Art and About in September
Arts & Entertainment
by James Gaddy, 08/22/2012
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The back-to-school frenzy every fall is not limited to our educational institutions; museums and galleries around the City this month seem to have caught the bug as well. Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, at The Museum of Modern Art, channels the spirit of its subjects with a veritable playground of objects—500 items, in fact—that document the last 100 years of design for kids. Ranging from Game Boys and Pee-wee Herman set props to avant-garde items like Gerrit Rietveld's 1923 wheelbarrow made from primary colors and simple geometric forms, the show also includes valuable historical artifacts like World War II–era children's books from Japan and Germany, a scooter from the Great Depression and objects created by the inventor of kindergarten, Friedrich Froebel.
Nobody really knows who invented Oxford shirts, but we do know that they—along with penny loafers, khaki pants and madras shorts—were popularized on Ivy League college campuses during the 1920s and '30s. Ivy Style, opening on September 14 at The Museum at FIT, documents the three major periods of one of the most recognizable styles of the last 100 years, while also focusing on brands like Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Bass, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger—all of which have successfully exported the look to millions of people worldwide.
Even the most famous explorer in American history will get a fresh look this month. Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus, organized by the Public Art Fund and opening on September 20 at Columbus Circle, gives visitors an opportunity to view the City from the vantage point of the famous Christopher Columbus monument, six stories above the street. The Japanese conceptual artist Tatzu Nishi will create an enclosed domestic living room complete with seating, lighting, a coffee table, television and windows with views out over Central Park that don't offer a "new world" as much as a new perspective on a familiar landscape.
History lessons continue at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, opening on September 18, explores the lasting influence of Andy Warhol on successive generations of artists. The show will offer side-by-side comparison and contrast as approximately 45 works by Warhol will hang alongside 100 works by some of the biggest names in art today: Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Matthew Barney and 54 others. Meanwhile, opening on September 14 at the Brooklyn Museum, Materializing Six Years looks at the effect that Lucy R. Lippard's 1973 book had on the then-nascent Conceptual Art movement, featuring more than 170 works by nearly 90 artists.
There's nothing too conceptual about Richard Phillips's hyper-realistic paintings of pop culture icons, but that doesn't make it any less interesting. His new show at Gagosian's West 24th Street gallery, opening on September 11, continues his fascination with wasted beauty with an apropos series of pictures meditating on troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan. The Neue Galerie follows a similar tack with Ferdinand Hodler: View to Infinity, opening on September 20. The turn-of-the-century Swiss artist, admired by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, was obsessed with death, and this show catalogs some of his most expressionistic, and poignant, portraits and landscapes completed in the final decade of his life.
Outside, it's the attack of headless, armless giant sculptures: The Standard Hotel continues its outdoor programming with the 18-foot-tall sculpture from Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose giant Big Kastenmann—a man with no head or arms bound in a pink and gray boxy suit—will be on view through November. Meanwhile, through September 7 at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza on 47th Street between First and Second Avenues, Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz's Walking Figures, 2009 is a group of 10 headless, armless bronze sculptures, each one 8½ feet tall.
Mutant humans are presented in a less subtle, but no less effective, way at the Museum of Chinese in America. Opening on September 27, Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in US Comics, 1942–1986 compiles images of Asian Americans found in mainstream US comics during the post–World War II and Vietnam War era, with sometimes shocking finds. Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore, debuting on September 6 at Grey Art Gallery at New York University, collects the figurative paintings of the short-lived artist, who drew on popular culture and the natural environment in equal measure.
The stark black-and-white photographs of Robert Adams illustrate the toxic beauty of the American West in a different way. Opening on September 7 at Matthew Marks Gallery, the exhibition On Any Given Day in Spring and Light Balances gives equal weight to a spruce tree in Oregon and a parking-lot carnival in Colorado. The desert also often figures heavily in the work of Andrea Zittel, whose one-person show, Fluid Panel State, opens September 14 at Andrea Rosen Gallery. Both shows share themes with the indelible images showcased at The New-York Historical Society's Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School, opening on September 21, which features 45 of the greatest American realist landscape paintings, many of them illustrating locations in Upstate New York. Also in the show is Thomas Cole's five-part allegorical series The Course of Empire, which provides one of the best history lessons in the City that doesn't require you to go back to school.
Stephen Powers: A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures
Joshua Liner Gallery
Opening on September 6
The former graffiti writer known as ESPO exhibits his first work in seven years, drawing on murals that he has created in Ireland and Philadelphia, where he and his crew painted more than 50 walls of memorable phrases along the elevated train along Market Street.
Paula Cooper Gallery
Opening on September 8
A new show from the New York–based artist features more of his work that typically removes the most important pieces from found video footage, which is then edited and stitched back together to sublime effect.
Rituals of Chaos
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Through January 6, 2013
Taking the grisly work of Mexican photojournalist Enrique Metinides as a starting point, this show includes affecting photographs and video pieces from the likes of Gordon Matta-Clark, Sophie Calle and others, depicting life in urban environments.
Jack Smith: Normal Love
Through September 17
The experimental 1963 film remains an early glimpse of the decade's looming counterculture and an influence on the movies of John Waters—integrating native chants, rituals and hedonistic pleasure, all through the lens of an artist for whom regular distribution remains elusive.
Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu
Opening on September 29
This first-ever US retrospective of the 18th-century samurai aristocrat turned Buddhist monk offers viewers a chance to see never-before (and never-again) exhibited works like Waves, a pair of six-panel screens so fragile that they can only be shown for six weeks.