A rarely so fully sung ode to a certain someone's namesake and a veritable steal of a show add harmony and thievery to this set of art picks from our 3/27 issue.
PIERO DELLA FRANCESCA IN AMERICA
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through May 19th
This exhibition marks the first major US showing of works by the early Renaissance master, Piero della Francesca, in a manner that doesn't merely tap into the annals of art history, but adds to them as well by bringing back into union certain works that have been left disparate for several centuries. Among one of the artist's primary works, for instance, is the Sant'Agostino altarpiece, which is here represented by six of its panels—the most ever gathered back together for display since the majestic polyptych left its perch in the Augustinian church of Borgo San Sepolcro around 1555. Much like the works, the show is intimate and majestic at once. Even if work like Piero's isn't quite your thing, you might wisely elect to go see it just to say that you saw it—like rare moons, passing comets, celestial alignments. Regarding the latter, this exhibit is a rather exquisite version of the same.
Lu Magnus Gallery, 55 Hester St., March 29th through April 26th
The full list of artists, if not victims, in this by now much heralded show is a remarkably mixed up roster running about 70 names deep, and the range of works and variably relatable other objects on display will likely leave nary a medium out. Wait, what's that about 'victims'? Well, Adam Parker Smith, who curated the show, employed a slyly deft model in gathering the works—one that could be called filching, perhaps, or theft, but which is officially being referred to as 'discreet acquisition.' This makes for a curious commentary on the mores and modes of curatorial practice, to be sure, but given the handful of names we know of right now, it seems that it will also be a damn good show. No matter what, it will most certainly be a hot one, and the opening on the 29th is sure to pop and sizzle.
JAMIE SHOVLIN: [SIC]
Horton Gallery, 55-59 Chrystie St., Suite #R106, through April 21st
Shovlin's somewhat meta-journalistic, meticulously hand-executed renderings of newspaper clips and microfiche in pencil and watercolors might readily stun you in their detail and deftness, but stay alert to what makes them much more merely masterful mimicry. Some of them, read within the context of "Pan and Scan," one of the video works in the show, expand the artist's commentary on the mixed intentions and reliabilities of international media outlets. Others, read within the context of another video, "... are you stowin' away the time?" attenuate the focus of the commentary to a level of self-reflection. The show in full, however, poses a uniform question: How faithful can our documents ever be to original events, or words, or things?
SINISTER POP & DARK AND DEADPAN
Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., through March 31st
There's still time to check out these inherently advertisement-ready shows at the Whitney. While Sinister Pop explores an allegedly darker side of the postwar style often associated with brighter, so to speak, representations of booming consumer culture, Dark and Deadpan examines Pop from its various forms of visibility in films, commercials, advertising slogans and politics. In other words, the former will broaden your awareness of Pop as you observe it differently and anew, and the latter will widen your scope further yet by placing it within its greater cultural milieu. See them independently or both at once; your history lesson will be interdisciplinary either way.
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