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 John Byam's small but sturdy woodcarvings and drawings at Andrew Edlin, the embodiment of Rutherford Chang's obsession with the Beatles' White Album at Recess and Miroslav Balka's gigantic pair of steel basins at Gladstone.
"Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase: An Homage" at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, through Mar. 29
This fascinating scholarly exhibition celebrates the centenary of the Armory Show in New York by focusing on Duchamp's notorious Cubist painting. The 1913 picture, which alone caused a seismic upheaval in the American art world, is not on view, but several other Duchamp works are, including his famous Valise (ca. 1941), accompanied by examples of Duchamp-inspired pieces by Yoko Ono, Richard Prince, Peter Saul, Carlo Maria Mariani, Ai Weiwei, Joseph Kosuth and many others.
Miroslav Balka at Gladstone, through Mar. 30
In the market for an unusual garden fixture or a giant indoor water fountain? Miroslaw Balka's The Order of Things is truly awesome, both physically and conceptually. Entering the gallery, visitors pass through a small doorway that exaggerates the overwhelming impact of the installation. With the work's two massive steel vessels and an endless cascade of black water pouring into each basin, the Polish sculptor suggests the final, spectacular death throes of the Industrial Age, or a new kind of oil-powered machine horror to come.
Rutherford Chang at Recess, through Mar. 9
At 33, Chang is way too young to remember the disconcerting effect of the Beatles' 1968 two-record release known as the White Album, which became an instant icon. The American-born Chang has managed to obtain over 700 of the 30 million copies sold worldwide. Stained, dog-eared, yellowing, written and drawn upon, they are displayed in a grid on the wall and gathered into bins and boxes on (and under) a long central table, collectively testifying to both the ravages of time and the pristine dream of timelessness. The show, as announced by a red neon sign in the gallery window, is called "We Buy White Albums," and the artist means it—in every sense.
John Byam at Andrew Edlin, through Mar. 16
Over the course of his life, Oneonta, N.Y. native John Byam has dug graves for a local cemetery and worked on the D&H Railroad, as well as served in the military during the Korean War. The 80-something artist had his first show last year, in a gallery at SUNY Oneonta. This, his second, showcases the self-taught artist's rough-hewn, dollhouse-like sculptures made of wood, sawdust and glue, along with text-heavy pencil, crayon and marker drawings.
"Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925" at MoMA, through Apr. 15
A fantastically rich exhibition in both color and information (spend some time studying the web-like diagram of interconnected artists at the entrance to the show) traces the development of abstract art in the early part of the 20th century. A large wooden model of Vladimir Tatlin's famously unconstructed Monument to the Third International (1920/1979) is one of the show's special treats.
Mixed Media, 212 x 66 inches, Courtesy the artist.
Artist Kirstine Roepstorff was born and trained in Denmark, but lives and works in Berli