Allure, lore and lures in these art picks from our 12/4 issue.
LEONARDO DA VINCI: TREASURES FROM THE BIBLIOTECA REALE
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., through February 2nd
It isn't really a stretch at all to call Head of a Young Woman, a rather spare yet nonetheless consummate sketch executed in the all but absolutely unforgiving medium of metalpoint, the Mona Lisa of drawings. It is by the same artist, after all, and the superlative forms of critical praise that have been heaped upon it for centuries are certainly comparable. So miss not your chance to behold this fine young lady in person during her very first visit to New York. She's joined by just a handful of other drawings by da Vinci and some by his followers, all on loan from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, but there's more than enough work on display to satisfy and captivate your gaze. Indeed, though her hair might barely be there, and though her neck and shoulder are but subtle suggestions, this maiden's lavishly rendered eyes might never leave you.
DANTE FERRETTI: DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION FOR THE CINEMA
MoMA, 11 West 53rd St., through February 9th
A list of major Italian directors with whom Ferretti hasn't worked since the late 1960s would be a very short one indeed. Having collaborated with Pasolini, Fellini, Comencini and Bellocchio, for instance, Ferretti is the Ennio Morricone of production design. He's worked with Scorsese, Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, too, and MoMA's mounting of multivalent screenings alongside relics from his sets is tantamount to an inherent blockbuster itself. A natural complement to all of that is, of course, a schedule of standard screenings. What you won’t be surprised to find is a broad sampling of his creative range. What might surprise you is how many of your favorite films were graced with the dashing robustness and verisimilitude of his handiwork. His mark on cinema is ubiquitous and indelible. Given all this, no one better could’ve been called in for Hugo.
WILLIAM SIERUTA: OBTUSE ANGLER
Underdonk, 1717 Troutman, #201, through December 15th
So felicitously colorful and of just the right scale to appear, at first glance, splendidly toy-like, Sieruta's carefully, perhaps even lovingly crafted sculptural oddities—scores of which are here on view—are nonetheless a bit less utilitarian than playthings, and most certainly far less harmless. Were you actually handle them, that is. All the same, your touch is precisely what is begged by the happy, soft colors of the artist's watercolored bits of wood, and by the variably sized and barbed fishing hooks that accent and incatenate them. An alluring little show with a clever hook, to be sure—and one where touching the art is likely to get you caught.
Honey Ramka, 56 Bogart St., through December 22nd
Tamara Gonzales, a painter whose palette can be so dazzling and lush that at times it seems improbable for her canvases be physically at rest, has shown work in several Brooklyn spaces in recent weeks, but be sure to see her somewhat more earth-toned, somewhat more compositionally activated pieces in this group show, where they're in the company of—if not actually encompassed by—works by Elizabeth Ferry and Yevgenia Baras. Since you're here indulging in paintings, make it a point to visit the gallery's nice little project space as well. There you'll find a well elected suite of at once whimsically and grittily heartfelt works in rich, sumptuously textured oils by Farrell Brickhouse. Awfully fun to look at, his paintings here are easy to fall for—especially the one in which his pictorial fold conveys a subject who has tumbled to the floor.
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