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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

WNYC's Arts Datebook: September 15 - 21, 2011.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WNYC

A key member of New York’s Abstract Expressionist school gets a retrospective at MoMA, textiles get trippy at the Japan Society, caricature and satire get a thorough going-over at the Met and early paintings by minimalist Eva Hesse go on view in Brooklyn. And, in the event that you need some art with your gas, we have that, too. Here’s what we’re looking at in the coming week:

de Kooning: A retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art If you are looking for something jaw-dropping, then look no further than this sprawling retrospective devoted to one of the most important figures in 20th century American painting. Though a key member of the Abstract Expressionist crowd that pretty much ruled the Greenwich Village arts scene back in the 1940s (get more on that here), de Kooning was always a bit of an outsider. There was his thick Dutch accent, which he retained throughout his life. There was the fact that even as he embraced abstraction, he never gave up figuration — painting an infamous series of snarling, toothy women. And he continued to embrace abstraction even after other artists began to go pop. MoMA’s exhibit brings together more than eight decades of production, including rare early works made when de Kooning was barely a teenager in Holland. There are countless highlights (the series of black and white paintings from the 1940s reads like a tribute to Gotham's grime), but the heart of the show belongs to his reunited third series of women, from the early 1950s: sturdy, buxom figures full of raw aggression and power. Rawr. Opens Sunday, in Midtown.

Fiber Futures: Japan’s Textile Pioneers at the Japan Society Draped threads. Filmy gold and silver curtains. And textiles weavings made from microfilaments. This is fabric-making at its most extreme. The Japan Society has gathered 35 large-scale works by weavers who are pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a textile. Should be trippy-good fun. Opens Friday, in Midtown.

Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine at the Metropolitan Museum of Art For anyone who thinks that snark is a product of the Internet, this exhibit should set the record straight. Focused on caricature and satire dating all the way back to the 15th century, the show delivers a parade of grotesque heads, biting cartoons that poke a stick at culture and others that dismember the politicos — from several continents and several centuries. Goes well with anything you might see on cable news. Through March 4, on the Upper East Side.

Eva Hesse: Spectres 1960 at the Brooklyn Museum This German-born artist is best known for her sculptures — unusual configurations of materials and shapes. (Think: fragile assemblages of latex and string, resembling some bizarre industrial viscera). This exhibit focuses on 19 early paintings, produced when she was just 24 years old, showing disconnected figures and dripping faces. It's a special opportunity to see unusual pieces by an artist who died all too young. Opens Friday, in Brooklyn.

Art Station at the Lukoil on 10th Ave. and 25th St. In the event that you find yourself in need of some art and some gasoline, rest assured that New York City can deliver. This weekend, a pop-up gallery will materialize at the Lukoil station on the West side, providing an excellent opportunity to take in a show while you fill up on unleaded. Opens on Thursday at 6 P.M., in Chelsea.

PLUS: For a guide to my gallery picks in Chelsea for the season, check out the Gallerina Guide to the Chelsea Openings. We’ll be updating the digital version of the map to include the week’s newest openings, so it will be as handy as ever — disco fries and all.

At the Japan Society: An exhibition devoted to trippy textiles — including Kazuhiro Ueno's white cotton piece,
Photo: Mareo Suemasa. Courtesy the Japan Society
At the Japan Society: An exhibition devoted to trippy textiles — including Kazuhiro Ueno's white cotton piece, "Fabrication."
The show at the Japan Society examines works that are sculptural in nature and cutting-edge in their modes of production. Seen here: Akio Hamatani's
Courtesy of the artist
The show at the Japan Society examines works that are sculptural in nature and cutting-edge in their modes of production. Seen here: Akio Hamatani's "W-Orbit," from 2010.
I love any work that resembles Cheez Doodles — hence Fuminori Ono's
Photo: Mareo Suemasa. Courtesy the Japan Society
I love any work that resembles Cheez Doodles — hence Fuminori Ono's "Feel the Wind," crafted from chemical pulp with a polyurethane finish. Delicious.
Hitomi Nagai turns an ordinary waffle weave fabric into a piercing installation titled
Photo: Mareo Suemasa. Courtesy the Japan Society
Hitomi Nagai turns an ordinary waffle weave fabric into a piercing installation titled "Birth."
The Brooklyn Museum is showing 19 rarely-seen early paintings by the seminal Eva Hesse, an artist known for creating sculptures that are all about disintegration. Shown here, a painting from 1960.
The Rachofsky Collection
The Brooklyn Museum is showing 19 rarely-seen early paintings by the seminal Eva Hesse, an artist known for creating sculptures that are all about disintegration. Shown here, a painting from 1960.
Hesse was in her early 30s when she died of a brain tumor. Her career was short, but influential. She was the first woman to receive a retrospective at the Guggenheim.
Collection of Alexandra Charish, Los Angeles
Hesse was in her early 30s when she died of a brain tumor. Her career was short, but influential. She was the first woman to receive a retrospective at the Guggenheim.
The Met has put together an exhibit devoted to satire and caricature. Above, David Levine's depiction of pop artist Claes Oldenburg — as a toilet.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met has put together an exhibit devoted to satire and caricature. Above, David Levine's depiction of pop artist Claes Oldenburg — as a toilet.
MoMA's de Kooning exhibit — which takes up the entire sixth floor — has gathered a wide gamut of works. Shown here: one of the many gritty black and white paintings the artist produced in the 1940s.
Museum of Modern Art, New York
MoMA's de Kooning exhibit — which takes up the entire sixth floor — has gathered a wide gamut of works. Shown here: one of the many gritty black and white paintings the artist produced in the 1940s.
MoMA's exhibit features a stunning array of key works, including
The Art Institute of Chicago
MoMA's exhibit features a stunning array of key works, including "Excavation," a painting from 1950 — when de Kooning was just beginning to meet some success as an artist.
The exhibit features many rare gems — including this rarely-seen theatrical backdrop titled
The Allan Stone Collection
The exhibit features many rare gems — including this rarely-seen theatrical backdrop titled "Labyrinth." It is 17 feet tall.
The de Kooning show has reunited pieces that haven't been seen together in years, including a number of his infamous paintings of women — portraits of roiling aggression. These are all kinds of WOW.
Carolina A. Miranda
The de Kooning show has reunited pieces that haven't been seen together in years, including a number of his infamous paintings of women — portraits of roiling aggression. These are all kinds of WOW.

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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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