Janet Biggs: The Arctic Trilogy
11 February – 12 March 2011
Biggs’s video-making chops are matched only by her balls. Routinely placing herself in physical peril to realize her films – say, in a cramped crawlspace underneath a glacier or on the prow of a 100-year old schooner in the Arctic – the artist mines the emotional core of her proud, often silent and solitary protagonists. The on-location videos have no dialogue and therefore avoid the dryness of a documentary. In Fade to White (2010), Renaissance man John Kelly, looking lean in white like an icicle, sings a doleful acapella aria while reaching out slightly in front of himself as if for a bouquet of roses that never comes. Viewing the three videos in this exhibition, one comes away with the feeling that everything in the world is terrifying but indelibly poetic.
Drawn from Photography
18 February – 31 March 2011
The Drawing Center
The exhibition features 13 artists who are drawn to photography for all its abilities and shortcomings. The alchemy taking place between the unseen source materials and the renderings here is meticulous and yet still holds its mystery. Highlights include a graph paper drawing of NYC’s Macy’s department store (based a photograph taken from The Empire State Building a few blocks away) by Ewan Gibbs and Andrea Bowers’s images of activists involved in Non Violent Protest Training.
17 February – 26 March 2011
Wood’s domestic portraits and still lives are full of offbeat color and unsentimental sentiments. The paintings and drawings are hung salon style and often depict locations from the artist’s past. His pop-cubist planes are quirky and his storytelling memorable.
Martin Kersels: Charms, Stacks & Flotsam
4 February – 12 March 2011
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
It’s been ten years since big, big, nice guy Martin Kersels has had a solo show in New York. He is not one with a Los Angeles chip on his shoulder about New York…and it’s a treat to have him back, if only temporarily. Book sculptures on plinths, a large model plane and a nearly decapitated clown with a head that spins are surrounded by colored pencil drawings from his “Flotsam” series. Theatrical, humorous and smart.
3 February – 5 March 2011
Some critics pile praise on portraiture. A few curators are heavily into any art which features nudity. I happen to be a sucker for text- based works. Trey Speegle, a darling of fashion world cognoscenti and an artist unashamed to make art-lite for the marketplace, creates kitschy paint-by-number paintings with deadpan aphorisms blocked out. “It’s Not About You,” and “It’s Later Than You Think,” appear over clown paintings or The Last Supper. “Why Can’t You Just Be Nice” nearly obliterates a Koonsian background of kitties and flowers. Not conceptually rigorous, but compelling nonetheless.
Malevich and the American Legacy
3 March – 30 April 2011
Looking forward to this singular exhibition of rarely seen works by the suprematist master. Art hog/businessman Gagosian collaborated with the heirs of the estate (whatever that means) to bring together six “pivotal” paintings for exhibit in his Madison Avenue space.
Marcel Dzama: Behind Every Curtain
17 February – 19 March 2011
As a longtime fan of Dzama’s drawing and their sculptural incarnations, I was excited to see the artist taking it to the next level, as they say. The installation is a kind of gesamtwerk that features his warring comic book characters and Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet-inspired kinetic sculptures based on Dzama’s own film, A Game of Chess, playing in the gallery. The carousel of tripping puppet actors is alone worth a visit.
Minor Cropping May Occur (selected diaries 1962-2011)
17 February – 19 March 2011
Lombard Fried Projects
Across the street from Zwirner is a group exhibition of the photographic work of thirteen international artists, including Janine Gordon, Motoyuki Daifu, Takashi Homma, and the much admired Swiss photographer, Walter Pfeiffer. The groupings here are startling not for their nudity or implied violence as much as for their intimacy. Nick Waplington’s color domestic tableaux from his “Living Room” series are like mini-movies. Family snaps by JH Engstrom depict moments that are random, private and somehow universal.
9 February – 26 March 2011
By now, most have encountered the work of the late Swiss photographer, as there have been several exhibitions of Weinberger’s photographs worldwide, and his subjects’ style has been copied by nearly everyone in the world of fashion, from Steven Meisel to Martin Margiela. The Swiss Institute has coupled vintage prints of the artist’s fashion-conscious troublemaking Euro-teens with the artist’s earlier closeted gay beefcake images. Perhaps most interesting is the inclusion of the actual vintage items of quirky clothing worn by the unwitting tastemakers. (A concurrent show at Anna Kustera Gallery focuses on the color photographs by Weinberger. www.annakustera.com)
24 February – 2 April 2011
The new abstracts in the exhibition play with layers and color in magnificent ways. Optical trickery compliments an intense, strangely ordered chaos created by Dodge. His paintings wring texture and import from all kinds of stripes, and display a nearly complete lack of curves. Highly recommended.