Considering the staggering number of galleries in this city, and the recent trend for revisiting under-appreciated modern masters, it boggles the mind how many aging postwar greats still await proper exposure in New York. The latest to receive well-deserved attention is French artist Martial Raysse, who is typically grouped with the 1960s European avant-garde movement known as Nouveau Realism. Mr. Raysse’s first show in more than 40 years in New York, where he lived for part of the 1960s, is a piquant look at his early work, which handily shrugs off any single label. Read More
Even as more art is being made, seen, bought and sold than at any point in human history, there is a feeling in many quarters of listlessness. Reviewing the Venice Biennale in Newsweek two weeks ago, Blake Gopnik rehearsed the already-tired idea that it showed that art is at an end, “nothing more than a series of moves in a series of games.” We’re stuck or adrift and, as New Museum curator Lauren Cornell put it last fall, “deeply obsessed with the past.”
But there are signs of life. Artists are finding interesting ways forward, and in a number of recent books, philosophers and critics are too. The results are all over the map, but there is a feeling that new ideas are beginning to simmer. Read More
A drawings show for a big-budget artist is kind of like an acoustic concert for a stadium pop star: you will quickly discover if he is any good solo, or if his act depends on the stagecraft and pyrotechnics of others. The Matthew Barney drawings show at the Morgan Library, co-curated by Isabelle Dervaux of the Morgan and the inimitable Klaus Kertess, suggests that Mr. Barney is the Madonna of contemporary art.
After stepping off the Yale campus and the pages of the J.Crew catalog (for which he modeled), Mr. Barney garnered fame in New York’s art world in the mid-1990s as the chiseled creator of highly produced, strangely humorless art videos celebrating an obscure muscle of the male reproductive system—the “Cremaster” series. Mr. Barney has also made a lesser-known body of performances preserved as video installations that he calls “Drawing Restraints.” These pieces—loosely inspired by Bruce Nauman and Vito Acconci performances—feature the artist in a harness or other physically confining apparatus laboring in an empty gallery space to create a work of art. Read More
This exhibition, in the Whitney’s lobby gallery, is a thriller—two young artists have stepped up to a larger platform and are clearing new, still-shadowy pathways for art. Coming not long after the Whitney’s 2012 biennial and a Trisha Baga show in this same space, it gives the impression of a museum in touch with art’s zeitgeist. Read More
Sandwiched between the two former American Fine Arts spaces on Wooster Street, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has as its mission “provid[ing] an outlet for art work that is unambiguously gay and which is frequently denied access to mainstream venues.” The new museum’s program is off to a strong start with an exhibition dedicated to the cult artist Paul Thek that highlights Thek’s early work, from his figurative drawings of the mid-1950s up through his 1967 glass-encased “Meat Pieces.” Or, as the show’s wall text inimitably puts it: “His early work, arguably the gayest in his entire career.” “Paul Thek and His Circle in the 1950s,” curated by Thek’s friend and first love, set designer Peter Harvey, in collaboration with art historian and activist Jonathan David Katz, makes a case for bringing to light pieces that were largely omitted from the artist’s otherwise spectacular 2010 Whitney Museum retrospective. Read More
Dirty Looks, which hosts monthly screenings of queer film and video around New York, just released details of its On Location festival, which will bring film presentations to a different venue each day of July. It looks like it will really be something.
Among the events on tap are Merce Cunningham’s Variations V on the High Line, A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner’s Community Action Center (created with Fire Island Artist Residency) at the Cherry Grove Community House on Fire Island, N.Y., and Ken Jacobs’s Star Spangled to Death at Spectacle in Williamsburg. Read More
This fall, the Whitney will present a retrospective of artist Robert Indiana, perhaps best known for his LOVE sculpture. Tellingly, the show will be called “Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE.” Read More