The Lookout: A Weekly Guide to Shows You Won’t Want to Miss

Jean-Frédéric Schnyder: Landscape IV, 1990. Courtesy Swiss Institute.


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 shows our team of editors can’t stop talking about.

This week we check out Thomas Heatherwick’s slick furniture and architectural designs at Haunch of Venison, On Kawara’s career-long dedication to documenting today’s date at David Zwirner, and a cheerfully engaging group show at Joe Sheftel’s recently opened Lower East Side gallery.

On Kawara at David Zwirner, through Feb. 11
On Kawara made the first of his date paintings in 1966: mainly small (though some large) canvases, mainly white on black (though some white on red or blue), in which he uniformly writes (mainly, though not always, in English) the date in bold capital letters and Arabic numerals. Zwirner has 150 of them on display, along with a pair of side-by-side prints of calendrical charts indicating the days Kawara made his “Today Paintings.” The exhibition is engaging, with minute differences between works that demand close observation, and the totality distilling a life in art.

Thomas Heatherwick and Shay Frisch Peri at Haunch of Venison, through Mar. 3
At the gallery entrance, Israeli-born artist and industrial designer Shay Frisch Peri has installed a huge circular electronic work, Compo 4012, which complements the high-tech and cerebral furniture and architectural models by British designer Thomas Heatherwick on view throughout the space.

Gordon Moore at Betty Cuningham, through Feb. 11
The ten new paintings in Gordon Moore’s show are a refined mix of abstraction and illusionism—the shadows, geometric forms and subdued, overlapping color blocks seem to be in the middle of a stalled conversation. A series of 13 smaller ink drawings on photo emulsion paper add an elegant, atmospheric touch to the show.

John Miller at Metro Pictures, through Mar. 10
With “Suburban Past Time,” John Miller has fully evolved from a master purveyor of abject objects to a director of uniquely evocative installations. The show offers an imaginative stroll through suburbia, loaded with all the threatening anxiety and mind-numbing absurdity that middle-brow American culture can represent.

“Specifically Yours” at Joe Sheftel, through Feb. 19
Joe Sheftel has found a nicely proportioned space for his new LES gallery (the 2nd floor balcony in the back is a nice touch), and has filled it with an odd and slightly mismatched, yet thoroughly enjoyable, inaugural show. Sheftel goes all out, showing Alex Da Corte’s messy, colorful sculptures, many of which the artist found in his Philadelphia neighborhood, alongside shimmery abstract paintings by Adam Henry and black-and-white photos by Rory Mulligan.

Jean-Frédéric Schnyder at the Swiss Institute, through Feb. 26
“Swastika, crucifix and sugar cubes are just motives which are interesting to paint,” says Jean-Frédéric Schnyder. And he’s not kidding. In this suite of 35 small paintings from 1990–91, Schnyder isn’t afraid to draw the Nazi logo floating over a cartoonlike mountain cottage. You’ll find yourself wondering where to draw the line between kitsch and serious and even between good and bad.

Tadaaki Kuwayama at Gary Snyder through Feb. 25
Tired of visual overkill? Kuwayama’s four minimal, chromatically subtle installations—featuring serial rectilinear elements in titanium, aluminum, Mylar and Bakelite—provide a contemplative respite and a chance to reconsider geometric abstraction. In 2010–11, the sculptor (b. 1932), who has lived in New York for five decades, was honored with three separate museum solos in his native Japan. A fourth follows this fall at the Museum of Modern Art in Hayama.

The Lookout” is compiled by A.i.A. associate editor Leigh Anne Miller.