* Yang Fudong @ Marian Goodman Gallery / 24 W 57th St. SO: in addition to the gallery's marvelous Francesca Woodman show "The Blueprints" (concurrent w/ her too-brief career retrospective at the Guggenheim), the gallery stages a third exhibition on Yang, who presents two new video works exploring themes of historical fantasies, theatricality and the conflation of fiction and reality, plus a photography series.
* Nir Hod "Mother" @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 515 W 27th St. The Tel Aviv-born, NYC-based artist turns his focus to the Warsaw Ghetto, specifically the anonymous mother in Nazi Franz Konrad's iconic "Boy from Warsaw" photograph taken during the Holocaust.
* "Mulholland Drive" (dir. David Lynch, 2001) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 7p. Lynch's circuitous dive into Hollywood kink snorts a suitably outrageous line of glamourous nose-candy this evening, courtesy Rebecca Havemeyer's Celluloid Handbag act. That whole Club Silencio scene is gonna feel even eerier, kittens.
* Nari Ward "Liberty and Orders" @ Lehmann Maupin / 201 Chrystie St. Ward's solo debut at the gallery in 2010, as "LIVESupport", was nothing short of elevating. He commands the LES space this time, taking NYPD's "stop-and-frisk report" to task, plus reconfigures a tactical police tower as a symbol of control in a new and undoubtedly riveting installation. Don't sleep.
* Henning Bohl "Namenloses Grauen" @ Casey Kaplan Gallery / 525 W 21st St. Massive Bohl fan here, considering his discreetly engaging solo "Psyc Holo G yHe Ute" at the gallery in 2009 and Bohl's recent architectural installation at Johann König in Berlin. Here, he screws with monochromatic paintings—sorry: "conceptualizes" them—with Japanese tape dispensers shaped like doughnuts, and other things.
* Rudy Shepherd "Psychic Death" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. Shepherd ties his earlier "Black Rock Negative Energy Absorber" sculptures into a new video feat. a transdimensional, ambivalent Healer, plus new sculptural "relics" and paintings that incorporate imagery from the media.
* Jacqueline Humphries @ Greene Naftali Gallery / 508 W 26th St 8th Fl. Some of the most…damn gorgeous kinetic abstract paintings you've ever seen, washes of oil paint, drips of enamel, sometimes silver and glitter for multiple-POV effect. Humphries hasn't had a solo stateside since 2009, and she's pretty prolific, so I'm stoked about this new body of work.
* Caio Fonseca @ Paul Kasmin Gallery / 293 10th Ave. Embellishments and extraneous elements have evaporated in Fonseca's latest series of large- and intimately-scaled paintings, which remain refreshing in their bold, reductive forms.
* Ron Gorchov @ Cheim & Read / 547 W 25th St. A recent selection of concave and convex shaped paintings by this "perennially emerging artist" (so writes Robert Storr in a 1990 catalogue essay). The curved works' innate sensuality and pleasing color combinations are traits of Gorchov's signature awesomeness.
* eMediaLoft Projects presents "Berlin Videos in NY" (dir. Barbara Rosenthal, 2009-12) + "80th Birthday Tribute of Super-8 films and Video History Videos by Bill Creston" @ Westbeth Artists Complex / 55 Bethune St, 6th Fl, A-629 (ACE/L to 14th St/8th Ave), 8p/FREE. Rosenthal dialogues with the audience in a presentation of her latest series of performance- and text-based conceptual video shorts. Program two feat. seminal video artist Creston and some of his classic works.
* Ducktails @ 285 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$8. NJ surf-rockers Real Estate have buoyed their awesome band w/ some pretty significant side projects for years, and my all-time favorite of the lot is guitarist Matt Mondanile's looping atmospherics outfit Ducktails. He's joined by NJ power-pop band Home Blitz and What Next (mems. Cause Co-Motion!—those legendary NYC garage-rockers—and German Measles).
* "Diversity in Photography" @ Galerie Sho Contemporary / B1F 3-2-9 Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku (Ginza/Tozai Lines to Nihonbashi Station). Some 15 international photographers draw from diverse sources—fashion, hard realism, abstraction—and mediums—gelatin silver prints to lambda and digital—to present the open-endedness of photography through the 20th century and today. Feat. Guy Bourdin, Mimmo Jodice, Sheila Metzner, Herb Ritts and more.
* E.V. Day & Kembra Pfahler "GIVERNY" @ The Hole / 312 Bowery. So beyond the gorgeous photographs by Day (taken at an artist residency at Giverny) feat. Pfahler in her Karen Black getup posing amid waterlilies and Japanese foot-bridges is the artworks' surrounding installation: a recreation of Monet's Giverny garden, replete w/ aforementioned waterlilies and Japanese foot-bridge. Damn awesome.
* Andy Coolquitt "chair w/ paintings" @ Lisa Cooley / 107 Norfolk St. Even in Lisa Cooley's new gallery space, Coolquitt's assemblage-style sculpture is guaranteed dense and intense, as his discarded and chosen-object groupings gravitate to and play off one another.
* Sarah Raha & Mauricio Ancalmo "Not a Particle or a Place but an Action" @ James Cohan Gallery / 533 W 26th St. The California-based artists open their NY gallery debut with solo output and a unique juxtaposition. Rara shows her hour-long film "A Ray Array" (2011) while Alcalmo presents his installation "Dualing Pianos: Agapé Agape in D Minor" (2011) from the 6th edition of "Bay Area Now". Finally, Ancalmo's photograms from the "Dualing Pianos" series play against Rara's prints from "A Ray Array".
* "The Crystal Chain" @ Invisible-Exports / 14A Orchard St. Matthew Porter and Hannah Whitaker co-curate this photography group exhibition, coinciding w/ Blind Spot magazine's issue 45. Feat. several historical photographers (Eliot Porter, Ellen Auerbach, Josef Breitenbach) plus more recent works by Matthew Brandt, Kate Costello, Boru O'Brien O'Connell, Erin Shirreff and others.
* Nigel Cooke @ Andrea Rosen Gallery / 525 W 24th St. Cooke's spare, overpainted canvases of burnout figures roaming squalid landscapes take on a blissfully brushy inclination now, like being trapped in a tropical carwash of psychedelic awesomeness.
* "Prince of Darkness" (dir. John Carpenter, 1987) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). Carpenter's coupling of sci-fi and Satan not only stars Alice Cooper as a possessed hobo, it still scares the hell outta me. ALSO SAT
* Sonic Boom + Crystal Stilts @ Knitting Factory / 361 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, G to Lorimer), 8p/$15. I was actually remarking recently "where have Crystal Stilts"—those moody neo-Velvet Underground dudes—"gone off to?" A: supporting Spaceman 3's Pete Kember (as Sonic Boom) in an extra-fuzzy night of pop noise.
* "Traditional Family Values" @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity. Austin-based artists Arturo Aguero, Sarah Holman, and Marcella Mendez explore different circles of connections, including immigrants, queerness, non-normative and non-nuclear families. The exhibition features a "home" installation with individual gallery spaces.
+ "Finale": 2012 Senior Art Exhibition. Go 2012 Studio Art and Visual Art Studies graduates!
* "The Raid" (dir. Gareth Evans, 2011) @ Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar / 1120 S. Lamar. HELL YES, and about damn time. Oh I've had a rough dozen months waiting for Evans' broken-boned bonkers action followup to "Merentau", and when this opened last week seemingly everywhere BUT Austin, I was cursing the sky gods for forsaking me. But finally, finally, it's here: Iko Uwais and his handful of SWAT vs. a high-rise full of mixed martial arts bad guys. Stoked to the nth.
* "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" (dir. Lasse Hallström, 2011) @ Violet Crown Cinema / 434 W 2nd St. What's a bigger challenge w/ an even bigger feel-good payoff: actualizing a sheikh's (Amr Waked) goal to bring fly-fishing to the desert, or the two Brits in charge of making it happen, a consultant (Emily Blunt) and a fisheries expert (Ewan McGregor) gettin' it on?
* "Wrath of the Titans 3D" (dir. Jonathan Liebesman, 2012) @ Alamo Drafthouse Village / 2700 W Anderson Ln. Full disclosure: I saw "Clash of the Titans" in theaters. I saw it for that whole Ralph Fiennes "release the Kraken!!" bit, which was admittedly dope, but beyond that I wanted to burn my eyes out. Yet…I am oddly compelled to see "Wrath of the Titans". More monsters? Hell yeah! I mean, that whole clip where Sam Worthington as Perseus goes head-to-heads w/ a chimera? This is action cinema, man!
* "Blue Velvet" (dir. David Lynch, 1986) midnight screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. Pabst Blue Ribbon!!! Credit Dennis Hopper for one of cinema's most iconic antagonist onscreen entries, as the nitrous huffing, dry-humping sadist Frank Booth. A pre-"Twin Peaks" Kyle MacLachlan is wayyy over his head as wannabe detective Jeffrey, whose discovery of a severed human ear gets him all sorts of nigh-giallo style surrealist entanglements. Hot stuff. ALSO SAT
* Megafauna + Black Cock @ Flamingo Cantina / 515 E Sixth St, 9p/$5. Heavy. Guitarist Dani Neff (formerly of CT outfit Triple Threat Blues Band) anchors Megafauna, who do garage rock w/ an ATX twist. Noise-pop trio Black Cock channel classic Whale with decibel-shredding aplomb. w/ Lick Lick
* Ikko Narahara @ Taka Ishii Photography / 2F 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). A two-part exhibition of the Fukuoka-born artist, focusing on two distinct bodies of work. The show opens with Narahara's portraiture as the theme "Sights of Civilization". Beginning Apr 17, the gallery switches to photographs of the urban landscape.
* Miila and the Geeks @ Shibuya O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 6:30p/4500 yen. After like a solid year of touring in support of slightly sinister, garage-rock debut "New Age", the lovable indie-pop trio Miila and the Geeks are baaaack! Singer/songwriter Moe Wadaka's group (she's Miila, saxophonist Komori and drummer Ajima the geeks), are a triumph for the indie scene, plus Moe's behind the band's fractured lovely music videos. w/ Norwegian all-Marie grrrl-indies Razika and locals DJ Twee Grrrls Club
* Charles Dunn "hell on earth" @ Number 35 Gallery / 141 Attorney St. Apocalyptic possibilities enrich Dunn's vibrant color palette in his paintings and enrapture his Plexiglas and wood sculpture. Hell, if the world's going to end in 2012, might as well go for broke. Year of the Dragon. Carpe Diem.
* Independent Art Spaces Symposium and "Art Spaces Directory" Launch @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Spring St), noon/$8. A two-panel symposium, moderated by 2012 Triennial "The Ungovernables" (read my props under CURRENT SHOWS) Curator Eungie Joo and "Art Spaces Directory" Co-editor Ethan Swan. Part one highlights the unique challenges of independent spaces, feat. Lia Gangitano (Founder/Director of PARTICIPANT INC, New York); Stefan Kalmár (Executive Director and Curator of Artists Space, New York); Heejin Kim (Director of Art Space Pool, Seoul, Korea); and Tobias Ostrander (Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Miami Art Museum). Part two looks at nonphysical alternatives, like online platforms and nomadic initiatives, and feat. Lauren Cornell (Executive Director, Rhizome, and Adjunct Curator, New Museum); Deana Lawson (Co-founder/Co-director, 68 Months Discussion Group, New York); and Daniela Perez (Co-founder, de_sitio, Mexico City, Mexico).
* The Skatalites @ Flamingo Cantina / 515 E Sixth St, 9p/$15. Ah, Skatalites: Kingston's own, the mighty frontrunners of ska decades before the punks got hold of it. The ensemble has about 50 years in it, but check these tireless groove innovators: this is the kickoff of their 2012 U.S. tour!
* Takashi Ishida @ Taka Ishii Gallery / 5F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). This isn't quite Anthony McCall—in Ishida's "drawing with 16mm film animation"—but I am pretty totally stoked for the artist's debut solo at the gallery.
* Junta Egawa "Forgetting the new world seen a while ago, and the moment of seeing again" @ eitoeiko / 32-2 Yaraicho, Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo Metro Tozen Line to Kagurazaka Station, Toei Oedo Line to Ushigome-kagurazaka Station). In the Kanagawa-born artist's third solo at the gallery, he internalizes his paintings to meditate was what lost in the Tohoku earthquake.
* "Drive" (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011) @ Shinjuku Wald9 / 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi/Fukutoshin/Shinjuku Lines to Shinjuku-sanchome Station). Call me the biggest holdout to "Drive" mania—possibly b/c I don't get the fervor for Ryan Gosling. But whatever, I saw it, and I really dug it. Take raw '80s glam and neon-lit LA with a kickass soundtrack and a decent Gosling role, as a former getaway driver trying to make good, and you've got a pretty solid picture.
* Miila and the Geeks @ Fever / 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku (Odakyu Inokashira Line to Shindaita or Shimokitazawa Stations), 5:30p/2800 yen. Note my effusive praise for Moe Wadaka and her indie-pop group Miila and the Geeks under FRI, then come to this show. w/ CENTRAL and SOSITE
* クチナシ @ SOUP / B1F 3-9-10 Kami-Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku (JR Sobu Line to Higashi-Nakano Station), 7p/2000 yen. This raw poppy Osaka quartet "Kuchinashi" use keyboards to buoyant effect, propelling their tight arrangements and Yuko Hirooka's bright vocals. Also: their name translates as "Gardenia". w/ locals RENTALHOPE and 90centjokes
* オーラルヴァンパイア @ Koenji High / 4-30-1 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku (Chuo Line to Koenji Station), 7:30p/3000 yen. That would be "Aural Vampire" for those of you incapable of reading the katakana-ized name. This is Exo-Chika (vocalist) and Raveman (DJ), and they sound like of like Ayumi Hamasaki with a harsh electroclash beat. And vampire imagery. I think I'm in love. w/ COSMO-SHIKI
* "Caro Diaro" (dir. Nanni Moretti, 1993) screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St), 5:45p. About damn time! Italian filmmaker/writer/comedian/leftist Moretti hasn't had much love in the States, at least in my recollections. So IFC stages a mini-Moretti fest and is playing my all-time favorite film by him. "Caro Diario" is semi-autobiographical and winsomely sweet, but that first part "On My Vespa" hits you like a wave of Mediterranean Sea, it is that refreshing and fun.
* SBTRKT (DJ set) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg / 66 N 6th St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford), 8p/SOLD OUT. Duh. Go nuts for this soulful dubstep revivalist. "With very special guests"? I wonder who they might me?
* Noveller @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$7. Brooklyn guitar goddess Sarah Lipstate aka Noveller shredded into the Year of the Dragon w/ a lauded LP "Glacial Glow" (her approachable atmospheric side) and an ultra-limited looping cassette/DVD "ARTIFACT" (her avant-experimental side), plus she's working on a commissioned project w/ Low End String Quartet—and hopefully she will tour nationally in 2012! Until then, check this dope show, feat. Electric Jellyfish (all the way from Melbourne, Australia) and local axe-wielding duo Tall Firs.
* Art in Practice: Mark Allen, Executive Director of Machine Project @ Visual Arts Center / UT Art Building, 23rd St at Trinity, 6:30p. Mark Allen, the LA-based artist/educator/critic and Executive Director of non-profit performance and installation space Machine Project, discusses the Echo Park organization and contemporary creative cultural issues.
* "The Toolbox Murders" (dir. Dennis Donnelly, 1978) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10:15p. The slumlord from hell! The tagline reads "Bit by bit…by bit he carved a nightmare!", but that "bit" means the kind from a drill, like in the sadistic super's toolbox! Rather than fix his tenants' leaky faucets and cracked ceilings, he'd rather kill them! Of note: Tobe Hooper remade this video nasty in 2003—kinda—and the ineffably weird Angela Bettis starred as the lead force against certain evil! Honestly, the original sounds way better.
* The Generational: "The Ungovernables" @ New Museum / 235 Bowery (F to 2nd Ave, 6 to Spring St). Eungie Joo curated a superb iteration of the New Museum's Generational triennial. Stoked as I was for the 2009 inaugural, cheekily coined "Younger Than Jesus", it was so in-your-face that it left little deep meanings after I left the exhibition. Not so with "The Ungovernables", a panoply of 34 artists, groups and temporary collectives who are all about as young as Jesus and most have never exhibited "here" before. Here meaning in the U.S., so this is an awesome gaze into the greater art-making world, with its complicated cultural surroundings—take the artist-led initiative Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project for one, Tel Aviv-based performative research group Public Movement as another. Lebanese artist Hassan Khan's booming, swaying video installation "Jewel", of a dance-off b/w two Middle Eastern men; Mounira Al Solh's wall of figurative drawings executed in the guise of a male; and Jose Antonio Vega Macotela's temporal "Time Exchanges" with inmates each comment on identity and relation, as does Pilvi Takala's impassive takedown of a Helsinki office-space—and all this is on just the 2nd fl. Julia Dault's delicate rolled Plexi and Slavs & Tatars' "Prayway" rug with rice-burner fluorescents are some of the 3rd Fl's most eye-catching. And on the 4th fl, even the artists who have shown "here" bring a multifaceted experience of moving through contemporary society, like Danh Vo's "WE THE PEOPLE", a deconstructed part of the Statue of Liberty, fabricated with pounded copper sheets in China and installed like parts of a massive candy wrapper; or Londoner Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's haunting portraiture paintings of figures existing not in reality, though their enlivening gaze won't leave us alone. And there's Adrian Villar Rojas' much-buzzed modular behemoth "A person loved me", rendered on-site in fragile clay as artifact and beautiful artwork formed by minimal resources and expert teamwork. You'll want to excavate further, to really know these artists, their backgrounds and current concerns and approaches.
* Roy Lichtenstein "Landscapes in the Chinese Style" @ Gagosian / 555 W 24th St. I wasn't in town for the blessedly polarizing spectacle that was Damien Hirst's dots, but I love the chilled-out vibe emanating from Lichtenstein's minimalist, pastel-toned landscapes. They feature a bunch of atypical Lichtenstein-ian elements—a horizontal smear of grey-blue paint in "Small Landscape"; sponged-on foliage in "Landscape with Scholar's Rock"—that echo the traditional Chinese style. There is very little Pop here, and the vertical scroll-like "Landscape with Cliff" almost does away with Lichtenstein's signature Benday dots altogether. I'm not complaining here: these are lovely paintings, and like the aforementioned "Scholar's Rock" (whose meandering gauzy white conveys more physicality and emotion than the artist's more famous comic-inspired works) inspire deep contemplation.
* "I Know This But You Feel Different", curated by Shara Hughes and Meredith James @ Marc Jancou Contemporary / 524 W 24th St. A pretty superb group show inspiring dialogue on interior spaces. Hughes' own large painting "My Head's Really Not In This" locks the whole idea together as she contorts and flattens multi-planar space with gusto, pairing the experience with a vivid color palette. But there's much other awesomeness as well, beginning with Hughes' oil-on-paper drawings and extending to highly textural oil on linen paintings by Clare Grill and a nook installation by Miles Huston and Jacques Louis Vidal. Jesse Greenberg's visceral homemade objects and Jacob Robichaux's deconstructed remnants keep the show's tone loose and compelling.
* Mounir Fatmi "Oriental Accident" @ Lombard-Freid Projects / 518 W 19th St. Exhibition as noise show, Fatmi's second solo at the gallery is INTENSE. He pairs recordings from Maghreb during the Arab Spring in speakers sprinkled with nails and embedded into a Persian rug. Sonic squalls recur in "Modern times, a History of the Machine", a video projection in the side gallery that morphs Arabic calligraphy into a kinetic Duchamp-ian affair. Even Fatmi's static pieces threaten to attack, whether bas-reliefs of the number zero composed of coaxial antenna cables or lace loops drenched in oily black paint.
* PJ Raval + Nick Brown @ Tiny Park / 607 1/2 Genard St. Fleeting moments of our collective mortality, captured on canvas and animated on film. Austin-based filmmaker Raval eschews his notable collabs w/ local performance artist and "drag terrorist" CHRISTEENE (like the music video "Fix My Dick", part of UT VAC's "Queer State(s)" exhibition) in favor of three early, experimental videos. "Clean" goes from jittery, wince-worthy toothbrushing to kinetic, croaking bandaids that eventually cover the titular neat-freak, while "NET06" is a flickering slice of noise recalling Hans Richter and Dadaist visual arts. LA-based painter Brown looks like Troy Sanders from Mastodon and he creates a mean, visceral canvas, too. Beyond the beauty of these impasto creations is an ephemeral moment—the twin-edged bloodshed and psychedelia within a field of "Poppies", the discomfiting sleep of "South Pacific"—frozen in time. His fiery red pastel drawings are as strong as the paintings and reflect Brown's printmaking background, as etched marks couple with negative space and smears of pastel to conjure very realistic, occasionally harrowing scenes of natural demise. A very moving show within such a cute, boutique gallery.
* Tom Molloy "New World" @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. Molloy strips away the noise and distractions in his historically leaning or contemporarily relevant bodies of work—oftentimes by incredibly meticulous practices—leaving a sort-of podium for us to contemplate, discuss, argue. While he's not explicitly putting his own politics behind the dozens of thrift-store framed Internet-culled b&w images of male world leaders pressing the flesh in "Shake", the works circuitous nature and site-specific installation—where "Hussein/Mubarak" slides into "Mubarak/Bush" and "Bush/Putin", until we're back at "Hussein" again—, plus the fact these nonchronological shots span from 9-11 to the Arab Spring, naturally presents some theories. How these men are friends one minute, wheeling and dealing the next, and sworn enemies separated by several frames of their "friends" after that. Molloy's nine-part titular work features nine different LP sleeves of Dvorák's "New World Symphony", the texts painted over (Molloy's analogue to Photoshop, he said) to show only benign, sunny images of the Western frontier. That "incredibly meticulous practices" bit I alluded to earlier is most clear in "Somewhere", Molloy's hand-painted sheet music to the "Wizard of Oz"'s sweetly optimistic anthem, a work that began with a black sheet of paper and lots and lots of carefully applied white gouache.
* 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.
* Not Vital @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. A shimmering stainless steel monolith extending two vertical floors of gallery space, called "Tongue". An array of Chinese coal mini-mountains. Disarmingly organic plaster forms hanging off stainless steel rods, called "Hanging & Weighting". A solid 18-Karat gold Peking duck hanging in the lift. Such is the Swiss sculptor's latest exhibition, fashioned in his Beijing studio to creep us out.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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. (ENDS SAT)
* 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?
* "Absurdities Crept In" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. Metaphysically dope neatly codifies this group show, feat. two Minneapolis artists, Terrance Payne and Jennifer Davis, plus Dallas local Mark Nelson. The former two appeared in the gallery's 2010 all-Minnesota "Pilot" show, plus Payne runs the Minneapolis artist collective Rosalux (of which Davis used to be a member). A striking figurative, visual style carries in both these artists. Payne's colored-pencil diptychs deftly incorporate text around bold stripes and wallpaper patterns ("You can count on me just don't count high"), as he comments on human fallibility. Meanwhile Davis opens a door to a very personal psyche in her acrylic and charcoal graphite works on panel, blending a dark whimsy and washed-out palette with high realism ("Get Up & Go", "Cordelia"). Nelson's the wildcard, but his Texas-based Pop Pluralism—twisted surrealism and disarming verité coexisting like they were meant to be together—locks this exhibition in. (ENDS SUN)