Summer is the “off season” for the contemporary art world in New York – a time when galleries close on weekends and organize exhibitions that tend to be smaller (no laser-rooms), but more experimental. Here are our top four picks for this summer that are 100% worth visiting on your lunch break.
Grant Worth’s sculptures at the Feature Hudson Foundation in the Lower East Side are technicolor rainbows of an element called Bismuth, in the form of a modified Oscar. If you’re unfamiliar with the material, check out YouTube for a demonstration on how to melt and crystalize this brittle, low melting-point metal. This is the first time I’ve seen it used in fine art, and it excels far beyond a “material gimmick”, with mysterious complexity: playing off the body, celebrity culture, and display itself, all with alien rainbow crystals that are each unique.
“Almost Solid Light: New Work from Mexico” is an intriguing and appropriately-timed group exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery, featuring several contemporary Mexican artists, many of which have never before exhibited in the USA. The entire show is flawless, but Mario Navarro’s “Future Islands” is my favorite: An unbroken chair and a simple white column create a curious impossibility that viewers can’t stop circling.
Artist Yoshiaki Mochizuki presents “Palenville” at Marlborough Contemporary in Chelsea. The geometric abstractions appear to change as you move around the room as thin metallic lines in each painting glow or disappear, catching the light from different angles. Made from gesso, clay and gold or palladium leaf, the lines are incised into the layered surfaces with an agate burnishing tool. Each abstraction is hung at the “artist’s height” of 5 feet 9 inches tall, higher than usual for a painting, lending to their collective unity and celestial vibe.
A mysterious 1974 light work titled “Wedgework V” by James Turrell is the hidden gem of the summer, located on the second floor of Lévy Gorvy Gallery uptown. A guard will kindly guide you through the pitch-black hallway to access the room-sized sculpture of red light and explain the rules, which include NOT stepping into the artwork and not using flash/flashlight. Your eyes will be rewarded while your brain will wonder what, or if, you’re actually seeing. It’s a mesmerizing mystery, and a space you’ll find difficult to leave.
Full information for visiting the four exhibitions is below:
What: Mario Navarro featured in “Almost Solid Light: New Work from Mexico”
Where: Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 W 27th St, New York NY
When: June 21 – August 10, 2018 (summer hours: Mon-Fri 10-6)
Photos by Ricardo Guzman, courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery
What: Yoshiaki Mochizuki: Palenville
Where: Marlborough Contemporary, 545 West 25th St (take internal stairs to 2nd floor)
When: June 21 – August 3, 2018 (summer hours: Mon-Fri 10-6)
Photos courtesy Marlborough Contemporary
What: James Turrell: Depth Perception
Where: Lévy Gorvy, 909 Madison Ave (take internal stairs to 2nd floor), New York NY
When: June 28 – August 18, 2018 (summer hours: Mon-Fri 10-6)
Photos © James Turrell, Photos: Tom Powel