Art and About in May

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 04/17/2012

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Nearly 50 years after the original British Invasion, the London magazine Frieze introduces its popular 10-year-old art fair to New York City for the first time. From May 4 to 7, Frieze Art Fair will host 180 galleries mostly from the United States and Europe but with a healthy representation from South America and Asia. In addition to the Frieze regulars are two main sections: Frame, dedicated to solo-artist exhibitions from galleries less than six years old, and Focus, a section for galleries 10 years old or less that present up to three artists. A few well-known New York galleries—Gagosian, Anton Kern, Jack Hanley, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Hauser & Wirth and Metro Pictures—will also participate, but it's the fair's customized design, by architectural studio SO-IL, and its location, overlooking the East River on the expanse of Randalls Island that's accessible by ferry, that make it especially worthwhile. 

A similar, ahem, good vibration can be found at Pet Sounds, an installation by California artist Charles Long that will be in Madison Square Park beginning on May 2. The artwork consists of bulbous, vibrating pipe railings that will form new pathways before eventually converging in an open space. Later in the month, on May 24, City Hall Park unveils Common Ground, the Public Art Fund's opening gambit in its summer schedule of outdoor works. For this show, artists like the late whimsical Ian Hamilton Finlay, along with Jenny Holzer, Matthew Day Jackson and European duo Elmgreen & Dragset, expand on the concept of civic architecture. And a favorite annual tradition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the opening of its rooftop to the public, will take place on May 15. This summer, the Argentine-born, German-based artist Tomás Saraceno will install a transparent, reflective sculpture, Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City, as an interconnected modular set of structures overlooking Central Park.

Meanwhile, it's ground control to Major Tom at the Park Avenue Armory, where Tom Sachs is thinking even higher than the clouds. Space Program: Mars, beginning on May 16, finds the artist and his "crew" constructing all the instruments necessary for extraterrestrial survival—including equipment for food delivery and waste disposal—out of foam core, hot glue and plywood. Over the course of the residency, the crew will perform mission tasks, simulate liftoff for an interplanetary excursion, walk on the Martian surface, collect scientific samples and photograph the surrounding landscape as if on an actual mission. 

It's the last month to see The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde at the Met. The show contains some of the greatest paintings of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso's Boy Leading a Horse and Henri Matisse's Woman with a Hat, in a rare, intimate setting. Beginning on May 24, Neue Galerie New York celebrates the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt with major works from its collection, such as Pale Face and the luminous masterpiece Adele Bloch-Bauer, alongside rarely seen drawings and photographs. 

A European invasion of a more "Anarchy in the UK" variety finds British duo Gilbert & George with a new show, London Pictures, on view jointly at Lehmann Maupin and Sonnabend galleries. Drawing on the tabloid language and imagery of the London press, the artists have constructed a number of text-based works that read like blaring headlines from a Dickensian version of the New York Post

But for even more tactile, vocabulary-based fun, The Museum of Modern Art hosts a quartet of loosely related exhibitions on the theme of printed matter. From May 6, when Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language opens, until May 14, when Printin' and Print/Out close, the institution feels like a bookmaking workshop and red-letter celebration of analog methods—with artists like Carl Andre, Paul Elliman, Tauba Auerbach, Ellen Gallagher, Vija Celmins, Robert Rauschenberg, Martin Kippenberger and Ai Weiwei represented throughout the three shows. And a new photographic history survey, The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook, contains works from El Lissitzky, Ed Ruscha, Martha Rosler and Aleksandr Rodchenko, among many others. 

Just in time for the full blossoming of spring, the aptly titled This Side of Paradise is open at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx. The former haven for wealthy elderly who had lost their fortunes is now a cultural center and, until June 5, will showcase a variety of site-specific works, including John Ahearn's collaboration with the local Headstart program in the ground-floor lobby and installations by Cheryl Pope and Adam Parker Smith.

Briefly Noted
David Benjamin Sherry: Astral Desert
Salon 94 Freemans
Ongoing
The up-and-coming photographer pairs over-the-top titles like Soaring Yellow Morning Breath with semi-traditional chromatic images of highly formal landscape photography to create works that somehow combine to form mystical, funny, earnest tokens of a new voice in contemporary art. 

Alex Prager: Compulsion
Yancey Richardson Gallery
Closing on May 19
Channeling film noir and Weegee-style lurid compositions, Alex Prager's new exhibition documents a world filled with spectators, in which the figures in her photographs all seem to be watching everyone else. The show also includes her short, beautiful film La Petite Mort.

Cy Twombly: Works from the Sonnabend Collection
Eykyn Maclean
Closing on May 19
This show of 11 Cy Twombly works from the collection of Ileana Sonnabend, legendary collector during the 20th century, begins in 1956 with Untitled (New York City) and ends with work from 1975, all at the Eykyn Maclean gallery, which has recently opened an outpost in London. 

Lisa Oppenheim: Equivalents
Harris Lieberman
Opening on May 4
Known for her heady images of the moon and informed by her interpretations of writers like Ezra Pound, Harris Lieberman's points of departure begin in natural phenomena and end as illustrated fragmented spheres and other geometric objects.

Richard Prince: 14 Paintings
303 Gallery
Opening on May 18
The artist, already well-known for his re-photographs and joke paintings early in his career, builds on his Nurse and Check series with a new show of 14 paintings at the famously risk-taking contemporary gallery.

related venues/(8)

  1. 1
    Frieze New York
    Randall's Island Park, Randall's Island, NY; mail: 41 Union Sq. West, ste. 1623
    New York – Randalls Island
    NY 10003
  2. 2
    City Hall Park
    Broadway and Chambers St
    NY 10007
  3. 3
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  1. 4
    Park Avenue Armory
    643 Park Ave
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10065
  2. 5
    Neue Galerie New York
    1048 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028
  3. 6
    Lehmann Maupin Gallery
    201 Chrystie Street
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10002
  1. 7
    Sonnabend
    536 W 22nd St
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY
  2. 8
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019

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