A visual exploration into the mythical dreamscapes of Elizabeth Glaessner await at PPOW. For her second exhibition at the gallery, Glaessner combines black-and-white paintings, large scale vertical silk hangings, allegorical scroll work and exuberant paintings into a figurative expedition unto the precarious precipice of morality, fantasy and the depths of the human psyche. Delicate, translucent silk panels provide chromatic eye teasers of the black-and-white paintings that lie beyond. The ocular gets directed further alongside a long monochromatic wall scroll which unwinds into an other-worldly narrative of allegorical ethos. It finally comes to rest on the artist’s exuberant paintings. Alarming orange-reds and chimerical blues prevail in hallucinary mise-en-scènes and mythical fables that brim with vitality. They bear truths to the present and are testimony to Glaessner’s innate ability to coax out the emotional fragility of our inner selves. At PPOW through February 10.

“Celebration is our fight for the creative spirit to revel in the affirmation of possibility, wonder and joy and that can be experienced in the constant and evolving action of life in our world.” Nigerian-born artist Odili Donald Odita’s exuberant paintings revel in a buoyancy and optimism that underlie the extraordinary proficiency of a master colorist. Fragmented wedges are corralled into multiple sections where kaleidoscopic color combinations form individual tales that fit seamlessly into a dazzling narrative. The result often feels like the assemblage of brilliant shards into a jewel-like whole that appears bigger than the sum of its parts. At Jack Shainman through February 10.

Perhaps no other post-minimalist artist was as wholeheartedly and passionately devoted to painting than Elizabeth Murray. Building on the foundations of Pop, Cubism and Surrealism, Murray saw fresh opportunities in the delicious tension between the shape of the canvas and the subject matter that is buried within. A first-rate selection of works from 1980s, currently on view at Pace Gallery, dazzles with the overwhelming physicality of her twisted canvases and delights in the intellect of her process. Fracturing perspectives, angular forms that battle curved ones, and biomorphic forms that seem to peel off the gallery wall are brimming with vitality and movement. Shape. Color. Surface. Unwavering in her focus and restless in her intellectual pursuit of melioration, Murray opened new possibilities within an art form that has been pronounced dead over and over again. It proves that if you just look long enough at the building blocks, new patterns may yet emerge. At Pace through January 13.

In 1977, the Bronx was burning. Shelled out buildings and random uncontrolled fires resembled the despair and destruction of bombed out European cities after the Second World War. Many members of the avant-garde were camped out downtown but a young firebrand artist, named Gordon Matta-Clark, saw an opportunity to use abandoned buildings as art forms and involve a neighborhood that was largely cut off from the rest of the city. It seems fitting, then that the Bronx Museum should honor Matta-Clark with a survey of his tragically shorted artistic life. The son of Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta and American artist Anne Clark, Matta-Clark graduated from the Cornell University School of Architecture in 1969 and immediately commenced on an oeuvre that was heavily influenced by his architectural training and social activism. Starting in the South Bronx, Matta-Clark used abandoned buildings as canvases for his architectural cuttings which culminated in “Days End”, a site-specific work at a forgotten pier on the Hudson River. Largely working alone, Matta-Clark cut gigantic sections of the floor and outer wall and transformed a derelict eyesore into, what he described, a “Sun-and-Water-Temple”. At The Bronx Museum, through April 8.

Laura Owens makes art that requires physical context. Her multi-panel paintings explore the relationship between the part and the whole; other groupings play with memory as it pertains to narrative or form; still others are set in specific architectural settings. Her gallery shows are usually carefully curated exhibitions that demand active viewer participation and question visual flow and perception not just within individual works but also in the group dynamics of paintings vis a vis the gallery space. Architecture and its painterly tentacles are omnipresent in Owens’ oeuvre. Her technical proficiency in a dazzling range of media is astounding. Ranging from intricate collages and needlepoint layered with thick impasto, to detailed drawings and screen-printing, Owens never loses sight of spacial relationships that consider perspective, proportion, balance, texture, and shape. At The Whitney through February 4.

Shedding the constraints of the linear loom in the 1960s, Swiss-born artist Françoise Grossen opened a world of formal, thematic and technical possibilities in fiber related art. At first blush, Grossen’s large suspended rope forms feel like sinewy slaughterhouse meat, kowtowing forms, or slithering sea-creatures but closer inspection reveal lovely plays of intricate knots and loops that sometimes get intertwined with paper, linen or metal. A contemporary of Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, Grossen shares similar concerns with process and the modern re-imagining of an arts and crafts artform that has afforded women artistic expression for centuries but that feels as fresh and relevant as it was made yesterday. At Blum & Poe through January 6.

Recent Maria-Lassnig-Prize winner and Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes’ introspective installations are narratives of sober domesticity where the female is the main or implied actor. Effeminate predicaments such as the trials of childbirth, marital loneliness, the tedium of raising children, unwanted pregnancies, and the looming specter of domestic violence permeate an exhibition of Wilkes’ recent work currently on view at MomaPS1. A cracked ceramic saucer carefully placed on the floor speaks of anguish and distress; elsewhere, a hunched-over figure is pulled by fabric strings towards a shattered object on the floor; still in another room an empty pram in a corner oozes sorrow and loss. Maximizing empathy and personal cognizance, Peter Eleey designed the exhibition as a meandering discovery path with only a few visitors allowed in at a time. It is a somber but never preachy introduction to the small and big cruelties of life. At MomaPS1 through March 11.

 “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon”, a wandering yet rewarding show at the New Museum, is a timely reflection on the role of gender and identity within a social order that is becoming increasingly polarized. The show brings together more than forty artists whose works examine complex questions regarding sexuality, gender, violence, identity, and race in a political and social context. Highlights include Christina Quarles’ brilliantly claustrophobic paintings of constrained bodies; Mickalene Thomas’ haunting sculptural video installation “Me as Muse”; Vaginal Davis’ lush punk-inspired wall sculptures made from nail polish, hair spray, and perfume which stand in contrast to Ulrike Müller’s sober-minimalist geometric body compositions. Here is “Mane (2016)” by the remarkable artist Tschabalala Self – a patchwork collage of fabric scraps that engenders a seated, confident and multilayered black woman – a magnificent work which underscores the significance of the female black body both as an icon and as a sexual object. At the New Museum through January 21.

The Austrian Cultural Forum offers a welcome respite from the taxing Mid-town traffic madness brought to stressed out New Yorkers courtesy of the ongoing security restrictions around White House North. The institution is currently showing an exquisite selection of works by Austrian artist Franz West and the many artists who have crossed paths with him. Arranged on three floors, the works range from the conceptual mindbenders of Rudolf Stingel, challenging wax sculptures by Urs Fischer, Arte Povera-ish LED lamps of Andreas Reiter Raabe, the colorful chaises of Mary Heilmann, tantalizing mixed-media works by Rudolf Polansky, Octavian Trauttmansdorff’s claustrophobic video, “ZuWohnung”, and compelling works by Anna-Sophie Berger, Tillman Kaiser, Anne Schneider, Rikrit Tiravanija the artist Duo KAYA and, of course, the main man himself. Here is Sarah Lucas’ “Essential Doris” from 2011, a concrete platform shoe with boobs and a shout-out to all working women in Mid-town who must run the daily gauntlet of sexual harassment at work, endure inappropriate sexual taunts by construction workers, dodge ankle-breaking potholes, bear the discomfort of artery-chocking stockings and battle malfunctioning undergarments. At The Austrian Cultural Forum through January 22.

Jorge Pardo continues to surprise. Widely dubbed as the Brazilian Renaissance Man, Pardo moves auspiciously between painting, design, sculpture, and architecture. In a new series of works, currently on view at Petzel Gallery, the artist re-imagines the humble self-portrait. Rendered in a vaguely impressionist style with acrylic paint on fiberboard, Pardo’s grizzly-bear-like frame dominates his garden, the streets, his studio and the beach. Thin ribbons of backlit Caoba wood on plexiglass provide movement. Suddenly the surf on the beach picks up, the soles of his shoes gain texture and tree branches become uncannily realistic. The result is a fascinating amalgamation between painting and sculpture; corporeality and abstraction; illusion and reality. At Petzel through January 6.

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