Wednesday, July 11, 2012

fee's LIST / through 7/17

* "Blasting Voice" @ The Suzanne Geiss Company / 136 Grand St. As the title sort of precludes, this group exhibition is performance-driven and features a tricked out sound system. Ashland Mines developed the stage and concept while Mevin McGarry and Isabel Venero organized some two dozen artists, each performing variations of amplified poetic concepts nightly. The talent here is great and vast, incl. Wu Tsang, Math Bass, James Ferraro, and TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone throughout the exhibition's run.

* "Painting is History" @ Winkleman Gallery / 621 W 27th St. O RLY? I ask myself at this cheeky titling. Edward Winkleman himself, along w/ Jay Grimm, curated this intriguing group show, feat. six artists who use traditional painterly techniques in representing historical events. Don't expect to be bored, though, considering Charles Browning's raw imagery and Valerie Hegarty's cheeky alterations.

* Future Islands (Baltimore) + Darlings @ Death By Audio / 49 S 2nd St, Williamsburg (L to Bedford, JM to Marcy), 8p/$10. I've been koo-koo for Brooklyn lo-fi rockers Darlings since 2007 and their pop-punk LP "Yeah I Know". Their singsong coed harmonies shine through last year's high-fivable EP "Warma". They set the stage for Future Islands and force-of-nature vocalist Samuel T. Herring.

* Hiroko Okada "No Dress Code" @ Mizuma Art Gallery / 2F 3-13 Ichigayatamachi, Shinjuku-ku (Yurakucho/Nanboku Lines to Ichigaya Station). Okada reinterprets the "human-painting relationship" via photorealistic renderings of…underwear! Expect a multimedia installation related to her continued pointed takedowns of hypercommodified society.

* Yayoi Kusama @ Whitney Museum / 945 Madison Ave (6 to 75th St). Finally. A proper retrospective for the superlative Japanese artist, whose diverse media—paintings, video, installation, sculpture etc—defy easy categorization yet are simultaneously unmistakably HERS. Kusama's hallucinatory "infinity nets", her mirrored kinetic carpets and immersive soft-sculpture apparatuses. And pumpkins. Revel in this most prominent of Japanese contemporary artists who left a deep impression on the global art scene. Plus: don't miss Kusama's disorienting "Fireflies on the Water", a truly transporting chamber of hanging lights, mirrors, and water, installed in the museum's lobby gallery.

* "Post-Op" @ Mixed Greens / 531 W 26th St. Winner of "best summer group show title" comes this thoughtful, eye-crossing exhibition. Eight contemporary artists advancing new concepts in visual illusion, incl. Rachel Beach, Suzanne Song, Rebecca Ward, and Emilio Gomariz.

* Japan Cuts 2012 at Japan Society / 333 E 47th St (E/M to 53rd/5th Ave, 6 to 51st St). Crazy-ass contemporary Japanese cinema felt a bit lacking in this year's NYAFF? Don't you worry, friends, they're all here in the bonkers 2012 edition of Japan Cuts. Read on for my picks (just look for the Japan Cuts 2012 slug):

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Smuggler" (dir. Katsuhito Ishii, 2011) at 8:15p. Ishii's latest brings him back to his gonzo Yakuza world of "Party 7" (think "Dick Tracy" on uppers); as in, it's just as colorful and off-kilter humorous, but it's also Ishii's darkest, most brutal work, too. The ensemble cast — good guy and suffering actor Kinuta (Satoshi Tsumabuki); weathered ex?-thug Jo (Ishii regular Masatoshi Nagase); razor-sharp cute Chiharu (Hikari Mitsushima); deranged Verebrae (Masanobu Ando) — are in top form.

* "Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom" (writer: Jennifer Haley) @ Blue Theatre / 916 Springdale Rd, 8p/$12-20. Like "The Twilight Zone" for the "Resident Evil" generation, feat. four teenagers trying to escape their suburban hellhole from an onslaught of zombies!

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Hard Romanticker" (dir. Gu Su-yeon, 2011) at 6:30p. Shota Matsuda plays a blond-coiffed, porn-stached zainichi thug-wannabe cracking skulls and hurling insults around the local hoods in a seaside town. It's also a semi-autobiographical account of director Gu's own rough youth as a Korean delinquent in working-class Japan.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "The Atrocity Exhibition", feat. "Let's Make the Teacher Have a Miscarriage Club" (dir. Eisuke Naito, 2012), "Henge" (dir. Hajime Ohata, 2012) and "The Big Gun" (dir. Hajime Ohata, 2008) at 8:40p. Prepare for a batshit trio of zero-budget psycho shorts that blend splatterpunk and topical scenarios in one boiling cinematic nabe-pot. Naito's HD short film basically sells itself: a band of beastly junior high girls entrapping their pregnant prof. Ohata's "Henge" (lit. "Goblin" or "Changeling") is like Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis" crossed w/ Shinya Tsukamoto's "Tetsuo", while his debut short "The Big Gun" is just that, an iron-worker conned by the mob to make guns for them, so he crafts a huge-ass one in retaliation. 

* Peelander-Yellow @ Guzu Gallery / 5000 N Lamar Blvd, 8p. A high-energy, wicked-times block-print exhibition by that fantastic punk-rocker also known as Kengo Hioki, frontman for Peelander-Z. And if you see him w/ that scratched and stickered up guitar, it might be an opening reception performance! Taco, taco, taco, taco, taco say YEAH. 

* "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (dir. Benh Zeitlin, 2012) @ Alamo Drafthouse S Lamar / 1120 S Lamar. This 2012 Sundance winner sounds truly magical, the strained realities of a marooned "New Orleans" community in an uncertain near future as refracted in the gaze of a precocious little girl, who discovers paradise amid the brambles. 

* "Friday the 13th part III in 3D" (dir. Steve Miner, 1982) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse S Lamar / 1120 S Lamar, 7p. Plenty of the Drafthouse's Summer of 1982 series has caught my attention, but admittedly few films play to my priorities like this slasher classic, screened like it should be in glorious 3D.

* "The Fifth Element" (dir. Luc Besson, 1997) midnight screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St. Sci-fi with HUMOR…what a rare concept! Park Bruce Willis (playing basically himself) behind a flying taxi, give him a huge-ass gun and a hot alien dame (Milla Jovovich as redhead), then send him off to defeat a roiling dark-matter planet of pure evil. And that ain't even the Cliffs Notes version to this awesome, sexy action romp. ALSO SAT

* Kazumasa Noguchi "Synthetic Garden" @ Art Front Gallery / Hillside Terrace A, 29-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku (JR Lines etc to Shibuya). Op-tastic art exposing surfaces and framework, whether on wood panels or the gallery walls themselves, reflecting Noguchi's background in architecture and his modus in approaching artwork.

* Ine Izumi @ Taimatz / 1-2-11 Higashi-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku (JR Sobu Line to Bakurocho Station, Toei-Shinjuku Line to Bakuro-Yokoyama Station). I'm totally a fan of Izumi's thoughtful, delicate ink and acrylic renderings of the mundane, ornamental, and dreamlike.

* Zombie Lolita 11th anniversary "Alice in Dead" @ Heaven's Door / 1-33-19 Sangen-jaya, Setagaya-ku (Den-en-toshi Line to Sangen-jaya Station), 7p/2800 yen. Take two things I dig: zombies and "lolita", and you get the bizarrely Japanese pop-idol group Zombie Lolita, feat. a bunch of cute girls in sailor suits and horror makeup playing thrash metal. 

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Tokyo Playboy Club" (dir. Yosuke Okuda, 2011) at 3:15p. Despite the glittery name, this violent and off-kilter humorous look at Tokyo's shadowy underworld has earned serious acclaim since its Busan Film Fest premier, incl. that of young director Okuda. Think Quentin Tarentino crossed w/ Kinji Fukusaku, w/ a grinding guitar soundtrack and hardboiled dudes Nao Omori and Ken Mitsuishi (in one of his most frenetic roles yet) balanced by cutie Asami Usuda.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Love Strikes!" (dir. Hitoshi Ohne, 2011) at 7:15p. You have to be under 25 to understand the Japanese title, "Moteki", i.e. "unexplained romantic popularity with the opposite sex". Thus is the wave that crashes over nerdish pop culture writer Yukiyo (Mirai Moriyama), who unexpectedly befriends mega-cutie Miyuki (Masami Nagasawa, who attends tonight's screening!!!). So the only natural thing happens: all these other hotties start digging him too, incl. Kumiko Aso (HELLO, where has she been??), Riisa Naka, Yoko Maki, and more. Rom-com to the max, baby.

* Jamal Cyrus "Ancestor" @ AMOA-Arthouse / 700 Congress Ave, 7p. Texas Prize 2012 finalist Cyrus stages one final performance w/in his installation at the Jones Center, an audio-visual feast w/ movement in collaboration with Autumn Knight and Megan Jackson. Yeah, I'm a fan.

* Mikaylah Bowman "La Fille Qui Ment" @ Red Space Gallery / 1203 W 49th St #B. Lit. "The Girl Who Lies", Bowman's latest series of performative photography, furthering her investigation of self and memory, with a related installation.

* Peelander-Z @ Red 7 / 611 E 7th St, 9p. The color-coded Japanese art-punks are a frequent local presence, despite hailing from Planet Peelander (aka East Village NYC). Expect sing-alongs involving tacos, sunglasses, and dudes named "Mike". w/ Ghost Knife and Biters

* Michiko Sago + Shoko Matsumiya "Harmony" @ MA2 Gallery / 3-3-8 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku (Yamanote Line to Ebisu Station). The gallery creates a dialogue b/w two young artisans: Matsumiya's brilliant, organic glassworks and Sago's contemporary ceramic forms.

* Print Show vol 7 @ Kido Press, Inc / 6F 1-3-2 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku (Hanzomon/Toei Oedo Lines to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station). Main draw for me in this seventh edition of the gallery's gathering of unique-edition prints is Kumi Machida, whose contemporary take on traditional "nihonga" style artwork (coupled w/ some VERY surreal imagery) is just marvelous. Plus: O Jun, Atsushi Suwa, Tokuro Sakamoto, and Wisut Ponnimit.

* "Shark Night 3D" (dir. David R. Ellis, 2011) @ TOHO Cinema Nichigeki / 2-5-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku (Yurakucho Line to Yurakucho Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi/Hibiya/Ginza Lines to Ginza Station). An absolutely fascinating and bloodthirsty film about snobbish PYTs (led by cutie Sara Paxton) attacked in creative ways by a variety of sharks controlled by those backwoods good ol' boys.

* ピラニアリターンズ」 (dir. John Gulager, 2012) @ HT Cinema / 7F 1-23-16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku (JR etc to Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit). AKA "Piranha 3DD" (what, breast-implant jokes don't translate?), which should've been as dope as the extra-gory, Alexandre Aja-directed revamp….only it's not. But hell, it's still mutated piranha wreaking havoc on plasticine women and Ken doll-looking dudes, and David Hasselhoff plays a lifeguard.

* "WET DREAM: ReBORN Special" w/ RITUALS @ Aisotope Lounge / 1F 2-12-16 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 9p/3000 yen. Why would I send you off to a venue known for its "Banana Fridays"? Because tonight is fetish night, sporting punk-goth brand RITUALS and feat. a slinky dance-off from Nasty Cats, aka Aloe and Nancy of tokyoDOLORES! Plus the full roster of Nightmare/Torture Garden DJs, incl. ME:CA, Rinko, and Zil. Partying in Ni-Chome is fun!

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Ace Attorney" (dir. Takashi Miike, 2012) at 1:30p. The video game-style hairdos transferred from Capcom's gonzo courtroom module "Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney" to this Japanese box-office blockbuster. Expect caffeinated jump-cuts and frenzied dialogue as young prosecutors and holographic mediums duel to the death — nahh, not totally that, but it's still bonkers.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Tormented" (dir. Takashi Shimizu, 2011) at 4:15p. Alice in Wonderland. Rabbit demon. Hikari Mitsushima. Everything I've seen about this film thus far, tiny measured doses of surreally creepy film clips, have freaked me the hell out…which includes scenes of Mitsushima in her absolute most distressed. While the title lacks the spirit of the Japanese original ("Rabbit Horror", in phonetic English) AND this isn't screening in blood-curdling 3D like it should, but it'll still give you plenty of nightmares.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Chips" (dir. Yoshihiro Nakamura, 2012) at 8p. Nakamura serves up a bittersweet slice-of-life in post-tsunami Sendai, japan, revolving around the intersecting existences of a baseball player and a burglar.  

* "Masters of the Universe" (dir. Gary Goddard, 1987) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 7p. As a kid of the '80s, my playtime revolved around He-Man and other toys of the Eternia universe. Imagine my delight when "they" made a He-Man film! Imagine my disappointment when that meant a spray-tanned Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and a heavily SFXed Frank Langella (like in old-lady makeup) as sworn foe Skeletor! Imagine further the inclusion of weak-ass character Gwildor who had way too big a role, plus the absurd amount of screen-time devoted to, uh, these two TEENAGERS (incl a young Courtney Cox!)…who accidentally swipe the Key to Earth b/c they mistook it for a "Japanese synthesizer"! Hell, it was the '80s then, and this bonkers flop quantifies what made that decade so special.

* "White Agenda" @ Warehouse702 / B1F 1-4-5 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku (Toei Oedo Line to Azabu-Juban Station, Exit 7), 3p-10p/3000 yen. It's not often that I happen across mid-afternoon fetish parties, but the chilled-out nature of "White Agenda" seems something extra special. Feat. the "White Fascination Girls", aka Aloe and Nancy of Nasty Cats plus some Japan Pole Dance girls, rope performers, and White Queens (Margarette and Lady-J, both of The Ring), plus DJs (helmed by Toru Takeda) and a VIP lounge for women only.

* Japan Cuts 2012: "Zombie Ass" (dir. Noboru Iguchi, 2011) at 7:30p. An epic of epic epicness, straight from the bowels of post-NOTLD cinema and thoroughly doused in Iguchi's deviant world of scat zombies, anal alien parasites…and lotsa cute girls. I loved the world premiere (at 2011 Fantastic Fest) so much that I saw the damn film twice, it's that great. 

* Best Coast @ Terminal 5 / 610 W 56th St (1/AC/BD to Columbus Circle), 7p/$25. Bethany Cosentino & crew banish much of their debut fuzzy reverb for hard-hitting (dare I say "folksy"?) melodies. But this being Best Coast, that Cali sunshine permeates everything. w/ DIIV

* "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" (dir. Tommy Lee Wallace, 1982) screening @ Alamo Drafthouse Ritz / 320 E Sixth St, 10p. In this oddity to the "Halloween" franchise, who needs Michael Myers when you have Silver Shamrock jack-o'-lantern masks that nuke kids' heads? Even the signature piano melody is eschewed by an '80s-friendly synthesizer! Now it's up to Tom "Maniac Cop" Atkins to stop the evil corporation behind all this mayhem!

* "Greatest Hits" @ Tiny Park  / 1101 Navasota St. Tiny Park achieved some very big things in their first year as an apartment gallery, curating three thoughtful two-artist shows feat. such talent as local heroes Miguel Aragon (winner of Austin Critics' Table Outstanding Artist, who also had a major solo exhibition at Austin's Mexic-Arte Museum) and Leah Haney (solo museum exhibition at AMOA-Arthouse this past spring), plus Chicago's Deborah Stratman (2004 Whitney Biennial) and LA-based painter and printmaker Nick Brown — plus a laudable drawing annual. Now they've relocated to a high-ceilinged commercial gallery space, filling it with some of the best-of from their past exhibitions. The reconfiguring works to Tiny Park's advantage, as it's less of a "been there, seen that" than a very concrete adjustment of scale and space. Brown's massive canvases and Aragon's large-scale media aren't so squeezed for room here, though they retain their respective impacts. It's a solid group show. This fall, Tiny Park must throw caution to the wind, using the potential for experimentation to go full-bore and, trusting their instincts, leave an even deeper impression on the local gallery scene. Consider me super stoked for what is to come.

* "Manscape: Male as Subject and Object", curated by Christopher Eamon @ Lora Reynolds Gallery / 360 Nueces. There is a disclaimer on the gallery door noting that this group show "may not be suitable to all viewers". Sounds like my kind of show! But seriously, Eamon pulls off a thoughtful dissection of traditional male imagery and hierarchy in art via three young and compelling female artists (Mariah Robertson, Michele Abeles, and Adina Popescu) and tempered by a less-known male some 25 years their senior (John Massey). Photography is the focal point here: Robertson's two-pronged visual assertion of lone phalluses infringing onto optical illusion backdrops and Abeles' stealthy still-lifes (in one, she makes a compelling critical portrait of blue-drenched objectifier Yves Klein). Popescu gives her male subject a face (in her video "Jeremiah", screened earlier this year in "Blind Cut" at Marlborough Chelsea in NYC), but his voice is really her own words, a dialogue on consumption. Massey is not simply counterbalance here as the sole male artist and older figure. I wonder what the exhibition would be like without him. His contribution, a sensitive gaze into his own head and thoughts via his "Studio Projections" photographs (involving a maquette of Massey's studio and projections of images rephotographed from newspapers in the '70s), gives a vulnerability to this male artist via the admitted failures of depicted male-headed modernist activities. Back to the women: are they striving for the same sort of utopian goals in their respective truncations and takedowns of male imagery? I think when you take these works into the greater contexts of their respective oeuvres—like Robertson's darkroom experimentation and Abeles' continually groundbreaking compositional techniques—then the answer is not so clear. At the very least, I do not see these artists' progresses "destined for failure" like Massey's mining of decades' old modernism. 

* 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. (ENDS SAT)

* Charles Atlas "The Illusion of Democracy" @ Luhring Augustine Bushwick / 25 Knickerbocker Ave, Bushwick (L to Morgan). Bushwick has a teeming, fertile art-scene, full of creatives and creative gallery spaces. Now W. Chelsea powerhouse Luhring Augustine states its claim in a new space w/ a brilliant exhibition, the American post-punk video artist Charles Atlas, who despite participating in the upcoming Whitney Biennial hasn't shown locally in a long while. The exhibition feat. two video installations never seen before in NYC, "Painting by Numbers" (2008) and "Plato's Alley" (2009), plus a new large-scale video work created specifically for this show and space. (ENDS SUN)