Art and About in February 2013

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 01/15/2013

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What's old is cool again this month in New York City, as museums look to the past for clues to the present. But not too far back: on February 13, the New Museum debuts NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, a show that will reconstruct installations and exhibitions from that seminal year in culture—including Nari Ward's Amazing Grace, which was originally built in an abandoned Harlem fire station—alongside works from authors who were influential at the time. Other artists whose work will be constructed again include Félix González-Torres and Jason Rhoades, with those whose connections to the City find common ground in 1993 as well, such as Gabriel Orozco, Julia Scher, Elizabeth Peyton, Paul McCarthy, Larry Clark, Wolfgang Tillmans and Rudolf Stingel. 

NYC 1993
"Isla en la Isla (Island within an Island)" (1993), by Gabriel Orozco, on view in "NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star." Courtesy, the artist/Marian Goodman Gallery

The Metropolitan Museum of Art goes back in time a little bit further—to the mid-1860s through the mid-1880s, in fact, with its anticipated show Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, opening on February 26. Approximately 80 figure paintings from Impressionist masters including Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Stéphane Mallarmé—and their contemporaries—will highlight how fashion and art were interwoven by the avant-garde during the rise of the department store, ready-to-wear clothing and fashion magazines in Paris.

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity
"Lady with Fans (Portrait of Nina de Callias)" (1873), by Édouard Manet, on view in "Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity." Courtesy, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Not to be outdone, The Frick Collection goes back more than 500 years to present seven works by Piero della Francesca, one of the founders of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and pioneer of linear perspective and geometric construction. The show, which opens on February 12, will include six panels from the Sant'Agostino altarpiece as well as the artist's Virgin and Child Enthroned with Attendant Angels, which has been shown in New York City only once in the past 60 years.

The Whitney's retrospective of Jay DeFeo, best known for her nearly one-ton painting The Rose, will highlight the artist's early career as part of the 1950s Beat movement in San Francisco, as well as the intense, physical process used to create more than 130 objects across collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, photographs and jewelry. It opens on February 28. Through February 23, Gering & López Gallery will show Symphony, a collection of Joan Snyder's colorful works on paper from 1968 through 1976 along with new paintings—all influenced by music in both concept and execution.

Dove One
"Dove One" (1989), by Jay DeFeo. © The Jay DeFeo Trust/Artists Rights Society, New York. Photo: Ben Blackwell

Some of the brightest colors this month, however, will be on display at two shows at the Brooklyn Museum. Opening on February 8 on the fifth floor is Gravity and Grace, the first New York museum solo exhibition of Ghana-born artist El Anatsui, which will features more than 30 works in metal and wood—including 12 stunning monumental wall and floor sculptures, the wall pieces made with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, Nigeria. Meanwhile, on the first floor, the second season of the institution's Raw/Cooked series of emerging Brooklyn artists includes Marela Zacarias' Supple Beat, in which large-scale pieces almost ascend the walls of the museum's first-floor lobby and Great Hall, the museum's Williamsburg Murals serving as inspiration (opening on February 1). 

Gutai: Splendid Playground
"Work" (1970), by Nasaka Senkichirō and Yoshihara Michio, on view in "Gutai: Splendid Playground." Installation view: Gutai Group Exhibition, Midori Pavilion, Expo ’70, Osaka

Work in Progress
"Work in Progress, 2011" (2012), by Marela Zacarias, on view in "Raw/Cooked". Courtesy, The Brooklyn Museum

Two shows opening at the Guggenheim this month spotlight artists from Asia. On February 15, Gutai: Splendid Playground, the first-ever US museum retrospective devoted to the influential postwar Japanese artistic collective and movement, will explore the group's experiments with such media as painting, film, performance and interactive art with approximately 120 objects by 25 artists. One week later, the institution will open No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, the first exhibition of the five-year Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, which will focus on artists and cultural traditions from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Subsequent aspects of the program will focus on Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. 

No Country
"Counter Acts" (2004), by Poklong Anading, on view in "No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia". Courtesy, the artist/Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

But elsewhere, it's not so much geography as topography that's underscored. For French artist Cyprien Gaillard's first solo exhibition in New York, The Crystal World, MoMA PS1 collected more than 80 works, including five major cinematic pieces, that turn otherwise banal images of crumbling high-rises, demolition practices and public monuments into fascinating works. Opening on February 1 at Marian Goodman Gallery, renowned British artist Tacita Dean's Fatigues—part of the Documenta (13) art exhibition last summer—consists of six blackboard panels with renderings of Afghanistan's mountainous landscape in chalk.

And starting on February 7 at Metro Pictures, Trevor Paglen—known for his photographs of so-called "black sites" and beautiful, often blurry limit-telephotography snapshots of classified military bases—will exhibit some of his newest images. The show follows his recent project The Last Pictures, in which he helped produce a disc with 100 photographs and launched it into outer space—where it's designed to last billions of years—attached to a communications satellite.

Briefly Noted
Outsider Art Fair
Center548
Through February 3
The biggest annual event in the field of outsider, self-taught and folk art (think Henry Darger or George Widener) includes some of the most diverse collection of galleries you're likely to find all year—from Oakland's Creative Growth Art Center, which focuses on creative pursuits for those with physical, mental and developmental disabilities, to Gilley's Gallery, a Louisiana space devoted to local artwork from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Diana Cooper: My Eye Travels
Postmasters Gallery 
Through February 9
Using photographs and found materials such as corrugated plastic, felt strips and Astroturf, Cooper's works are sometimes destabilizing—empty rows of seats that stretch toward infinity, or a Jetway surrounded by construction barriers—but the underlying wry humor suggests a much more playful attitude than at first glance. 

Andrea Mary Marshall: Gia Condo
Allegra LaViola Gallery
Through February 16
Drawing inspiration from the renderings of the Mona Lisa by the likes of Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, Andrea Mary Marshall takes on the legendary piece through a series of self-portraits—including 13 paintings, six photographs, a short film and stills. 

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors
Luhring Augustine
Opening on February 1
The Icelandic artist's nine-channel video installation is based on a musical performance that took place in upstate New York in which Kjartansson summoned a group of close friends (who happened to be some of the most talented musicians from Reykjavik) to perform ABBA's final album, all in one take.

Erik Wysocan: Paris Spleen
Laurel Gitlen Gallery
Through February 17
For the first exhibition at Laurel Gitlen Gallery's new Lower East Side space, Erik Wysocan's black paintings make use of a material created for the aerospace industry, quite possibly the darkest man-made material produced. The works seem to absorb the light in the room. Another display includes counterfeit US dollars, euros and drachmas under infrared light, which is used to help classify phony money.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  2. 2
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  3. 3
    The Frick Collection
    1 E. 70th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  1. 4
    Whitney Museum of American Art (closed pending relocation)
    99 Gansevoort St.
    Manhattan – Meatpacking District
    NY 10014
  2. 5
    Gering & López Gallery
    730 Fifth Ave
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 6
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  1. 7
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    1071 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  2. 8
    MoMA PS1
    22-25 Jackson Ave.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11101
  3. 9
    Metro Pictures
    519 W 24th St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011

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