The New York photographs of an important Chinese artist and critic, the caricatures and paintings of a German-American polymath and lots and lots of mosh pits -- not to mention a 600-lb. squid. It's shaping up to be an interesting arts week in the big, sweaty city. Here's what we've got in the hopper:
Ai Weiwei: New York Photographs 1983-1993 at the Asia Society In a show that reads more like a photographic diary than a traditional art installation, this exhibit at the Asia Society consists of photographs taken by Ai, the famed Chinese conceptual artist, during his early years in New York. His stark, black-and-white shots run the gamut of subject matter — from drag Queens at Wigstock to the riots in Tompkins Square Park to quiet moments with fellow artists. All of these take on an added urgency given Ai’s recent imprisonment by Chinese authorities. Students of New York will take pleasure in this vital record of the city and its arts scene, as viewed by a highly astute outsider. Through August 14, on the Upper East Side.
Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World at the Whitney Museum of Art It would be an understatement to describe the life of Lyonel Feininger as “storied.” He spent the First World War in Germany and the Second, in the United States. He played the violin and composed fugues in the style of Bach. He worked as a caricaturist for German magazines and as a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. He was a renowned painter (associated with both Die Brücke and Die Blaue Reiter) and the first professor hired by Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus. He was reviled by the Nazis and celebrated in the U.S. Today, the Whitney will open a broad retrospective devoted to this important polymath’s work, complete with a concert of the artist’s music at Carnegie Hall in October. Fans of comic book art and bold German Expressionist color, consider this a must-see. Opens on Thursday, in Manhattan.
Harun Farocki, Images of War at the Museum of Modern Art MoMA is marking the recent acquisition of 36 works by the Czechoslovakia-born Farocki with the first comprehensive U.S. museum show dedicated to the artist’s work. Known for politically-minded video pieces that are crafted in a documentary style and stuffed with plenty of found footage, the exhibit feature the U.S. premiere of "Serious Games I-IV," which explores the use of video game technology by the U.S. military. Through January 2, in Midtown.
David Zink Yi, Pneuma at Hauser & Wirth This is the first U.S. solo show for the Lima-born, Berlin-based Zink Yi, whose work spans the range of video, sculpture and photography -- all of it preoccupied with questions of boundary and identity. The pièce de resistance (at least for the nautically minded) will likely be the gnarly 660-lb. ceramic sculpture of a squid. Through July 30, on the Upper East Side.
Dan Witz, Mosh Pits: Human and Otherwise at Jonathan Levine Gallery Get ready to thrash. The New York painter known for his surreptitious trompe l’oiele installations on the street (catch a sampling of his skater series here) is unveiling a show devoted to roiling masses of humanity -- on backdrops inspired by the dramatic lighting of the baroque. An excellent marriage of high and low. Opens Thursday at 6 P.M., in Chelsea.
Warm-Up at MoMA PS1, in Queens It’s summer in the city, which means PS1’s Saturday afternoon DJ-dance parties are once again kicking in Long Island City. Wear your finest skinny jeans and your most gigantor sunglass. Sleeve tattoos are optional. Things start grooving at about 2 P.M.