The Drawing Room is currently showing a marvellous set of drawings by British-born, New York-based artist Cecily Brown. This marks Brown’s institutional solo debut in New York and features some 80 drawings which serve as underpinnings for her dramatic bacchanalian oil paintings. Brown takes inspiration from Old Masters such as Hogarth and Goya, animal encyclopaedias, 19th century erotica, and even from Jimmi Hendrix’s album cover “Electric Ladyland”. Rendered in pencil, pen, crayons, and watercolors, Brown’s drawings are beautiful, sensory fragments with a wonderful undercurrent of unsettling erotic sensibility. The show is called “Rehearsal” but Brown proves that her draftmanship is anything but a rehearsal for her paintings but rather represent brilliant artworks in their own right. Through December 18.

According to its recent advertising pitch, “The new Samsung Family Hub is a revolutionary new refrigerator with a Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen that lets you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain like never before”. In addition to improving your social and family life, the new Samsung Family Hub also promises to let you order groceries online, has cameras inside that tell your phone what’s inside, has an app that allows you to control the temperature, and has voice interaction system that lets you talk to your fridge from your car. If that sounds scary to you, it’s because it is. Enter Mark Leckey, the Turner-prize winning artist, who made the horrors of the Samsung Family Hub part of his sprawling exhibition at MOMAPS1. While the rest of the exhibition delves into deeply personal excursions of childhood memories and investigations into the effects of popular culture and music, Leckey’s installation “Green Screen Refrigerator “2010 – 2016” gives center stage to the new Smart Appliance, bookended only by the Samsung Smart Television, Samsung Smart Computer, Samsung Speakers and, of course, the infamous Samsung Smartphone. In an accompanying video, Leckey channels every Samsung executive’s dream and morphs with the inner life of the refrigerator and the brand that it represents. Taken one step further, Leckey of course knows, that in our age of ever widening information availability, your tubs of ice cream and slabs of bacon could one day influence your health insurance rates and that one bottle too many of premium vodka in the Family Hub could jeopardize your college application or nix the promotion that you so desperately deserve. Through March 5.

The birdcages of the late Japanese artist Tetsumi Kudo are exquisite to behold – that is, until you actually look inside. The longer you stare into them, the more unsettling they become. On the outside, Kudo’s metal cages are clad in fun, bright colors often decorated with lovely plastic flowers. But inside the prison something more sinister is afoot. Grotesque body parts are sitting on bird swings, biomorphic growths are clinging to the metal cage, a mold-covered hand is clutching one corner, and menacing looking plants are co-habitating with electric circuit boards. Kudo worked on the birdcages from 1965 until 1981, a time when the threat of a nuclear apocalypse was overwhelmingly part of the public consciousness, pollution and consumerism was chocking body and mind, and when the antagonistic relationship between humans and technology was just being understood. Shockingly, twenty-six years after Kudo’s death, the nucleus of his wide ranging transcultural practice is still pertinent today. At Andrea Rosen through November 16.

In 1968 Austrian artist Maria Lassnig threw off the shackles of a male-dominated and history-chocked European arts milieu and set out for the hotbed of New York’s dynamic downtown arts scene. Lassnig’s twelve-year stay in New York proved extremely formative for the artist and is subject to a small but beautiful exhibition at Petzel Gallery’s uptown location. Several wonderful drawings and arresting watercolors aside, it is the eight paintings that stand out. Lassnig’s theory of Körpergefühl (body awareness) which attempts to transfer bodily sensations and mental vulnerably via the canvas onto the viewer is particularly profound in her haunting self-portraits and has been exceptionally influential on future generations of artists. Selbstporträt mit Gurkenglas (1971) shows a middle-aged Lassnig holding a jar of pickles, defiantly looking at the viewer, the greenish tint of the work reflecting the contents of the jar; a wry commentary on the tumultuous workings of the artist’s inner self. Through October 29.

Long the only way for a woman to artistically express herself, quilt making and textile weaving have contributed to stunning artworks that have inspired and influenced art and design for centuries. Relegated to the Weaving Workshop by their male counterparts at the Bauhaus, female artists like Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl created beautiful textiles in striking colors and innovative patterns that influenced countless artists since. For her new exhibition at Metro Pictures, New York based photographer Sara VanDerBeek embarked on a meticulous research into American quilt making, Pre-Columbian textiles, and modernist textile weaving to arrive at the geometric plastic sculptures that are the subject of her large scale photographs. She pairs these with actual plaster sculptures of the patterns and in doing so captures the whispers of women quilters, artisans and weavers long past. Through October 29.  

The new works by Ethiopian-born wunderkind Julie Mehretu currently on view at Marian Goodman, have not lost in size but are more soberly cast in a moody palette of grisaille with only occasional smudges of pastel allowed to break the forlorn melancholy. Mehretu’s familiar abstract layerings of acrylic with ink markings reminiscent of pre-historic cave paintings verge on the desolate. The title Hoodnyx, Voodoo and Stelae suggest mythology, bereavement, and the torment of the ghetto – a dark foreboding of the news that is emerging from Mehretu’s home country at the moment. Through October 29.

With a female presidency now tantalisingly near, it is fitting that New York is currently celebrating all things Ellen Cantor. Cantor’s seminal exhibition “Coming to Power” just closed to critical acclaim at Maccarone gallery, her video installation “Be my Baby” (1999) is on until October 23 at Foxy Production, Moma is screening her seminal film “Pincochet Porn” on October 31, Participant Inc. is showing related work and a host of public programming and talks are scheduled all around town. Perhaps the most cerebral examination into the pioneering feminist’s work, however, is being presented at 80WSE gallery. Since 2008 until her untimely death in 2013, Cantor laboured obsessively to incorporate her manifold drawings into her magnum opus, “Pinochet Porn”. In a clever curatorial maneuver, sets of Cantor’s drawings which amalgamate sexual fantasies and popular culture, are being paired with select clips of the film; playing on her deep-rooted assault on the placid and imbecilic presentation of female characters in animated movies. Through November 12.

Depending on one’s interpretation, Hans-Peter Feldmann is either a passionate collector or an incorrigible hoarder. The Hugo-Boss-Prize winning conceptual artist, who famously pasted his $100,000 prize in 100,000 one dollar bills on a gallery wall, obsessively collects photographs, paintings, toys, or books, just to re-arrange them in carefully conceived installations but not before tweaking them a bit for fun. His work, therefore, fits more into the realm of curator-sophist than artist-maker. For his new solo exhibition at 303 Gallery, Feldmann suspends a sea of slightly altered amateur portrait paintings and seascapes from the ceiling, creating a work in itself that is subject to an entirely new interpretation by the viewer. Glaring denunciation of an overabundance of bad art on the market? Trepidation at the daily avalanche of mundane images? The organizing of similar objects as a metaphor to find empowerment in groups? The reading is manifold and complex but the artist stays silent. Through October 29.

In Alex Prager’s film La Grand Sortie (2015), currently on view at Lehman Maupin, the Los Angeles based photographer and filmmaker returns to her two great passions: theatre and ballet. Together with dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and with a score taken from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, French prima ballerina Emilie Cozette stars in a nightmarish performance where an indifferent audience gradually merges with the dancer on stage. In the accompanying photo work in the main gallery, Prager underscores the dramatic viewer/audience dynamic by reversing roles. Set to a background recording of theatre crowd noise, the observers become the observed and critics morph into artists, all amplified through the viewer’s own reflection on the photo glass. Through October 22.

Cairns, the ancient Celtic way of stacking rocks, has long found a new-age audience amongst stressed out city slickers and overworked tech execs trying to tether themselves from their screens. Balancing stones requires poise and concentration. The practice is often used as a new form of mediation; in Korea stones are stacked as a form of prayer. Long fascinated with nature’s pull onto humanity, the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s new mountain sculptures come via his erudite preoccupation with German Romanticism. Rondinone’s precarious, gravity defying totemic assemblages are hardly the stuff of nature, though. They are hand-formed clay, cast in aluminium and painted in shocking day-glo colors; their placement on plinths clearly marking them as artworks more at home on the gallery stage rather than on a pine-cushioned forest floor. At Gladstone Gallery through October 22.

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