* Sashie Masakatsu "Invisible Hand" @ Mizuma Art Gallery / 2F 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku (Yurakucho/Nanboku Lines to Ichigaya Station). Masakatsu pairs his oil paintings—surrealist orbs of townships and consumer objects floating over ruins—with a huge Japanese sliding door.
* Eikoh Hosoe @ BLD Gallery / 2-4-9 Ginza, Chuo Ward Tokyo (JR Yurakucho Station, Marunouchi Line to Ginza Station). Part 3 of the gallery's retrospective on modernist photographer icon Hosoe: "Man and Woman + Embrace + La Luna Rossa", classic '60s portraits of the human figure and inverted b&w prints from "La Luna Rossa".
* Whitney Biennial @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 77th St). The 2012 edition of the big American biennial, organized this time by the Whitney's Elisabeth Sussman and freelance curator/writer Jay Sanders, strikes a sombre note for me in the recent passing of artistic badass Mike Kelley. This would be his eighth Whitney biennial, which is awesome in itself. I look forward to his incredibly personal inclusion, plus the inventive roster of other artists, incl. Michael Clark, LaToya Ruby Frazier, K8 Hardy, Nick Mauss, Forrest Bess (selected by Robert Gober), Wu Tsang (splitting his time w/ "The Ungovernables" at the New Museum), Joanna Malinowska, Sarah Michelson and more.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Landscapes in the Chinese Style" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. This selection of late-period works by the consummate American Pop artist, inspired in part by a '94 exhibition of Edgar Degas' monochromatic prints at the Met, combine Lichtenstein's signature Benday dot patterns with spare, ethereal atmosphere.
* SUPERFLEX "Bankrupt Banks" @ Peter Blum Chelsea / 526 W 29th St. The electrifying Danish artist collective SUPERFLEX took on troubled financial institutions in a series of vividly titled corporate logo works (like "Bankrupt Banks/Merrill Lynch Bank, Acquired By Bank of America September 14, 2008") at Peter Blum's booth during Art Basel Miami Beach. It totally worked as a criticism of the fair environment itself, so I'm interested to see how it carries over into the gallery setting.
* "FGFt" @ Envoy Enterprises / 131 Chrystie St. A properly LES-style homage to electronic musician-provacateur Frank Tovey, feat. a strong visual roster like Terence Koh, Casey Spooner, Slava Mogutin and VOLTA NY artist Erika Keck–plus most created work specifically for the show.
* Jenny Holzer "ENDGAME" @ Skarstedt Gallery / 20 E 79th St. Holzer's potent return to painting after 30 years of signature LED text should be a bracing encounter, keeping w/ her early investigations in redaction and opacity.
* Chris Consnowski "American Metal" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. The Chicago artist tunes his focus to trophies—that slightly gaudy symbol of victory—in large, photorealistic renderings with assuredly multilayered, unromanticized undertones.
* Ellen Berkenblit @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. Berkenblit's large and mid-sized, loosely figurative paintings are just haunting, like pages of a girl's fairytale book streaked with charcoal and soaked in gasoline. Cartoonish animals and doe-eyed girls emerge from clouds of amorphously contoured chroma, or are otherwise obliterated by hazy hues. She hasn't had a solo at the gallery since '08, so I'm considerably stoked for this one.
* Harriet Korman @ Lennon, Weinberg Inc / 514 W 25th St. The NY-based abstract artist presents new paintings, sectioning her canvases in bold, tasty color combinations and shape overlaps.
* Corinne Wasmuht @ Friedrich Petzel Gallery / 537 W 22nd St. I had a mild acid flashback when experiencing the Berlin-based artist's 2008 solo at the gallery, covered with her huge, brightly colored and varnished abstract paintings on wood. Believe me, it was a good feeling. She returns to NYC after a series of exhibitions in Berlin and Nürnberg, celebrating her catalogue "Supracity".
* Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2012 @ Film Society of Lincoln Center and IFC Center. This unbearably chic festival of contemporary French cinema is back. I warn you to reserve your shows, b/c 1) this is a very popular film festival (IMO, third to New York Film Festival and NYAFF) and 2) Film Society members have been on it since FEB 9. Even with the Lincoln Center/IFC Center split (like last year), this dazzling array of like two dozen NYC premieres is gonna draw crowds. So go at it: http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/rendez-vous-with-french-cinema-2012. THRU MAR 11
* "The Intouchables" (dirs. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano 2011) screening @ Film Society of Lincoln Center @ 65th St (1 to 66th St), 7:30p. Lincoln Center kicks off "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema" 2012 in style. The second most successful French film of all time locally, this quirkily heartwarming story of a handicapped white millionaire (played by François Cluzet) and his deepening friendship w/ his Senegalese caretaker (played by Omar Sy) just shattered French box-offices…and it looks pretty damn dope to me. w/ directors and star François Cluzet in person!
* P-Pop-Party #3 @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$8. Ready to go nuts? Peelander-Z, the original outer space Japanese art-punks, host the third installment of their psychedelic, sweaty, super-cute bash. Feat. Electric Eel Shock ("garage metal from Japan") and PeeWonder-Z (the adorable "sisters" of Peelander-Z), plus bicontinental Visual-kei dudes The Black Cherry…and who knows what other awesomeness.
* Franklin Evans "eyesontheedge" @ Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St. A mixed-media process-driven installation incorporating paintings, photographs, sculpture and sound—and if it's anything like his meta-art installation during MoMA PS1's "Greater NY 2010", it'll be covered floor to ceiling in trompe-l'oeil objects.
* Simone Gilges @ Foxy Production / 623 W 27th St. The Berlin-based artist and founding member of publishing house/project space Neue Dokumente returns from her stunning winter 2010 show with a nuanced series of placed found-objects, photographs, and sculptures.
* "Love Will Tear Us Apart" film series @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St). Note: "this series contains nudity, violence and strong sexual content." OK, sign me up. A wonderful two weeks of some 20-odd super-twisted love stories from Japan and Korea, mostly from the past decade and containing some mind-blowing U.S. premieres. And I gotta get behind the film series' title. THRU MAR 18.
* "Kotoko" (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 2011) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 7:30p. The U.S. premiere of Japanese avant-film alchemist Tsukamoto, who won the Venice Horizons Award at the 2011 Venice Film Fest. J-popstar Cocco takes a dark turn as a young mother plunged into psychosis. Suspected of child abuse, her baby is taken from her…and it ain't gettin' any happier after that. Followed by the "Make Love" party—seriously, you'll need it after this downer—feat. Brooklyn-area Japanese riot-grrrls Hard Nips and hopefully lots of alcohol.
* "38 Witnesses" (dir. Lucas Belvaux, 2012) @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 7p. Belvaux's haunting film explores the limits of human responsibility. A woman is brutally murdered outside an apartment complex, and the residents don't do a damn thing. Based on Didier Decoin's best-selling novel that itself echoed the infamous '64 Kitty Genovese murder case.
* "17 Girls" (dirs. les soeurs Coulin, 2011) screening @ Film Society of Lincoln Center @ 65th St (1 to 66th St), 9:15p. A bunch of teenage girls decide to become pregnant at the same time. Note: this is decidedly NOT like "Village of the Damned", but rather a human choice, set in seaside N. France, and focuses mostly on the adults' reactions, rather than the girls' intentions. w/ directors in person!
* Beach Fossils @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/$15. I'd like to say I've been down w/ Brooklyn's hazy surf-rockers Beach Fossils from the start, but if the bio's to be believed that they formed in early '09, and I'm first saw their kinetic live set one sweaty May night, then that's pretty close. I've been waiting for Dustin & crew's next big thing—as guitarist Cole's psych-rock project DIVE has been totally taking off—and we get that tonight. A new 7" and lots and lots of unabashed dancing. w/ Mac DeMarco
* "Dune" (dir. David Lynch, 1984) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 11:30p. While I consider Lynch's classic adaptation of the sprawling sci-fi saga an uncomfortable bridge between his surrealist art-house years (see "Eraserhead") and saturated-color mainstream success (see "Blue Velvet", "Twin Peaks"…and everything thereafter), no other director could've spiced-up Frank Herbert's novels like the coffee-lover himself. ALSO SUN 9:30p
* Albert Oehlen @ Gagosian / 980 Madison Ave. New large-scale semi-abstract paintings, in Oehlen's debut at the gallery. He combines flat, figurative, CAD-aided cut-outs with gestural strokes of oil paint….damn.
* Douglas Huebler "Crocodile Tears" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 521 W 21st St. The gallery begins their representation of the Conceptualist artist's estate with this cross-media survey, derived from a screenplay of the fictional performance artist Jason James.
* Not Vital @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. The Swiss sculptor presents new materials in marble and plaster, plus techniques like hand-welded chased steel, all executed in China.
* "Air Doll" (dir. Hirokazu Koreeda, 2009) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 2p. Who else would I trust in making a love story centered on an inflatable sex-doll (played by Bae Doona) come to life? Few but Koreeda can capture that melancholic, bittersweet melody.
* "Vital" (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 2004) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 7p. Inky black, mostly linear Tsukamoto flick, starring Tadanobu "Johnny Depp" Asano as a long-haired surgeon-come-lately obsessed w/ dissecting a particular female cadaver ever since an auto accident wiped his memory.
* "A Snake of June" (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 2003) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 9p. June is Japan's rainy month, and Tsukamoto coats this blue-tinted b&w film in sheets of downpour, guzzling drains and beads of perspiration across naked flesh. A sorta astringent career woman's hidden sexual desires flood this surreally sexy thriller.
* "17 Girls" (dirs. les soeurs Coulin, 2011) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 9:30p. A bunch of teenage girls decide to become pregnant at the same time. Note: this is decidedly NOT like "Village of the Damned", but rather a human choice, set in seaside N. France, and focuses mostly on the adults' reactions, rather than the girls' intentions. w/ directors in person!
* "Absurdities Crept In" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. Narrative strings—and the odd tales they encompass—flow through this three-artist show, feat. works on paper by Terrence Payne and illustrative paintings from Jennifer Davis and Mark Nelson.
* Saul Williams @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 8p/$15. Legendary charismatic lyricist and encyclopedic poet Saul Williams graces the 'Hawk in a truly next-level night. Crown Heights agit-punk CX KiDTRONiK opens the event w/ a crackle of electro-rap.
* 「はらぺこヤマガミくん劇場版」(dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2012) @ Humax Cinema / 4-8-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi/Hibiya/Ginza Lines to Ginza Station). Super-hungry Yamagami-kun is a rubber-suited mountain god with a crazy craving for human flesh. And though this is an Iguchi film—he of splatterfied "Machine Girl" ilk—if the online shorts are any indication, it's more a candy-colored surrealist romp for older kids. As in, a solid PG. Plus, this is Iguchi-san, so expect Yamagami-kun to meet up with a bunch of cute girls.
* FOUR GET ME A NOTS @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 4p/2500 yen. Having concluded their cross-country "Silver Lining Tour", Chiba pop-punks FGMAN contribute their caffeinated riffs to a benefit showcase for the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. w/ Think Again, Slang, Smash Your Face and more.
* Vidulgi OoyoO @ Shibuya O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 2p/3000 yen. Korean shoegazers Vidulgi OoyoO headline this massive showcase, which also includes Kagoshima-area テスラは泣かない (uh, lit. "Tesla Doesn't Cry"), locals The cold tommy +more.
* Brody Condon "LevelFive and Future Gestalt" @ On Stellar Rays / 133 Orchard St. Condon debuts the two titular films, originated from recent performances projects at the Hammer Museum and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. While I am not expecting any paint-throwing, the psychotherapeutic nature of "Future Gestalt" and "LevelFive"'s durational characteristics (plus the sheer number of performers) should make for an immersive show.
* Sam Moyer "Slack Tide" @ Rachel Uffner Gallery / 47 Orchard St. Moyer increases the scale of her media-blending work, featuring dyed and treated fabric mounted on canvas and wood slats. You better believe I'm excited about this.
* "Vibrator" (dir. Ryuichi Hiroki, 2003) screening @ Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to Lexington/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 5:30p. Japan Times named this "Best Film of 2003", plus indie director Hiroki has a knack for nailing Tokyo's lonely erotic backstreets (like his earlier "Tokyo Trash Baby"). Here, a young trucker (Nao Omori, with a goatee!) and a semi-alcoholic freelance writer (Shinobu Terashima) take an impromptu love-in road-trip.
* "The Screen Illusion" (dir. Mathieu Amalric, 2011) screening @ Film Society of Lincoln Center @ 65th St (1 to 66th St), 6:15p. Actor-director Amalric (perhaps you remember him as the courageous lead in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"?) adapts Corneille's 17th C. tragicomedy into a dusty detective drama. That this is related to an ongoing project sponsored by La Comédie-Française, Amalric added no new lines of dialogue to capture Corneille's spirt (think Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" but WAY less MTV). Plus Amalric attends the screening!
* "The Intouchables" (dirs. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano 2011) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 1:05p. The second most successful French film of all time locally, this quirkily heartwarming story of a handicapped white millionaire (played by François Cluzet) and his deepening friendship w/ his Senegalese caretaker (played by Omar Sy) just shattered French box-offices…and it looks pretty damn dope to me. w/ directors and star François Cluzet in person!
* "18 Years Old and Rising" (dir. Fred Louf, 2011) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 6p. The director takes us back to '81 France during election season in his debut feature, centered on a love affair b/w a bourgeois Parisian girl and a dude from the provinces.
* "The Screen Illusion" (dir. Mathieu Amalric, 2011) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 8p. Actor-director Amalric (perhaps you remember him as the courageous lead in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"?) adapts Corneille's 17th C. tragicomedy into a dusty detective drama. That this is related to an ongoing project sponsored by La Comédie-Française, Amalric added no new lines of dialogue to capture Corneille's spirt (think Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" but WAY less MTV). Plus Amalric attends the screening!
* Acid Mothers Guru Guru + Acid Mothers Temple SWR @ Goodman / 55 Kanda-Sakumagashi, Chiyoda-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Akihabara Station), 7:30p/3300 yen. Free-jazz trio SWR (comprising original Acid Mother and guitar-slayer Makoto Kawabata, w/ Atsushi Tsuyama and Ruins drum guru Tatsuya Yoshida) plus Guru Guru, which swaps out Yoshida-san for Krautrocker Mani Neumeier. That's a helluva lotta Acid Mothers!
* Bharti Kher "The hot winds that blow from the West" @ Hauser & Wirth / 32 E 69th St. Kher transforms the townhouse gallery through a series of physical and psychological spaces, playing with notions of domesticity and defunctivity.
* "Paris By Night" (dir. Philippe Lefebvre 2012) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 10:10p. A tough police commander's tug-of-war w/ the City of Light's darkest twilight, the gang-enforced strip clubs, dives and discos!
* "The Deadly Spawn" (dir. Douglas McKeown, 1983) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10p. Homemade horror doesn't get any nastier than this '80s low-budget sloshfest, feat. a carnivorous alien meteorite terrorizing New Jersey and appropriately absurd teenagers out to stop it!
* Cindy Sherman @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (E/M to 5th Ave/53rd, 6 to 51st). A great element of Sherman's fine career retrospective is its nonchronological arrangements. For though the exhibition flows in groupings of key series–beginning with the wonderful, breakthrough "Untitled Film Stills" from the late '70s (and showing the American Sherman as a convincingly Felllni-esque ingenue)–there are intriguing temporal juxtapositions throughout. Meaning a few prints from the early '80s hung amid Sherman's millenial "Clowns" and still reverberating with energy and beauty. Though technology has changed, her "Erotic Centerfolds" and brilliant "History Portraits" (the latter hung salon-style in a burgundy-walled room, and featuring a few male roles) retain as much impact as her 2008 "Society Portraits" and the show-stopping mural installed outside the exhibition proper. Sherman has more creativity in her left pinkie than most artists' their entire oeuvres (not naming names) and she's got a helluva lot left.
* Zak Prekop @ Harris Lieberman / 508 W 26th St. The young Brooklyn-based artist's suite of ostensibly reductive geometric abstract paintings at 2010 Greater New York at MoMA PS1 piqued my curiosity–not the least of which they were the rare painting in a group exhibition of "other media". Here in his second solo at the gallery, we really get to explore what he's about: paintings utilizing the most minimalist palette, with the occasional shock-blue for contrast, some incorporating paper as a textural and shadowy duality with raw canvas. Consider the excitement ignited by Picasso and Braque by collaging chair caning and newsprint on their Cubist works. That's the vibe I get with Prekop's ingenious use of paper bags, heightening their own distinctive tone and constitution under grids of black lines or diamonds of pastel paint.
* Ellen Harvey "The Nudist Museum Gift Shop" @ DODGEgallery / 15 Rivington St. Harvey explores the art nude in all its permutations, from the glitzily framed portrait to the boob-mug, in these brushy old-school oil paintings of images culled from Ebay. Plus postcards of historical nudes, sourced from NYC art museums and modified by Harvey to depict only the figures—because what is a "museum gift shop" without postcards?
* Paul Graham "The Present" @ The Pace Gallery / 545 W 22nd St. Pace debuts the NY-based British photographer's latest body of work, his first exhibition in the States since 2009. "The Present" includes diptych and triptych photographic works, highlighting serendipitous moments of a city constantly in motion. A new monograph, published by MACK, accompanies the exhibition.
* Michiel Ceulers "Des malentendus et le temps perdu" @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. The gallery debuts the young Belgian artist in his first stateside solo show, who focuses on the bare essentials—canvases, wood panels, paint and spraypaint—in his deft exploration of abstraction. Roughly half the works are gridded, abraded monochromes and the other smaller, shaped canvases in glittering spraypaint.
* Adia Millett "Portraits of an Escape" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. The Oakland-based artist revisits her old photographs of sculptural interiors, flipping them inside-out as new 2D façades. Her colorful architectural style holds a lot of personality, too, which is intentional as each structure reflects a portrait of someone in Millett's life.
* Charles Long + Nicole Wermers @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Long continues to twist and elasticize the boundaries of sculpture, in his ninth solo at the gallery. Think organic, semi-translucent resiny drips, a cooler, alienesque echo of his previous works that more closely resembled supersized bird droppings. Upstairs, Wermers accents with a photo series from the Rodin Museum in Paris, contrasted with her own modernist sculpture. It's terribly subtle but works in concert w/ Long's quieter, compelling sculpture.
* Alex Gross "Product Placement" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. LA artist Gross' lush painterly style is kind of like Jim Rosenquist (or Richard Hamilton) for a decidedly 21st C. world, a globe-flattening blend of posh designer labels, a polyglot of languages on adverts, exotic critters and nondescript environments. It's a foreshortened world thrust continuously into hyperdrive, Asia, America and the Middle East coalescing into one postmodern hybrid. Snake-eyed citizens from earlier series now bear reptiles for heads, like the Komodo Dragon in a Mr. Rogers cardigan tempting a PYT with a Coca-Cola in "Original Sin". Or people get their faces pixellated a la Japanese porn in "Best Friends (7-Eleven)" and "The Lover". Gross' super-saturated palette is in full effect here, but his combinations of people and adverts is his most naturalistic yet...like they're meant to be together. A grouping of Gross' manipulated cabinet card series (particularly chi-chi superheroes and monsters) accompany the big canvases.
* Adel Abdessemed "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf" @ David Zwirner Gallery / 525-533 W 19th St. A life-sized refugee lifeboat filled cunningly w/ rubbish bags. That's the first thing to greet visitors entering the gallery from the 533 side, but Abdessemed has much more up his sleeve. The show's titular work is a great expanse of forest roadkill, wolves and deer taxidermy flattened across one gallery wall into a sinister terrine. The larger than lifesized resin version of footballer Zidane's infamous headbutt occurs here, but for the show-stopping "Decor"–four human-scale crucified Jesuses composed entirely of razorwire–you'll have to travel down a corridor to 525. Just don't get too close, as these symbols of a savior will harm.
* Jean Dubuffet "The Last Two Years" @ The Pace Gallery / 534 W 25th St. I felt this worked perfectly in NYC and wonder if street artists and the downtown stars (Basquiat, Haring et al) ever got to see Dubuffet's huge, colorful glyphs and graf-abstraction.The man was busting conventions and doing it his way until the end.
* Magnus Plessen @ Gladstone Gallery / 515 W 24th St. A delightful pronouncement of playful, bright colors and positive-negative impressions of a figure, in Plessen's fourth solo at the gallery. I dug his fall 2009 exhibition, but the paintings here are altogether more lively and figurative, and embody a rich depth thanks to his varying brushwork and tension between abstraction and form.
* Tom Friedman @ Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24th St. To see Friedman's beguilingly matter-of-fact yet exhaustively complex mixed-media work and truly appreciate the labor and love that goes into each, it's best to carry around one of those works guides. They take Friedman's humble descriptions, like "Untitled (sun)", and expand it into "approximately 3,650 12-inch wooden dowels, painted yellow, were stuck and glued into a 12-inch Styrofoam ball at varying angles". He created a lot of wood pieces for this show, like the miniscule carved figure holding a ceiling-spanning monofilament in "Untitled (kite)" or the scatter of Robert Gober-esque apples in "Untitled (apples)". It's a delight for the mind and eyes...and perhaps no less magical if you don't actually know how he made them.
* Will Ryman @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave + W 27th St. I expected something big and bold from Ryman in his debut at the gallery but had to wonder: he's been filling his previous gallery, Marlborough Chelsea, which is like eight times bigger (plus open-airs Park Ave w/ those big-ass flowers), so would he run out of room at Kasmin? No fear, he makes it work, wrapping the front room w/ the hunched form of his sad-sack everyman, comprised evidently of bottle-cap limbs, melted shoes for a body and like miles of denim for his trousers. In the back, Ryman erected a labyrinth of wooden brushes that could be a frottage fanatic's wet dream.
* Marlo Pascual @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. A much subtler show from Pascual than I'd expected, less situations of warped C-prints and situational lighting than easy, cerebral gestures, like turning a print sideways so the waterfall flows horizontally, or hewing a rocky backdrop with a woman's limbs in two and recomposing it to delete most of her figure.
* Robert Grosvenor @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. When Paula Cooper announces a "new work" (note the singular) from one of its heavyweights, you better believe it's a big deal. Particularly when that heavyweight is sculptor Grosvenor, and that new work is a two-part monster, half silvery cinderblocks supporting a honeycomb-like column, half a cloudlike tarp with white vinyl "rocks". He pairs it with a work from the mid-'80s, a chunk of concrete wall sheltered beneath a steel structure with rusty "wheels". You bet it leaves an impression.
* Mary Corse @ Lehmann Maupin / 540 W 26th St. This is a treat: the Light & Space artist debuts five silky new paintings in her inaugural show at the gallery, each of which grabs at ambient and display light and shifts our impressions of them.
* Terry Winters "Cricket Music, Tessellation Figures, & Notebook" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 522 W 22nd St. Confession: I missed Winters' stateside debut of his layered found-photo collages, nearly a decade's worth of work at MM's tiny boutique gallery on 22nd. The reason is b/c I was totally immersed in Winters' massive kaleidoscopic new paintings, Some are watery worlds, others vaguely cosmic, a bit like Jim Rosenquist's more "Water Planet" stuff but less representational. Winters' palette is dazzling and his technique beautiful without reducing to pure decoration.
* Anne Truitt "Drawings" @ Matthew Marks Gallery / 523 W 24th St. The gallery mounted a wonderful retrospective of Truitt's serene, totem-like sculpture two years ago (one my 2010 favorites). They continue the awesomeness w/ four decades of her drawings, a vital part of her daily creative activity. Some of these do resemble her gentle monoliths, but others are fields of brilliant tonal shifts or a single growing line across a white expanse. Pretty awesome.
* Martin Sztyk "Narratives" @ Big Medium / 5305 Bolm Rd. The practicing architectural designer and researcher draws from his ongoing, narrative-based inhabitation series—including "Urban Forest", "Empty City" and "New London Stock Exchange"—in what looks to be a mind-blowing set of intricate photo-collages. (ENDS FRI)
* Motoyuki Daifu "Lovesody" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 518 W 19th St. Last year this young Yokohama-based photographer wowed me and loads others at the gallery's awesome "Minor Cropping May Occur" group show. Daifu returns w/ his debut solo here, a followup to his "Family" series that traces his brief, intense personal relationship with a young single mother.
* Chris Martin @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. BIG Martin fan here — not the Coldplay guy but rather the Brooklyn-based painter. He just got off a solo at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and, in his third exhibition at the gallery, introduces newspaper clipping grids into his wildly textured, colorful paintings. I am stoked.
* Jill Magid "Failed States" @ AMOA-Arthouse / 700 Congress. So check this: on 1/21/10, a young man named Fausto fired six bullets into the air outside the Texas State Capitol. Jill Magid — whose oeuvre navigates bureaucracy and security/intelligence w/ Mission Impossible deftness — was like steps away, pursuing her own future work, and witnessed it. Now six blocks from the scene and two years later, Magid stages an intriguing Conceptual show that ties Fausto's mysterious actions — and his silence throughout his trial — with that of Goethe's "Faust". The ground-floor gallery is her stage, replete with wall-decal directions ("Enter Fausto", "shots fired skyward", "enter Magid" etc), Magid's own play "Fausto: A Tragedy" (mirroring "Faust"'s original intention as a closet drama, meant to be read and not performed), and contemplative works. Deep encodings here, from six translations of "Faust" silkscreened on top of one another, to six bullet casings and a six-slide projection of the sky over the Capitol. Magid wrote a letter to Fausto, requesting his voice (absent in his trial) to read passages from "Faust" (whose Spanish translation is "Fausto") — his answer is still forthcoming, but it would add an intriguing layer to all this. Finally, there is Magid's family's '93 Mercedes, armored to B4 level and parked in Fausto's spot outside the Capitol, and her writing appearing in the February issue of the "Texas Observer", drawing this dialogue beyond the art-scene realm as it should be.
+ "Evidence of Houdini's Return". A really brilliant group show of fractured and re-envisioned realities, curated by Arthouse's Rachel Adams. I tweeted that it made me miss NYC, because it's precisely that sort of thoughtful exhibition that makes me look twice, thrice, at what I think I already know. Ex: Strauss Borque LaFrance's "BABE", a silvery lacquered wood plank pitched diagonally on the wall like classic John McCracken,…only just around the corner is that same plank, used as a shelf amid LaFrance's complex, mixed-media display. Another: Katja Mater's "Time Passing Objects", chromogenic prints that blur the line b/w photography and geometric drawings. Justin Swinburne's "Echo" works, multiple inkjet scans onto alu-dibond that echo (no pun) Gerhard Richter's signature abstracts while maintaining that sense of disarray like Wade Guyton's inkjet silkscreens. Bravo!
* Ken Matsubara "The Sleeping Water" @ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). Matsubara features the video installation "Mekong Delta", his signature antique-crafted glass dome showing children floating up the titular river, recalling the deaths of children in the many wars and disasters around the world. (ENDS SUN)