This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

WNYC's Arts Datebook: Oct. 27 - Nov. 2, 2011.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 12:00 AM

A new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum examines questions of beauty and liberation in 1920s art. Shown here: George Bellows' 1924 canvas, 'Two Women.' (Portland Museum of Art, Maine. © Bellows Trust)

Youth and beauty in Brooklyn, architectural Modernism in the Bronx, Matisse and his models on the Upper East Side and assorted musicians and quirky conceptualists downtown. Things are cooking in New York City this week. Here's what we'll be looking at:

Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties at the Brooklyn Museum Say the words “sexual liberation” and chances are most folks will conjure up the ‘60s. But the more remote 1920s were also a period of experimentation (sexual and otherwise) — when society finally threw off the last vestiges of Victorian mores. This was an uninhibited, body conscious time and the art certainly captures it: screen siren Gloria Swanson stares steamily into a camera, Thomas Hart Benton paints himself as a bare-chested Adonis clutching his attractive wife, who is clad in nothing but a swimsuit, and John Steuart Curry shows a clutch of bubble-butt dudes frolicking in a pool of water. The show isn’t just about the human figure — landscape and still lifes also get treatment — but it’s the beautiful people who will likely hold your gaze. Opens Friday, in Brooklyn. 

Henri Matisse, Matisse and the Model, at Eykyn Maclean Gallery. Throughout the course of his life, Henri Matisse collaborated intensely with the women who modeled for him: among them, the Italian Laurette, the 19-year-old Atoinette Arnaud, the dancer and musician Henriette Darricarrère and Lydia Delectorskaya, the Russian who went on to manage his studio. For Matisse, these women weren’t simply subjects, but partners in creating entire staged scenes. The exhibit at Eykyn Maclean gathers more than 40 works that examine these artistic relationships — a fresh way of looking at a painter who might seem all too familiar. Opens Friday, on the Upper East Side.

The Ronald S. Lauder Collection: Selections from the 3rd Century BC to the 20th Century/Germany, Austria, and France at the Neue Galerie This lovely Upper East Side show palace will be showcasing works from the collection of founder and chief patron (as well as cosmetics magnate) Ronald Lauder. The exhibit will likely be a mixed but highly attractive bag of medieval art, arms and armor, decorative art from Vienna, as well as 19th and 20th century drawings — all to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum's opening. Opens on Thursday, on the Upper East Side.

Joe Sola, The Senior Discount, at Blackston Gallery This L.A. artist has long done pieces that riff on the absurdity of everything: life, art, pop culture, sports, painting and himself. In his latest turn at the Blackston Gallery, he turns a gaggle of police officers into a cheerleader pile. (Or would that be an Abu Ghraib pyramid? Hard to tell.) In another, he plays with the idea of the self-portrait, transforming his earnest visage into a series of painted wallet photos. And he pokes a stick at the art establishment with an image of a massive warehouse titled “American Art Storage.” Expect some good-natured artsy cheekiness. Opens Sunday at 4pm, on the Lower East Side.

Tom Kotik, Tone, at Lesley Heller Workspace A member of various New York City bands (Sportsman's Paradise and Johnny Chan and the New Dynasty Six among them), Kotik does in the gallery what he doesn’t do on stage — which is riff on the idea of silence (as in: take all that screaming rock and literally put it in a sound-proof box). He continues to explore these ideas in his new one-man show at Lesley Heller, with abstract geometric pieces that bear a vague resemblance to amplifiers and amps. There are also decommissioned guitars that have been transformed into shining wall sculpture. Should be a good one for the musical types. Through November 27, on the Lower East Side.

Beyond the Super-Square: At the Corner of Art & Architecture at the Bronx Museum This is a three-day symposium about Modernist architecture in Latin America, examining 20th century architecture from around the continent as well as experiments in urbanism. This will even include a study tour of Modernist structures in the Bronx. Which brings me to: If you're at the museum, don't miss the Emilio Sanchez exhibit, which features an array of elegant works by the Cuban painter who spent a good chunk of the ‘80s chronicling the Bronx's industrial sites. These are definitely worth a look. Super-Square gets rolling on Friday, in the Bronx.

NEXT WEEK: Performa 11, the New York performance art festival kicks off, which means that there will be total weirdness happening all over the city. The schedule is bloated to wafer-thin-chocolate-mint-levels, but there will no doubt be some gems. Claudia La Rocco and Karen Rosenberg helpfully round up some of them in the New York Times this week. I’ll offer listings in my regular Datebook updates starting next week. Things get perform-y starting November 1, in locations around New York.

Eykyn Maclean, on the Upper East Side, has gathered together photographs, canvases and sculptures that explore Matisse's relationship to his models. He is shown here at work in Vence.
Private Collection © 2011 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Matisse painted some of his models for years -- one of them appears in 50 different works. Seen here: 'The Painter and his Model: Studio Interior,' from 1921.
Courtesy the artist and Blackston Gallery
The wry L.A. conceptualist Joe Sola will be having a solo exhibit of his paintings -- which includes 'American Art Storage,' above -- at the Blackston Gallery on the Lower East Side.
Courtesy the artist and Blackston Gallery
Sola's paintings regularly channel non-existent moments of absurdity, such as 'Police Pyramid,' from 2011.
Courtesy the artist and Blackston Gallery
'Wallet Portraits of Artist,' in which Sola depicts himself. The artist is consistently exploring the boundary between high and low.
Courtesy the artist and Lesley Heller Workspace
At Lesley Heller Workspace, which is also on the Lower East Side, Brooklyn artist Tom Kotik uses music (and his own guitars) as a point of inspiration.
Courtesy the artist and Lesley Heller Workspace
'Untitled (red),' from 2011 is an Ibanez DT 350 that Kotik transformed into a sculpture.
Courtesy the artist and the Bronx Museum
A three-day conference at the Bronx Museum explores the impact of Modernism in Latin American architecture. Seen here: Mauro Restiffe's 'Empossamento #8,' from 2003.
Carolina A. Miranda
Also at the Museum: stunning 1980s Bronx landscapes by Cuban-American painter Emilio Sanchez, including this view of a Hunt's Point auto body shop.
Carolina A. Miranda
Sanchez spent much of the 1980s chronicling industrial sites in the Bronx. Seen here: 'Untitled (Storefront, 'Liquor Store,' Bronx),' from 1988.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
The 'Youth and Beauty' show at the Brooklyn Museum takes a look at the liberated 1920s attitude towards the body, as seen in Thomas Hart Benton's 'Self-Portrait with Rita.'
Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson
Many of the images show a high degree of intimacy and economy of scale. Seen here: Imogen Cunningham's 1923 photograph of a nude.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
The Brooklyn show features more than 140 works by a variety of international artists, including John Steuart Curry, whose frisky canvas 'The Bathers,' is seen above.


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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, 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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