Made lemons out of lemonade today: Sidelined from running, I took up biking, and I rode down to Chelsea and up to Columbia for some art shows. Perfect weather for it.
Three of the four shows I loved have to do with mirrors. So sue me.
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Luhring Augustine
Thru April 28
The Arte Povera mirror-maker depicts construction workers, bringing the past of each building these are shown in into the present. I liked these a lot. Baffled why the statement said that the images are “adhered” when the image captions, and the works themselves, suggest screenprinting as the medium. These are not my favorite Pistolettos; I liked some of the older ones at the Walker and Brooklyn Museum better, but it’s still great to see so many of them in one place. A treat.
Greg Smith at Susan Inglett Gallery
ners Banners Banners Ban
Thru May 26
GO SEE IT. ESPECIALLY THE VIDEO.
If you can’t make it, read on…. (Spoiler alert.)
I made a point of going into galleries that aren’t on my usual route, and this one paid off. There are drawings and mixed media assemblages with a harness, all very cruddy and rough. The best thing, though, is a video that documents a performance in which the artist produced and installed the works under and on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. There’s a belt of canvas that goes completely around the car, and shots of the artist operating a sewing machine while driving (not recommended!). He used copious amounts of sweetly colorful dots, and also made some fabric-and-cotton-batting pennant flags. It’s a bizarre experiment with lots of physical and legal risk for crafty, yet un-crafted, artworks. Super thought-provoking for thinking about what is at stake in a work or practice, and what is success or failure.
Grey Peak of the Wave at Harris Leiberman
Group show of European artistst
Through April 28
I love this kind of work. Subtle, open-ended, perceptual, quiet. My favorites were:
Alicja Kwade’s taped glass sheets with two lamps, one on, one off (above, on ground). In the glass’ reflection, the unlit lamp appears convincingly illuminated.
Alicja Kwade’s bent mirrors, as if drooping down off the wall like a sheet of paper (also seen above, in the rear space). Surreal. Materially simple, disguising what I’m sure was laborious or expensive fabrication. Manipulating common materials in uncommon ways never gets old to me.
Alexandra Leykauf’s wall vinyls and framed photos (also above, back wall). Who doesn’t love a b/w photo of geometric abstraction made with real objects? And then complicating commodification with both framed works and site-specific, one-use vinyl? So simple, so good.
Iran do Espírito Santo at Sean Kelly
Thru April 28
I loved this Brazilian artists’ subtle, perceptual, materially sophisticated works ever since I saw a few at Altman Siegal in San Francisco. This show is a brave selection of 3 major works: a large wall painting, a series of marble replicas of glass bulb covers, and this series of “mirrors.” In fact, these are all made with two sheets of plate glass sandwiching a reflective tint. They look like mirrors until you spend a little more time with them, and realize that they are slightly transparent. They don’t, as the press release states, look like they’re folding, the way Kwade’s bent mirrors do at Harris Lieberman. But they do achieve something else, which as to do with how the leaning piece and the floor piece allow slightly different amounts of light and reflectivity. It’s sort of like the difference between a 100% printed CMYK black, and a “rick black,” which is a mixture using more colors, and hence, more saturation. The mirror on the floor looks as if you could fall into it.