TUESDAY, JANUARY 24
Opening: “Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space” at Met Breuer
The sculptures and installations of Marisa Merz, who is 85 this year, are just starting to get proper attention in the United States. Merz was the only female member of the Italian movement Arte Povera, which combined natural and industrial elements in poetic installations, though she regularly received less attention than her male colleagues, such as Giovanni Anselmo and Michelangelo Pistoletto. This show, her first American retrospective, will survey Merz’s work about public and private spaces and gender differences, from her 1970s installations through her more recent “Teste” series of sculptures of heads made of pigment encased in wax.
Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26
Opening: “An Uncanny Likeness” at Simon Lee Gallery
With a wave of figurative painting by young artists continuing to sweep the New York art scene, Simon Lee Gallery will survey some recent efforts in a show called “An Uncanny Likeness.” The show will tease out a connection between emerging artists and veterans from the 1980s and ’90s, connecting the surrealist tableaux of painters like Julien Ceccaldi and Jill Mulleady with work by artists like George Condo and Martin Wong. Pieces by Nicole Eisenman, Sanya Kantarovsky, and Jim Shaw will also be on view here.
Simon Lee Gallery, 26 East 64th Street, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Opening: Wangechi Mutu at Gladstone Gallery
For her latest show, Wangechi Mutu will create an environment that will showcase two new bronze sculptures of elements of African life—one of a water woman from East African folklore, the other inspired by masks. As with her collage works, these new works will mix the supernatural with the everyday, resulting in something both unsettling and beautiful.
Gladstone Gallery, 530 West 21st Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Jordan Tate at Denny Gallery
Jordan Tate’s latest show features photographs of exhibitions that never existed. To some extent, they seem real—you could be tricked into thinking that IDGI @ Kunsthalle Bern (2016), in which images of ancient Greek sculptures hang on a teal wall, really was on view at one point, but that’s an easy effect to create with digital technology. Relying on Photoshop and the sense of irony that courses through online forums, Tate shows how the internet has changed the way we perceive art.
Denny Gallery, 261 Broome Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Jack Whitten at Hauser & Wirth
Though it’s only been within the past few years that some critics actually noticed, Jack Whitten has been one of the most influential abstract painters of the past half century. Whitten’s 50-year career, which was recently the subject of a traveling retrospective, has explored where identity and formal experimentation combine, often dedicating paintings about painting to his heroes, among them Ornette Coleman and Duke Ellington. Here, for his first show at Hauser & Wirth, Whitten will offer a sampler of sorts, showing works from such series as “Quantum Walls,” in which he makes paint appear like brick walls. They will appear alongside new works on paper.
Hauser & Wirth, 548 West 22nd Street, 6–8 p.m.
Screening: De Lama Lâmina at Metrograph
To celebrate the launch of its sixth issue, Even magazine is hosting a screening of Matthew Barney’s De Lama Lâmina, a 2004 film that documents a performance staged during Carnival in Salvador, Brazil. In typical Barney fashion, bizarre rituals are being enacted at the same time as a lot of weird sex—the film cuts between a crew of musicians, the people watching them, a parade float, and a man masturbating beneath it. Melvin Gibbs, a performer in the film, and Claire Tancons, an art historian and curator, will be on hand to elucidate some of the film’s strangeness.
Metrograph, 11 Ludlow Street, 7–9 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Performance: Paulina Olowska at the Kitchen
On the heels of a show at Metro Pictures last year comes a new performance from the Polish artist Paulina Olowska. Titled Slavic Goddesses—A Wreath of Ceremonies and inspired by the 20th-century artist Zofia Stryjeńska, the piece, like many others by Olowska, explores the role of women in Slavic myths, with dancers performing as various Slavic goddesses. Sergei Tcherepnin, an artist in his own right, will supply the original score.
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 8 p.m. Tickets $20
FRIDAY, JANUARY 27
Opening: Lynn Hershman Leeson at Bridget Donahue
Ahead of a five-decade retrospective finally make it to the United States, with a showing at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, New Yorkers will get a taste of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s pioneering feminist video works with “Remote Controls,” a survey of her interactive pieces. On view in this show will be Lorna (1979–82), one of the first works to ever make use of Laserdisc technology. In the piece, viewers can control the life of an agoraphobic woman, turning her either into an unwitting sex object or an empowered female figure, depending on the narrative they choose for her. The show will also include a piece that tracks the stock market and behavioral patterns and a new work that maps visitors’ DNA patterns.
Bridget Donahue, 99 Bowery, 6–8 p.m.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29
Opening: Ken Okiishi at Reena Spaulings Fine Art
Over the past few years, Ken Okiishi’s work has become instantly recognizable. It typically combines painting, sculpture, and video, sometimes with an element of performance, and ponders what happens when a screen acts like a canvas. He often paints directly onto television monitors, obscuring what’s shown on them, and he explores how we experience space and time by experimenting with various video effects. Fittingly, this show is called “Being and/or Time.”
Reena Spaulings Fine Art, 165 East Broadway, 6–8 p.m.