Art and About in August

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 07/23/2013

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The city hosts fantastic outdoor performances all summer long, but this month, you can hear some pretty great tunes inside, and at some unexpected spaces to boot. On August 10, the Museum of Modern Art opens Soundings: A Contemporary Score, an exhibition of 16 sound artists from across the globe. The show weaves both sound and sculpture into physical objects—whether it’s Norwegian artist Jana Winderen’s row of speakers that broadcast audible noises from flying bats and underwater insects, or Marco Fusinato’s punk-rock influenced drawings set on top of avant-garde music scores—that end up becoming surround-sound versions of their recorded parts. Another unique opportunity from the world of music occurs at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, where Afrika Bambaataa, considered to be the godfather of hip-hop for his pioneering of electro-funk and break-beat deejaying, is archiving his record collection, live, through August 10. Before the archive moves to its permanent home at Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection, the "Planet Rock" musician will sort, organize and deejay his record collection at the gallery.


Still from "Music While We Work" (2011), by Hong-Kai Wang. Courtesy, the artist/Museum of Modern Art


Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records Open Archive. Courtesy, Boo-Hooray and Gavin Brown's enterprise. Photo: Thomas Mueller

If Bambaataa’s record collection is a trip back to the South Bronx musical landscape of the late 1970s, LaToya Ruby Frazier: A Haunted Capital, on view at the Brooklyn Museum through August 11, is a harrowing portrait of the decline of the community in Braddock, Pennsylvania, in the 1980s and '90s. Consisting of approximately 40 photographs on the second floor of the museum, the show depicts members of Frazier’s family, especially her grandmother and mother, in stark black-and-white images that serve as a counterpoint to the decayed buildings and hospitals near where they lived. The portraits found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s survey of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, opening August 19, have a different tincture: Cameron, one of the earliest portraitists in the photographic medium, was also an early experimenter, using light, focus, resolution and movement to affect her pictures in a very contemporary way, even though some of the images are almost 150 years old.


"Be of Our Space World" (2010), by Robert Pruitt, on view at the Studio Museum Harlem. Courtesy, the artist and Hooks-Epstein Galleries

A similar spirit infuses the Studio Museum in Harlem’s exhibition Robert Pruitt: Women, where the young Houston-based artist has installed nearly 20 large-scale drawings of black women that draw on a variety of influences, from science fiction, which shows up in subjects with super-large afros, to comic book–style treatments with dramatic shadows and colorful patterns. You could trace his influences back to the American Folk Art Museum, where beloved artist Bill Traylor receives a long-overdue retrospective that spotlights more than 60 of the drawings and paintings—some of the greatest in American art history, period—that the Alabama-based former slave created in the 1940s during the ten-year period before his death. 

One of the greatest children’s book authors in American history gets his due this month: Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work will be on view at the Society of Illustrators through August 17. See previously unpublished artwork from Where The Wild Things Are along with rarely seen drawings and even photographs from the wildly popular author, who also made posters and other designs for commercial and theater clients in addition to his books, which also include the revolutionary Open House for Butterflies and In the Night Kitchen. The whimsical creative drive meets the natural world in the exhibition Something About a Tree, at the Flag Art Foundation. Art critic Linda Yablonsky curates a show organized around almost 50 artists who had the impulse to create trees, collecting scores of examples from a diverse group that includes Ugo Rondinone, Tacita Dean, Cyprien Gaillard, Sherrie Levine, Charles Ray and R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe. 

At Arsenal Gallery, Land Art Generator Initiative: Freshkills Park offers a view of the massive Staten Island park that was once the world’s largest landfill and is here imagined as the host for 25 site-specific public artworks that marry conceptual beauty with the ability to harness natural energy and convert it into electricity for the utility grid (through August 30). But if you want to go visit that borough’s current parks, try Tappen Park, where the artist Karlis Rekevics has installed a public piece entitled All-Too-Familiar Tangle, that draws on overlooked types of infrastructure like bridge supports, store facades and scaffolding to create abstracted versions of landmark buildings on the island.  


"Palm #53, Los Angeles, 2005," by George Haas, on view at Flag Art Foundation. Courtesy, the artist

Two exhibitions of California artists who came of age, artistically, in the 1960s, are worth checking out: The long-overdue retrospective of West Coast painter and musician Llyn Foulkes, at the New Museum, provides more than 100 works from his long and productive career, which ranges from cool western landscapes to emotional, sometimes confrontational portraits. The show also includes his recent narrative tableaux, which blend painting with found materials, creating a remarkable illusion of depth. Robert Arneson, the leader of the ceramic Funk movement in art, has a show of his early work at David Zwirner through August 9, where 20 of the artist’s seldom-seen experiments in lowbrow humor, shocking elements and nontraditional materials combine to form a score that exceeds the sum of its signature notes.

Briefly Noted
Hair and Skin 
Derek Eller Gallery
Through August 15
Consider this group show as part scientific experiment: Organized around the concept of "physical empathy," curator Isaac Lyles has installed work from the likes of Daniel Gordon, Louise Bourgeois and Hans Bellmer that's designed, through the presentation of bodily extremes, to evoke an emotional, visceral response in the viewer. 

Summer Group Shows
Lehmann Maupin (both locations)
Through August 16
At the gallery’s Chelsea location, new drawings by Hernan Bas, oil and egg tempera paintings by Anne Chu and porcelain sculptures by Klara Kristalova are among the works that create a show fusing fantasy and reality in provocative and imaginative ways. At the Lower East Side gallery, Mary Corse, Teresita Fernández and Maya Lin explore innovative materials and technologies in a variety of visual formats.


"Tennis [Diptych]" (1976), by Mac Adams. Courtesy, the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York

Mac Adams: Crimes of Perception
Elizabeth Dee
Through August 9
The Welsh artist has been lumped in with various art movements since the 1960s—Fluxus, Narrative, Conceptual, Soft—but one constant since the '80s has been the precision of his film noir–inflected photographs and heavy emphasis on shadows.  

What Are You Looking For?
247365 Gallery
Ongoing
Emerging artists Annie Pearlman, Al Freeman, Adrianne Rubenstein and others join forces for a show in the newly christened "Donut District," a vibrant new creative community near Red Hook in Brooklyn. 

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    Gavin Brown Gallery
    620 Greenwich St
    NY 10014
  2. 2
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  1. 4
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  2. 5
    The Studio Museum in Harlem
    144 W. 125th St.
    Manhattan – Harlem
    NY 10027
  3. 6
    American Folk Art Museum
    2 Lincoln Square
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023
  1. 7
    FLAG Art Foundation
    545 W 25th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY
  2. 8
    Arsenal Gallery in Central Park
    830 Fifth Ave
    New York – Central Park
    NY 10021
  3. 9
    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002

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