There are many superb shows that open the New York art season. Here is a totally random selection of autumnal exhibitions selected by Artlyst’s New York contributor Ilka Scobie.
John Giorno “Perfect Flowers” at Elizabeth Dee until Nov. 4
Following this summer’s New York City-wide celebration,” Ugo Rondinone’s I Love John Giorno”, this current show exhibits the legendary poet, performer and artist’s recent visual works. For over five decades Giorno’s vision and voice have been an iconic underground force of creativity. Twenty-five new paintings with short poetic lines are united with flowers as a central theme. Brilliantly hued, these pieces elevate Giorno’s boundary-defying work. “Orchids Are The Tongues That Lied,” or “Chrysanthemums Are A Garland of Skulls” are just some of the epigrams of the acrylic on canvas body of 2017 work. The show also includes Giorno’s famous Dail-A-Poem series from 1969 to 2013, with 80 poets reading their work on telephone answering machines. The second floor features watercolour and graphite works on paper with brilliant Giorno classics like “God Is Man Made,” or my own personal favourite, the Cadmium Red “You Got To Burn To Shine.”
Janet Fish “Pinwheels and Poppies” at D.C. Moore until Sept. 30
One of America’s premiere realists, Janet Fish’s glorious still lives are imbued with colour, wit and opulent beauty. Fish’s early work of the seventies melded a feminist sensibility with brilliant craftsmanship. She is known for her lush depictions of light, pattern and texture. Whether it’s an autumnal cornucopia (with flowers from Fish’s Vermont garden) or a hunter in early morning solitude, these major works fascinate and delight.
Aurel Schmidt “I Rot Before I Ripen” at P.P.).W. until October 7
Aurel Schmidt’s monochromatic works illustrate a female sensibility that encompasses sexuality, adolescent fantasy, and nature. Her beautifully detailed drawings reflect inspiration from street culture and cartoons, to artistic influences like Edward Munch or Japanese Edo screens. Included is an installation of T-shirts which Schmidt treats as lavish canvases. Schmidt’s powerful, provocative and sometimes very funny work embodies the power and urgency of 21st-century feminism.
Bosco Sodi “Muro” Installation at Washington Square Park September 7 Paul Kasmin Callery
In the interest of dismantling, rather than building exclusionary walls, Mexican artist Bosco Sodi’s first public installation was a 2 meter by an 8-meter brick wall. Made of hand-fired clay timbers created in Oxaca, “Muro” was constructed on the same day that hundreds of people waited on line to remove a single brick. Signed by the artist, “Muro” became a communally owned artwork. An eloquent response to the current wall mania that represents America at it’s xenophobic worst.
Sam Falls at Eva Presenhuber until October 29
Walking through the beaded curtain of natural gemstones is a calming experience, both visually seductive and spiritually uplifting for the participant. Sam Falls uses photography as his jumping off point, creating lush landscapes that are beautifully blurred by physical immersion in nature. Rainstorms, the forest floor itself, and actual depiction of plants growing in the woods create a dreamy atmosphere. Ceramic works include gathered plants pressed into tiles, and an elegant bench centres the show. Falls lyrically balances sculpture, photography and painting to share his intimacy with nature and materials.
Alex Gardner “Rom Com” at the Hole
Cool and contemporary, the graceful ebony figures in this New York debut show share a chilled out and powerful palette. Gender blurred, garbed in sensual simple white, the figures intertwine, play, or just display a languid wrist. Mint green, millennial pink, blues drifting to grey, there is a slow labour to the meticulous acrylic surface. The fourteen canvases are embellished with enigmatic titles like”Picnic With a Future Ex” and “How did Overcooking the Pasta Lead to This?” In the midst of this bucolic beauty, Los Angeles native Alex Gardner’s bravado brushwork makes him a master of dramatic shadows, a poetic proponent of a new romanticism.
Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the NewMuseum until Jan. 21
Over forty contemporary artists are featured in this intergenerational, three-floor show that explores gender and identity. Included are commissioned pieces like Nayland Blake’s “fursona”, an appealing teddy bear handing out ribbons at the opening. New York legend Justin Vivian Bond places delicate feminine watercolours in a domestic diorama, and Vaginal Davis shows 14 clay wall sculptures embellished with nail polish, hair spray and scented with Jean Nate. Mickalene Thomas, Tschabalala Self, and Leidy Churchman are among the stellar contributors. Films, installations, textile work, sculptures and photography create a timely exploration of gender fluidity, perfectly heralding the 40th anniversary of New York’s most contemporary museum.
Words: Ilka Scobie © Artlyst 2017 Photos courtesy various galleries NY © The artists and galleries