NYC - The Official Guide

Art & About: New York Fall 2015 Art Guide

James Gaddy

Is it just us, or has the fall exhibition schedule in New York City been given an extra shot of macho manliness? Two of the 20th century's most interesting men, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, are the focus of art shows in the city, but both in ways that defy their longstanding stereotypes. Picasso Sculpture, on view beginning September 14 at the Museum of Modern Art, for instance, takes on a surprisingly little-known aspect of the Spanish artist's work: sculptures that he created throughout his life. A 1914 sculpture series of absinthe glasses and a plywood bull from 1958 are among the more than 100 pieces—created in clay, wood, sheet metal and paper and including found objects ranging from wooden sticks to chicken wire—on view in the first US museum show of its kind in nearly 50 years. 


Meanwhile, Ernest Hemingway gets his first major museum exhibition, in New York or anywhere, beginning September 25 at the Morgan Library. Among the roughly 95 pieces in Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars are notebooks and typescripts from his major novels, including The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as letters from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein between the two world wars. Less-literary treasures include small tokens that this inveterate collector kept along the way: his World War II dog tags, bullfighting stubs from Pamplona and some boastful logs covering his Cuban fishing trips.  

Film buffs have three good reasons to explore the city outside of a movie theater: See early sketches of Woody, Wall-E and Remy the Rat in Pixar: The Design of Story, opening October 8 at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as well as storyboards from Up and this year's critical darling, Inside Out. An early experiment, 1986's Luxo Jr., will also be screened. Meanwhile, on October 9, the New-York Historical Society will debut Superheroes in Gotham, a look at the history of caped crusaders like Batman and Superman, and how they were conceived and developed by artists and writers working in New York City. The show traces their introduction in comic books published in NYC starting in the 1930s through their dominance of the big-screen box office today. And at the Museum of the Moving Image, get an in-depth look at the phenomenon of cats on the Internet with How Cats Took Over the Internet, a show that details many of the countless videos, memes and other digital ephemera that humans have shared about their feline friends. 

For 100 years, the Hill-and-Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been one of the few ways to experience a real Japanese garden here in the City. For its anniversary, six large works by Japanese-American designer and artist Isamu Noguchi will dot the landscape; more Noguchi sculptures will appear in other gardens on the grounds. (The Noguchi Museum celebrates its own 30th anniversary in October.) 

Want more Japan? For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography (opening September 11 at NYU's Grey Art Gallery and October 9 at Japan Society) shows a huge range of photography-based works from 29 of the most famous Japanese artists in the 1970s. Among them: highlights from Nobuyoshi Araki, still working today and publisher of more than 350 books; and Jiro Takamatsu, whose seemingly playful shadow photographs make all-too-sober reference to the imprints left on walls in Hiroshima. And on October 20, the Museum of Arts and Design hosts a show of 12 “kogei” artists, specialists in the 18th-century technique of making plates, vessels and other ceramic tokens. 

For hardcore art buffs, two shows this fall are required viewing: Greater New York, opening October 11 at PS1, is a helpful compendium of New York art over the last five years, while Jim Shaw: The End Is Here, opening October 7 at the New Museum, is the first comprehensive collection of the Los Angeles–based artist in New York City since he first hit with his riotous airbrush paintings in 1981. A little more subdued, the Whitney Museum opens a retrospective of minimalist master Frank Stella on October 30 that will fill the fifth floor of the new location near the High Line. 

Across the New York Harbor, the Staten Island Museum—which is currently displaying an engaging show of Civil War prints by photographer Michael Falco—hosts the grand opening of a wing in Snug Harbor on September 19 and 20. During your SI visit, make time to see the National Lighthouse Museum, at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Snag a ticket to one of the lighthouse boat tours, offered once a month, for evidence that Maine hasn't cornered the market on rocky architecture in the northeast. 


Christian Marclay: Surround Sounds
Paula Cooper Gallery
Through October 17
Surround Sounds, a new work from Swiss artist Christian Marclay, uses a similar operating procedure as his world-famous (and record-breaking) The Clock. Except here, instead of pulling film stills of timekeeping, he has collected the sound effects from comic books—the “beeps” and “faps” and “zooms” that have populated the genre since its beginning.


Dan Flavin: Corners, Barriers and Corridors 
David Zwirner Gallery
Through October 24
If you've only ever seen the Dan Flavin “situations,” as he liked to call them, at Dia:Beacon, then this is your local chance to see some rarely shown examples of the king of fluorescent light: a tribute to his wife, Sonja, as well as a corridor in pink and yellow lights and a selection of circular fixtures.  

Mike Kelley
Hauser & Wirth
Through October 24
If all you've seen of Mike Kelley in New York City is his assemblage of stuffed animals that was on view at the newly opened Whitney over the summer—and even if you haven't seen that—the artist's infatuation with Superman comics comes as a pleasant surprise: first, that someone could have spent enough time with the pulp superhero to recreate the fictional, mythological Fortress of Solitude in such exact detail; second, that someone could have done it so well.

Wolfgang Tillmans: PCR
David Zwirner
Through October 24
More than 100 recent works by the rock-star German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans are arranged throughout a series of rooms in a manner that challenges hierarchies—a modest portrait of Patti Smith is mixed in a grid of similarly sized portraits of lesser-known names, while an otherwise jejune picture of a leaf-strewn sidewalk towers, heroically, over the rest of the images. Also included are more entries in his stunningly beautiful “Silver” series, a table installation of printed material and a new video.

Nassos Daphnis: Pixel Fields
Richard Taittinger Gallery
Through October 25
Nassos Daphnis was a florist by trade, but before his death in 2010 the Greek-American artist became one of the foremost painters of large-scale geometric canvases. Drawing on influences as wide-ranging as the abstractions of Dutch master Piet Mondrian and the computer-generated graphics of the Atari ST, he created an intriguing body of work that is justly revived here with 20 examples dating from 1987 to 1992.

Shezad Dawood: It was a time that was a time 
Pioneer Works
Through November 1
The London-based artist takes over the former Red Hook factory building with a show highlighted by a postapocalyptic film made during his residence at the on-site studio, and shot on Coney Island, the Far Rockaways and Staten Island. 

Franz West: Furniture Works 
Gagosian Gallery (Madison Avenue)
Through November 7
The cerebral Austrian designer illustrates the difference between art and design in elegant fashion here with his Artist's Chairs, a selection of rainbow-colored simple pieces of furniture that his foundation has produced over the last year.

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch
Museum at FIT
Through December 5
For a slice of the fabulous world of nightlife queen Susanne Bartsch, head to FIT to see the wild outfits worn by the fashion muse since the 1980s—including some eye-popping numbers by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Nearly 80 looks in all still can't do justice to the spectacle of this unique New Yorker. 

Kongo: Power and Majesty
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through January 3, 2016
Although every schoolkid knows that in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, very few (if any at all) know about the voyage nine years earlier of a different explorer, Diogo Cão, who, under the Portuguese banner, established the first European presence along the Congo River. This exhibition illustrates what the colonialists found, and what happened there over the next 400 or so years.


Museum of Stones
The Noguchi Museum
October 7–January 10, 2016
For the first time in its 30-year history, the Noguchi Museum—across the street from the former Queens home and studio of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi—will have outside artists showing their work in its galleries. More than 50 pieces will attempt to illustrate the difference between mere rock and the sculptor's stone. Also on hand: a small array of Chinese art—scholars' rocks, rock-oriented paintings and decorative stone items—on loan from the Met, to add historical context.  


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