nyc art scene

a carefully curated calendar & cumulative catalog of new york city's most interesting art exhibitions and events. hand picked by Arthur Seen & Team

artwork focus:

El Diablo
 Ryan Schneider

currently on view in “Ritual for Letting Go” at:
Two Rams Gallery, 215 Bowery, NYC (entrance on Rivington)

84”x72”, oil on canvas, 2014

“El Diablo (pictured, top) began as an attempt to paint a giant ceramic bowl on a beach. Hopefully one day I will be able to pull that motif off, but in this instance, I was not. I worked on this big bowl with little crabs crawling all around it for about a day until I realized it was hopeless. This was not going to work- so I turned it around to face the wall and got really annoyed about the whole thing. Another giant canvas I was going to have to take off the stretcher, then stretch and gesso another one. It always breaks my heart a little when I can’t get it on the first try- but of course it happens all the time.

The next day I went to Pearl in the morning. I thought, ok, if I’m going to re-stretch this one and start over, then I’m going to get some really bright colors. I bought a bunch of nice paints- with a lot of very bright colors I hadn’t tried before- in particular an amazing orange I was really excited about. I also got some canvas.

When I got to the studio, I turned the canvas back around and studied it. What exactly was going on here? What did I see? I turned the canvas from horizontal to vertical (it’s 7x6 ft), and something clicked. That big bowl shape could be something else. Everything around the bowl (palms, crabs, clouds) was kind of working now that it was vertical, but the bowl had to transform. But into what? I immediately saw an owl- I kind of wanted to paint a big owl. But hadn’t I recently read some article somewhere about how owls were going to be really cool to paint this year, like cats were last year? Well then I’m definitely not painting an owl today. What else do I see? I saw a big mask. I’ve always wanted to paint a mask but felt like I shouldn’t because many artists before me have painted them. But I could really see it. This was going to have to be a big mask, and if it didn’t work, oh well.

I had to scrape away a lot of the wet paint that was there from the day before. Then I could almost immediately see where everything was going to go. I sketched it in- starting with the eyes and nose, naturally. Then I just started filling in big areas with color, beginning with orange. It was the most amazing orange I had ever seen, and I know that what goes really well with orange is turquoise, so I filled an area in with turquoise. Really quickly the mask took shape with bright wet paint, and looked really at home with the foliage and crabs all around it, even though they were sideways. I just left them as they were. Everything just kind of solidified.

It was a mask just floating there in the night. I was really attracted to it- it didn’t matter to me that it made no sense floating there. I imagined if I was walking on a tropical beach at night, the smells, the sounds of the waves and foliage blowing, and I happened upon this big mask floating in front of me. The mask was scary, but welcoming, and I was attracted to that. I added some stars in the sky and other details but wanted to keep it simple. By the night time I was finished. It almost felt as though it had painted itself.” -Ryan Schneider

continues:

last supper” & “mermaid, pig, bro w/ hat
 Urs Fischer

Gagosian Gallery’s Park & 75, 821 Park Ave., NYC
Gagosian Gallery temporary space, 104 Delancey St., NYC

The exhibition is in two parts, uptown and downtown. The uptown exhibition inaugurates the opening of a new Gagosian space, Park & 75, the downtown exhibition is in a former Chase bank branch on the Lower East Side. The uptown gallery contains a single large-scale sculpture last supper, Fischer’s take on the classical religious theme. At the downtown exhibit, features of the bank’s architecture and decor have been retained, from the corporate signage to the vaults—an incongruous setting for Fischer’s guilelessly expressionistic and exuberant sculptures. The cast bronze works, some of which are silver- and gold-plated, are a heterogenous bunch that includes a one-legged boy in an armchair, a big foot, a fireplace, some columns, a bust of Napoleon, a Louis XIV chair, a mermaid (conceived as a functional fountain), a depiction of sleep, a man copulating with a pig, a man and woman embracing, a hat on rocks, a man in a boat, a faceless cat, a pile, a Pièta, a lion in chains, and so on.

“Say what you will about the overall conceit — the bluest of blue-chip dealers slumming it, the whole affair some sort of astroturf DIY effort to seem scrappy and relevant — but Gagosian’s pop-up is actually pretty damn cool. The pieces are plopped throughout the gutted interior, next to water fountains or empty safes, tucked inside the upper shelves of empty closets.” - Scott Indrisek (photos & quote), ARTINFO

opens Sat, Apr 19, 5-7p:“The Real Estate Show, What Next: 2014” John Ahearn, Stefan Eins, Peter Fend,  Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G, Tom Otterness, Ann Messner and Laurie Arbeiter, and Alan Moore Cuchifritos Gallery, 120 Essex St., NYC (inside Essex Street Market)“An extension of The Real Estate Show of 1979/1980, this exhibition will serve as a living project space, presenting new work that continues to question the impending re-development of the Seward Park Urban Redevelopment Area (SPURA) sites. By addressing certain issues that have both united and polarized the neighborhood over the last 30+ years, the exhibition will encourage artists and community members to become an active part of the conversation by focusing on the particular insights and experimental processes that artists bring to imagining new urban spaces. All of the projects, contributed by former Colab members and participants in the original Real Estate Show, take form through audience engagement, as Cuchifritos becomes a flexible site for the active processes unfolding throughout the duration of the exhibition.” - thru May 18Corresponding Exhibitions:The Real Estate Show, Was Then: 1980 at James Fuentes, 55 Delancey Street, April 4 – 27RESx: The Real Estate Show Extended at ABC NoRio, 156 Rivington Street, April 9 – May 8NO CITY IS AN ISLAND at The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie Street, April 10 – May 11

opens Sat, Apr 19, 5-7p:

The Real Estate Show, What Next: 2014
 John Ahearn, Stefan Eins, Peter Fend,
 Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G, Tom Otterness,
 Ann Messner and Laurie Arbeiter, and Alan Moore
 
Cuchifritos Gallery, 120 Essex St., NYC (inside Essex Street Market)

“An extension of The Real Estate Show of 1979/1980, this exhibition will serve as a living project space, presenting new work that continues to question the impending re-development of the Seward Park Urban Redevelopment Area (SPURA) sites. By addressing certain issues that have both united and polarized the neighborhood over the last 30+ years, the exhibition will encourage artists and community members to become an active part of the conversation by focusing on the particular insights and experimental processes that artists bring to imagining new urban spaces. All of the projects, contributed by former Colab members and participants in the original Real Estate Show, take form through audience engagement, as Cuchifritos becomes a flexible site for the active processes unfolding throughout the duration of the exhibition.” - thru May 18

Corresponding Exhibitions:

The Real Estate Show, Was Then: 1980
at James Fuentes, 55 Delancey Street, April 4 – 27

RESx: The Real Estate Show Extended
at ABC NoRio, 156 Rivington Street, April 9 – May 8

NO CITY IS AN ISLAND
at The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie Street, April 10 – May 11

recommended:

The Real Estate Show, Was Then: 1980

James Fuentes Gallery, 55 Delancey St., NYC

a historical exhibition revisiting Colab’s infamous 1980 “The Real Estate Show” with original archived artworks. “During the late 1970s and early 1980s the art world underwent rapid change. More and more artists found inspiration by engaging the real world while simultaneously discovering the power of banding together either to confront or circumvent the established order… on New Years’ Eve 1980 a group of Colab members and friends started the new decade off with a bang by squatting an empty, city-owned building on Delancey Street and mounting ‘The Real Estate Show,’ an exhibition about greed, gentrification, eviction, and dislocation. Although the police quickly shut down the show, the guerrilla exhibition attracted so much media attention that as a compromise the city offered the artists the use of another abandoned building on nearby Rivington Street.” (Alan Moore and Marc Miller, 98Bowery.com)

opens Apr 17, 6-8p:

Day by Day, Good Day
 Peter Dreher

Koenig & Clinton Gallery, 459 W19th St., NYC

a historical exhibition presenting paintings from 1974-2012. Dreher began his series Tag um Tag Guter Tag (Day by Day, Good Day) after painting his first glass in 1972. Dreher continued rendering a single empty water glass repeatedly, by day and by night, and has continued doing so over the course of several decades. The title of the series is linked to a Zen Buddhist maxim that espouses the equanimity of all things and objective perception of the world. Schooled as a figurative painter, the artist has remained steadfast to this commitment over the years, painting the same glass, within the same surroundings, from the same angle every day. To date, the series includes nearly 5,000 individual paintings. - thru May 24

Opens Tonight, 6-8p:

Are Your Motives Pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1987-2012”
 Raymond Pettibon
 
Venus Over Manhattan Gallery, 980 Madison Ave., NYC

first exhibition ever organized to focus exclusively on Raymond Pettibon’s ‘surfer paintings,’ bringing together forty works spanning a quarter century of the artist’s career. Since the 1970s, Los Angeles-based artist Raymond Pettibon has been metabolizing America - its history, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality - in a barrage of drawings and paintings in a style born of comic books and the “do-it-yourself” aesthetic of Southern California punk rock album-covers, concert flyers, and fanzines. Limning a dizzying array of topics with his distinctive combinations of image and text, Pettibon has created a vocabulary of symbols that reappear consistently if enigmatically across his oeuvre. - thru May 17

Opens Tonight, 6-8p:“The Super Can Man and Other Illustrated Classics” Kristen Morgin Zach Feuer Gallery, 548 W22nd St., NYCThe exhibition is populated with sculptures, composed primarily of unfired clay and paint, of super heroes and heroines found in comic books, fairy tales and popular culture.  Some work is re-created as a single object, such as a Little Golden Book edition of Hansel and Gretel.  Other work, like The Ugly Duckling, is seemingly reimaged from repurposed materials one may have on hand -  the stub of a pencil, a Skippy peanut butter jar top and two painted pieces of wood.

Opens Tonight, 6-8p:

The Super Can Man and Other Illustrated Classics
 Kristen Morgin
 
Zach Feuer Gallery, 548 W22nd St., NYC

The exhibition is populated with sculptures, composed primarily of unfired clay and paint, of super heroes and heroines found in comic books, fairy tales and popular culture.  Some work is re-created as a single object, such as a Little Golden Book edition of Hansel and Gretel.  Other work, like The Ugly Duckling, is seemingly reimaged from repurposed materials one may have on hand -  the stub of a pencil, a Skippy peanut butter jar top and two painted pieces of wood.

Opens Apr 18, 6-9p:“Nude Dudes” René Smith Storefront Ten Eyck Gallery, 324 Ten Eyck St., Brooklyn, NYCRené Smith’s paintings, Nude Dudes, are complicated and radical. Forty years after Playgirl popularized the idea that women could enjoy the male nude, we do not expect to see penises. These are feminist paintings. The subject is important, privileged by its relative absence from our visual culture.  Smith’s work is a sincere ode to longing and the beauty of men’s bodies, but it also addresses the imbalance between the ubiquitous depiction of women’s bare bodies and the dearth of male nakedness.  The paintings depict men’s bodies through a woman’s eyes. The man’s body is presented as a landscape with hills and valleys to roam.  The work also abounds in art historical references, our relationship to photography and formal and painterly ideas about the physical and sensual quality of the pieces themselves.  Friends and professional models posed for Smith’s camera in her studio. She works from these photographs to create her large-scale paintings.

Opens Apr 18, 6-9p:

Nude Dudes
 René Smith
 
Storefront Ten Eyck Gallery, 324 Ten Eyck St., Brooklyn, NYC

René Smith’s paintings, Nude Dudes, are complicated and radical. Forty years after Playgirl popularized the idea that women could enjoy the male nude, we do not expect to see penises. These are feminist paintings. The subject is important, privileged by its relative absence from our visual culture.  Smith’s work is a sincere ode to longing and the beauty of men’s bodies, but it also addresses the imbalance between the ubiquitous depiction of women’s bare bodies and the dearth of male nakedness.  The paintings depict men’s bodies through a woman’s eyes. The man’s body is presented as a landscape with hills and valleys to roam.  The work also abounds in art historical references, our relationship to photography and formal and painterly ideas about the physical and sensual quality of the pieces themselves.  Friends and professional models posed for Smith’s camera in her studio. She works from these photographs to create her large-scale paintings.

recently opened:“Overculture” William Powhida Postmasters Gallery, 54 Franklin St., NYCYou know William Powhida and his colorful painted lists of rants, instructions, jokes and truths. Here they are supersized and in oil paint. “My studio practice is based in drawing, which I like to think of more as a thought process than a way of working.  My work tends to draw out a concept, often a critique, through some formal means. Primarily, I’m known for drawings of trompe l’oeil lists and letters authored in the voice of “Powhida,” a sensationalist, self-loathing and unreliable narrator… While it doesn’t take much to get me drawing, following a critical inquiry to unusual and uncomfortable ends is where the energy is, like having a long conversation about coyotes with a taxidermist.” - William Powhida to The L Magazine’s Paul D’Agostinophoto by Jason Andrew

recently opened:

Overculture
 William Powhida
 
Postmasters Gallery, 54 Franklin St., NYC

You know William Powhida and his colorful painted lists of rants, instructions, jokes and truths. Here they are supersized and in oil paint.

“My studio practice is based in drawing, which I like to think of more as a thought process than a way of working.  My work tends to draw out a concept, often a critique, through some formal means. Primarily, I’m known for drawings of trompe l’oeil lists and letters authored in the voice of “Powhida,” a sensationalist, self-loathing and unreliable narrator… While it doesn’t take much to get me drawing, following a critical inquiry to unusual and uncomfortable ends is where the energy is, like having a long conversation about coyotes with a taxidermist.” - William Powhida to The L Magazine’s Paul D’Agostino

photo by Jason Andrew

opens Tonight, Mar 16, 6-8p:“Everything Under the Sun: Moon and Stars” Summer Wheat Pocket Utopia, 191 Henry St., NYCIn collaboration with Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden

opens Tonight, Mar 16, 6-8p:

Everything Under the Sun: Moon and Stars
 Summer Wheat
 
Pocket Utopia, 191 Henry St., NYC

In collaboration with Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden