New York Exhibitions to See: Fall 2022
Tianzhuo Chen, Trance (2019) (still). Two single-channel videos with sound (continuous loop). 5 min, 1 sec; 2 min, 51 sec. Courtesy the artist; BANK/MABSOCIETY; and Asia Society Museum, New York
Running since 1994, The Armory Show has built a legacy within New York's cultural landscape. Anticipating its return this fall (9–11 September 2022), Ocula Magazine shares a selection of exhibitions to see across New York's museums, galleries, and non-profit spaces.
Masaomi Yasunaga has devised new forms that centre on expressiveness, and represent abstract states such as emptiness, fusion, and melting. Yasunaga was a student of Satoru Hoshino, a proponent of the Sodeisha group, which questioned the mandate of functionality within traditional Japanese ceramics in the second half of the 20th century.
The present exhibition includes a new body of experimental ceramics, made primarily of glaze combined with naturally occurring materials like feldspars, rocks, and glass powders. Reconstructed forms such as Melting vessel (2022) appear as bright assemblages of earthen debris that are buried into sand or kaolin before firing.
At Bruce Silverstein, photographer and publisher Ahmet Ertuğ's stunning captures of old-world interiors are featured as large-scale coloured photographs that immortalise iconic structures in Turkey: the Hagia Sophia and Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, and the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne.
Marked by rich tonalities, dense uniform surfaces, and symmetrical framings, archival pigment prints like Selimiye Mosque, Edirne, Turkey (1998) depict Byzantine-and-Ottoman-era constructions that appear almost surreal as their historicity cedes way to the atemporal space of the frame.
Since founding his own publishing house in the 1980s, Ertuğ has produced around 30 volumes on Byzantine, Ottoman, Hellenistic-Roman, and Asian art.
For six decades, Hughie Lee-Smith captured the alienation of Black America from the Great Depression to the postwar years, rendering industrial landscapes and solitary figures with neoclassical and surrealist influences.
Alluding perhaps to the theatricality of life and the corresponding necessity for performance, the carnival is a prominent motif in Lee-Smith's work, which often features coloured balloons, masked figures, pink ribbons, and contorted bodies.
The three Black figures in the oil and pencil Balloons (1992–1994) would seem to agree. One of them wears a white mask, and another hides behind the drawing of a black face. The third figure, their head covered by a clownish headpiece, raises their fist as if in protest.
'We speak of a sense of place, but we only ever mean a sense of ourselves,' or so the introduction to Cuban artist Enrique Martínez Celaya's exhibition reads. In Celaya's paintings, the map denotes not any place, but the search for an elusive self.
Formerly a physicist, Celaya has said poetry and literature have been major sources of inspiration that inform his understanding of the world. This search for meaning carries over to The Thin Line (2022), an expansive oil and wax on canvas, in which a man walks down a red path beneath a starry sky, framed by large floral forms on both sides.
Rick Lowe's first solo exhibition with Gagosian and in New York features new paintings informed by former projects like Project Row Houses (1993–2018), a community platform that transformed a number of derelict houses in Third Ward, Houston, into a vibrant residential neighbourhood.
The artist compares his social practice to a sculptural process that expands beyond art and infrastructure, to generate interpersonal relationships. Among his community projects is Victoria Square Project, an ongoing social sculpture co-founded with Maria Papadimitriou for documenta 14 in Athens in 2017. The project consists of a communal space that replaced a vacant shop in Victoria Square. As Lowe described to Ocula Magazine: 'It was a movement of different things, and it's ongoing, which shows the possibility of community.'
Its corresponding painting, Victoria Square Project: Open Borders (2022), features a tripartite aerial view, ranging from light pink to black, that resembles tightly packed living quarters as if envisioning the intangible changes in the city's landscape.
In the '500 Brushstrokes' series (2016–ongoing), Beijing-based artist Wu Jian'an subverts traditional Chinese art-making techniques by creating non-representational forms that combine paper-cuts on Xuan paper with watercolour and ink.
'In traditional Chinese painting, brushstrokes are highly regulated,' Wu explains. Countering this discipline, Wu's dynamic compositions reimagine the mediums learned and repeated in academies into expressive abstractions.
In the mixed-media on Xuan paper 500 Brushstrokes #71 (2021), thick coiling strokes of teal tangle with dense scribbles and trailing greys. Creating paper-cuts is said to be meditative for the artist, whose earlier figurative practice leaned towards rhetoric and conceptualisation.
Photographer Diane Arbus was relatively unknown to the public until 1972, when her posthumous retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, ingrained her portrayals of America's marginalised and idiosyncratic into collective memory. The original checklist of 113 works from this seminal exhibition is now on view at David Zwirner.
Arbus' portraits of circus performers, sex workers, the physically disabled, and the queer remain poignant images. However, seen today, they are slightly more questionable when one considers the narratives they propagate as captures of 'freakishness'.
Guadalupe Maravilla: Tierra Blanca Joven
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway
8 April–18 September 2022
Guadalupe Maravilla's sound-based healing practice speaks to undocumented populations and cancer patients' need for care—communities to which the artist belongs, having fled the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980s, and recovered from cancer in the 2010s.
Maravilla's present exhibition addresses the intergenerational experience of migration from El Salvador, from the displacement of the Maya peoples following the Tierra Blanca Joven volcanic eruption in the 5th century, to refugees at U.S. detention centres today. In addition to new sculptures and retablo paintings, the exhibition will feature a space for collective care.
Doreen Lynette Garner: REVOLTED
New Museum, 235 Bowery
30 June–16 October 2022
Doreen Lynette Garner's fleshed sculptures materialise the visceral disembodiment of the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy of violence, articulating the exhibition title's assertion: we are, and should (revolt to) be revolted.
Smallpox and syphilis-punctured animal organs and wounds displayed between blood-red walls evoke the contamination that early colonisers brought to the Americas, while contesting the association of whiteness with purity in conventional narratives.
A call to action, REVOLTED reflects on how resistance against historical and present violence can be carried forth today.
Mirror Image: A Transformation of Chinese Identity
Asia Society New York, 725 Park Avenue
15 June–31 December 2022
This group exhibition of seven Chinese artists, who grew up in a post-Mao society, highlights the globalising forces that have shaped a new generation characterised by access to new technologies and digital space.
Cui Jie contends with the drastic structural changes well underway in China's major urban centres like Shanghai and Beijing, across paintings that depict surreal, futuristic cityscapes wrapped in nostalgic hues.
Tao Hui's photographic series 'Similar Disguise Stills' (2021) expands on gender and identity representation in China, with queer, transgender, and non-binary characters from a fictional television drama series. Made to be screened on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, the work speaks to the growing popularity of alternative media and their potential to negotiate space for non-traditional identities.
Activist and artist Martine Gutierrez is known for unravelling female archetypes within advertisements, and questioning the ideals of beauty and authenticity they portray.
With the billboard Supremacy (2022), the artist asks whether brands can be genuine allies for L.G.B.T.Q. communities in a world dominated by social media, where political assertions can be leveraged as currency.
In it, plastic dolls appear scattered around the artist's body, clinging to her limbs and pulling on her hair as if in the final frame to a sardonic horror film. The word 'Supremacy', written in white cursive in the lower left corner, identifies the authorship of her distress.
The Clamor of Ornament: Exchange, Power, and Joy from the Fifteenth Century to the Present
The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street
15 June–18 September 2022
Revisiting the merit of ornament (which Austrian architect and critic Adolf Loos declared 'degenerate' in his 1910 lecture), over 200 objects, prints, textiles, and drawings consider its function as a medium that enables intercultural exchange.
From 18th-century Indian palampores to Navajo textiles and luxury brand logos of today, the exhibition highlights the ornament's complex history—one that is further complicated by time and geographical displacements—with a focus on similarities between motifs, methods, and intentions.
Recognised for large-scale installations that investigate ideas of displacement and home, Do Ho Suh explores ongoing concerns with the politics of memory and public monuments.
Modelled after the ideal Western monument, Suh's Inverted Monument (2022) is made of extruded thermoplastic polyester, and positioned upside-down, physically shifting the figures and histories we uphold.
The exhibition also includes a range of drawings and photographs, and the installation Jet Lag (2022)—an assemblage of 400 common household objects, including landlines and light switches, that combine timelines and places throughout the artist's life.
Julien Creuzet: flapping feathers our hands our wings glimmer to dance the orange sky
Andrew Kreps Gallery, 394 Broadway
9 September–29 October 2022
For his first presentation in New York, French-Caribbean artist and poet Julien Creuzet presents near-abstract sculptures that weave personal experience with the collective realities of the Caribbean diaspora across vivid skeletal forms.
Made from a range of materials, including detritus, torn fabric, mirror parts, metal, and rope, Creuzet's structures, such as the above work, draw their armature from maps and topographies to find connections between history and the present.
Also on view is the video work Crossroads (2022), which examines the continuing influence of Carribean sounds on popular music. Its protagonist, who dances in the Bèlè style, evokes the musical traditions and forms of resistance of Martinique's formerly enslaved populations.
Inaugurating Manila-based gallery SILVERLENS' new space in New York are exhibitions by video artist Martha Atienza, and Malaysian multimedia artist Yee I-Lann. Both artists are also showing at the 2022 Istanbul Biennial, from 17 September to 20 November 2022.
Yee's exhibition At the Roof of the Mouth features photographs and textile works, including a large billboard woven by Malaysian women from the Omadal community in Sabah. Titled 'Measuring Project' (2021), the photographic series speaks to the differences in our value systems by looking at alternative ways of understanding measurement.
Atienza's exhibition The Protectors addresses the damage on island ecosystems brought on by mass tourism and land privatisation in Bantayan Island in the Philippines. Two new video works pose the questions: 'Who owns the land? Who owns the sea?'
Brazilian artist Maria Klabin's first solo presentation in New York features dream-like landscapes that draw parallels with sculpture, dance, and photography—all of which the artist has been practising for some time, and uses as reference points for her painting process.
Resulting scenes unfold as landscapes of the subconscious, as with one untitled painting made between 2021 and 2022. Here, a faceless man curls up under a dripping midnight moon in front of a riverbank.
Known for sombre depictions of contemporary figures in suggestive scenes, Jill Mulleady creates paintings rich with historical and art historical references that appear to displace protagonists from another era into the 21st century.
Accordingly, paintings in Bend Towards the Sun take after the external structures of Goya's 'Black Paintings' (1819–1823): 14 haunting scenes that seemingly capture the worse of humanity, that the artist painted directly onto the walls of his house after recovering from illness.
Reflecting a similar unwillingness to partake in the motions of living, one yet-to-be titled oil on linen (2022) shows a young woman wrapped in a blanket in a high-rise apartment with emerald-green walls, glaring towards a silhouetted arm brandishing a cigarette on her left.
Citing Black Geographies
Richard Gray Gallery, 1018 Madison Avenue, F2
17 November–23 December 2022
Following its presentation at Gray Chicago from 9 September to 27 October, Citing Black Geographies at Gray New York brings together works by 15 artists, musicians, and collectives including Dawoud Bey, McArthur Binion, and Rashid Johnson, whose practices investigate the concept of Black space. Central to this exhibition are 'signal black landscapes', which curator Romi Crawford defines as real and imagined spaces that evoke Black cultural experience.
Eerie landscapes along the Underground Railroad are brought to life in Bey's photographic series 'Night Coming Tenderly, Black' (2017).
Johnson's single-channel video Black & Blue (2021) depicts an aspirational space, showing his family living inside a Hamptons gated property engaged in domestic tasks, in a subversion of the symbols of white affluence.—[O]