4 Art Gallery Shows You Must See Right Now

until 30 October. Skarstedt, 20 East 79th Street, Manhattan. 212-737-2060, skarstedt.com

The art stars of the 1980s, often humiliated, remain. David Salle’s latest exhibition, The Tree of Life, shows that rigor has provided some of the best and most beautiful paintings of his career. As always, this former Neo-Expressionist/Authenticity artist brings together images from high and low culture (this time mostly low) and different eras and painting styles (often abstract).

In most of the work here, the grisaille forms of well-dressed men and women from Peter Arno’s New Yorker cartoons fill the background, providing a quiet, fanciful voice of quarreling couples, inappropriate comments and unexpected jokes. At the top of Arnos, the simple outline of an innocent tree (perhaps taken from a children’s book) dominates the center of the picture; its trunk and (sometimes) fallen leaves are painted in different pastel colors. The tree is often the base of the overly large S-curve caterpillar, whose lines and colors add to the visual salad.

The best images are those with separate predella-like panels attached below. Sometimes the roots of the trees continue in this area, but usually a horizontal array of abstract paintings emerges, perhaps with an angular, modern-looking head, with parts outlined on them, dripped, stained, or smeared in the style of various post-war painters. Salle is a cynical, emotionless painter who does not interfere with him; a talented painter (especially with a projector) and a brilliant colorist and tonalist. Their mixed compositions seem compressed, which gives them new tensions and jumps. In a bleak time that has more than its fair share of bleak art – or perhaps just bleak curators – these paintings are a bright spot, encouraging artists to do things that cause optimism and make them better.


Ashes/Ashes, 56 Eldridge Street, Manhattan, through October 24. ashesonashes.com.

The weeds emerging from the saturated, material-dense canvases in Michael Assiff’s exhibition “Flowers of the Willing” are for all who look down on New York City, especially in the boroughs outside of Manhattan, where plants persistently pierce cracked concrete and remain admirably engulfed in concrete. will sound familiar. hostile environment. (Gardening has a deep euphemism of its own: Assiff prefers the term “volunteers” to “weeds.”) Assiff’s five paintings here, each leaf, petal, and stem individually sculpted with a glass of colored methacrylic plastic. this consists of hundreds of examples. fixed in syringe and monochromatic assemblies. They give new meaning to the idea of ​​”color space”.

Specifically, meticulously processed purslane, creeping Charlie, and ragweed are Assiff’s translations observed last year at All Faiths Cemetery in Queens, where particularly vigorous overgrowth thrived under neglect. (The cemetery’s board of directors 2019 embezzlement lawsuit brought in by the New York attorney general; field officials accused the board of withholding aid.) Assiff’s paintings have become a picture of the labor movement, an act of devotion honoring the struggle of these workers.

It’s also a subtle allegory for our darkening climate future. The choice of monochrome connects the paintings to an art history continuum. Malevich’s “Black Square” an effect that artists admire for their ability to distill spiritual purity and natural sublimity. The death of the painting, which is announced every few years, has not yet fully occurred. Painting is essentially the weed of art making that continues to triumph over disaster. Our days may be numbered as our atmosphere swells with carbon dioxide, but the weeds are sure to remain.


Until May 8, Asian Community Museum, 725 Park Avenue, Manhattan. 212-288-6400; asiasociety.org.

“Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians”, which appeared at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto and came to the Asian Society after taking a break in Houston, is not just art in all mediums by 23 Iranian and Iranian-origin artists. famous and developing, at home and abroad. Most of the work is also about being Iranian. Such determined curation by Fereshteh Daftari is understandable in a show that aims to introduce one of the world’s greatest civilizations to an audience that may still see Iran as part of the “axis of evil.” However, despite the diversity of the works, overall it creates a somewhat claustrophobic effect.

For an audience, the best approach may be to focus on one piece, whether it’s Mohammed Ehsai’s flamboyant red and silver calligraphy; A shimmering collage of mirror fragments by Monir Farmanfarmaian; or the gorgeous pink-framed screenshot of Khosrow Hassanzadeh himself being a “terrorist”. The piece that remains for me is Mahmoud Bakhshi’s “Tulips Rise from the Blood of the Nation’s Youth”, a caustic interpretation of the trauma and propaganda of the Iran-Iraq war, three red neon “tulips” – stylized interpretations. The word “Allah” – as it appears on the flag of the Islamic Republic – swirling above metal drums resembling huge shell casings.


Until October 23, Martos Gallery, 41 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan. 212-560-0670; martosgallery.com.

After performing at MoMA PS1s “Marking Time: Art in an Age of Mass Incarceration” In this show, which closed in April, seven previously imprisoned artists present their new work with ongoing talks around criminal justice reform.

At the entrance to the exhibit, “The Collective: The Chosen Family,” a seven-ink drawing by James “Yaya” Hough placed behind prison cafeteria menus and office documents. Hough’s dark, stark, deep work illuminates the for-profit nature of the US prison industrial complex, with paintings showing naked and sometimes anonymized bodies chained and processed like raw material by machinery.

These complement Jesse Krime’s “Legend of the Golden Legend,” a 70-inch by 130-inch handmade fabric with inkjet transfer depicting dystopian scenes – lanterns transform into gigantic spiders, taller chairs from buildings, people in Ku Klux Klan cloaks. , dragons.

Tameca Cole spins inward, even seriously, with collages of Black male subjects on swirling blank backgrounds. In Gilberto Rivera’s heavily painted canvases, a series of social problems contrast with the calm sadness of female figures.

Perhaps this sadness is even stronger in the photographs of Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter aka Isis Tha Saviour. Baxter Photoshops himself in every scene, covering her body to protect the girl.

Most notable is the show’s materiality, best embodied by Russell Craig’s “True Fake”, an installation of zippered Louis Vuitton bags opened by a dog, and Jared Owens’ “Panopticon” – a table/pedestal pair featuring a pigtail. burlap sack, steel cables and hooks, reclaimed material, and even soil from the prison yard of Fairton, the Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey.


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