Jan 092018
 

Cloud Maintenance, 2017

The Ties That Bind, 2017

Currently at Metro Pictures, Jim Shaw’s current mixed media exhibition is full of works that are interesting, engaging and fun.

From the press release

Rendered in exquisite detail, Shaw’s virtuosic work combines his analysis of the political, social and spiritual histories of the United States with contemplative reflections of his own psyche. For more than three decades he has examined art history, comic books, subcultural undergrounds and consumer products—to name only a few of his wide-ranging fields of interest—to articulate a distinct visual language that charts the country’s ever-shifting sociopolitical landscape.

The paintings in this exhibition incorporate symbols and characters of the past to comment on our fraught present. Using imagery drawn from Old Testament stories, pagan myths and satirical cartoons, Shaw relies on his encyclopedic knowledge to visualize our common vernacular. His layered symbology reads like an exaggerated mirror of our hyper-mediated, “post-truth” reality.

This show closes 1/9/18.

At Pace Gallery’s 25th Street location is Elizabeth Murray: Painting in The ’80s, a collection of sixteen unique colorful canvases the artist created during this period.

From the press release-

Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the ‘80s presents formal and narrative content that continues to influence the techniques and subject matter of contemporary painting. Murray arrived in New York in 1967 during the heyday of Minimalism and the rise of Conceptualism, and amid prevailing assertions of painting’s demise. As she recollected, “The mood was that painting was out, that hip people, people who were avant, weren’t involved in painting. That was unnerving, but then I didn’t give a damn.” Fully committed to painting, Murray broke new ground depicting personal, poetic and at times feminist narratives on complex multidimensional shaped canvases. Murray’s compositions from the 1980s suggest large-scale breaking cups, tumbling wineglasses, tilting tables, windows, rooms, attenuated human forms, letters, symbols and abstract shapes constructed through positive and negative, real and imagined space. As Roberta Smith has written, “She has put the vocabulary of twentieth-century abstraction to new and different uses, tracing in irresistible formal terms a psychological narrative that is not explicitly feminine but that women, thanks to society’s relentless conditioning, know best and most completely.”

This show closes 1/13/18.

For Jorge Pardo’s first painting show at Petzel Gallery, he combines his painted self portraits with a sculptural element. Candid snapshots of the artist are “blown-up, engraved, laser-cut, hand-painted and back-lit with LEDs, to produce, in some cases, vast ornamental objects”. The beautiful large works have the added effect of changing slightly depending on where you stand in the gallery as the light shines through the wood.

This show closes 1/13/18.

 

 

May 202017
 

                                                                         My Madinah. In pursuit of my ermitage…, 2004

Jason Rhoades Installations, 1994-2006 at Hauser & Wirth is a lot of show. It’s a big exhibition with several rooms packed with things. Many, many things. In one room numerous neon expressions for female genitalia hang over a mosque-like environment (above), and in another over countless tourist novelties, bare mattresses, and truck nuts (pictured below).

The earlier work, like My Brother/Brancusi, which was created for the 1995 Whitney Biennial, feels a bit stronger, or at least less controversial.  Photos of Brancusi’s studio and Rhoades’ brother’s room are on the walls, while his version of his brother’s room complete with a tower of donuts (somehow still intact) that alludes to Brancusi’s Endless Column, and mechanical objects, fill the center of the installation.

This description is from the press release of The Creation Myth, 1998, another of the better pieces in the show, and gives an insight into Rhoades thought process behind the work-

The artist sought to understand why, how, and what humans create by exploring Creationist and Evolutionist theories in tandem. The irreverent representation of the human body and brain is structured into levels to suggest our categories of perception: the archetypal, the real, the unconscious and the rebellious. Each of the six nouns in the work’s subtitle (‘The Mind, the Body and the Spirit, the Shit, Prick and the Rebellious Part’) is metaphorically portrayed, while the function of the brain itself unfolds through a calculated combination of readymades and images. A series of stacked tables constitutes the ‘brain,’ in which a ‘train of thought’ – a toy train mounted by a snake’s head and tail – circles. Digestible ‘information’ enters the ‘brain’ in the form of pornography-wrapped logs of wood, representing the physicality of creation. Cut and disseminated, ‘information’ is incessantly processed and reproduced by cameras, mirrors, and computers. Smoke rings erupt from ‘the Asshole,’ a fleeting byproduct of the frenzied machine, a personification of the Spirit, alluding to the pursuit of the ephemeral moment.

If you love his work, the chaotic installations and selfie opportunities will delight you. If not, there is still plenty to think about after seeing the work.

                                                                                             Tijuanatanjierchandelier, 2006

This is a good interview discussing the exhibition with the curator (and former partner in the gallery) Paul Schimmel.

This exhibition closes 5/21/17.

May 202017
 

Julius von Bismarck’s Good Weather at Marlborough Contemporary is an interesting meditation on man’s desire to control nature. The first half of the exhibition focuses on Bismarck’s attempts to capture a lightning bolt with the rockets pictured above. In a side room there is a mesmerizing video of a storm rolling into a jungle and the lightning that he used for his experiment. The second half of the gallery focuses on pressed plant species and chickens.

In the press release his process for achieving these flattened works is described in detail-

Like a Colonial scientist, von Bismarck has collected plant species from jungle. Rather than pressing tiny flowers in a notebook, the artist has pressed large plants and entire palm trees into flattened specimens. Heated to a precise 250 degrees in an enormous custom-built oven and a 50-ton hydraulic press, the plants are completely dehydrated without losing their verdant coloration, and squashed astonishingly flat. They are then backed with thin stainless steel to maintain their shape for presentation.

This exhibition closes 5/20/17.

                                                                                       No title (room, panic doors), 2013-14

At Gagosian gallery is Robert Therrien’s first show in New York in ten years. The artist, well known for his sculptures of massive tables, chairs and plates, is now creating rooms and new objects- which include drops, a bow, and a flagpole. The rooms are the works that stand out most, both in scale and in the disconcerting feeling of environments that should feel more normal than they do.

From the press release-

Despite their verisimilitude, Therrien’s rooms impede the viewer’s ability to engage with space in any comfortable way.  Meticulously assembled features of common industrial design allow one to stand in front of architectural vistas. Elevated above ground level and cut away to show interiors that, like dioramas, become impenetrable replicas of reality, each is like a mise-en-scène or readymade. No title (room, panic doors) (2013–14) presents a set of doors in a room filled with fluorescent light. In No title (paneled room) (2017), tambourines rest silent on the floor of a room luxuriously paneled in hardwood, and a ladder leads to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Each room transports the viewer out of the gallery and into a new narrative situation, prompting connections between material details and their subconscious associations. By making use of everyday things that are often overlooked, Therrien situates the viewer in familiar territory, then allows the objects to demand reassessment as instruments of subjectivity and of consciousness itself.

This exhibition closes 5/26/17.

For a room of a different sort, there is Gabriel Lester’s Nevada at Ryan Lee gallery, in which various sections of a wall sized installation light up as assorted voices tell their stories.

                                                                                        Nevada, 2017 (image courtesy of Ryan Lee)

From the press release-

Questions of presence and absence resurface in Nevada, the second component of this exhibition. Nevada confronts the viewer with a floor to ceiling modular wall. Carefully selected objects that correspond with the individual stories combined in Nevada’s multilayered narrative occupy each compartment. Guided by light and sound, the viewer navigates the histories of a series of anonymous characters that find themselves locked out of the world they used to inhabit. In an effort to escape the parallel world in which they have come to dwell, each character attempts to understand the nature and cause of their own existence. Considering personal memories and local histories of migration, mining, gambling, nuclear test sites, and mysterious locations like Area 51 and the Nevada triangle (an area in the California-Nevada desert where numerous aircrafts have vanished), Lester’s Nevada probes the tensions that link the seemingly distinct characteristics of this place to a number of characters looking for a way back to a life they have lost.

The exhibition opens onto a room of low-resolution LED panels showing internet-sourced images of near extinct animals and their habitats. The two rooms feel like separate exhibitions but are brought together by their shared qualities of losing one’s place in the current world.

This show runs until 5/20/17.

May 062017
 

                                                                                             Drizzle (Wangechi Mutu) 2010

                                                                                                  Redhead, 2015

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty at Brooklyn Museum is absolutely stunning and a must see if you are in New York. The four decades of her work shown in the retrospective offer a chance to see the artist’s progression in style and technique, as well as content.

The exhibit starts with early black and white photos Minter took of her mother, smoking in bed, applying makeup or just staring into a mirror, with a hint of a former glamour that has now faded. It becomes immediately clear that Minter’s interest in exploring standards of beauty were present early on.  Moving through the exhibit you follow her evolution into her current work. From her early Photorealist paintings, to suggestive paintings of food, and then moving gradually to work that more explicitly uses sexual imagery, including a series of pubic hair paintings for Playboy that were mostly rejected. In that same section her slow motion videos of thick liquids being licked up and spit out on a glass pane by a red lipped mouth, walk the line between fascinating and repulsive.  Her large scale photo-realistic enamel on metal paintings that make up a large part of the retrospective are a particular standout with their lush colors.  The exhibition ends with the video, Smash, 2014, in which ominous music plays as a closeup of feet in high heeled silver sandals and red painted toenails breaks glass and splashes silvery liquid in slow motion. It is mesmerizing.

This interview with Minter is interesting and shows the work in the retrospective (from when it was shown at the Orange County Museum of Art)-

This exhibition closes 5/7/17.

 

Mar 102017
 

Katharina Grosse’s current exhibition at Gagosian, consists of dynamic brightly colored canvases and one cast metal sculpture. Unlike traditional painting, these works are created using a spray gun which creates the unique effects.

Her process is described in the press release-

Embracing the events and incidents that arise as she paints, Grosse opens up surfaces and spaces to the countless perceptual possibilities of the medium. While she is widely known for her temporary and permanent in situ work, which she paints directly onto architecture, interiors, and landscapes, her approach begins in the studio. With calculated focus, she allows new patterns and procedures in her paintings to emerge from action, further multiplying this potential with stencils cut from cardboard and thick foam rubber—tools with which to develop further cuts, layers, and perspectival depths. Grosse’s gestures unfold all at the same time in unmixed acrylic colors, engulfing the viewer in a toxic sublime.

In this exhibition, selected works from several interconnected suites of untitled paintings produced during the last twelve months demonstrate this constant interaction of process and material. Base shapes migrate from one painting to another, appearing in new layers or fusing into clusters that advance and retreat. The paintings record Grosse’s ongoing choices about color, density, and velocity. In one group, monadic forms proclaim their specific hues within larger zones of color. A red shape takes its place amidst expressive jewel-toned streaks. A plane of cerulean blue opens, or perhaps closes, to a black and yellow void. In other more complex orchestrations, these coloristic moments become so compelling that the canvas, which supports it all, is easily forgotten.

Grosse also made news this past summer with her installation for MOMA P.S. 1, titled Rockaway!. Located at Fort Tilden, she used a similar technique to paint an abandoned and soon to be demolished building (due to being structurally unsound after Hurricane Sandy).

 

 Grosse’s gallery exhibition closes this weekend, 3/11/17.

 

 

Mar 042017
 

                                                                         (above work by Sandra Low, Steve Seleska, and Amy Kaps)

Currently at Walter Maciel Gallery is With Liberty and Justice for Some, for which the gallery invited artists from across the country to do 8×8 inch portraits of individuals who came to the United States as immigrants- including historic subjects, personal friends, relatives, strangers, and sometimes self portraits. The gallery is also donating a portion of each sale to various non-profit groups including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the LA and SF LGBT Centers. Also showing at the gallery is I.D. Please!, with works by artists Hung Liu, John Bankston, Lezley Saar, John Jurayi, Maria E. Piñeres, Nike Schröder, Dana Weiser and Monica Lundy, who have all developed studio practices based around notions of identity.

This exhibition closes 3/4/17.

Also closing this weekend in Culver City-

Egan Frantz’s The Oat Paintings at Roberts & Tilton

(image via Roberts & Tilton)

And at Kopeikin Gallery are Ardeshir Tabrizi’s Observations in Linear Time (palm tree), and Jason Engelund’s Meta-Landscapes and Visual Ambient Drones (blue).

(images via Kopeikin)

Feb 112017
 

 

                                                                            Rodeo 10, 2016 (Photo credit Jeff McLane)

                                                                       Hillary Clinton, 2016 (Photo credit Robert Wedemeyer)

Karl Haendel’s solo exhibition BY AND BY at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, is a collection of  highly detailed drawings mixed with earlier work made in 2000, and a new video piece. Included in the earlier work is State Motto Map, a colorful map of the United States, with each state’s motto labeled on it. Washington State’s motto is Alki, or Al-ki, a Native American word meaning bye and bye, and is where the title of this exhibition is drawn from.

From the press release

In this exhibition, Haendel uses the idea of the portrait to explore contemporary definitions of masculinity, power, and public identity. He undertakes the challenging task of drawing a portrait of what it is to be a man, or perhaps what is expected of men, in images that span a broad range of representations from the heroic to the abject, from the depiction of male achievement in the highest ranks of power to a raw and unsympathetic examination of a middle-aged convicted sex offender. An inquiry into what represents masculinity also requires a look at the conventions of gender representation, as masculinity and femininity have so long been defined, particularly in images, as a codependent set of complimentary traits. In “By and By” Haendel both reasserts and undermines these conventions in heroic portraits of teenage girls riding rodeo, reproductions of murals depicting black civil rights leaders, and a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton. His drawings and his video work against a tradition of portraiture that collapses individuals into ciphers and symbols that read as shorthand for historical legacies and narrative tropes.

This show closes 2/11/17.

 

(images via Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects)

Dec 222016
 

To keep these posts a little shorter, I have split them up into two parts. The following continues the list of Chelsea exhibitions.

terrywintersatmatthewmarks

terrywintersyellowmatthewmarks

Terry Winters’ vibrant paintings at Matthew Marks Gallery are made up of layers of marks in oil, resin, and wax.

From the press release-

“These recent paintings are a series of accumulations,” Winters says. “There’s a range of paint application in terms of both material and technique. Each color is a marker, a stage of development. I’m moving across the surface, modulating the material in different ways. That inflection produces an amplification of colors, both physical and chemical. But color is basically wild and full of surprises.”

padraigtimoneyatandrewkrepsgallery

Pádraig Timoney’s work in The Deedle Eye, at Andrew Kreps Gallery, is a diverse combination of painting, photography, and installation.

From the press release-

Despite the visually distinct results, at the work’s core is a focused inquiry into the mechanics of images. Timoney conversely works in both directions – creating new images from abstractions (the captivating results of processes achieved in the studio), or rebuilding them part-by-part from photographs or observation. In each, he acknowledges the inherent flaws of these constructions, from the faultiness of recognition, the errors of translation, and further, the subjectivity of both viewers and the artist.

These in turn become generative openings in Timoney’s work as they are distanced from their original context. The images exist within thrilling, new visual constellations, allowing for the introduction of artifice and illusion, and the question of not only what they depict, but why? Each work records an index of decisions that determine its final state, materially and cognitively, displaying a history that is intentionally left open-ended. Figuration appears to hover only a hair away from abstraction, as if the movement of a line would cause one to collapse into the other. The narrowing of this gap suggests that the works’ initial disparate appearance may lead to an alternate understanding of their connections; a net that widens only to close anew, though what’s caught within it is left for the viewer to decide.

Also make sure to go to the space next door to see Klaus Weber’s sculpture Emergency Blanket.

klausweberatandrewkreps

Ai Weiwei has four shows up in NYC right now. Two of which are in Chelsea, at Mary Boone Gallery and Lisson Gallery, one is at the Mary Boone Gallery uptown, and one is at Deitch Projects in SoHo. Mary Boone Gallery and Lisson are both showing Weiwei’s Roots and Branches work, which includes large scale sections of dead trees, sometimes like the one seen below in cast iron at Lisson, and a 25 foot sculpture made up of tree parts bolted together. The uptown gallery includes a circle made up of 40,000 spouts broken off from Chinese teapots. Deitch Projects gallery has Laundromat, in which Weiwei has arranged items of clothing left behind by Syrian refugees (after they were forced to leave camps near the border of Greece) that he collected and laundered.

 

aiweiweilissongallery

Dec 222016
 

 

There are many excellent art shows closing this week in Chelsea. The following are a few of them:

 

paulinaolowskaatmetropictures

For Paulina Olowska’s Wisteria, Mysteria, Hysteria, her painting series at Metro Pictures, she conceived and executed the work in the Polish village Rabka-Zdrój, where she lives.

From the press release-

The paintings incorporate arcane references and nuanced details from sources that allude to the pastoral. Olowska combines portraits of women from gardening magazines with elements from Slavic mythology and folklore, as well as techniques from Les Nabis, artists who left Paris in the 1890s in favor of the countryside….

Olowska’s atmospheric paintings evoke the forgotten history of Rabka-Zdrój’s past grandeur as a 19th century spa town. In the triptych “Wisteria,” an elegant young woman in a red dress and hat leans, arms outstretched, against a wooden fence as flowers from the tree that gives the work its title fall from above. To her right in the painting stands Villa Kadenowka, a 1930s mansion that Olowska has transformed into a center for artist events. To the woman’s left is the abandoned Modernist addition to Kadenowka. In “Hysteria,” a mother, baby in arm, stands outside a dilapidated house with a spray-painted for-sale sign. In “Mysteria,” a woman wearing an elaborate cape proudly rides on horseback through the woods. Olowska establishes a narrative between these two works; in one scene a woman chooses to leave the trappings of conventional domesticity, while in the next another embodies ideas of mobility and freedom.

carlpalazzololennonwinebergpolaroid

carlpalazzoloatlennonwinebergflower

At Lennon Wineberg, Inc., are Carl Palazzolo’s The Hours, and Maine Notes, his small (8inches x 8 inches) canvas paintings that vary in subject and composition, but encompass his central themes of memory and the passage of time.

troybrauntuchatpetzelgalleryTroy Brauntuch’s large scale paintings at Petzel gallery become clearer the longer you look at them, and vary in content from images of sculptures, to ball gowns, to the gloves from the O.J. Simpson trial.

 

Dec 212016
 

42125_01_web3        Blue, 2016 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

42166_01_web3 The dead baby boy USA, Berlin, December 2015 / Shadow of baby, Berlin, December 2015 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

41994_01_web3-1Motherlove: Ayla and Tjioe in a Berlin bar, New York, June 2016 (image via Matthew Marks Gallery)

Nan Goldin currently has two exhibitions in New York City. The Museum of Modern Art is showing The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a slide show of almost 700 images Goldin took documenting her life and the lives of those around her, starting in the 1970’s and continuing through 2004. The show has taken place in various iterations throughout the years and includes a soundtrack with music from The Velvet Underground and James Brown among others. While it plays you watch the people in these images party, fight, get married, have children, and sometimes, like Goldin’s good friend Cookie Mueller, die, all in a span of about 45 minutes. It’s hard to see these photos and not be left wanting to know more as you are drawn into this intimate world.  This exhibition runs until 2/12/17.

It’s interesting to see the work at MoMA and then to see Nan Goldin:blood on my hands, at Matthew Marks Gallery. It is the first public exhibition of her drawings as well as her new “grid” photos. The small drawings come from diaries Goldin has been keeping since childhood. They are often disturbing but the content adds insight into the personal life and thoughts of someone who has already shared so much. You can also see parallels in the drawings and her photo work, in terms of both content and style.

The photos in the exhibition are large pieces, each created around a specific color, and each taking up a wall in the gallery. The images that combine to make them are from different places and time periods and yet they flow as if they were always meant to be arranged with each other. The results are more contemplative then her other work and an interesting progression.  This show closes 12/23/16.