Ran Hwang: Two Love Tree, 2012, buttons, beads and pins on wooden panel, 47 by 70 inches. Courtesy Leila Heller.

With an ever-growing number of galleries scattered around New York, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Where to begin? Here at A.i.A., we are always on the hunt for thought-provoking, clever and memorable shows that stand out in a crowded field. Below is a selection of current shows our team of editors can't stop talking about.

This week we check out Charles Atlas's glimmering, foreboding video projections at Luhring Augustine's new Bushwick gallery, Heide Fasnacht's black-and-white digital images, her most ambitious and passionate work to date, at Kent Fine Art, and Catherine Howe's new paintings inspired by Dutch still lifes.




Catherine Howe at Von Lintel, through May 5

Walking a tightrope of figuration and abstraction, Catherine Howe explores in her recent work the Golden Age of 17th-century Dutch still life painting. Without simply reflecting or mimicking the sources, Howe's dozen medium-size canvases convey their telltale luminous intensity. In addition, the artist's richly hued, highly textured bravura brushwork and delicate layering highlight the eroticism that is only latent in the work of the Old Masters.


Ran Hwang at Leila Heller, through Apr. 27

The Korean-born artist's first New York solo offers Asian motifs—vessels, birds, temples, a Buddha figure, flowering tree branches—spectacularly rendered in an unusual medium: thousands of colored buttons on pins inserted in wood panels. These unapologetically beautiful works, the largest spanning 27 feet, are accompanied by a haunting video installation in which strange things happen to a crystal-bead chandelier.


Heide Fasnacht at Kent Fine Art, through Apr. 21

For the past few years, Heide Fasnacht has been exploring one of the more insidious aspects of war and authoritarian repression: the pilfering and destruction of artistic and cultural materials. Copious research has produced a series of black-and-white historical images—digitally manipulated, cut-out, and otherwise altered—in a variety of formats, from small framed pieces to wall-sized installations. An online catalogue, a monumental work in its own right, is available to download on the gallery's website.


Alexandre Arrechea at Magnan Metz, through Apr. 7

Best known as a founding member of the Cuban art collective Los Carpinteros, Alexandre Arrechea struck out on his own in 2003 and for the past 10 years has been producing playful, thought-provoking sculptures and drawings. Arrechea's latest show revisits his ongoing interest in history and architecture; the central work "de-commissions" a bridge famous for its lenticular trusses by placing it on a line of railroad tracks.


Charles Atlas at Luhring Augustine, through May 20

Luhring Augustine chose three large-scale video projections by Charles Atlas, pioneering of dance film and long-time collaborator of the late Merce Cunningham, to inaugurate its huge new space in Bushwick. Atlas's immersive projections all feature seemingly random sequences of the numerals one through six; in the largest piece, a vertical bar of colored light moves across the gallery's back wall as if the former warehouse were a giant flatbed scanner.


Albert Oehlen at Gagosian (Madison Ave.), through Apr. 7

Albert Oehlen's first show at Gagosian features 12 large-scale, mostly abstract paintings that incorporate found film posters and magazine advertisements. To these collaged bases the German artist adds hand-painted text and graphics, gestural, shimmery brushstrokes, and cut-outs produced with CAD (computer-aided design).







"The Lookout"
is compiled by A.i.A. associate editor Leigh Anne Miller.