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

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 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

Recommended
Opens Sun, Mar 2nd, 6-8p:

Crosseyed and Painless
 Daniel Rios Rodriguez

Sargent’s Daughters, 179 East B’Way, NYC


Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s work combines the intensely personal with the historical in a manner both humorous and dark.  The paintings begin with drawing into a thick layer of oil paint, and can include collage elements of raw canvas, linen and the scraps of old t-shirts onto the canvas. This is a means of recovery and reinstating a fresh surface, exploring the materiality and variety of textures a painting’s surface can have.

The subject matter of the work spans the immediate and classical: skulls, lemons and tall grass along a river are repeated- calling to mind the traditional vanitas pieces. The search is ongoing and the images are abundant.
- thru Mar 30

opens tonight, Fri, Feb 28, 7-9p:

Trace Evidence
 Doug Young

The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYC


Young’s reverse paintings, rendered on the underside of thick glass with automotive paints, are investigations of places and objects that are familiar to us yet feel foreign. The subjects in many of Young’s paintings are iconic rooms and objects associated with bustling activity. The spaces are presented devoid of people and out of context; the empty set of television’s The Price is Right, NASA’s Control Room, and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider are captured in rare moments of inactivity. We are left with an opportunity to examine these rooms and objects closely, to inspect the complex details offered within them, and through this process garner a greater understanding of their purpose and the people, out of frame, who put them to use. Young also depicts objects of historical or personal significance that are captivating in their graphic qualities, starkly and consciously superficial, attractive yet repelling. Abraham Lincoln’s soiled death pillow is presented alongside portraits of a stained bathtub, an open filthy refrigerator, and a previously frozen TV dinner.

opens Fri, Mar 7, 7-9p:“Love Never Saved Anything” Logan Hicks PMM Presents, 154 Stanton St., NYCWhile much of Logan’s work deals with the often analytical, highly contemplative view of the urban environment, the paintings in Love Never Saved Anything were born out of the artist’s experiences and personal set backs this past year. The challenges led him to explore underwater photography as inspiration for these paintings. Logan explains, “The drifting, the weightlessness was how I felt internally. It seemed like the perfect way to capture what I was going through - adrift in a sea of uncertainty.” Having lived near the sea all his life, maritime themes have always been a unique influence for him, but are more explicit in this new body of work. Both haunting and elegant, his new paintings incorporate references from nautical superstitions and sailor traditions and showcase the range of perspectives from which the artist sees his environment.

opens Fri, Mar 7, 7-9p:

Love Never Saved Anything
 Logan Hicks
 
PMM Presents, 154 Stanton St., NYC

While much of Logan’s work deals with the often analytical, highly contemplative view of the urban environment, the paintings in Love Never Saved Anything were born out of the artist’s experiences and personal set backs this past year. The challenges led him to explore underwater photography as inspiration for these paintings. Logan explains, “The drifting, the weightlessness was how I felt internally. It seemed like the perfect way to capture what I was going through - adrift in a sea of uncertainty.” Having lived near the sea all his life, maritime themes have always been a unique influence for him, but are more explicit in this new body of work. Both haunting and elegant, his new paintings incorporate references from nautical superstitions and sailor traditions and showcase the range of perspectives from which the artist sees his environment.

just opened:“Overcoming the Modern  Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement” curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath Alexander Gray Gallery, 508 W26th St., NYCIn the late 1950s, a disparate number of young Korean artists discarded realism and figuration and adopted a monochromatic palette and artistic techniques that highlighted the flatness of the canvas as a foundation for later accretions and the physicality of the used materials. By the mid-1970s they had become known as Danseakhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement. The exhibition features paintings and works on paper by some of the leading figures of Danseakhwa: Chung Sang-hwa, Ha Chong-hyun, Hur Hwang, Lee Dong-Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seo-bo, and Yun Hyong-keun. Through a selection spanning three decades of artistic production, the exhibition highlights the artists’ efforts to make art that defies national identity and cultural production. The movement highlights the struggle between notions of belonging, national identity, and artistic innovation resulting from a negotiation with local cultural specificity and a Western notion of modernity. - thru Mar 29pictured: Lee Ufan, From Line No. 12–12, 1982Oil and mineral pigment on canvas

just opened:

Overcoming the Modern
 Dansaekhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement
 curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath
 
Alexander Gray Gallery, 508 W26th St., NYC

In the late 1950s, a disparate number of young Korean artists discarded realism and figuration and adopted a monochromatic palette and artistic techniques that highlighted the flatness of the canvas as a foundation for later accretions and the physicality of the used materials. By the mid-1970s they had become known as Danseakhwa: The Korean Monochrome Movement. The exhibition features paintings and works on paper by some of the leading figures of Danseakhwa: Chung Sang-hwa, Ha Chong-hyun, Hur Hwang, Lee Dong-Youb, Lee Ufan, Park Seo-bo, and Yun Hyong-keun. Through a selection spanning three decades of artistic production, the exhibition highlights the artists’ efforts to make art that defies national identity and cultural production. The movement highlights the struggle between notions of belonging, national identity, and artistic innovation resulting from a negotiation with local cultural specificity and a Western notion of modernity. - thru Mar 29

pictured:
Lee Ufan, From Line No. 12–12, 1982
Oil and mineral pigment on canvas

opens Fri, Feb 21, 7-10p:“Sump Pumped Sentiments” Todd Bienvenu, Gideon Bok, Shara Hughes, Jason Mones curated by Matt Phillips Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 44 Stewart Ave. #49, Brooklyn, NYC [Google Map]Van Gogh sought to stretch painting’s frame with The Potato Eaters. Essentially, he wanted to invite some different people over for dinner. The conversation in art has continued to broaden in the 125 years or so since that piece was made. Sump Pumped Sentiments gathers a few works by four contemporary artists that are in loose conversation with Van Gogh’s painting and his desire to portray a gritty yet entirely holy gathering. Using the supper as a standard, the pieces presented in this show examine painting’s constant transformation and inevitable mutation.

opens Fri, Feb 21, 7-10p:

Sump Pumped Sentiments
 Todd Bienvenu, Gideon Bok, Shara Hughes, Jason Mones
 curated by Matt Phillips
 
Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 44 Stewart Ave. #49, Brooklyn, NYC [Google Map]

Van Gogh sought to stretch painting’s frame with The Potato Eaters. Essentially, he wanted to invite some different people over for dinner. The conversation in art has continued to broaden in the 125 years or so since that piece was made. Sump Pumped Sentiments gathers a few works by four contemporary artists that are in loose conversation with Van Gogh’s painting and his desire to portray a gritty yet entirely holy gathering. Using the supper as a standard, the pieces presented in this show examine painting’s constant transformation and inevitable mutation.