David Smith: Follow My Path
Until 30 July at Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, Manhattan
The show chronicles the artist’s relatively brief but prolific career with an insightful focus on his process. The exhibition has work from each decade of the artist’s active years (he died in 1965, of a car crash, aged 59). While it tracks the growth from his early periods—which draw heavily on Cubist and Surrealist influences, and are more explicitly figurative—through to his mature, idiosyncratic style, the show's primary focus is on granting insight into his process. It highlights the drawings, paintings, and photographs that went into the making of a David Smith sculpture. Vitrines contain studies and ephemera for the works, and certain compositions are explored again and again through two and three dimensions. The show is a masterclass in Smith’s life and work, and it’s a rare pleasure to gain such insights into a figure whose legacy is as wide reaching as his.
Katherine Bradford: Mother Paintings
Until 15 May at Canada, 60 Lispenard Street, Manhattan
Katherine Bradford explores varying degrees of familial intimacy across seven new works in this exhibition. While her particular touch with colour is consistent here with recent bodies of work, these paintings feel new for the artist, both in her handling of the figures and in the sense of narrative that she embraces. Subjects in these paintings relate to one another in a fresh way—though they float in and out of the picture plane, which is a dependably seductive aspect of Bradford’s work, they now bump into one another and connect in subtle ways that imply lifetimes’ worth of affection and desire. There are tender, healing embraces, as well as lonesome ones; touches that look like unconscious reflexes of lifelong adoration, and others that sting with their oafish straining, all of which are familiar. Cumulatively, the show crescendos into a sense of wonder at the ways in which our lives are spent simultaneously together and alone; how love is both a tragedy and a comedy, and how right and vital it feels to swim in it.
Nan Goldin: Memory Lost
Until 12 June at Marian Goodman, 24 West 57th Street, Manhattan
The American photographer Nan Goldin founded the activist group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) to “make the personal political”, she wrote in an essay in which she described her personal struggles with opioid addiction. Goldin became best-known for her visceral but poetic depictions of addiction in the 1980s, and this exhibition presents some of these historical works as well as photographs and videos that recount a life lived in the throes of drug dependence. The hazy digital slideshow Memory Lost (2019) reframes chapters of Goldin’s life through new and edited archival images, while the hypnotic video Sirens (2019-2020) parallel the call of the mythological creatures with the allure of opioids. The gallery is offering a limited edition tote bag with all profits to benefit PAIN in their fight for progressive drug and harm-reduction policies.