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Gallerina

This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

Neon wall texts inspired by Samuel Beckett, paper constructions that mimic indigenous totems and an event that celebrates failure. Not to mention pictures of Frida Kahlo and turbulent paintings that pay tribute to Gotham's darker attributes. New York (and environs) has got it going on this week. Our guide to what's tops.

Joseph Kosuth, ‘Texts (Waiting for-) for Nothing’ Samuel Beckett, in play, at Sean Kelly Gallery. It’s all words and neon at this heady conceptualist’s latest exhibit in Chelsea. Inspired by Samuel Becket’s Waiting for Godot, along with his lesser-known work, Texts for Nothing, the installation will consist of phrases spelled out in partially-blacked out white neon that runs all along the perimeter of the space. (Expect an eerie glow.) Also on view: an early installation from 1968 titled “Nothing,” along with a neon piece, from 30 years later, inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses. Through April 30, 2011.

Michael Velliquette, Awaken and Free What Has Been Asleep, at DCKT, on the Lower East Side. The Wisconsin-based paper artist opens his latest show of brightly hued sculptures in downtown Manhattan this weekend. The mix will include the artist's shamanistic figures and invented totems, pieced together out of painted board and glue. Should be a blast of shapes and colors. Opens Friday at 6 p.m.

An Afternoon of Failure, presented by Triple Canopy & Dalkey Archive Press, at PS1. If you can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than dwelling on failure, then, boy, do I have an event for you. On Saturday, the folks behind the cultural journal Triple Canopy are teaming up with Dalkey Archive Press to celebrate catastrophe in honor of the newest issue of The Review of Contemporary Fiction, titled "Failure." On the run-down: readings and performances honoring the art of defeat. This, I gotta see. Saturday, from 3-5 p.m.

If you happen to be out of New York City’s orbit in the coming month, I’ve got something for you, too:

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, at the Fenimore Art Museum, in Cooperstown. Okay, so this is waaaaay outside of NYC’s regular gravity field, but it’s Frida Kahlo we’re talking about. The Fenimore Museum in Cooperstown (about 90 minutes west of Albany), is opening an exhibit devoted to the Mama Grande of modern Mexican art — specifically, the portraits of her shot by Hungarian-American lensman Nickolas Muray. A friend and longtime lover, Muray’s artful images were key in helping cement Kahlo’s singular, mediagenic presence — an image that was as much a part of her art as her paintings. Opens Friday, in Cooperstown.

Susanna Heller, at John Davis Gallery, in Hudson. Heller, a long-time New York abstract painter (who once joined WNYC in reviewing a show), will be showing a collection of canvases at this Hudson River Valley gallery. Known for producing roiling abstractions of dim industrial and urban landscapes, the recent series also includes works that chronicle her husband’s recent illness. Expect some arresting works on canvas. Opens today, in Hudson. A reception for the artist will be held this Saturday at 6 p.m.

This week, the paper sculptures of Michael Velliquette go on view at DCKT Contemporary, in downtown Manhattan. Shown here, 'Beast Unbound,' from 2011.
This week, the paper sculptures of Michael Velliquette go on view at DCKT Contemporary, in downtown Manhattan. Shown here, 'Beast Unbound,' from 2011. ( Courtesy the artist and DCKT Contemporary )
'Grey Guard,' another sculpture by Velliquette. The Wisconsin-based artist layers pieces of heavyweight paper to create his forms, many of which are covered in loosely applied layers of paint.
'Grey Guard,' another sculpture by Velliquette. The Wisconsin-based artist layers pieces of heavyweight paper to create his forms, many of which are covered in loosely applied layers of paint. ( Courtesy the artist and DCKT Contemporary )
'Meat Eater,' from 2011, also at DCKT. The pieces are reminiscent of God's Eye yarn weavings and Navajo sand paintings.
'Meat Eater,' from 2011, also at DCKT. The pieces are reminiscent of God's Eye yarn weavings and Navajo sand paintings. ( Courtesy the artist and DCKT Contemporary )
At the Sean Kelly Gallery, in Chelsea, conceptualist Joseph Kosuth (shown above) gets texty with an exhibit inspired, in part, by Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot.'
At the Sean Kelly Gallery, in Chelsea, conceptualist Joseph Kosuth (shown above) gets texty with an exhibit inspired, in part, by Samuel Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot.' ( Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery )
An installation view of Kosuth's piece at Sean Kelly: A pitch-black room is ringed, at the ceiling line, by phrases from Beckett's works.
An installation view of Kosuth's piece at Sean Kelly: A pitch-black room is ringed, at the ceiling line, by phrases from Beckett's works. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Kosuth's piece is all about perspective. The neon is partially painted over, giving the text a hazy feel when viewed from straight ahead. View it at a diagonal, however, and the words become clear.
Kosuth's piece is all about perspective. The neon is partially painted over, giving the text a hazy feel when viewed from straight ahead. View it at a diagonal, however, and the words become clear. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
In Hudson, N.Y., the John Davis Gallery opens an exhibit of the works of abstract painter Susanna Heller. Above, 'Last Blues of Dusk,' a canvas from 1997.
In Hudson, N.Y., the John Davis Gallery opens an exhibit of the works of abstract painter Susanna Heller. Above, 'Last Blues of Dusk,' a canvas from 1997. ( Courtesy the artist and John Davis Gallery )
Heller's landscapes generally feature an array of roiling, moody colors. Shown here: 'The Full of Holes Panorama' from 2007.
Heller's landscapes generally feature an array of roiling, moody colors. Shown here: 'The Full of Holes Panorama' from 2007. ( Courtesy the artist and John Davis Gallery )
This Saturday, the online cultural journal Triple Canopy and Dalkey Archive Press celebrate an afternoon of defeat at PS1 in honor of The Review of Contemporary Fiction's 'Failure' issue.
This Saturday, the online cultural journal Triple Canopy and Dalkey Archive Press celebrate an afternoon of defeat at PS1 in honor of The Review of Contemporary Fiction's 'Failure' issue. ( Courtesy of Dalkey Archive )
Upstate, at the Fenimore Museum: Frida Kahlo, as photographed by Nickolas Muray. Shown here: Kahlo, in 1939, draped in a magenta shawl.
Upstate, at the Fenimore Museum: Frida Kahlo, as photographed by Nickolas Muray. Shown here: Kahlo, in 1939, draped in a magenta shawl. ( © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives )
Born in Hungary, Muray made his living shooting for U.S. women's magazines. He is shown here with Kahlo in 1939, with whom he had a decade-long on-again-off-again affair.
Born in Hungary, Muray made his living shooting for U.S. women's magazines. He is shown here with Kahlo in 1939, with whom he had a decade-long on-again-off-again affair. ( © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives )
With his striking photographs, Muray helped cement Kahlo's image as artist, exotic and eccentric. Above, the pair in Kahlo's studio in 1941.
With his striking photographs, Muray helped cement Kahlo's image as artist, exotic and eccentric. Above, the pair in Kahlo's studio in 1941. ( © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives )
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