Art Fall Picks 2013


Chris Burden: ‘Extreme Measures’

October 2–January 1, 2014

In 1971, L.A. artist Chris Burden spent five days jammed inside a school locker. Later that year, he got an assistant to shoot him in the arm with a .22 rifle. In 1974, he was crucified on the hood of a Volkswagen Beetle. The point of all this self-inflicted trauma? Depending on whom you ask, Burden’s actions either presaged a Jackass variant of teen cutting or tested the very limits of meaning through performance art. Either way, he was guaranteed to find—like attention whores Steve-O and Bam Margera—a small, devoted audience of rubberneckers.

In time, Burden’s emphasis shifted to monumental sculpture. Along with photos and videos of his early performances, these large-scale structures will dominate his first New York museum survey at the New Museum. Among the works to be featured are two 36-foot Small Skyscrapers (Quasi Legal Skyscrapers) that Burden plans to install on the museum’s rooftop, plus a 30-foot Ghost Ship that will somehow hang off the side of the NewMu’s metal boxes. Holy Guy Art, Batman! The show ends in January, but the dangling decor will remain on view for a year. New Museum, 235 Bowery,

‘Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly’

September 18–November 16

The inaugural exhibition at Dominique Lévy’s uptown gallery brings together more than 30 works by deceased market darlings Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, and Cy Twombly. (In a demonstration of clout, most appear to be on loan from major museums and private collections.) Accompanying Lévy’s power move is the first perform-ance of Klein’s “Monotone-Silence Symphony” at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on opening night. Seventy musicians and singers will hold a single note for 20 minutes; then, they’ll go silent for more. Bring your stopwatch. Dominique Lévy, 909 Madison Avenue,

T. J. Wilcox: ‘In the Air’

September 19–February 9, 2014

A New York–based artist, Wilcox will fill up most of the second floor of the Whitney Museum with a promising new film installation titled “In the Air.” Wilcox’s film consists of a state-of-the-art panoramic presentation he filmed from the 18th floor of his Union Square studio building. The result is a portrait of New York that chronicles a single September day while casting back to the late-19th-century innovation of cinema in the round. Shot on a cloudless day that some New Yorkers call “9/11 clear,” the film will likely evoke bittersweet memories of beauty and loss. Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Avenue,

Balthus: ‘Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations’

September 25–January 12, 2014

Balthus (né Balthasar Klossowski, 1908–2001) takes the prize for the perviest European painter of the 20th century (sorry, Salvador Dalí). An artist known for frankly erotic renderings of Lolita-esque subjects in bobby socks and school skirts, this Humbert Humbert of brush and oil work left a kinky legacy that stretches from Duane Michaels to John Currin. The first major U.S. Balthus exhibition in 30 years, this show features 35 canvases, dating from the mid-1930s to the 1950s. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue,

Magritte: ‘The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938’

September 28–January 12, 2014

A landmark show co-organized by MOMA Houston’s Menil Collection and the Art Institute of Chicago, this is the first to focus solely on René Magritte’s breakthrough Surrealist years. Setting out to “challenge the real world,” Magritte invented an iconic style between the wars, insisting on standard depictions of common things in order to upend them. Life in these paintings is invaded by dreams; the seemingly ordinary is thrown into swirling doubt. Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street,

Zoe Strauss: ’10 Years’

October 4–January 12, 2014

Once a year, every year, for 10 years until 2010, Philadelphia shutterbug Zoe Strauss hung and sold her color photographs beneath South Philly’s I-95 overpass. Exhibitions that were free and open to the public, Strauss’s street vernissages featured her images of tough, hardscrabble locals—what she called epic narratives about “the beauty and struggle of everyday life.” A mid-career retrospective of a sprawling project, Strauss’s show is a welcome change of pace in a money-centric New York art landscape. International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas,

‘Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective’

November 8–March 23, 2014

A first artist’s retrospective for the Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic novelist, this exhibition spans the entirety of Spiegelman’s career, from his early days in underground comix to the 13-year genesis of Maus to controversial covers for The New Yorker. A celebration of a much beloved “high” and “low” figure, the exhibition includes more than 300 sketches and drawings, as well as prints, illustrations, and other ephemera. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue,