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

David Antonio Cruz: everythingandthepastrychef, 2012, mixed medium, 48 inches square. In "Friends with Benefits." Courtesy Lehmann Maupin. 


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 Jayson Musson’s colorful sweater-paintings at Salon 94, Mark Flood’s bitingly funny paintings and collages at Luxembourg & Dayan, and an art-world tribute to man’s best friend at Metro Pictures.

James Lee Byars at Michael Werner, through Aug. 31
Created in 1989, Byars’s gilded marble and wood Monument to Cleopatra, a sarcophogus-like lozenge form on a low plinth, is a breathtaking presence in this summer’s Upper East Side gallery scene. Glowing mysteriously in an empty room, it evades human scale, minimalist concreteness as well as historical allusiveness. Yet all three of those qualities could apply to this work. The piece has never been seen before in New York, and it is well worth a pilgrimage.

Mark Flood at Luxembourg & Dayan, through Sept. 29
In what has to have been the most caustic (and funny) voice in 1980s appropriation art, Texan Mark Flood blasted consumerist culture in collages, paintings (altered thrift-store canvases) and objects. A generous survey of these largely forgotten works, curated by Alison Gingeras, makes it seem as though Floods work is the source for every scrap of counterculture poetics that followed. The subject matter is certainly diverting, but don’t miss the canny formal brilliance of the works, which deploy doubling and elision in curious ways.

Jayson Musson at Salon 94, through Aug. 17
Jayson Musson, better known for his art world-skewering YouTube videos recorded by his altar-ego Hennessy Youngman, has ten of his textile-stretched-over-linen canvases on view at Salon 94’s Bowery outpost. Made from disassembled and reconfigured Coogi sweaters (most likely to be worn by hipsters dressing up as Bill Cosby for Halloween), the colorful textured fabric pieces look like unusually vibrant topographic maps.

“Friends with Benefits” at Lehmann Maupin Christie Street, through Aug. 10
Like many galleries, Lehmann Maupin is presenting a summer group show, although this one takes an unusual curatorial approach. The gallery asked five of its artists (Tony Oursler, Angel Otero, Tim Rollins, Mickalene Thomas and Nari Ward) to select a few works by lesser-known New York practitioners. Standouts include Derrick Adams’s girl in profile made from collaged metallic and wood-patterned paper (selected by Thomas), Matias Cuevas’s unexpectedly elegant framed carpets despoiled with paint and chemicals (Otero’s pick), and David Antonio Cruz’s messy canvases spackled with broken ceramics and scraps of fabric (Thomas again).

“Dogma” at Metro Pictures, through Aug. 10
Some scientists say that without dogs to assist in livestock management, humans would not have become nearly so numerous. So dogs are partly to blame. Swiss Institute director Gianni Jetzer’s show “Dogma,” at Metro Pictures, assembles works about canines by 20 artists, from Allora/Calzadilla to Christopher Wool. Tipping off the viewer to the show’s skeptical take on man’s best friend is Claire Fontaine’s neon piece at the entrance, which spells out an expression coined by Bertolt Brecht: Kultur ist ein Palast der aus Hundescheiße gebaut ist (culture is a palace built of dog shit).

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