* "Funky Forest: The First Contact" (dirs. Katsuhito Ishii, Shunichiro Miki, Hijimine Ishimine, 2005) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (F/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 4p. So for the following week+, MoMA is giving Cindy Sherman (who has a fab retrospective on the 6th Fl, see under CURRENT SHOWS) "Carte Blanche" to select films that "informed her artistic practice". Luckily she's into the more bonkers stuff! Just picture it: 150 minutes of Japanese Youtube videos daisy-chained into a cerebrum-melting visual riot of sci-fi, hot-springs, cute girls, and anime! "Funky Forest" is tons more than that, and technically it has a plot—an absolutely adorable, tentative love story b/w young prof and student—but who cares when you've got a high-school girl sticking a cable in her navel to conjure a mini sushi-chef alien or a beachside dance-off b/w Ryo Kase (in a tracksuit) and various animated challengers? See you on the other side!
* The Naked and Famous @ Terminal 5 / 610 W 56th St (1/AC/BD to Columbus Circle), 7p/SOLD OUT. Kiwi cuties The Naked and Famous are wrapping up their final tour for starry-pop debut "Passive Me, Aggressive You". Hopefully this means they will to the studio Down Under tout de suite.
* "Barbed Wire Dolls" (dir. Jesus Franco, 1976) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 9:40p. A batshit insane gem from the power couple of '70s sexploitation, courtesy Franco and his wife/muse/lead Lina Romay. Of particular note, in this cut from Franco's "women in prison" cycle, Romay is jailed for killing her father (played by, uh, Franco!) who tried to rape her.
* "Before and After Superflat" talk @ NADiff A/P/A/R/T / 1F 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (JR Yamanote Line/HIbiya Line to Ebisu Station, East exit), 6:30p. Adrian Favell, author of "Before and After Superflat: A Short History of Japanese Contemporary Art 1990-2011" leads a discussion on the publication and contemporary trends, alongside artists Hideki Nakazawa, Midori Mitamura, Satoru Aoyama, and art writer Chie Sumiyoshi.
* Kim Dingle "still lives" @ Sperone Westwater / 257 Bowery. The Cali-born painter of compelling and creepily faceless dolly-sized figures hasn't had a solo here since 2007, and her tongue-in-cheek press release announcing that "if what is depicted makes the artist laugh then all the more fun for the artist and maybe for the viewer, too – but it is usually an accident", sounds properly beguiling.
* Nick Nowicki @ Ana Cristea Gallery / 521 W 26th St. The first stateside solo exhibition from London-based Nowicki features unstretched linen and paper covered in lyrically composed figures, hinting at their respective "human contact".
* Anne Collier @ Anton Kern Gallery / 532 W 20th St. After a full 2011 of international group exhibitions (incl "Singular Visions" at the Whitney, "Anti-Photography" in Essex UK, and "The Techniques and Aesthetic of Appropriation" at Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria), Collier returns to the gallery w/ her makes-you-look-twice prints. Plus, she was commissioned to do a billboard for the High Line art series.
* David Lyle "Misbehaving" @ Lyons Wier Gallery / 542 W 24th St. Classic Americana imagery warped and contextualized to with contemporary influences. That's only the tip of the proverbial artistic iceberg, though, as Lyle's methodical layering and removal of oily black veneer to his "grayscale" paintings adds a startling vintage sheen.
* Taylor Davis @ DODGEgallery / 15 Rivington St. This sounds dope: Davis, who is equally adept in 2- and 3D art that showcases her knack for incorporating text and color, celebrates her debut at the gallery. She has shown extensively elsewhere (including the Whitney Museum), and I am stoked to see how she utilizes the two-floor gallery setting for this new body of work.
* "Inland Empire" (dir. David Lynch, 2006) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (F/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 4:15p. If you've recovered from "Funky Forest" (see WED), and yearn to be further plunged into a cinematic rabbit-hole, silvery rooster-coiffed renaissance man Lynch has your answer! Three hours of Hollywood Boulevard grime, Polish film-noir and bizarro choreographed dance sequences by prostitutes!
* The New Monuments + Marcia Bassett & Samara Lubelski + Lasse Marhaug @ ISSUE Project Room / 110 Livingston St, Boerum Hill (45 to Borough Hall, 23 to Hoyt St, AC/F to Jay St/Metrotech), 8p/$10. Have you checked out ISSUE's new-ish digs? Tonight's a solid intro: Norwegian noisician Marhaug, drone/folk duo Bassett (of Double Leopards/Purple Haze) and Lubelski, culminating w/ industrialscape improv trio The New Monuments (C. Spencer Yeh, Ben hall, and Don Dietrich)!
* Sarah Milbrath "Territory" @ Forus Gallery / 608 W 51st St. Pair domestic animals with their respective understandings of personal boundaries and invisible borders, and you have a very conscious, very cute photography show by the Austin-based artist.
* 「ニッポン最先端」 feat. TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES @ Shinjuku MARZ / B1F 2-45-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), 7p/1500 yen. The sixth installment of "Most Bleeding Edge Japan" doesn't let up, w/ Yuka, Qrea and Nabe of Tokyo performance art-punk collective TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES covering the place in feathers, washable fake blood, and/or gold-leaf—or whatever they've concocted for tonight. Plus スカートの中 (uh "inside the skirt"?) and THIS IS PANIC
* Valentin Carron @ 303 Gallery / 547 W 21st St. Carron includes a human-scale "stone" cube (composed of polystyrene), achromatic stained glass and other new sculpture in his focus on neo-occultism and a historical arc of physiological reaction.
* "Profondo Rosso/Deep Red" (dir. Dario Argento, 1975) midnight screening @ Nitehawk Cinema / 136 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy). MAD Museum's Argento family retrospective "Il Cinema Nel Sangue" powers on, and now Williamsburg indie theatre Nitehawk gets in on the akshun, screening this Dario-style giallo classic. Think music teacher (played by David Hemmings!) turned detective, creepy-ass music scores (courtesy Goblin!), and strains of general insanity! ALSO SAT
* "Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" (dir. Chantal Akerman, 1976) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (F/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 8p. Bravo to Cindy Sherman for choosing some of the bonkers-est films I can think of (and have seen!) for her "Carte Blanche" series. Case in point w/ Akerman's acclaimed union of feminism and anti-illusionism, a practically realtime telling of a single mother's daily routine: caring for her son, cleaning, cooking, errands, and prostituting herself to make ends meet! The time-stretching only makes Dielman's situation that much more oppressive and the denouement that much more explosive.
* "Memento Mori" @ Grayduck Gallery / 608 W Monroe Dr. I've been working off a mortality tip in these Austin-area galleries. First Tiny Park (see my review of PJ Raval and Nick Brown's art there under CURRENT SHOWS), now Grayduck. This group exhibition, w/ Suzanne Koett (photography), John Mulvany (painting), and Cherie Weaver (mixed media), features local talent adept at reminding ourselves of our own respective existences, and related historical connotations.
* "Fire Walk With Me" (dir. David Lynch, 1992) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 11:30p. Prologue and epilogue to Lynch's daring early '90s TV series "Twin Peaks", of young Laura Palmer's murder in a sleepy (and increasingly surrealist) Washington town. Not only does Kyle MacLachlan return as coffee-loving "Special Agent Dale Cooper", but we also get new roles by Kiefer Sutherland and, incredibly, David Bowie. Oh but it's grim, too, and probably incomprehensible if you've never seen a "Twin Peaks" episode. ALSO SAT
* Chain and the Gang (DC) + Kingdom of Suicide Lovers @ Frank / 407 Colorado, 9:30p/$8. Hyper-intellectual wordsmith Ian Svenonius leads DC misfits Chain and the Gang on an upbeat rock groove-fest. Locals Kingdom of Suicide Lovers contribute a hip-swaying noise-punk vibe that wouldn't be out of place in my favorite Brooklyn venues. w/ Franny and Zooey
* Pure X @ Red 7 / 611 E 7th St, 9p/$8. Shoegaze-tinged garage-rock, Austin style. That's trio Pure X (né Pure Ecstasy, before last year's syrupy wonderful "Pleasure" debuted), smoked-out surf and freak psychedelia. w/ God's Gun
* Yoko Oyama "Melody of Mephisto" @ Gallery TOSEI / 5-18-20 Chuo, Nagano-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Shin-Nakao Station, Exit 1-2). Oyama's latest series of atmospheric photographs were taken in Hungary and bear influence of Bartok, Liszt and other composers on the artist.
* Yuichi Higashionna "Apparition" @ Yumiko Chiba Associates / 2F 4-32-6 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Toei Oedo Line to Tochomae Station, JR etc to Shinjuku Station, West Exit). I credit NY's Marianne Boesky Gallery for exposing me to this mid-career Japanese artist, whose loopy, fluorescent light sculptures and refreshingly neo-Op installations have been wigging me out since 2008. He's created a mostly new array for this exhibition.
* Yu Siuan "Greenhouse-Program" @ Radium / 2-5-17 Bakurocho, Chuo-ku (JR Yamanote Line to Bakurocho Station). The Taipei-born artist echoes Belgian Surrealist master Rene Magritte in his painterly, decaying objects.
* EVOL "Repeat Offender" @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery / 529 W 20th St 9th Fl. I got tuned into Berlin-based artist EVOL's transcendent interventions—meticulously layered stencils on used cardboard, morphing them into startlingly realistic street scenes—at VOLTA NY 2010. Then LeVine picked him up for one of their legendary summer group shows in 2010. Now they stage EVOL's debut solo stateside exhibition! Mad stoked.
* "Funny Games" (dir. Michael Haneke, 1997) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (F/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 5p. Mannnnnn….people didn't know WHAT to think when Haneke unveiled this predecessor to the millennium's "torture porn" genre. Mind you, he'd done "Benny's Video", so his potential for filmic cruelty was in place, but this almost realtime home invasion by two silver-tongued twits is just brutal in its deadpan delivery.
* Paul McLean "NO MAS: Occupational Art School" @ Co-Lab Projects / 613 Allen St. Despite this new media acuity and Occupy with Art co-organizer's densely written press release, what I believe McLean is doing is working in situ, drawing from mythology and contemporary social concerns (i.e. Occupy Wall Street and the 99% art world), interacting with visitors in crafting new works.
* "KOTOKO" (dir. Shinya Tsukamoto, 2012) @ Theatre Shinjuku / 3-14-20 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi/Fukutoshin/Shinjuku Lines to Shinjuku-sanchome Station). Compelling trauma for the eyes and ears, and quite potentially Tsukamoto's most unrelentingly aggressive film yet. His intimate depiction of J-Pop star Cocco as the titular single-mother character, losing her grip on reality and custody of her baby son, is VERY tough to stand. Plus he's using full color now, to glorious and very bloody effect. It's a cathartic view, maybe, but don't say I didn't warn you.
* 「別離」/"A Separation" (dir. Asghar Farhadi, 2011) @ Le Cinema / 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit). Thing to keep in mind during Farhadi's bracing drama between an Iranian middle-class couple, very religious, lower-class caretakers, double-talk and bouts of explosive anger is the divorcing family at its core, and the smart teen girl caught in the middle of her parents' "separation". It's clear why this won the 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
* TsushiMaMire @ Shimokitazawa GARDEN / B1F 2-4-5 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku (Keio Inokashira Line to Shimokitazawa Station, S. Exit), 6:30p/3300 yen. The final date of Chiba grrrl-punk cuties TsushiMaMire's "SHOCKING" solo tour 2012. You can't imagine how I wish I were in Tokyo for this.
* Tokyo Dark Castle vs RITUALS The Head Shop @ Shinjuku MARZ / B1F 2-45-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku (JR etc to Shinjuku Station, East Exit), midnight/3500 yen. This late-night mashup is always an "out-there" trip. Feat. RITUALS by KENZO-A fashion show (w/ models Aloe & Nancy from tokyoDOLORES/Nasty Cats, plus many others), Tokyo visual-kei band Gabriels Stiletto (feat. DJ KENZO-A), French performance/art-rock group Dead Sexy Inc. & more deviance.
* "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (dir. Tobe Hooper, 1974) screening @ MoMA / 11 W 53rd St (F/M to 5th Ave/53rd St, 6 to 51st St), 4:30p. The film geek in me wonders if they're screening this in 35mm, but the general film lover in me urges you to SEE THIS AT ALL COSTS. "Chain Saw" is the original slasher film, the original f-ed up family of murderers tale, eons scarier and more satisfying than its many, many sequels and derivatives. And maybe it'll draw a few inklings into why Cindy Sherman filmed "Office Killer".
* Dustin Wong + nisennenmondai @ Shibuya O-Nest / 6F 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit), 7:30p/3000 yen. The LP release party for Dustin Wong's "Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads" just got a million times more nuts thanks to Tokyo math-rock grrrls nisennenmondai, who will rhythmically whup your ass. w/ mma (Aya Oshida, Mirei Hattori, and Takako Minekawa)
* Black Tambourine + Small Factory + Versus + The Lois Plus @ Bell House / 149 7th St, Gowanus (F/G/R to 9th St/4th Ave), 7p/SOLD OUT! For the love of pop! The classic (i.e. circa '92) indie-pop 'zine "chickfactor" turns 20 and they're throwing a mega-massive three-night residency at Bell House, feat. legendary and local bands. Think Popfest but w/ historical resonance. They don't get much more high profile than extra-fuzzy quartet Black Tambourine, among the earliest in Slumberland's contingent, who despite disbanding early on influenced legions of raw-edged dreamers (incl. personal faves The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), plus formed Velocity Girl, Magpies, Bye!, and…the 'zine "chickfactor". Black Tambourine regroup to headline this extra-special opening night, alongside NYC's Versus, Providence's Small Factory (first show since '95!), The Lois Plus (aka Olympia's Lois Maffeo w/ Heavenly guitarist Peter Morntchiloff). MAYJAH.
* "Sleepaway Camp" (dir. Robert Hiltzik, 1983) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10p. Damn…this has gotta be among the most iconic "coming of age" teen slasher films ever, from its surreal opening minutes to 90 minutes of creative bloodshed and a truly bonkers conclusion. The less you know, the better—and the more destructively shocking. Have fun!
* Hair Stylistics @ SPROUT Curation / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Toei Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station), 7p/1000 yen. The wonderful gallery bloc adjacent to the Sumida River has been hosting "Japanese charismatic noise musician" Masaya Nakahara's (aka Violent Onsen Geisha/Hair Stylistics) latest exhibition of works on paper, towards his upcoming monograph. To cap off the show, Nakahara teams w/ avant-turntablist Toshio Kajiwara and choreographer/dancer Yoko Higashino in an evening performance.
* 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.
* Whitney Biennial @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 77th St). My take-away thoughts from the 2012 iteration of the Whitney's unavoidably must-see biennial is "this is a very pretty, very safe show". If you reside in NYC, then you've got the advantage, as like 33% of the exhibiting artists contribute performances or films throughout the Biennial's several-month run. Which means those of us lot who can only see the show once will miss a cool third of what's good. We must rely on what's hanging on the walls, what's displayed over two and a half floors of Whitney, knowing well that we aren't getting the whole picture by any means. What IS there is very pretty, and creatively installed for the most part. Richard Hawkins' Francis Bacon-esque paintings recur on two walls of the 2nd fl, accompanying a Kai Althoff installation of paintings on a silk curtain bisecting the gallery and K8 Hardy's brutal prints of shoes and cropped figures. It's here that three of the strongest elements of the Biennial reside: LaToya Ruby Frazier's wonderful array of prints that address a Levis ad campaign that appropriated images of her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania; an intimate room of outsider artist Forrest Bess' paintings and life-story, curated by Robert Gober; and Werner Herzog's museum debut with the soul-stirring film "Heresay of the Soul". Andrew Masullo's small-scale, sunny abstract paintings brighten up the third floor, which adds a bit of creative impulse from Nick Mauss' installation "Concern, Crush, Desire". All in all, it's fine, totally, but if I hadn't encountered the Frazier (or the Herzog, really) I don't think I would have been moved nearly as deeply.
* John Chamberlain "Choices" @ Guggenheim / 1071 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). Moving Chamberlain's very new monolith "C'ESTZESTY", a finger of painted and chromium-plated steel and stainless soaring nearly 20 vertical feet, outside the Guggenheim proper was a wonderful decision, as this skyscraper dwarfed uncomfortably its previous occupation within the Gagosian's mammoth 24th St gallery space. Here it breathes, gleaming in the early-spring sunlight. It is one of many successful instances in a superb sendoff to the American sculptor, who passed away just months before this career retrospective opened to the public. Inside, Chamberlain's ginormous aluminum twist "SPHINXGRIN TWO" holds court in the rotunda, while battered and discolored works from decades' previous begin the exhilarating run up the Gugg's ramps. Some remarkable collages and reliefs mix with early masterpieces like "Hillbilly Galoot" (1960, a crouching red beetle) and "Miss Lucy Pink" (1962, like a rose rendered in steel). Small-scale auto-origami recurs as well, playing off the galvanized steel "Ultima Thule" and some curious, slippery mineral-coated polymer resin pieces. The human-scale array "The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" (like Picasso's "Musicians" re-imagined as Transformers) and the soda-straws of "Whirled Peas" (1991) prepare our eyes for the final thrust, Chamberlain's drive into chrome-love (which figured into that Gagosian show and his very last works), but the shiny shavings atop "HAWKFLIESAGAIN" (2010), with its mottled old-school base, tie the whole experience together.
* Fred Sandback "Decades" @ David Zwirner / 519 W 19th St. A really fine survey of Sandback's long career of spatial interventions spanning three decades of work. His "Untitled (Sculptural Study, Four-part Mikado Construction)" features four aqua acrylic yarns zigzagging across half the front gallery, while the Kerf-cut Plexiglas "Untitled" emulates his linear sculptures while remaining fully 2D. The even crazier "16 Variations of 2 Diagonal Lines" explores front and back galleries with opposing pinkie-thick bands of yellow yarn, boring through walls and careening through diagonal space. An artist's book and selection of drawings fill out the show.
* 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.
* Conrad Bakker "Untitled Project: RECORD SHOP [45s] @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. I visited Tokyo indie gallery eitoeiko during New City Art Fair in NYC and noted they were showing artist Masaru Aikawa, whose signature style includes hand-painting CD-sized squares of canvas to expertly replicate CD artwork, only in obviously painterly style. Bakker is also re-presenting music as art, in this case rough-hewn wooden "45's" painted to mimic album jackets, but his execution feels uniquely Bakker-ish. Meaning: he doesn't go as far as Aikawa in the trompe-l'oeil effect, so his artwork, while clearly resembling LPs (Depeche Mode and Phil Collins here, Bob Marley and Joni Mitchell there), more accurately look like little paintings, down to their respective quirky, handmade essences.
* Georg Baselitz @ Gagosian / 522 W 21st St. The superlative German artist revisits aspects of his own history, but in paintings larger than he's ever created before: huge figures painted in bold colors against a shifting, constrast-y backdrop. Baselitz adds a rough-hewn wood and bronze-cast sculpture to this exhibition of new works, but my eyes were locked alone on those massive paintings, with their electric, Egon Schiele-like emotive personalities.
* 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.
* 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. (ENDS SAT)