Etel Adnan: Light’s New Measure
Until 10 January 2022 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
A retrospective devoted to the distinctive Lebanese artist and poet Etel Adnan is being shown harmoniously in conjunction with the Guggenheim’s major Kandinsky exhibition that opened this month. Adnan’s captivating abstract landscapes are made with voluminous impasto, with the scent of oil paint almost discernible in the museum’s rotunda. Like Kandinsky, many of Adnan’s works feature vibrant, floating orbs within minimalist landscapes, suggesting celestial bodies that evoke the scale of the boundless universe and the spirituality of the cosmos. The artist has reflected on space exploration since the 1960s in both her paintings and writings; in the 2011 essay The Cost for Love We Are Not Willing to Pay, she writes: “Went to the moon. Planet Earth is old news. It’s the house we are discarding. We definitely don’t love her.”
Alex Da Corte: As Long as the Sun Lasts
Until 31 October at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
It’s the last week to see Alex Da Corte’s rooftop commission at the Met. The giant sculpture of Big Bird, the beloved Muppet star of the children’s television show, 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. It 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. The Met will host a free talk with the artist and the curator Shanay Jhaveri on 29 October at 5:30pm.
Yayoi Kusama: Cosmic Nature
Until 31 October at the New York Botanical Garden, 2990 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx
The New York Botanical Garden will close its blockbuster exhibition dedicated to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama this weekend. Kusama’s whimsical sculptures and installations have engulfed the indoor and outdoor spaces of the 250-acre garden since April this year, from the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building. 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 was closed for most of the run of the exhibition due to pandemic-related restrictions and features coloured glass that responds to varying natural light. The show 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.