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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

WNYC's Arts Datebook: March 24-30

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WNYC

Eye-popping German Expressionism, racy underground comix, the found object as found object, vintage works that aren't and a photographic chronicle of New York's avant-garde in the 1960s. It's a good week to be in this big, bad city. Here's our guide to what's blazing:

German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, at the Museum of Modern Art In a show that grabs you by the eyeballs and doesn’t let go, MoMA brings together more than 250 works by nearly 30 artists from its collection of German Expressionist prints, drawing, posters and illustrated books. Focusing on the first couple of decades of the 20th century, this spectacular exhibit begins with louche portraits of the artistic demimonde, travels through the horrors of World War I and right into the discombobulating social, political and economic upheavals of the Weimar Republic, tracing a movement renowned for poking a stick at bourgeois values. The works — by an array of masters, including Egon Schiele, Otto Dix and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner — are brash and unsentimental, drenched in sex and death, showing distorted figures drenched in acid color palettes. (Kirchner’s 1908 painting “Street, Dresden” shows a female figure outlined in nuclear oranges and chartreuse.) The works from the war years are particularly heartbreaking — a meditation on destruction and violence that includes a crimson wall mounted with Dix’s grim portfolio of war etchings. But there's optimistic fare, too: drawings of friends, fanciful self-portraits, depictions of dancers and a stunning woodcut tribute to the Lord’s Prayer, by Max Pechstein. Run, don’t walk, to see this one. And if you're in a graphic art state of mind, be sure to pop into the museum's new show devoted to South African printmaking, which features a mind-bending, six-foot tall abstract print in red ink by Paul Edmunds that is truly a showstopper. Opens Sunday, in Manhattan.

R. Crumb: Lines Drawn on Paper, at the Society of Illustrators, on the Upper East Side Speaking of sex and death... In the days before he became known for faithfully rendering the "Book of Genesis," Crumb was a notorious underground comix artist known for producing saucy (to put it mildly) characters such as Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat and Horny Harriet. This show will take a look at Crumb’s early years as a thorn in the side of the establishment (not to mention everyone else), featuring more than 90 pieces, including rare pages from some of the original Zap Comix. For fans of drawing, it’s an opportunity to study the work of one of the country’s finest draftsmen. Through April 30, in Manhattan.

Peter Moore: Pictures of George, at Paula Cooper Gallery, in Chelsea For more than a decade, from the mid 1960s into the ‘70s, the photographer Peter Moore faithfully chronicled the happenings of New York City’s avant-garde set, including the work of George Maciunas, one of the founding members of Fluxus. This exhibit will gather this early record, a tribute to a group and an artist that helped expand the definition of art — not to mention an important slice of New York City history. Opens Saturday at 6 P.M., in Manhattan.

Stan Douglas, Midcentury Studio, at David Zwirner Gallery, in Chelsea Vintage, but not. Real, but restaged. Douglas, a video artist and photographer, is known for playing with outmoded and contemporary forms of technology to create works that play with the idea of the image as historical document. Through April 23, in Manhattan.

Signs on the Road, at Edward Winkleman, in Chelsea Since the early 20th century, art has been all about the found object: urinals, detritus, Hoover vacuum cleaners. This little show in Winkleman’s back space plays with the idea by inviting more than 150 artists to submit imagery of found objects. In an effort organized by the group Workroom G, these images will then be rearranged, several times over the course of the show, by three different curatorial teams. Sounds like art nerdy fun to me. Opens Friday at 6 P.M, in Manhattan.

Danny Licul, Moral Investments and Other Follies, at The Wall Street Journal’s lobby gallery For this exhibit, the New York-based Licul examines ideas of power and oppression by using the schoolyard setting as a metaphor. It's perfect material for paintings displayed at The Wall Street Journal’s H.Q. If you work in midtown, consider this the ideal exhibit to check out in between power lunches. Opens Thursday evening with an artist reception at 6 P.M, in Manhattan.

At MoMA: An exhibit devoted to German Expressionist prints and graphic design stunningly displays the movement's nuclear color palette. Above, detail of a poster by Egon Schiele, from 1910.
Carolina A. Miranda
At MoMA: An exhibit devoted to German Expressionist prints and graphic design stunningly displays the movement's nuclear color palette. Above, detail of a poster by Egon Schiele, from 1910.
Max Pechstein's 'Dancer in the Mirror,' a postwar woodcut print that dates to 1923.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Max Pechstein's 'Dancer in the Mirror,' a postwar woodcut print that dates to 1923.
An electric strain of distortion runs through the work in MoMA's show. Shown here: A 1919 woodcut by Erich Heckel, the same artist who created the image used on the catalogue's cover (at top).
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
An electric strain of distortion runs through the work in MoMA's show. Shown here: A 1919 woodcut by Erich Heckel, the same artist who created the image used on the catalogue's cover (at top).
Otto Dix's portfolio of war etchings receive prominent placement in the exhibit. Above, 'Shock Troops Advance Under Gas,' from 1924. Dix served as a machine gunner for several years during WW I.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Otto Dix's portfolio of war etchings receive prominent placement in the exhibit. Above, 'Shock Troops Advance Under Gas,' from 1924. Dix served as a machine gunner for several years during WW I.
An installation view of Dix's war etchings, fetchingly displayed against a red wall. If you missed these at the Neue Galerie last year, consider this an incredible second chance to see them.
Carolina A. Miranda
An installation view of Dix's war etchings, fetchingly displayed against a red wall. If you missed these at the Neue Galerie last year, consider this an incredible second chance to see them.
'Riding School After Ridinger,' by Franz Marc. An unpublished woodcut from 1913. Contemporary comic book art clearly owes a lot to the drama of German Expressionism.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
'Riding School After Ridinger,' by Franz Marc. An unpublished woodcut from 1913. Contemporary comic book art clearly owes a lot to the drama of German Expressionism.
Also at MoMA: A small exhibit devoted to South African printmaking and other graphic work. Shown here, a site-specific installation by Kudzanai Chiurai, who was born in Zimbabwe.
Carolina A. Miranda
Also at MoMA: A small exhibit devoted to South African printmaking and other graphic work. Shown here, a site-specific installation by Kudzanai Chiurai, who was born in Zimbabwe.
This linocut print by Paul Edmunds may not look like much in this image, but at almost six feet tall, it is a work of staggering detail — and worth a visit to MoMA's South Africa show.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
This linocut print by Paul Edmunds may not look like much in this image, but at almost six feet tall, it is a work of staggering detail — and worth a visit to MoMA's South Africa show.
At the Society of Illustrators: Underground comix master Robert Crumb gets a retrospective of rare and vintage works. Above, an unpublished ZAP cover from 1968. Far out!
Copyright Robert Crumb, via the Society of Illustrators.
At the Society of Illustrators: Underground comix master Robert Crumb gets a retrospective of rare and vintage works. Above, an unpublished ZAP cover from 1968. Far out!
Crumb frequently took on the era's politics and mores (in not always tasteful ways). Above, 'Lenore Goldberg and Her Girl Commandos' from the comic 'Motor City No. 2,' originally published in 1970.
Copyright Robert Crumb, via the Society of Illustrators.
Crumb frequently took on the era's politics and mores (in not always tasteful ways). Above, 'Lenore Goldberg and Her Girl Commandos' from the comic 'Motor City No. 2,' originally published in 1970.
The panel 'Boingy Baxter,' from 'Motor City Comics No. 1,' published in 1969.
Copyright Robert Crumb, via the Society of Illustrators.
The panel 'Boingy Baxter,' from 'Motor City Comics No. 1,' published in 1969.
Peter Moore, the photographer behind the lens of the Maciunas pictures, was a dedicated chronicler of the New York City arts scene in the '60s and '70s. Above, an image from 1964.
©Estate of Peter Moore / VAGA, NY.
Peter Moore, the photographer behind the lens of the Maciunas pictures, was a dedicated chronicler of the New York City arts scene in the '60s and '70s. Above, an image from 1964.
Exploring New York's performance art roots: The Paula Cooper Gallery is showing photographs chronicling the happenings of Fluxus founding member George Maciunas, shown here in 1973.
©Estate of Peter Moore / VAGA, NY.
Exploring New York's performance art roots: The Paula Cooper Gallery is showing photographs chronicling the happenings of Fluxus founding member George Maciunas, shown here in 1973.
Another image from the Douglas exhibit at Zwirner: 'Hair, 1948,' an image from 2010. The artist is also known for using outmoded forms of technology in restaging scenarios.
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York
Another image from the Douglas exhibit at Zwirner: 'Hair, 1948,' an image from 2010. The artist is also known for using outmoded forms of technology in restaging scenarios.
David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea is showing work by Stan Douglas, who uses photography and video to recreate historic happenings and vintage imagery. Shown above: 'Hockey Fight, 1951.'
Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York
David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea is showing work by Stan Douglas, who uses photography and video to recreate historic happenings and vintage imagery. Shown above: 'Hockey Fight, 1951.'
At Edward Winkleman's Curatorial Research Lab: Arrangements and rearrangements of found objects for the show 'Signs on the Road.'
Courtesy the artists and Edward Winkeman Gallery
At Edward Winkleman's Curatorial Research Lab: Arrangements and rearrangements of found objects for the show 'Signs on the Road.'

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog C-Monster.net, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net

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