AFC’s October Gallery Preview: Painting is Back

by Whitney Kimball on October 7, 2011 · 2 comments Preview

Bruce Davidson, "Subway," 1980

While doing research for our October gallery preview, one question came up repeatedly: “Where did all the sculpture go?”. It seems that this month, galleries will be chock-full of painting, drawing, and photography, but I’m not complaining; it appears we can anticipate an abundance of shows that are thoughtful, humorous, and provocative.


Opened October 4th, Reception October 13th:

Aperture Gallery: Bruce Davidson: Subway. 547 West 27th Street, 4th floor. October 4th-October 29th. Opening October 13th, 6 PM.

Bruce Davidson is best known for capturing a moment in New York City that is characterized by high crime, low economy, and the birth a raging street and art culture. In 1986, Aperture published Subway, a book of Bruce Davidson’s subway photographs which document flash-lit bodies, of all walks of life, in dark tunnels, against walls that are utterly coated with graffiti. Aperture Gallery will present the color photographs, along with the release of the third edition of the book. A talk and book signing with Davidson takes place October 26th at the Strand bookstore at 7 PM.


October 6th:

Joseph Hart, Untitled, 2011, acrylic paint, collage, paper and graphite on panel, 28 x 22 inches

Dodge Gallery: Go Figure. 15 Rivington Street. October 6th-November 13th.

Figuration can not die, and painting isn’t going anywhere. These are the claims of Go Figure, a show certain to grab some attention this month. In an interview for the show, curator Eddie Martinez asserts that newness is not inherently virtuous, and that art needs not rely strictly on rationality, ideas put forth through its alternatively sumptuous, painterly, and pared-down painting. Jose Lerma, Michael Williams, and Ted Gahl — pretty much everyone on this list — is a good reason to attend.

David Moreno, Zig Zag, 2010; Jerry Phillips, Untitled, 2011

Feature Gallery: David Moreno/Jerry Phillips. Octobert 6th-November 6th. Opening October 6th, 6-8 PM

Feature Gallery showcases two highly competent approaches to abstraction by David Moreno and Jerry Phillips. While Phillips’s work seems to draw from figuration and photography, Moreno composes lines that amount to a visual sensation. Both begin from opposite starting points and meet somewhere in the middle; these two might spark a lively conversation.


October 7th:

Dan Levenson at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts

Grizzly Grizzly: Use/Purpose. 319 N 11th Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia. October 7th-October 29th. Opening October 7th, 6-10 PM.

If you happen to be in Philadelphia, Brooklyn-based designer Patrick Gavin will be showing at Grizzly Grizzly Gallery. Gavin takes elements of furniture, housewares, and architecture and sets them up, out of context, to draw attention to industrially-fabricated purpose. Like many of the shows this year, there’s a humorous futility in the scale and display of these objects, mixed with a strategic, zen-like arrangement of pieces.


October 13th-15th:

Dan Levenson, New Swiss Art, installation and performance, 2006

Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Open Studios: 323 West 39th street, 3rd floor. October 13th 6-10 PM, October 14th 6-9 PM, October 15th 1-6 PM.

The EFA Open Studios should be both a good way to see a lot of art fast, as well as an opportunity for younger artists like moi to check out the space. The program accepts artists with an established studio practice and organizes exhibitions, seminars, and collaborative projects with collectors and curators. We can’t tell you much about the art, as there are 76 participating artists, but we can point you in the direction of an interview Paddy conducted with member Dan Levenson in 2008; she liked him. I am personally looking forward to the work of screen printer Stella Ebner, who showed at this year’s AIM Biennial.


October 14th:

Keith Mayerson, Horror Hospital Unplugged, 1996

Derek Eller: Horror Hospital Unplugged. 615 West 27th Street. October 14th-November 12th. Opening October 14th, 6 PM.

Over at Derek Eller, the 225 original drawings that comprise Keith Mayerson's graphic novel, Horror Hospital Unplugged are sure to be a hit. The book, co-authored by Dennis Cooper, features school-of-Kuchar-style drawings with dennis cooper. As a fan of Mayerson’s sparklingly murky paintings, I’m curious to see how his frenetic ooze translates into a graphic novel. Mayerson’s paintings have a surface quality that only comes through up close, so it should be worthwhile to see the original drawings. The work of Dominic McGill, whose intricate drawings of phrases and collage reflect the global economic crisis, will also be on view.

Still from Jack Strange's "Tom," 2007

Tanya Bonakdar: Jack Strange. 521 West 21st Street, October 27-December 22.

File this artist’s hype under hoo-haw that seems legitimate. We’re still waiting for the mainstream art press to catch up on him — where’s his NYMagazine profile? — inside the art world, he’s a hot commodity: almost immediately upon graduating from Slade in London in 2007, Strange began exhibiting in Europe and New York.

There’s a sense of laissez-faire humor in Jack Strange’s work — think school of Maurizio Cattelan and Marcel Duchamp — but further tinged with a feeling of dark hopelessness. We don’t know what to expect from the upcoming show, but we suspect that it’ll be in the same vein as Strange’s previous works, like a lead ball sitting atop a computer keyboard pressing “g” to an endless loop of Tom Cruise running.


October 20th:

Brett Bigbee, "Abby," 2005-2010

Alexandre Gallery: Brett Bigbee: Recent Work. 41 East 57th Street. October 22nd-December 17th. Opening October 22nd, 2-4 PM.

It’s obvious that this show will be on the Upper East Side: it is comprised of large, hyperrealistic oil paintings of women, children, and fruit in compromised positions. Still, there’s an off-putting intensity about Brett Bigbee’s paintings that comes through even in jpegs, likely the product of years of work. Melding the aesthetic of colonial American painting, folk art, and surrealism, the paintings convey a profound isolation, psychic unrest, and impending doom in his figures and landscapes that is extremely compelling.


October 22nd:

Detail from William Powhida's "Griftopia"

Postmasters Gallery: William Powhida: Derivatives. 459 West 19th Street. October 22nd-November 26th. Opening October 22, 6-8 PM.

We’d like to apologize to William Powhida for posting this photo before the issue of a press release, but we’re in no position to wait. Based on the detail he sent us and the small amount of information we have available, we can tell readers there will likely be a few drawings on the economic shitshow that has come to pass. We’re interested.


October 27th:

Matthew Brannon, 'Terribly Important', from Gentleman's Relish

Casey Kaplan Gallery: Matthew Brannon: Gentleman's Relish.525 W 21st Street.  October 27th-December 17th. Opening October 27th, 6-8 PM.

Brannon combines 60′s advertising, symbolic product aesthetic with slogan-y phrases and simplistic juxtapositions. Often he makes incredibly hard-edged, evenly-toned prints, paintings, and object installations. Relationships between objects are somewhat open-ended, rather than punchline-driven; Brannon gleans poeticism, or a dismal portrait of the consumer, from vacant symbols.

  • Megan

    Just wanted to comment that the Oct 7th and Oct 13-15 subtitles for the images were switched. That is indeed Dan Levenson’s work with the EFA post.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Megan, thanks for the correction- just took care of it.  

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