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 the latest in Picasso offerings at the Guggenheim, a show of Daniel Joseph Martinez photos from 1978-79 at Simon Preston and Takeshi Murata's slick, surreal digital compositions at Salon 94.
Frank Moore at the Grey Art Gallery, through Dec. 8
"Toxic Beauty: The Art of Frank Moore" surveys the work of a brilliant painter and thinker, whose career was tragically cut short by AIDS in 2002. Moore's acerbic wit and technical mastery are evident in this resplendent show of some 50 major paintings and as many works on paper. The exhibition highlights Moore's cutting views of the health care system, the eroding environment and a host of other issues.
Ai Weiwei at Mary Boone through Dec. 21
The gallery's Fifth Avenue and Chelsea venues are both given over to new works from China's chief artist-provocateur. Uptown: 2,500 porcelain river crabs, their Chinese name evoking the government's policy of "harmonization" (i.e., censorship), which prompted the destruction of Ai's massive Shanghai studio. Downtown: twisted rebar from the rubble of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed, among many others, 5,196 children in ill-constructed school buildings. Don't miss the videos documenting Ai's personal responses.
"Picasso: Black and White" at the Guggenheim, through Jan. 23
Just when you thought there was nothing left to explore in Picasso's oeuvre, here comes "Picasso: Black and White" offering a whole new way of looking at this artist's seemingly unfathomable achievement. Here, striped down to bare essentials of light and shade, Picasso may be at his best. Curated by the Guggenheim's Carmen Giménez, with an extraordinary amount of cooperation from Picasso's heirs, the show contains numerous works never before shown in the U.S.
Daniel Joseph Martinez at Simon Preston, through Oct. 29
Initially shown at LAXART as part of Southern California's "Pacific Standard Time" initiative, two bodies of Daniel Joseph Martinez's work from the late ‘70s are on view at Simon Preston. Both series of black and white photos-one featuring individual greased up male body building posing and flexing in front of white backgrounds, the other showing groups of women milling around during beauty pageant downtime-document gendered representation of naturalism and beauty.
Takeshi Murata at Salon 94 Bowery, through Oct. 20
Last chance to see "Synthesizers," Takeshi Murata's New York debut. The show is mostly made up of digital prints of mysterious, manufactured-looking spaces. Turns out the surreal, colorful interiors, peppered with recognizable objects like pill bottles, Pringles cans and barbells, look that way for a reason: Murata designs and appoints his interiors using computer software, virtually lights the space, and prints the images as a digital photograph.
Toba Khedoori at David Zwirner, through Oct. 27
New to Toba Khedoori's well-known drawings on wax paper are a few smaller scale oil paintings on canvas. The two works with the most immediate wow factor are her nearly photorealistic bird's-eye view depictions of a mountain range; various configurations of ropes, rivers and tree branches appear equally fragile and dramatic.
"The Lookout" is compiled by A.i.A. associate editor Leigh Anne Miller.