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
Born in 1914, Muriel Kallis Steinberg Newman may be familiar to fans of the New York School, if only because she pops up on wall labels as the owner of such masterpieces as de Kooning's Attic and Pollock's Number 28, 1950. These and other works were collected, the press release notes, "without relying on advisors" and have been donated to the Met; they confirm Newman's discerning eye, which presciently championed the cream of America's early postwar artists. This rich survey includes the usual canon but also offers lesser-known artists, such as Milton Resnick, whose later monochrome canvases were as thick as elephant skin, though he began with colorful studies on cardboard that were nearly as lyrical as the Gorky and de Kooning drawings hanging nearby. Compare the Polish-born Theodore Roszak's 1950 sketch to his iron Firebird statue of a year laterthe jagged, swooping wings are more lively in metal, as if the sculpture came first and was then over-refined in ink. The Metropolitan Museum, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710. Through February 3.
Like chain-mail tapestries, the wall hangings by this African artist gather and bulge with the heft of sculpture. Constructed from flattened aluminum bottle caps stitched together with copper wirea vibrant palette that includes such colorful brand names as "Liquor Headmaster"some of these works are massive. The 40-foot-wide Fading Scroll (2007) begins as a stately procession of silver squares, then grows more colorful and texturally varied (rounded tops bloom like a sudden rash) before collapsing in an elegant heap on the floor. In the 13-foot-highBleeding Takari II, red caps form rivulets that meander through broad reaches of gold and silver before coagulating like puddles on the ground, an over-the-top representation of gore subsumed by the abstract glory of its intense tactile presence. Jack Shainman, 513 W 20th, 212-645-1701. Through February 2.
Full disclosure: Although a fan of his movies, I've never liked Julian Schnabel's paintings, finding Robert Hughes's withering 1982 review "Expressionist Bric-a-Brac" the perfect storm of artist and critic. Poor draftsmanship deadened those huge broken-crockery pastiches of yore, but in these small new works, painted on maps of islands, the artist's galumphing hand is more focused, achieving a stirring contrast between the paper grounds and bold slashes of oil paint. Schnabel has a gift for purple (a color leavened beautifully into perhaps his best '80s painting, Maria Callas II), and in Santa Catalina Island, Vancouver Island, and Bahia de Cádiz (all from 2007), the hues range from bloody plum to flower-petal violet. Linseed-oil stains form halos around the fat brushstrokes, creating sepia echoes of the printed blue shorelines. A group of charts adorned with simple pink crosses suffers from the neo-Expressionist pitfall of too much expanse and too little idea, but the majority of the work here, done in water-spout gray, fish-hook red, rusty orange, and creosote black, evokes rough-and-tumble docks jutting into the alluring caprice of the sea. Sperone Westwater, 415 W 13th, 212-999-7337. Through February 16.
"Ralph! What is the physical nature of evil?" Hunter S. Thompson once asked. The illustrator Ralph Steadman has answered his late pal with a blistering caricature of Bush as a sword-wielding, oil-spewing demon. There's not much subtlety in this show, but that's not what illustration is forthe best illos deliver a clever visual argument demanding that you at least think about an issue. In this exhibit, Mirko Ilic imagines coffins as gas pumps, and Serge Bloch demarcates a soldier into "Chuck," "Sirloin," and "Tripe." Illustration functions as the opening salvo of debate: "Artists Against the War" delivers the op-ed page in the raw. Society of Illustrators, 128 E 63rd, 212-838-2560. Through January 26.