Thursday, November 7, 2013

4 Art Exhibits You Need to See

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM

A piece by James Prez at S&J Projects.
  • A piece by James Prez at S&J Projects.

A cornucopia of creativity in a quaint basement and a testament to bygone (or expired?) coolness, as well as a couple other things, among these picks from our 11/6 issue.

JAMES PREZ: NOTHING SPECIAL
S & J Projects, 191 Henry St., through November 17th
There is, to be sure, quite a lot that's special about this Williamsburg-based artist's solo show on the Lower East Side, from its floor-favoring nestling in the somewhat irregularly niched and nooked quarters of the gallery's quaint basement space—a perfect setting for a spread of this sort, and so carefully arrayed that even ambient electrical outlets are folded into the creative mix—to the meticulous and consistently clever ways in which the objects at hand have been manipulated, reconfigured, drawn and scrawled upon. Indeed, Prez's operative mode is to morph bric-a-brac and catch-as-catch-can items into smallish works of imaginative immensity; he make the un-special special and imbues it with importance. This is art with hella heart. Thoughtfully curated by Julie Torres, Nothing Special presents Prez at his best.

AUDIBLE PRESENCE: LUCIO FONTANA, YVES KLEIN, CY TWOMBLY
Dominque Lévy Gallery, 909 Madison Ave. at 73rd St., through November 16th
If the inaugural exhibit at this recent addition to the circuit of uptown galleries is indicative of similarly heavily rostered shows to come, and if artists of such an ilk rank among your aesthetic interests, Ms. Lévy's new space will be one for you to keep up with. Inspired by Klein's Monotone Silence Symphony—which the gallery commissioned for presentation for the first time in New York back in September—Audible Presence includes some of Klein's quite literally trademark studies in blue, a number of Fontana's studied slashings, and studious paintings and sculptures by Twombly. Indeed, this space might become quite a fine place, to wit, to go study.

RITUALS OF RENTED ISLAND
Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Ave., through February 2nd
There is, of course, the extensive, nearly exhaustive Mike Kelley exhibition over at PS1, but some of Mr. Kelley's work factors into this new show at the Whitney as well, the apparent aim of which is to convey a bit of the grit, emotion and fervor of performances and the like that took place in alternative spaces in Manhattan in the 1970's. Incorporating a number of other definitively mixed media artists into this conceptual fold—such as Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn and Theodora Skipitares, among many others—curator Jay Sanders hopes to portray what "the cool underground of New York" was once like. As such, this this show might encourage you to wonder—perhaps more than you already do—if there even is such a thing anymore. Bring tissues, perhaps? Bring at least, without doubt, a healthy appetite for a great many forms of expression and representation.

THE ARMORY SHOW AT 100: MODERN ART AND REVOLUTION
New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, through February 23rd
Marking 100 years since the first Armory Show entered the annals of art history, or Art History, as a truly watershed event, 2013 has seen no shortage of revisitations and homages thereto, from tribute exhibits at fairs and in galleries to this scaled-down rehanging of select works that debuted, either quietly or explosively, a century ago. Contemporary historian Max Page, writing about the original Armory Show via Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter's takes on capitalism, refers to it as an instance of establishment-obliterating "creative destruction." Quaintly overblown, perhaps, but whatever. So many decades later, it's hard not to wonder how the hell—or if, or when—such a dramatically redefining explosion might take place again.

You can follow Paul D'Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

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