Art and About in August

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 07/18/2012

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August spells the dog days of summer in NYC, when brunch lines get shorter, subway seats get easier to find, tabloid stories get sillier and the rhythm of the city gets more languid (mind you, only by a little). So nothing epitomizes the dog days more literally than a Chelsea art exhibition called Dogma, where, through August 10, a live dog plays dead on a Persian rug in the middle of Metro Pictures gallery. The show, which traces and illustrates the relationship between humans and dogs since ancient times, features a mostly male group of contemporary artists that includes Dieter Roth, Olaf Breuning, Martin Kippenberger and Christopher Wool, examining the significance of man’s best friend.

New York in August is the playground of younger folks who—whether by choice, budgetary constraints or enrollment in local universities—stay firmly planted in the five boroughs to enjoy the warmer days and nights. Appropriately, art programming this August seems especially attuned to youth or a youthful spirit. At the Museum of Modern Art, Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist's Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets, a retrospective of the  Quay Brothers  beginning on August 12, illustrates how the identical twin Brothers Quay, as they are known, combine an unrivaled skill in stop-motion puppet animation with a masterful miniaturization to exceed Tim Burton’s and Wes Anderson’s wildest dreams. In the museum’s second-floor gallery, a comprehensive screening of the duo’s animated and live-action films will be shown alongside installations, objects and works on paper. Across town at Meulensteen is Young Curators, New Ideas IV, a show that occupies the main gallery, project space and downstairs area of the gallery, where more-established artists like Jeffrey Vallance coexist easily with new work from relative newcomers like Jeni Spota. Recent graduate Miranda Pissarides shows expanding foam-and-pigment sculptures that stand nearly six feet tall.

Because August gives a chance for younger voices like Pissarides’ to be heard, it's not a surprise to see more off-kilter exhibitions and self-referential shows rise to the surface. Until August 10, David Zwirner hosts a show that means exactly what it says: People Who Work Here is a group show by artists who also work at the gallery. It’s curated by their gallery colleagues James Morrill and Chris Rawson, who run the Brooklyn-based Rawson Projects in their spare time. And on view until August 26, Spies in the House of Art, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pulls from its permanent collection of photography, film and video to illustrate how museums themselves have influenced the subject matter and psychology of art throughout history.

Old-timers may have their own Summer of Love–like flashbacks at Jim Marshall: The Rolling Stones and Beyond, the Steven Kasher Gallery’s show of photographs by Jim Marshall, who went on assignment by Life magazine in 1972 to document the tour of the Rolling Stones after they recorded their definitive album, Exile on Main Street. Christer Strömholm’s Les Amies de Place Blanche at the International Center of Photography, meanwhile, documents the transgender community in the Red Light District in Paris during the conservative Charles de Gaulle administration—post World War II, pre-1968. (A wall of Weegee photos at an adjacent exhibition, some of which depict men being arrested for cross-dressing, is an eerie contrast.)

Although the Gagosian Gallery usually goes dark in August, the Upper East Side flagship location is using the opportunity to show one work each from two heavyweights: Robert Ryman, who expands on his white-painting reputation with A Painting in Four Parts, and Bruce Nauman, whose One Hundred Fish Fountain is one of the largest works he has made. Reinstalled here after a 2005 debut in Chicago, the piece is made up of 97 fish that Nauman caught in the Midwestern Great Lakes, cast in bronze and spurting water from holes punctured in the individual sculptures.

Completing this month’s whimsical emphasis on creatures of land and sea, at the Lever House, the Bruce High Quality Foundation—one of the City’s best art collectives—presents Art History with Labor, which erects a bronze monument to Scabby the Rat, the inflatable rodent that union members have used since the early 1990s to picket offending businesses. And no less irreverently ominous or beady-eyed is Anne Chu’s contribution to Playing House, the site-specific installations in the historic rooms of the Brooklyn Museum, on view until August 26, that attempt to illustrate how Americans have lived throughout the years. In the center of the Moorish Smoking Room she has placed one of her “Birds of Prey”: a vulture, draped in scarlet embroidered fabric, looking hungry and perfectly poised to pounce—if she only could—on that pooch playing dead on the fancy rug in the gallery across the East River.

Briefly Noted
The Perfect Storm
Julie Saul Gallery
Through August 17
Perfectly timed to the onset of the late-summer hurricane season is this group show centering on disasters of the natural and manmade kind. Works from artists such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Julie Heffernan, Bill Jacobson, Sarah Anne Johnson, Kim Keever, Shai Kremer, Lori Nix, Yuki Shingai and others explore the devastation and anxiety created by these occasions while harnessing the magnetic attraction to the unsettling beauty of destruction.

Lunch Hour NYC 
New York Public Library
Through February 17, 2013
In a city defined by speed and convenience, this exhibition covers what Webster called that “slight repast between breakfast and dinner.” This brief but thorough history of the evolution of lunch in New York traces classic city food from pretzels to pizza to pastrami.

Phillips de Pury
Through August 31
Drawing literally on the famous mental test by psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, this group of works includes masters like Joseph Cornell and Andy Warhol along with up-and-coming artists like Sara Greenberger Rafferty—offering small windows into their own psyche, if you dare to look.

Edouard Vuillard: A Painter and his Muses, 1890-1940
The Jewish Museum
Through September 23
This acolyte of Paul Gauguin at the turn of the century Impressionist Paris has been given an elegant show of more than 50 works dating from the early 1890s to the mid-1900s, offering a rare, intimate glimpse inside the elite social circles of fin de siècle Paris.

Andrea von Bujdoss aka Queen Andrea: Typograff
Fuse Gallery
Through August 8
The New York native creates a vibrant synthesis of typography and graffiti in her first solo show at the gallery hidden down a long narrow hallway inside East Village dive bar Lit. The pieces mark a distinctive contrast between the hand-scrawled scribbles inside, and outside, the club.

Making American Taste: Narrative Art for a New Democracy
The New-York Historical Society
Through September 9
This timely exhibition includes several Civil War masterpieces like Return of the 69th (Irish) Regiment, N.Y.S.M. from the Seat of War, which contains enough characters for a semester of history. But even more interestingly, it details the many ways in which these early settlers aspired to be as culturally refined as their forefathers.

Ada Bobonis: Stages, Mountains, Water
Queens Museum of Art
Through January 6, 2013
As part of Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, Ada Bobonis’s exhibition at Queens Museum of Art looks at a very specific time in history—the building of the Panama Canal—for her environment that renders the steamy summer landscape of Central America in coolly minimal compositions.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    Metro Pictures
    519 W 24th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  2. 2
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 3
    Gagosian Gallery
    522 W 21st St
    Multiple Locations
    NY 10011
  1. 4
    International Center of Photography
    250 Bowery
    Manhattan – NoLIta
    NY 10012
  2. 5
    Queens Museum
    New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
    Queens – Flushing
    NY 11368
  3. 6
    The Met
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  1. 7
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  2. 8
    The Jewish Museum
    1109 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  3. 9
    The New-York Historical Society
    170 Central Park West
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024

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