Critic’s Guide: New York

A round-up of the best shows opening during Frieze Week

Sonia Almeida, cupping the hand behind the ear, 2016, 1.6 x 3.4 m, oil on marine plywood. Courtesy: the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York; photograph: Oto Gillen

Sonia Almeida, cupping the hand behind the ear, 2016, 1.6 x 3.4 m, oil on marine plywood. Courtesy: the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York; photograph: Oto Gillen

Sonia Almeida, ‘cupping the hand behind the ear’
Simone Subal

1 May – 12 Jun

Sonia Almeida’s oil on plywood paintings have a complex relationship with their two-dimensionality. Thick, large, they protrude from the wall or stand freely on the floor. For her last show at Subal, Almeida connected LED lights to some of the paintings’ bases, creating floating light images against the white walls. There’s also the title of this show – ‘cupping the hand behind the ear’ – which signals a bodily form of attention. An attempt to listen: maybe to the hum of the LED lights, maybe to what the paintings are trying to say.

Lukas Duwenhögger, Multiple Devotions, 2000, oil on canvas. Collection Sylvia Kouvali / Luke Milne

Lukas Duwenhögger, Multiple Devotions, 2000, oil on canvas. Collection Sylvia Kouvali / Luke Milne

Lukas Duwenhögger, ‘Undoolay’
Artists Space

1 May – 5 Jun

Lukas Duwenhögger’s collages, paintings and drawings owe much to the history of art. Invoking figures like Botticelli’s Venus and echoing poses such as Degas’s absinthe drinker, they situate themselves within a world between surrealism, Commedia dell’arte, German expressionism, and some concerns so contemporary that these ties to history seem almost irrelevant. Artists Space’s loft, with its huge windows and tall ceilings, will complement the intensity of these works, while in June a companion exhibition of Duwenhögger’s painting will be staged in a very different kind of venue: the 17th-century townhouse of London’s Raven Row.

Amie Siegel, Double Negative, 2015, two synchronized 16mm films and HD colour video, installation view at Simon Preston Gallery, New York. Courtesy: the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York

Amie Siegel, Double Negative, 2015, two synchronized 16mm films and HD colour video, installation view at Simon Preston Gallery, New York. Courtesy: the artist and Simon Preston Gallery, New York

Amie Siegel, ‘The Spear in the Stone’
Simon Preston

1 May – 19 Jun

‘The Spear in the Stone’ is Amie Siegel’s second solo show with Simon Preston, and follows the memorable ‘Provenance’ (2013), which saw the artist trace the sale of modernist furniture at auction and produce a film that was then sold at Christie’s, recreating the very chain of events that the work recorded. On view here are two new works: Fetish (2016), which was shot at the Freud Museum in London, and Double Negative (2015), which comprises a colour HD video and two silent 16mm films of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in Poissy, France, and its double, the ‘black’ Villa Savoye in Canberra, Australia. Both continue Siegel’s questioning of the history of objects and places and the way their value is accrued: over time, by circulation, via narratives of origin.

Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing, 2015, documentation of performance at Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, Netherlands, 2015. Courtesy: gb agency, Paris, and Vleeshal, Middelburg; photograph: Anda van Riet

Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing, 2015, documentation of performance at Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, Netherlands, 2015. Courtesy: gb agency, Paris, and Vleeshal, Middelburg; photograph: Anda van Riet

Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing
The New Museum

27 Apr – 19 Jun (opening on 3 May)

Titled On False Tears and Outsourcing, this commission for the New Museum’s glass-encased lobby gallery is Cally Spooner’s first institutional solo show in the US. With daylight bulbs and soft acoustic panels lining the space, Spooner has created an architectural intervention that heightens the visibility of both the gallery and the continuous performance that takes place within, which sees a group of dancers who were trained by rugby players and a film director follow a score that demands of them to constantly remain together while staying ‘fiercely apart’. Spooner’s is one of five solo shows for female artists at the museum this season, alongside Andra Ursuta, Nicole Eisenman, Goshka Macuga, and Beatriz Santiago Muñoz.

Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York

Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York

Josh Klein, ‘Unemployment’
47 Canal

3 May – 12 Jun

The mail-out for Josh Klein’s ‘Unemployment’ was almost blank. It featured the exhibition’s title, date, the gallery’s name, and a dark, fleshy image of two hands: intertwined, clasped, emerging out of what looks like a plastic sheet. Accordingly, the link to the press release on the gallery’s site leads to an empty PDF file. Kline does not tip his hand, but from the show’s title and accompanying image alone, there’s room to expect more of the politically engaged and arresting work he demonstrated with Freedom (2015), an installation exploring surveillance and internet viewing for the last New Museum Triennial.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (detail)1989, installation view at Specific Objects Without Specific Form, Wiels, Brussels, 2010. Courtesy: Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (detail)1989, installation view at Specific Objects Without Specific Form, Wiels, Brussels, 2010. Courtesy: Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Andrea Rosen

3 May ­– 18 Jun

Curated by artists Julie Ault and Roni Horn, this exhibition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres's work is part of a three-part project shown concurrently at Hauser & Wirth in London, and Massimo De Carlo in Milan. The exhibition represents an interesting approach to what commercial galleries can – or should? – do with the estates they represent: allow other artists to experiment with the presentation of the work and explore what it might mean. Here, Ault and Horn emphasize the complexity of ‘manifesting and installing’ Gonzalez-Torres’s work, which often needs to be recreated anew for the exhibition.

Carmen Herrera, Costa del Sol, 2015, acrylic on canvas 1.1 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and Lisson Gallery

Carmen Herrera, Costa del Sol, 2015, acrylic on canvas 1.1 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and Lisson Gallery

Carmen Herrera
Lisson

3 May – 11 Jun

This exhibition of recent works by the Havana-born, New York-based painter will mark the opening of Lisson’s first permanent space in New York. Herrera, who turned 100 years old last year, will also have a solo show at the Whitney Museum in September, but this is an opportunity to spend time in close proximity to her minimalist, abstract paintings in the spacious Chelsea gallery.

Martin Creed, Work No. 2630 UNDERSTANDING, 2016, red neon and steel, installation view at Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York. Courtesy: the artist, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome, and Hauser & Wirth; photograph: Jason Wyche, courtesy Public A

Martin Creed, Work No. 2630 UNDERSTANDING, 2016, red neon and steel, installation view at Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York. Courtesy: the artist, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome, and Hauser & Wirth; photograph: Jason Wyche, courtesy Public Art Fund, NY © Martin Creed 2016

A little extra: On 4 May, Public Art Fund will unveil a new project in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a fifty-foot-long rotating neon sign that reads, ‘UNDERSTANDING’. The statement is Martin Creed’s Work No. 2630, UNDERSTANDING (2016), a single comment standing across the water from Wall Street and all that it represents. It’s a grammar of avoidance, of steering clear from direct confrontation, but as a standalone piece, shown in a park without many advertising signs or massive LCD screens, it’s a curious call for an emotion or process not often associated with public art. It precedes a solo show at the Park Avenue Armory that will run from 8 June to 7 August.

Orit Gat is a writer based in London, UK, and New York, USA. 

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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