* Liliana Porter @ Hosfelt Gallery / 531 W 36th St. The ever-beguiling Porter is a kitsch alchemist (coining that phrase now!), drawing us into frightening events and peculiar situations w/ a strong dose of dark humor. Viz. a "calamitous" installation, a dozen photographic works, and one huge-ass painting. I, for one, am stoked.
* Mika Rottenberg & Jon Kesslar "Seven" @ Nicole Klagsbrun PROJECT / 534 W 24th St, 2-8p/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. Through SAT (same time)
* Noveller @ Union Hall / 702 Union St, Park Slope (D/NR to Union St), 8p/$8. Sarah Lipstate covers our entire emotional spectrum in her scintillating, ferocious and hypnotically sweet guitar soundscapes as Noveller. Pairs well w/ Her Vanished Grace's dream-pop. w/ Field Mouse
* Quilt (LP release party) + DIVE @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$10. It's like Boston trio Quilt had '69's Woodstock mainlined into their veins, as their psych-folk refrains (the campfire vibe of "Cowboys in the Void", the sway of "Penobska Oakwalk") come so naturally. They match well w/ my new favorite local indie rockers DIVE (fronted by Zachary Cole Smith of Beach Fossils). w/ Total Slacker and Royal Baths
* "The Anxiety of Photography" talk w/ Jennie Lamensdorf @ Arthouse / 700 Congress Ave, 6p. Lamensdorf, Curatorial Assistant at the gallery (who also curated the kickass dual exhibition "Something Happened Here" w/ NYC artists Matthew Schenning and Yadir Quintana at Champion, closing this SAT), leads a discussion of 'The Anxiety of Photography'.
* Centerpiece Theater: "!Women Art Revolution" (dir. Lynn Hershman Leeson) screening @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 7p. Hershman Leeson debuted four decades of her interviews w/ pivotal women creatives — from Laurie Anderson, Judy Chicago and Yoko Ono to Miranda July, Cindy Sherman and Carrie Brownstein — as a potent documentary on the feminist art movement at the MoMA last year. It was a much-needed (and belated) entry into MoMA's progressive future, particularly when the film begins w/ the Guerilla Girls vs a totally male-dominated museum. In conjunction w/ the VAC's exhibit "Looking for a Fight", we get another look at Hershman Leeson's crucial dispatch.
* Phantogram (NY) @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 7:30p/SOLD OUT. Yes! Those glossy upstate NY electro dreamers Phantogram put on a helluva show, mixing lush soundscapes and vocals with rockin' and raucous rhythms. I'm still hurting over missing Fun Fun Fest, but Phantogram should balm it nicely. You lucky peeps with tix, find me up front.
* Wild Child @ Antone's / 213 W 5th St, 8p/$7. Austin's natty indie-folk outfit Wild Child just released their debut LP "Pillow Talk", and a celebration is in order! Get on down here, "y'all". w/ Bobby Jealousy
* "The Bearden Project" @ Studio Museum in Harlem / 144 W 125th St (23 to 125th St). To celebrate the centennial celebration of legendary, NY-proud African-American artist Romare Bearden and his mighty, groundbreaking collage-based oeuvre, the Studio Museum asked 100 artists to make art "inspired, influenced or informed by" Bearden's "life, work and legacy". Works will be added and the exhibition rearranged in the coming months, encouraging repeat visits.
* Sherrie Levine "MAYHEM" @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 77th St). Through her intriguing (and sometimes quite subtle) methods of re-contextualization, Levine has made us look differently, more closely, at even the most immediately familiar works of art. She developed this project to reconfigure earlier works against new ones in different combinations, from photographic "memoirs" to bronzes and cast-glass sculpture, to both highlight their decades of interconnectivity and have us looking again.
* John Powers "Star Wars and the Rhetoric of Power" @ Performa Hub / 233 Mott St (NR to Prince St, 6 to Spring St), 3p/$10. Powers, the Brooklyn artist behind "Star Wars Modern", presents George Lucas' iconic '77 film as an artifact of post-Vietnam, post-Watergate, Cold War America, as much as America rebelled against Modernist urban development and minimalist art.
* Maria Petschnig "See-Saw, Seen-Saw" @ Austrian Cultural Form / 11 E 52nd St (E/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p/FREE. Andreas Stadler curated this Performa 11-related installation, in which Petschnig perfects her disquieting oeuvre of juxtaposing live-action suggestive performances with video clips, which tend to put our own reactions in sharp relief.
* "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" (dir. Wei Te-sheng, 2011) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 7p. A sneak preview of Wei's historical epic, which just premiered at the Venice Film Festival. He focuses on the early 20th century, when Taiwan was colonized by both Japanese, Han Chinese, and remnants of aboriginal tribes who eventually rallied against the Rising Sun. Wei intros this special screening.
* Wooden Shjips (San Fran) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$15. Classic West Coast space-rock, fueled by hypnotic kraut rhythms (and some heavy-ass bass!) and accented by Moog-y keys and scorching guitar: that's Wooden Shjips. First time I saw these guys was a Halloween party, to give you an idea. They're INTENSE! w/ Birds of Avalon
* Perspectives: El Anatsui @ Blanton Museum of Art / UT Austin campus, MLK at Congress, 12:30p. Annette Carlozzi, the Blanton's Deputy Director for Art and Programs, discusses works in the phenomenal El Anatsui retrospective "When I Last Wrote to You about Africa".
* Art Night Austin: EAST @ Domy Books / 913 E Cesar Chavez, 7-10p/$65 (get 'em here). The official preview party for E.A.S.T. (the annual East Austin Studio Tour, which runs for two weekends beginning NOV 12) is stacked w/ local grub, booze, flash and art. Because art's the whole reason, no? Shuttle buses link venues, incl. Domy Books (where I suggest beginning, if you're the linear type, plus it's the event HQ and spot for will-call tix), Fisterra Studio (1200 E 2nd St), Denise Prince's studio (1404 Willow St), Peacock Salon (1519 E Cesar Chavez), Okay Mountain (1619 E Cesar Chavez), Delta Mills (4701 E 5th St) and Splinter Group (4709 E 5th St). The bash concludes w/ an afterparty at 916 Springdale, feat. DJ Lil LoLo the Don of Time (aka Carlos Rosales-Silva, whose installation currently graces Arthouse's lobby).
* Kingdom of Suicide Lovers @ Beerland / 711 Red River St, 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. w/ A Tiger Named Lovesick
* Terry Richardson "Mom Dad" @ Half Gallery / 208 Forsyth. The iconic (and iconoclastic!) downtown lensman celebrates the release of his titular two-volume monograph (launched at Paris' Colette in late Sept) w/ an intimate selection of portraits of his mother Annie and late father, fashion photographer Bob Richardson.
* Ragnar Kjartansson and Davíd Fiór Jónsson "Artist Class: On Music and Forgiveness" @ Performa Hub / 233 Mott St (NR to Prince St, 6 to Spring St), 3p/$10. Performa 11 Commission artist Kjartansson (whose sublime video installation "The Man" is currently on at Arthouse in Austin TX) and pianist-composer Jónsson conduct a class on Mozart, music and forgiveness.
* Bibbe Hansen "On Al Hansen" @ Golden Gallery Inc / 120 Elizabeth St (BD to Grand St, J to Bowery, 6 to Spring St), 8p/FREE. Hansen talks of "growing up Fluxus" and of her father, Fluxus and Happenings artist Al Hansen, the evolution of his art pedagogy and the establishment of his Ultimate Academy in Cologne, Germany.
* "Melancholia" (dir. Lars Von Trier, 2011) @ Angelika NY / 18 W Houston St (BDFM to Broadway-Lafayette). The denouement of "Melancholia", which rightfully earned a best actress award at Cannes for Kirsten Dunst's role, had me contacting friends in NYC and Tokyo with promises of visiting them as soon as possible. It's the end of the world, beginning with a wedding reception for Dunst and teasing out her…complicated relationship w/ her sister, played pitch-perfectly by Charlotte Gainsbourg, ending w/ among the most emotionally devastating conclusions in my filmic history. Deserves to be seen on the big screen.
* "Love Exposure" (dir. Sion Sono, 2008) screening @ Museum of Arts & Design / 2 Columbus Circle (AC/BD to 59th St/Columbus Circle), 7p. Sono's magnum opus, filling four hours of vivid cinema w/ family drama, Catholic guilt, upskirt photography and flashy cultism that'll leave you breathless and craving more.
* "Inni" (Sigur Ros live, dir. Vincent Morisset, 2008) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). 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. ALSO SAT
* Plaid @ (le) poisson rouge / 158 Bleecker St (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 7p/$22. Warp Records-led IDM (and actually Nothing Records, too — remember them??) released this pivotal UK duo's classic "Not for Threes" back in '97, a very happy time for glitchy music. I admittedly fell off 'em around 2001 and "Double Figure"…but I never forgot 'em, and I am terribly stoked that they've not only got a new LP out, the sometimes genius "Scintilli", but they're ALSO here, live. w/ Gamelan Dharma Swara
* "The Skin I Live In" (dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 2011) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. Almodóvar's latest nail-biter was the secret screening I missed at this year's Fantastic Fest, and though I knew it'd be premiering in theaters soon, I still counted the days until now. This cyclical narrative of blurred identities and sexual obsession, with Antonio Banderas as a fantastically twisted plastic surgeon and the ever-lovely Elena Anaya as his main "guinea pig".
* Solid Goldblum: "Jurassic Park" (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1993) midnight screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. Oh, Dr. Ian Malcolm, you MADE "Jurassic Park" for me, you the scruffy genius dropping frantic, deadman one-liners like "Must go faster," when chased by a T-Rex, or observations like "It's a, um…It's an impact tremor, that's what it is…I'm fairly alarmed here." Even if you've seen this dated classic a thousand times already, "Jurassic Park" the original is still THE dinosaur film, and it owns the big-screen. also 11/12
* Fungi Girls + Rayon Beach @ Beerland / 711 Red River St, 11p. A strong showcase of local indie-rock talent, feat. those sensitive young men Fungi Girls and the roasty psychedelic Rayon Beach. Plus Voyageurs, The Zoltars and Year of the Bear.
* Extravagasm X @ nd501 / 501 N. I-35, 9p/$25. The 10th and final fantasy ball Extravagasm also marks a celebration of Forbidden Fruit's 30 years of supplying Austinites and visitors in all matters of kink — something I am personally grateful for as a former university student and now recent resident. Feat. a reunion by local premiere burlesque troupe Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, performances by Brass Ovaries (pole-dancing), Sky Candy (aerial silks), and much naughtiness. Costumes and creative dress is encouraged.
* Shiro Matsui "Like when you miss button your shirt" @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo Ward Tokyo (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station). The Kansai-born artist works in vividly colorful silicone rubber, tricking us with his works' sculpted liquidity and mix of flatness and three-dimensionality, whether they intentionally present themselves as "sculpture", "relief" or both.
* TADZIO @ THREE / B1F 5-18-1 Daizawa, Setagaya-ku (Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station), 7p/2000 yen. None fiercer than these Tokyo noise-rock girls TADZIO. You want to rock out? w/ toddle
* Battles @ Shibuya Ax / 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku (JR line etc to Shibuya Station), 7p/5800 yen. Tokyo's consummate hypno-kraut-rockers Nisennenmondai toured the U.S. w/ America's leading math-rockers Battles. So it's only fitting that Battles extend the honor, at least in an undoubtedly bonkers Tokyo concert.
* CHARLTON @ Heaven's Door / 1-33-19 Sangen-jaya, Setagaya-ku (Den-en-toshi Line to Sangen-jaya Station), TKTK. If you told me this coed electro-pop trio CHARLTON hailed from Bushwick, Brooklyn (as opposed to Tokyo), I'd totally believe you. Check that crunchy pulse and barked lyrics powering track "Insider" (off their demo) and see what I mean. w/ I-Na and bluesy space-rockers 日の毬
* "Last Life in the Universe" (dir. Pen-ek Ratanaruang, 2003) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 5p. This surreal crime thriller, half set in neon-drenched Bangkok and half set in the dreamy, dusty beachside, is among my most favorite films, ever. That's a big statement from a cinema buff like me, so take my word. The tentative friendship b/w troubled Japanese businessman Kenji (a superb, understated Tadanobu Asano) who just may be a former Yakuza thug, and trippy, mourning barmaid Noi (Sinitta Boonyasak), communicating in a pastiche of Japanese, Thai and English, is just magical. Highly recommended!
* Dir en Grey @ Irving Plaza / 17 Irving Plaza (NR/L/456 to Union Square), 7p/$29.50. Know what "yaoi" means? Believe it or not, there was I time when I didn't! I came of age in all things J-Rock and -Pop while in university, and "yaoi" happened to dovetail into this. Enter freaky visual-kei Osaka rockers Dir en Grey, whose huge third LP "Kisou" (lit. "demonic burial") could totally still resurrect nightmares. Yeah they're older now, and maybe more hopeful, but with new LP "Dum Spiro Spero" and lengthy track titles echoing Keiji Haino's black-hearted soliloquies, I've no doubt they still rock out HARD. w/ The Birthday Massacre
* The 184.108.40.206's @ Mercury Lounge / 217 E Houston St (F to 2nd Ave), 10:30p/$12. Yes, it's that all-female retro-tinged garage-rock trio from "Kill Bill"! They totally tore it up in Tokyo a few weeks ago (including covering the "Mothra" theme) and they lead an all-Japanese lineup tonight, incl. speed-punks Theee Bat and Brooklyn-based The Back C.C.'s.
* East Austin Studio Tour @ various East Austin venues, 11a-6p/FREE. Some 300 E. Austin artist studios and indie venues open their doors for this 10th anniversary, two-weekend artsy bash. All YOU need to do is show up. This is my first E.A.S.T. since returning to the city, so I have some major planning to do, but check the website for an exhaustively detailed PDF map: http://www.eastaustinstudiotour.com/. Better yet: pick up a free E.A.S.T. catalogue from any Austin public library and tack its massive enclosed map to your wall. Thumb through pages of galleries and artist studios and sort out what you want to see and when. Looks like beautiful weather this weekend. See you there? ALSO SUN.
* Ink Tank "Future: Diorama!" @ Co-Lab / 613 Allen St, 7-11p. Constantly shifting scales and perspectives and an opportunity to engage with them in a space. The evolving artist collective Ink Tank highlights these scenarios within their members' own collaboration and experimentation. (on view throughout E.A.S.T.)
* "Eastside" @ Studio2Gallery / 2832 MLK Blvd #1, 6-8p. Revel in this new artsy alt-venue's location with a group show of 14 contemporary local artists, incl. photographer Tina Weitz and Leon Alesi, Jill Alo, Chalda Maloff, Carol Schiraldi and Oscar Silva. The space will be open throughout E.A.S.T.
* The Cobra Show 2011 party @ Cobra Studios / 902 Gardner Rd, 6-11p. The venue hosts a group show of local E.A.S.T. artists, including Nic Noblique, Steven Noreyko, Andrea Mendoza, Beth Evans-Colonna, Heather Curiel, Jenny Urbanek and Johnny Villarreal, w/ live music by Lost Soul Revue and Channel 13. Plus, the show will be open throughout E.A.S.T.'s two weekends.
* Eleanor Friedberger (NYC) @ Cactus Cafe / UT Austin Student Union, 23rd St at Guadalupe, 8p/$15. Friedberger is more than just one gorgeous enigmatic half of poetic NY rockers The Fiery Furnaces. She is a multi-instrumentalist and badass songwriter with a honeyed voice, and should easily hold her own in this special, intimate performance. Recommended for lovers and lovers of smooth vibes.
* Rasputina (NYC) @ The Parish / 214 E 6th St, 8p/$18. Believe it or not, there was a time when chamber-rock was an oddity best kept to dark cabaret ensembles like Rasputina, the Brooklyn decadents fronted by cellist/vocalist Melora Creager since the early '90s. w/ The Wilderness of Manitoba
* Chika Osaka "It's pure in a good way…" @ Gallery MOMO Ryogoku / 1F 1-7-15 Kamezawa, Sumida-ku (Toei Oedo/JR Sobu Line to Ryogoku Station). Osaka unveils 15 large watercolors, incorporating traditional ukiyo-e techniques, in her debut solo exhibition at the gallery.
* Hisato Sugihara "A Friend of a Friend" @ Waitingroom / 3F 2-8-11 Ebisu-nishi, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). This is the young Nagoya University A&D graduate's debut solo exhibition in Tokyo, featuring her C-prints, mixed media works and video.
* Yukinori Maeda "ECHOES" @ Taka Ishii Gallery / 5F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). In Maeda's second solo exhibition at the gallery, he focuses on light and its wavelengths as shown through sculptural installations. He's also participating in Yokohama Triennale 2011 with the series "The Seven Seasons", based on Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of anthroposophy, the seven processes believed to lead to human evolution.
* Kazuma Koike "Repetitions and variants", 1st half @ Aisho Miura Arts / B1F 2-17-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR lines etc to Shibuya Station). As the title precludes, this is the first half of Koike's new body of work, with this section concentrating on two-dimensional works, vividly executed, textural acrylic paintings on cotton.
* Shiro Matsui + O JUN artists' talk @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo Ward Tokyo (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station), 4:30p/500 yen. Matsui, whose sculpted silicone exhibition "Like when you miss button your shirt" is currently on view at the gallery, and peer O JUN speak of their experiences living in Germany and their collaborative works.
* "Guilty of Romance" (dir. Sion Sono, 2011) @ Theatre Shinjuku / 3-14-20 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit). The third film of Sono's "Hate Saga" (which included the epic "Love Exposure" and gruelingly beautiful "Cold Fish") was also the director's debut at Cannes this year. It's a Kafka-esque intertwined narrative of sex, money and murder, that won the In-Competition award for Best Motion Picture at Sitges. It's gorgeous and tough, which is that complicated duality Sono does so well.
* "Contagion" (dir. Steven Soderberg, 2011) @ Shinjuku Picadilly / 3-15-15 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station). I respected this bloated ensemble film on a deadly mystery pandemic WAY more than I expected, from understated, brave performances by Matt Damon and Kate Winslet to the fact that the "pros" (beginning w/ a rugged Laurence Fishburne) really didn't know what they were up against.
* Libido's 4th Anniversary Party Masquerade Night @ AXALL Roppongi / B1F 7-8-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station), 11p/4000 yen (women 3000 yen). This late-night debauch-fest begins w/ a "Libido Opening Dance", includes a "Pole Attack" (Kaori and Makotomia pole dance) and Tamayo's burlesque performance, plus a "fetish dandy contest" (don't slack, dudes!) at 1a and a "libido playland" throughout. Dude on the flyer looks like a gladiator. Women are decked in either rubber or frills and lace. Get creative here.
* Tokyo Dark Castle @ Marz / B1F 2-45-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), midnight/3500 yen. So let's say you want a late-night party but care to eschew BDS&M for really freaky Japanese-style death-metal…with go-go dancing! Tokyo Dark Castle vs Rituals The Head Shop vol 5 is just the ticket. Feat. bands AUTO-MOD, Gabriels Stiletto (love it), W.A.R.P., Custom Mummy and The くそGIGY (warped takes on The Prodigy), plus a bunch of DJs, the astute visualists kokekakiki (who worked with pole-dance troupe tokyoDOLORES ahead of their Lucca, Italy tour) AND go-go dancers Nasty Cats (aka tokyoDOLORES' Aloe and Nancy Kikurage). Fierce.
* Clifford Owens "Anthology" @ MoMA PS1 / 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City (E/M to Court Sq/23rd St, 7 to 45th Rd/Courthouse Sq). You may have seen Owens enacting his performance scores around PS1 this past summer, as he had studio residence there. The results of those highly choreographed (though at times very improvised) actions, as video, photographs and objects, comprise Owens' debut NY museum exhibition, perhaps the most extensive ever for an African-American performance artist. Along with these static and archival elements, Owens will perform select scores throughout the exhibition's run.
* James Franco and Laurel Nakadate "Three Performances in Search of Tennessee" @ Abrons Art Center / 466 Grand St (F/JMZ to Essex/Delancey), 12p/$30. My Sunday Performa 11-related must-see is this collaboration b/w two very good-looking, very talented artists, Franco and Nakadate. They create a three-part project based on Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie", beginning with a séance, following w/ an audition to play Laura (w/ her lines running along a video projection of Franco's "Gentleman Caller") and finally actors playing Tom, utilizing the same monologue.
* Jack Smith Program 1: "Respectable Creatures" (1950-66), "Scotch Tape" (1959-62), "Overstimulated" (1959-63), "Flaming Creatures" (1962-3) @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 3p. MoMA is conducting a fantastic mini-retrospective on the avant-cinematic and downtown treasure Jack Smith, highlighting their 11 acquisitions of newly restored 16mm prints from his oeuvre. This kickoff screening is the must-see, as frequent collaborator Mario Montez leads the introduction.
* Jack Smith Program 2: "Yellow Sequence" (1963-5), "Jungle Island" (1967), "No President" (1967-70) @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 5:30p. Stay around for the second program of über-influential Jack Smith, which features two shorts and a "novella" of a film, "No President", that I've not seen yet.
* "Rubber" (dir. Quentin Dupieux, 2010) screening @ BAM / 30 Lafayette Ave, Ft Greene (23/45 to Nevins ST, C to Lafayette Ave), 9:15p. This almost unclassifiable (and thus very French?) meta-horror comedy features a Goodyear tyre gone bad, unleashing its psychokinetic powers across a Cali desert landscape. Of course there's a cute girl. And an audience.
* "La Jette" (dir. Chris Marker, 1962) + "Sans Soleil" (dir. Chris Marker, 1983) screening @ Paramount Theatre / 713 Congress Ave, 3:30p/$10. Arthouse and AMOA co-present French filmmaker Marker's creep-tastic sci-fi short "La Jette" (shot nearly entirely from still photos and inspiring "12 Monkeys" some three decades later!) plus his meditative, experimental documentary "Sans Soleil", both in vivid 35mm. In conjunction w/ "The Anxiety of Photography", on now at Arthouse.
* "Battle Royale" (dir. Kinji Fukasaku, 2000) screening @ Spiderhouse Ballroom / 2908 Fruth St, 8:30p/FREE. Can I picture seeing Fukasaku's notorious (though never officially banned stateside) film of high-school students murdering their classmates under martial law on a far-flung island of traps and slave-collar head explosions, in this super-chill venue? A: no, though the cheap Lone Stars tonight should make the ride a bit smoother.
* "Howard the Duck" (dir. Willard Huyck, 1986) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. Why was this live-action adaptation of a Marvel Comics oddity, centered around an ill-tempered anthropomorphic duck in NYC (Huyck's last directorial effort, though mostly definitely NOT George Lucas' last production credit) ever even created? A: it was the '80s! What an alibi. Something to note: Ed Gale, who wears the Howard suit part of the time, was also Chucky in the "Child's Play" series! Now THAT is reason to see this stinker again.
* 妖精達 + ユートピア条約 @ Heaven's Door / 1-33-19 Sangen-jaya, Setagaya-ku (Den-en-toshi Line to Sangen-jaya Station), 7p/2100 yen. A joint production w/ Killer Baby, feat. all-woman hard-rockers 妖精達 (Joseitachi, lit. "Fairies" but pronounced the same way as "Women"!) and all-women percussive ユートピア条約 (lit. "Utopia Treaty"). w/ Very Ape and Sister Paul
* Artists on Artists: Jutta Koether on Agnes Martin @ DIA: Chelsea / 535 W 22nd St, 5th Fl, 6:30p. Koether, the German artist and musician (she's collaborated with Kim Gordon for "Her Noise" at the Tate in 2005 etc) whose on paintings blend color, form and line-work quite sublimely, converses on Martin's quintessential resplendent, minimalist oeuvre.
* "Normal Love" (dir. Jack Smith, 1963-5) @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St), 4:15p. Smith's only conventional-length film (i.e. running up to 120 min), a psychedelic romp in the Garden of Eden w/ Mario Montez, Diane di Prima, Tiny Tim, Francis Francine, Beverly Grant and many other underground stars.
* Art in Practice: Erin Curtis @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 6:30p. Curtis preempts her residency at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO next year w/ a presentation and discussion of her vividly patterned acrylic paintings. She has exhibited extensively in Austin (incl. solo shows at Women & Their Work and Champion), plus she had a solo exhibition at Kashi Art Gallery in Kochi, Kerala, India in 2009.
* "Fix: The Ministry Movie" (dir. Doug Freel, 2001) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 10p. 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. ALSO TUES
* "Antichrist" (dir. Lars von Trier, 2009) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 9:50p. If you've not had the pleasure of seeing this notorious eye-mauler from the iconoclastic genius, particularly on the big screen, consider yourselves warned. It's a filmic speed-coaster, starring a nameless, grief-stricken Charlotte Gainsbourg and her nameless, psychoanalyst hubby Willem Dafoe, relaxing in the forest as "chaos reigns" indeed. ALSO TUES
* "I Drink Your Blood" (dir. David Durston, 1970) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E 6th St, 9:45p. If your quaint town is overrun by LSD-addled hippie cultists, the last thing you want to do is poison them with rabies-infused meat pies. Because then they'll still be grimy worshipers of hydroponics and the Dark Arts, only they'll now be RABID.
* "Wittgenstein" (dir. Derek Jarman, 1993) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar, 7p. Austin Film Society co-presents Jarman's highly theatrical representation of the life story and philosophical thinking of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
* Takeshi Abe "幽玄/Subtle Grace" @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (Toyoko Line to Daikanyama Station). Abe executes wonderful, figurative "paintings" utilizing a cube grid printed with bits of the subject — think 3D pixels or a 21st century version of Roy Lichtenstein's Ben-Day dots. Abe includes a proper sculpture w/ these 3D prints.
* "De Kooning: A Retrospective" @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). Just taking this first major museum exhibition on prolific Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning by the numbers hints at the gravity and immensity behind it. Let's see: seven decades of work, spread over nearly 200 works from public and private collections and 17,000 square feet of gallery space (i.e. the entire 6th Fl, the first time MoMA's done this for a single artist since the new building). In sum, it's exhaustive and exhausting! I'm not a massive De Kooning fan (finding his well-timed doses at MoMA's "Abstract Expressionist NY" barnstormer excellent if sparse), but I have to give MoMA well-deserved props here, as this is precisely the kind of chronological, full-treatment retrospective they accomplish so well. There are necessary surprises throughout (unless you're a De Kooning scholar), like his very earliest still-life paintings from the '20s and his figures in interiors from the '30s into early '40s, already taking on a Francis Bacon-esque elasticity of form against geometry, along w/ an acidic color palette (check "Seated Woman", 1940, and "Woman Sitting", 1943-4). Though the one-two punch of "Pink Lady" and "Pink Angels" (1945) was my visual hook, as figures rippled into shards and organic blobs, immersing within fractured backdrops. "Untitled (Three Women)" (1948) was one oil and pastels drawing predating his famous "Women", and the linchpin b/w this and that series was the massive "Excavation", like a sea of Paul Klee-style spiky, twittering figures zooming about an enamel-thickened pale ground, over 8' in width. "Excavation" required an entire gallery wall, as the museum devoted another full one to his "Women", from the incredible first that graced "Abstract Expressionist NY" to the wildly abstracted sixth. His loose painterliness and massive brushstrokes decreased into luminous, liquid-like Montauk landscape and beach scenes in the '60s, then, after visits to Rome and Japan in the late '60s and 1970, gestural figurative works and even some bronze sculpture. And finally the brightly glazed, sparsely outfitted later and last works, seemingly eons away from "Pink Angels" but still very much in De Kooning's hands.
* Carsten Höller "Experience" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave). You need to devote time to the Brussels-born Conceptualist (and former entomologist) and his two-decades' survey. Like I mean devote some serious hours queuing for that damn slide, aka "Untitled (Slide)", that crowning achievement first seen at the Tate as "Test Site" in 2007 that now winds itself three stories through the stacked white-box galleries of the New Museum. Because while you'll no doubt kill 1-2 hours, easy, waiting for your 10 seconds of breathtaking velocity down that damn slide, you're also riding on a slide in a museum. Think about that good and hard for a second. It's among the most obvious examples that this is not your regular survey show. You will truly experience Höller in attending "Experience", where wearing "Upside Down Goggles" have you trudging about zombie-like when the world flips upside down on you; or disrobing and floating within many gallons of super-salted, body-temperature water within "Giant Psycho Tank; or nondiscriminantly popping a "Pill Clock" capsule w/o considering what, if anything, it'll do to you. Stuff like the self-administering series of rooms w/in "Experience Corridor" are banal if somewhat amusing (I swear that "Love Drug" totally didn't work), and Höller's glassy mockups of super-high-rises (like a combo of children's laboratory sets and translucent Snakes & Ladders) don't hold attention w/in rooms of flashing lights and neon polyurethane animals. But, hell, the whole shebang is just part of the "Experience".
* Maurizio Cattelan "All" @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). Maybe you've heard of Maurizio Cattelan, that Italian artist-provocateur whose two decades'-plus oeuvre contains a superrealistic effigy of Pope John Paul II attacked by a meteor ("La Nona Ora"), a squirrel lying face-down at the kitchen table after an apparent bullet-administered suicide ("Bidibidobidiboo"), and a taxidermy racehorse hoisted in midair ("Novacento"). That last part's key, as in his supposed swan-song feat, he's hoisted about 130 of his nearly complete works up, suspending them like gaudy Pop-culture sausages within the iconic museum's iconic Rotunda, leaving some six floors of ramps totally bare. Does this detract from the experience, seeing Cattelan's mostly elusive (at least stateside), alarming works from more than an arm's span distance? I say NO: we see his entire output in concert, not just non-chronological but nonlinear, crashing, competing and (at times) quite intriguingly combining in 3D space. So while the site-specific version of JFK in funereal reverence, as "Now", doesn't apply here, seeing him from above contextualizes it in surreal reverie. Or approaching the sinister mini-Hitler "Him" from below only to then effectively supersede him one ramp higher. In sinister terms, his ironic entry to the Gugg's international show "theanyspacewhatever", Pinocchio floating facedown in the Rotunda fountain ("Daddy Daddy") recurs here hovering 10 feet ABOVE the fountain, in frozen free-fall. Taken as whole, it's one massive echo of the trickster's own multifaceted contribution to and dialogue with the art world and society.
+ Vasily Kandinsky "Painting With White Border". Need a serious visual palate cleanser from the Cattelan cacophony suspended in the Rotunda? Though it's uncommonly rare of me to advise staring at Kandinsky's warped landscapes as a "calming mechanism", this suite of compositions around the rolling Moscow hills within the massive "Painting With White Border" is a treat.
* Rene Magritte "Dangerous Liaisons" @ Blain-DiDonna / 981 Madison Ave. Define 'dream come true'. If you're a surrealist buff like yours truly, then seeing a swath of your personal hero Rene Magritte's oeuvre up close and personal is just that: overwhelmingly emotive and sheer art-viewing perfection. The gallery inaugurates its presence above the Waldorf-Astoria with a survey of 30 oil paintings, gouaches and drawings by the Belgian Surrealist, the largest Magritte show in NYC in years (decades?) and culled almost entirely from private collections. It leads off w/ "Cinéma Bleu", aka Magritte's first mighty plunge into dreamland's embrace and includes such heady offerings as "La Mémoire" (the marble head w/ her bloodstained temple), "L'Empire des Lumieres" (one of his massive twilit dwellings beneath a blue sky) and "Cosmogonie élémentaire" (where his familiar skittlepin imagery becomes a fire-belching odalisque). Also: the titular painting, a seductive nude whose reflection turns the opposite direction in a mirror and gouaches of the bowler-hatted man with a green apple floating in front of his face and that famous pipe-not-a-pipe. Now define 'mayjah'.
* Josh Keyes "Migration" + AJ Fosik "Time Kills All Gods" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St, 9th Fl. Two flavors of animalistic awesomeness, in these Pacific NW-based artists. I was pretty psyched for Keyes' contribution, as I'd dug his solo debut here last year, but he extended his photorealist technique of animals in odd predicaments (here coexisting, either benevolently or tentatively, in human-empty environments) with a set of graphite work drawings that each contain his high level of artistic integrity and detail. Shadows, ripples in the water and reflections all recur in sharp contrast. But Fosik's addition (after seeing his absolutely stunning rendering for Mastodon's latest LP) was just too sweet. His lovingly, exhaustively hand-crafting of these locally sourced wooden animal busts and figures into wildly psychedelic, seemingly extra-dimensional beings is like a strong acid trip without the recurring flashbacks. At least that's what I think, since I just saw the show. Too early to tell if there will be flashbacks (but I wouldn't mind 'em, really).
* Rebecca Campbell "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" @ Ameringer McEnery Yohe / 525 W 22nd St. I consider this a bit of a departure for the gallery, though a welcome one, as they switch from modernism abstract, Abstract Expressionist and installation artists (think Al Held, Morris Louis, Judy Pfaff) to a younger, figurative painter who imbues her works with gestural, though dreamily realist, touches. Big brushy renderings of nudes and clothed figures, plus portraits and some color-streaked abstracts, like the strokes grew and just obliterated what realism used to be there.
* Richard Serra "Junction/Cycle" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. Shame on us jaded art-goers who approach a Serra installation w/ tired expectations, believing there'll be just some big-ass weathered steel to navigate and it's a been-there, done-that sort of thing. No big deal. Shame on us, b/c this duet of mazelike monoliths is singularly amazing, a Zen-like wandering through soaring sheets of steel streaked with sunlight, mottled with either undersea shadows or the primordial gasses of some distant nebula. My favorite Gagosian-installed Serra exhibition, and easily rivaling his MoMA retrospective in sheer interactive bliss. Do not disregard it.
* Georges Braque "Pioneer of Modernism" @ Acquavella Gallery / 18 E 79th St. This retrospective on the co-founder of Cubism, curated by Dieter Buchhart, is filled with two floors and 75% of paintings you've probably never seen before, not even in art catalogues. Because despite Braque's seminal forays with papier collé and mechanical Cubism (in my strong opinion equalling his better-known peer Picasso), his legacy in Fauvism and his lasting impression on the post-Cezanne generations is just not shown stateside. So his more typically Braque-ish works resonate like cannonballs in placid waters, like the stunning "Glass, Bottle and Newspaper" (a collage of charcoal and faux-bois wallpaper on paper) and the vertically-oriented beauties "The Mantlepiece" and "Still Life with Metronome", all shards of awesomeness. Though I was taken by works completed decades after his internationally recognized heyday, like "Woman at an Easel (Yellow Screen)" from '36, texturized with sand and enlightened by figuration, but only just so.
* Rashaad Newsome "Herald" @ Marlborough Chelsea / 545 W 25th St. Newsome walks a thin line b/w gaudy and glamorous, but he does so with panache. In his debut w/ the gallery, he unveils a bunch of signature collages — wildly detailed conglomerates of bling and reverence, Rosetta stones of hip-hop culture and neo-Baroque imagery — each in a lavish, customized antique frame. I'm not totally surprised I was drawn immediately to "Black Barbie", for its underlying Nicki Minaj resonance, but in all I think these are Newsome's strongest collages yet. He also contributes a rap video-style animation "Swag" and, to contrast, a fascinating video installation "Herald", shot in b&w at NYC's St. Patrick's Basilica, chronicling the artist's ceremonial coronation.
* Yoko Ono @ 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 a simple, handwritten instruction noting our interactive opportunities with our own shadows.
* 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.
* George Condo "Drawing Paintings" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. Condo furthers his aggressively graffiti-like abstracts from his New Museum survey with even wilder, lyrical renderings, piling up cartoonish heads in rubber-stamp formation (or Andy Warhol misguided silkscreen-style), to where they obliterate one another in intermingling colors.
* 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 "Heilstaetten @ David Zwirner / 533 W 19th St. I had a significantly belated psylocibin flashback upon experiencing Rauch's latest. The social realist (and subtle surrealist) unveils new oils (in both large-format and intimate flavors), plus a bronze sculpture "Falknerin". Spatial perceptions dissolve in multi-figure renderings like "Ware", w/ seemingly giant men (with greatly distended arms) intermingle w/ reduced figures, and in the much smaller "Rota", where either a Golden Age UFO or carnival ride breaks up an otherwise typical country landscape. Heavy, lovely works.
* 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.
* 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 is a riot to our senses.
* Uta Barth + Jack Strange @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. This is the most painterly Barth show I've seen yet. She consistently pushes the envelope on lighting and perception in photography, but by focusing on sunlight and shadow piercing through linen-y curtains, she effectively creates a canvaslike texture to her polyptych works. Upstairs, that trickster Strange immerses a neon FENNEL sign in dirt and iPod Touches feat. animated, talking sea creatures in water-filled baggies, plus acrylic soda-straw rods on flatscreen monitors and cut veggies with headphones.
* 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.
* 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. The figurative elements imbued in these, whether a rough-hewn wood block like a feminine torso, or a burned oil on panel
* 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. Beyond that, she includes a bunch of image pairings, reclining "Odalisque" versus her own nudes, "Veiled" figures decadent and dreamy, for an entirely intoxicating encounter.
* 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.
* 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? In this exhibition of new works he totally does that, featuring the titular 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), plus a simian-themed series focused on an unsettling passage from Audubon's memoirs.
* 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. They're also quite figurative.
* Mike Bayne "Kingston Spring and Muffler" @ Mulherin + Pollard / 187 Chrystie St. Simply breathtaking little photorealist oils on board, remarkable both for their respective small (even very tiny) scales and their incredible, natural realism. I'm talking both portraiture and snowy urban vistas, populated with graffiti'ed buildings, banal adverts and automobiles.
* Jeronimo Elespe @ Eleven Rivington / 11 Rivington St. Ahead of his big solo exhibition at the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo in Malaga, Spain, the Madrid-based artist unveils a set of new small and very VERY tiny, meticulously brushy paintings on aluminum panels. Figures coalesce with and disappear into light-infused fog.
* "Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Goofy name aside (hey, I jest!), I enjoyed this group exploration of a century's worth of artists working with the incandescent medium. From a handsome Arman "Chandelier" of lightbulbs to that old Joseph Beuys lemon-light to a typically sublime Lee Ufan ("Relatum", incorporating a hanging bulb illuminating an expanse of graphite-streaked canvas) to artists like Jim Dine, Jasper Johns and Zhang Xiaogang, who regularly incorporate the object in their works.
* "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 and Layne Bell, split this cross-media exhibition highlighting gender discourse and their respective feminine identities in a continually male-prone society. Each takes an ultrafeminine approach (think lots of pink, frilly cloth materials and truncated womanly forms) to hook us in and cerebrally wallop us to attention, as there's depth in all the surface-level cuteness. Bell walks the figurative tightrope most deliberately, suspending two pairs of scissors over an inflated balloon in "Emptied IV" (the fourth of a series of subtly simple assemblages, which also included the aforementioned frilly cloth elbow gloves and a Tooth Fairy-sized sewn pillow clothespinned to a wooden tray) and naming another "All Tits and Legs" after like a Bravo plastic surgery reality show stereotype. Though with this one, a pair of vaguely ghostly forms surmounting barstool legs, I got Rene Magritte vibes (both the Belgian surrealist's penchant for masking his figures and painting lingerie with erogenous zones plainly visible), but then I thought of Rebecca Horn's "Finger Gloves" performance from the early '70s, particularly in the elongated 'stems', as it were. In any case, Bell's assemblage is topped by sewn multicolored beads as the titular 'tits'. Burden included both video/sculptural assemblages (her "Upskirt Series"), augmenting cropped body parts with distended branchlike physicality, and two photographic prints (her "Tongue-in-Cheek Series"). The prints struck me more deeply, as I was reminded of both Ana Mendieta and Adrian Piper's very physical, conceptual oeuvres. Though the one artist she directly references is Joseph Beuys, the granddaddy of conceptual and philosophical performance, via the icky sculpture "Boys, Beuys, Boys!!!", combining a loglike beaver muff with glistening, white lard, tangentially recognizable to Beuys' style while superseding him in pronounced decadence. Parker unveils only two works, but this editing makes their underlying force that much stronger. The one, "Suspended Bean Bag Chair (after Bruce Nauman)", is an older work, the titular smallish pink chair stretched painfully in four directions overhead by metal accoutrements, is like Nauman's own self-portrait face-pulling, highlighting artificial elasticity and how the gesture can easily twist from affectionate to torturous. Her other, "Funk Trunk (including artist as Vito Acconci)", begins with Parker's disembodied voice emanating from a coffin-sized box. Kneel down and peer inside, and amid bedsheets and acid-pink fluorescent lighting is a video projection of Parker reenacting Acconci's perversely intimate "Theme Song" in her own spin on 'pillow talk'. "You could be anybody out there, but there's gotta be somebody watching me. Somebody who wants to come in close to me…Come on, I'm all alone..I'll be honest with you, OK. I mean you'll have to believe me if I'm really honest…" Parker-as-Acconci monologues, shifting on her bed as she stares straight into us.
* 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.
* Anri Sala @ Kaikai Kiki Gallery / B1 2-3-30 Moto-azabu, Minato-ku (Hibiya Line to Hiroo Station). Three new video pieces and an immersive environmental work from the time-based Albanian artist, restructuring our sensations of everyday life. (ENDS THURS)
* Kim Beck "Under Development" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. Beck works in large-scale drawings (from architectural to charcoal and lush) and a site-specific installation in her exploration of desire, stability and economic security.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Entablatures" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. I have little sense of classical architecture, nor Greco-Roman revivalist stuff and early 20th C. Beaux-Arts, but that's where the consummate Pop artist drew inspiration for his early '70s "Entablatures" series. They look sort of like crown moulding to me, railroad tracks, abstracted pipes and machine gears, all incredibly reductive and horizontal.
* Martin Wittfooth "The Passions" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. The debut NY solo exhibition for the Brooklyn-based painter, who explores sainthood, martyrdom and religiosity from a contemporary standpoint.
* Anton Kannemeyer "After the Barbarians" @ Jack Shainman Gallery / 512 W 20th St. The Cape Town-born artist turns his satire to contemporary instances of political correctness and xenophobic wrath, depicting genocide in Rwanda and post-apartheid S. Africa with biting sociopolitical wit and boldly conceived renderings.
* Rosy Keyser "Promethean Dub" @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. Keyser pushes the limits of her canvases in this kinetic offering of process-driven abstractions (some dotted w/ fire markings), incl. a set stretched beyond the parameters of their backings. Plus the exhibition's title just rocks.
* Katharine Kuharic "Pound of Flesh" @ PPOW / 535 W 22nd St, 3rd F. Kuharic put some seven years into her latest exhibition, collaging stock images from junk mail and other sources into hallucinogenic, ultra-colorful painterly landscapes.
* "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.
* 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.
* 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. (ENDS SAT)
* 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.
* Kanako Ohya "Per Person" @ hpgrp Tokyo / B1F 5-1-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (Chiyoda/Hanzomon/Ginza Lines to Omotesando Station). Ohya, recipient of the 2008 Gunma Youth Biennale Award, targets our emotions in vividly conceived figures, layered in warm colors and airbrush on paper. (ENDS SUN)
* "Accidental Thoughts and Metaphors" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. A great coupling of four Belgian artists and their divergent acts with traditional media (clay, canvas, paper). I was particularly drawn to the youngest, Michiel Ceulers, and his process driven abstraction, though Ellen de Meutter's emotive, non-narrative paintings seemed quite deep. (ENDS TUES)