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

thru Apr 26:

Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-1987
 
Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 10th Ave., NYC

the exhibition showcases work by many major artists whose careers were defined through their work with influential 20th century art dealer Alexander Iolas. “Iolas played a pivotal role in twentieth century art in America. He is recognized for being among the first to introduce American audiences to Surrealism, mounting Andy Warhol’s first gallery exhibition, and being an artist’s advocate who championed work according to his own tastes, rather than popular trends. Iolas was known throughout his career as a passionate art lover who built deep personal relationships and facilitated intercontinental connections among artists, gallerists, and collectors via his eponymous galleries in Athens, Geneva, Madrid, Milan, New York and Paris. His influence spread to arts patrons as well. His close work with Dominique de Menil, for example, helped to define and build her collection.”

artists include: Victor Brauner, Giorgio de Chirico, William N. Copley, Joseph Cornell, Max Ernst, Lucio Fontana, Alain Jacquet, Ray Johnson, Marina Karella, Yves Klein, Les Lalanne, René Magritte, Roberto Matta, Jules Olitski, Man Ray, Martial Raysse, Ed Ruscha, Niki de Saint Phalle, Harold Stevenson, Takis, Dorothea Tanning, Paul Thek, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol.

recommended:

NO CITY IS AN ISLAND

The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYC

considering the works on view span a range of over 35 years, this exhibition feels coherent and contemporary. Lodge Gallery curatorial duo Keith Schweitzer & Jason Patrick Voegele invited former members of legendary NYC artist collective, Colab, to revisit their past methodologies: “Collaborative Projects Inc (Colab), focused on theme-centered exhibitions with a spirit of openness, experimentation, and minimal curatorial interference. Within this context, “No City is an Island” asked former members of Colab to respond to the exhibition’s title as a theme around which to contribute work. [The show] revisits the zeitgeist of a New York City long bygone, compares and contrasts the artists and urban realities of then with now, and honors one of the most influential art organizations in New York City’s history.” - thru May 11

artists: John Ahearn, Charlie Ahearn, Jody Culkin, Jane Dickson, Stefan Eins, Peter Fend, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G, Mike Glier, Becky Howland, Lisa Kahane, Christof Kohlhofer, Justen Ladda, Joe Lewis, Ann Messner, Richard Miller, Tom Otterness, Cara Perlman, Judy Rifka, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, Teri Slotkin, Kiki Smith, Seton Smith

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 April 11:

Submerged Motherlands
 Swoon
 
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NYC

Brooklyn-based artist Swoon creates a site-specific installation in Brooklyn Museum’s rotunda gallery, transforming it into a fantastic landscape centering on a monumental sculptural tree with a constructed environment at its base, including sculpted boats and rafts, figurative prints and drawings, and cut paper foliage. Often inspired by contemporary and historical events, Swoon engages with climate change in the installation as a response to the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy that struck the Atlantic Coast in 2012, and Doggerland, a landmass that once connected Great Britain and Europe and that was destroyed by a tsunami 8,000 years ago.

photos from Swoon’s instagram.com/swoonhq

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.