Celebrations of chromatics and musings cinematic in these new art picks.
A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT: SPENCER FINCH
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., through January 11th
In this most recent instance of The Morgan opening up its lofty, airy, luminous Gilbert Court to the installational fancies of a contemporary artist, Spencer Finch has elected to transform the space by reframing and refracting, as it were, its abundant natural light. Inspired by the rich illustrations of medieval manuscripts—more specifically, by The Morgan's holdings of devotional volumes called Books of Hours—and at least presumably by stained glass traditions and Gothic cathedrals, Finch has crafted an ever-shifting cycle of calendric chromatics full of complexly precise and partially coincidental beauties alike. This most radiant merging of realms secular and spiritual might well leave you feeling temporarily transcendent. If so, consider saving on therapy costs by paying regular visits to The Morgan while Finch's divine intervention remains on view.
MATT TOWN: SOAP
Microscope Gallery, 4 Charles Place
In its simple, elemental construction, frankness of humor and airs of somewhat mildly sci-fi inflected nostalgia, Town's efficiently space-consuming installation of documentary-like photographs, mixedly utilitarian sculptural oddities and a looped reel of film feels a bit like a narrative-conceptual middleground between Shane Carruth's Primer and Wes Anderson's Bottle Rocket. Oh yes, a wonderful middleground indeed, enjoyable thanks to both the nature of Town's slowed-down escapade in his film and the seemingly casual layout of the show's constituent objects—one of which, incidentally, a soapbox-like driving apparatus, appears to correspond with almost perfect proportionality to the gallery's main space. Coincidence or not, Microscope certainly seems like the ideal vessel for Town's filmic ride. (This text features several alterations to initial posting: Soap closed 9 June.)
COLOR AS STRUCTURE
McKenzie Fine Art, 55 Orchard St., through August 2nd
Of the many ways in which to explore artists' uses of color from a curatorial perspective, opting to examine them from an array of angles seems to be a most logical solution. In this large group show at McKenzie Fine Art—featuring works by Don Voisine, Alain Biltereyst, Jason Karolak, Rob de Oude, Richard Garrison, Kate Shepherd, Deborah Zlotsky, Cordy Ryman, Holly Miller, Richard Roth, Maureen McQuillan, Elise Ferguson, Paul Corio, Martha Clippinger, Richard Caldicott and Mel Bernstine—the same solution proves also to be a most visually pleasing one. Here you'll find works in which colors are determined externally or procedurally, internally or compositionally, as their properties are variably exploited as both means and ends. From chromatic kinetics to spartan balance, from grids and reliefs to embedded referents, the spectrum of works on display is both multifaceted and simply brilliant.
GIOVANNI BELLINI & PARMIGIANINO
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through July 20th
Sumptuous and rich on levels formal and material alike, and imbued with abundant, indeed almost visually boundless—and perhaps also papally reinvigorated, of late—allegorical import, Giovanni Bellini's St. Francis in the Desert, one of the most cherished works in The Frick Collection, is masterful and beloved enough on its own to beckon pilgrimages. Over the next couple months, however, its lure and lore will be even greater. While the two paintings that typically flank it in the Frick's Living Hall, both works by Titian, make a temporary move to the Oval Room—as part of a wonderful exhibit whose exquisite centerpiece is Parmigianino's Schiava Turca, in which the subject's gaze and dress are infinitely bedazzling, and her variably suggestive hand is, upon close inspection, both beguiling and somewhat confounding—Bellini's lush rendering of St. Francis in the midst of Nature in all her chirp and splendor will be in the company of two works on loan that might have inspired it, small-scale devotional paintings of St. Jerome in the wilderness by Fra Bartolommeo and Garofolo. Perhaps you were already planning a trip to the Frick to feast your eyes upon Parmigianino's mysterious damsel. If so, plan now to make your feast moveable to the Living Hall, too.
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