Alex Da Corte: As Long as the Sun Lasts
Until 31 October at the Metropolitan Museum's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Sesame Street has temporarily relocated to Fifth Avenue. The contemporary artist Alex Da Corte has installed a giant sculpture of Big Bird, the beloved Muppet star of the children’s television show, for his Roof Garden Commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. But this version might look a little different to audiences who grew up watching the PBS programme. Perched on a crescent moon, à la Donna Summer on the cover of her album Four Seasons of Love, Big Bird will notably be a blue hue instead of his usual canary yellow. The colour choice is a nod to the Brazilian version of the character, named Garibaldo, which Da Corte watched in his youth in Venezuela (another avian cousin, Pino, from the Netherlands, is also blue). It also recalls a memorable scene in the 1985 movie Follow That Bird, in which a runaway Big Bird is captured by a circus, caged, dyed and forced to perform as the heartbreaking Bluebird of Happiness. Da Corte’s tribute however will be free to take in the New York skyline, a ladder held in his hand hinting at possible routes of escape.
Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature
Until 31 October at the New York Botanical Garden, 2990 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx
The New York Botanical Garden’s (NYBG) long-awaited exhibition devoted to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama engulfs the indoor and outdoor spaces of the 250-acre garden with Kusama’s whimsical sculptures and installations. The show features new iterations of past works like Narcissus Garden, a work comprising a pool of reflective orbs that was first installed at Fort Tilden in 2018, and one of the artist’s celebrated Infinity Rooms, which is only visible from the outside due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic (the NYBG hopes to open the work in the summer). The exhibition dramatically transforms some cornerstones of Kusama’s well-known portfolio, such as the monolithic Dancing Pumpkin (2020) in which the artist has reimagined her classic pumpkin sculptures into an octopus-like biomorphic figure. Kusama shared a message about the exhibition last month: “Dancing through our universe are noble souls whose magnificent forms are saturated with mystery. I invite you to explore the endlessly expanding ode to the beauty of love that is my art.”
Andrew Kuo: Water Lillies
Until 15 May at Broadway, 373 Broadway, Manhattan
Andrew Kuo is most widely known for his complex, emotionally intricate infographic charts, a handful of which are on view here. The poetry comes first from the foundational conceit of quantifying the unquantifiable, as the charts measure varying degrees of intangible phenomena like sadness, friendship, and identity. Each features a key; a blue-gray color in Sad! #2 (3/20/21) (2021) indicates the amount of “Knowing that someday I’m going to die but not believing it until I see it” for example, while a yellow in the same painting denotes “Admitting that the things that dropped on me will eventually start from me”. These paintings stand as totems to our ever-unfulfilled desire to reason with an unreasonable world. Then there’s the fact that beyond the poignant framework of the infographics, they doubly succeed as strong, hardfought abstract art. A few abstractions on view that don’t have keys—along with the show’s title, Water Lilies—complicate the body of work by highlighting its subtle and unsubtle winks and nods to the canon of art history.