Top 5 Monday, Aug 13–Sunday, Aug 19
It’s been 66 years since Gertrude Abercrombie (1909–1977) last exhibited in NYC, so it’s been awhile since New Yorkers have been able to acquaint themselves with the work of this midcentury Surrealist painter, who was born in Texas, and spent most of her life living in Chicago’s Hyde Park. Modest in scale, Abercrombie’s compositions—typically done in oils on masonite—feature cryptic landscapes and interiors that serve as backdrops for the artist’s personal iconography of doors, cats, owls and ladders, which she often combines with her own self making mysterious appearances fraught with psychological drama.
MoMA PS1’s round-up of robotic sculptures by this Mexican artist spans two decades and provides a excellent introduction to his body of work, which references the past, civilizational glories of Mexico’s indigenous people while commenting on their current travails, which include violations of their human and land rights by the Mexican government.
Works by two prominent and mutually admiring figures of 19th-century gay culture—the Irish writer, Oscar Wilde (1854-1909), and the German photographer Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931)—are brought together in a show that meditates upon the intersection of homoeroticism, classical antiquity and the desire for eternal youth. Von Gloeden’s pastoral nudes of young men scantily accessorized with Greco-Roman motifs (laurel wreathes, togas, amphorae), taken during the artist’s 1877 sojourn to Sicily, are presented alongside a copy of Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the titular gentleman, in a sort of deal with the devil, remains forever young while his portrait ages in his stead.
Queer identity is given a formalist gloss in these photos featuring figures clad Spiderman-like in full-body stockings representing hues on the color spectrum in an homage to Ellsworth’s Kelly painting series on the same subject.
Timeshare space VACATION welcomes Mobius Gallery from Bucharest, Romania, which is presenting this group show of seven Eastern European artist. Taking it’s title from Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari's 2016 tome, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, the exhibit focuses on the book’s themes, which include the idea that technological change in the 21st-century will permit humanity to attain godlike powers, including the ability to indefinitely extend life. This notion—along with Harari's contention that human beings are simply algorithms, reducible to code in a way that gives lie to the humanist concept of the self—informs the works here, which takes a mostly dim if resigned view of a future that seems inevitable.
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