SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

03/10/15 1:09pm
03/10/2015 1:09 PM |

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

02/24/15 2:19pm
02/24/2015 2:19 PM |

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
02/12/2015 2:33 PM |

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

01/28/15 6:45pm
01/28/2015 6:45 PM |

One of the photographs in Alexa Hoyer's show at Fresh Window Gallery. Image courtesy the artist and Fresh Window Gallery.

ALEXA HOYER: TARGETS
Fresh Window, 56 Bogart St., lower level, through February 6th
Visually bound to one another by consistently placed horizon lines, centerpieced subjects, and commonly littered, almost audibly crusty earth-scapes stretching from full-focused foregrounds to hintermost hinterlands, Alexa Hoyer’s large, pristinely presented photographs allow one to behold with absolute proximity a range of devastated objects that anonymous others had previously beheld at considerable distances—perhaps through scopes, one eye shut tight, all stillness and composure, and all the while breathing long and steady before exhaling into the rocketing blast of a fired bullet. These objects, in other words, are discarded gun targets, and their setting is the blissfully bleak desert lands circumscribing Las Vegas. Intimate, becalming, cinematic and slightly amusing, these images are also ever-so-slightly unsettling as one imagines the inherent perils, however vanished, of their circumstances. To be sure, this body of work takes a very hard look at variable notions of looking hard. And to be sure, Hoyer’s eye and aim, with Targets, are right on point.

A glimpse of Rivero's show at Shin Gallery.

KENNY RIVERO: I CAN LOVE YOU BETTER
Shin Gallery, 322 Grand St., through February 28th
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.

Big turnout for the opening of another big show at BRIC.

OPEN (C)ALL: THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
Gallery at BRIC House, 647 Fulton St., through February 8th
It might not exactly be BRIC’s official mandate to consistently and dramatically outperform the Brooklyn Museum when it comes to embracing, promoting, celebrating and showing Brooklyn art, but it seems they have a certain tendency to do so. Their new BRIC Biennial series, for instance, is more or less conceived thusly; launched last year, its democratic aims and claims of eventual borough-wide inclusiveness are both apparently sincere and patently promising. Another great example of BRIC’s unstated modus operandi is their first show of 2015, OPEN (C)ALL: The Artist’s Studio, in which all of the artists in the BRIC registry were invited to submit work. From the look of things, they might well have included it all, as the range of mediums, means and, in qualitative terms, levels of expertise run a very broad gamut. But such massive range, broadly interpreted, is essentially what they’re going for here, and there’s much to be lauded about that—and there are many strong works filling up their space thanks to precisely the same approach. Ignore the clunkiness of the title, enjoy the chunkiness of the show.

A work by John Singer Sargent on view at The Frick. Image courtesy Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh © Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland.

MASTERPIECES FROM THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through February 1st
Comprising works by Botticelli, El Greco, Velázquez, Watteau, Gainsborough and Constable, among others, this touring exhibition—one intended to morph slightly as it travels along to San Francisco and Fort Worth early next year—is housed very well, for now, at The Frick, where the ten pieces on loan, whose dates of production span nearly half a millennium, are displayed with a sympathetic coterie of works by the same and other artists selected from the Frick’s permanent collection. A certain John Singer Sargent work alone might entice you to see the show, for instance, as it’s long been close to your heart thanks to the cover of a Henry James paperback you’ve had since middle school. Or perhaps the Botticelli—the first piece by the Florentine artist to ever be shown in these rooms—will lure you to the museum with its lore. Per the press release, his Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child has never been seen “on public view” in the US. One wonders, then, where and when it might have been seen in private. A fine bit of intrigue, that. This special show has been up for a few months at this point, but you still have a few days to see it—or rather, to be sure not to miss it.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

12/30/14 8:02pm
12/30/2014 8:02 PM |

Artwork: Ragna Róbertsdóttir. Lava Landscape, 2014. Photograph: Eileen Travell, Scandinavia House/The American-Scandinavian Foundation, 2014.

A seasonably seasoned mix of Editor’s Picks culled with chromatics and countdowns in mind. On that latter note, happy New Year!

ICELAND: ARTISTS RESPOND TO PLACE
Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue at 38th Street, through January 10th
Relatively small and somewhat obligatorily sparsely populated, the landmass and nation a bit misleadingly referred to—per geopolitical lore of yore—as Iceland is a place with more than its fair share of terrestrial curiosities, seasonal extremes, atmospheric splendor, and visually bewildering geological wonders. No wonder, then, that artists working in all types of mediums and expressive modes seek to somehow harness and convey some of this charmed terrain’s most alluring aspects. The show Iceland: Artists Respond to Place—a special group exhibit featuring the work of Egill Sæbjörnsson, Katrín Sigurðardóttir, Olafur Eliasson, Georg Guðni Hauksson, Einar Falur Ingólfsson, Birgir Andrésson, Guðrún Einarsdóttir, Guðjón Ketilsson, Eggert Pétursson, Ragna Róbertsdóttir and Þórdís Alda Sigurðardóttir—pays testimony to such creative tendencies with a range of chromatically, topographically, even materially appropriative, largely turf-reflective pieces. One might say that these artists’ homeland is their muse, but it might be more accurate to call it their palette. The island itself, after all, is rather shaped like one.

CY TWOMBLY, SPENCER FINCH
The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., through January 31st and 11th, respectively
You have a couple excellent reasons to make a pilgrimage to The Morgan at the outset of the new year. One is the Cy Twombly exhibition, Treatise on the Veil, an exquisite and instructive display of the second iteration of the artist’s eponymous masterpiece—a massive, musically imbued yet chromatically somber work over ten yards long that the artist made in Rome in the 1970’s—accompanied by a nearly show-stealing suite of preparatory drawings related to the painting’s execution. Your other exhibitional reason, similarly epic in scale and conceptual scope, is Spencer Finch’s A Certain Slant of Light, a site-specific work we first recommended several months ago for its calendric chromatic shifts and now precisely configured, now coincidental aesthetics. This latter piece is up for a couple more weeks. The former, until the end of the month. Head to The Morgan soon to indulge in the vacillatory beauties of both.

HOLIDAY EXPRESS: TOYS AND TRAINS FROM THE JERNI COLLECTION
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, Nov. 21st through Feb. 22nd
This might not be the only grand showcasing of model trains and their many splendid accoutrements coming to NYC this holiday season, but it might well be the most robustly arrayed and envisioned among them all—from the 150-piece exhibition’s spatial extent, taking up a great deal of the museum’s first floor, to its many constituent mediums including theatrical lighting, multimedia screens and a soundscape. What’s more, this grand train isn’t the only marquee item in the show. There are also aircraft, ships, boats and buildings galore, as well as some particularly precious hand-painted toys. Recently acquired by the New-York Historical Society, all of these marvels of model-making and toy-craft were gathered over a half century by Jerry and Nina Greene (hence ‘Jerni Collection’). It’s almost disconcertingly hard to fathom what children’s playtime might have been like in such a household—or adults’ playtime, for that matter—but checking out this show will rather easily stir the imagination into felicitous places.

ZERO: COUNTDOWN TO TOMORROW, 1950s–60s
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave., through January 7th
Amounting to a most fitting follow-up to the museum’s recent showing of Italian Futurism, ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow—such an apropos title to bear in mind toward the end of a year—pays tribute to an initially German, then later widely international art movement whose participants’ aesthetic interests pertained to the repositioning of art—and its potentially redefinable practitioners—in the wake of World War II. Paintings and installations, films and photographs, sculptures and zines, the works in this show—by forty artists, in sum, from ten countries—cover a broad range of styles and practices, all the while conveying their crafters’ common ambition to rupture borders, break through walls, push envelopes, propose new challenges.

Follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

Einar Falur Ingólfsson. By Lake Þingvellir, from the series Skjol/Shelters, 2012. C-print, 30 x 40 in. (76 x 102 cm). At Scandinavia House.

12/06/14 7:53pm
12/06/2014 7:53 PM |

A glimpse of some of the good stuff on which you might chew at Valentine.

4 WHO PAINT
Valentine Gallery, 464 Seneca Ave., through December 21st
Over the four or so years he’s been running his gallery, Fred Valentine has assembled shows of such extensive material range that reflecting thereupon conjures something akin to a wackily immense cornucopia brimming with smaller cornucopias overflowing with stuff made of stuff, surrounded by other stuff, things and stuff, hefty things, hella stuff—hella broad-ranging exhibitions and artworks, that is, and often fetching, and never too stuffy to not get also a bit messy. But if there’s one kind of work that seems to enthuse him the most, it’s materially rich, thick, heavily handled, readily chewy paintings, and his current show—a couple dozen or so works by Peter Acheson, Yevgeniya Baras, Andrew Baron and Gaby Collins-Fernandez—features a plentiful plenty of all that. A somewhat large, rather low-hung composition, for instance, will paint your thoughts pleasantly brown with its unrelenting palette. More toothsome pieces here and there, then, will put Starburst candies in your eyes’ mouth—while even stickier others will cram it full of Now and Laters. If you feel up to filling your maw even more while chewing, head straight to the gift shop to chow down on, among other things, some small-scale, hugely toothy works by the master of chew, Matthew Blackwell. You might even find a couple gummy treats in there by Mr. V. himself. Per his norm, for certain, he’s filled his place with great stuff.

MASTERPIECES FROM THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through February 1st
Comprising works by Botticelli, El Greco, Velázquez, Watteau, Gainsborough and Constable, among others, this touring exhibition—one intended to morph slightly as it travels along to San Francisco and Fort Worth early next year—is housed very well, for now, at The Frick, where the ten pieces on loan, whose dates of production span nearly half a millennium, are displayed with a sympathetic coterie of works by the same and other artists selected from the Frick’s permanent collection. A certain John Singer Sargent alone might entice you to see the show, for instance, as it’s long been close to your heart thanks to the cover of a Henry James paperback. Or perhaps the Botticelli, the first piece of his to ever be shown in these rooms, might lure you to the museum with its lore. Per the press release, his Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child has never been seen “on public view” in the US. One wonders, then, where and when it might have been seen in private. A fine bit of intrigue, that. What’s more, this particular work by the Florentine so well known for dancing ladies and flowing locks is a particularly relevant one to pay pilgrimage to in December.

One of Bollinger's more 19th-century-novel type paintings at Zürcher.

MATT BOLLINGER: READING ROOMS
Galerie Zürcher, 33 Bleeker St., through January 26th
Bibliophiles are not invariably avid readers, nor are the latter invariably also the former, yet all such parties will find themselves variably at home—as well as indirectly reflected, and perhaps also ever-so-slightly mortified—while viewing Reading Rooms, Matt Bollinger’s solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings ranging from 19th-century-novel-large to flash-fiction-in-lit-mag-small. In works made in Flashe and acrylic with plentiful collaged additions for both textural and contextual grit, Bollinger presents a couple grandiose centerpieces to set the stage—two wall-consuming, unstretched and thus tapestry-like canvases depicting bookstores or quaint libraries in mixed states of disorder, devastation, desuetude—alongside dozens of smaller works that might be viewed as instants, actions and details extracted from so many elsewhere-encountered bound volumes. So many plots to be imagined or summarized. So many protagonists to be placed therewithin. So many curious moments suggestive of denouements. Pay Bollinger’s show a visit and choose your own adventure.

TAMARA GONZALES: WINTER IS COMING
Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 54 Ludlow St., through December 8th
We recommended this show about a month ago already, but its nice long run still gives you several days to pay it a visit—and perhaps under more titularly fitting skies as well. One of the artists in this magazine’s 2014 group of five Brooklyn-based ones to keep an eye on, Tamara Gonzales has put together a new solo show that’s a winner in ways we expected and ways we didn’t. Here, not only has she leavened her palette a bit to make the works at once formally lighter yet graver in mood, she has also extended her dimensions in certain ways by incorporating instances of somewhat more materially involved, or at least more materially manifest—for the materials involved in her processes of meta-stenciling and layering are several more than a few—compositional relief, taking her takes on stratification to different depths. The title of her show and chilled palette might evidence a degree of inspiration hailing from Game of Thrones, but if the governing sentiment in that world is “all men must die,” then the edict in this one should direct all persons to simply go see Gonzales’ show.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio