Armory Week is a notoriously hectic time in New York. Besides the various fairs and the copious surrounding events and parties, galleries and museums compete to present the most compelling work to locals and out-of-towners. We did some homework for you, and here’s a reasoned list of shows worth seeking out around the city.
“Fade In: Int. Art Gallery – Day”
at Swiss Institute
This highly anticipated group exhibition brings together an impressive list of notables—from prominent young artists like Jamian Juliano-Villani and Michael Bell-Smith to established figures like Cindy Sherman and Christian Marclay—to consider a history of art as portrayed in popular media, from mainstream films and soap operas to science fiction, live musicals and even pornography. Though widely varied in media, the artists on view share a common interest in reference, quotation and appropriation as both practical process and conceptual framework. With objects and performances functioning simultaneously as subject and prop, the exhibition embraces the means and implications of art’s circulation through broader cultural contexts.
Rochelle Goldberg, “The Plastic Thirsty”
at Sculpture Center
Curated by Ruba Katrib, Rochelle Goldberg’s first solo institutional exhibition is a knockout: combining industrial materials like steel and ceramic with elements ranging from crude oil to live snails and chia seeds, the Vancouver-born, New York-based artist creates physically sprawling, actively evolving sculptures whose merging of the manufactured and natural matter result in literal self-contained ecospheres. Set firmly in the gaps between industry, biology and art, Goldberg’s work is literal but elusive, tactile but forever just beyond the viewer’s grasp. “The Plastic Thirsty” extends the artist’s project through delightfully abstract means, with Goldberg’s signature sculptures accompanied by a series of magic 8-balls, a 65-foot fiber optic cable and a sculpture of a drowning fish. Read more on Goldberg in this profile by Maxwell Smith-Holmes featured in KALEIDOSCOPE’s current issue.
“Anri Sala: Answer Me”
at New Museum
Unfolding over three full floors of the New Museum, this much-discussed (and rightfully celebrated) retrospective finds the Albanian-born, Berlin-based artist exploring the physical, political and psychological potential of acoustic experiences. With extensive multi-channel audio/visual installations whose fragmented narratives flirt alternately with recital and catharsis, the show unfolds almost like a self-contained composition, with the artist’s earlier documentary-style videos complemented by later works featuring actual live musical performances, purposefully installed to emphasize processes of perception both physical and figurative. The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Artistic Director; Margot Norton, Associate Curator; and Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator.
at Red Bull Studios
This two-part exhibition combines the work of artists Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham, whose respective practices similarly address the functions of systems, be they biological, societal or theoretical. Curated by Neville Wakefield, the exhibition features works whose tactile, material-focused treatments transform familiar materials into strange, unexpected forms. For his part, Lobo offers a series of soap sculptures cast in (and presented on) full-size fiberglass swimming pools, the results speaking at once to sculptural history and mass-produced commodity. Hayden, meanwhile, presents a series of sculptures that interact with the audience through sensory transitions: with the viewer’s presence directly affecting the space’s heating, cooling and ventilation systems, the sculptures themselves melt, evaporate and reform in an ongoing cycle.
Orion Martin, “Eczema Song”
Already enjoying a new level of visibility thanks to his inclusion in the Whitney’s ongoing “Flatlands” exhibition, Orion Martin’s latest exhibition at Bodega confirms the L.A.-based painter’s status as one of the medium’s more timely and promising figures. Martin’s signature style—cleanly treated, vividly colored canvases with various everyday elements (flowers, footwear, polished metal grating) arranged in interlocking, often unexpected layers—feels fully realized in this collection, which merges classical technique with the aesthetic sensibilities of fields ranging from Surrealism and Pop to commercial illustration. Though willfully decorative, there’s much to Martin’s work beyond surface treatment.
Philippe Parreno, “If This Then Else”
at Gladstone Gallery
Philippe Parreno is the kind of artist who doesn’t so much show in spaces as take them over: as exemplified in last year’s installation at the Park Avenue Armory, the Paris-based artist approaches exhibitions less as plotted displays than ongoing events, favoring interaction over observation, real-time over ritual. For his latest showing at Gladstone Gallery, opening 5 March, Parreno occupies two separate locations (one uptown, one downtown), with the spaces’ ever-shifting climates, lighting and sound controlled by a remote computer whose automated responses (“if a light goes off, a film is screened…”) are dictated by the activities of “microorganisms in a bioreactor.” Featuring a series of new video and sculptural works, the exhibition promises to deliver the kind of complex, immersive experience for which Parreno is best known.
at Room East
Dario Guccio’s first solo show at Room East comprises a series of identically shaped oval works made of cardboard fastened to wood panels, onto which he sews, glues and nails layers of bold-colored paper and faux skins fashioned into hand-cut silhouettes: plants, pregnant women, nocturnal deities, even the artist’s own profile. While referencing precedents of Italian art ranging from Novecento Italiano to Lucio Fontana, the resulting works, at once stylized and insistently physical, belong squarely to a young generation of Italian artists eager to offset historical models with the languages of modern media.
“Kazunori Hamana, Yuji Ueda, Otani Workshop”
at Blum and Poe
Curated by Takashi Murakami, this exhibition assembles a group of contemporary Japanese sculptors whose approaches to ceramic pottery update traditional methods through elements for improvisation and a highly experimental use of materials. Emphasizing process over function, the works on display find the artists occupied primarily with asymmetrical forms and varied surface treatments, the works’ singed glazes and stripped washes reinforcing the unconventional nature of their authors’ practices. Given that most of these works have not previously been shown in the U.S., the exhibition offers viewers a unique insight into the broader concerns driving contemporary ceramics. On 2 March, the three ceramicists joined Murakami and gallerist Tim Blum in a discussion at NeueHouse Madison Square.
Lena Henke, “Heartbreak Highway”
at Real Fine Arts
Among other claims to fame, Barren Island, a landmass set in Brooklyn’s Jamaica Bay, is known locally for having housed a plant dedicated to rendering horse bones into glue (earning the surrounding waters the unofficial title “Dead Horse Bay”). That Brooklyn-based artist Lena Henke cites the island as a prominent point of reference for her latest work speaks not only to her personal infatuation with all things equine (she grew up on a horse farm in rural Germany), but also to her proven ability to find aesthetic potential in even the most obscure corners of her surroundings. “Heartbreak Highway,” Henke’s second solo outing with Real Fine Arts, features a series of mixed-media sculptures, hand-molded to resemble horse hooves and combined with empty milk cartons—a reference to the island’s prior status as a home to rag pickers and waste workers. Pleasingly scrappy and characteristically strange, the works on display confirm the irreverence that makes Henke’s output so consistently gratifying.
“Projects 102: Neïl Beloufa”
For those of us planning a longer stay in the city, we recommend planning a visit to MoMA to check out Neïl Beloufa’s upcoming installation, The Colonies (2016). Opening on 12 March and presented as part of the museum’s ongoing “Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series,” this latest offering finds the French-Algerian artist (and subject of KALEIDOSCOPE’s most recent “MONO” survey, with an essay by Myriam Ben Salah and an interview by Camille Blatrix) mounting a custom-built architectonic installation, projecting a 2011 video onto a series of overlapping (and often self-obscuring) surfaces. The resulting work draws attention not only to the fabricated environment itself, but also to the mediated setting (the projection includes a live feed of visitors looped through closed-circuit television) and the implicit blurring of physical presence and fantasy.
All images provided courtesy of the artists and galleries.
Rochelle Goldberg photo credit: Corey Olsen