Doug McClemont’s Top 10 New York shows

Jonathan Horowitz

JONATHAN HOROWITZ AT GAVIN BROWN’S ENTERPRISE

Whip smart art guy Horowitz has never been one to repeat himself. Each of his shows is its own self-contained universe. For his clever new exhibition dubbed “Self-portraits in ‘Mirror #1’” Horowitz enlisted friends to recreate, by hand, the dots and strokes of Lichtenstein’s famous 1969 black-and-white mirror painting. The artist addresses notions of authorship, art history, identity and vanity  all with one existential-conceptual gesture.

www.gavinbrown.biz

 

MsBehavior

MsBEHAVIOR AT THE ARTBRIDGE DRAWING ROOM

This Chelsea jewel box gallery is currently home to a three-woman exhibition that includes the works by Amy Feldman, Polly Shindler and Amanda Valdez. In the words of curator Jordana Zeldin, “For Feldman, moments of material misconduct shake up established compositional codes, while Shindler’s scratch marks aim to evoke a primitive age of symbol and ritual. Valdez also makes room for her materials to act out, situating the resulting mess in the context of human experience.” These definitively unfinished paint or fabric works communicate with each other as they appear to look back at the viewer.  Incontrovertible proof that an exhibition needn’t be big to have a lasting impact. Don’t miss this one.

www.art-bridge.org

 

New.Traditionalists

 

NEW TRADITIONALISTS AT MARTOS GALLERY

Arte Povera has never gone away completely, and a few of its most articulate practitioners are highlighted in this exhibition organized by Mary Grace Wright entitled, “New Traditionalists.” Justin Adian, Jess Fuller, Leif Ritchey and B. Wurtz contribute sculpture and wallworks, which pack a lot of poetry into the most humble materials. Each piece exudes consider charm and chops. Adian wraps upholsterer’s foam in canvas and further transforms the material by painting it with industrial gloss, Wurtz, who can always be counted on to astonish, contributes winning, magical box sculptures made in the late 70s from vintage 35mm slides. A humble tree made from similar film erupts from its base like a fountain made of memory.

www.martosgallery.com

 

 

Henning Bohl

HENNING BOHL AT CASEY KAPLAN

It’s difficult not to be taken with Bohl’s spacey-but-minimal canvases with colored doughnut-shaped tape dispensers attached at the edges. Of course the torus shape is an outer space form, and the artist’s donuts attached like constellations (or perhaps barnacles) and his mostly monochrome acrylic and spray paint canvases. Circles abut squares and the gallery floor is carpeted with a purple layer of “icing.” Bohl’s canny and deadpan sense of humor dominates this winning exhibition.

www.caseykaplangallery.com

 

Brian Ulrich

 

BRIAN ULRICH AT JULIE SAUL GALLERY

Ulrich focuses his lens on America’s need to consume. The exhibition entitled “Is This Place Great or What: Artifacts and Photographs” includes images of industrial sites, storefront windows, signage and large retail venues that have closed.  His documentation of the devolution of a strangely welcoming architectural monstrosity like a Circuit City store is striking. Though apparently still chugging along as a retail outlet, is a monument to the lost promise of a better life for all who enter.  Like Walker Evans and William Eggleston before him, Ulrich mines contemporary life for all that it might reveal about us.

www.saulgallery.com

 

 

Benjamin Butler

BENJAMIN BUTLER AT KLAUS VON NICHTSSAGEND

Butler has been making meaningful pictures of trees for the better part of his career. The paintings on display for this exhibition, both large and small, reveal his skills at turning familiar landscapes into near abstractions.  The space in between his trees is as considered and lively as the branches themselves. Butler’s bold, handsome verticals in masterful color combinations depict an up-close wilderness of the mind.

www.klausgallery.com

 

Michael Bevilacqua

MICHAEL BEVILACQUA AT KRAVETS WEHBY

Bevilacqua puts aside his usual bold colors for this show, and presents black on silver canvases in acrylic and spray paint. The Goth stencils and scratchitti exude a cool chaos that makes disorder seem handsome.  A prodigious purveyor of music into paint, the artist created the paintings while listening to tunes, parts of which might have found their way onto the canvases.  A quietly brilliant show.

www.kravetswehbygallery.com

 

Valerie Hegarty

VALERIE HEGARTY AT MARLBOROUGH

Political and creepy, Hegarty’s exhibition of sculptural  works is entitled “Altered States” and is, among other things, an investigation of Paddy Chayefsky’s 1978 science fiction novel of the same name.  Memorable ruins are everywhere, Rug with Grass (2012) and Sinking Ship (Large Clipper Ship) (both works 2012) (shown) are particular highlights.

www.marlboroughgallery.com

 

Michael Mahalchick

MICHAEL MAHALCHICK AT CANADA

I’ve always had a soft spot in my head for Mahalchick’s messy/cool festoonery.  The tongue-in-cheek press release for the show is a study in the pitfalls of art speak. It reads in part: Harvesting, fusing and re-constructing references from myriad sources, he takes an anything-goes approach to the materials he uses to convey multiple meanings in unexpected ways. Consciously, they fall desperately short of the iconic, becoming vestiges posed as emblems for that which cannot be conveyed; a gaping magnitude of impotency, dull tones, vague, nondescript scenes, stripped of emotional propaganda. Better to see this show than to read about it, and there’s a performance screening and artist book signing on Friday April 22nd.

www.canadanewyork.com

 

Douglas Florian

DOUGLAS FLORIAN AT BRAVINLEE

Florian, a successful writer of children’s books, is also a painter with some serious talent. His colorful abstractions, this time in oil on wood, are small and stimulating. With yucky greens, burnt yellows and a variety of blues, Florian crams a lot of story in little space. Highly recommended.

www.bravinlee.com

 

Malick Sidibe

MALICK SIDIBÉ AT AGNES B. GALERIE BOUTIQUE

Award-winning African photographer Sidibé eloquently tells of what drives him to make photographs:

A person has three sides: their face, their back, their profile. To snap a person’s profile is interesting. To see someone from behind, especially my sisters or my mother, is more interesting. When you see a woman wearing a skirt from behind, it’s a temptation. People have had car accidents that way. There was a beautiful woman walking in front of my studio and on the tarmac a man was coming on a Vespa. He saw the woman, forgot the road. A van was parked in front of my neighbor’s house: he crashed into the van!

In conjunction with book distributor D.A.P., agnes b. is currently showing a wonderful overview of the artist’s portraits. An unexpected but relevant exhibition spot, agnes b.  Soho boutique is now under the direction of former Gagosian talent, Monika Condrea.

www.agnesb.com

www.artbook.com

 

About the author

Doug McClemont
Doug McClemont is a writer, curator and critic and the New York correspondent for Saatchi Online's magazine. He has contributed essays to several monographs on contemporary art, and his writing appears in publications from ARTNews to Publisher’s Weekly. As the former editor-in-chief of the infamous magazine HONCHO, he has been the subject of profiles in Time Out New York and Frieze. You can now following Doug on twitter @duggworld

6 Comments

  1. When I look at art, especially when I don’t like it, I ask myself “how many of those have I seen”; the answer inspires me to take math.

    Reply
  2. What little energy.

    Reply
  3. Interesting post, also well written to. “Laurentiu Todie”, do you get the same idea when you look at mass produced products?

    Reply
  4. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  5. Blami says:

    understated and cool selections. Glad to see that it doesn’t have to be flashy to get on the list.

    Reply
  6. Nothing to say “HENNING BOHL AT CASEY KAPLAN” is like Laurentiu Todie said:
    “When I look at art, especially when I don’t like it, I ask myself “how many of those have I seen”; the answer inspires me to take math.”

    Reply

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