Adored for his sweetly sinister drawings of masked militants, heavily armed ballerinas, and surreal sexual couplings, the artist Marcel Dzama has also been making forays into cinema in recent years, creating films that—like the 2011 A Game of Chess—often pay homage to another Marcel, Duchamp. Now Dzama is returning to Chelsea to debut his latest effort: Une Danse des Bouffons, an elaborately dreamlike interpretation of Duchamp's doomed affair with the Brazilian sculptor Maria Martins, who was the model for Étant Donnés and many of his other erotic sculptures. Also making reference to Picabia, Goya, Busby Berkeley, and the mischief-making Nigerian god Eshu, the film has a similarly starry cast, including Kim Gordon and model Hannelore Knuts (both as Martins) and a soundtrack by the Arcade Fire.
For his latest outing at Los Angeles's Honor Fraser gallery, KAWS has continued to refine his approach away from simply—and effectively disturbingly—adding his signature death's heads to Mickey Mouse, the Simpsons, the Smurfs, and other classic cartoon figures. Instead, he has gone a far more enterprising route, paying tribute to the work of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schultz in new paintings (including a few of his remarkable shaped canvases, which deserve a close look) that take elements of the late cartoonist's style and abstract them until they're all but unrecognizable. For fans of his giant-toy-like sculptures, there's also a piece made from DuPont's Corian material (typically used to create countertops) that mashes up KAWS's poop-like character Warm Regards with his SpongeBob-riffing creature, KAWSbob.
Work that probes issues of gender and politics in the Middle East is kind of Mona Hatoum's stock-in-trade, dating from her early performance pieces that treated her body as an arena for exploring the trauma of her Palestinian upbringing. Since then she has transitioned into fashioning sculptures, installations, and other works that treat themes that expand out from her own fraught biography—she grew up in exile in Lebanon, and then was exiled again from there during the civil war—to embrace the region's broader themes. Such is the case with her newest show, which features hand-blown glass sculptures, minimal patterns woven from human hair, and a series of 12 fabric panels that were embroidered by women in an organization founded to employ to Palestinians in Lebanon's refugee camps, with each piece embroidered in traditional needlework to refer to a region in Palestine.
The artist Jonathan Monk is in some ways like a comedian whose jokes start off funny but then meander down weirder and more uncomfortable paths until you realize he's not a comedian at all, but an artist. You try to figure out his latest show: five years after he debuted his semi-iconic deflated version of Jeff Koons's Bunny, he has returned with a replica of that replica—positioned in the same place—that he made not the easy way, by using the previous specifications, but the hard way, by recreating it based on photographs of the 2009 piece. According to the gallery, "the work not only points towards the shifting relationships of the work to Monk himself, but the role these images play in larger structures of commerce and circulation." Mic drop.
With the deliciously evocative title "Climate Vortex Sutra," David Benjamin Sherry's show of new photography is composed of images that he took with a large-format camera—the kind Ansel Adams used for his classic landscapes—while traveling in the American West. Unlike Adams, whose pristine compositions framed nature to yield glorious found symphonies, Sherry has infused his photographs with strange, unnatural colors (alien greens, spooky oranges, acid yellows) to create a portrait of a sickly environment, still beautiful if toxified by man's pollution. Embellishing this effect, the artist has also included portraits of nude men, covered in one case by paint, in another by petroleum.
Kohn Gallery, September 12-October 25
The artist and occasional curator Eddie Martinez is not shy about letting his influence show in his work—in fact, his paintings are often like a Where's Waldo of postwar art history, with borrowed motifs like de Kooning's shapes (both early and late), Guston's anomie-suffering insomniacs, and the crazy-eyed denizens of outsider art hiding everywhere in plain sight. Meanwhile, the aesthetics of street art—particularly the brand classed up by Basquiat—provide a distinct stylistic tenor for the proceedings. With his newest show at L.A.'s Kohn Gallery, he branches out a bit, looking also to the primitive stylings of the short-lived European avant-garde movement CoBrA for inspiration.
Jack Shainman, September 4-October 11
Don't expect to encounter Nick Cave's cheery soundsuits in Chelsea this month—this time around the artist has ventured into spikier terrain in his latest pair of shows at Shainman. One, on 20th Street, features artworks crafted out of racially charged found objects, and carries the telegraphic title "Made for Whites by Whites"; the other, on 24th Street, presents sculptures of dogs seated on thrones of found objects, with the canines alluding to notions of loyalty and pedigree while also making a sly reference to a certain street-savvy term of endearment. That's what's up, dawg.
Last year around this time, Roxy Paine wowed audiences at Chicago's Kavi Gupta gallery by displaying a life-size recreation of a McDonald's counter—complete with fryolator, straw dispensers, computers, and burger station—all carved entirely from pale maple and birch wood. Now he's repeating that feat in New York at Marianne Boesky, premiering the latest of his "Dioramas" series: a perspectivally scaled wooden copy of an airport security checkpoint, together with related standalone sculptures. The works are impossible to see quickly, with the virtuosic craft and verisimilitude demanding a lingering inspection, along with a sense of disbelief.
Team, September 7-October 12
Want to look at a bunch of pictures of beautiful naked people? No? Ok, never mind…. Oh wait, you said yes, of course you do? You would, you perv. Well anyway, you're in luck, because Ryan McGinley, the photographer most ingenious at removing the sex from nudity as one would separate an egg, is back with a new show that has papered the walls of Team Gallery with more than 500 studio portraits of nude models. Set against candy-colored monochrome backgrounds—a style he developed for his incredible "Animals" series—these invariably lithe and young beauties all manage to look as fresh as daisies, and surprisingly wholesome. There couldn't be a nicer group of people to pal around with in the nude.