Flocks of blonde, tanned and bathing suit-clad teenagers whisper, drive and swim through the summer night in Joel Sternfeld's "First Pictures" at Luhring Augustine Gallery in Chelsea [through Feb. 4]. Sternfeld's photographs present a world steeped in the color palette of the Kodachrome and dye-transfer 1970s, as the orange platform shoes are matched by gold chains on hairy chests and the neighborhood boys cling to posters of Farrah Fawcett.
A controversially young, naked Brooke Shields in Richard Prince's Spiritual America (1983) hangs over the bathtub in the little girl's bathroom. Bummed (1977), the impressively large black, white and red Gilbert & George photo, looms in the dining room. Twenty-five Raymond Pettibons fill a bathroom and spill out into the hallway. Eight of Sarah Lucas's sexually evocative pieces take command in the master bedroom.
Twenty-five-year-old Lorna Williams's debut New York solo show of new work, "brown baby," is autobiographical in extreme and mythologizing ways. A voyage through idiosyncratic sculptures, the depictions begin in utero, with C(ross)-Section, L. Williams, 1986, a cross-section of a tree hung as a relief, mounted with a collage of torn orange papers. An upside-down fetus is nestled in the wood. Another relief, crowning, depicts Williams's birth with a ring of curly brown hairs and the top of an infant's head covered in thorns pushing through the wood. For Williams, the thorns are her protection as she begins the struggle of launching an art career.
The foundations of Williams's pieces are tree parts—from long, curving and sinewy branches that protrude into space to thick cross-sections of trunk hung on the wall. Walking through "brown baby" is like walking through a dark fairytale forest, complete with the aroma of wet soil. At first, Williams's pieces seem passive, like decorated fallen trees. On a closer look, the organic material seems to be preying on space and itself: mangled branches twist over each other; bark swings wildly from the wall.
Currently on view in the group show "Redux" at New York's Cristin Tierney Gallery (through Feb. 4) are two works by Joe Fig, both related to his 200