3 art gallery exhibitions to see right now
Until July 31. The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, Manhattan; 212-255-5793, thekitchen.org.
Even though you’ve been attending shows and exhibitions at the Kitchen for decades, it’s harder than ever to locate this nondescript 19th Street industrial building – it’s been engulfed in a maze of residential towers and upscale boutiques. in Chelsea. Alan Ruiz’s brutal, simple yet impressive exhibition “Container and Contained” addresses some of these issues.
Ruiz is a New York-based artist and writer whose work explores the politics of architecture and the built environment. His most important work here is an installation in the Black Box Theater on the ground floor titled “WS-C-62A; WS-C-62B “ (2021). Made mostly of steel and glass, it carves out the space like a fragmentary wall or viewing platform. Every day, about eight minutes before the gallery closes, the projectors come on and “Dance IX” by Philip Glass (1986) is blown throughout the space, a reminder of the institution’s early avant-garde days. Less obvious are the documents that make up “Transfer II (WS-B690-L40)” (2021), displayed on the north wall of the gallery, which detail how Ruiz leased the remaining air rights to the town’s kitchen for a year. , for $ 1 per month.
Combining various recognizable strains of recent art – minimalism, conceptualism, pedagogy, institutional criticism – Ruiz addresses how small institutions like the kitchen have been swallowed up by the titanic wake of real estate development and gentrification. It’s a depressing tale, but Ruiz’s lucid approach mostly avoids nostalgia. Instead, it identifies and occupies the spaces artists can still claim – or rent for a pittance – within a dramatically altered New York City.
New Red Order
Until August 21. Artists Space, 11 Cortlandt Alley, Manhattan; (212) 226-3970, artistspace.org.
The first time I saw a New Red Order (NRO) video, I laughed, then wondered if it was okay to laugh. Actor Jim Fletcher, calling himself a “Reformed Native American impersonator,” was recruiting viewers to become informants for the NRO, an arts collective that is also a sort of secret society. The video was a perfect parody of a promo for something like a weight loss program, only the goals were decolonization and the cultivation of the future of Indigenous people. It sounded like a brilliant joke whose punchline was a real draw to someone like me, a white person living on land taken to the Lenapes.
The NRO – whose main contributors are artists Adam and Zack Khalil and Jackson Polys – now has a large exhibition at Artists Space, titled “Feel at Home Here”. The wacky installation upstairs includes two semi-satirical videos, graphics on the walls, branded beach products, and a fake land repatriation real estate office. It also looks at two points of history: the New York City Seal, which features a gracious “Native American of Manhattan,” and the Enhanced Order of the Red Men, a nationalist secret society founded in 1834 by and for. white men, who structured it based on their fantasies of native society. Downstairs, light boxes and videos seriously attack the well-known stereotypical depictions of Native Americans by sculptor James Earle Fraser.
Despite this being the NRO’s biggest show to date, the nature of the group remains elusive – which is precisely the point. His gift is clever mutability. Using a mix of strategies and styles, the NRO highlights the pervasive violence against Native Americans, but then, instead of letting the culprits get away, urges us to do something with our guilt.
Until July 30. Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street, Manhattan; (212) 206-7100, metropictures.com.
Unrequited passions are at the heart of the seven artists of “Wish”, a group exhibition about the productive pleasure of discovering and anticipating the fulfillment of our hidden desires. This accomplishment can be subversively erotic, as several works in the exhibition indicate and most disturbing by Torbjorn Rodland’s series of photographs that tint ordinary examples of human interaction with strangeness, such as the pair of outstretched hands touching a funeral flower arrangement (“Floor Flowers,” 2015), or a forced open mouth in a doctor’s office (“Intraoral # 2,” 2015). In Heji Shin’s suggestive photographs, these baffling scenes extend to the animal kingdom, the artist associating common creatures with human nudity, as with “Dick and Snake” (2018), or allowing barnyard creatures to function as innuendos in themselves, as in “Big Cock 7” (2020), a close-up of a rooster.
While their punchlines may seem obvious or youthful, Shin’s photographs reflect the exhibition’s emphasis on the tenuous, often humorous and disarming connections between our desires and their real-world analogues. Nora Turato’s 2021 mural “This Little Pig Has Went to the Market” announces, with tongue-in-cheek tenor, the ubiquity of the concert economy (“quit her staff job to write a newsletter “) with the psychedelic designs and sans serif font from the corporate advertisement. Equally acerbically, Elliot Reed presents a mound of salt – valued at 163.2 pounds, equal to the artist’s body weight – in the gallery, on top of which are placed the clothes the artist wore during of a video call with his relatives. The 2020 artwork, “End-to-End Encrypted (Lot’s Wife),” succeeds in signaling the bodily absence that video technology seeks to alleviate, but also evocatively hints, like the exhibit as a whole, to the acute sensations of longing those who are dear and far away.