By the calendar, you’ve still got a few weeks left of summer, but in the art world fall has arrived. Although we’re happy to hang onto to the summerlike weather for a little while longer, we welcome the plethora of openings and events kicking off this week. From shows devoted to pioneering artists like Robert Rauschenberg and George Maciunas to others focusing on emerging artists, there’s no shortage of stuff to see. Asia Society opens one of the exhibitions we’re most excited about — Iran Modern, a history of Iranian art in the decades leading up to the revolution — while the Bronx Museum closes another one you should catch if you can, State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970. Welcome back, art world; we’re ready for you.
Rauschenberg & Photography
When: Opens Thursday, September 5, 5:30–7:30 pm
Where: Pace/MacGill Gallery (32 East 57th Street, 9th floor, Midtown, Manhattan)
From the 1950s, as a student of Aaron Siskind and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, through his long career, Robert Rauschenberg consistently explored photography, a medium he’s not entirely known for but that longtime Rauschenberg curator David White has said was the artist’s “primary interest.” This show offers a new approach to an old name, and the 35-year trove of photos should be an interesting lens for viewing Rauschenberg’s artistic practice. —JP
When: Opens Thursday, September 5, 6–8 pm
Where: Fluxus Foundation (454 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Fluxus founder George Maciunas’s anti-art mantra naturally extended to all art forms, including film. For the first time ever, the Fluxus Foundation will show Maciunas’s “Fluxfilm 2,” a 20-minute loop of flashing black-and-white frames. It will be accompanied by two other Fluxfilms commissioned by Maciunas — Yoko Ono’s “One” and George Brecht’s “ENTRANCE to EXIT” — as well as another Maciunas film. If you’re looking for a visual jolt, this is your exhibition.
Shop Rag Abstraction
When: Opens Thursday, September 5, 6–8 pm
Where: Masters & Pelavin (13 Jay Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
For his latest series, Jason Rohlf has been making explosively colorful and dense paintings on shop rags. Masters & Pelavin will display the final results — welcome textural twists on contemporary abstract painting.
The Art of Iran
When: Opens Friday, September 6
Where: Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
In what promises to be one of the must-see shows of the season, if not the year, Asia Society is mounting Iran Modern, a three-decade survey of Iranian art before the 1979 revolution. It’s probably enough just to cite the description — “The exhibition maps the genesis of Iranian modernism in order to argue that the development of modernist art is inherently more globally interconnected than previously understood.” — and offer an amen.
When: Opens Friday, September 6, 6 pm
Where: Flux Factory (39-31 29th Street, Long Island City, Queens)
Yet again, Flux Factory produces a group exhibition built around an unusual premise and populated with talented artists. Untitled (As of Yet) is all about disruption — the moment when routine breaks down and unexpected opportunities arise. At the Friday night opening, you can see the artworks on display in the gallery and then leave with a stranger in one of Dillon de Give’s long walks. Return on Sunday to help Chloë Bass figure out what it would take to survive a massive traffic jam.
Phillip Lopate Introduces Godard
When: Friday, September 6, 7:45 pm
Where: Film Forum (209 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan)
Kicking off Film Forum’s 50th anniversary screening of Godard’s still ravishing Contempt, author Phillip Lopate will be in person to introduce the film he calls “a singular viewing experience … even more than in 1963.” Come for a essential stop on the film-history train or just to relish the movie’s slew of stars, cameos, and cinematic moments: idol Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang playing “Fritz Lang,” Godard as an assistant to Lang, and Michel Piccoli’s ode to Dean Martin. —JP
When: Opens Saturday, September 7, 6–9 pm
Where: Storefront Ten Eyck (324 Ten Eyck Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
Liz Dimmitt, the director of Chelsea gallery mainstay Lehmann Maupin, is actually based in Bushwick, and she’s returning to her home neighborhood for this show at Storefront Ten Eyck. Dimmitt brings together three artists who not only use building materials and the objects of everyday life in their work, but also explore the properties of those materials and objects through it.
A Truly Indie Art Fair
When: Opens Saturday, September 7
Where: Governors Island Art Fair (407 Comfort Road, Governors Island, Manhattan)
Taking place in the abandoned military barracks of Governors Island, this art fair run by artists for artists is the city’s largest independent exhibition. This year’s exhibitors’ list certainly looks promising, and the best part is that the artists will probably be there to answer all your questions.
A History of Graph Paper
When: Opens Sunday, September 8, 6–8 pm
Where: On Stellar Rays (1 Rivington Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
This exhibition, A History of Graph Paper, represents two firsts for On Stellar Rays: their first show in their new space and their first show with artist John Houck. Houck might be considered one of the new digitally obsessed artist generation, but his work is more complicated than it seems, combining code writing, collage, photography, and printing into pieces that toe the line between digital and analog.
Last Chance: State of Mind
When: Closes Sunday, September 8
Where: The Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx)
The sleeper museum hit of the summer may have been State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970, and this week is your last chance to see it before it’s gone. The Bronx Museum brought the show from the Golden State, and it examines the conceptual, avant-garde, and alternative art world that blossomed there in the ’60s and ’70s. If you ask them, New York–centric art worlders will begrudgingly acknowledge the importance of California to the contemporary American history of art, but this show will drive it home for you.
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With contributions by Jeremy Polacek
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