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

View inside Stan VanDerBeek's installation Movie-Drome,1963-66/2012. Courtesy New Museum.


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 Elly Cho’s pastoral video projection in Times Square, Santiago Sierra’s anti-globalization road trip film at Team, and a work by a pair of Zero Group pioneers at Sperone Westwater.

Santiago Sierra at Team, through July 27

For the past 20 years, Spanish artist Santiago Sierra’s projects have revealed, via documentary photos and videos, how global capitalism often leads to exploitation. His latest, NO, Global Tour, is a 2-hour-long video of the word “NO,” made up of 6-foot-tall letters, being carted around on a flatbed truck to various cities in Europe and the eastern U.S. The black-and-white video is oddly riveting: it swings from gritty urban areas to generic highways, periodically settling on crumbling buildings, abandoned interiors, street signs, men fishing and flocks of birds.

Elly Cho at Times Square, through July 31
Looking for a mental escape from New York’s unending heat wave? Each night at 11:57, Korean-born artist Elly Cho’s black-and-white video projection of breeze-rippled trees-at once restful and spectacular-reigns briefly over the colorful cacophony of Times Square. Shown on multiple giant screens, the work is drawn from the “Visual Kinematics” land- and seascape series by the 38-year-old artist, who holds graduate degrees from both Columbia University and London’s Slade School of Fine Arts.

François Morellet and Gerhard von Graevenitz at Sperone Westwater, through July 27
All the rage lately are the abstract kinetic and light sculptures and wall reliefs from members of the fabled ZERO group of artists in Germany, Italy, France and Holland in the 1960s and ’70s. This show, “Moving Spirits,” is a handsome, pulsating and mesmerizing selection of key examples by two pioneers in the movement, François Morellet and Gerhard Von Graevenitz, whose works are rarely shown in the U.S.

Joan Giordano at June Kelly, through Aug. 3
Ten years ago, painter Joan Giordano had a papermaking residency in Japan-an experience that has largely shifted her production to chromatically harmonious paper constructions. This show, an homage to the beleaguered print medium, features wall pieces composed of rolled newspapers in various languages (some of them Asian) arranged in asymmetrical but balanced modular compositions. Surface texture, evoking pre-digital tactility, is poignantly commemorated along with the ephemerality of news itself.

“Ghosts in the Machine” at the New Museum, through Sept. 30
This thought-provoking show, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, starts with the premise of industrialized society’s dream that machinery could reflect humanity and be a positive force. Along the way, the machine acquires a mind of its own, leading to some nightmarish scenarios. This dynamic story is told through an engaging—and sometimes jolting—mix of modern and contemporary pieces. It includes an unusual range of artists such as Bridget Riley, Rube Goldberg, Harold Edgerton and Konrad Klaphek, and offers a mind-blowing audiovisual experience inside Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome, a work not seen publically since 1966.      

Barbara Kasten and Justin Beal at Bortolami, through Aug. 3
While it’s odd to pair 30 years’ worth of Barbara Kasten’s abstract cyanotypes, pigment prints and Polaroids with relative newcomer Justin Beal’s rubber wall sculptures and, most perplexingly, vaguely sexual aluminum casts of cucumbers and canteloupes, Bortolami’s show allows Kasten’s slick Constructivist- and assemblage-inspired photos to shine.