Here we are once again, with galleries putting their best foot forward for fairs like Frieze New York before the summer. Believe me when I say that these shows are unbelievable and completely worth checking out.
At 303 Gallery, Rodney Graham’s work captures serene narratives and invite the viewer into a unique world. These large photographs glow atop of light boxes in a dimly lit gallery. By being hung in this beautiful way, the viewer is hypnotized into a surreal experience. Graham casts himself into these narratives. In one photograph, he plays a 1970s college professor equipped with a turtleneck, cigarette, and flared pants. The seeming reality of the works radiate references to art history and are extremely compelling.
Over at Hauser & Wirth, Roni Horn’s exhibition is intricate, intense, and beautiful. Horn’s beautiful collages are made by cutting up the original work—lines from poems—and reassembling the pieces into curious geometric recreations. Horn has the astounding ability to reexamine the same poetic line over and over again, still finding new ways to read and see it. Through the strategically scattered works, she is grappling with the fragmentation of language. In the back of the gallery, her large solid glass basins are meditative in both their simplicity and beauty. These sculptures make even the most seasoned collectors want to touch the work.
One of the most spectacular shows on view is Felix Gonzalez-Torres exhibition at David Zwirner. Zwirner represents the estate of Gonzalez-Torres, who died of AIDs in 1996. He left behind poetic conceptual work that uses everyday objects to portray sorrow. Long white and transparent beads drip from Zwirner’s extraordinarily high ceilings. In this exhibit, two of his iconic works of candy are placed on the floor, one in golden wrapping the other multi-colored, on the floor. Viewers are invited to take a piece, through the understanding that as the candy slowly lessens, it mirrors how people slowly die to this disease.
I had the privilege of talking to Robert Longo while he was installing his exhibition at Metro Pictures. There, he compared his role as an artist to simply a “modern caveman.” Longo’s impressively massive black-and-white charcoal drawings are astounding. The sheer realistic detail of his work is truly remarkable. His work is largely political (forewarning to not be fooled by the Teletubbies) and epic in scale.
Mira Dancy’s show “Call Now” at Chapter NY is completely provocative. The first painting seen as you enter the space is a nearly floor-to-ceiling, loose figurative painting of the female body. The whole show is bright in purple and hot pink. Make sure you check out the neon light piece in the back.
Lastly, at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s show “Controlled Burn” is charmingly wonderful. Rodriguez’s inspiration comes from his exploration around the San Antonio River Valley. He constructs his work out of small items he finds such as rocks, nails, and rope that together create an authentic narrative. Make note of the three spectacular oval drawings that are both chaotic and contemplative.