The Lookout: A Weekly Guide to Shows You Won't Want to Miss
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 new sculptures by Martin Puryear in wood and metal at McKee; Richard Avedon's gallery-spanning murals and documentary photos, documenting the social and political transformations of the late '60s-early '70s, at Gagosian; and Hans Schabus's dramatic re-shoot of a famous scene from an American Western at Simon Preston.
Richard Avedon at Gagosian (21st Street), through July 27
Between 1969 and '71, Richard Avedon (1923–2004), best known for his fashion photography, created four monumental multi-panel murals, 20-35 feet in length. Against stark-white backgrounds, the group portraits-Andy Warhol's Factory crew; the Chicago Seven; Allen Ginsberg's extended family and the military and governmental Mission Council officials who presided over the Vietnam War)-vividly personify the issues that dominated society at the time, from free love to war. In addition, Gagosian has amassed an astonishing selection of Avedon's grittier documentary photos, which make stars not only of the glamorous figures of the time but also reveal how they benefitted or suffered from the forces that shaped them.
Mi Yuming at Artgate, through June 9
In her first New York solo, the 34-year-old Chinese artist, who trained at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, satirizes today's frenetic lifestyle marketing in large-format works mixing photographic and computer-generated imagery. Upstairs, a video follows two young women who begin by dancing in a nighttime landscape and are lifted to the stars in a bubble-a dreamy world away from Mi's birthplace in Inner Mongolia.
Martin Puryear at McKee, through June 29
A number of the finely wrought geometric structures of wood and metal in this show of new works by Martin Puryear convey a sense of momentum. Some are literally wheeled vehicles: The Rest (2009-10), a four-foot-tall, upended bronze covered wagon at the show's entrance, suggests a type of cart used to transport slaves in the 19th century. Another imposing work, the white bronze totem Heaven Three Ways / Exquisite Corpse (2011), is at once alluring and threatening. Here, the jagged sword-like element, thrusting upward from a curved armature and spiraling base, appears truly lethal.
Rita McBride at Alexander and Bonin, through June 23
Recently installed permanently on the Effnerplatz in Munich, Rita McBride's exhilarating sculpture Mae West is a 170-foot-tall parabola made of carbon fiber; the cinched-waist shape echoes that of its big-bosomed namesake. At Alexander and Bonin are similarly wry Mae West-related objects in various formats and mediums, from weavings to wagon wheels, along with other works from 2009-11, including some handsome riffs on parking garages and building facades.
Hans Schabus at Simon Preston, through June 15
Hans Schabus makes a habit of taking things apart (a mobile home, boats, his own Venice Biennale installation). For his first solo show at Simon Preston, the Austrian artist has deconstructed the famous shoot-out scene from 1969 film The Wild Bunch, re-creating it shot for shot in and around his studio in Vienna. The serene, mostly de-populated streets and vacant stairways are entirely incongruous with the video's quick cuts and high-octane soundtrack of shouting, singing and gunshots.
Adam Henry at Joe Sheftel, through June 17
Most of the work in Adam Henry's show is slick and looks almost digital-his untitled paintings on linen feature colliding bands of hazy color, and some include cut-out strips folded into neat geometric shapes. In an almost playful, handcrafted contrast, a few pieces incorporate woven jute stretched over linen, a smattering of the tiny squares filled in with dots of colorful paint.