Onward The First in 120 Months of New Exhibitions


January is not so much a re-set as an official half-time for international gallery openings. Collectors, one hopes, are back in business, rejuvenated and back in their home cities. Being as this spring marks the beginning of a new decade (and it couldn’t have come at a better time!), the implications seem greater.


Opening January 9, Virgil Marti’s third solo exhibition at Elizabeth Dee Gallery will feature the artist’s signature over-the-top interiors. Marti’s floral and trompe-l’oeil wallpaper, richly upholstered furnishings and distorting chromed mirrors here form fantastical environments that examine the delineations of class, sexuality, and taste in the overlapping histories of interior decoration and high art.

On the opposite side of the spectrum of home decor, Tino Sehgal clears the Guggenheim’s rotunda of art objects for the first time in the museum’s history. Sehgal reportedly will avoid using material objects altogether in his solo exhibition, which opens January 29. Often associated with Relational Aesthetics, some practicioners of which were featured in last year’s “theanyspacewhatever” exhibition at the Guggenheim, Sehgal’s focus is on experiential, situational work rather than individual objects. Previously, Sehgal’s audience has been made to participate in children’s games or converse with museum attendants. According to the museum, Sehgal’s two choreographed situations will aim to reconfigure social interactions and conventional roles of viewership and participation. No details have yet been released, although a casting call selected from 8- to 12-year-old children, who will be compensated with snacks.

House cleaning is another theme for the season. “Collecting Biennials,” open January 16 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, is billed as a historical survey of artists from the museum collection whose work was exhibited in previous Biennials. The show runs parallel to the 2010 Whitney Biennial on the museum’s fifth floor and features a work by George Condo, who is in both shows. So it’s something of a publicity stunt for the museum and its marquee show; the press release simply names the exhibition’s famous artists. If there is stimulation beyond the press release, the show will highlight the precarious role of acquisition in a musuem-sponsored Biennial. After all, the Whitney gets first dibs on the art in its biennials. It’ll be interesting to see what they deem presentable on the eve of a new wave of acquisitions.

On the West Coast: A solo exhibition of the work of video artist Keren Cytter opens on January 5 at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. Using a handheld, Cytter tells short stories of complex relationships. And further north, a short video projection combines two Bruce Conner films (“Cosmic Ray,” 1961 and “Eve-Ray-Forever,” 1965). “Three Screen Ray” by the late, local Conner (whose non-narrative work will also be in the Whitney’s Collecting Biennials) premiered at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art on January 1. The museum built an exhibition around Conner’s film, which it recently acquired. The video programming for “Long Shot” includes films by artists including Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, and Pipilotti Rist, investigating the relationship of sound and image. The uneasy synthesis of audio and visual elements is also this month’s focus at London’s Seventeen Gallery, where the exhibition “Real Talk,” curated by web artist Oliver Laric, opens January 13. The show features works by Seth Price, Aleksandra Domanovic, Marjolijn Dijkman and Samuel Beckett, which accumulate disjunctive aural materials to de-sublimate their presumed supplemental function.

For the second year running, 13 Berlin galleries will exchange spaces with 13 Parisian galleries in January. Berlin’s Galerie Neu will show Kitty Kraus at Paris’ Balice Hertling, jousse enterprise in Paris will present Mathieu Matégot at Johann König, while Emmanuel Perrotin will be exhibiting Kolkoz at Wentrup Gallery in Berlin. French galleries selected their German counterparts in the hope of strengthening cultural ties and highlighting the diverse programs of both young and established galleries. It might be harder for Berlin to select Parisian galleries, but hey, it’s a new decade.