JOHN GIORNO: SPACE FORGETS YOU
Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 545 West 20th St., through May 9th
Slashing vigorously through the aesthetically poetic chromatic splendor and poetically aesthetic array of compositional modes in this exhibit is a razor sharp blade of now humorous, now salacious, now touching, now devastating, now arhythmically off-kilter candor that might well slice into the variably receptive reaches of your mind to leave entire sequences of words behind—as much for their pliably scrutable meanings as for their tangibly pliant forms. If you’re familiar at all with this storied artist’s many decades of creative productivity—at times in collaboration with fellow artists, poets and kindred creatives including Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Vito Acconci, Philip Glass and John Ashbery, among many others—then this description is likely rather unsurprising. Either way, take due note of the run of Giorno’s much anticipated show, and prepare yourself for an artful smackdown. From an all-but-octogenarian.
AFTER MIDNIGHT: INDIAN MODERNISM TO CONTEMPORARY INDIA
Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, through June 28th
Featuring dozens of artists as well as several arts collectives, and described as the first truly extensive exhibition of Indian Modernism to be mounted in the US, After Midnight seeks to point both to and away from two watershed moments in 20th-century Indian history: Indian independence, in 1947; and the nation’s 50-year anniversary in 1997, around which time a rapidly globalizing economy and a variety of sociopolitical developments began to significantly reshape the subcontinent. For the show’s curator, Mumbai-based Arshiya Lokhandwala, as important as such moments are in Indian nationhood, they furnish more of a backdrop to Indian art of the era rather than primary subject matter. In other words, Indian Modernism and contemporary Indian art should not be tethered, at least not exclusively, to “stereotypical nationalist presentations of India.” Lokhandwala clearly has something of a historical-revisionist’s axe to grind with this show, and she makes her case by presenting a great deal of exceptionally sharp work.
PAPER JAM: EXPLORING VISUAL STRATEGIES FOR SOCIAL CONCERN
Schema Projects, 92 St. Nicholas Avenue, through May 3rd
All art is perhaps crucially, perhaps fundamentally, perhaps invariably a reflection of the times in which it is made. Or it isn’t. Or it is always, in some way, political. Or not necessarily. Or it is eternal, somehow, and gravely so. Or it’s as ethereal and fleeting as we are. Ponder all such broader-ranging questions while you look through the works in this show, all of which engage with sociopolitical concerns qua current events on conspicuously bivalent grounds: on the one hand, curator Larry Walczak assembled his group of artists because their work tends to engage thusly; on the other hand, he also asked many of them to craft new work for the exhibit while bearing in mind its politically leaning thematics. The result is a visio-lexical Op-Ed section of sorts, and its insights are as keen as its topicalities are arrayed. Featured artists are Phil Beuhler, Thomas Broadbent, Pam Butler, Jane Dickson, Elise Engler, Patricia Fabricant, Eve Andre Laramee, Ellie Murphy, David Pierce, Aubrey Roemer, Jim Torok and Michael Waugh.
EVERYTHING IS DESIGN: THE WORK OF PAUL RAND
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, through July 19th
Design without consistently reincorporative innovation of various forms of visual communication, especially with relation to advertising, is tantamount to a stifled, even castrated version of the same. Visit Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand to get a comprehensive glimpse of this Brooklyn-born designer’s efforts to continually broaden advertising’s sources of cyclical recyclings, from art movements rooted in painting to advancements in computer technologies. If you’re also planning to (wait in really long lines to) see the Mad Men show over at Museum of the Moving Image, you might want to check out this one as a further-research-like aperitif or digestif. But really, just check it out anyway, because it’s as full of charms and wit as any TV show with which you might be in love.
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