Fall Arts Guide 2012: Art


‘Tatzu Nishi: Discovering Columbus’

September 20–November 18

Imagine climbing half a dozen stories or taking an elevator up to face the 13-foot, 120-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle. Now picture yourself hanging out with it surrounded by couches, lamps, shelves, a coffee table, and a TV. Not a Woody Allen dream sequence, but an elaborate conceptual flight of fancy by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, Discovering Columbus literally reintroduces the iconic marble sculpture to New Yorkers inside a modern-day living room.

Currently encased in scaffolding, Nishi’s project follows similar environments the artist created for important sculptures in cities like Liverpool, Singapore, and Basel. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund, this soon-to-be major attraction takes a well-worn artistic premise—the idea of recontextualizing familiar objects like existing artworks—and turns it into a popular voyage of discovery for locals and tourists alike. Among other details, the installation’s loft-style windows provide visitors with bird’s-eye views of Central Park and midtown that can otherwise only be seen by sparrows, pigeons, and Lloyd Blankfein. Viewers experience the stony Italian explorer like never before—up close and personal. Fittingly, with this statue of Columbus, it’s all about discovering something that was always there. Note: To avoid long lines (and attendant traffic problems), the Public Art Fund is issuing timed tickets for visitors to show up by appointment. Tickets are free and available at and at the Time Warner Center information desk. Columbus Circle,

‘Stray Light Grey’

September 13–October 27

Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman have become experts at constructing elaborate environments that plunge viewers down rabbit holes lined with what William Carlos Williams might have called “pure products of America.” Their latest, built on Great Jones Street and moved piecemeal to Chelsea, proves an equally disturbing trip. Titled after both an optical defect and a villa in a William Gibson novel, the artists’ multilevel sensorium—it contains a replica OTB parlor, an Art Deco museum, and a contemporary art gallery—channels California strip mall culture and Charles Manson paranoia. Marlborough Chelsea, 545 West 25th Street,

‘Materializing “Six Years”: Lucy R. Lippard and the Emergence of Conceptual Art’

September 14–February 3, 2013

Art is longa, criticism often exceedingly brevis. But not when it comes to conceptualist and feminist writer Lucy Lippard. The subject of one of September’s biggest New York exhibitions, Lippard’s influential 1973 barn burner Six Years is widely credited for championing and cataloging the emerging conceptual art of the 1960s and ’70s. The exhibition based on the book includes 270 works by, among others, Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, and Art & Language. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn,

‘A Disagreeable Object’

September 15–November 26

Taking its title from a 1930s sculpture
by Alberto Giacometti that resembles a sexy cudgel and an African fetish, this building-wide exhibition explores the themes of desire, repulsion, and, ultimately, the contemporary uncanny. The show’s international cast—which includes Alisa Baremboym, Matthew Ronay, Pamela Rosenkranz, and 21st-century mysterian Johannes VanDerBeek—reinterprets surrealism in a concrete if willfully dreamy present-day guise. If this show were a cocktail, it would be a Dark ‘n’ Stormy. SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves Street, Queens,

‘Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years’

September 18–December 31

Like the Republican Bible, the book on Warhol easily turns preachy and can be used to justify nearly everything. Consider, for example, the claim that Mr. Fright Wig is the most influential artist of the past half-century. This exhibition looks to examine that assertion. Built around five themes ranging from celebrity portraiture to sexual identity, the show includes 150 works, a quarter of them by Warhol. The rest come courtesy of 60 contemporary artists, including Richard Prince, Ryan Trecartin, Damien Hirst, and, of course, Jeff Koons—according to Stephen Colbert, “the world’s most expensive birthday clown.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue,

‘Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe’

September 28–January 20, 2013

Best known for rhinestone-studded, collage-inspired, enamel-flecked acrylic paintings, Mickalene Thomas depicts African-American women festooned with loud bling while dipping into art history’s deep well. Her work regularly shuffles disparate sources like Pam Grier and Gustave Courbet, David Hockney and Mary J. Blige. Thomas’s first solo museum show, which also features an entrance-gallery mural, a film about her mother, and installations of furnished domestic interiors, brings the inventive Brooklyn-based artist home. Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn,

‘Wade Guyton OS’

October 4–January 13, 2013

It’s put up or shut up time. The first midcareer survey for a poster boy of New York’s bankster age, this exhibition will either prove Wade Guyton a meaningful artist or another flash in the pan. Guyton’s flatly droll, stupendously expensive canvases are made using an Epson ink-jet printer (the artist says he “never touches the work”). The results, including one 50-foot multipanel piece on view at the Whitney, are predictably alienating. Featuring “highlights” of Guyton’s brief career from 1999 to the present, this show also serves as a spiritual recap of the noughties. Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Avenue,

‘Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms’

November 9–January 13, 2013

A two-part sculptural and photographic installation that consists of thousands of bits of trash the artist collected at two separate sites—the Astroturf playing fields on Pier 40 and a protected coastal biosphere in Baja Mexico—Orozco’s taxonomic arrangements fashion art from what is, in every way, castaway crap. One piece proves monumental; the other is made of small particles. In the end, both weave poetry from somebody else’s idea of garbage. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue,

‘Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde’

November 18–February 25, 2013

From the city that brought you Godzilla movies, the 1964 Olympics, and the conceptualist crone who broke up the Beatles comes a two-decade survey of urban creative ferment. Beginning in the 1950s, Tokyo transformed itself from war-torn ruin into an international center for art and culture. This show features some of those responsible: among others, artists Nakamura Hiroshi and Ay-O; photographers Moriyama Daido and Tomatsu Shomei; and architects Tange Kenzo and Isozaki Arata. There’s also that screamer Yoko Ono.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street,

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