* Busdriver (Cali) @ Santos Party House / 96 Lafayette St (NR/6/JZ to Canal St), 7p/$12. Regan Farquhar, the silver-tongued speed-rapper heretofore dubbed Busdriver, brings the heat on new LP "Beaus $ Eros", but I've had love for his mind-bending prose since "'Fear of a Black Tangent".
* TUNE-YARDS (CT) @ Mohawk / 912 Red River, 7:30p/$20. Magnetizing, polyphonous looper and socks-rocker Merrill Garbus may have a duo of saxophonists and other instrumentalists backing her up, but this is her show, brother. Serious "Bizness" indeed.
* Carl Andre/John Wesley "Serial Forms" @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash / 534 W 26th St. This ain't the first time I've encountered an intriguing pairing w/ cartoonishly idiosyncratic painter Wesley – that'd be "Jo & John", Matthew Marks' primo "dialogue" b/w Wesley and his ultra-minimalist partner Jo Baer, back in 2010. But I unabashedly love Andre's systemic sculpture and am pretty stoked to see the visual analogy posited by the gallery b/w his heavy metal and Wesley's equally flat paintings.
* D[dl:] "Eternally unrequited love…probably" @ hpgrp Tokyo / B1F 5-1-15 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku (Chiyoda/Hanzomon/Ginza Lines to Omotesando Station. Threads of famous animator (and "Deeth"'s mentor) Hayao Miyazaki appear in the artist's lushly illustrative, naturalistic works on paper.
* Ulrich Gebert "The Negotiated Order" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. Mixed-media incorporating found images of people subjugating animals, in the Munich-based artist's continued exploration w/ human urges to rule everything.
* "Hausu" (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) midnight screening @ IFC Center / 323 Sixth Ave (ACE/BDFM to W 4th St). This everything-and-the-kitchen-sink horror plot (partially conceived by the director's then-preteen daughter) of a cutie high-school coed and her mostly cute friends visiting old auntie's house in the Technicolor countryside is just wild enough to work enormously. Scarily entertaining! ALSO SAT
* "Poltergeist" (dir. Tobe Hooper, 1982) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10:30p. Summer of 1982 rumbles onward, denying all worthless contemporary films w/ a 35mm pimp-slap. "Poltergeist" is how you do a creepy-ass ghost story…even if static-riddled TV sets are a thing of the distant past, they will still elicit audience shivers when Carol Anne intones that signature line. ALSO SUN 3:30p
* Tokuro Sakamoto "Distant Landscape" @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya). A great longing seems fixed within Sakamoto's flattened scenery of anonymous suburbia and unfurling Tokyo cityscapes, achieved through acrylic painted on Japanese paper.
* Sayaka Ikemoto "The Slow Flow of Time, Underwater" @ Gallery TOSEI / 5-18-20 Chuo, Nagano-ku (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Shin-Nakao Station, Exit 1-2). Ikemoto's subsurface prowess is an asset – her underwater photography is transcendent. Gelatin silver prints echo our interconnectedness with the world beneath the waves and the greater infinite space beyond the earth's atmosphere.
* Tomás Saraceno @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery / 521 W 21st St. Have you "experienced" Saraceno's brilliant installation "Cloud City" on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's rooftop? Yeah I know it's been raining, but nothing says summer like an afternoon beer outdoors amongst an awesome installation. Saraceno's long contributed intriguing artwork to Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (granted 2010's "Connectome" distanced the viewer too much, but his previous "Galaxies Forming Along Filaments…" was just awesome, brainy and spontaneous at once), and I hope his latest is less a study of "Cloud City" than a potent accompaniment.
* Ellen Heck "Variations" @ Wally Workman Gallery / 1202 W 6th St. The young Cali-based artist uses her printmaking background at the Art Institute of Chicago to great and emotive effect, in this series of portraiture.
* Waka Yoshida "Going to bed in the underwear of the Mammoth" @ Gallery MOMO / 2F 6-2-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Toei Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). Somehow this young artist's mixed-media paintings and sculpture resemble both geological finds and delicate, melted ice-cream artwork, simultaneously – that's fine with me.
* "My Place, Our Scenery" @ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). Five Japanese artists lend very personal, individualized takes on the embodiment of landscapes. My immediate favorite is young mixed-media painter Aki Eimizu (who had a wonderful show at the gallery back in December 2011), but Yasutake Iwana's impastoed canvases intrigues as well. Plus: Maki Ohkojima, Yuki Hamamura, and Satoshi Uchiumi.
* Best Coast @ Emo's / 2015 E Riverside Dr, 8p/$15. Consummate West Coaster Bethany Cosentino may have discarded most of the sun-drenched reverb in Best Coast's new LP "The Only Place", but her warming vox still equals the onset of summer – now if it weren't already 90+ degrees in Austin, that would be even better.
* Merzbow @ Saint Vitus / 1120 Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint (G to Greenpoint, 7 to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave), 8:30+10p/$15. Like 'em loud? Masami "Merzbow" Akita is the godfather of noise, and it doesn't get any louder than this. Trust me: I've experienced My Bloody Valentine's jet-engine feedback session during "You Made Me Realize" from like many many meters back and while that was the loudest band-related sound I've ever heard, for pure, focused, aural mayhem, whipping over you and dragging you into its burning grasp, nothing comes close to Merzbow. Enjoy!
* Ellsworth Kelly "Plant Drawings" @ Metropolitan Museum of Art / 1000 Fifth Ave (456 to 86th St). Yeah, this isn't how I know the hard-edge painter, either. I've seen Kelly's prints and collages before, but they all figure into the same geometric language of his rigorously reductive paintings. There's a reason for this: Kelly's plant drawings have NEVER had an exclusive museum exhibition, though he's been creating them throughout his six-decade career. The Met stages about 80 of them, reaching back to the late '40s and continuing today.
* Rinôçérôse (Montpellier) @ Glasslands / 289 Kent Ave, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8:30p/$15. Psychologists by day, rock 'n roll electro-pop musicians by night. Irretrievably French. I loved Rinôçérôse's "Installation Sonore", which melded jabs of guitar with filtered disco, but that was back in '99! Can they still do it up? Don't forget your dancing shoes, people. w/ Knife City
* "Never Too Young To Die" (dir. Gil Bettman, 1986) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10:20p. What did '80s movies have that yearning cinemaphiles will never see in re-imagined form ever again? A: John "Full House" Stamos and ex-Prince ingenue Vanity (and her cheekbones) vs. Velvet von Ragnar, a be-wigged evil hermaphrodite played by Gene Simmons. That's what.
* "Texas Prize 2012": Jamal Cyrus, Will Henry, Jeff Williams @ AMOA-Arthouse / 700 Congress. Texas-based professionals nominated these three contemporary artists for an exhibition, then another panel of jurors pick one for a significant award. Cat's out the bag: Williams won it, for a dripping, unnerving site-specific installation on the museum's second floor, combining Central Texas fossils with industrial objects and the light smell of unseen—or absent—chemicals. Like I wrote in my earlier LIST, I was pulling for Cyrus, for his outstanding work at the New Museum's "Alpha's Bet Is Not Over Yet" and the literary workshop "Book Club" at Project Room Houses in Houston, TX's Third Ward (w/ collaborator Steffani Jemison). His large installation of animal hide-covered objects, stereo equipment, and electronics is echoed in a video performance where he douses a tenor saxophone in batter, deep-fries it, and points microphones at the process. Noisily good, but then I'm into Merzbow (see MON, NYC). Henry's rather quiet paintings of landscapes in wrong colors all hang downstairs (I mostly understand why the museum didn't incorporate the three artists) and are all the more silent paired with Cyrus and Williams' work.
* "This Is It With It As It Is" @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces St. LA-based artist Eve Fowler created the titular work behind this four-person exhibition, a poster-sized panel of glittering, asphalt-colored letters on fluorescent yellow. The words are derived from Gertrude Stein, but the lettering design was determined by the poster-making company: so Fowler's hand in the work is more that of guiding rather than dictating. I sense a little of her in the other three showing here, all youngish cross-media Los Angeles artists who either know or have worked with Fowler in varying degrees. Probably her closest neighbor is multidisciplinary artist Math Bass, who collaborated on a performance/sculpture/photography project with Fowler at Easthampton's Fireplace Project last year – though Bass eschews her own text-derived work in favor of these sphinxlike, watery ink drawings. Their ambiguous portraiture gives up almost exactly zero, but they hint at Bass' overarching oeuvre and accented her Fusebox Festival performance. Likewise Barry Macgregor Smith's objects and painted banners, both taking on different modes than their initial intent. I found Dashiell Manley's two-sided framed works the linchpin to the show and the antipode to Fowler's text paintings. While Manley's contributions – painted canvas on one side, painted and smeared glass on the obverse – are covered in numerals, many of the silvery digits are flipped into their mirror images (like they're seen from the painting's opposite side) and as a result resemble roman letters. It is this breakdown or blurring of language and communication, like Bass' representational transience, that I find really super interesting.
* Colin Doyle "An Inquiry Concerning" @ Courtyard Garden, AT&T Center / 1900 University Ave, 2nd Fl. This handsome photography presentation by young Austin-based artist Doyle left me hungry for more. And that was after staring for like an hour at the five well-sized prints, each focusing crisply on a single object or several related elements on a non-fussy, usually monochrome backdrop. I felt an intriguing kinship b/w Doyle's compositions and those of camera-geek Christopher Williams, some 30 years Doyle's senior. Both capture the purportedly mundane or banal, boosting that image into something quite beautiful and thought-provoking. Though Williams gets a bit funny sometimes with his bisected cameras and lengthy titles, while Doyle features only one funny print of five, "Picture For Maggie", the oldest work in the show. Compare this— the red funnel, enlarged to bucket proportions and topped off with white powder, floating tuliplike on a just-there clear test-tube—to "Three Lines", both a gigantic staple and three finger-sized black lines forming a most elementary shape. The former feels almost excessive and flashy now, yet it is practically as elegant as can be. Ditto "Six Bricks", a Carl Andre-style array that speaks both to preschool-age counting exercises and my favorite style of Minimalism. Couple these with the blinged-out "Triangle" and the graceful curves and bright colors of "Sum Sum" (refrigerator magnets?), and you have a whole reductive visual language. You might be surprised at how long you spend looking at them.
* Daido Moriyama "COLOR" @ Taka Ishii Photography / 2F 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku (Hibiya/Oedo Lines to Roppongi Station). Moriyama-san is a photographing beast! I learned this when he visited Japan Society in NYC last November, kicking off Performa 11 w/ a reinterpretation of his "PRINTING SHOW-TKY". He photographs for hours every day, and he even espoused his delight of digital color photography. That may be at odds w/ your interpretations of his style, decades of contrasty b&w prints done the Leica way, but this new series of lush prints – a mix of digital prints and enlarged lambda versions – is as stunning, challenging, garish, emotive, and "Daido-ish" as Moriyama's earliest. Plus, the color really clobbers you, the whole sweaty, neon-drenched, sexy essence of the Tokyo I know best. The 99-odd prints on view are like a third of those in the cover-to-cover photographic tome "COLOR" published a few months ago, and a mere droplet of the 30,000 shots he captured in Tokyo.
* Yosuke Bandai "Disordered Bandai: His Unequalled Passion" @ Ai Kowada Gallery / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). Heavily reconstructed and manipulated digital images, incorporating both stuff from Bandai's earlier work and Internet images, but they're so abstracted they more readily resemble discreet abstract paintings trapped in Plexiglas. Bandai was going for "the best visual experiences have a strange boringness and difficulty to understand"—you'll get that here.
* Teppei Kaneuji "Something on the Planet" @ Shugo Arts / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). While traversing this visually overwhelming, mixed-media exhibition, I tweeted (in Japanese) something like "if you mixed Kenny Scharf and Brody Condon, the end result might resemble Kaneuji's work". Think bold, brash colors in unlikely but potent combinations, cartoony elements and formalist structuring, photo-collage and stuff that looks like acid-toned Play-doh or toothpaste, and that's not counting the sculpture! Really neat.
* Sherrie Levine "A Dazzle of Zebra" @ Paula Cooper Gallery / 534 W 21st St. What in the hell does this exhibition title mean? Who knows! Something about the duality b/w the real world and Levine's set-piece installation. The cerebral meta-artist just had a phenomenal survey at the Whitney, and now she unveils new "encounters", works made of glass, bronze, or handmade paper.
* Michael DeLucia @ Eleven Rivington / 11 Rivington St. Just off an eye-opening group show "In Practice" at Long Island City's SculptureCenter comes DeLucia's reductive housepaint-on-plywood sculpture, inaugurating Eleven Rivington's newly expanded space at 195 Chrystie St, around the corner from the tiny gallery.
* Kimberley Hart "Promise" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. New Martin House-inspired birdhouses built to Amish specifications and colored-pencil drawings in the Americana vernacular constitute Hart's third solo at the gallery.
* Yuichiro Natori @ Kido Press, Inc / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Toei Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). Gorgeous, painted cut-paper animation in a charming, new video from the Tokyo artist, plus static works and sketches.
* Nana Funo @ Tomio Koyama Gallery / 7F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station). The young artist from Shizuoka includes drawing notebooks in her second solo exhibition at the gallery, plus kaleidoscopically detailed mixed media paintings of engrossing fantasy worlds.
+ Mika Ninagawa "Plant a Tree". The photographer and director (her feature film debut "Sakuran" I dug like totally) amps up the seasonal saturation. (ENDS SAT)
* Tom McGrath "Profiles in Fugitive Light" @ Sue Scott Gallery / 1 Rivington St. Spanking new moody, nocturnal abstract oil paintings from McGrath, whose last solo was at Mexico City's Zona Maco.
* Pier Paolo Calzolari "When a dreamer dies what happens to the dream? @ Marianne Boesky Gallery / 509 W 24th St and The Pace Gallery / 510 W 25th St. Pretty dope: the two galleries will be temporarily conjoined in hosting an in-depth historic exhibition of the Arte Povera artist, featuring his "activated" materials and temporal achievements. (ENDS SUN)