Your guide to the best weekend art exhibitions
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Current art exhibition reviews
"Nicole Eisenman: Al-ugh-ories”
Nicole Eisenman’s New Museum survey takes me back to the 1995 Whitney Biennial, which included her wall mural, Self-Portrait With Exploded Whitney. Now buried behind a wall at the Whitney’s old Breuer building, the work depicted the artist after an unknown cataclysm, painting among the museum’s ruins as firefighters pulled survivors from the rubble. Viewed through the prism of 9/11, the scene would seem chilling today, but at the time, Exploded Whitney was taken for an ironic spin on the tear-down-the-system statements common to young artists. In hindsight, Eisenman’s apocalyptic jape could also be construed as a prophecy of a larger collapse, one we may now be experiencing. In that sense, this show couldn’t be more timely. Eisenman channel surfs through art history, melding Expressionism, Surrealism, pop culture and feminism as she dunks her brush into the stylistic wells of Francis Bacon, Otto Dix, Philip Guston and many others. Much of her work displays an affinity for the gallows humor of Weimar art, and considering the hypocritical dream state of contemporary American life—in which the reality-based community has given way to a psychotic break with constitutional norms—you could say that Eisenman’s work represents a sort of Neue Sachlichkeit for the Trump era. Her views become abundantly clear in Tea Party (2011), which imagines our republic as a motley crew of survivalists in a well-stocked bunker. Joining them in limbo is Uncle Sam, who not only wears striped pants p
Upcoming art exhibitions
“Bruce Conner: It’s All True”
Conner (1933–2008) is among the most important postwar artists you’ve probably never heard of. A pioneer of the West Coast scene and an early practitioner of found-object assemblage, he delved into rise of consumerist culture and fears of nuclear armageddon during the height of the Cold War. His work encompasses painting painting, sculpture, photography, performance and film. With respect to the last, his 1958 classic, A Movie, employed rapid-edit montages of appropriated TV commercials and movie footage put to an musical soundtrack; the darkly ironic result was startlingly ahead of it time. This show—the artist’s first monographic museum exhibition in New York, the first large survey of his work in 16 years and the first complete retrospective of his 50-year career—brings together over 250 examples of his groundbreaking work.
This show unpacks the impulse to collect in all of its manifestations, from proper institutional holdings to obsessive individual hoarding. Assemblages, imaginary museums and other works explore the mechanics of display while pondering what is worth hanging on to and what is not.
A dreamy, surreal amalgam of Expressionist and Symbolist tropes characterizes the art of this German artist who works in multiple mediums, including ceramics, weaving, drawing, painting and sculpture. His creations range from discrete objects to room-size installations that seem to grow out of the artist’s fantasies, reveries and personal memories. The term unique is too often applied to artists, but in the case of Althoff’s oeuvre, the label fits perfectly. Some 200 works spanning Althoff’s career is brought together in this survey, his first in an American museum.
Along with Georgia O’Keeffe, Martin (1912–2004) is arguably the most important women artists in American art history, and certainly one of the most important painters of the 20th century, period. Her compositions utilized geometric grids, bands and lines, usually rendered in soft, subtle colors to create diaphanous objects of contemplation. She’s usually hailed as a forerunner of Minimalism, but she considered herself an Abstract Expression, who, like Barnett Newman, meditated on the nature of vision and perception. This retrospective is the first comprehensive career survey since her death.
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