With an ever-growing number of galleries scattered around New York, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Where to begin? Here at A.i.A., we are always on the hunt for thought-provoking, clever and memorable shows that stand out in a crowded field. Below are seven shows our team of editors can’t stop talking about.
This week we check out abstract paintings by elder stateswoman Sonia Gechtoff at Nyehaus, Enrico Castellani’s monochrome reliefs and installations at Haunch of Venison, and Klara Kristalova’s fantastical glazed ceramics at Lehmann Maupin.
Sohan Qadri and Zhang Yu at Sundaram Tagore, through Jan. 7
“Confluence” brings together luminous abstract ink paintings by India’s Sohan Qadri and China’s Zhang Yu, both noted for their intense spiritualism, their unorthodox techniques, and their use of art-making as a form of meditation. Qadri scores and punctures wet paper that is then infused with dyes, while Zhang has, since the early 1990s, generated series of red, white and black fingerprint works.
Llyn Foulkes at Kent, through Dec. 17
Most of the small, clever, mixed-medium paintings gathered here—many from the past year—are portraits, with heads occluded in disturbing and even grisly ways. We see the subjects, but they can’t see us. Foulkes’s humor grows darker with every passing year.
Sonia Gechtoff at Nyehaus, through Dec. 17
Walter Hopps gave the first solo show at his storied Ferus Gallery in L.A. to a woman: Sonia Gechtoff. Seeing these rare period abstractions miraculously gathered, with their exhilarating mix of wind-swept motion and earth-bound muscle, will make anyone understand why. Pick up a copy of the neat little accompanying brochure, with an engaging interview and pictures of the young Gechtoff, the epitome of cool.
Joan Mitchell at Cheim & Read, through Jan. 4
Thirteen paintings from 1985–1992, the last years of Mitchell’s life, distill her own emotional life (“My paintings have to do with feelings”) and her experience of the French landscape in Vétheuil, where she lived. Knotty, layered passages sit aside barely painted areas of ghostly white; you’ll find it takes a while to work your way through each canvas.
Enrico Castellani at Haunch of Venison, through Jan. 7
A key figure in postwar Italian art, Castellani is known for spatial experiments with monochrome relief paintings in white or silver. This show features some seminal pieces from the 1960s, including Angolare, a series of 12 painted works whose surfaces are punctuated with regular rows of convex and concave forms.
Klara Kristalova at Lehmann Maupin, through Jan. 28
Klara Kristalova’s glistening tabletop sculptures embody the spooky-twee esthetic that is fashionable these days (think Marcel Dzama in ceramics, or Amy Cutler drawings in three-dimensions). Her child-animal-nature hybrids include legs turning into spindly tree branches and oversize animal heads plunked onto adolescent human bodies.
Caragh Thuring at Simon Preston, through Dec. 23
London-based Caragh Thuring’s paintings on unprimed linen tread lightly. Her last show at the gallery tip-toed around Manet’s famous painting Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe; the general theme here, if you could call it that, seems to be an odd mash-up of urban and rural reference points: there are scattered squares that could be a bird’s-eye view of housing blocks, a brick wall blocking and exploding volcano and a view into a bulbous structure that looks part-yurt, part-igloo.