It may be freezing, it may be snowy, but there are some great shows in New York right now, worth battling the elements for. Nick Cave at Jack Shainman in Chelsea for example has been making sound suits for over 15 years, and I'm still not tired of them. Named after the noise they make when worn, many of the garments resemble colorful furry space suits from the 60s. In addition to these familiar works, a number of new found-object sculptures in the front room usher in the show. Among the more powerful, an untitled piece combines what appears to be an antique lawn statue of a black man with a ship he carries above his head. The boat might well have born his ancestors, the work plainly yet poignantly remarking on the weight of that history.
Just up the street, Bortolami presents a Richard Aldrich show worth a fair amount of viewing time. His new paintings are uneven — those with exposed stretchers particularly poor — but there's enough work walking the good-bad line to make the viewing experience challenging. Looking with Mirror Apparatus, a painting depicting the back of a man's head and shoulders with the canvas removed from the lower quarter of the piece demonstrates this aptly; I'm still unsure if he's resolved the relationship between the pictorial space on the canvas and the sculptural elements of the stretcher, but that uncertainty betters the work.
In contrast to some of the subtractive methods of Aldrich, Trenton Duerksen and Aaron King at Guild and Greyschkul in Soho present an array of fantastic additive abstract sculptures. Building block-esque piles, an amusing Lewitt-inspired sock grid, and a carpet of plaster ice cream dollops represent just a few of the works creating a landscape of simple, often absurd forms. Meanwhile, only one street over, Maura Reilly curates a solid 25-year Nayland Blake survey show at Location One. The exhibition showcases a wide range of personal work exploring his pansexual, biracial identity in the context of American culture. Highlights include a creepy personified lamp evoking the Catholic Church with red crosses for eyes and a hanging bunny in a nylon stocking resembling a lynch victim.
Finally, art lookers should head into Brooklyn to see Vertexlist artist Aron Namenwirth's pixel paintings. Over the last three years, Namenwirth has been using small JPEGs — often depicting political figures — to create his work. Interestingly, the relational size of those subjects and surfaces are now a document of the scale of its media coverage. A small Obama painting was completed in 2007; a large Hilary piece around the same time, and a giant Bin Laden portrait was executed 2006-2007. Only two years later, the change in the political, and media landscape couldn't be more marked.