Feb 132020
 

For its inaugural exhibition at its Chelsea New York location, Mucciaccia Gallery is showing the work of Yayoi Kusama. The show includes sculptures, her signature infinity polka dot paintings, and several of her works on paper.

This exhibition closes 2/15/20.

Feb 132020
 

Otis Quaicoe, Black Feathers, 2019

Chloe Wise, Stuck between a hard rock and a café, 2019

Laura Sanders, Victorine, By Herself, 2019

Nona Garcia, After Elaine Navas, 2019

Robin F. Williams, Siri Defends Her Honor, 2019

Currently at Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea is Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting, an outstanding collection of paintings by 17 artists and spanning both of the gallery’s locations.

From the press release

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting, an exhibition that explores the resurgence of portraiture as an incisive platform through which to consider the nature and meaning of identity. As our globalized society becomes increasingly marked by emigration, resettlement, and technological interconnectedness, so too have notions of the self become exponentially fractured and complex. Through the work of seventeen artists, Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting captures the ways in which artists are leveraging the power of the portrait to express these intricacies, exposing the relationship between identity, place, and shifting social norms.

Xenia: Crossroads in Portrait Painting will feature new and recent works by a wide range of artists, including Polina Barskaya, Amoako Boafo, Cristina Canale, Somaya Critchlow, Ndidi Emefiele, Maria Farrar, Nona Garcia, Cindy Ji Hye Kim, Doron Langberg, Otis Quaicoe, Laura Sanders, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Rodel Tapaya, Salman Toor, Hannah van Bart, Robin F. Williams, and Chloe Wise. The group of artists were born and currently live across five continents and over twenty countries, many having relocated by choice or necessity.

Across their vivid and insightful portraits, the individual is depicted as both of singular and communal experience, and as reflecting multiple signifiers of acceptance, displacement, environment, consumerism, and cultural references. In instances, the figure is amputated, aggregated, and multi-acculturated; it is shown within empty expanses and amongst other bodies and objects. Yet despite the spectrum of perspectives and the various formal and conceptual approaches, the artists’ visions are united by a central sense of humanity.

This connection is also encapsulated in the exhibition title, which takes its name from the ancient Greek concept of “xenia” or “guest-friendship”. This notion is mentioned in Teju Cole and Fazal Sheiekh’s 2019 book, Human Archipelago, and refers to the extension of generosity to visitors from afar. Together, the artists’ work speaks to the multicity of factors that shape identity—thus highlighting that “otherness” is purely notional. And at the same time, the act of painting another being can be seen as an act of xenia itself.

“Throughout art history, portraits have served as indicators of social values and personal circumstances. The incredible reemergence of the genre speaks to its ongoing power to reflect our perceptions of ourselves and the world we occupy. I find particularly fascinating the depth and diversity of approaches contemporary artists are taking to portraiture, and the way that their work so aptly encapsulates the complexity of identifying who you are and where you’re from today. Xenia offers a sampling of some of the most exciting voices reshaping portraiture within contemporary practice and speaks to art’s incredible ability to connect with social and political dialogues,” said Marianne Boesky.

This exhibition closes 2/15/20.

Feb 132020
 

Part of what makes Andy Warhol such an incredible artist is the variety and volume of work he created in his lifetime. Currently in both of Jack Shainman Gallery‘s locations are a selection of Warhol’s photographs that are not often seen. Photo collages, “stitched photos”, nudes, and, of course, photos of celebrities, come together to give new perspective on Warhol’s work within the medium of photography.

From the press release-

Warhol’s photographic oeuvre remains one of the most central and enduring aspects of his creative process. Initially inspired by commercially available press photos of celebrities, such as iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Marlon Brando, as well as newspaper photographs of death and disasters, Warhol incorporated photographs as source material for the creation of his silk-screened paintings and prints. With the creation of a singular visual vocabulary, Warhol articulated his sensibilities while conveying his detached, observing eye through the use of a dispassionate machine: the camera.  Photography spanned the entirety of Warhol’s career as he fused numerous genres of photo-making.

By the mid-1960s, Warhol’s eye turned to the moving image as he began making 16mm black and white short films, dubbed Screen Tests, which featured his “Superstar” Factory crew. Several Screen Tests are on view in this exhibition, including films that highlight Factory life, some very early notions of performance art, and the raw visual materials for Lou Reed’s The Velvet Underground EP. These films catalyzed into Warhol’s revolutionary conceptual feature-length films, including Sleep, Empire, and Heat.

Concurrent with his exploration of film, Warhol utilized photobooths in Times Square to create serial images of art dealers, collectors, and bright young creatives who frequented the Factory. These strips became source material for some of Warhol’s most iconic early portraiture, including paintings of art dealer, Holly Solomon, collectors, Judith Green and Edith Skull, and Warhol Superstars, such as Jane Holzer and Edie Sedgwick. Towards the end of the 1960s, Warhol began carrying with him a Polaroid camera used largely to document friends in his inner circle, including Mick Jagger, Diana Vreeland, Lee Radziwill, and Nan Kempner. Warhol referred to the Polaroid camera as “his date” – always with him, a tool for both engaging with his subjects, as well as a distancing mechanism.

In 1977, Warhol’s Swiss dealer, Thomas Ammann, presented him with the gift of a 35mm Minox camera, which became the artist’s primary photo-making instrument until the time of his death in 1987. The resulting unique silver gelatin prints, which were produced during the final decade of Warhol’s life, illuminate most comprehensively the artist’s personal and artistic sphere. Warhol’s final and most obscure body of work, a series of “stitched photos,” was created by sewing together these silver gelatin prints in serial panels of four, six, or nine identical images.  Nearly five-hundred stitched photo works were created in all, most of which are now in the permanent collections of global institutions.

This exhibition brings together one of the largest selections of Warhol’s stitched photos, created within the culminating moment of Warhol’s photographic oeuvre and, indeed, his entire career.  In January 1987, Robert Miller Gallery opened the sole photography show ever presented during the artist’s life, as Warhol intended to make an incredible push for photography as a medium to be appreciated as a central part of his narrative and art-making processes. Six weeks later, Warhol died unexpectedly.

This exhibition closes 2/15/20.

 

Jan 302020
 

It’s the last week to see Swoon: Cicada at Jeffrey Deitch’s New York location. This exhibition of Caledonia Dance Curry (aka Swoon)’s work includes a sculptural installation, drawings, and a stop motion film.

From the gallery’s website-

Cicada marks a new development in Swoon’s practice. A celebration of rebirth and transformation, the exhibition at 76 Grand Street features recent films, drawings, and installations in which her personal story becomes more central.

Moving away from her street pasted portraits that encouraged the viewer to imagine a background story, Swoon now creates narratives that draw from her personal history as well as classical mythologies. She is also inspired by the handcrafted quality of silent era and 20th-century folkloric films. In her stop-motion animations, fragments of the subconscious coalesce into subliminal images. Open-ended stories unfold and weave recurring motifs such as birth, divination, trauma, and healing.

Swoon’s stop-motion films emphasize the body’s ability to serve as a vessel carrying memories and traditions. A house, a ship, and human figures split and open to liberate a cast of imaginative and mythological creatures trapped inside. The central figure is the “Tarantula Mother,” a half-human, half-spider allegory that evokes traumatic memories from childhood. Swoon’s response to parts of her family history – and the legacy of her parents’ addiction and substance abuse – has recurred throughout her work. These components inflict a strong element of realism to the films, grounding the otherwise- whimsical atmospheres of Cicada.

In Swoon’s work, the sea often constitutes the physical and metaphorical ground for possible encounters. In Cicada, underwater scenarios become a psychological space for introspection and subconscious explorations. Surrounded by new sculptures and her portrait series, Cicada allows viewers to immerse themselves into Swoon’s world, creating a vivid experience embedded in the present moment.

Swoon’s inner circle of friends is the subject of a new series of drawings included in the exhibition. The intimacy of these portraits recalls the romantic and humane spirit of her earlier street pasted works. A tableaux vivant of performers will accompany the exhibition on the opening night, renewing her interest in the counter culture of collectives and carnivals. Whether presented without permission or realized in a traditional gallery or institutional space, Swoon’s work connects with viewers on an emotional level.

The sculptural work is incredibly intricate and its amazing watching it come to life in the film.

This exhibition closes 2/1/20.

 

Jan 172020
 

It’s the last week to see Robert Longo’s eight hyperreal charcoal drawings from his “Destroyer Cycle” at Metro Pictures.

From the press release-

The title (of the exhibition) Fugitive Images refers to the transitory appearance and displacement of impactful media images from across the globe. Longo believes it is morally imperative to secure their permanence.

Longo’s drawing of Jamal Khashoggi is central to the exhibition, which includes works depicting a range of world events from disparate locations. The journalist is shown disappearing into a field of static that recalls a television with poor reception, struggling to maintain the picture. In stark contrast to the evanescent portrait of the murdered journalist is a deeply humane drawing of a mass of migrants on a grueling journey from Central America. The work focuses on the faces and personal effects of the individual men, women, and children, who appear desperate and exhausted. Another drawing that shares the main gallery counters this sympathetic sentiment, showing a choreographed military parade of North Korean soldiers in an exaggerated, highly athletic, mechanized goose step commonly associated with dictatorial regimes and blind obedience.

The reference images that are the basis of Longo’s drawings are generally extensively altered and merged. His drawing of a Jewish cemetery in France crudely vandalized by Neo-Nazis is an exception. Longo maintains the legibility of the tombstones despite the spray-painted swastikas, which fail to obscure the engraved epitaphs of the people buried there––a widow, a religious man who lived a long life, and an honest hardworking man who died on Shabbat.

The exhibition ends with a moment of optimism, determination, and progress. Longo’s drawing of Congress during President Trump’s second State of the Union Address immortalizes the female representatives and lawmakers who chose to wear white in solidarity with the suffragette movement by portraying them as a blurred beacon of light within a sea of darkness.

This exhibition closes 1/18/20.

Jan 172020
 

Closing on 1/18/20 at Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea is Ugo Rondinone’s thanx 4 nothing, a multi-channel video installation that pays tribute to the artist’s late husband, the poet and performance artist, John Giorno.

From the press release-

Rondinone reconstructs the gallery into a black box theater, creating an immersive environment through the use of black-and-white film, minimalist score, and the rhythmic intonations of Giorno’s own voice. This exhibition is a prismatic paean to the poet, raconteur, muse, cultural icon, and New York fixture.

Curator Ralph Rugoff said of the work on the occasion of its installation at Hayward Gallery in 2016:

“In elegantly spectacular fashion, Ugo Rondinone’s 20-screen video installation, “thanx 4 nothing “(2015), presents the American poet John Giorno reciting – though ‘performing’ might be a better word – the titular poem. Written on his seventieth birthday in 2006, and framed as an extended and wide-ranging expression of gratitude to ‘everyone for everything,’ Giorno’s poetic monologue looks back over his life with frank insight and humour, reflecting on loves and losses, friends and enemies, sex and drugs, depression and spiritual acceptance. As presented by Rondinone, whose work inventively interlaces the rhythms of his images with those of the poet’s speech, it is also a dizzying meditation on duality.”

It’s a great poem and a wonderful visual. Surrounded by the poet himself on all four walls of the gallery, you are completely immersed in his reading.

If you are curious about the poem itself, below is a video of Giorno reading it for his 75th Birthday Tour at the Words Aloud 8 Spoken Word Festival at the Durham Art Gallery in Durham, Canada, in 2011.

 

Jan 162020
 

Drink More, 1964 by Ushio Shinohara (left piece) and Untitled, 1980s by Nobuaki Kojima (sculpture on right)

Souvenir, 1964, by Jasper Johns

Shadow of a Hanger, 1971 by Jiro Takamatsu

Japan is America at Fergus McCaffrey gallery in Chelsea “explores the complex artistic networks that informed avant-garde art in Japan and America between 1952 and 1985. Starting with the well-documented emergence of “American-Style Painting” that ran parallel to the Americanization of Japan in the 1950s, Japan Is America endeavors to illustrate the path and conditions from Japanese surrender in 1945 to that country’s putative cultural take-over of the United States some forty years later”.

Artists in the show include: Yuji Agematsu, Ruth Asawa, James Lee Byars, John Cage, Joe Goode, Sam Francis, Marcia Hafif, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Tatsuo Ikeda, Shigeo Ishii, Ishiuchi Miyako, Jasper Johns, Alison Knowles, Nobuaki Kojima, Tomio Miki, Sadamasa Motonaga, Hiroshi Nakamura, Natsuyuki Nakanishi, Senga Nengudi, Yoko Ono, Ken Price, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Ushio Shinohara, Fujiko Shiraga, Kazuo Shiraga, Jiro Takamatsu, Anne Truitt, and Toshio Yoshida.

This exhibition closes 1/18/20.

Jan 102020
 

Gagosian is currently showing artist Richard Serra’s work at two of their locations. Above are works from Serra’s Rounds series and fill the entire West 24th Street location (closing 1/11/20), and in the 21st Street space is his Reverse Curve sculpture (closing 2/1/20).

Jan 032020
 

Black Girls Window, 1969

Mystic Window for Leo, 1966

As part of MoMA’s Opening Season, they are showing Betye Saar’s 1969 work, Black Girl’s Window, along with several of her works on paper.

The exhibition “explores the relation between her experimental print practice and the new artistic language debuted in that famous work, tracing themes of family, history, and mysticism, which have been at the core of Saar’s work from its earliest days.”

This exhibition closes 1/4/20.

Jan 032020
 

The Occult Enthusiast, 2019

The Occult Enthusiast, 2019 (detail)

Conspiracy Screen, 2019

Conspiracy Screen, 2019 (detail)

The GloFish Enthusiast, 2019

A Moment Eclipsed #1, 2019

The paintings in the Hernan Bas exhibition TIME LIFE at Lehmann Maupin’s 24th Street location tell stories. What those stories are, in some ways, ends up being up to the viewer. There is something really fun about that- paintings that your imagination can expand upon.

From the press release

This exhibition will include seven large-scale paintings and one decorative room screen that feature a series of strange and seemingly obscure or forgotten moments that have influenced American culture. This body of work illustrates Bas’ innate ability to highlight cult phenomena from the past that offer insight into the political and social concerns of today. Rather than focusing on a singular subject matter, as Bas has done previously, this series spans time periods and themes, providing a unique perspective on American subculture and a contemporary version of History Painting.

Bas is best known for his narrative paintings that weave together adolescent adventures and the paranormal with classical poetry, religious stories, mythology, and literature. His subjects are often young men, typically in the transitional moment between boyhood and manhood. While the young male figure remains prominent in this body of work, each individual painting becomes an in-depth investigation into a singular critical subject, addressing topics such as LGBTQIA+ activism and desire, politics, news, conspiracy theories, and the occult. The title of the exhibition, TIME LIFE, is inspired by the Time-Life Book series Mysteries of the Unknown. Published between 1987 and 1991, each book focused on a different paranormal topic, such as ghosts, UFOs, psychic powers, and dreams. For TIME LIFE, Bas has similarly produced a series of paintings, each focused on a singular topic, that navigate the boundaries between pop culture and history, fiction and reality, and the artist’s personal interests and curiosities.

The Sip In, 2019

For The Sip In (pictured above) however, there is more of a specific story that Bas is telling.

From the press release-

For the large-scale painting, The Sip In (2019), Bas drew inspiration from a photograph that was recently featured in The New York Times for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. The image depicts the 1966 “sip in” at Julius’ bar, where three young men, dressed in suits, were refused service for being openly gay. The bar still exists today and is now known as the oldest gay bar in New York City. Bas was intrigued by this irony and hidden piece of New York history, as well as by the compositional similarity to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper (1495). Bas’ interpretation highlights this formal similarity by removing the body of the bartender, leaving only his apparition in the form of a white glove hovering over a glass, making the young men the primary subjects of the painting. This representation of 1960s gay activism through the formal likeness to an iconic religious painting depicting Christ just prior to his death emphasizes the violence the LGBTQIA+ community continues to endure, especially as their rights are increasingly at risk due to the current presidential administration’s discriminatory language and policies.

This exhibition closes 1/4/20.