Last week was the Upper East Side, now I’ll cover the best of what I’ve seen in Chelsea and the Lower East Side, again in order of what I liked the most. There are a bunch of new shows, and I haven’t made it to all of them, but here’s the ones I’ve liked thus far.
Vik Muniz is one of the hotter photographers right now for good reason, and this show proves why – because he’s speaking to our culture’s pastiche-making, copying and nostalgia all at the same time through the medium, by creating collages that make up a bigger picture. His “nostalgia postcards” series stand out for their multi-color takes on iconic, now ruined sites (the WTC for example), but my favorites are the family photo album collages such as “Car” in the photo here.
Canvases pained to resemble note-pad paper, with dreamscape images exploding from the page, all with not-so-subtle environmental apocalypse messaging and plenty of surrealistic dream touches, accompanied by rotting fruit on cat-scratch poles and vibrantly colored carpets. What more could you want?
Longo re-creates 12 abstract expressionist masterpieces in B&W charcoal paintings. Detailed, very much duplicates of the originals as studied in museums and through photographs. Make sure to flip through the Longo catalogues while at the gallery, as they represent some amazing past work by the artist. Pretty and pretty nice.
Joel Otterson 1980s and 1990s at Elizabeth Dee (link is to Time Out since the gallery’s website sucks so bad)
Joel Otterson is just one half of this show with Ryan Trecartin, but steals the show with his pre-steampunk sculptures. Of course steal a show from the much over-hyped Trecartin is pretty simple, and gets simpler when you were as flash-forward thinking and fun-making as Otterson. See the show, but avoid the gallery’s website which is a disaster. Every gallery’s website makes restaurant websites look ghastly (and those are among the worst), but this one doesn’t even work.
One of two shows right now where the venue is as interesting as the art. Gagosian took over an old Chase branch on Delancey St and turned it into a gallery. It’s hard to find, still looks like a bank (with the neon Chase sign inside and out), contains the old safes and is now filled with debaucherous art from Urs Fischer and his collaborators. These clay sculptures (now bronze) were made collaboratively with 1500 other people in 2013 in California. From Mermaids to pig-fucking, yes really, you find something new in every room. Someone finally did something appropriate with the Chase brand.
Hewitt’s gigantic police station/abandoned store-front sculptures are an interesting companion piece to the ongoing NSA spying disaster, and make for interesting contemplation with their surveillance cameras capturing empty-ness. Detailed work, including detritus in the back alleys remind me of former East German ruins – another state brought down (in part) by its over-zealous capturing of data. What’s real? What’s fake? Definitely topics on your mind after this exhibit.
The art in this show is good, but the real reason to visit is to see Abreu’s new gallery in this block-long loft warehouse building. Amazing space with so much potential, and a great inaugural show. Pumhoesl is up to some cerebral art with these 12 paintings based on ancient rabbinical maps, and 6 more based on Georgian letters. Austere, minimalist and way above my head, but I believe the press release which explains it like this: “Pumhösl’s restaging of these sources exploits the threshold between the referent and the space of the image.” Yep, and what better way to investigate a new space on the artistic map.