Art and About in October

Arts & Entertainment

by James Gaddy, 09/18/2012

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This month, two museums in New York open retrospectives of stylistic masters who refuse easy categorization. At the Guggenheim, Picasso Black and White finds a new way to tell the familiar story of Pablo Picasso: through the lens of color. Collecting 118 examples of the Guernica artist's work from 1904 to 1971, the show, opening on October 5, illustrates how the father of Cubism and co-inventor of collage often used nothing but black, white and gray—and the endless shades in between, as seen in the 1926 piece The Milliner's Workshop—in addition to the monochromatic blues and roses from his early career. 

At the Whitney, a retrospective of the often-misunderstood artist Richard Artschwager aims to clarify some of the confusion, but his work crosses so many genres—from the everyday objects found in Pop to the solid geometry of minimalism to the cerebral rigor of Conceptual Art—that it's easier to just go along for the ride and enjoy the perceptual games he plays with your expectations. The show, opening on October 25, is the first retrospective of the maverick's work since 1988. 

Two exhibitions in the City focus on the ways in which specific locations influenced artists during a seminal 20-year period. At the New Museum, Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989 focuses on more than 15 artists who made the neighborhood—long synonymous with urban decay and neglect—their own creative community during those lean years. The show includes work ranging from pinhole camera photographer Barbara Ess and mural graffitist Keith Haring to musicians like Dee Dee and Joey Ramone and their designer, Arturo Vega. Coincidentally, the latest group of sculptural paintings from Charles Hinman, one of this year's Guggenheim fellowship winners and a longtime resident of the Bowery, is on view at Marc Straus through October 5.

A counterpoint to the Bowery show is on view at MoMA PS1. Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980, opening on October 21, collects 140 works created by 32 LA-based African-American artists during the turbulent civil rights decades, most notably African American Flag creator David Hammons; Betye Saar, who collected images of Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom and Little Black Sambo for assemblage works; and John Outterbridge, the first director of the Watts Towers Art Center. A related show at the Society of Illustrators displays the 40 original oil paintings that artist Kadir Nelson made for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, his children's book published by HarperCollins in 2011. That exhibition is on view through October 20.

Opening at The Museum of Modern Art on October 7, Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone 1955–1972, a retrospective of the Holocaust survivor's work, features more than 100 objects rarely seen outside her native Poland—including photography, drawings and the late artist's polyester resin casts of her mouth, arms and breasts translated into unconventional forms. Elsewhere, the winners of the Folly competition at Socrates Sculpture Park, Jerome Haferd and K Brandt Knapp, erase the distinctions between architecture and sculpture with Curtain, which combines common structural framing with plastic chain-link partitions (through October 21). And the highly formal subtle architectural composition found in James Welling's photographs can be seen at David Zwirner in Overflow, through October 27.

Three video performances this month upend the traditional viewing experience. At the Lower East Side gallery On Stellar Rays, Alix Pearlstein works with a group of actors to create a set of instructions that challenges traditional roles of who's watching and who's being observed in The Drawing Lesson, through October 21. At Gagosian Gallery through October 13, Douglas Gordon's The End of Civilisation documents a piano on fire in the Scottish landscape, eventually unveiling small surprises the longer you stay to watch. (Like a nature film in the truest sense, most of the change happens almost imperceptibly.) And at the two Luhring Augustine locations, Dutch artist Guido van der Werve exhibits films that happily play off themes of endurance. At the Chelsea gallery, his most recent film, Nummer veertien, home, is structured like a classical requiem, consisting of three movements and 12 acts. It is loosely based around the 1,000-mile-long triathlon he performed from Warsaw to Paris and builds to a climax that's as satisfying for its completion as for its beauty. (Through October 20.)

Briefly Noted
Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Opening on October 11
This intriguing historical show looks at how artists, amateur photographers and crass commercialists touched up their images long before it became the purview of fashion magazines and graphic designers. 

Natalie Frank: The Governed and the Governors
Fredericks & Freiser
Opening on October 4
This show is shaped around the notion of transfiguration, and Natalie Frank's figurative paintings reveal how the difference between representation and abstraction can appear and dissolve in a single stroke.

8 Artists Making Sculpture
BRIC Rotunda Gallery 
Through October 27
Guest curator Jamie Stearns raises a show predicated on the notion of the necessity of experiencing sculpture firsthand, with a compelling list of emerging artists like Carolyn Salas, Abraham McNally and Arielle Falk.

The Place of Provenance
Rubin Museum of Art
Opening on October 12
Discover the four distinct styles of Tibetan paintings—Menri, Sharri, Beri and New Menri, to the uninitiated—and stay for the brilliant colors and landscapes that dominate the works.

Susan Philipsz: The Distant Sound 
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Through October 20
Somewhat incredibly, this multiple-channel sound installation fills the cavernous gallery, shaping the space with nothing more than a smattering of speakers on either side. 

From Farm to City: Staten Island 1661–2012 
Museum of the City of New York
Ongoing
Using contemporary color photographs, illustrated maps and digital ephemera, this exhibition tracks the untold history of New York's (unfairly) forgotten borough.

Yesterday Amphoric 
Regina Rex
Through October 14
Drawing inspiration from one of the oldest art objects in humankind—the Greek vase—Rosemary Mayer, Ginny Cook and David J. Merritt create objects that reflect the competing and complementary impact between the timeless and the merely past.

related venues/(9)

  1. 1
    Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
    1071 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10128
  2. 2
    Whitney Museum of American Art (closed pending relocation)
    945 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10021
  3. 3
    New Museum
    235 Bowery
    Manhattan – Lower East Side
    NY 10002
  1. 4
    MoMA PS1
    22-25 Jackson Ave.
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11101
  2. 5
    The Museum of Modern Art - MoMA
    11 W. 53rd St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  3. 6
    Socrates Sculpture Park
    32-01 Sculpture Park at Broadway; mail: P.O. Box 6259
    Queens – Long Island City
    NY 11106
  1. 7
    David Zwirner - 19th Street
    525 W. 19th St.
    Manhattan – Chelsea
    NY 10011
  2. 8
    Gagosian Gallery
    980 Madison Ave.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10075
  3. 9
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10028

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