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 memorable shows that stand out in a crowded field. Every Thursday we post the 10 shows our team of editors can't stop talking about.
This week we check out a colorful, comic-book inspired show curated by Erik Park and KAWS at Paul Kasmin, new and old work by a who's who of 20th-century women artists at Cheim & Read, and abstract circle paintings by Jules Olitski in Freedman Art's inaugural exhibition.
Jules Olitski at Freedman Art, through summer 2011
Pairs of jiggly biomorphic circles jostle in richly hued fields in 10 large, super-mod abstractions from the early 1960s, a key period in Jules Olitski's career. Seeing these paintings in person helps you understand why Clement Greenberg and legions of other admirers fell head-over-heels for Olitski's work.
Alejandro Chaskielberg at Yossi Milo, through July 29
The juicy color photographs in "The High Tide" were taken in the Parana River Delta region, where the Argentinean artist lives off and on. They look ever-so-slightly tilt-shifted and staged, which they were, sort of: Chaskielberg cast local islanders and restaged and re-lit everyday scenes-fishing, boating, logging, etc.-in the dark of night.
"Flowers for Summer" at Michael Werner, through Sept. 10
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you might say: but drop the cynicism and head uptown. The display opens with a James Lee Byars pincushion and continues with equally ingenious choices by an unlikely crowd, from Fautrier, Fontana and Immendorff to Polke and Houseageo. Carry the checklist, without which mistaken guesswork is guaranteed-even with the likes of Picasso and Schwitters.
"Inti" at On Stellar Rays, through July 31
How artists absorb outside forces and integrate voices other than their own into their practice is the ambitious inquiry at the core of this tightly focused show. Lending energy and credibility to the proceedings are works in a variety of mediums by William Pope.L, Martha Rosler, Terry Adkins, Rochelle Feinstein, Clifford Owens and others.
Kören Beck Tomlinson at Newman Popiashvili, through Aug. 5
"From the egg, everything." This passage from Ovid's Metamorphoses fuels Kören Beck Tomlinson's show of abstract paintings, heavily populated with playful circular forms and joyous brushwork.
"Pretty on the Inside" at Paul Kasmin, through Aug. 19
An interesting title for this seven-artist group show, as most of the colorful, graphic work is instantly appealing (except, maybe, for Tony Matelli's super-realistic painted bronze sculptures of rotting meat). Joyce Pensato's black-and-white cartoon characters somewhat temper the chaotic neon found in most of the other artists' work.
"Four Artists" at Fredericks & Freiser, through July 29
A solid show featuring medium to large scale work by four young (mostly) figurative painters: Njideka Akunyili, Jacqueline Cedar, Justin Craun and Ryan Sluggett. Akunyili steals the show, and not just because hers are in the biggest; painted on heavy sheets of paper, they incorporate photo transfers of her Nigerian friends and family as the background for domestic scenes of her everyday American life.
"Forecemeat" at Wallspace, through Aug. 5
The press release for this show tells you more than you'd ever want to know about forcemeat, an emulsion or lean meat and fat (think pate, terrines, etc.). The connection of these artists to the charcuterie theme-an engagement with process, materiality, sexuality and humor, apparently-is vague, but it's a good excuse to get a lot of otherwise disparate artists (Anthony Caro, Peter Randall-Page, Helene Appel and others) under one roof.
"The Women in our Lives" at Cheim and Read, through Sept. 17
Cheim & Read rings in its 15th anniversary with a celebratory show of work by 10 women artists that John Cheim and Howard Read have long championed and represented. A four-panel painting by Joan Mitchell and a new shimmering, smeary diptych by Pat Steir dominate the gallery's front room; in the back are photos by Diane Arbus and two of Jenny Holzer's word pieces.
"Under Destruction: Part III" at the Swiss Institute, through Aug. 7
The weather not quite hot enough for you? Check out Ariel Schlesinger's Untitled (Bubble Machine), a jerry-rigged mechanism that drops gas-filled soap bubbles onto an electric grill. You'll feel the resulting burst of flame 20 feet away. Also included are fine contributions by Alexander Gutke, Kris Martin, Jonathan Schipper and Roman Signer.
2012, aluminum, wood, sublimation print on polyester and concrete, 71 3/4 by 122 1/2 by 135 inches overall. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New Yor