Fall Preview: Jesper Just's Schizo Enigma

Four films at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

'Seed Stage'

October 3­–January 4

Corin Hewitt has sculpted an eight-foot marble statue of weatherman Willard Scott and cast a 21-foot rainbow out of street sweepings, but now he's exploring smaller, transient art as a performer and, notably, as a student of food photography and Ikebana. In a room that allows visitors to watch through apertures, Hewitt will grow, cook, and freeze various items, then assemble the results—along with inedible objects—into still-lifes which he'll photograph; finally, he'll post the pics each day. It's something like Emeril investigating Conceptualism. Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, 212-570-3600.

Martín Ramírez: The Last Works

Noir meets Olivia Newton-John: Bliss and Heaven, 2004.
Courtesy the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York

Noir meets Olivia Newton-John: Bliss and Heaven, 2004.

October 7­–April 12

The American Folk Art Museum's 2007 exhibit on the enchanting work of self-taught artist Martín Ramírez—a Mexican immigrant institutionalized in the 1930s as a schizophrenic—gets a sequel with newly found drawings from the artist's last years. In the same woodcut-like style, Ramírez continued combining his beloved motifs (trains, tunnels, Madonnas) into fragmented memories and metaphors for isolation. American Folk Art Museum, 45 West 53rd Street, 212-265-1040.

'The Meat Show'

October 9–November 8

This is what you call raw art: Heide Hatry, the daughter of a Bavarian pig farmer and an artist who once wallpapered a room with a porker's skin, has assembled a wild survey of the meanings of meat. Central to the show are Carolee Schneemann's notorious sex-with-chickens dance orgy from 1964, Meat Joy, and Zhang Huan's stroll through Manhattan in a muscled costume of dark-red beef. Other trenchant works include Tamara Kostianovsky's sirloin mimicry with fabric, Jenny Walton's painting of an oozing wound, and Betty Hirst's figures carved from frozen roast, which bleed as they thaw. Be forewarned: After staging a similar show, Hatry became a committed vegetarian. Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, 511 West 25th Street, 212-675-2966.

Kenneth Anger

October 19–January 26

A mix of Jean Cocteau fantasy, German Expressionist theatrics, Aleister Crowley’s occult teachings, and homoerotic imagery, the films of Kenneth Anger (screened here in a retrospective) occupy a special corner in the avant-garde. A serious practitioner of black magic, Anger regarded many of his efforts—particularly the 1972 foray into Egyptian esoterica, Lucifer Rising—as transforming. Though they sometimes rival the costumed camp of a Hammer horror flick or look as dated as a chest medallion, the films are still a heady kick. P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, 718-784-2084.

Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone

October 22–January 26

Sometimes, after yet another museum stroll past dispassionate blocks of color, you wish that the avatars of Formalism could have chilled out a little. So hug blithe Mary Heilmann, the relatively unsung painter who came late to the abstraction party, but has been delighting the guests ever since. Among other colorful riffs on her rigid predecessors, she playfully loosens a taut Agnes Martin grid, rescues an Ad Reinhardt cross from dense gloom and decorates it, and turns Rothko's layers into a Carnegie Deli sandwich. The long-overdue retrospective, which also includes Heilmann's ceramics and furniture, might just leave you giddy. New Museum, 235 Bowery, 212-219-1222.

'Afghanistan, or The Perils of Freedom'

November 7–January 25

Now that Afghanistan has finally returned to the public consciousness, Stephen Dupont's first solo show in the U.S. is a timely one. The award-winning photojournalist presents the facts with an artful touch, in haunting black-and-white images. A man's hunched silhouette is a mournful twin of the shadowed hole in the mountain behind him, where once stood the Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban. A blurred shot of a screaming baby—whose face appears disturbingly inhuman—suggests both abject despair and the viewer's fleeting sympathy. In other portraits, taken by the roadside in Kabul, Dupont captures the weary dignity of a country beleaguered by endless war. New York Public Library, Stokes Gallery, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, 917-275-6975.

'Apocalyptic Pop'

November 16–January 25

Leave it to TODT, the 30-year-old anti-authoritarian art collective, to weaponize farm machinery. The group—who (the story goes) named themselves after Hitler's first minister of armaments, Fritz Todt— has attached a deadly crossbow to an old-fashioned plow and added a few more nasty scythes to a reaper, making it a bit more grim. This exhibit of zany doomsday visions also includes D. Dominick Lombardi's diseased cartoon figures, Chitra Ganesh's gonzo interpretations of myths, Michael Zansky's Surrealist photographic nightmares, and Laura Parnes's video montages of TV catastrophe. Dorsky Gallery, 11-03 45th Avenue, Long Island City, 718-937-6317.

Trenton Doyle Hancock: New Work
November 20–January 3

An ape man masturbates in a field of flowers and produces a species of animal/plant mutants called Mounds, who end up battling the evil Vegans despite having Torpedo Boy as a protector. So runs the story behind the freakish paintings of the fiercely imaginative Trenton Doyle Hancock. Here, Hancock presents new scenes of the subterranean Vegan world—dense, intricate works of explosive color with roots in underground comics, biblical conflict, and Dr. Seuss. James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, 212-714-9500.

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