Art and About in April

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 03/21/2012

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In a city as big as New York, where it seems like the loudest voices are the voices that tend to be heard, sometimes the most powerful statements end up being the simplest. It's something that Brooklyn-born sculptor Bill Bollinger understood, and, beginning on April 22, SculptureCenter in Queens will host the first-ever retrospective of the nearly forgotten master, whose work in the late 1960s and early '70s—which included common items like twin wheelbarrows filled with water, an unrolled chain-link fence fanned into a spiral and ropes stretched with steel tension hooks—was as radical as any artist working at the time. Meanwhile, through April 21, David Zwirner features a compilation of works from Fred Sandback, who died in 2003. Decades showcases how the artist, who began his career using metal wire and elastic cord, created delicate interactions in space with acrylic yarn in various colors stretched in horizontal, vertical and diagonal directions.

Through April 28, Brazilian artist Iran do Espírito Santo is showing three new works at Sean Kelly Gallery that also use minimalist techniques, but for very different results. For example, in the show SWITCH, a new hand-painted, site-specific wall installation, seen for the first time in New York, employs miniscule, gradual differences between black and white to visually trick the viewer's eye into thinking that there's depth even though the wall is flat. A few blocks south, at the Morgan Lehman Gallery, artist Ryan Wallace's Cusp exhibition opens on April 19 and includes recent works like Omega Point, which similarly creates a visual vanishing point using only basic colors, and Atlas, in which tiny strips of ephemera are layered vertically to create a thick palette of texture, form and color. 

Over at the High Line, British artist and illustrator David Shrigley brings his potent mix of black humor and dry wit told using low-fi methods that, while not exactly minimal, make for a devastating effect. His drawing How Are You Feeling?, consisting of scrawled black text in white bubbles and a black background, will be on view on a giant billboard at West 18th Street, overlooking the elevated park, starting on April 5. A study in contrasts is at The Jewish Museum, where African-American artist Kehinde Wiley—known for his paintings of hip-hop stars like Ice-T, LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane in European painterly poses against patterned backgrounds—goes against type with The World Stage: Israel, an ambitious collection of paintings that depicts young men from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds living in Israel. 

Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945, on view at Japan Society, includes ceramics, furniture, jewelry, sculpture and ephemera like posters, postcards, even sheet music that expressed the art deco style of the era. One such visual aesthetic from the time was the moga, or "the modern girl," who emerged as an emblem of contemporary urban chic in Japan's pre-war years. Youthquake! The 1960s Fashion Revolution, which closes at The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) on April 7, explores an urban chic of more recent vintage: the style of mods and hippies, two subcultures that rejected traditional norms of clothing and were subsequently appropriated by mass markets and the mainstream as a whole. 

Liz Magic Laser subverts mainstream appeal in far different ways in her most recent exhibition, at Derek Eller Gallery through April 21. The artist is notorious for overtaking parts of the City and integrating them into her works—she's filmed a Bertolt Brecht play at various bank ATMs around NYC; another "play" took place in Times Square as various actors reenacted chase scenes from famous movies like The Shining, Scream and The Wizard of Oz. The architecture/design firm Solid Objects – Idenburg Liu (SO – IL) integrates the City in a different way in Transhistoria, the third edition of stillspotting nyc, which is put on by the Guggenheim Museum. SO – IL commissioned Queens-affiliated writers to create personal stories about coming from another place and finding a home in Jackson Heights. The stories will be retold in self-guided tours on April 14 and 15, 21 and 22, and 28 and 29 as part of a series that explores how to find calm and inner peace in a bustling environment like New York City.

Briefly Noted
Les Biches
Through April 15
A group of works by Saâdane Afif, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Dorian Gaudin and Allison Katz could be a reference to the classic French film by Claude Chabrol or the even more classic Francis Poulenc ballet—both of which parody contemporary sexual mores.

Bryan Zanisnik: Every Inch a Man
Franklin Furnace
Through May 6
This five-week-long performance consists of the artist reading Philip Roth's least-known work, The Great American Novel, from 1 to 6pm Thursday through Sunday, encased in a life-size glass tank and surrounded by baseball cards, photographs and theatrical set pieces. 

Dave Hardy
Regina Rex
Through April 8
In case you missed Dave Hardy's sculptures stacked on beds in the Comfort Inn on the Lower East Side during the Dependent art fair, these elegantly wrought panes of glass and slabs of foam—one of which was wedged between the ceiling and a generator—use their own leverage and weight to remain steady.

A.K. Burns: Pregnant Patron Penny Pot
Callicoon Fine Arts
Through April 15
The artist, a co-editor of trans-feminist magazine Randy, uses her first solo exhibition to showcase sculptures covered in Formica in front of a series of fabric pieces hung limply on the wall, using imagery sourced from the New York Public Library.

Andy Coolquitt
Lisa Cooley 
Through May 6
Known primarily for a house, which he started while earning his master's at the University of Texas at Austin, Andy Coolquitt's junkyard sculptures give the impression of an incomplete construction site, where pieces are leaned against the walls, huddled in corners and/or arranged in formal positions on the floor.

related venues/(6)

  1. 1
    44-19 Purves St.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11101
  2. 2
    The High Line
    Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10011
  3. 3
    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  1. 4
    Japan Society
    333 E. 47th St.
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10017
  2. 5
    Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)
    Seventh Ave. at 27th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001
  3. 6
    Derek Eller Gallery
    615 W 27th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10001

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