By Christian Viveros-Fauné
By Miriam Felton-Dansky
By Tom Sellar
By Tom Sellar
By Jessica Dawson
By Tom Sellar
By R. C. Baker
By Tom Sellar
Above an expanse of evergreens is a web of twinkling lights; even higher up, the sky appears occluded by a diaphanous membrane through which the moon shines. Or perhaps it's a transporter beam and those Christmas trees are about to be abducted by aliens? Dove's paintings are strange enough to prod outlandish imaginings, yet are exquisitely balanced on the knife's edge dividing representation and abstraction. Volcano (2006) depicts a pyramid of abandoned signs propped against each other, orange splatters running down their surfaces and spreading across the floor of a basement crammed with industrial pipes. Surrealism contributed to abstract expressionism; these striking canvases return the favor. Jack Shainman, 513 W 20, 212-645-1701. Through April 14.
No Front Line, one of Durvasula's deft gouache drawings, juxtaposes a Stealth bomberlike black triangle with a small white bird on the wing; both are passing idyllic snow-capped peaks, but the scarlet sky portends a grievous outcome. In a witty group of sculptures, this British-born artist, who spends time in India, has wrapped household-cleaner bottles in blue, red-trimmed cloth to form conical robes. With their red spray nozzles jutting out, they exude an absurd gravitas, like a convocation of minor gods. Thomas Erben, 526 W 26, 212-645-8701. Through April 21.
'From Revolution to Republic in Prints and Drawings'
The rough 'n' ready American colonies had no time for the refined artistry of Old World culture; hence it is a British officer's darkly ominous watercolor of the moon over New York harbor that evokes the coming drama of the 1776 Battle of Long Island. A print of the Boston Massacre by colonist Henry Pelham (which Paul Revere pirated and made famous) is stiff and flat, but its blunt portrayal of Redcoats firing point blank into a crowd of protesters proved a propaganda boon for the revolution. After the war, it was the French who portrayed Washington with the smooth, classical modeling once reserved for European royalty, while an 1868 Currier and Ives print of the first president as a Mason is wooden and vaguely sinister. Even when the American Gilbert Stuart pulled off a Washington portrait that could challenge European prowess, he neglected to copyright it; British bootleggers got fat off the engraved copies. New York Public Library, 42nd and Fifth Avenue, 212-592-7730. Through July 7.
Attie derives the imagery for her small paintings mostly from vintage photos: There's the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the glare of a flashbulb, looking old and frail, their faces etched with the ugliness of their pointless lives. Elsewhere you can almost hear the clank when two World War IIera civilians in gas masks attempt to kiss. Attie intersperses each grouping of photo-paintings with repeated phrases that, according to the press release, are meant to ask, "When do social behaviors appear both positive and negative within the same context?" A canvas of a cigar-chomping Weegee hefting his Speed Graphic, the huge flash promising remorseless details of the living and dead alike, reminds one of the ancient superstition that graven images steal a piece of your soul. PPOW, 555 W 25, 212-647-1044. Through April 14.
This eight-foot-square model features a Spinal Tapesque backdrop proclaiming "ROCK IRAQ." The stage wings are emblazoned with scores of corporate logos (including that of this newspaper, smack above the Shell Oil emblem); the tiny drums, sound monitors, and guitars are detailed right down to the jacks on the effects pedals. There are no musicians, only their leavings: butt-filled ashtrays, crumpled beer cans, half-eaten catered food. Backstage, racks of flamboyant costumes are arrayed near Barbie-size Porta-potties, while an audio loop blares soundchecks instead of music, musicians thanking the audience, and an encore-craving crowd roaring "More!" It's Live Aid for Iraq, dudecoming soon to an arena near you. Pierogi, 177 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, 718-599-2144. Through April 16.