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.
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