31 May 2015

What's up

The 118 e 64th St Boesky gallery fills three creaky, atmospheric floors of vintage trim carpentry with later works by Dorothea Tanning, mostly after the death of Max Ernst, a phase of looser brush strokes (as below), an increasing O'Keefe influence from her time in Sonora with Ernst, Matta too, and, in one canvas, an upside-down head resembling Bacon's in 1944's Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. The Yale Review's J.D. McClatchy gave Tanning a copy of his American poetry anthology (displayed) in which she underlined passages, saying nice things about Charles Wright* and Louise Glück and not so nice things about Carolyn Kizer, and later produced a monograph** in cooperation with McClatchy and his friend James Merrill. This is the basis for interspersing her works with "examples of poems that were especially meaningful to the artist," as well as readings of poetry from the anthology coming from a speaker in the ground floor, completely devoid of her own poems or any Surrealist poems, including poems by Adrienne Rich and Rosanna Warren based on her works that aren't very good, but meeting the approval of Tanning. None of her own poetry is on the walls either, despite Greywolf Press recently publishing her verses. Amid all these associations and influences there is a uniquely personal, allegorical development in this period of her work and this is a show not to be missed.

A few blocks up at 32 East 69th Street is another spacious show of late works til June 20, these by Leon Golub, including early large scale war paintings in the first two floors, mostly unspecific but one from 1969 from his Napalm series.  The third floor features personal un-subtle works about death: two large scale acrylics, one called "Time's Up" and another with notes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead on it, adjacent to a gallery of cartoonish oil stick on bristols 8"x10" or less, sticking to the death theme.

Dominique Lévy offers til June 13 three dozen Calder sculptures in an enjoyable white room designed by Santiago Calatrava which requires you to cover your shoes, if you can't wait for his four billion dollar PATH station. Downstairs are collages of Korean mulberry bark paper by Park Seo-Bo at Galerie Perrotin, whose previous show was an installation by Elmgreen and Dragset that brought us the press release (pdf): "'Past Tomorrow'.. follows the life of.. an elderly, disillusioned and failed architect, after his inheritance runs out and he is forced to leave his home in London's South Kensington neighborhood, resettling in a smaller apartment in New York's Upper East Side. . An old man whose lifestyle and beliefs are grounded in the past and no longer align with contemporary culture, Swann's character can be regarded as a metaphor for 'old Europe', stubbornly refusing to face its changed position within the world," an indication that Donald Rumsfeld is eclipsing Ruskin as an influence on Upper East Side curators.  Their installation included a full length play in text form, in which the architect shows an exuberant enthusiasm for Foucault, pictured with Deleuze (right) on one of numerous glossies on the wall, not combined with any substantive discussion of any of his texts, leading to sit com-ish family interventions, with no indication that either the playwrights nor the curators understand a single point Foucault ever made.

Twombly's late paintings at Gagosian 980 Madison til June 20 are pared down on account of his physical decline, featuring the red-on-white, "funereal" "Blooming" from his "Scattering of Blossoms" series which was all the more powerful for me perhaps since I hadn't seen the more extensive 2007 show, with its press release stressing a connection to Bashō and Japanese hokku, of which this translation comes to mind:

an octopus pot -
inside, a short-lived dream
under the summer moon

Several Twombly sculptures are also featured.  In the same building is a show of Miró's Birds in Space til June 13 and works that "chronicle the cowboy’s rise to omnipresence in art" til July 11.  Across the street at 975 Madison, Burri Fontana Manzoni & Tàpies til June 6. Michael Werner has Sigmar Polke's white on white, mostly abstract Silver Paintings til June 27, made of 'silver bromide, silver sulfate and silver nitrate,' arising from his interest in alchemy.

Organized by Televisa, the people who brought you the Enrique Peña Nieto serial, is a retrospective of the cinematography and early photographs of Gabriel Figueroa at Museo del Barrio til June 27, who shot much of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema as well as Buñuel's Los Olvidados, The Young One, Nazarín, The Exterminating Angel, and Simon of the Desert plus John Huston's The Night of the Iguana and Under the Volcano (all Piri' Miri Muli' recommended).  Themes of Figueroa's shots are compared to the paintings of Mexican contemporaries, beginning with several landscapes by Dr. Atl and including Rivera, Orozco, and a Buñuel collage co-created by Alberto Gironella (not the one to the right, another one); a gallery of photos including Manuel Álvarez Bravo and two by Juan Rulfo, leading to a room for screening clips from his Mexican oeuvre.  It is well presented, taking up the entire exhibition space, with a dramatic 'video art'-style montage at the entrance, and tho some protest "the absence of specialized full-length screenings," Film Forum has you covered, devoting two weeks of repertory to highlights from his career June 5-18.

Delhi Art Gallery in Midtown has a show of modern Indian art til June 6, to go with the Queens Museum's Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 til June 28, to save you the 20 hour flight to the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi - I'll try to get to both this week.

As with Twombly, Gagosian's Chelsea show of Michael Heizer (til July 2, 24th St) contains signature works familiar to those who have followed his career and is selling quite well.  It is a massive, monumental show if you're in the neighborhood. I was kinda hoping that declaring his "City" in Nevada a Basin and Range National Monument would be, as alleged by a Republican congressman, "affecting aircraft sorties from the Nevada Test and Training Range" but Harry Reid staffers have shot that possibility down in a manner of speaking.

If you're tired and you want to lie down and indulge any nostalgia for late 60's MIT computer graphics, head for Stan VanDerBeek's Poemfield series at 544 w. 24th St. Andrea Rosen also has quite a wonderful selection of Motherwell's "Opens" series at 525 24th, both til June 20.
* I had a phase in high school where I liked some of Charles Wright
** as with the subtitles for Olivier Assayas' Something in the Air there's a reference to a poet named John Ashberry.. wasn't that an Otter Pop?

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