Once again, we checked out an awful lot of art this week, heading all over the city (yes, even to Bushwick) to see what we could see. This week's Week in Pictures is in an experimental new format, eshewing the slide show in favor of the scroll-down account below. Enjoy!
Laure Prouvost, the French-born artist who won last year's Turner Prize, had her U.S. debut show at the New Museum. It's part of a double-billing with Pawel Althamer's "The Neighbors" exhibition, which is getting much more attention so far, and it is spectacular. Here's a new video she made for the show in the format of a prescription-drug infomercial, with a performer (perhaps the artist) wearing a mask that seems derived from Byzantine icons and singing the weird fortune-teller's spiel that runs across the bottom of the video.
Of the films, which are layered with references to a whole spectrum of Internet-era capitalistic tropes and multimedia-communication strategies, the artist notes that one should see them more than once. She's right, as they're bite-sized, especially the videos in the back that run about the length of an Instagram video.
At La Mama on the Lower East Side, Sara Reisman and Ian Daniel curated a show called "Still Acts" that explores ideas of the stoppage and slowing of time, mainly in the context of performance. On the floor is a performance piece by Tamar Ettun, made with the Moving Company, in which certain activities are repeated over and over again, such as trying to lace up each other's shoes with their hair (pictured).
A terrific piece by Brendan Fernandes paired a video of a couple, an older and younger man, who perform balletic movements that are described in various dramatizing modes by the three texts to the left.
Another photographic piece by Fernandes poses ballet dancers with sculptural plinths. Think Tino Sehgal's The Kiss or Elad Lassry's dance performances, only pared down.
The crowd at the La MaMa opening
The painter Heather Guertin has been getting quite a bit of attention recently, performing during the last Carnegie Biennial and having her paintings included in group shows organized by tastemakers like Jack Hanley, Lisa Cooley, and the artists Lucie Fontaine. Now she has this new show, "Heand," at Interstate Projects in Bushwick.
It's a strong show, with a bunch of these oyster-shell-looking paintings that are lovely and apparently quite popular.
Is that a touch of figuration in this abstract paintign by Guertin?
Two more of Guertin's paintings in the gallery's basement.
Last week saw the opening of Robert Blumenthal Gallery on 79th Street and Madison, and it was quite the event. Run by the eponymous young dealer/collector and the sparkplug known as Ellie Rines, the space—which debuted with a show of hot young artists like Sam Moyer (her blue work seen here), Ryan Foerster, and Gavin Kenyon, all curated by the painter known as JPW3—was the latest signal that the downtown art world is intent on de-boring-izing the Upper East Side.
From the jam-packed opening to the raging party at the Stumble Inn on 2nd Avenue to the even less on-the-hook after-party around the corner, the downtown art world might be on the right track. The art offerings up there, from classics like Gagosian and Acquavella to excellent newcomers like Luxembourg & Dayan and Dominque Levy to unpredictable elements like Richard Prince and Perrotin, are terrific. Now it just needs more younger galleries like Blumenthal and Higher Pictures to pick up where Alex Zachary left off. (The work on the right is by JPW3.)
The crowd included about two dozen, lots of curators and LES dealers, et cetera.
If you haven't heard, Matthew Barney has debuted a new film at BAM. It's six hours long, called "River of Fundament," and is very loosely based on Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings and the Egyptian mythology of Osiris, Horus, and their unorthodox relationships with their female family members.
Here we see a megachurch preacher-style character telling an uplifting story about how he swam across a river of excrement and otherwise dropping a lot of inspirational references to human faeces, which queasily lie at the center of the film's message of fertility and reincarnation. (Don't be too queasy! It makes sense in a way that's deeply humanistic, if completely gross.)
This is easily one of the tamest shots from the film involving nudity. The staff she is holding is an imporant motif in the film, and we get to see it used in a number of creative ways.
A marching band is helping announce the birth of Horus, son of Osiris, through the means of a gold-painted Detroit muscle car. The movie is an opera. The parts with autotune are really fun.
Old Room is a gallery in the Meatpacking District run out of the apartment of several artists, including Oto Gillen, and devoted to small shows of people in their circle. There may be some link to the Bruce High Quality Foundation, but that's not important. The shows have been quite good. The newest one features paintings by Phillip John Velasco Gabriel.
A shot of the crowd with another painting
This piece was nice.
This piece was on the floor and apparently was made of a piece of granite floor tile with an Op Art-y composition overlaid.
Xu Zhen, the commissioned artist of next month's Armory Show, has designed all the collateral matieral for the fair, including this VIP pack—making it the first indication of what he has in store. Very exciting!