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
Approach the six-foot-wide screen textured like an oversize wicker basket, and clacking gears begin to whir as a dark figure coalesces before you. Stand still, and the 768 C-shape ringsgraduated from light beige to umberspin and jitter before finally settling into a chiaroscuro likeness of your own body. Nearby hangs a tondo, more than three feet in diameter and constructed from 650 wooden dowels, each end cut at the same angle. Walk toward it, and the dowels rotate to catch light or cast shadow, another surveillance unit from a steam-punk future where the algorithms are nimble but someone forgot to invent the video screen, leaving us with pixels carved from the material world. The last of these fascinating computer-generated mirrors feels like a forgotten Twilight Zone transmission: Snowy static drifts down a diaphanous black curtain as your image lags behind your movements to create stop-motion ghosts in the machine. Bitforms, 529 W 20th, 212-366-6939. Through October 6.
'View (Thirteen): Practical F/X'
Hilary Berseth compels bee colonies to do his bidding, constructing molds that force hives into spiral towers, pyramids, and other unexpected shapes. (Do the bees notice? Do they care?) The honeycomb surfaces are sumptuously ragged, sepia ruins of an industrious civilization. Also included in this group show of eight artists are Mariah Robertson's photographs of banal scenes (a stair railing; the shadows cast by patio furniture) shot through colored filters, which lend them the portentous theatricality of empty sets. Tim Davis'sThe Horrorists, on the other hand, is all about dramatis personae: A photograph captures the artist on a roller coaster looking grim amid the screaming revelers surrounding him, the shot framed within an enlarged detail of Christ's spear wound from a de Ribera painting. An upturned bloody arc, the agonized wound resembles a full-lipped smileterror as ecstasy.Mary Boone, 745 Fifth Avenue, 212-752-2929. Through October 27.
Clayton Patterson: 'The Lower East Side'
"Little Brother is watching Big Brother!" boasts Clayton Patterson as he brandishes a camera in an '80s video. Patterson's video clips of protests, riots, and police brutality on the Lower East Side, along with scores of photographs and his collection of street ephemera (one kaleidoscopic vitrine holds glassine bags stamped with drug dealers' logos), capture a ramshackle neighborhood spiritually zoned for the unfettered id. Patterson's portraits of demimonde denizens include folks festooned with Queequeg-ish skin art, a woman waving gaily from the entry flap of her cardboard home, and a wide-eyed youth with a razor blade concealed in his mouth. Now approaching 60, Patterson has resided on Essex Street since 1983, and his life and work are fused like a tattoo on a bicep. Kinz, Tillou+Feigen, 529 W 20th, 212-929-0500. Through October 27.
Laura Battle and Sarah Lutz
Battle's precisely drawn grids coalesce into penumbral form. In 2006's Time Piece (for Emma Kunz), the point of a cone emerges from thousands of intersecting pencil lines into Euclidian luminescence. Lutz's thick oil paint conjures pungent vegetation and torpid creatures that coagulate into a chromatic loam at the bottom of her 30-inch-high canvases, the atmosphere above ripe with humid blues and smoggy pinks. Buy someone a drink for pairing this disparate duothey're opposite sides of a beautifully funky coin. Lohin Geduld, 531 W 25th, 212-675-2656. Through October 13.
That old bit about a magician sawing his comely assistant in two has been given a twist here. A pair of legs juts from a long, rectangular cabinet, which faces a much smaller box, as if the trick has been performed at the neck rather than at the waist. Two videos play behind the sculpture: In one, a magician (head obscured by an oversize top hat) coaxes a haunting air from a musical saw; the other features an oscillating fan blowing across the mouths of six water-filled bottles. Is it a cyclical dirge for that missing head? Or a celebration of the brain's artifacts? It's to Isenstein's credit that she can't seem to make up her mind. Andrew Kreps, 525 W 22nd, 212-741-8849. Through October 20.