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

Marcel Broodthaers: Maria, 1966, dress, hanger, and eggshells glued to shopping bag, on canvas, 44 1/8 by 39 3/8 by 4 3/4 inches.


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

This week we check out the Oakes’ Twins take on perception at the Cue Art Foundation, and Zhang Enli’s Western technique’s at Hauser & Wirth.

MoMA, 4th floor collection galleries, 1940–80, no closing date
The first rooms feature selections from the amazing Daled collection of European and American conceptual art, which MoMA acquired in June. Landmark works by Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Daniel Buren and Dan Graham—the latter’s Homes for America (1966-67) is on view in its entirety–have added some real heft to the museum’s previously somewhat feeble representation of the period.

John McAllister at James Fuentes, through Oct. 23
This week is the last chance to see “Damned Sparkling Pomp.” Matisse meets Bonnard meets Johns in oil paintings inspired partly by McAllister’s time as a night guard at the Metropolitan Museum. They often incorporate pictures within pictures and juxtapose divergent colors and patterns, to jubilant effect.

Doug Ohlson at Washburn Gallery, through Nov. 12
These 1960s abstractions formed the prototype for Ohlson’s painting practice up until his death last year. You may find yourself thinking of David Novros and Mark Rothko, but as Carter Ratcliff pointed out in A.i.A. in 2003, Ohlson also deeply admired Giorgio Morandi’s small, bleached-out still lifes.

The Oakes Twins at the Cue Art Foundation, through Oct. 29
In their extraordinary concave drawings, Colorado-born twins Ryan and Trevor Oakes explore perception and new ways to more accurately render phenomena of light and space in urban settings and landscape. Organized by culture critic Lawrence Weschler, the show contains a selection of drawings as well as illuminating background material, including one of the curious concave easels with rotatable head holders that the twins developed.  
Olaf Breuning at Metro Pictures, through Oct. 29
Feeling down after a rough day in Chelsea? Olaf Breuning is sure to lift your spirits. The Swiss-born artist’s work is always silly, but never stupid. “Art Freaks,” a new photo series of life-size standing male and female nude figures mimicking great works from modern art history, is nothing short of brilliant. The drippy Jackson Pollock character and the banana-peel-covered, silvery Andy Warhol freak are unforgettable.
Tabaimo at James Cohan, through Oct. 29
An evocative installation from Japanese video artist Tabaimo, who represents Japan in the current Venice Biennale, “Dandan” transports viewers to a time and place of the artist’s imagination. The entire gallery is transformed into a multimedia environment in which visitors can explore themes of society and individuation in today’s Japan, or simply indulge themselves in a private, restorative dream.

Maelee Lee at the Chelsea Art Museum, through Nov. 5
In a show titled “Infinite Space,” the Korean-born Lee plays with our perception of depth—and, by association, time—in large photographs that show the ocean cross-sectioned into solid blocks of black and white or brightly hued spike heels caught stepping through multiple concentric frames toward a page of text that obliquely evokes their eerie, glamorous journey.

Zhang Enli at Hauser & Wirth, through Oct. 29
Trained in the ink-wash tradition and self-taught in Western oil techniques, Zhang offers large, thinly painted compositions focused on everyday objects—an ashtray, a length of hose, paint cans. His works are often pervaded by a spatial emptiness linked historically with transience and unstated emotion and, in today’s China, with rampant physical and social dislocation.

“The Lookout” was compiled this week by A.i.A. Associate Editor Brian Boucher