New York

What's on in New York: Art after dark and pregnant men in bus shelters, waterpurifying inventions and early studio pots

That is: Barbara Kruger, Helen and Newton Harrison, and George Ohr


What’s an art lover to do? If you work from nine to five, spend Saturday dallying at the dry cleaners, shlepping from the supermarket and lolling at the laundromat, and Sunday in a state of collapse over the Times crossword puzzle, where does that leave poor old art? New York’s major museums have long been aware of the problem and have responded by staying open at least one evening of the week; the Metropolitan Museum stays open two. But what of the galleries? To the rescue has come a consortium of SoHo emporia, now open until eight o’clock on Wednesdays. The latest to join the list is Ronald Feldman Fine Arts and the others include Pat Hearn, Rubin Spangle, Printed Matter, Feature, Marta Cervera, American Fine Arts, Josh Baer, Nicole Klagsbrun, fiction/nonfiction and The Drawing Center.

At the Feldman gallery, on Wednesday evenings and during regular gallery hours too, you may see all this month the latest proposals of Helen and Newton Harrison, pioneers in the field of environmentally concerned art. In “Sava River” the team puts forward inventions to help local communities purify the water of a much polluted river in Yugoslavia, a river that eventually flows into the Danube.

If the Harrisons use topography as the stuff of their sculpture then so, on occasion, does Vito Acconci who has produced many projects for parks and public places. In his latest show, at Barbara Gladstone from 9 March to 6 April, he invents large sculptures which provide the public amenity of seating. If you do sit down in one of them, however, you will find yourself nestled in the commodious, if a bit overwhelming, cup of a gigantic brassière. He calls these steel, plaster and canvas constructions “Adaptable Wall Bras”. They may be comfortable, but are they politically correct?

R.M. Fischer’s latest sculptures, until the end of the month at Sidney Janis, provide amenities of a different sort: in this case the glow of light and the plash of water. They are concocted of Fischer’s usual but unusually adapted array of off-the-shelf industrial materials, and together or separately, light and water are incorporated into each of the ten works shown. According to the gallery, the artist’s work “reflects the influence of the post-industrial future”.

At Pace, uptown, John Chamberlain shows new versions of the crushed metal constructions he made famous many years ago (8 March to 13 April) and at McKee, William Tucker unveils new bronzes. Also uptown, at Zabriskie, are Timothy Woodman’s new painted reliefs. They depict figures from literature, mythology, the ballet and everyday life. Both the Tucker and Woodman shows go until the end of the month.

Sculptures of mixed media, fibreglass and wax among them, by Robin Hill may be seen from 14 March to 13 April at Lang & O’Hara. At Nancy Hoffman work incorporating another variety of materials, copper, wood, stone, water, by Ilan Averbuch is on from 6 March to 20 April.

Works on paper and constructions made during the last decade of her life by the German artist Hannelore Baron (she died in 1987) are featured this month (to 20 April) at Barbara Mathes’s Gallery. Recent cloth and canvas wall structures by another German sculptor, Franz Erhard Walther, are at the John Weber Gallery (to 23 March).

“Ten Elements, 1975-79” by Tony Smith is, in a sense, a re-creation. It is a late work in that sculptor’s career (he died in 1980) and consists of ten separate elements based on a four-foot module. The first edition of this piece was made during his lifetime and the second, recently cast in aluminium, is on through the end of the month at Paula Cooper.

Joseph Kosuth will do his own re-creating this month at Rubin Spangle (16 March to 13 April). Called “Three Installations”, the show resuscitates works from 1970, 1979 and 1988.

Whether or not George Ohr (1857-1918), the eccentric potter of Biloxi, Mississippi, was a sculptor may be a point of debate. That he is currently a darling of many artists and connoisseurs is, however, clea. You can see what all the fuss is about until the 23rd of this month at the Charles Cowles Gallery, where ninety examples of his craft have been assembled.

Given her obsession with social issues and her expressionistic way of interpreting them, it comes as little surprise to find Sue Coe setting in at the Galerie St Etienne, a place long known for its devotion to such masters of the genre as Georg Grosz and Max Beckmann. Coe, an Englishwoman who has lived in New York since 1972, shows a new painting along with many others which make up a retrospective view over twenty years. The new painting has the timely title of “War”. The show opens on 12 March and runs through all of April and until 5 May.

Robert Morris, a retrospective of whose work just recently closed at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, shows the recent, socially conscious, paintings from that exhibition this month (until 6 April) at 65 Thompson Street, and more new paintings and drawings at Sonnabend (until the end of the month).

New abstract paintings by Paul Rotterdam are on at Herstand (to the 26th), by Elizabeth Dworkin at Victoria Munroe (to the end of the month), by John Himmelfarb at Terry Dintenfass (14 March to 11 April), and by Bill Jensen at Washburn (to 30 March). “Straws” – paintings from 1981 and 1982 by Milton Resnick – are being shown at Robert Miller (to 23 March) and new oils by John Walker are on at Knoedler until 14 April.

David Salle’s most recent combines are to be seen beginning 21 March, at Larry Gagosian’s Madison Avenue penthouse eyrie, arrived at if not by limousine then at least by private elevator. Downtown, two days later, you may see new paintings by the Chicagoan Ed Paschke, an artist whose work seems to have its metaphorical fingers permanently stuck in electrical sockets.

Paula Cooper, in her next door space at 149 Wooster Street, shows Robert Mangold’s half-size painting studies for the “Attic” series, a group of work recently shown in London at the Lisson Gallery.

Marlborough shows recent work by the German painter Dieter Hacker and Michael Werner Gallery has a selection of oils from the 1960s by another German, Markus Lüpertz. Both shows are on through the end of the month.

Pier Paolo Pasolini was a film director who also made art. Andy Warhol was an artist who also directed films. Works on paper by both of these men are on this month in New York. Salvatore Ala presents works on paper, mainly pastels, by Pasolini to the 23rd, and Vrej Baghoomian prints by Warhol from the collection of Rupert Smith, who was his printer, to 2 April. Early drawings, not on paper but on walls, by Sol LeWitt are being recreated by Weber (until 23rd) and Midtown-Payson gallery has mounted a show called “American Drawings, American Prints”, on all this month. The exhibition includes examples by Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, Philip Evergood, Jack Levine, Reginald Marsh, Max Weber, Philip Guston and Red GroomsDamong others.

Watercolours and drawings by Gwen John, a rare and wonderful artist who lived a sad life in the shadow of her illustrious brother, Augustus, are on view, until the 23rd, at Davis and Langdale. John lived from 1876 until 1939.

Prints of a sort are literally all over town – and not in galleries or museums, either – thanks to the Public Art Fund, a laudable institution that bankrolls temporary and permanent outdoor art projects throughout the city. Taking a bus one evening to your favourite SoHo art gallery this month you may well encounter posters by artists displayed in one of the New York City’s thousands of bus shelters (a venue usually reserved for cigarette and blue-jean advertisements). Gran Fury, a consort of artists with a political agenda, has installed a hundred bus shelter posters. They show in purple and orange, a line of vintage All-American bathing beauty queens with the banner headline: “Women don’t get AIDS, they just die from it”. And Barbara Kruger, whose controversial show at Mary Boone just ended some weeks ago, has done three posters. Each shows a straightforward black and white image of a man with a huge white-on-red sign that blares: HELP! The text varies in each, but the message is always the same. One shows a construction worker in a hard hat. He says: “We’ve finally sent the kids off to school. We are not getting any younger. I’ve got high blood pressure and arthritis. I just found out I am pregnant. What should I do?”


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