NYC Art Calendar
Arts & Entertainment
by James Gaddy, 12/23/2015
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You could call it a "freaks and geeks" kind of winter: this season the Brooklyn Museum hails the essential weirdness of Coney Island and the New-York Historical Society celebrates the Internet pioneers and digital engineers of days gone by. But the style set is never left out in the cold: the wardrobe of Countess Jacqueline de Ribes is on view at the Met, while Jackson Pollock and Yoko Ono shows lend an added dose of celebrity. And with the Met's takeover of the Breuer building, the former home of the Whitney Museum, there's a sense of rebirth happening already.
Through January 16
James Welling: Choreograph at David Zwirner
Welling put black-and-white photographs of dancers through a series of digital modifications to give them the effect of multiple exposures for this exhibition. He also employed other Photoshop techniques for the show. Elsewhere, architectural settings and landscapes seep in and out of the frame, giving the whole enterprise a natural rhythm—all while the subject matter remains faintly visible in its altered state.
Through January 23
Yoko Ono: The Riverbed at Andrea Rosen Gallery and through January 29 at Galerie Lelong
Don't worry if you missed Ono's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art this past summer—the boundary-pushing artist has installed two simultaneous shows at different galleries, both of which encourage audience participation. For the exhibition, she's piled large river stones that you can pick up, hold and use as meditation tools. Other instructions invite you to repair broken vessels with glue or string, creating a store of objects that have absorbed the emotions of those who have touched them.
Through January 30
Jane Freilicher: Themes and Variations at Tibor de Nagy Gallery
This is the first show of Jane Freilicher's work since the painter's death in 2014, and it's a hodgepodge of pieces: one, from 1987, is a still life of an orchid and figurine on the sill of a Manhattan balcony; another, from 2011, is a lineup of flowers set in vases against a window that frames the skyline. In between, there are clear-eyed landscapes from the 1970s contrasted with blurrier paintings from different eras that depict bougainvillea, hydrangea and daisies.
Through February 21
Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style at the Met Museum Costume Institute
This show, a tribute to one of the most fashionable people of the 20th century, holds roughly 60 ensembles from the countess' collection, going as far back as 1962. Included are designs from Marc Bohan for Dior, plus others from her friend Yves Saint Laurent and a young Valentino.
Through February 28
Swedish Wooden Toys at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery
No matter what toys you loved as a kid, this exhibition allows you to imagine what fun it would have been to grow up in Sweden, whose wooden amusements include a Brio dachshund pull toy from the late 1950s and a Playsam Streamliner Rally (a small, glossy car) from the mid-1980s. Also on view: educational tools like a Mexican stacking toy that helps improve hand-eye coordination and a variety of sleds, skis and skates—specifically designed to alleviate the doldrums of winter, the longest season of Sweden's year.
Through March 13
Jackson Pollock: A Survey at the Museum of Modern Art
Nearly 50 works—all from the museum's collection—will be on view for this intimate look at Pollock's experiments in the late 1930s and '40s. The culmination? The masterpiece One: Number 31, 1950, which cemented his status as leader of the abstract expressionists (whose influence signaled New York City's increased prominence in the art world).
Through March 13
Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008 at the Brooklyn Museum
Sodom by the Sea. Electric Eden. Over the years Coney Island has had some positively scriptural nicknames—and true to the show's title, this collection of paintings and photographs end up taking on biblical proportions. A carnival air links most of the artifacts. Among them: a 2-foot-square metal sign bearing Steeplechase Park's "Funny Face" logo and an elaborately detailed carousel horse. Other works pay homage to the vocabulary of so-called freak show culture in more subdued, though no less impactful, ways.
Through March 23
Photo-Poetics: An Anthology at the Guggenheim Museum
Seventy different works document a new movement in photography: a largely studio-based approach that prizes still-life objects, conceptual reference points, trompe l'oeil techniques and printed items (books, magazines, record covers) that serve as subject matter in themselves. The 10 emerging artists surveyed in this exhibition enhance the materiality of their photographs with a variety of printing techniques.
Through March 27
Unorthodox at the Jewish Museum
The title plays on the "orthodox" descriptor used to define a traditional approach to Judaism, but this exhibition is not explicitly related to religion. Rather, it collects an exhilarating mix of more than 200 works by artists—some Jewish, many not—from around the world: black-and-white photographs by German conceptualist Julius Koller, sculptures by Illinois artist Diane Simpson, glazed ceramics by New York City's Alice Mackler and cartoons by Swedish filmmaker Marie-Louise Ekman. Other artists come from locales as far-flung as Cape Town, Tokyo and Queens.
Through April 4
Steve McCurry: India at the Rubin Museum of Art
See India as you never have outside of National Geographic. For this exhibition, photographer McCurry has collected some of his most enduring images of the country. It’s a mix of the dazzling and mundane, including scenes in the so-called Blue City of Jodhpur; outside the Taj Mahal; festivals such as Kumbh Mela and Holi; monsoons in Porbandar; and religious sites in Rajasthan and Amritsar.
Through April 17
Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York at the New-York Historical Society
For all the talk of Silicon Valley, this exhibition shows that much of the groundwork for the computer age was laid in New York City. Even before the 1964–65 World's Fair, when the designer Eero Saarinen built a 90-foot-tall pavilion that served as many Americans' introduction to computer logic, the City was the home of engineers for Bell Labs and IBM. Check out prototypes of vacuum tubes, punch cards and transistors, plus archives and oral histories from the people who were here when the digital revolution began.
Through May 7
Denim: Fashion's Frontier at The Museum at FIT
If your sartorial preferences run closer to jeans than gowns, you'll enjoy this chance to learn about the rise of the simple woven cotton known as denim. The fabric began as workwear for gold seekers in 19th-century California and evolved to become a worldwide fashion staple, worn by (an estimated) half the global population on any given day. The show includes samples of a pair of work pants from the 1830s, a chic women's suit from the 1910s and "Rosie the Riveter"–style jumpsuits from the World War II era, along with 1970s leisure suits and high-fashion creations by Ralph Lauren and others from the 1980s to now.
January 8–February 6
Ilse D'Hollander at Sean Kelly Gallery
This Belgian artist has had few exhibitions in the United States since her tragic death in 1997—the most recent was part of a group show at David Zwirner in summer 2014—but there's a full accounting of her 10-year body of work here: small canvases containing abstract, semi-geometric, quasi-spiritual landscapes of her native Flemish countryside. They're painted with delicate muted colors and overlapping layers of brushstrokes that look as if made by a trembling hand.
March 18–September 4
Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible at The Met Breuer
When is a painting finished? The first exhibition in the former home of the Whitney Museum aims to answer that question. The newly acquired wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is now named for its architect, Marcel Breuer. The inaugural show of 190 pieces runs from the Renaissance to the present, showing how all kinds of artists—Titian, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Louise Bourgeois and Jackson Pollock, to name a few—address the notion of when a work is finally complete.