Ids of Clay
Zach Feuer Gallery
530 West 24th Street
Through May 27
Blasted brains that flow like porridge, gobs of moose ejaculateall that's missing from Nathalie Djurberg's Claymation mini-epics are those icons of the genre, Gumby and Pokey (though their spirit of cross-species love gets a vigorous workout herehence the moose). Decidedly low-tech (cracks in clay flesh flash by, and supporting strings are occasionally visible as figures gambol through various perversions), these Technicolor eruptions of the id revel in forbidden fantasies, and sometimesthrough poignant close-ups of trembling lips, gloppy tears, and the self-flagellating fists of a young boy whose doppelgänger abuses a hideously hairless catthe shame that results. Still, when the eight gore-spattered victims of a nightclub shoot-out suddenly revive to a Gene Krupalike drum solo and perform a dance number that's equal parts Thriller and Busby Berkeley, you know that five minutes of pure, stylish sensation can be its own reward.
"Such as Thames mud turned into a bank of nine carat gold rough from the fire," observes Gulley Jimson, the crusty British protagonist of The Horse's Mouth, Joyce Cary's great novel about painting. Fellow Englishman Monks also focuses on London's serpentine waterway, his thickly knifed or splattered oils conveying dramatic shafts of glittery sunlight and the gelatinous murk of an urban river. Monks wields a flamboyant brush that, like one of his solitary beachcombers, treads a wobbly edge, but his solid compositions of ancient stone bridge abutments amid swirling tides are grand subjects worthy of a bit of excess. Peter Findlay, 41 E 57th, 212-644-4433. Through April 29
Judith Joy Ross
These warm-toned, black-and-white photographs describe the slackness of youth a grade school kid's blond, devil's-horn cowlicks contrast with his black, puffy sneakers; a high school bassist's dark, shaggy bangs obscure his face even as his roomy shorts expose pale, hairy legs. Ross's lens captures quotidian details that coalesce into narratives of fleeting promise. Pace/MacGill Gallery, 32 E 57th, 212-759-7999. Through May 13
These three painters imbue stenciled designs with quiet emotion: gold and silver diamond patterns in Stephan Fowlkes's diptychs dissolve into rusty reds and corroded umbers; Eriko Yamanaka creates intricate mazes from repeated circles and squares; the mono-named Kenneth spray-paints fields of diaphanous blue orbs against pink horizons for the aptly titled "Oceania" series. A-Forest Gallery, 134 W 29th, 212-673-1168. Through April 29
In a show titled "Information," Brit artist King employs regimented rows of black dots to graph data concerning everything from audience size at legendary rock concerts (the Sex Pistols at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, the Stones' Altamont fiasco) to Nazis sneaking smokes during a Nuremberg rally (a few truant dots in the huge triptych are placed outside the constraining squares). Posters of Cher as Che and Red Army Faction guerrilla Ulrike Meinhof as the Mona Lisa add to the hijinks. Bortolami Dayan, 510 W 25th, 212-727-2050. Through May 2
The young women in Ritterpusch's paintings seem poised to confront a vague, out-of-frame menace. Stuttered paint handling that mimics the static of a video bootleg and anachronistic props such as portable record players add to the sense that each maiden is the plucky heroine of a '70s slasher flick; often portrayed in identical pairs with hands cupped to their ears, they seem to be listening to their own spooky, stereophonic soundtrack. Rare Gallery, 521 W 26th, 212-268-1520. Through May 13
Close up, Greenback is a seven-foot-high conglomeration of thousands of tiny plastic soldiers, tanks, and other military vehicles obsessively glued to a sandy surface and hung on the wall. But from across the gallery, the expanse of toys resolves into an enlarged corner of a dollar bill. Elsewhere, an undulating mass of plastic missiles, bristling with stabilizing fins and as tightly intertwined as a school of fish, continues Opdyke's theme of war as fear- mongering mega- business. Roebling Hall, 606 W 26th, 212-929-8180. Through April 29
The "Hollywood" sign wallows in vine-covered decrepitude; Disney World's Epcot dome is shattered by towering trees while its corroded monorail groans under strangling vegetation; Mount Rushmore's presidents are up to their chins in a fetid swamp; everywhere animals and insects riotously copulate. Not since Lady Liberty's torch jutted from the sand at the close of Planet of the Apes has a post-apocalyptic America (in these paintings, global warming has scoured away humanity) been so lushly and lovingly portrayed. Leo Koenig, 545 W 23rd, 212-334-9255. Through May 5
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