Charles Atlas: Joints Array at the New Museum
Atlas, an innovative video maker who is less known within his home base of New York than elsewhere, is currently showing a multi-channel portrait of his friend, collaborator and muse, the late Merce Cunningham. Close-ups of the dancer’s elbows, ankles, wrists and knees from Atlas’s archive populate the lobby gallery and silently sing their majestic song. A major new work by an important artist, not to be missed.
Through August 28th.
Discursive Arrangements, or Stubbornly Persistent Illusions at Klaus von Nichtssagend
A summer group show that takes a quote from Einstein as its jumping off point: “the distinction between past, present and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Thomas and Renée Rapedius contribute a memorable assemblage of photos and Xeroxes entitled Blätterraschen (2010) and I’ve yet to see a painting by Mathew Cerletty that didn’t resound for me. His Winkie’s (2010) is no exception. Other featured artists include Devon Costello, Timothy Hull, Ryan Mrozowski, Sean Raspet, Ruby Sky Stiler, Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton, and Allyson Vieira. This whip smart exhibition is curated by Timothy Hull and Lumi Tan.
Through August 14th
Tyson Reeder at Daniel Reich
Affable dealer Daniel Reich has reportedly extended this show of winning paintings by gallery artist Reeder through the end of August. Reeder likes to be known as a “fabulist” painter, and he successfully melds humor and history. The artist’s eccentric color choices never fail to intrigue, and his child-like handling of portraiture is nevertheless knowing and assured. Munch, Picasso and Picabia are all in the house.
Through August 30th
Eva Rothschild in Central Park
Through the auspices of Public Art Fund, Irish artist Rothschild has created a magical site-specific forest-like sculpture that evokes Tim Burton and a Louise Bourgeois spider in equal measure. Like all good sculptural installations, the outdoor Empire begs to be touched, and watching children hug these colorful artistic poles is a brief but satisfying summertime treat.
On view through August 28th at the entrance to the park on 5th Avenue and 60th Street.
Through August 19th
Colorific! at Postmasters
Despite the hair salon-sounding title, the current exhibition at Postmasters has a lot going for it. Subtitled “We Make An Art Rainbow,” the many works in this exhibition (organized by Paulina Bebecka) are hung salon style and arranged according to hue, with a ROY G. BIV scheme in the front gallery and Gray scale in the rear. 26 artists have contributed one or more works, with many participants selected from the gallery’s stable. What might have been merely silly as a concept makes for an entertaining art search. In the red section, look for the photographic image by a Southern heir to Diane Arbus–Chris Verene–titled CALLING OUT THE ANIMALS AT HER MOTHER’S GRAVE (2004). Disregard William Powhida’s pseudo-bitter, insider and lengthy one-liners, and go to the green wall to spend some time with Guy Ben-Ner’s wacky and wise 2003 video Elia-A Story of an Ostrich Chick, a portion of which can be viewed here. http://www.postmastersart.com/archive/rainbow11/ELIA2min.mov
Through August 19th
The View from a Volcano: The Kitchen’s Soho Years, 1971-85
Sometimes the past actually deserves to be romanticized. As a part of its 40th Anniversary commemoration, The Kitchen–one of the earliest and most influential spaces for video, film, performance, dance and visual artistry–is presenting a true retrospective that features some of the titans of a significant era. The exhibition includes video, audio and print documentation from the likes of Vito Acconci, Cindy Sherman, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Christian Marclay, Sonic Youth, Lucinda Childs and Bill T. Jones, to name just a few. Although I can certainly remember when Soho was the center of the art world and not merely a shopping mall, this documented era is slightly before even my time. Like most who visit The Kitchen, I was richly rewarded by what I encountered.
Through Saturday August 7th
“Middle Age” at Leo Castelli
It would be difficult not to take note of a show that included work by Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Oona Stern, Diana Kingsley, Lawrence Wiener and Erwin Wurm even if I weren’t pushing fifty. I was pleased to discover that this exhibition has just the right mix of pathos and semi-dignified resignation. Kingsley is the curator and is also one of the artists on display in the exhibition. Her concept for the show is brilliant, dense, heartfelt and worth quoting in its entirety:
“It would seem that middle age, with its attendant sloppy dramas and anxieties (adultery, divorce, career stagnation, bitter failure, obscene success), is the stuff of novels and endless Sunday magazine articles, not a place for the fundamentally youth-driven art world, obsessed as it is with “the new.” But the art world is rife with artists trafficking in this murky realm, where mortality plays such a central role. All manner of dysfunction, resignation, sublimated desires, and yearning abound, as do more benign, quotidian concerns (enter the pathos of real estate, home décor and design addictions). The creeping desire for order out of this chaos has in fact informed art for centuries.”
Erwin Wurm’s silver snowman-like homage to fat accumulation and Richard Pettibone’s conservative necktie painting are highlights. Well worth the jaunt uptown.
Through August 12th.
Nancy Grossman at PS1
It is newsworthy whenever a seventy-something artist still gives good sculpture. For the exhibition entitled “Heads,” PS1 has corralled fourteen of the artist’s seminal S/M- and Vietnam War-inspired sculptures from the 60s and 70s. The blocks of wood in the shape of human male heads are rendered blind and mute by the stylish oppression of black leather. I understood that these sculptures had zippers and sheen but I hadn’t had the opportunity to examine those in the series that sported horns or African-American features. Each one is actual size and larger than life. A truly rare opportunity to see these underrated masterworks.
Through August 15th.
“Ostalgia” at The New Museum
Upstairs from Charles Atlas’s Joints Array at our vital New Museum is one of the most inspired exhibitions currently on display in New York. The museum’s densely layered paean to art and society through a rubric of Communism is titled Ostalgia. It features everything from black and white photography to sound art. We’re told that the title comes from the German word ostalgie, a term that emerged in the 1990s to describe a sense of longing for the era prior to the collapse of the Communist Bloc. Clearly, this moving exhibition is about the generational and the geographic. Several images of Eastern humanity in the show make one wonder how things might be different if those portrayed knew how conservative, classist, clumsy and c-c-c-corporate many in The West really are.
Through September 25th
Lyle Ashton Harris: Self/Portrait at The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Large, sepia-toned photographic portraits shot over a ten-year period with one of the world’s few large-format Polaroid cameras. These “Chocolate Polaroids,” as the artist has dubbed them, are as regal and iconic as images by August Sander. Forget the comparison to Chuck Close’s similar studies; Ashton Harris has created a sort of contemporary Stonehenge in two-dimensional form.
Through October 23rd