Transfixations and pinkcentricities—plus that train set you've always wanted!—in these art picks from our 12/18 issue.
Field Projects, 526 West 26th St., through January 12th
From its creamier versions common to Pepto-Bismol and strawberry milk to its florescent and neon manifestations that seem to always reference '80s movies—and probably also including its various commerce-based literalizations that, for instance, cheekily emblazon a certain brand's hinder quarters such that Victoria's favorite hue is hardly a secret—the ever-suggestive, often gender-relevant color pink speaks to us in many ways. One of those ways, it turns out, is of a pacifying sort, and such is one of the points of exploration in this pink-centric group exhibition cleverly curated by art writer Benjamin Sutton. With works by nine artists working in an array of media, you'll find plenty of pink-tending reasons to be charmed and bedazzled, but there's no guarantee that you'll leave with quelled humors and passions. In this room, at least, that's not the point.
CHRIS BURDEN: EXTREME MEASURES
The New Museum, 235 Bowery, through January 12th
What is ever shocking about Burden's trademark if not watershed performance work from the '70s is not only that it deeply complicated what could later be considered shocking, but that it still, itself—despite all sorts of intervening means of desensitization, and even for those who have already experienced it in one way or another—remains shocking. Revisit some of that groundbreaking, perhaps medium-defining work in this show, then move on to see how the same artist broke himself away from breaking himself, as it were, to engage in a broad range of materially challenging, spatially investigatory pursuits leading to sculptural, at times architectural yields. An important survey of an important artist. Rest assured that Trans-fixed will still transfix you.
12TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY TRAIN SHOW
New York Transit Museum, Grand Central Terminal, through February 23rd
There's certainly no specific time of year to get excited about glimpsing or even playing with model train sets, at least not for true enthusiasts. But enthusiasts, casual admirers and all-but-aloof viewers alike might agree that if there were such a time, winter it might be—more specifically, even, that part of winter we call the holiday season. Since that time is now upon us, you've at least that much reason to add this comfort-food-type exhibit to your arts agenda. What's not to love, after all, about a Lionel train set looping around on tracks leading from a magnificently scaled down Grand Central Station to the North Pole? Admission is free, moreover, and the show is open seven days a week. All aboard!
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.
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