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<Paul D'Agostino>

04/23/15 1:18pm

MFAthesis2015graphic

No matter where, when or by whom they are mounted, MFA thesis shows conceived as group exhibitions have a generally refreshing tendency be mixed-bag affairs par excellence. In other words, they’re always, at the very least, interesting—institutionally, materially, historically, trajectorially—and at times also surprisingly, inspiringly great. That said, they’re also curiously difficult to find out about unless you’re directly involved—even, or perhaps especially, in NYC, where MFA programs and related shows are so ubiquitous and, often, off-sitedly-scattered that they can be hard to locate in time and space.
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04/22/15 6:18am
Photo courtesy of Gleich Dances and Norte Maar

CounterPointe3
The Actors Fund Arts Center
160 Schermerhorn Street, Downtown Brooklyn

Contemporary ballet performances, so variably rooted in and thus replete with bursts of movement, expressive floridity and polyphonically mediated dynamism, seem particularly well suited for springtime entertainment. So it was a rather properly timed delight to have occasion to take in CounterPointe3—a collaborative suite of newly choreographed pieces presented by Norte Maar and Brooklyn Ballet, at The Actors Fund Center—on a recent Sunday afternoon. The weather that day, mid-60s and sunny, just happened to be definitively vernal. The pieces overall were definitively superb. (more…)

04/09/15 11:35am
Works by John Giorno at Elizabeth Dee Gallery. Image courtesy Elizabeth Dee Gallery.

JOHN GIORNO: SPACE FORGETS YOU
Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 545 West 20th St., through May 9th
Slashing vigorously through the aesthetically poetic chromatic splendor and poetically aesthetic array of compositional modes in this exhibit is a razor sharp blade of now humorous, now salacious, now touching, now devastating, now arhythmically off-kilter candor that might well slice into the variably receptive reaches of your mind to leave entire sequences of words behind—as much for their pliably scrutable meanings as for their tangibly pliant forms. If you’re familiar at all with this storied artist’s many decades of creative productivity—at times in collaboration with fellow artists, poets and kindred creatives including Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Vito Acconci, Philip Glass and John Ashbery, among many others—then this description is likely rather unsurprising. Either way, take due note of the run of Giorno’s much anticipated show, and prepare yourself for an artful smackdown. From an all-but-octogenarian.

AFTER MIDNIGHT: INDIAN MODERNISM TO CONTEMPORARY INDIA
Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, through June 28th
Featuring dozens of artists as well as several arts collectives, and described as the first truly extensive exhibition of Indian Modernism to be mounted in the US, After Midnight seeks to point both to and away from two watershed moments in 20th-century Indian history: Indian independence, in 1947; and the nation’s 50-year anniversary in 1997, around which time a rapidly globalizing economy and a variety of sociopolitical developments began to significantly reshape the subcontinent. For the show’s curator, Mumbai-based Arshiya Lokhandwala, as important as such moments are in Indian nationhood, they furnish more of a backdrop to Indian art of the era rather than primary subject matter. In other words, Indian Modernism and contemporary Indian art should not be tethered, at least not exclusively, to “stereotypical nationalist presentations of India.” Lokhandwala clearly has something of a historical-revisionist’s axe to grind with this show, and she makes her case by presenting a great deal of exceptionally sharp work.

A glimpse of the politicized spread at Schema Projects.

PAPER JAM: EXPLORING VISUAL STRATEGIES FOR SOCIAL CONCERN
Schema Projects, 92 St. Nicholas Avenue, through May 3rd
All art is perhaps crucially, perhaps fundamentally, perhaps invariably a reflection of the times in which it is made. Or it isn’t. Or it is always, in some way, political. Or not necessarily. Or it is eternal, somehow, and gravely so. Or it’s as ethereal and fleeting as we are. Ponder all such broader-ranging questions while you look through the works in this show, all of which engage with sociopolitical concerns qua current events on conspicuously bivalent grounds: on the one hand, curator Larry Walczak assembled his group of artists because their work tends to engage thusly; on the other hand, he also asked many of them to craft new work for the exhibit while bearing in mind its politically leaning thematics. The result is a visio-lexical Op-Ed section of sorts, and its insights are as keen as its topicalities are arrayed. Featured artists are Phil Beuhler, Thomas Broadbent, Pam Butler, Jane Dickson, Elise Engler, Patricia Fabricant, Eve Andre Laramee, Ellie Murphy, David Pierce, Aubrey Roemer, Jim Torok and Michael Waugh.

EVERYTHING IS DESIGN: THE WORK OF PAUL RAND
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, through July 19th
Design without consistently reincorporative innovation of various forms of visual communication, especially with relation to advertising, is tantamount to a stifled, even castrated version of the same. Visit Everything is Design: The Work of Paul Rand to get a comprehensive glimpse of this Brooklyn-born designer’s efforts to continually broaden advertising’s sources of cyclical recyclings, from art movements rooted in painting to advancements in computer technologies. If you’re also planning to (wait in really long lines to) see the Mad Men show over at Museum of the Moving Image, you might want to check out this one as a further-research-like aperitif or digestif. But really, just check it out anyway, because it’s as full of charms and wit as any TV show with which you might be in love.

Follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

04/08/15 10:28am
Lene Baasdvig Ørmen

 

Rather hidden from plain view on a bustling stretch of Court Street—housed, that is, within the former South Congregational Church, a towering Romanesque Revival structure built in the 1850s, in what is now the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn—is the administrative hub of Residency Unlimited, a nonprofit organization offering an impressively multidisciplinary range of research, work and professional development opportunities to foreign artists and curators seeking temporary immersion in the New York art scene. Although it has only been operating for about five years, RU has already accomplished quite a lot—from securing endorsements from and partnerships with dozens of institutions in the US and abroad, to organizing scores of exhibitions and events all around the city, to hosting and furthering the ambitions of hundreds of arts practitioners hailing from essentially everywhere except the States. I recently had a chance to visit with some of RU’s most crucial beneficiaries and sources of creative fuel—i.e. several of its resident artists—and thought I’d share a few notes. (more…)

03/25/15 12:59am
All photos by Jane Bruce

At last count, there were too many artists in Brooklyn to be counted. So the counters gave up. (If a reliable figure were to exist, however, you could at least count on it being extraordinarily high, yet less than 2.6 million.) Among those (almost) incalculably many artists there are, without doubt, a great many very good ones. Many more than a great many, really. And by that we mean a great many more than just a handful. Nonetheless, this is the time of year when we select five Brooklyn artists on whom we have been keeping an eye, and on whom we recommend you do as well—if you don’t already, that is. (more…)

03/11/15 6:43am

JUSTMAD, an annual art fair based in Madrid, Spain, has been showcasing the works and activities of emerging artists and galleries for several years now. The fair has always been international—and rather justifiably Euro-centric, at that—but for this year’s sixth iteration of the event, which ran from February 24th to March 1st, JUSTMAD director Gregorio Camara worked with Nurture Art’s Marco Antonini to assemble a section of the fair devoted entirely to spaces based in our fine borough. The section was dubbed JUST BROOKLYN, and its featured galleries were Fresh Window, Nurture Art, TSA New York, OUTLET Fine Art and Schema Projects, all based in Bushwick, along with Owen James Gallery, a relatively new space based in Greenpoint.

So then, how does an art fair in Spain end up with a Brooklyn-specific section of its program? What kind of art do the Brooklyn galleries bring along? How do the Brooklyn galleries fare at the fair? Does being based in our thoroughly buzzed-about borough fare them well? We reached out to some of the exhibitors at JUSTMAD 6 to get answers to just such questions.

Photo courtesy Schema Projects

Enrico Gomez: Schema Projects

I was approached by Mary Judge, the director of Schema Projects, about the possibility of sharing a booth and splitting costs in this art fair under the auspices of her gallery. I was just about to launch The Dorado Project, a new project space of my own, so I gladly accepted the opportunity! Mary selected four artists from her program—Robert Otto Epstein, Scott Espeseth, David Ambrose, and Nina Bovasso—and I selected four others from my curatorial endeavors—Lee Lee Chan, Paul Loughney, Aaron Williams, and Frank Zadlo. Common elements among all the works are pattern, dazzling colors and rich, warm grays, and we selected a variety of sizes and mediums including collage, painting, and drawing. There was a lot of interest in the Brooklyn section, and it’s really rewarding to not only sell work, but also to engage a diverse audience on these artists we believe in, and to extend the conversation about their work to a new public.

 


 

Courtesy Owen James

Owen Houhoulis: Owen James Gallery

I was introduced to Gregorio by Marco, whom I have known for a while. The fair wanted to be an a showcase for what is new and interesting as opposed to tried and true. As a new gallery, I thought that this was a good opportunity to meet clients outside of the normal New York collector/gallery base. I chose to present in my booth an array of emerging artists from the Philippines. My gallery has an international focus, and a large part of the program is dedicated to artists from Southeast Asia. I wanted to promote this aspect of my program to stand out a little from the other Brooklyn spaces, while still exhibiting the energy of young artists that Brooklyn galleries are known for. Since many of these Filipino artists deal with the influences of both the US and Spanish cultures on the Philippines, this seemed like a unique opportunity to present and address those issues in their work. The response in Madrid was mixed. Younger visitors were quite interested in the work, but they don’t seem to buy much art. The older collectors didn’t seem to be interested in artists that are foreign to them. In this way, the edginess of the Brooklyn scene appeared to be lost on the older clients. That said, one of my artists in particular, Dina Gadia, was extremely well received. Most of her works sold very quickly.

 


 

Alma Egger: Fresh Window Gallery

Gregorio approached me with this idea about JUST BROOKLYN, and I was definitely interested. When I heard that Marco would be helping him coordinate the galleries, I thought it was great. My husband is from Puerto Rico, and my sister lives in Barcelona, so I speak Spanish. And Spain is close to my heart, so I was excited that my first art fair with Fresh Window would be in Spain. As my father’s work is stored in Barcelona, I decided to bring his work to minimize transportation costs. I also brought work by Alexa Hoyer, Jen Gustavson, Andrea Suter and Victor M. Sosa. We had very positive reactions to our booth. I actually closed it off to be able to turn off the lights for the glow-in-the-dark works by my father, Marc Egger. People were really fascinated and happy to get some New York art in Madrid. They see Brooklyn as something cooler than New York, which was perfect for an emerging art fair.

 


 

Courtesy TSA New York

Yin Ho: TSA New York

We showed artists that have shown at TSA in the past, along with a few of our Flat Files (our annual open call) winners. This was our first fair, and we were compelled to participate chiefly because Marco had organized this specific JUST BROOKLYN section—and because so many of the invited galleries were, like us, artist-run spaces. It seemed like a great way to present TSA-affiliated work to a larger audience and show it in a different context. As a cool surprise, TSA ended up with a “ganador” sign on our booth! Anna Kunz’s paper work took home the fair’s ICON Grand Prize. It’s so great that her beautiful, vibrant work received such attention and accolades!

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

03/10/15 1:09pm
One of Romberg's more recent works currently on view in "Color Studies." Image courtesy Henrique Faria Fine Art.

OSVALDO ROMBERG: COLOR STUDIES, 1970-2015
Henrique Faria Fine Art, 35 East 67th St., through March 28th
With a taut selection of works bridging a chronological expanse of nearly five decades of the artist’s storied, almost bafflingly itinerant career, Romberg’s compact retrospective of sorts is a keenly introspective, historically reflective, chromatically inflected examination of seeing—not merely as act, but also as feeling, as sensation, as associatively layered experience. Romberg approaches his variably color-theory-based works—comprising here drawings, paintings, collages and sculptures—like a whimsical clinician, probing and intervening in a manner that is at once ordered and scattered, categorical and metaphorical, indirectly beautiful yet aesthetically candid. His studied breakdowns, so to speak, of pink and beige are also chromatically exhaustive arrays; his homages to, and formal reconfigurations of Malevich, Pollock and Piero della Francesca are both patently reverent and felicitously innovative. All that said, the balanced charms of pieces like Astor and Dirty Geometry are enough to render quite beside the point Romberg’s particularly analytical underpinnings. That, likely, is precisely the point—or at least very close to it, right next to the mark.

MORE THAN WORDS: ILLUSTRATED LETTERS FROM THE SMITHSONIAN’S ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART
Liza Kirwin, Princeton Architectural Press, paperback edition released March 10th
Touching and funny, intimate and flippant, and at times perhaps a bit voyeuristic, this new volume is a visual and lexical feast that promises to immediately render despairingly banal that smartphone in your pocket or tablet in your tote, along with all their sundry modes and platforms of cloven communication that have us all constantly checking in while only rarely taking proper note—and even more rarely, of course, composing proper notes. Here, such proper notes are in fact doubly composed: as letters of so many sorts, and as artworks that illustrate or embellish their featured words. Landscapes rural and urban enliven further already lively travelogues; wittily inserted pictures render written witticisms all the wittier; lovelorn longings are heartened and softened by companion drawings. If you ever manage to put it down, you’ll continue to re-read and re-savor this exquisite gathering of endearing missives and artworks for quite some time. Many of the artists in its pages will be familiar, others not so much, yet one and all will win you over. And if you’ve ever wondered what a young Warhol’s brief bio might look and read like, your curiosities will be sated here in a most amusing way—and you’ll be reminded that most NYC artists worth their historical salt have seen their share of rotten times in this city that so often illustrates, and composes notes to, itself.

Still image from Warhol's "Outer and Inner Space," soon to be screened at Anthology Film Archives.

WHITE CUBE / BLACK BOX: FEEDBACK LOOPS
Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave., screening Saturday, March 14th
Curated by Anthology’s own Ava Tews, WHITE CUBE / BLACK BOX is a splendid exemplar of most welcome conceptual frankness, one that meta-spatially juxtaposes the euphemisms for galleries and cinemas so as to house the one within the other—while illumining the other with the one. In this forthcoming edition of the series, Tews’s aim is to showcase how a few artists in particular were exploiting video-enabled feedback loops when the technology was still quite nascent. The bill features film works from the 60’s and 70’s by Richard Serra, Joan Jonas and Andy Warhol, along with some footage from the 1964 World’s Fair. Think doubled personas and echoes of selves, visual overlaps and conceptual interlays—not even remotely irrelevant to the housing of a gallery within a cinema, one could say.

JASPER DE BEIJER: MR. KNIGHT’S WORLD BAND RECEIVER
Asya Geisberg Gallery, 537B West 23rd St., through March 14th
De Beijer employs a self-ascribed mode of vicariously self-reflexive, or rather alter-self-introspective imagination in this series of works inspired by the story of one Christopher Knight, a less-than-accidentally errant loner—known also as the Maine Hermit or the North Pond Hermit—who retreated, in 1986, into the solitude and comparative silence of the woods for almost three decades. For de Beijer, one of the most compelling aspects of this ‘lost’ fellow’s outlandish, so to speak, narrative is that his lone form of access to news of the outside world was simply a radio—’simply’ a radio, that is, during the very decades in which visual and audio transmissions of so many other forms have come to govern, convey and perhaps drown the rest of us. As such, de Beijer attempts to not only put himself in Knight’s place-qua-setting via material craft, but also to put himself in Knight’s mental place by envisioning reported events as Knight himself might have, a conceit that is cleverly paralleled in the artist’s practice of photographing sculptures that he makes, at least in some part, out of his own drawings. Lots of notions of inner, outer, free and ‘other’ realms to ponder in this show. Take a hint from Knight—if not also from de Beijer, and vice-versa—and go see it alone.

Follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

02/25/15 9:50am

TaaffeLuhringPD

Photograph by Paul D’Agostino

Paintings though they most certainly are, there’s something about Philip Taaffe’s five massive works currently on view at Luhring Augustine Bushwick (through April 26th) that makes them seem, individually as well as collectively, like something other than merely paintings. There’s also something about them that makes them seem very well suited for display in a sort of gallery of Natural History—in the future, that is, when networks of galleries might exist to augment, or feed into, museums devoted to the same—rather than one that showcases merely art. Moreover, a couple of these paintings in particular led at least this viewer to long, however implausibly, for Pangaea.

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02/24/15 2:19pm
A peek at the abundant nebulosity—both conceptual and physical—currently lingering at Signal.

Befuddlings, bedazzlings and noisy bewilderments in these new art picks.

FISSURE: FOG
Signal Gallery, 260 Johnson Ave., through March 8th
You can read curator Bennet Schlesinger’s description of this group exhibit featuring eight multi-media, multi-disciplinary artists. You can examine closely the ten 2D and 3D works on display and inform yourself as to their titles and constituent materials. You can make a few connections and cross-associative observations, and maybe even alight upon a near affirmation about some aspect of this variably multi-faceted show. Look hard. Think hard. Have fun. For the whole affair is a most engagingly wrought, enjoyable cipher. Nebulous in theme and content, not to mention in its very space-bedecking atmospherics—quite true, in etymological terms—this show about “disjuncture” and “cultural obstruction” most certainly lives up to its titular fog. Also certain is that its perhaps resolutely unresolvable puzzles are a joy to attempt to solve. Featured artists are Kayla Guthrie, Graham Hamilton, Valerie Keane, Ryan Kitson, Aidan Koch, Daniel Peterson, Nikholis Planck and Augustus Thompson. Featured materials include fish tank tubing and German Shepherd hairs.

SCULPTURE IN THE AGE OF DONATELLO
Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway at 61st St., through June 14th
This very special exhibit is also, evidently, the last one for the museum before vacating its current location. Fret not, however. While the museum’s primary institutional cohort of sorts, the American Bible Society, is preparing to move to Philadelphia later this year, MOBIA will remain with us in NYC. For certain, then, Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral will prove to be quite a magnificent way to bring things at 1865 Broadway to a close. An exceptional culling of works by Donatello, Luca della Robbia, Brunelleschi, Nanni di Banco, and a number of other artists and architects who collaborated—directly and otherwise, not unlike a grand Florentine arts collective—on outfitting Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence’s Duomo, with finalizing structural accoutrements and sculptural embellishments, this exhibit is a very physically real pop-up textbook of which Renaissance aficionados outside Italy might never have dreamed. That, by the way, is quite true, since most of the 23 pieces on view have never left Italy at all. Make haste to see MOBIA’s sonorous swan song before it becomes the entry-inhibitive toast of the town.

The trappings of some splendidly aggravating acoustics at Knockdown Center.

ZIMOUN: [KE]3
Knockdown Center, 52-19 Flushing Avenue, Queens, and other venues, closing dates variable through March and April
Preparing for one solo show is generally a significant task for any artist, so it’s likely that having three solo exhibits all at once—or one huge one spread over three venues in three boroughs an ocean away—gave Swiss installation artist Zimoun quite a lot to gear up for. Nonetheless, gear up is precisely what he does, and gear lots of things up is precisely what he did in grandiose installations combining rudimentary, rugged and even throwaway implements with almost exaggeratedly intricate systems of motors and pulleys, ropes and wires. His masterpiece of cacophony and bewilderment at Knockdown Center, for instance, consists of several hundred kilos of wooden roof laths dangling with almost menacing precariousness from lofty ceiling rafters—and thus in a vertical orientation rather foreign to such lumber—all hung within a foot or so of one another, reaching ever so barely all the way, or almost all the way, to the floor. When the motors start up and send things swaying just a tad, prepare—or rather, gear up for—a most splendid symphony of meticulously crafted delirium that might eventually drive you nuts, but will likely make you smile at first. Then take a strangely pleasant stroll in the midst of it all. This viewer contemplated running from one end to the other, dodging wooden danglers as much as possible, but perhaps that’s best left as a thought experiment. It’s in a sort of gallery, after all, even if the mores and modes of white cubes will feel very far away while you’re experiencing this third of [KE]3. Other venues include the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, at Stony Brook University, and Bitforms Gallery—the exhibitional endorser of these shows of Zimoun’s works—on the Lower East Side.

JOYCE PENSATO: CASTAWAY
Petzel Gallery, 456 West 18th St., through March 28th
Pensato’s often messily frenzied representations of pop icons are as immediately recognizable for their source material as they are for the Brooklyn artist’s bold, energetic marks, smears and splatters that render her subjects at once effulgent and visually subdued, humorously frazzled and frankly dark—rather than merely comic, heroic or cute, as they’ve ranged from Homer Simpson to Felix the Cat, from Disney standards to certain stalwarts of the DC Comics pantheon. Pensato always seems to be having a blast in her works, but her newest pieces suggest that she’s been having more fun than ever in the studio; more vivid chromatics, including variable metallics, are now in the mix, via which her compositions have become even more rife with burst and shriek. Drawings and paintings in Castaway are accompanied by photo-collage-like digital prints of glimpses of the artist’s studio walls, snippets of the mania and fun that are the trappings of the exhibit.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

02/12/15 2:33pm
A glimpse of what might be called an unwritten prologue. Duane Zaloudek at Robert Henry Contemporary.

Art picks featuring a hermit (or hermits), variable metallics, reiterated oneirisms and, of course, milliner’s jerky.

DUANE ZALOUDEK: NOMAD SONGS
Robert Henry Contemporary, 56 Bogart St., through March 8th
It won’t take you long to cursorily take in the reined in suite of works that constitute Nomad Songs—there are only so many there, the room is only so big—but it will take you quite a while to actually see them. This is particularly the case with the three new paintings on display, each an almost formally vacant entity of all-but-utter yet somehow softened whiteness in which something along the lines—or to be more precise, something within the lines—of interloping gray marks that seem never to start or finish will seize your gaze, then make you step closer, then make you blink hard to reset your capacities of sight, then just disarm you while making you wonder, perhaps, if it isn’t a bit unfair for such ostensible spareness to be quite so transfixing. Far more formally complex and dimensionally plectic, yet displaying a similar economy of palette and means, is the series of seven seemingly sun-baked cowboy hats—a reference to the ‘six thinking hats’ of decision making, perhaps, plus a seventh for thinking without thought?—Zaloudek’s deft craftings of stained sheets of watercolor paper into some sort of dried-leathery, toothsomely supple milliner’s jerky. For this viewer, experiencing the show felt a bit like meditating on the unwritten prologue for a Cormac McCarthy novel that doesn’t yet exist. Anyway, go, take your time, see—then really see—what you wish.

JASPER DE BEIJER: MR. KNIGHT’S WORLD BAND RECEIVER
Asya Geisberg Gallery, 537B West 23rd St., through March 14th
De Beijer employs a self-ascribed mode of vicariously self-reflexive, or rather alter-self-introspective imagination in this series of works inspired by the story of one Christopher Knight, a less-than-accidentally errant loner—known also as the Maine Hermit or the North Pond Hermit—who retreated, in 1986, into the solitude and comparative silence of the woods for almost three decades. For de Beijer, one of the most compelling aspects of this ‘lost’ fellow’s outlandish, so to speak, narrative is that his lone form of access to news of the outside world was simply a radio—’simply’ a radio, that is, during the very decades in which visual and audio transmissions of so many other forms have come to govern, convey and perhaps drown the rest of us. As such, de Beijer attempts to not only put himself in Knight’s place-qua-setting via material craft, but also to put himself in Knight’s mental place by envisioning reported events as Knight himself might have, a conceit that is cleverly paralleled in the artist’s practice of photographing sculptures that he makes, at least in some part, out of his own drawings. Lots of notions of inner, outer, free and ‘other’ realms to ponder in this show. Take a hint from Knight—if not also from de Beijer, and vice-versa—and go see it alone.

"Woman With Gun," an example of the 'manic snippets' that will factor into Pensato's show at Petzel. Image courtesy Petzel Gallery.

JOYCE PENSATO: CASTAWAY
Petzel Gallery, 456 West 18th St., February 19th through March 28th
Pensato’s often messily frenzied representations of pop icons are as immediately recognizable for their source material as they are for the Brooklyn artist’s bold, energetic marks, smears and splatters that render her subjects at once effulgent and visually subdued, humorously frazzled and frankly dark—rather than merely comic, heroic or cute, as they’ve ranged from Homer Simpson to Felix the Cat, from Disney standards to certain stalwarts of the DC Comics pantheon. Pensato always seems to be having a blast in her works, but her newest pieces suggest that she’s been having more fun than ever in the studio; more vivid chromatics, including variable metallics, are now in the mix, via which her compositions have become even more rife with burst and shriek. Drawings and paintings in Castaway are accompanied by photo-collage-like digital prints of glimpses of the artist’s studio walls, snippets of the mania and fun that are the trappings of the exhibit.

KENNY RIVERO: I CAN LOVE YOU BETTER
Shin Gallery, 322 Grand St., through February 28th
Now nearing the end of its multiple-month run, Kenny Rivero’s captivating solo exhibit is full of surprises that are not exactly stunning, terrors that aren’t really scary, notes of humor that aren’t necessarily funny, fantastical figments that are actually just real, and barely nightmarish murmurs that hum, also, in tones of just-awoken awareness, such that the dream is at once active and over. I Can Love You Better, that is, amounts to a wonderful walk through the fanciful normalities and quotidian strangenesses of dreams—or of the blurred focus and liminal discomforts of what it looks and feels like to be dreaming. Encompassing paintings and drawings in various material formats and states of completeness, as well as sculptures and detail-enhancing, habitat-crafting installations, Rivero’s excellent show is billed as evocations of and meditations on childhood experiences, but it doesn’t feel at all quite so insularly personal. And that’s a good thing. Go with eyes wide open and let the works lure you in while lulling you deeply into some cognitive elsewhere. But watch your step. Those very real shards of glass will wake you all the way up.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio