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

View of Stanley Whitney’s exhibition “Left to Right,” 2012. Courtesy Team.


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 Sam Moyer’s elegant hand-dyed canvases mounted on wood at Rachel Uffner, Nigel Cooke’s painterly tour-de-force at Andrea Rosen and Andy Coolquitt’s quirky found sculptures at Lisa Cooley.

Nigel Cooke at Andrea Rosen, through May 12
Full of energy and mastery, Nigel Cooke’s canvases at first seem abstract until the swirling masses of pigment slowly reveal a whole universe of fanciful creatures and landscapes. In the show’s press release, Cooke describes the situation as “multiple cycles of destruction and renewal; the storm waves crash into the imagery and wipe it out, leaving me the task of rebuilding the picture.” The excitement of this show stems from the way Cooke generously allows viewers to witness this herculean task of destruction and creation.

Sam Moyer at Rachel Uffner, through Apr. 22
Don’t miss “Slack Tide,” Sam Moyer’s show of moody black-and-white paintings hand-dyed with India ink and treated with splashes and lines of bleach. Comparisons to Tauba Auerbach’s folded and painted-over canvases are hard to avoid, but Moyer’s work, ironed flat and mounted onto wood supports, are almost sculptural in their heft. Her images tip-toe into the figurative-some look like headlights seen through a cracked and rain-splattered windshield, or topographic maps that have been repeatedly photocopied.

Joseph Nechvatal at Galerie Richard, through May 26
For some years, the New York- and Paris-based artist, writer and composer Joseph Nechvatal has been immersed in an ambitious high-tech endeavor in which the human body-via retina and anus-connects to the cosmos in a kind of topological, Mobius strip concept of the universe. The barely discernable, pixilated images of eyes and anuses on view manage to convey a rather sensuous synergy. There’s always a sound component to Nechvatal’s work, and this show’s opening coincided with the world premiere of his electronic “viral symphOny,” plus a new book, Immersion into Noise, published by Open Humanities Press.

Andy Coolquitt at Lisa Cooley, through May 6
Lisa Cooley recently moved from Orchard Street to a much larger space on Norfolk Street (formerly the music club Tonic), and chose bricoleur Andy Coolquitt to inaugurate the new digs. Several of Coolquitt’s 35 found-object sculptures incorporate brightly colored cigarette lighters fused together end-to-end; other discarded materials like dirty scraps of fabric, straws, wood and dented beer and energy drink cans make repeat appearances in this exhibition “chair w/ paintings.”

Charles Dunn at numberthirtyfive, through May 6
An elegantly installed show in a somewhat off-the-beaten path location, Charles Dunn’s “hell on earth” includes several colorful abstract paintings plus spherical wood and Plexiglas sculptures with cut-out geometric shapes.

Stanley Whitney at Team, through Apr. 28
A spare hanging of just four big canvases gives Whitney’s lush, vivid grids room to breathe-a refreshing decision out of keeping with the current trend to overcrowd shows. And breathe they do: each with its separate palette of colored squares lined up none-too-perfectly. All of Whitney’s paintings have their own distinct rhythm and mood, and the large scale invites total immersion. A group of smaller pieces can be glimpsed in a back room.

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