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 Thomas Hirschhorn's vertigo-inducing cruise ship installation at Gladstone, Louise Fishman's latest gestural abstractions at Cheim & Read and a library-themed exhibition curated by Matthew Higgs at Friedrich Petzel.
Thomas Hirschhorn at Gladstone, through June 20
For this show, "Concordia, Concordia," the Swiss provocateur recreates the interior of the luxury cruise liner that ran aground off the coast of Italy last January. With the ship's floor lining the wall and heaps of ersatz wreckage filling the space, the installation reflects the infamous and fatal disaster. But the artist couldn't resist some comic touches, like sneaking in a torn reproduction of Gericault's Raft of the Medusa.
"The Feverish Library" at Friedrich Petzel, through Oct. 20
White Columns director Matthew Higgs, who has a reputation for guest curating ambitious thematic exhibitions at other galleries, made his mark on the fall season with "The Feverish Library." Some 40 artists, among them Rachel Whiteread, Carol Bove, Martin Kippenberger and Candida Höfer, incorporate books into their photos, sculptures and installations. The gallery is also organizing a project, inspired by Joseph Kosuth, in which each of its artists contributes his or her favorite book to the exhibition.
Diana Al-Hadid at Marianne Boesky, through Oct. 20
"The Vanishing Point" presents a new crop of Diana Al-Hadid's architecturally complex sculptures made from materials like gymsum, fiberglass and foam. The end result appears calcified, caked in centuries' worth of dust. The show also includes a few dense mixed medium on vellum paintings.
Walid Raad and David Diao at Paula Cooper, through Oct. 27
Showing in separate galleries, the longtime friends both address architecture and modernism. The Lebanonese-born Raad presents highly schematic drawings and wall constructions that evoke the new museums and other cultural infrastructure now springing up in the Middle East. Diao, born in China but resident in the U.S. since 1955, offers dozens of paintings, drawings and photographs riffing on Russian architect Konstantin Melnikov's 1927 Moscow studio, known for its cylindrical space and hexagonal windows.
Nancy Davidson at Betty Cuningham, through Oct. 6
Known for sensuous and suggestive inflatable sculptures, part figurative, but mostly abstract, Nancy Davidson presents in "Dustup" what is perhaps her most outlandish and ambitious work to date. Reaching the gallery rafters, the 16-foot-high title piece glows with bulbous pink, white and yellow shapes. The pair of turquoise cowboy boots attached to the balloons on one side might be a too literal--the artist was inspired by her recent in-depth study of the American rodeo cowgirl.
Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read, through Oct. 27
One of three Louise Fishman shows on view this fall (the others are at Tilton Gallery uptown and the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia), Cheim & Read's presentation features 17 paintings completed in the last two years. Many of the bold, theatrical abstractions were inspired by a recent residency in Venice, using the city's narrow, tangled streets and favorite Titian paintings as her muse.