What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries in February

What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries in February

This week, Yinka Elujoba covers Hunter Amos’s work and Wawi Navarroza’s self-portraits in Chelsea, in addition to Nathaniel Oliver’s fantastical worlds within the East Village.


Through Feb. 24. Anna Zorina Gallery, 532 West 24 Street, Manhattan; 212-243-2100,

Perhaps it’s the colours — tones of a reddish brown nearly the shade of mud, the palette of decorations on historical Roman and Greek terra-cotta jars — that make the work immediately acquainted, historical, classical even. So it’s a shock to be taught that the artist, Hunter Amos, is simply 22. He can be new to New York and “Rough Hold,” his first solo present within the metropolis, is a sort of introduction.

In 13 work, Amos situates his (normally male) figures in tight frames, with swirls of wavy paint crashing towards tough stony surfaces. The form of a few of his oil work on concrete are lower with tough edges round and emulate the poses of the figures, creating an immense sense of confinement. It is as if the skins of his characters have been peeled off, revealing their inside workings, their veins and muscle tissue stretched taut. Although the vitality in these works is simple, it typically appears just like the figures try to flee from their frames, or that their postures have been compelled upon them by the boundaries of the canvases.

Much of Amos’s work depict his personal struggles. The sensible battle of breaking out of Byron Bay in his native Australia two years in the past to make it in New York; the boundaries of the image airplane itself, and the philosophical battle between liberation and containment. Amos’s “Rough Hold” demonstrates a knowledge not usually related to freshmen. This is an artist who has lots to say and is aware of how he needs to say it.


Through March 2. Silverlens, 505 West twenty fourth Street, Manhattan; 646-449-9400,

Even with its vibrant mishmash of visible cues edging towards a sensory overload, Wawi Navarroza’s “The Other Shore” is a surprisingly straightforward world to enter. These are self-portraits of an artist lush with cross-cultural objects signifying cities the place she has lived similar to Madrid, Istanbul and Manila, the place she was born. Fruits, crops, flowers, and even muffins in works like “La Bruja (All the Places She’s Gone, Self-Portrait)” transfer the images from the eyes to the tongue, as if one may style the images.

Yet amid the multicolored material and brightly patterned wallpapers that create layers of grandeur, there’s a delicate stress in her somber method. This sentiment might be most potent in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter/The Self-Portraitist (After Alcuáz, Self-Portrait).” It is a young {photograph}, and the white drapes fall round her, like damaged wings.

This is Navarroza’s first solo present within the United States, and options work remodeled the previous 5 years. The exhibition marks a radical departure from her normally austere pictures, typically in monochrome, to an exploration of extra and coloration. It can be an emergence of types after a collection of setbacks over time, together with a hearth that burned her studio in Manila in 2016. But these photographs depict an artist nonetheless in a position to go at life and, extra essential, artwork, with a targeted depth and an intact sense of self whereas producing work that helps us rethink what a celebration of polychrome and a number of cultures would possibly appear to be.

East Village

Through March 2. Karma, 188 East Second Street, Manhattan; (212) 390-8290;

Nathaniel Oliver’s first solo exhibition at Karma Gallery, “My Journey Was Long So Yours Could Be Shorter,” is a fantastical world the place symbols function like pins on a map, serving to you discover your means. It is sort of an expansive map: water our bodies recalling the wharf of his childhood house in Washington D.C. and the Middle Passage throughout the Atlantic; West African clothes and masks; and flora native to the Caribbean. There can be a crescent and a star, current within the flags of many Muslim international locations.

These typically disparate motifs are made stronger by the layers and textures current within the works. In “Would You Believe Me If I Told You,” a flat inexperienced plant offers solution to a shiny orange door body, the place a person is wearing an intricately embellished blue shirt. He achieves the identical impact with blue hues in “At What Cost, Do I Stay or Go,” the place a stormy sea looms behind a curtain with white strips falling throughout it, like rain.

These representations, nevertheless, mix properly with the artist’s predominant apply of working with darker tones of colours, and even when he chooses shiny ones they appear to be dim, as if the lights have been turned down. A palpable results of this can be a haze within the work, making the figures nearly dreamy, as in the event that they have been evoked from a fable. But, because the title of the present suggests, a folks’s connection to their forebears isn’t merely the stuff of legends. For Black Americans it’s a matter they take care of in on a regular basis life, and the present rights they get pleasure from on this nation have been hard-earned by earlier generations. In this fashion, Oliver’s homage, even when laced with fantasy, is fully believable.


Through Feb. 10. Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA), 142 Franklin Street, Manhattan;

An exhibition and analysis area, the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) lately moved from tight townhouse quarters on the Upper East Side to wide-open duplex digs in TriBeCa. And it’s inaugurating its new house with two thematically linked however visually contrasting reveals.

The bigger, “Revisiting the Potosí Principle Archive: Histories of Art and Extraction,” on the bottom flooring, is a think-piece, experimental in format, as a lot about studying as trying. The set up resembles a cavernous seminar room, with a big central desk set out with printed texts and surrounded by reproductions of historic work and a number of other modern works. All of this illustrates a provocative thesis: that Western capitalism had roots within the land-destroying, life-destroying early Spanish colonial silver mining business based mostly within the Bolivian metropolis of Potosí.

There’s a lot fibrous matter to chew on right here, although the typical gallerygoer will discover faster gratification in a smaller present downstairs. Titled “The Precious Life of a Liquid Heart,” and arranged by ISLAA’s chief curator, Bernardo Mosqueira, it’s additionally about terrestrial endangerment — to water, on this case — however makes its factors by suggesting the non secular values that component carries in Latin America’s Indigenous and Afro-Atlantic cultures.

Hopefully, the artists on this quiet, tender present — Chonon Bensho, Nádia Taquary, Seba Calfuqueo, UÝRA and the collective Soi Noma — can be bringing these values our means once more quickly. And the work of 1 them, Carolina Caycedo, is with us now: Her ethereal cloth sculptures within the type of fishing nets are presently floating on excessive in MoMA’s atrium. HOLLAND COTTER


Through Feb. 10. Paula Cooper, 521 West twenty first Street, Manhattan; 212-255-1105,

A bunch present with as literal a premise as this one is all the time a bet as a result of it’s all too straightforward for the literal to slide into the superficial. What saves this one, even offers it an odd, fascinating vitality, is the knotty stress of a topic, “books,” that doesn’t precisely translate into visible artwork.

Some artists make their supplies match by shoving them apart or reducing them up: Seung-taek Lee makes use of dismembered typewriter keys to print a hazy, black, ink-on-canvas cloud round an emptied guide; Jane Benson fastidiously slices the letters “e” and “a” out of polyester pages; and Terry Adkins, constructing a memorial to John Brown, sticks an oversize Bible as a prop below a Crusader’s sword jammed right into a cage filled with wool.

The strongest items take the visible or conceptual qualities of books simply as they’re, like Sarah Charlesworth’s picture of an open clean guide; Steve Wolfe’s meticulously painted replicas of “On the Road” and “120 Days of Sodom”; Theaster Gates’s “Nump,” a free-associative poem rendered as a collection of gold-embossed guide titles; and particularly a 1994 Carl Andre piece, “The Birth of Knowledge,” which is a weathered Hebrew prayer guide screwed into an old school wood tennis racket body. It’s a crafty means of highlighting the truth that books and conceptual artworks are, in truth, very comparable: They’re each units designed to bind collectively sheaves of disparate concepts. WILL HEINRICH

TriBeCa and Union Square

Through Feb. 17. Ortuzar Projects, 9 White Street, Manhattan; 212-257-0033,

Gordon Robichaux, 41 Union Square West, Manhattan; 646-678-5532,

Brian Buczak moved to New York from Detroit in 1976. He had already been corresponding with Ray Johnson, the celebrated mail artist, and as soon as within the metropolis he discovered his solution to plenty of different artists, most notably Geoffrey Hendricks, of Fluxus, who grew to become his accomplice for the remainder of his life. (Alice Neel painted them collectively.) Before dying of AIDS in 1987, simply shy of his thirty third birthday, Buczak additionally made an amazing variety of work. This two-site exhibition, “Man Looks on the World,” is his first solo present in additional than 30 years.

Buczak labored in a number of longstanding, typically obsessive collection. At Ortuzar Projects, for instance, is one small portray of lush, melting American flags that he repeated dozens of instances. To judge from the entire double exhibition, although, he was at his finest setting up eerie diptychs and triptychs of discovered imagery. Two boiled eggs in water glasses sit above a boy stretching a rubber band throughout his lips; a hammer smashing a glass bottle looms over one other boy breaking the floor of a swimming pool.

The hyperlinks could also be conceptual, as within the buoyancy of eggs and rubber band, or visible, as when glass shards echo the quick blue and white brushstrokes of the pool. Sometimes, notably when the supply materials is pornographic, the connections are extra occult. But what makes all of them so attention-grabbing is the saturated, laborious, against-the-grain means Buczak painted — in addition to his alternative to color within the first place, reasonably than assemble his closely image-driven work with Xerox copies or pictures. You can really feel him trying to find one thing — which means, readability, peace, liberation — that by no means fairly arrives. WILL HEINRICH

Upper East Side

Through Feb. 17. Craig Starr Gallery, 5 East 73rd Street, Manhattan, 212-570-1739,

“Edward Hopper as Puritan” is a compact exhibition dedicated to a world-famous American painter that nonetheless appears remarkably recent. For one factor, its show of 9 works principally from the Nineteen Twenties — etchings, watercolors, charcoal drawings and a single portray — in a tiny gallery encourages an exciting intimacy with the adjustments in Hopper’s mark-making and surfaces throughout mediums.

The present concentrates on the extra austere facet of his sensibility, which is most evident in his nonurban scenes. Houses, sailboats and the ocean are the principle characters; people, if current, are dwarfed.

The etchings give early indicators of Hopper’s powers of remark and contact: Their different textures verge on flamboyant. In “The Henry Ford,” a schooner’s towering sails evoke an immense white fowl settling into its nest. In distinction, the watercolors of saltboxes or a Victorian home abstain from the dazzling results this medium encourages. The charcoals — one other Victorian and a ship on a wharf — are so strikingly stable and completed they is likely to be graphite.

“Two Puritans” (1945), the oil, depicts a pair of white homes whose awkward volumes flatten primly towards the image airplane and exemplify Hopper’s cautious rhyming of colours. Everything is pristinely flat besides on 4 timber, which scramble a number of hues right into a bark-like roughness.

In the catalog’s distinctive essay, Louis Shadwick, a British artwork historian, explores the social and racial implications of phrases like Puritan and Anglo-Saxon, which early writers utilized admiringly to Hopper’s artwork. Combining a meticulous presentation of proof with one thing like psychoanalysis, he reveals much more layers of political which means than are normally achieved lately. ROBERTA SMITH


Through Feb. 24. Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th Street, Manhattan; 212-977-7160,

In 2022, the 78-year-old artist Dara Birnbaum had her first retrospective within the United States on the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College. Visitors may see how groundbreaking her video artwork has been, notably her appropriation and enhancing of footage from TV, movie, and the web to boost questions on gender and politics; her most well-known work, from the Seventies, isolates and repeats clips of the actress Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman to create a wry critique.

If you missed that exhibition, Birnbaum’s present present, “Four Works: Accountability,” can function a mini-primer. It contains considered one of her handiest items, “Transmission Tower: Sentinel” (1992), a slanted tv tower stacked with eight screens. They combine footage from the 1988 National Student Convention and George H.W. Bush’s speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination the identical yr. Bush’s face cascades down, counteracted by rising photographs of scholars and punctuated by Allen Ginsberg chanting his quasi-absurdist antiwar poem “Hum Bom!” There’s no decision, simply artwork, activism and politics locked in an countless tangle — a scenario with clarion resonances immediately.

Two different works, the video “Canon: Taking to the Streets” (1990) and the print collection “Antenna/Fist” (1992/2018), study the visuals of protest. But “Quiet Disaster” (1999) has lingered foremost in my thoughts. The set up contains three round photographs of cropped and blown-up anime characters in moments of worry. The lady within the heart appears again over her shoulder, eyes extensive and face scratched; as I stared at her, I acquired the eerie sense that the catastrophe she was fleeing was us. JILLIAN STEINHAUER

East Village

Through Feb. 24. March, 62–64 Avenue A, Manhattan; 917-355-1398,

Artists exist all over the place, together with in locations that critics like me not often cowl. It’s a present, then, when somebody brings a glimpse of one other artwork scene to city. That’s the case with an intergenerational exhibition that includes 12 artists based mostly in Atlanta, curated by Daniel Fuller. The title, “The sea swept the sandcastles away. (To get up in Atlanta!),” alludes to the fixed change and growth of town that these artists are working by means of and towards.

The most imposing piece, Antonio Darden’s “S Tenebris” (2023), barely matches within the gallery. A wood copy of a truck in Darden’s studio, it suggests each a spaciousness past New York and the confines of stereotypically macho Southern tradition. The sculpture is roofed in black fabric, which in a storage would possibly look unassuming; right here it evokes a shroud.

A present of spirituality runs by means of the exhibition, from the ghostly profiles in Lonnie Holley’s work on quilts to the stained glasslike high quality of Hasani Sahlehe’s acrylic abstractions. It animates two of the present’s rightful centerpieces, bronze sculptures by the Atlanta elder statesman Curtis Patterson. Their curvaceous types interlock like rhythmic puzzle items.

Patterson’s titles, “Hymn to Freedom” (2019) and “Ancestral Dance” (2020), complement María Korol’s wickedly surreal work of animals enjoying music and dancing. Dianna Settles brings a welcome anarchic edge to the revelry, with a portray that freezes a efficiency staged by her buddies on the garden of the High Museum. The gamers have been in costume, the musicians stay, the viewers seated — all that was lacking was the establishment’s permission. JILLIAN STEINHAUER


Through March 16. Eric Firestone, 40 Great Jones Street and 4 Great Jones Street, 646-998-3727,

Odes to tea, kung fu and fortune cookies, in addition to sly responses to racism, sexism and destructive stereotypes swirl by means of the works in “Godzilla: Echoes From the Nineteen Nineties Asian American Arts Network,” a two-venue present that includes 39 artists. The title refers back to the collective Godzilla: Asian American Arts Network, which was based in New York in 1990 to assist Asian American artists of various backgrounds.

The works listed here are from that period to the current. Martin Wong, maybe the best-known member of the group, is proven along with his “Bruce Lee Shrine” (1993), a crush of toy figures and spiritual curios, displayed in a small gilded shrine. Skowmon Hastanan’s “Victory of the Goddess” (2001) is a photograph collage that includes a well-known Thai mannequin who appeared in Playboy journal, whereas Emily Cheng’s more moderen canvases use stupas — Buddhist ceremonial mounds — as fashions for her summary canvases.

Many extra good works are right here, together with work by Barbara Takenaga, Charles Yuen, Kim Anno, Byron Kim, Betty Kano and Uday Dhar that borrow Asian patterns and strategies; Stefani Mar’s depraved “Black Leather Tea Set” (1993); and China Blue’s eerie 2019 sound set up, made with NASA, that captures the sound of Saturn’s rings. While the sooner works are typically extra biting and ironic — just like the group’s title — latest works present the enduring relevance of identity-based collectives, notably at a time when, as Dhar says on his web site, every little thing is named into query, like “who will get to name themselves American.” MARTHA SCHWENDENER


Through March 1. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 thirty fifth Avenue, Astoria, Queens; 718-777-6800,

Every time the hole between homo sapiens and expertise narrows — like now, with A.I. — people panic. David Levine’s curious technological sculpture, “Dissolution” (2022), reminds us that we aren’t alone, traditionally, in feeling this fashion. Inspired by Eighties tv reveals and films like “Tron” (1982), wherein a hacker is sucked into the digital universe, and Max Headroom, a computer-generated TV character who first appeared in 1985, Levine’s delirious, surrealistic work explores the overlap of people with expertise and ghosts within the machine.

To expertise “Dissolution,” you enter a darkened area and stand in entrance of a waist-high pedestal displaying a 20-minute-long movie within the type of a 3-D volumetric picture generated by the Voxon VX1 equipment. A jagged narrative unfolds, resembling modernist strategies of splicing collectively bits of writing, but additionally glitchy science fiction. Is it a dream? A online game? A lady’s voice recites “Full fathom 5 thy father lies” from “The Tempest”; there are references to museums and books as mazes and repositories for fable and data and cryptocurrency as our new dematerialized type of worth.

Simultaneously enjoyable and chilling, the work can be old school in a single primary means: It depends on that oldest of human applied sciences, narrative. Levine’s script twists and turns, returning to Shakespeare and nodding to Greek myths. What higher solution to describe our sophisticated relationship to emergent applied sciences and the way they remodel us? MARTHA SCHWENDENER

Upper East Side

Through March 2. White Cube, 1002 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, 212-750-4231,

The finest a part of Theaster Gates’s first exhibition on the new White Cube area on the Upper East Side isn’t truly within the present; it’s not even an art work. It’s a brief video on the artist’s Instagram account depicting a person cramming scorching, steaming supplies right into a piano and moaning “Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me,” which serves because the title for this present.

The ensuing art work — presumably, because it’s a part of the identical Instagram put up — is “Sweet Sanctuary, Your Embrace” (2023), an upright piano doused in enamel and bitumen. It’s one of many higher works on this assortment of reasonably inert objects — bronze sculptures mimicking totems or large vessels; stacks of Jet magazines; work made with bitumen — that borrow closely from the vernaculars of set up, geometric abstraction and assemblage artwork.

Gates, who gained fame for his social apply initiatives involving city planning, his ceramics (which have been on view in his latest, wonderful New Museum survey) and his lectures, which regularly flip into advert hoc performances, is displayed right here in a bland corporate-atrium means. The crackling, vital vitality and sophisticated histories of race, music and America that underpin the present are largely neutralized. But something, as Gates has taught us earlier than, might be reimagined: I’ve watched the video a number of instances and I can think about an exhibition with this video alone, projected in a white dice area. That can be sufficient. MARTHA SCHWENDENER

Upper East Side

Through March 9. Sprüth Magers, 22 East eightieth Street, Manhattan, 917-722-2370

This, unbelievably, is the primary New York gallery solo present of Astrid Klein, a conceptual artist whose work was a European complement to a bunch of American artists working in images, movie, video and efficiency that may turn out to be often called the Pictures Generation. Klein’s present at Sprüth Magers — which additionally represents feminist Pictures artists like Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler and Jenny Holzer — serves as a quick however potent introduction.

The entrance gallery contains photomontages — Klein calls them “photoworks” — of feminine movie stars and snippets of poetic textual content and Dada-style phrases. Typical of the post-Pop Art ’70s, the work highlights the juxtaposition of phrases and picture — that’s, captions and the knowledge they convey (or cover) — in addition to appropriating mass-media photographs. In the rear gallery are white work with silver rectangles that additionally embrace bits of summary textual content. The work really feel very very similar to coy responses to austere ’60s minimalism, which, after all, was as male-dominated because the world’s movie studios.

It’s a curious expertise to see Klein’s decades-old work now. On the one hand, the once-radical tactic of feminine artists highlighting girls within the mass media doesn’t shock anymore: It’s been absorbed into the tradition, because of artists like Klein. At the identical time, in a sophisticated period of so-called Barbie feminism (one photowork reveals Brigitte Bardot raised on her tiptoes, Barbie-style!), and reversals in reproductive rights laws, these works really feel proper on time. MARTHA SCHWENDENER


Through March 9. Mrs. gallery, 60-40 56th Drive, Queens; 347-841-6149,

Many folks spent the Covid-19 lockdown studying to domesticate sourdough starters. Nickola Pottinger was considered one of them, however in her case, the method produced extra than simply bread. Inspired by being within the kitchen, she began turning shredded items of paper into pulp. With her mom’s hand mixer, she reworked household paperwork into the fabric for her artwork.

Nine of Pottinger’s painted pulp sculptures are on view within the exhibition “like yuh neva lef’ yaad.” They appear to be they’re made out of clay, however when you get shut sufficient, you would possibly see bits of paper displaying by means of. It’s an apt metaphor for the best way we stock the items of our lives — each lists and extra profound issues — with us.

The Jamaican-born, Brooklyn-raised Pottinger calls her creations “duppies,” a patois phrase for ghosts. (The title of the present is patois for, “Like I by no means left house.”) The works do have a spectral presence, partly as a result of they’re too summary and surreal to outline: “Mumma” (2023) isn’t fairly a whole determine of a girl; “ol’hige” (2023) is likely to be a sphinx; “Alvernia prep faculty” (2023) is a component sculpture, half furnishings. Extra physique elements abound: a second face or set of palms, casts of mouths and rows of tooth.

But the otherworldliness Pottinger is summoning isn’t about ghost tales or haunting a lot as spirituality. Her works really feel inhabited, whether or not by ancestors or legendary creatures. Arrayed fastidiously across the gallery, the duppies are guardians, conserving secure whomever they’re meant to guard. JILLIAN STEINHAUER

East Harlem

Through March 10. El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 212-831-7272,

Piece for piece, El Museo del Barrio’s assortment is like no different on this nation. And as such, it’s a nationwide treasure. My first style of it was in 1994 in a triptych of exhibitions conceived by Susana Torruella Leval, then the museum’s visionary director. The reveals have been beautiful, although the financially strapped establishment’s holdings have been small at the moment. In the three many years since, the gathering has expanded and diversified, which is the upfront message delivered by “Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección.”

Most of the artists, and among the artwork — Nitza Tufiño’s 1972 portray “Taino Couple”; an ashen 1962 sculpture, “Children of Treblinka,” by Raphael Montañez Ortiz, the museum’s founder — are right here. But a lot of what’s within the present two-part survey has arrived since.

How to prepare such omnibus shows is all the time a query. Here, broad classes as soon as favored — “non secular artwork,” “fashionable artwork” — have been sophisticated in ways in which replicate adjustments in social and political considering, in redefinitions of Latino and Latin American as cultural identities, and within the museum’s creating view of itself, as an establishment grounded in its East Harlem origins however reaching far past.

A wall of photographs celebrating political heroes features a 1969 portrait of the Puerto Rican Independence chief Pedro Albizu Campos by the grasp printmaker Antonio Martorell, but additionally a 2012 video by Coco Fusco that casts a chilly eye on the revolutionaries of a distinct island, Cuba. “Craft” right here equally describes the artist Melba Carillo’s beaded tribute to the Yemaya, Afro-Cuban goddess of the ocean, and the Chicana artist Consuelo Jimenez Underwood’s “Undocumented Tortilla Basket” woven from barbed wire. “Contemporary” equally applies to a 2019 Afro-Brazilian ritual sculpture by José Adário dos Santos and movies from the Seventies by the Conceptualist Jaime Davidovich (1936-2016), an Argentine transplant to New York City; a cache of his work got here to the museum final yr.

Davidovich was a pioneer of video work within the Seventies with a public entry cable present, and his purpose was to disrupt typical artwork hierarchies and produce artwork to new audiences. He as soon as described himself as considered one of a bunch of avant-garde artists “attempting to get across the gatekeepers of tradition by placing our work on the market for public consumption without spending a dime.” The similar description would match lots of the artists and far of the artwork in El Museo’s assortment, and the still-maverick museum itself. HOLLAND COTTER


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