Art Rx

Merry Christmas — or Happy (belated) Hanukkah or Joyous Kwanzaa! Or, if you’re an atheist and don’t celebrate any of those holidays: enjoy your free day or two off from work! The doctor is prescribing lots of festivities and cheer this week, along with big meals, lots of cookies, and a warm wintery drink (or two or three).

Most galleries are closed this week, and the art world, like the rest of the world, is laying low. But museums are open, and the doctor considers them one of the best ways to pass the holiday time. Not only that, but there are a number of excellent exhibitions currently on view, many of which will be closing soon after New Year’s. Check out the doctor’s list below, and then get to it. Happy holidays!

Jurgen Schadeberg, The 29 ANC Women’s League women are being arrested by the police for demonstrating against the permit laws, which prohibited them from entering townships without a permit, 26th August 1952. Courtesy the artist.
Jurgen Schadeberg, “The 29 ANC Women’s League women are being arrested by the police for demonstrating against the permit laws, which prohibited them from entering townships without a permit, 26th August 1952,” on view at the International Center of Photography’s “Rise and Fall of Apartheid” (image courtesy the artist and the ICP)

Caribbean Crossroads

When: Closes Sunday, January 6
Where: El Museo del Barrio (1230 Fifth Avenue, Spanish Harlem, Manhattan) and Queens Museum of Art (New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens)

This monster exhibition, Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, spans three museums, four centuries, and more than 500 works of art, and was almost a decade in the making. Rather than a show of Caribbean art, it uses art to examine the Caribbean and its cultural and historical role, shining a light on many little-known artists and an often overlooked place. Although the Studio Museum portion of the show is closed, El Museo del Barrio and the Queens Museum still offer plenty to see.

Master Drawings

When: Closes Sunday, January 6
Where: The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)

The list of artists in this show reads like a who’s who of the history of art: Michelangelo, Titian, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Picasso, and more. Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich features master drawings from the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung collection, most of them rarely seen. It’s an incredible opportunity to see the more intimate processes and works of some of art’s most influential players.

Apartheid Photography

When: Closes Sunday, January 6
Where: International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas, Midtown, Manhattan)

Part of the horror of apartheid was its systematization, the way it made racism a part of everyday life. Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, an overwhelming but powerful show at the International Center of Photography, includes some 500 photos, documents, films, books, and more that trace the legacy of apartheid and bring the concept of the “banality of evil” to life.

Sculpting in Clay

When: Closes Sunday, January 6
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

The Met’s Bernini: Sculpting in Clay has flown under the radar this fall, but with Hyperallergic’s Tom Micchelli calling it an epiphany and Holland Cotter mentioning it as a standout in his year-end art roundup, our curiosity is piqued. Plus, in the vein of the Morgan’s drawings show, it’s another chance to get up close and personal with the method and mind of a master.

Wade Guyton (b. 1972), Untitled, 2010. Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen; 84 × 69 in. (213.4 × 175.3 cm). Collection of the artist. © Wade Guyton. Photograph by Lamay Photo
Wade Guyton, Untitled (2010), Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 84 × 69 in. (213.4 × 175.3 cm) (© Wade Guyton, photograph by Lamay Photo, image via the Whitney Museum)

Pioneers of Animation

When: Closes Monday, January 7
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

The Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the Quay Brothers is a packed and energetic tribute to a world of fantastical and haunting art. Quay Brothers: One Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets includes stop-motion animations, live-action films, posters, set designs, and more. The museum’s Tim Burton retrospective of a few years ago may come to mind, but the Quays’ show is both better executed and far more imaginative and strange.

Printed Paintings

When: Closes Sunday, January 13
Where: Whitney Museum (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Wade Guyton makes paintings and drawings using computer programs, printers, and scanners. With this midcareer retrospective, Wade Guyton OS, the Whitney has essentially made him a poster child for the museum-worthy, modernist-inspired possibilities of digital art. Some critics love the show; others are less impressed. Either way, it’s worth going and making up your own mind.

A Cosmos

When: Closes Sunday, January 20
Where: New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Rosemarie Trockel’s current exhibition at the New Museum sprawls not just physically — it is spread over three floors — but also conceptually, much like Trockel’s work itself. Throughout her career, the artist has created knit paintings, ceramics, collages, films; throughout this show, Trockel has interspersed her own art with the work of other artists, including lesser-known contemporaries, outsider artists, and an orangutan, plus botanical illustrations and the exoskeleton of a lobster.

Art Bound and Unbound

When: Closes Sunday, January 27
Where: Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Today, Ai Weiwei is a household name. Cai Guo-Qiang isn’t quite there, but the art world knows him well, along with a handful of other contemporary Chinese art stars. What we don’t see much of, however, are Chinese women artists — which is why the Asia Society exhibition Bound Unbound is refreshing. The show offers an introduction to the work of artist Lin Tianmiao, who transforms objects by completely wrapping them in thread, among other practices.

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