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

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

This week, Jillian Steinhauer covers Dara Birnbaum’s video artwork, an intergenerational group present of Atlanta-based artists and Nickola Pottinger’s painted pulp sculptures.


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, significantly her appropriation and modifying 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 one among her handiest items, “Transmission Tower: Sentinel” (1992), a slanted tv tower stacked with eight displays. 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 photos 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 state of affairs with clarion resonances right this moment.

Two different works, the video “Canon: Taking to the Streets” (1990) and the print sequence “Antenna/Fist” (1992/2018), look at the visuals of protest. But “Quiet Disaster” (1999) has lingered foremost in my thoughts. The set up contains three round photos of cropped and blown-up anime characters in moments of concern. The girl within the middle seems again over her shoulder, eyes large and face scratched; as I stared at her, I received the eerie sense that the catastrophe she was fleeing was us.

East Village

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

Artists exist in every single 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 primarily based in Atlanta, curated by Daniel Fuller. The title, “The sea swept the sandcastles away. (To wake up in Atlanta!),” alludes to the fixed change and improvement of the town that these artists are working by way of and in opposition to.

The most imposing piece, Antonio Darden’s “S Tenebris” (2023), barely matches within the gallery. A wood replica 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 material, which in a storage would possibly look unassuming; right here it evokes a shroud.

A present of spirituality runs by way 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 varieties 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 taking part in music and dancing. Dianna Settles brings a welcome anarchic edge to the revelry, with a portray that freezes a efficiency staged by her pals on the garden of the High Museum. The gamers have been in costume, the musicians dwell, the viewers seated — all that was lacking was the establishment’s permission.


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

Many individuals spent the Covid-19 lockdown studying to domesticate sourdough starters. Nickola Pottinger was one among 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 remodeled 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 constituted of clay, however if you happen to get shut sufficient, you would possibly see bits of paper exhibiting by way of. It’s an apt metaphor for the way in which we feature 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 residence.”) 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 an element sculpture, half furnishings. Extra physique elements abound: a second face or set of palms, casts of mouths and rows of enamel.

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, preserving secure whomever they’re meant to guard.

Upper East Side

Through Jan. 26. Elkon Gallery, 18 East 81st Street, Manhattan; 212-535-3940,

“Utter sweetness crossed with an underlying eroticism” is how the critic Peter Schjeldahl, writing in The New York Times 50 years in the past, described the up-and-coming Pop artist John Wesley.

Wesley, who died final yr at 93, borrowed photos from comics, home romance and Americana, then organized them into flat, pastel cartoons suffused with sexualized humor. Think Ken Price’s interiors or Alex Katz’s faces, with a Freudian tingle.

Whimsy abounds within the 15 works at Elkon Gallery. “Boxing Gloves” (1968) strains up three fighters like Rockettes, every engulfed to his waist by a black glove, with the lace from the glove binding his legs.

But greater than bondage, this family-friendly choice boasts Wesley’s play with type — the rationale, I think about, why the arch-minimalist Donald Judd devoted a gallery to him in Marfa.

Up shut, Wesley’s define wavers wildly. From afar, it lands with stunning, loaded precision. While the eight cyclists of “Tour de France” (1974), hunched illogically, barely kiss the sting of their painted body, one front-runner’s tire flops over the rule as if to announce, “I’m profitable!” In “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” (1976), a sendup of Emanuel Leutze’s epic throughout the road on the Met, two patriots regain their footing in a wobbly dinghy. Overhead, an extended cloud intrudes upon the parable, connecting left margin to proper with a bridge of unpolluted, unpainted gesso.

Outlines, placements, perimeters — every fourth-wall breaking. The impact is of somebody who labored rapidly (in fast-drying acrylics) and whose visions have been knowledgeable by an intrusive American reminiscence. WALKER MIMMS

Lower East Side

Through Jan. 27. 47 Canal, 291 Grand Street, Manhattan; 646-415-7712,

As a younger painter within the Nineteen Sixties, G. Peter Jemison (Seneca, Heron Clan) garnered auspicious consideration from the mainstream New York artwork world. At the identical time, he made his Native American contemporaries his inventive cohort. (Beginning in 1978 and for a few years, he was the trailblazing curator of the American Indian Community House’s gallery in Manhattan.) And that early selection, between middle and periphery, insider and outlier, helps explains why “On the Right Path, Works: 1982-2023” is his first solo present in New York City in 50 years.

It’s a wonderful factor, and though very a lot a variety relatively than a survey, it provides an excellent sense of the place this artist-activist, now in his late 70s, got here from. He was born in a Seneca neighborhood in upstate New York, the place he lives, and from which his New York City years have been an prolonged however formative interlude. The two places come collectively in a terrific sequence of Nineteen Eighties work of Indigenous themes carried out on business buying baggage of a form he’d noticed on every day subway journeys. And whereas photos of nature, panoramic and close-up, are his mainstay, they’re infused — all the time have been — with an environmental politics that the artwork world is prepared for now. HOLLAND COTTER


Through Feb. 3. DC Moore, 535 West twenty second Street, Manhattan; 212-247-2111,

Joyce Kozloff’s five-foot-square work of battle zones in her present “Collateral Damage” are richly coloured maps with massive sections of pencil grid left seen, and daring however not overly exact lettering. As you’d anticipate from an artist related to the Pattern and Decoration motion of the Seventies, she additionally makes use of dense concentrations of stripe, dot and squiggle.

In one or two circumstances she provides element about what’s occurring: There are target-like circles round Gaza and the Golan Heights; daring blue strains, like troop motion indicators, cross from Russia to Ukraine. But normally she provides emphasis extra discreetly, by together with important provincial phrases in addition to nation names, and by marking situations of conflict, dysfunction or occupation with native textile patterns. Sudan and South Sudan are titled, however so is the contested Abyei area between them. And Yemen has a posh sample, whereas Saudi Arabia, proper above it, is a stark purple and orange.

Making us discover issues we’re practiced at ignoring is hanging sufficient. You most likely haven’t seen maps configured fairly like this earlier than, and with water that isn’t all the time blue, it may be tough to separate oceans from land.

What is most spectacular about Kozloff’s undertaking is its restraint. If pressed, you can learn into all of it types of concepts in regards to the powers, and the risks, of names and borders. You may make some fairly good guesses in regards to the artist’s politics, too. But Kozloff isn’t really making any statements. She’s merely letting her work function a silent witness. WILL HEINRICH

Through Feb. 3. David Zwirner, 537 West twentieth Street; Manhattan; 212-517-8677;

Robert Ryman is greatest identified for a devotion to all-white work that made the many of the medium’s bodily properties, keeping off monotony with a staggering number of paints, paint brushes, brush strokes, surfaces and wall fastenings. He got here to New York in 1952, planning to check jazz saxophone, however was blown off target by visits to New York museums and dealing as a guard on the Museum of Modern Art for a lot of the Fifties. In 1953 he purchased paints and canvas board to see, as he as soon as stated, “what the paint would do.” By 1959 he had made what he thought-about his first portray: a sq. canvas painted shiny orange. Then white took over.

The most attention-grabbing items on this over-full exhibition of 25 works from 1961-64 reveal that issues weren’t fairly so easy. In a sequence of works from 1961, luscious fields, ostensibly of white, are steadily painted over strokes of purple, blue or inexperienced, enacting a form of refusal of colour. He additionally toyed with “phantasm” — the bugaboo of Nineteen Sixties abstraction and its devotion to the bodily nature of the artwork object. In “One Down” (1962), Ryman penciled off 5 small squares on a sq. expanse of sunshine brown linen and painted them with white-over-color textures, creating the startling phantasm of work (or research) hanging on a studio wall. In different phrases, gadzooks, he turned summary portray right into a representational, even trompe l’oeil image! In “62” Square” (round 1964), he even gave one of many paintings-within-a-painting a purple body. No surprise this intriguing little apostasy has been out of sight. ROBERTA SMITH

Through Feb. 4. Palo Gallery, 30 Bond Street, Manhattan, 646-877-1469,

Wool felt is a marvel. It is without doubt one of the oldest of human-made materials and it stays ubiquitous, figuring in every little thing from slippers to plane gaskets.

Felt additionally has creative prospects aplenty, a few of that are explored in “Source,” the luxurious New York debut of Sagarika Sundaram, who was born in Kolkata, India, in 1986, earned an M.F.A. in textiles from Parsons School of Design/The New School and lives in Brooklyn.

The dozen works right here start with a chunk of white felt, mendacity flat, onto which Sundaram layers uncooked wool and yarn-like strands or items of dyed felt. This sandwich is then subjected to moisture and warmth and quite a lot of strain, fusing right into a single considerably bumpy textile.

The present accommodates a number of beguiling small felt items together with two rough-edged books whose pages learn as dazzling little colour research. Less profitable is the monumental “Source,” consisting of 4 or 5 massive ellipses hanging collectively in folds. These parts can evoke immense leaves, shells or tents, every with its personal motifs and combos of darkish purple, brown and white pure dyes. But it appears unfocused, like a sequence of tryouts. It can also be acquainted, reprising craft-oriented artwork from the Seventies.

The masterpiece right here is the colourful “Atlas,” a small mural whose shapes and contours and blazing colours suggests a topographical map, tangled undergrowth or Lynda Benglis latex pour piece. You may say it’s all determine and no floor, an train in exquisitely managed chaos. Unlike paint, felt grants every little bit of colour an electrifying separateness. “Atlas” belongs in a museum. ROBERTA SMITH

Through Feb. 3. Shrine Gallery, 368 Broadway, Manhattan, 212-381-1395,

This pair of solo exhibits leads with the New York debut of work by the Los Angeles artist Blair Saxon-Hill, 44, who exhibited massive monotypes right here in 2022, at Pace Prints.

Saxon-Hill, who was born in Eugene, Ore., in 1979, works with untroubled ease and 0 pretension, when portray her nonetheless lifes of wilting flowers or inhabited interiors. Her clumsy figures evince a really late model of what was as soon as referred to as the School of Paris, an intuitive fusion of direct drawing and portray that descended from Matisse and Picasso.

Yet Saxon-Hill’s work seize a malaise that appears very modern, very post-Covid. The bouquets of flowers, alone or within the interiors, are normally dying, dropping their seeds. The exception is the mixture of lilacs and persimmons in “Flowers for Alice Neel.” They are the healthiest within the present however they reappear in worse form, in “Persimmon at Night,” through which a girl lolls listlessly on a desk, clutching a persimmon in a single hand.

In “Power of Now,” a girl in purple, with a persimmon wall looming behind her, appears to shrink from the newspaper open on the desk earlier than her. The anxieties in “The News” are extra ambiguous. It facilities on a big piece of paper that seems to be a drawing of thick severed limbs protecting the lap of a girl whose precarious black hairstyle is indicated by a calligraphic swirl. She appears straight out of a drag present or a Japanese erotic woodblock and appears dismayed. Is she considering “Too a lot carnage” or possibly simply “Too a lot Picasso”? The present’s title seems to the long run with a fatalistic phrase from the Japanese poet Issa, “Even Then Flowers Bloom.”

In Shrine’s second gallery, the veteran painter Clintel Steed, 46, provides an attention-grabbing distinction to Saxon-Hill’s easy, suave surfaces with ones whose brief thick brushstrokes can pile up like little bricks. Steed, who was born in Salt Lake City and now lives in Peekskill, N.Y., has used this strong, considerably combative fashion of paint dealing with for a while, letting it each fragment and energize his topics, which have ranged from landscapes to reprises of outdated grasp work, and have diverse of their effectiveness.

The new work are smallish close-ups of the faces {of professional} soccer gamers on the sphere, in helmets, behind face guards. There’s rather a lot to work with right here given the tools — which incorporates visors that mirror small cityscapes — and the gamers’ normally fierce expressions. The outcomes are very concentrated, virtually explosive, weirdly semi-Cubist in construction and sure a few of Steed’s greatest work. Once you kind out their photos, it’s a must to determine if the face guards defend or cage the lads, most of whom are Black. Either method their gear personifies the inordinate strain to succeed that afflicts so many in and round this violent sport. The present is titled “Portraits of the Indomitable,” which simplifies the work’s complexity. ROBERTA SMITH


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

An exhibition and analysis house, the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) not too long ago moved from tight townhouse quarters on the Upper East Side to wide-open duplex digs in TriBeCa. And it’s inaugurating its new residence with two thematically linked however visually contrasting exhibits.

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 wanting. 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 several 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 trade primarily based within the Bolivian metropolis of Potosí.

There’s a lot fibrous matter to chew on right here, although the common 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 religious values that ingredient 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 method 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 at present floating on excessive in MoMA’s atrium. HOLLAND COTTER

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 option to plenty of different artists, most notably Geoffrey Hendricks, of Fluxus, who grew to become his associate for the remainder of his life. (Alice Neel painted them together.) Before dying of AIDS in 1987, simply shy of his thirty third birthday, Buczak additionally made an incredible 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 sequence. 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 greatest developing 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 brief blue and white brushstrokes of the pool. Sometimes, significantly 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 method Buczak painted — in addition to his selection to color within the first place, relatively than assemble his closely image-driven work with Xerox copies or images. You can really feel him looking for one thing — that means, readability, peace, liberation — that by no means fairly arrives. WILL HEINRICH


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 provides it a wierd, 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 chopping them up: Seung-taek Lee makes use of dismembered typewriter keys to print a hazy, black, ink-on-canvas cloud round an emptied e book; 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 underneath a Crusader’s sword jammed right into a cage stuffed 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 e book; 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 sequence of gold-embossed e book titles; and particularly a 1994 Carl Andre piece, “The Birth of Knowledge,” which is a weathered Hebrew prayer e book screwed into an old school wood tennis racket body. It’s a crafty method of highlighting the truth that books and conceptual artworks are, the truth is, very comparable: They’re each units designed to bind collectively sheaves of disparate concepts. WILL HEINRICH

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 exhibits 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 a number of 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 — “religious artwork,” “fashionable artwork” — have been difficult in ways in which mirror modifications in social and political considering, in redefinitions of Latino and Latin American as cultural identities, and within the museum’s growing view of itself, as an establishment grounded in its East Harlem origins however reaching far past. HOLLAND COTTER

A wall of photos 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 objective was to disrupt typical artwork hierarchies and convey artwork to new audiences. He as soon as described himself as one among a bunch of avant-garde artists “making an attempt 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

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 seems remarkably recent. For one factor, its show of 9 works largely from the Twenties — etchings, watercolors, charcoal drawings and a single portray — in a tiny gallery encourages an exhilarating intimacy with the modifications in Hopper’s mark-making and surfaces throughout mediums.

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

The etchings give early indicators of Hopper’s powers of remark and contact: Their diverse 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 aircraft and exemplify Hopper’s cautious rhyming of colours. Everything is pristinely flat besides on 4 bushes, 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 that means than are normally achieved nowadays. ROBERTA SMITH


Through Jan. 13. Jeffrey Deitch, 18 Wooster Street, Manhattan; 212-343-7300,

Shot in 1980 in No Wave’s deliberate anti-style, “Wild Style,” Charlie Ahearn’s loosely stitched movie of early hip-hop tradition among the many Bronx’s bombed-out blocks, trades auteurism for zeal, ceding conventions like script and plot to the pure invention of its stars. It paperwork the progenitors of hip-hop — graffitists, MCs, and b-boys — and is itself a foundational article of that tradition, pointed to as legitimizing proof of a motion whose results proceed to paint the town’s self-image.

This present straddles memorabilia — manufacturing stills by Martha Cooper and Cathleen Campbell; Zephyr and Revolt’s fizzy title card animation cels — and the output of the movie’s aerosol contingent who transitioned from prepare yards to gallery partitions, a codified roster of artists typically named in the identical breath: Lee Quiñones, Rammellzee, Sharp, Daze, Crash, Lady Pink, Futura, Dondi and Phase 2. Also included are artists like Martin Wong and John Ahearn, who didn’t work within the mode however are thought-about sympathetic to it. The cut up is between nostalgia and continuum. A sullen, jaundiced KAWS bronze is essentially the most conspicuous instance of the motion’s legacy, at the same time as he has lengthy deserted his tagger roots. Its presence represents the completion of the formal artwork world’s incursion, a course of that the movie handled with refined ambivalence.

There is a joyousness within the longevity of favor writing’s surviving pioneers. But if the shape’s chief attribute is its countless reinvention, you solely have to stroll across the nook to Thompson Street, to an empty lot ringed with recent tags, to search out the custom alive. MAX LAKIN

Upper East Side

Through Jan. 13. Goodman Gallery, 23 East 67th Street, Manhattan; 347-249-8994,

A number of many years again, when the Museum for African Art existed, New York City frequently noticed numerous the brand new work coming from South Africa, a lot of it courtesy of loans from Goodman Gallery, which had opened in Johannesburg in 1966 and nurtured a stellar roster of artists, Black and white, in the course of the apartheid years. When the museum closed, the South African circulation to New York stopped, however now guarantees to renew with the opening of a Goodman department in Manhattan.

And a really welcome resumption it’s, to judge from a small inaugural group present that’s each a blast from the previous and a quickstep into the long run. Most of the work right here is by artists whom Goodman placed on the map years in the past. Some — David Goldblatt, William Kentridge — at the moment are worldwide fixtures. Others — Dumile Feni (1942-1991), Lucas Sithole (1931-1994) and David Koloane (1938-2019) — are historic figures who will reward wider publicity and research right here.

Sue Williamson, a dynamic amazement now in her early 80s, will get a micro-retrospective right here within the type of 5 works courting from 1984 to this yr. And Sam Nhlengethwa, whose figurative work has by no means seemed extra prescient, gives a bridge from a pioneering era to a brand new one represented by the Zimbabwean painter Misheck Masamvu, born in 1980.

Goodman has broadened its roster to incorporate artists from the bigger African diaspora, although South Africa’s contribution to the worldwide scene continues to be the guts of its program. Lucky New York will now have the ability to comply with all of it. HOLLAND COTTER

Chelsea and TriBeCa

Through Jan. 13. Vito Schnabel, 455 West nineteenth Street, Manhattan; 646-216-3932,

Through Jan. 13. David Lewis, 57 Walker Street, Manhattan; 212-966-7991,

Trey Abdella’s work assaults the concept of “floor.” In each of the present’s venues, portraits of ladies have been perforated by small doorways, swung open one a day to disclose aromatic hunks of chocolate. An 8-by-6-foot canvas, encrusted with epoxy, foam, glitter and acrylic paint, provides a macro view of a slice of cherry pie — an animated sparkle, displayed on a whirling 3-D “hologram fan,” marks the fork piercing the crust. Thick dioramas present a monstrous sculpted trout breaching a lake’s plastic floor, or a rubber coronary heart throbbing inside a treehouse seen by way of the slats of a rib cage. Piling gunk onto, chopping by way of, rejecting the boundaries of: No image aircraft is secure.

But Abdella additionally wants surfaces — his sculptures cling to the wall, and each weird scene is determined by the viewer’s gaze having a picture to penetrate. The horrific “Sealed With a Kiss” contains an acrylic portray of white pores and skin, on which perches a spiny, motorized mosquito the dimensions of a corgi. Its rubbery proboscis visibly attracts purple fluid by way of the canvas into its clear stomach, then spits it again into some hidden reservoir. The pièce de résistance, although (at David Lewis — the one free-standing piece), is a looming cross-section of human pores and skin blended with a mannequin city — a scale railroad loops across the paper garden beneath cloudlike pockets of yellow fats, whereas rabbit warrens mottle the soil beneath. Abdella’s work explodes what we take for 2-D to show its texture, gore and depth, and dwells there. TRAVIS DIEHL

Lower East Side

Through Jan. 13. James Fuentes, 55 Delancey Street, Manhattan; 212-577-1201,

There’s a opposite magnificence to Cynthia Lahti’s gloopy ceramic figures, like some romantic superb chewed on and rising gnarled, however extra emotionally recognizable for it. Her figures appear as if dazed Meissen porcelains, jolted from their lives of leisure into messier, extra trustworthy ones. Their poses are a taxonomy of tension — hunched, slumped, sheltering a cigarette in opposition to a nonexistent gust — with expressions that pressure legibility, although whether or not a face is pinched in ache or perturbation is generally a matter of levels. “Green Lady” (2011), its mottled coloring nearer to oxidized metallic, is both overcome by anguish or shielding her eyes from the solar. Either method, she’s not having a pleasant time.

The anatomical deformities of a number of of the figures converse to an consciousness of the physique’s fragility and all that may go incorrect with it. “Sock” (2009) depicts a physique from the waist down in a form of reverse bust: exaggerated, uneven limbs and indifferent appendages floating helplessly alongside, an impact that’s each comedian and grisly.

As with Manet’s seen brushstrokes, Lahti’s thumbed-clay varieties aren’t ashamed to show the marks of their making. And but, with their craggy surfaces, inexact glazes and abstracted, barely-there varieties, they will look extra like accidents of nature, and them can really feel like discovering the tough contours of a face in a slab of rock. Akin to the pitted wabi-sabi of Japanese Mino ware, Lahti’s figures counsel an acceptance of imperfection and a contentment with the unfinished — a freedom of their flaws. MAX LAKIN


Through Jan. 13. Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, Manhattan; 646-896-1368,

Olga Balema’s “The Third Dimension” is the punkest present on the town. In the identical method that Seventies punk rock was stripped down, anti-virtuosic (no ostentatious guitar solos) and anti-establishment, Balema’s clear plastic sculptures are blunt-but-beautiful statements that problem each the artwork market’s ravenous urge for food for portray and the rampant advantage signaling amongst a lot of artwork’s gamers (together with artists and critics).

What there may be to see right here — or not see, because the gallery initially appears empty while you enter it — are 11 sculptures Balema made by bending translucent polycarbonate sheets into geometric varieties. Some of the works lean in opposition to the wall; all are mysteriously titled “Loop” (2023) and assigned a quantity. They’re a bit like cleaning soap bubbles, threatening to fade at any second.

What makes Balema’s efforts artwork and never mere provocation are context and historical past. Her work is clearly in dialog with “heroic,” masculinist, minimalist sculpture crafted in marble, bronze or metal. Its nearly see-through, plain plastic supplies might goad some viewers to name it the emperor’s new garments, besides that the empty-gallery-as-philosophically-significant-void is one more celebrated trope in artwork historical past, significantly when enacted by male artists. (It’s change into a signature gesture for Balema, whose final exhibition at Bridget Donahue in 2019 was an artless internet of elastic bands stretched across the floor, titled “Brain Damage.”)

In the present second, this present speaks powerfully to the utopian guarantees of avant-garde artwork. Who will get to be free? In music, punk rock and free jazz answered this name; in visible artwork, we have now this. MARTHA SCHWENDENER


Through Jan. 6. Gladstone Gallery, 530 West twenty first Street, Manhattan; 212-206-7606,

The British artist Ed Atkins is screening a double function of latest video projections in Gladstone’s Chelsea house.

Atkins’s 16-minute “Pianowork 2” plunges deep contained in the so-called uncanny valley, the place digital simulations come near excellent realism and appear the weirder for it. Using motion-capture know-how, Atkins recorded himself taking part in a modernist piece for piano; the collected knowledge was then was a virtually excellent digital animation of the identical scene — “almost” being the operative phrase. Atkins’s avatar emotes on the keyboard, simply as any human pianist would possibly — as we assume Atkins did, taking part in — however tiny glitches inform us that we’re watching a digital creature that would by no means really feel actual feelings.

With conventional animation, we’d know that every little thing onscreen got here from somebody’s creativeness; with a conventional video recording, we’d assume the scene had some real-world analogue. But “Pianowork 2” suggests the true, whereas ensuring we don’t belief it.

Its companion at Gladstone, an 80-minute projection referred to as “Sorcerer,” is a collaboration with the author Steven Zultanski. It looks as if the simple document of a theatrical piece: Two girls and a person recite strains on a set that roughly recreates somebody’s lounge; their dialogue sounds just like the almost-random chatter of pals, transcribed direct from life. Without going digital, this leads to a number of the similar tensions as “Pianowork 2”: The transcribed chatter evokes the true, however placing it onstage is all about artifice.

Maybe the uncanny valley has all the time been a spot the place human tradition likes to hang around. BLAKE GOPNIK


Through Jan. 6. 52 Walker, 52 Walker Street, Manhattan. 212-727-1961;

“Basic Instinct” is one among 17 separate preparations of ready-made objects in Kayode Ojo’s “Eden,” the newest sensible present programmed at 52 Walker by the senior gallery director, Ebony L. Haynes. It contains a Baxton Studio Jericho Leather Accent Chair in white and chrome; a three-foot-square beveled mirror; 4 clear plastic packing containers, every about six inches excessive; and a medium-format Graflex digicam from the Seventies.

Sitting on the chair at precisely crotch top, its lens mentioning, the digicam evokes Sharon Stone’s most well-known second within the film of the identical title. In so doing, the digicam additionally highlights the ambiguous line between exhibitionism and voyeurism, and the way wrapped up they each are in standing, tradition and consumerism. It evokes the unusual nostalgia, with its aftertaste of mortality, inherent in any know-how that “captures a second,” particularly images; and it provides an incisive metaphor, if a chilly one, for what it means to be human. What are we, in any case, however empty packing containers in search of ourselves within the mirror?

Elsewhere within the present, Ojo displays on faith, sexuality and efficiency. He makes use of chandeliers, cocktail attire, an unlimited fowl cage, dozens of flutes and a household Bible embossed together with his identify; a pocket watch the dimensions of a wall clock sways gently above the ground. But I stored coming again to the 4 plastic packing containers that maintain the Baxton chair above its mirrored base. Offering a slight take away, however a clear one, without delay showy and discreet, they appeared like the important thing to Ojo’s methodology. WILL HEINRICH

East Village

Through Jan. 7. Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, Manhattan; 212-925-2035;

On the second flooring of Ali Cherri’s exhibition “Humble and Quiet and Soothing as Mud,” there’s a video projected onto three screens. Titled “Of Men and Gods and Mud” (2022), it exhibits laborers fashioning mud into bricks who toil within the shadow of the Merowe Dam in northern Sudan, the development of which displaced about 50,000 individuals and prompted important social and environmental upheaval.

Women’s voices (one talking English, one Arabic) narrate: “Somewhere, by the banks of an incredible river, on the banks of a gargantuan dam, a person stands waist deep in mud. …” The language appears much less documentary than mythic, akin to the numerous creation tales (Sumerian, Abrahamic, Maori, Hindu, Yoruba) through which the fabric performs a central function. The impact is to telescope time, in order that modern geopolitical and environmental catastrophes are learn in opposition to primeval creation and destruction — maybe, the Lebanese-born Cherri suggests, we live in one other antediluvian second, simply earlier than the dam breaks.

Mud — as materials and image — can also be explored in 4 sculptures on the bottom flooring associated to the traditional Sumerian hero Gilgamesh and the molding of his companion, Enkidu, who was molded from clay. Despite their seeming fragility, these figures forged fierce-looking shadows on the partitions. Standing in for his or her faces are archaeological relics — from Egypt, Mali, the Kongo kingdom, France — that the artist purchased from auctions, their costs reflecting present financial and cultural valuations. In Cherri’s work, previous and current are by no means separate and even distant — a gently devastating argument in opposition to the concept as a species, we’ve progressed. ARUNA D’SOUZA


Through Jan. 7. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, 26 Wooster Street, Manhattan; 212-431-2609,

For causes typically onerous to know, treasurable artists drop from the radar. Having them again in sight is a present and Leslie-Lohman Museum delivers one in “Christian Walker: The Profane and the Poignant,” a primary survey of a photographer who had an artwork world presence within the Nineteen Eighties and Nineteen Nineties — he made a notable contribution to, amongst different exhibits, “Black Male” on the Whitney Museum — and has since been all however forgotten.

Born in 1953, Walker was energetic in Boston’s early homosexual liberation motion. His first main photographic sequence, “The Theater Project,” documented the town’s red-light district, the notorious Combat Zone, because it was identified, that drew each homosexual and straight individuals. In his subsequent sequence, “Miscegenation,” he took the intimate mingling of Black and white male our bodies as a topic, at a time when the homosexual rights motion was largely white, and did so utilizing an experimental strategy of making use of pigments on to photographic prints.

Much of Walker’s profession coincided with the AIDS disaster. The toll in lives it took, and the race-based inequities it revealed, grew to become main themes for him. A bigger consciousness of loss thrums by way of his artwork, evident in portraits of household and pals early and late. Eventually he grew to become misplaced himself. In the mid-Nineteen Nineties, he moved to Seattle, the place he reduce off most of his East Coast contacts, lived for a time on the road, and died, most probably of a drug overdose, in 2003.

His work survives solely in bits and items. The Leslie-Lohman present, organized by Jackson Davidow and Noam Parness, is an act of hunter-gatherer persistence, and a heroic one: a beneficiant tribute to a memorable artist, and a present to an viewers for whom he has been restored. HOLLAND COTTER

Cold Spring, N.Y.

Through Jan. 8. Magazzino Italian Art, 2700 Route 9, Cold Spring, N.Y.; 845-666-7202,

Pop Art lastly arrived in 1962, when Andy Warhol and 28 playful upstarts, displaying their wares in “New Realists” on the Sidney Janis Gallery, drove Mark Rothko, the grasp of sober, hovering shapes of colour, to go away the gallerist in a pique.

One New Realist will need to have needled with particular power: the proto-punk Mario Schifano. For throughout the 80 works in his large new exhibition, “Mario Schifano: the Rise of the ’60s,” it turns into apparent that this Italian interpreter of Coca-Cola (a emblem he likes to quote) understood the objectives of Abstract Expressionism even whereas he mocked them.

As with Rothko, his muse was the sq. — simply the incorrect sort. In pencil Schifano drafts rounded squares inside crisp-cornered ones, replicating the period’s tube televisions. Into them he mortars sloppy brushloads of enamel paint, the pigment of outside signage. In “Elemento per Paesaggio” (1962), squares stack up helter-skelter, recalling TVs in a pawnshop window.

Elsewhere, colour lampoons shopper selection. In two untitled works from 1961, one sq. wears a yellow-and-cobalt paying homage to the Spam tin, whereas the opposite is finished within the signature cream-and-crimson of Coke. Across every foreground, Schifano attracts a cartoon rope seat and bucket, vacant, as if the billboard painter has simply taken lunch.

Schifano knew that studio portray had, by way of replica, joined mass media. Where Rothko’s era yearned for pure, unmediated colour, Schifano submits to modernity’s mediator: the display screen. It’s becoming that within the stillness of the Magazzino’s Brutalist pavilion, no titles or dates muddle the exhibition. For these, you could obtain the app. WALKER MIMMS


Through Jan. 7. New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan; 917-275-6975,

Has there been one other exhibition whose venue so completely fits its artwork? In one of many slender halls on the third flooring of the New York Public Library’s Fifth Avenue headquarters, a civic landmark, dangle pictures shot within the slender automobiles of the New York subway, one other image of the town. Walk down the corridor at N.Y.P.L., and also you is likely to be on a platform wanting right into a stopped prepare: In one automobile, a weary-looking straphanger scowls whereas a rider in a head scarf and coat seems beatific; in one other, a younger girl ogles a dandy.

The Irish photographer Alen MacWeeney, 84, took these 44 pictures in 1977 after arriving in Manhattan to work for Richard Avedon. They nod to the subway pictures of Walker Evans from 4 many years earlier, with one main distinction: In most of them, MacWeeney cleverly enlarges two subway pictures onto one sheet of picture paper; with no seam between them, they register as a steady scene. That provides every print a refined surrealism, as we soak up the breach in house and time throughout its two pictures with out recognizing that they started life individually: A lady rests her eyes in a automobile that, because of MacWeeney, seems to have expanded right into a maze of graffitied partitions; one other automobile appears to indicate its inside and outdoors without delay, like a Möbius strip.

“The probability encounter of a stitching machine and an umbrella on an working desk” — that phrase by Isidore Lucien Ducasse is meant to seize surrealism’s signature weirdness. But what in regards to the encounter of an umbrella with one other second in its personal existence? That’s the extra peculiar strangeness we discover in MacWeeney’s subway. BLAKE GOPNIK



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