It’s Also Blockbuster Season at the Galleries

05/27/2011 12:50 PM |

Martin Kippenberger at Luhring Augustine.
  • Martin Kippenberger at Luhring Augustine.

Earlier this week we likened the huge exhibitions the city’s museums have mounted this summer to blockbuster movies, but as happens every year, there’s also an incredible set of (free) museum-quality shows at the city’s art galleries right now. Here are some of this year’s biggest summer blockbuster exhibitions at galleries.

The Apatovian Buddy Comedy: Martin Kippenberger: “I Had a Vision” at Luhring Augustine
A kaleidoscopic installation of works by the late German maximalist, last seen in his big 2009 retrospective at MoMA, including a self-driving manequin on an electric wheelchair, a wooden dumpster full of scrapped works and a series of lamps filled with lighters. (Through June 18)

The Sleek, Minimalist Space Movie: Donald Judd at David Zwirner
DZG’s first Judd show since recently gaining exclusive rights to the Judd Estate showcases a series of nine six-and-a-half foot squares divided and painted in varying ways. (Through June 25)

The Racy, Bodice-Ripping Fashion World Drama: Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works at Cheim & Read
The late first lady of modern art’s first posthumous show features mostly fabric collages and fabric books from the past decade, most of them abstract and all of them extremely beautiful. (Through June 25)

The Sexy, Crossover-Seeking Auteurist Psychodrama: Robert Mapplethorpe: 50 Americans at Sean Kelly Gallery
The photographer of famous people and phalluses, who deployed classical compositional beauty in even his most aggressively erotic work, is represented in 50 photos selected through crowd-sourced curation. 50 Americans, one from each state, selected one image from the 2,000 image-strong Mapplethorpe oeuvre. Their selections are accompanied by short statements explaining their choices. (Through June 18)

The Number-Crunching Conspiracy Theory Thriller: Jasper Johns: New Sculpture and Works on Paper at Matthew Marks Gallery
At 81 Johns is still getting mileage out of a trademark motif, the sequence of numbers from zero to nine, which recurs across the set of recent sculptures that form the focus of this exhibition. The two-sided pieces on view—in aluminum, bronze, silver—are embedded with all sorts of details, from collage-like newspaper clippings and keys to hand and foot prints. (Through July 1)

Keith Haring at Gladstone Gallery.
  • Keith Haring at Gladstone Gallery.

The High School Musical: Keith Haring at Gladstone Gallery
Alongside a few of the late street art pioneer’s frenetic, large-scale figurative paintings are a series of display cases filled with small drawings and sketches, many of them full of abstract patterns, and more than a few full of penises. Haring’s penis doodles are better than yours. (Through July 1)

The City-Hopping, Celeb-Filled Fragmented Narrative Prestige Pic: Locations at Paula Cooper Gallery
In this thematic show an impressive set of artists—including John Baldessari, Dan Graham, Sol LeWitt, Catherine Opie, Walid Raad and Lawrence Weiner—whose works rely upon, explore or engage in some way mapping systems and our sense of place. (Through June 11)

The Cross-Generational Stunt-Casting Comedy: R. Crumb, Vladimir Tatlin and Revolutionary Film Posters at Tony Shafrazi Gallery
We’re not really sure what Tony was thinking when he set up a four decades-old scale model of Tatlin’s “Monument to the Third International” alongside a superb collection of vintage Soviet movie posters and the original drawings from Crumb’s Kafka biography, but we’re even less sure of why the combination works so well. (Through July 30)

The Elderly Charmer and Directionless Youngster Teaching Each Other Life Lessons Road Movie: Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou at Gagosian Gallery West 21st Street
From their meeting in 1927 through 1940, Modern art’s leading ladies’ man had no more ubiquitous muse (and, after 1935, baby mama) than Marie-Thérèse, the young woman who appears in the more than eighty drawings, paintings and sculptures on view here. (Through June 25)

The Metal-Crunching Car- and/or Robot-Propelled Action Movie: John Chamberlain: New Sculpture at Gagosian Gallery West 24th Street and John Chamberlain at Pace Gallery West 22nd Street
John Chamberlain just switched from one huge global gallery to another, prompting each to open huge shows of his massive, weirdly delicate and pretty car carcass sculptures. Beautiful proof that the gallery world isn’t above resorting to schoolyard oneupmanship. (Both through July 1)

John Chamberlain, the Optimus Prime of contemporary art, at Gagosian.
  • John Chamberlain, the Optimus Prime of contemporary art, at Gagosian.