Matthew Brannon-“Gentleman’s Relish” at Casey Kaplan Arguably the most theatrical and genre-busting show currently on view in New York. Brannon is known for his letterpress prints, cryptic-but-familiar dialogue snippets written by the artist himself, and props that seem to have stepped directly out of his two-dimensional work. For Brannon’s first show at Kaplan, the artist has created a visual narrative that is a wonderfully suspicious and confusing detective story. Brannon told me that the title of the show come’s from a British anchovy paste and that he “always had the ambition to write a proper novel, in this case I’m writing a play with a noir plot to it.” A brilliant exhibition by a singular artist.
Through December 17th www.caseykaplangallery.com
Urs Fischer and Cassandra Macleod @ Gavin Brown The title of this exhibition–a haphazard collection of around 30 random letters that I refuse to transcribe–is as child-like at its core as the art itself. It must have been banged out on a keyboard by an offspring of either artist. A convoluted press release dares you to take it seriously, which is nearly impossible. The exhibition itself is a haphazard maze-like arrangement of glossy, pop-colored tables by Fischer stacked on top of each other, with paintings by Macleod and the artist’s children, along with an occasional small sculptural object by Fischer. His tables sport tops featuring blown-up photographic collages of everything from vintage porn images to portraits of current art stars. 1980s bold-faced name Julian Schnabel sat holding court at one of the jokey and enchanting tables at the opening. Several of the tables had already sold at $61,000 each; whether buyers were going to serve meals on them or not remains unclear.
Through November 12th www.gavinbrown.biz
Gregory Green & Andrew Cornell Robinson At Anna Kustera I’ve curated shows for Anna Kustera Gallery, therefore I’m partial and I also got a sneak preview of this exhibition. But the pairing of the work of these two artists is inspired and, as Wall Street and centers of power across the country are occupied by heroic activists, also incredibly timely. The gallery window contains an uprising in miniature by gallery discovery Andrew Cornell Robinson complete with wooden placards devoid of slogans, blue police state barricades and mini protestors made from clenched fist clay formations. Gregory Green is of course known for his installations of bombs and other anarchist devices—identical to the real things save for the actual explosives. His work entitled Through The Night Softly (2011) occupies the main gallery floor and consists of a carpet-like assortment of over 2,500 handmade metal tire spikes. The sculpture is troubling and dangerous and effective on many levels.
Through December 23rd www.annakustera.com
Peter Hujar: Three Lives: Peter Hujar, Paul Thek & David Wojnarowicz at Matthew Marks Hujar’s black-and-white images of himself and two of his more legendary artist friends, Thek and Wojnarowicz, aside from their masterful composition, have acquired a poignancy that the artist never intended as all three talents died of AIDS related complications within a few years of one another. The exhbition includes several rare images, as well as the nudes and portraits that have become classics of their era.
Through December 23rd www.matthewmarks.com
Charles Ray-“Future Fragment on a Solid Base” at Matthew Marks In his 22nd Street Chelsea space, Marks has on display a masterwork by Ray: it’s a wacky leggy amputated silver tower of a single limb, calf bulging in a gladiatorial type sandal that is at once classical and futuristic. Like most good sculpture, it must be circled 360 degrees to be fully appreciated. A must see stop on a Chelsea gallery hop.
Through December 23rd www.matthewmarks.com
Taylor Mead: Aphorisms from On Amphetamine and in Europe at Half Gallery Vigorous barfly and former Warhol Superstar Taylor Mead can still be seen ambling the streets of downtown New York telling people he’s finally sick of talking about Andy. This gallery exhibition features aphorisms from his writings, such as “ I want to take all my psychiatry out on you” and “darling, you’re too young to be so grim!” scrawled in white on a blackboard type background. Gimmicky, yes, but the 86-year-old poet/actor/addict is such a witty living relic that he deserves all the attention able to be soaked up.
Through November 12th www.halfgallery.com
Scott Treleaven-“The Holy Man Who Drank Milk With His Penis” at Invisible-Exports Treleaven has moved on from his mildly Goth-punk photographic collages and drawings of shirtless young men in dark beds of roses, to older and wiser paintings. His skills are put to much better use in the current, more abstract work—and gay longing is so 20th Century anyway. Channeling Cy Twombly (one of the most notorious closet cases since Thomas Hart Benton) the talented Treleaven has created abstracts that are artfully broken by pastel and crayon lines and purposeful hash marks. The results are simultaneously visceral and composed. The disorienting title of the exhibition, we’re told, comes from and obscure yogic practice for cultivating extreme self-control. Without question a breakthrough show for the artist. Through
December 18th www.invisible-exports.com
Karen Heagle-“Let Nature Take Its Course and Hope It Passes” at I-20 Gallery. Just a few more weeks before this show of Karen Heagle’s magnificent paintings closes. The exhibition takes on Dutch and Flemish still life painting, poking fun at its musty macho bravura while celebrating the painterly chops of the era. Heagle is a master herself, and the taxidermied deer, prowling tiger, calm vulture and dead rabbit—not to mention the wheelbarrow, pitchfork, butternut squash and lava lamp—possess a confidence that many painters only strive toward. The artist’s allegorical still lives are compelling, sordid and delightful.
Through November 12th www.i-20.com
Neo Rauch at David Zwirner Speaking as a sucker for nearly everything that comes from the hand of the influential German painter, I’m eager to see the newest works, which will be on display beginning November 4th. His mash-ups of figurative paintings and play with scale and spatial relationships make his contemporary surreality unique. Each painting has its own twisted, cryptic rules.
November 4th– December 17th. www.davidzwirner.com
Justin Vivian Bond “THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF WHIMSY” at Participant, Inc. Bond is rightly celebrated for his cabaret and concert performances, and this installations shows us that he considers paintings as another of his abilities. Along with photographs and items from his soon-to-be demolished East Village loft, Bond is showing intimate portraits of friends done in watercolor and pencil. As we stood in the gallery space at the opening, consummate artist and songbird Bond mentioned that the graffiti-scratched piano in the center of the room was one that he bought from someone on the street for $2,100. “I put a Whimsy banner on the back to cover the carvings,” he said. I didn’t see Hilton Als, arguably the most luminous cultural critic of our day, on opening night, but he has recently written an essay length book on Bond and the late Warhol Superstar Candy Darling. If you’re one of the few living beings that still doesn’t know what Justin Bond does, YouTube him right away.
With ongoing performances and video screenings, Through December 18th. www.participantinc.org