WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15
Talk: Elmgreen & Dragset at Flag Art Foundation
Elmgreen & Dragset have been doing double duty over the past year: they’ve shown new and recent works at the Flag Art Foundation, while also curating the upcoming Istanbul Biennial. This week, the Berlin-based duo will make a stop in New York to discuss their Flag show, which focused on themes of loss, identity, and sexuality.
Flag Art Foundation, 545 West 24th Street, 9th Floor, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Seung-taek Lee at Lévy Gorvy
Despite being a pioneer of the Korean avant-garde in the 1950s, this show, presented as a collaboration with Seoul’s Hyundai Gallery, is Seung-taek Lee’s first in America. Using a similar method to near-contemporaneous movements like Arte Povera, Gutai, and Mono-ha, Lee’s work combines industrial materials with natural ones, in a statement about how modern production has changed the way we experience the world today. Consider Tied Stone (1958), for which Lee appears to have tied a wire around a rock, cinching it in the middle. The Lévy Gorvy show will survey Lee’s work from the ’50s to today, including such works as Non-Sculpture (1960), a sculpture in which rocks are roped together and drooped over a long wood block.
Lévy Gorvy, 909 Madison Avenue, 6–8 p.m.
THURSDAY, MARCH 16
Opening: Enrique Martínez Celaya at Jack Shainman Gallery
Enrique Martínez Celaya’s surreal paintings beg for interpretation while also resisting it. Part of the reason they’re so difficult to understand is the technique behind them—Martínez Celaya deliberately leaves his works rough around the edges, with paint thinly applied to the canvas and small pieces left blank, as though these scenes were going to fade away. For his new show, titled “The Gypsy Camp,” the Cuban-born artist will debut a group of new paintings. Among them are pictures of a boy holding what appears to be a dead goose on a jetty and a translucent house in a forest. In true René Magritte–like fashion, the latter comes with an oblique subtitle of sorts, written in cursive: “the thing that counts.”
Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, MARCH 17
Opening: “Whitney Biennial 2017” at Whitney Museum
At long last, this year’s much-hyped Whitney Biennial will open this week. Organized by the Whitney’s Christopher Y. Lew and independent curator Mia Locks, the 2017 biennial will offer a far-reaching portrait of what it means to be an artist in America right now. Veterans of art scenes past will be joined by young newcomers—work by Jo Baer and Larry Bell will be seen alongside pieces by GCC and Puppies Puppies. Among the most anticipated works at the biennial is Real Violence, a virtual-reality work by Jordan Wolfson that simulates the artist beating a man with a baseball bat.
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, 10:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Opening: Teresita Fernández at Lehmann Maupin
Teresita Fernández has, in the past, explored the history of the landscape genre by offering abstract visions of fire. A 2005 work in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s collection recreates the feeling of oversized flames through a series of red- and orange-dyed silk yarns arranged in a circle. Here, Fernández will build on that piece with a new 16-foot glazed ceramic panel and a site-specific charcoal installation. In both cases, Fernández sees fire as referring to slash-and-burn practices in America, which often force indigenous people from their homelands. The show is appropriately called “Fire (America),” a reference, the artist says, to the country’s “weaving together” of nature and its treatment.
Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: “Sputterances” at Metro Pictures
This group show is curated by the artist Sanya Kantarovsky, who, drawing inspiration from René Daniëls’s work, decided to focus on artists whose work doesn’t reveal itself immediately. It’s a vague theme, indeed, but Kantarovsky, whose figurative scenes feature cartoonish men in semi-outlandish scenarios, seems up to the task. A wide range of artists, from René Magritte to Milton Avery, will have pieces in the show, though perhaps its strongest suit will be its selection of young painters—Monique Mouton’s bare-bones canvases and Jeanette Mundt’s sly appropriations will appear here. Ben Lerner, the novelist, poet, and art writer, will also offer a contribution.
Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19
Opening: “Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection” at Museum of Modern Art
Although MoMA has currently devoted its second-floor contemporary galleries to just a few works, by Nan Goldin, Tony Oursler, and Teiji Furuhashi, the museum will turn over part of its sixth-floor exhibition spaces to some of its recent acquisitions. The selection of pieces here skews political, sometimes in more abstract ways (a photograph of TV white noise by Wolfgang Tillmans), sometimes in more upfront ones (an Andrea Bowers piece based on the aesthetic of protest signs). The show takes its name from John Akomfrah’s three-channel video installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), which explores the life of cultural theorist Stuart Hall by connecting his biography to world events, in an homage to Hall’s concept of “becoming.”
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Opening: “2017 Whitney Houston Biennial: Greatest Love of All” at Chashama
If the thought of another Whitney Biennial bores you, there’s always this year’s Whitney Houston Biennial, a women-artists-only response curated by Christine Finley, a young artist who works in geometric abstraction. “The aim of bringing together so many creative voices is to sing a collective song that celebrates the contributions of pioneer female artists and marks a moment in our communal trajectory,” a statement reads. This biennial is, on the whole, a lot less starry than the Whitney Biennial, but it will include a few somewhat well-known names, among them Clarity Haynes, who has been recognized for her paintings of topless women and genderqueer individuals.
Chashama, 325 West Broadway, 4–8 p.m.
Opening: Andrea Crespo at Downs & Ross
Over the course of a relatively short career, Andrea Crespo has explored the life of two conjoined twins. They started out as two-dimensional anime-like figures, but, through a series of videos and drawings, the twins have acquired sentience. Like that of many young artists these days, Crespo’s work explores how we construct ourselves through technology, assembling pieces of our identity like data, but the artist’s poetic videos pay particular attention to psychology. Somehow, through the work, we’re able to get into the heads of beings that typically aren’t allowed to think. Crespo will debut new works at these two concurrent shows.
Downs & Ross, 106 Eldridge Street and 55 Chrystie Street, #203, 6–8 p.m.