Winter Guide: Keith Tyson Shows His Hand at the Pace Gallery

Plus: seasonal art picks!

Feng Mengbo: ‘Long March: Restart’
December 12 to April 4, 2011
Any vintage video game fans out there? What about fans of Chinese military history? If so, you have got to run out to MOMA P.S.1 to plug into Beijing artist Feng Mengbo’s Long March: Restart, an immersive, eight-screen video environment that doubles as a fully playable side-scrolling action game. The lucky player gets to control a boxy Red Army soldier, traversing a landscape where he does battle with characters from Street Fighter II, Contra, and Super Mario Bros. Bewilderingly—and awesomely—the hero achieves victory by flinging cans of Coca-Cola at his foes. MOMA P.S.1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, ps1.org

Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe
January 5, 2011, to February 12, 2011
British-born, L.A.-based Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe is known as a consistently articulate art critic himself, a serious brain—but as a painter he’s focused like a laser on the wordless discretion of old-fashioned abstraction. This time out for Alexander Gray, he offers up a large-scale painting described by his dealer as “a complete reconfiguration of the grid, with raucous colors, balancing hot and cold, density and light.” It’s paired with a single work from the 1980s, simply to show how enduring Gilbert-Rolfe’s artistic commitments have been—but the installation should be otherwise sparse, in keeping with his philosophy of serious and considered looking. Alexander Gray Associates, 508 West 26th Street, alexandergray.com

Yeni Mao: ‘Dead Reckoning’
January 7, 2011, to March 6, 2011
Canada-born, Art Institute of Chicago-–trained, and now New York–based, Yeni Mao likes to tout a fan’s description of him as “an omnivorous appropriator of cultural references.” One previous work involved a glimmering series of portraits of the Wu-Tang Clan as gold-leaf profiles, his goof on idol worship, machismo, and decadence. For “Dead Reckoning,” he’s reaching back considerably farther into history to play on these same themes, with an homage to the 14th-century Chinese naval explorer and all-around badass eunuch Zheng He, in an installation that involves, among other things, a collection of toy boats hung from the ceiling. Collette Blanchard Gallery, 26 Clinton Street, colletteblanchard.com

Jeppe Hein
January 28, 2011, to March 5, 2011
Perhaps you remember the work of ascendant Danish artist Jeppe Hein from his residency a few years back at Queens’ SculptureCenter, where he created “Illusion,” a giant mirrored V, suspended in the air and slowly rotating, producing a dizzying effect of watching the space you were standing in constantly wheeling away from you. Hein’s brand of art displays the polished sleekness of good design and precision engineering, but put to trippy ends, from park benches meant to be bafflingly unusable to a motorized “self-destructing wall.” For his new work at 303, prepare to scratch your head and be delighted. 303 Gallery, 547 West 21st Street, 303gallery.com

Luis Camnitzer
February 2, 2011, to May 29, 2011
There’s no better target for El Museo’s “FOCOS” series highlighting “mature and underrepresented artists” than the great Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer, who has lived in New York since 1964 and left the mark of his own restless intelligence on classic conceptualism. The 70 works in this retrospective illustrate how early feints at word art—signs that declare, nonsensically, “This Is a Mirror, You Are a Written Sentence”—developed into a deft installation for which he created a “Living Room” out of words, affixing the name of furnishings to the walls and floor of an empty space, and then to more playful ’70s-era attempts to sell off his own signature, and so on. El Museum del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue, elmuseo.org

Sue de Beer
February 4 to 6, 2011 February 18, 2011, to March 19, 2011
It’s a one-two punch of Sue de Beer this winter, as the artist gets a showcase at the Park Avenue Armory, courtesy of the Art Production Fund, followed directly by a solo outing at Marianne Boesky. Projected in the Armory’s Historical Rooms, de Beer’s new video, The Ghosts, draws on the look of Italian horror films, in the service of a tale of an irresponsible hypnotist—played by artist Jutta Koether—releasing spirits from the subconscious of a “money manager,” played by famed rocker Jon Spencer. Over at Boesky, de Beer will play on the hypnotic theme in more formal ways, promising a series of projections and short films that manipulate her viewers’ perceptions. Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, armoryonpark.com, Marianne Boesky Gallery, 509 West 24th Street, marianneboeskygallery.com

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