Beyond the Mundane Art’s Happening
This season celebrates the imagination with exhibits that are provocative, whimsical or beautiful.
Elite and exclusive yet invariably exhilarating, New York’s summer art scene is more happening than ever. From the quiet sunny lawns of the Cooper Hewitt to the kinetic bustle of narrow Chelsea streets, galleries and museums are inviting you to expand and reconsider your perspective. Along with the art, you may discover other treats (goat cheese, wine, and scintillating talk) – there’s something here for everyone.
This season captures and celebrates the imagination – in both past and future incarnations with exhibits that are provocative, whimsical or beautiful.
Henrique Faria, 35 East 67th Street
Imagining Spaces: Constructions in Color and Text
June 23 – September 9, 2016
One of a handful of galleries in Manhattan that works exclusively with Latin American artists, Henrique Faria represents contemporary and modern conceptual and abstract artists (1960s-80s to the present).
This exciting exhibition brings together Latin American artists of the last 60 years. With an intensity and imagination typical of Latin American artistic expression, the artists have chosen to “abstract” the capabilities of color and text within the context of creative expression. Their art demonstrates emotional, or social and political commentary.
The exhibit represents the works of Carlos Ginzburg, Jaime Davidovich, Emilia Azcárate, Mercedes Elena González, Emilio Chapela, and others.
(Photography below: courtesy of the artist and Henrique Faria, New York.)
Agora Gallery, 530 West 25th Street
The French Perspective: Contemporary Art from France
July 8 – 28, 2016
Founded in 1984 by Miki Stiles, a serious artist from Israel, Agora opened in Chelsea with a mission: to provide opportunities for emerging artists trying to enter the exclusive international art scene.
Agora is distinctive in being founded by a woman, run by a team of women, and representing talented and original female artists from around the world who create evocative, visually stimulating, and beautiful works.
This exhibit brings together six of the most compelling artists in France today, including four abstract painters, one realistic painter, and one photographer, who share important stylistic traits.
They each work with bold, vibrant colors in sophisticated ways to form complex compositions. With high energy and in flights of pure imagination, you’ll find vivid street scenes, technicolor mountain landscapes, and new perspectives of the human body.
Artists include: Dominique Cracco, Alexis de Moussac, and Corinne Garese.
Woodward Gallery, 133 Eldridge Street
Jamie Hewlett: The Suggestionists
May 21 – July 16, 2016
For 20 or more years, this landmark gallery has represented emerging and established artists from almost every important modern and contemporary art movement: abstract expressionist to pop art, minimalist, conceptual, and street art. The gallery’s domain includes a Project Space across the street that supports urban artists and displays Street Art murals by what they consider today’s most relevant artists, some of which extend to the walls of the Four Seasons restaurant.
International Artist, Designer and Co-Founder of a post-punk band, Jamie Hewlett presents his first US exhibit, “The Suggestionists” to a downtown American audience. Hewlett guides the viewer through a psycho-geographic journey that is hallucinatory, dreamlike, and subversive, conjuring the power of conscious and unconscious suggestion.
Nadja Bournonville, Brian Conley, Roxy Paine
Pierogi – 155 Suffolk Street
June 24 – July 31, 2016
If you have an interest in the avant garde or intellectual stimulation, this exhibit invites you to participate in telling the story. Subverting our expectations, suggesting multiple possibilities, taking what is false and treating it as fact, each artist here invites you, the viewer, to fill in information, or question your assumptions.
This February, this important transplant from Williamsburg opened to a downtown LES audience. Pierogi represents emerging artists and has more than an unusual name: they have an unconventional approach to art that includes expanding and traveling exhibits. Their satellite location, The Boiler, a Williamsburg loft with 33-foot ceilings, is used to house the gallery’s larger sculptures and installations.
The Boiler – 191 North 14th Street – Brooklyn, NY 11211
Museum of Modern Art
June 12 – September 18, 2016
This is a recreation from archival images of an ambitious project authored by Dadaist French and Roumanian poet and artist Tristan Tzara. Although the original portfolio was supposed to be published in 1921, that never happened. Tzara invited some 50 artists from 10 countries to submit photographs, drawings, photomontages and collages. This intriguing collection recreates the fascinating, fertile art world of that time, one that challenged artistic and social conventions, blurred boundaries of gender and genre, tapped unconscious images, inspired and continues to inspire many contemporary artists.
Dadism, if you didn’t know, originated in the 1920s as an anti-establishment, avant-garde artistic and literary movement that later evolved into Surrealism.
For more conventional aesthetic tastes, it is worth checking out an ongoing exhibit here: Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer II This stunning, vibrant painting of Klimt’s patron, Adele Bloch-Bauer, wife of a wealthy German industrialist, was confiscated by the Nazis and ultimately returned to the family only 10 years ago, after a long legal battle. It features her larger-than-life person on the canvas (and in life) against exquisite geometric jewel-tone patches. (Sculpture Galleries)
Whitney Museum of American Art
Danny Lyon: Message to the Future
June 17, 2016 – September 25, 2016
The exhibition includes approximately 175 photographs and unseen film footage made inside Texas prisons, and features the achievements of American photographer, filmmaker and writer Danny Lyon. Lyon was a leading figure in the American street photography movement of the 1970s. Born in NY and Influenced by beat generation writers, his work is distinguished by the intimacy he shares with his subjects and his alternative vision of American life as contrasted with what was conveyed by mass media. His projects include a photographic record of the civil rights movement.
While you’re there, you might also find an ongoing intriguing portrait exhibit, Human Interest. Drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, the collection of drawings, paintings, and photographs done by important American artists display striking, diverse, and unconventional ways of representing the individual.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dream States: Contemporary Photographs and Video
More than one museum and gallery this summer is tapping into how artists have explored and continue to explore the suggestive power of the subconscious and dreams as artistic inspiration. Dream imagery is often associated with the Surrealistic movement In art and literature, somewhat inspired by the work of Sigmund Freud – but it’s also been a source of inspiration for photographers who used experimental techniques to represent internal mental states and to evoke the world of sleep and dreams.
This wonderful exhibit of 30 photographs and one video includes the best work loosely tied to our imaginative and imagistic world of dreaming and subconscious states. Works include photographs of bodies floating and strange landscapes.
Artists include Paul Graham, “Does Yellow Run Forever,” Sophie Calle, “The Sleepers,” and Aselm Kiefer’s “Brunnhilde Sleeps,” a hand-painted photograph that features actress Catherine Deneuve.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
“Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial”
February 12 – August 21, 2016
The more than 260 works from 63 international designers in the exhibit endeavor to expand our thoughts and conversation about the transformative power of artistic innovation. Projects include fashion ensembles crafted from unlikely materials or in unorthodox shapes, interactive games, and “architectural interventions.”
“Beauty” is organized around themes: Extravagant, which uses shimmering and sometimes deceptive surfaces to create an aura of luxury, glamour, seduction, and excess, Transformative, Intricate, Ethereal, Emergent, and Elemental, with works that create serene geometries or that transform from liquid to solid. One of the most interesting here is Transgressive which suggests the underlying themes of this exhibit. Unusual, sometimes disturbing “unpretty” (but imaginative) fashion ensembles embrace androgyny, the grotesque, formless, and fantastic, to challenge conventional ideas of beauty, gender, and genre, reminding us of how the line between fashion and art are often blurred by the bold, and leaving us with questions and thoughts.
The only museum in the US devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design, Cooper Hewitt reopened in December 2014 in a restored Carnegie Mansion. The museum showcases one of the most comprehensive collections of design works around, including a permanent collection of more than 200,000 objects from different genres, spanning 30 centuries. They also have a very serene large outdoor lawn to enjoy the breezes from Central Park and engage in conversation over cappuccino.
“Imagine: New Imagery in Italian Art 1960-69” can be seen at the Guggenheim’s Venice collection until mid-September. The exhibit focuses on the works of some important but little-known avant-garde Italian artists of that time who drew for inspiration on a rich tradition of Italian art to create an image-based mythology, filtering the richness of Italy’s past artistic achievements through the visual mass cultural icons of the 1960s. Both unique and uniquely beautiful, the exhibit stumbles by dissonances and revelations and features the works of Mario Schifano, Paolini, Pascali, Mauri, Gnoli, and others. (Guggenheim-Venice, Italy)
“Windows on the City: The School of Paris, 1900-1945,” includes some of the most influential paintings and sculptures of the 20th century, featuring works by Modligiani, Picasso, Braque, Delaunay and others for whom the city was a source of inspiration. (Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain)
(Photography: Mimmo Rotella. May I? – photograph on canvas.)
Lisa Stahl, a native New Yorker, has authored many articles that graced the cover pages of magazines and websites. She’s the author of two distance-learning courses on fashion and has contributed substantial research and content on politics and foreign policy to three books by a political analyst and adviser to Hillary Clinton. Lisa’s achievements include an MA in English with honors from Columbia University. She also studied piano at Juilliard.