Optical interrogations and spatial displacements feature generously in this suite of selected exhibitions from the 10/10 issue of our winsome review.
GERHARD RICHTER: PAINTING 2012
Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th St., through October 13th
In his Strip Paintings 2012, Gerhard Richter catalyzes a series of meticulously attenuating, increasingly complicated stages of abstraction-tending focus until they reach quite literally the fine tunes of pixels—by zooming in on and digitally deconstructing, in various chance-ridden ways, one of his own abstract paintings from 1990—then reamplifies and spreads out into a sort of mammoth thinness the once-entrenched information glimpsed in the process, itself a system of self-reflexively abstracted steps. What results is a deft suite of painstakingly printed, optically bewildering interrogations of color, composition, abstraction and line. The act of painting is here waterboarded into confessing its own infinitude. Perched almost prismatically, then, in the midst of all this is a hulking sculpture of steel and glass.
STRAY LIGHT GREY: JONAH FREEMAN AND JUSTIN LOWE
Marlborough Chelsea, 545 West 25th St., through October 27th
Increasingly disorienting from one room to the next, from one scene to the next, from one mood-altering atmosphere to the next, Stray Light Grey is a befuddlingly impressive concatenation of recognizably urban, desolately commercial and at times amusingly socio-critical settings. Be prepared to climb through holes in walls and up questionable stairs as you navigate the artists' delightfully nightmarish installation. The gallery calls their creation "a system of architecture that forms a sculpture in its totality," but it might also be described as a series of sculptural systems within an architectural nonentity. But whatever, go get lost in it. And take your time in the 'library' for some hellish laughs.
JONAS MEKAS: IMAGES OUT OF DARKNESS
James Fuentes, 56 Delancey St., through October 28th
A visual recounting of physical and psychological displacements from a Nazi labor camp in Wiesbaden, Germany, where Jonas Mekas and his brother Adolfas worked in a machine factory, to a farm near the Danish border, then back to displaced persons camps in Germany before eventually moving on to New York City—all in the turn of five fraught years from 1944-49—Images Out of Darkness digs into wartime history to dig its way back out via variably photographic revisitings. Somehow Mekas, both despite and as a result of such desperate surroundings, wields his camera to celebrate life.
THOMAS HIRSCHHORN: CONCORDIA, CONCORDIA
Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st St., through October 20th
The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia served as a vessel for creative expression not long before it foundered, as parts of Jean-Luc Godard's Film Socialisme were shot aboard. Now, not long after its highly mediated wreck, the ship's demise provides Thomas Hirschhorn with more than enough imagery and inspiration to mount a parodically disastrous, suffocatingly cataclysmic, darkly humored and fittingly behemoth diorama-like installation at Gladstone. In his recreation of the "apocalyptic upside down vision of the banal and cheap" he observed in photos of the sunken vessel, Hirschhorn invites viewers to get similarly deep.
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