011) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. An admirable biopic on the (in)famous and influential French singer-songwriter, w/ an absolutely brilliant cast: Eric Elmosnino in the lead, the lovely Mylene Jampanoï and Laetitia Casta as Bambou and Brigitte (Bardot), respectively (even famed, late director Claude Chabrol as Gainsbourg's producer)…and late model Lucy Gordon as the ineffable Jane Birkin.
* Solid Goldblum: "The Fly" (dir. David Cronenberg, 1986) midnight screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. What did Cronenberg's adaptation of the kooky, same-named '58 film teach us? He's totally the king of body horror (and props to Chris Walas Inc's "Brundlefly" FX). Most importantly: scientists can be sexy! (that's you, Jeff) also 11/5
* Akiko & Masako Takada "Magic Carpet" @ Radium / 2-5-17 Bakurocho, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Bakurocho Station). The Tokyo-based twin sisters reveal embroidered playing cards (like tiny carpets) in their debut solo show at the gallery. The dual meaning of "trump" (lit. "playing card" in Japanese and "winning hand" or "admirable value" in English) is of particular note here.
* Miwa Yanagi "1924 Kaisen" @ Kanagawa Arts Theatre / 281 Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama (Minatomirai Line to Nihon-Odori Station), 7p/3500 yen. The awesome photographic artist (I seriously dug Yanagi's vivid inclusion in "Bye Bye Kitty!!!" at Japan Society in NYC) hearkens back to her early "Elevator Girls" performance works. She moves them back to Japan's Taisho era following the Great Kanto earthquake, crafting an immersive stage performance about Japan's first fringe theatre. ALSO SAT 2/7p
* DODDODO @ Minami-Ikebukuro Music.org / B2 1-20-11 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toyoshima-ku (JR etc to Ikebukuro Station), 7p/2300 yen. Namin Haku, the one-woman "electro-smash" producer and performance-imbued artist leads an evening of creative combinations and fractured grooves. Also feat. steel drummer/vocalist Tonchi w/ Mamasaya Koji (guitarist for FRATEEN)
* Miriam Cahn @ Elizabeth Dee / 545 W 20th St. I love, love, LOVED the Swiss artist's triumphant NY gallery return earlier this year, as she's not exhibited here since '84 (coinciding w/ her representation at that year's Venice Biennale). I thoroughly enjoyed the survey of her raw '80s charcoal works and much-newer mixed-media diptychs, her deft handling of composition and various mediums. So despite the "changes" going down at the gallery (Ryan Trecartin's departure to an as-yet undecided, though rumored, other institution), another survey of three decades' of Cahn painterly practice is a blessing.
* Jim Hodges @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St & 530 W 21st St. I think I might really dig this two-part exhibition, as the press release claims it "a significant departure from the ephemeral quality and intimate scale of Hodges's previous work" — which admittedly I've taken issue to. Though they're still contemplative, like the massive black-mirrored sculpture and a room-filling installation inspired by his recent travels to India.
* Mai-Thu Perret "Artist Class: On Utopia" @ Performa Hub / 233 Mott St (NR to Prince St, 6 to Spring St), 3p/$10. The Geneva-based artist explores topics of Russian Constructivism and Utopia (which, for some of us, IS Utopia), as part of Performa 11. (ALSO: have you seen her performance "Love Letters in Ancient Brick" at the Joyce yet?)
* "Basket Case" (dir. Frank Henenlotter, 1982) screening @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 4:45p. I love this film. Where it lacks budget, it 1000% makes up in over-the-top, obscenely, gloriously gory practical FX. The plot, of greenhorn Duane Bradley arriving in grimy big-city NYC w/ a wicker basket (containing…his monstrous, malformed twin!) and checking into a flophouse before targeting enemies from their pasts is just…cinematic perfection.
* "Basket Case 2" (dir. Frank Henenlotter, 1990) screening @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 7p. OK, how did gangly good-guy Duane and his beastly, basket-bound twin survive part one? I won't give away that film's ending, but suffice to say part two picks up literally minutes later, and while they shack up at a home of kindred "Unique Individuals", soon enough brothers Bradley must face their murderous past.
* Screaming Females + 3jane @ 285 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$12. Like it loud? Check NJ's fiercely indie rockers Screaming Females and the combustible ball of kinetics that is vocalist/guitarist Marissa Paternoster. Special mention to their New Brunswick NJ kindred 3Jane, named after William Gibson-speak and sounding good and sludgy. w/ The Men (the Brooklyn four-dude punk rockers, not JD Samson's MEN)
* "Wapatui" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. Wapatui is "Midwest" for what we UT alum call "trashcan punch" — but what it means in this context (unless there's a bin of it at the opening!) is a communal-created spirit. Hence, the 15 local artists conjuring their own visual Wapatui, feat. K.C. Collins, Pat Snow, Jeffrey Swanson, Emily Galusha and more.
* Ragnar Kjartansson "The Man" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. I caught Kjartansson's mesmeric video installation "The Man" last year at Luhring Augustine in NYC. That the Icelandic artist filmed this meditation on legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins outside Austin TX makes its inclusion at Arthouse that much sweeter.
* Boris @ Red 7 / 611 E 7th St, 9p/Fun Fun Fest wristband required! Well, if you're one of the lucky sumbitches who jumped on FFF before the full lineup even came out, I suggest getting thee to Red 7 quick-style, as Japanese stoner-rockers Boris promise to do no less than blow the roof off this joint. Considering their recent set-lists, by the time they hit speed-metal wailer "8" (like song #2), you'll be bowing down in decibel-shredding reverence. w/ Russian Circles and more heaviness.
* "Kaiji 2" (dir. Toya Sato, 2011) road-show. Did you see "Kaiji", the wildly popular live-action adaptation of Nobuyuki Fukumoto's gambling manga "Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji" (lit. "Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji")? You know…w/ dreamboat Tatsuya Fujiwara in the lead, navigating gangsters and loan shark Endo (Yuki Amami of "The Magic Hour") to clear his debt aboard a gambling ship? How Dostoevskian! In the sequel, enter other dreamboat Yusuke Iseya, a casino manager controlling the monster pachinko machine "Numa" that is obviously Kaiji's next target. Try to control yourselves, girls (and boys).
* "Sleeping Beauty" (dir. Julia Leigh, 2011) @ Cinemart Shinjuku / 3-13-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit). Incredible… Tokyo gets this film like a full month before it's proper stateside screen-run (though a few weeks after a one-shot debut). The Australian novelist's erotic debut feature reflects the titular fairytale in name only (though admittedly I'm more familiar w/ the Disney adaptation than the original Brothers Grimm…which could be totally sinister). In Leigh's, Emily Browning is a uni student who performs the role of "sleeping beauty" to old suitors.
* Okazaki, Onishi, Object (2) @ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). An intriguing collaboration between two incredibly detail-focused trompe-l'oeil sculptors, Kazuo Okazaki and Nobuaki Onishi (some 40 years Okazaki's junior). I am familiar w/ Onishi after he represented the gallery w/ his intricate, resin-based sculptures at VOLTA NY 2010, and look forward to where these two take their mutual figuration.
* moools + Limited Express (has gone?) @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 3:30p/3500 yen. The 30th "moools matsuri" is an all-afternoon and -evening blowout, befitting a longstanding Japanese indie-rock trio who sound kinda like a heavier Modest Mouse (due to, or despite the fact, that they've been associated w/ Washington's K Records scene for years). I'm particularly taken by Kansai's Tzadik-friendly rockers Limited Express (has gone?), plus there's Shiraoka, nhhmbase, YOMOYA…and food! The "moools-yaki".
* "Brain Damage" + "Basket Case" pt 1-2 screenings (all dir. Frank Henelotter, 1988, 1982, 1990) @ Anthology Film Archives / 32 2nd Ave (F to 2nd Ave), 4:30p-onward. See my reviews on FRI/SAT for these classic, gory horror-comedies. Funny thing is, the ending of "Brain Damage" contains a vague cameo by Kevin Van Hentenryck (as "Duane Bradley"), clutching a wicker basket that obviously echoes his role in "Basket Case".
* Matta: A Centennial Celebration @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. It's grand exhibitions such as this (and Romare Bearden's cross-institution survey, happening now!) that elucidate the very memorable, very great and old artists we've enjoyed and lost — and brings my attention to the superlative Louise Bourgeois (also born in 1911, on Dec 25) and what should come for her. But of that later. This exhibition focuses on the famed Chilean artist's later oeuvre, some 14 massive canvases following his powerful adaptation of biomorphic surrealism and abstraction. Now if only the complete "Matta 1911-2011" museum retrospective would travel from Santiago to the states...
* Paul McCarthy "The Dwarves and The Forests" @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. The modern iconoclast McCarthy has a LOT of source material to remark upon and maim w/in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". His 2009 H&W exhibition "WHITE SNOW" filled the gallery w/ huge gestural works on paper executive in performative practices. But McCarthy's just as well known in the past several decades for his nightmarish, warped figurative sculptures, thus this new grouping of grotesque and somewhat mournful bronzes, coated in a coal-like finish, plus McCarthy's first-ever large-scale wooden sculpture, carved from walnut. Of note, too, is H&W's London gallery is concurrently showing a survey of McCarthy's recent sculptural installation, the ambitious, motley work-bench "Pig Island".
* Robert Graham "Early Work 1963-1973" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 519 W 19th St. A decade of the of the Los Angeles artist's early dialogue w/ Minimalism and figurative sculpture in wax, plus his acute awareness of space, light and form.
* Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kessler artist talk @ Performa Hub / 233 Mott St (NR to Prince St, 6 to Spring St), 6:30p/FREE w/ RSVP: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2351074126. The artists discuss their collaborative project SEVEN, on view at Nicole Klagsbrun PROJECT and created in conjunction w/ Performa 11. This talk is co-presented w/ Columbia University School of the Arts.
* Mai Yamashita & Naota Kobayashi "Infinity" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. The Chiba-born, Berlin-based duo inscribe their own straightforward, ingenious take on endurance and Land art: jogging an infinity mark pattern in a field of grass. It's ritualistic, natural and — as the flattened grass grows in again — fleeting and temporary.
* Art in Practice: Andy Coolquitt @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 6:30p. I really dig Coolquitt's creative, witty assemblages and their meta-messages…plus I had no idea the mostly NY-based artist was born in Texas. Coolquitt discusses his oeuvre and leads a Q&A this evening.
* "Inni" (Sigur Rós live, dir. Vincent Morisset, 2008) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 7p. Coinciding w/ release of Sigur Rós' same-name LP is this enchanting live documentary, capturing the dreamy Icelandic post-rockers' performances at London's Alexandra Palace in 2008.
* "Fix: The Ministry Movie" (dir. Doug Freel, 2001) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 9:15p. Granted, there is much more to Chicago industrial band Ministry than my all-time favorite release "Twelve Inch Singles (1981-1984)" and lead track "(Everyday Is) Halloween"… (hell, that was almost a decade before they hit the mainstream and way before their 'classic' '96 doom-ish LP "Filth Pig"). This documentary traces their career and frontman Al Jourgenson, plus interviews w/ Trent Reznor, Dead Kennedys, Tool, Skinny Puppy, The Jesus Lizard and more.
* Katsuhisa Toda "Imaginary Books" @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). Acrylic paintings and drawings of Toda's telltale books, now rendered unleashing their innate dreamworld powers.
* Nisennenmondai @ O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 7p/4500 yen. Upon completing their U.S. tour w/ NY math-rock kings Battles, Tokyo's finest and fiercest "kraut-funk" trio Nisennenmondai return home, clobbering eardrums and coaxing out grooves in prime form.
* "Shock Waves" (dir. Ken Wiederhorn, 1977) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:45p. What's worse — or at least more abhorrent, more reprehensible — than zombies? A: water-breathing albino Nazi zombies! It's the Third Reich's secret weapon, The Death Corps, rising off the coast of Florida to wreak havoc. Gross.
* "Caravaggio" (dir. Derek Jarman, 1986) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 7:30p. Austin Film Society co-presents this fantastic faux biopic from the experimental and ever-controversial late British filmmaker. Though I'm blessedly versed in Jarman's short films, I am particularly enthused by his fluidic and narrative-ambiguous take on the homoerotic Baroque master Caravaggio, a film that also starred a young Tilda Swinton in her first role.
* Bradney Evans "Still" @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. I sense that LA-based artist Bradney Evans is an alchemist with paper, viz. earlier work "Phoenix" as the titular mythological bird folded origami-style from magician's paper (i.e. quick-burning, no ash). He pulls a hat-trick in his debut in the gallery's Project Room, in a suite of three works on paper that ostensibly "look" like torn packing paper (that fibrous brown workhorse) with bits of light emanating from behind them, viz. "Constellation", "Eclipse" and personal favorite "Sunset". Thing is, they're each stunning, meticulous trompe-l'oeil renderings in acrylic, each "tear" and "crinkle" the result of some laborious brushwork. Same deal w/ the "light". The effect is like a combo between Tauba Auerbach's beguiling "rippled" Op-art paintings and Robert Gober's lovingly articulated household recreations, perhaps slanting even closer to Gober's style. Evans instills an intensity to these three works, as if the light were really pushing through the "torn paper", as the paper tenuously attempts to hold the illumination back. Displayed with these is an earlier single-channel video "Exposure", spotlit owls, with a sound element, disjointed page-turnings and an occasional sub-bassline that sounds like it's coming from another room.
+ Colby Bird "Dust Breeds Contempt". Bird's exhibition, his first solo at the gallery, has definitely become "funkier" since the opening in September. Stuff that I witnessed then, incl the look of certain sculptures, have indeed added the titular, intentional dust. 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). 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, anticipated on the work's variously flat and angled surfaces as the exhibition continues through this month. Explicit instructions for the staff to not Swiffer that dust away. It's like Walter de Maria's "Trilogies" exhibition that 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 becomes pretty gnarly looking w/ dust bunnies on its display table and grime on the print's glass.
* "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.
* "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.
* Nicola Tyson @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 535 + 537 W 22nd St. Tyson fills the larger 537 space with her large-scale, shockingly colorful figurative paintings, while, in a new twist to her oeuvre, including smaller sculptures in the adjacent 535 gallery, working with fast-dry modeling compound to achieve a similar "sketched" effect as her 2D works.
* "Queer State(s)" @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity. 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.
* 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.
* Yoshiaki Machino @ Span Art Gallery / 2-2-18 1F Ginza, Chuo-ku. (Yurakucho Line to Ginza-Itchome Station). "La Perle", almost sexless lithe figures amid Italian Renaissance-style opulent backdrops, which feature subtle traditional Japanese imagery.
* "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.
* "gesture, form, technique" @ Taro Nasu Gallery / 1-2-11 Higashi-kanda, Chiyoda-ku (Sobu Line to Bakurocho Station). A group show on formalists (or iconoclasts, if you will) on the show's three-prong subject, feat. On Kawara, Robert Ryman, Daniel Buren, Joseph Grigley, Ryan Gander, Jean Prouve, Charlotte Perriand, Georges Jouve and Serge Mouille. (ENDS SAT)
* Sarah Buckius "trapped inside pixels" @ Arthouse / 700 Congress. In her debut Texas installation, the Ann Arbor-based video/performance artist presents her 2008 looping digital animation "trapped inside pixels", where she executes synchronous maneuvers w/in a field of ice cube-shaped "pixels". Part of the venue's SCREEN Projects series (so you can watch Buckius fluttering about from the street).
* 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). (ENDS SUN)