Marian Goodman Gallery
24 West 57 St.
The Gabriel Orozco show at Marian Goodman consists of two radically different sections, the result of fitting a whimsical artist’s oeuvre into a fancy Uptown gallery. For viewers familiar with the Mexican artist’s photographs of interventions in urban spaces or his quirky sculptures, the abstract paintings in the first gallery room are a shock. Orozco has long been developing abstractions based on fractal-like patterns of circles, but they previously appeared alongside his sculptures and not in such a conventional, marketable display. In the other half of the gallery, however, Orozco’s sculptures spread out over tables and shelves, affirming his intuitive exploration of everyday objects. There, pencil-drawn patterns decorate conch shells, plastic cupcake containers spew foam, and Styrofoam basins offer layers of dryer lint. With substances as diverse as Plasticine and bark, Orozco creates compositions that blur the organic/synthetic boundary and reveal abstract beauty in material play.
Paul Rudolph Foundation/Modulightor Building
246 East 58th Street, Upper East Side
For those of us who share 500-square foot apartments, the experience of wandering around a Modernist house in Manhattan is otherworldly. The last townhouse that the late Paul Rudolph designed, also known as the Modulightor Building, is open to envious New Yorkers on the first Saturday of every month (www.paulrudolph.org). Although Rudolph designed the building in 1989, it is a showpiece of the kind of late modernist design that peaked in the 1960s, when Rudolph was a preeminent American architect. Every section of the all-white interior is designed for maximum efficiency and lightness. In the cantilevered, interlocking planes, one can see the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, but Rudolph’s individuality is visible in the miraculous airiness of the compact spaces. Counterbalancing his austere minimalism are Rudolph’s collections of mundane and exotic objects; tiny Roman terracotta heads populate the dining room table and decorated Transformer figurines stare down from the bookcases, approving of the versatile spaces below.