Art In America

Zhang Dali

at Klein Sun Gallery,
525 W. 22nd St.

"Holiness" is not a term that crops up very often in contemporary art discourse. But that's exactly what Beijing-based Zhang Dali, one of the seminal avant-garde figures in post-Mao China, says he is aiming for in this mixed-medium show. White fiberglass casts of fully clothed migrant workers, interspersed with cast white doves, evoke the simultaneous hope and despair associated with Tiananmen Square. The figures recall Western Classicism, the doves biblical purity and transcendental enlightenment. Yet the works are more Cynical Realist than ideal. The postures of the migrants bespeak endurance, not heroism; the blue sky of the cyanotypes is pale and crinkled; in the paintings, torsos and bodies are disconnected; and the pervasive white hue, so pristine to Western eyes, is a ghostly, funereal color in China. Finally, let us not forget the nude, flesh-colored figures hanging upside down like so many slabs of meat in a stairwell beyond the second gallery.



More from the Lookout

Katia Santibañez

at Morgan Lehman Gallery,
through Nov. 12
534 West 24th Street

Cecily Brown

at Drawing Center,
through Dec. 18
35 Wooster Street


Tomoo Gokita

at Mary Boone,
through Oct. 29
541 West 24th Street

Sam McKinniss

at Team,
through Nov. 12
83 Grand Street

Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini

at The Center for Italian Modern Art,
through Jun. 24
421 Broome Street


Jessica Mein

at Simon Preston,
through Oct. 30
301 Broome Street

“Something Possible Everywhere”

at 205 Hudson Street Gallery,
through Nov. 20
205 Hudson Street


Talia Chetrit

at Kaufmann Repetto,
through Oct. 31
535 West 22nd Street


Caitlin Keogh

at Bortolami,
through Oct. 29
520 West 20th Street

Arlene Shechet

at Frick Collection,
through Apr. 2
1 East 70th Street

Submit your e-mail to receive insider information from the art world every week.