Chelsea certainly puts the art in the heart of New York. The neighborhood is home to dozens of galleries with the best free art in NYC on view—from Gagosian to David Zwirner galleries—and the newly minted Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the best museums in the city. Once you've had your fill, head to the High Line to lounge on tree-lined paths with views of the river, then head to one of the best Chelsea restaurants or bars, like Del Posto and the NoMad. The sky's the limit in this neighborhood!
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To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace. An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel inRead more
A full-scale vintage camping trailer serves as a theater for a puppet show featuring marionettes performing an opera and/or otherwise acting out different scenes—including a rather self-reflexive one of a puppet-maker in his workshop. Viewers can walk around the vehicle, taking in the various tableaux playing out through the windows. Taken as a whole, the work offers a sort of outdoor expedition through the uncanny valley.Read more
Created in the mid-1990s, Kelley’s shaped paintings marked the artist ’s return to the medium after a prolonged spell of focusing on performance and installation art. They also coincided with his magnum opus of the period: A sprawling tabletop sculpture titled Educational Complex. An agglomeration of architectural models representing each of the schools Kelley had attended, the piece explored the social and psychological constraints imposed by formal training, especially in the field of art. Indeed, as a student, Kelley had to reckon with the reality of radical styles like Abstract Expressionism being imposed as academic canon. As he himself put it, “My education must have been a form of mental abuse, of brainwashing.” The work here delves into some of the same issues, particularly in a series of ovals in which Kelley deconstructs various modernist tropes—such as Hans Hofmann’s “push and pull” theory of color—by filtering them through images culled for childhood memory.Read more
Recently, Cindy Sherman indicated to The New York Times that her latest series of chameleonlike self-portraits may be her last. “I’m so sick of using myself, how much more can I try to change myself?” she said. But even if she continues producing the kind of photographs that made her famous, there’s a definite air of finality to this newest crop—a sense that they represent a coda to an extraordinary body of work going back 40 years to her “Untitled Film Stills.” Back then, she was an ingénue in her twenties; now, she’s in her sixties, so naturally these images deal with aging—as, arguably, Sherman has over the past five years. What’s different is that she’s once again playing upon cinematic archetypes, circling back, in effect, to her beginnings. The results are the most self-referential works of her career. Early on, Sherman’s role-playing referenced film noir, the French New Wave and Italian neorealism—the kind of movies, in other words, that a university student of the 1970s might have seen in a film studies class. In this show, Sherman harkens back to the studio system of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the golden era when female icons of the silver screen were minted by Hollywood’s dream factories. These sirens, however, aren’t depicted at the height of their allure but at a point where fame has passed them by. Sherman channels the likes of Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo once the lights have gone down and the gates have swung shut on mansions where the only audience membersRead more