Art Rx

Happy New Year! The doctor hopes you’re not too hung over from last night’s partying and festivities, and that you’re starting the new year off right today, whether that means a trip to the gym, a Bloody Mary with brunch, or watching movies all day. Once you’ve rested and recovered, she’s setting you off on the path to see some art. This is the perfect week to do it, since all the galleries reopen after New Year’s Day, and good exhibitions abound. Catch some before they close, others when they open.

And if you’re still not quite sure what to do today to ring in 2013, the doctor has two very different suggestions: the Poetry Project’s annual marathon benefit reading, which, for $20, will get you poetry for as long as you’d like to stay and listen, and should get you off on a creative foot this year; or, if you’re feeling like you need to really shake things up, the Polar Bear Club’s annual New Year’s Day Swim at Coney Island. Obviously not for the faint of heart.

Tom Sanford, "Departures "(Last Call)" (detail) in progress (2012), 96 x 192 inches, oil on panel (image via Bravin Lee)
Tom Sanford, “Departures “(Last Call)” (detail) in progress (2012), 96 x 192 inches, oil on panel (image via Bravin Lee)

100 Little Deaths

When: Opened December 31
Where: Bravin Lee Programs (526 West 26th Street, #111, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Artist Tom Sanford and Bravin Lee Programs open 2013 with a tribute — a celebratory mourning of sorts. Branford drew portraits of 100 notable people who passed away last year, from Mike Kelley to Thomas Kinkade, Donna Summer to Rodney King, keeping in mind the whole time that the phrase petite morte, or “little death,” is often used to mean an orgasm. Don’t worry, though: the portraits are more romantic celebrations than sexual, and alongside them will be a mural of an idea we love — all the figures gathered for a farewell drink in an airport cocktail lounge, plus more portraits of the deceased by other artists.

Last chance: Christina Mazzalupo

When: Closes Saturday, January 5
Where: Mixed Greens (531 West 26th Street, first floor, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Just down the street there’s another portrait show, although of a very different sort. For Prognosis: Doom, Christina Mazzalupo painted dozens of tiny portraits on paper tags of “doomsayers,” people who, over the centuries, have predicted the end of the world. She accompanies the series with graphite drawings of fear-inducing media headlines and a video of a woman preparing for the end of the world. Now that we’re safely on the other side of both the Mayan apocalypse and New Year’s, it’s a good time to take in this exhibition and its messages.

Last Chance: Mickalene Thomas

When: Closes Saturday, January 5
Where: Both Lehmann Maupin galleries (540 West 26th Street, Chelsea, and 201 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

There’s currently a Mickalene Thomas triple-header going on: shows at both Lehmann Maupin gallery spaces as well as an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. The museum show continues for a few more weeks, but this week is your last chance to see the gallery ones. The exhibition in Chelsea includes one of Thomas’s stunning retro chic living room installations plus the moving film she made about her mother; on the Lower East Side, you can see the artist’s newest paintings, landscapes and interiors in her cut-up and collaged style, a bit like Cubism with rhinestones.

A Traveling Eye

When: Opens Saturday, January 5, 6–8 pm
Where: Postmasters (459 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Postmasters is opening 2013 with what’s sure to be a winner: an exhibition by Diana Cooper, whose last solo show at the gallery was four years ago already. As the title of this show, My Eye Travels, suggests, Cooper scours the built environment and homes in on mundane details — ordinary signs we wouldn’t think twice about, plants growing in the wall of a building. She then uses her finds as fodder for intricately constructed environments that slow you down and encourage your eye to follow hers.

Robert Strati, "Composition of Circular Resonance" (detail) (2012), archival inkjet print on paper, 25 x 24 inches (image via Robert Henry Contemporary)
Robert Strati, “Composition of Circular Resonance” (detail) (2012), archival inkjet print on paper, 25 x 24 inches (image via Robert Henry Contemporary)

Last Chance: Robert Strati

When: Closes Sunday, January 6
Where: Robert Henry Contemporary (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick Brooklyn)

Robert Strati’s current exhibition at Robert Henry Contemporary is called Diagramming Schematic Intangibility, and once you see the artwork, it’s not hard to understand why. Strati’s inkjet prints conjure scientific drawings, astronomical charts, blueprints, musical notation, and much more, but without any clear system or key for translation, they seem to represent a mysterious world of their own. His wire and packing tape sculptures push the concept into three dimensions, suggesting what happens when the purely imaginary becomes tangible.

Precisionist Casual

When: Opens Sunday, January 6, 6–8 pm
Where: Pocket Utopia (191 Henry Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

For her first exhibition at Pocket Utopia, artist and Two Coats of Paint blogger Sharon Butler offers us a contradiction in terms: Precisionist Casual, the title of the show. The dichotomy refers to what Butler regards as her limbo position, somewhere between the clear, sharply defined Precisionists of the early 20th century and the looser, more visually liberal Casual Abstractionists of today. Her solution is to try and give us a bit of both, in the form of unstretched canvases on partially revealed stretchers that feature solid, geometric painting, and in the process, bridge a gap between centuries.

Steinbach & Friends

When: Opens Sunday, January 6, 6–8 pm
Where: The Artist’s Institute (163 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

This past fall, Hunter College’s Artist’s Institute devoted its season to artist Haim Steinbach and his beguiling displays of toys, sneakers, and other ordinary objects. Now the institute turns over its inviting space to Steinbach himself, to curate an exhibition. There’s not much information about the show beyond the artists it includes — among them Joseph Kosuth, Peter Halley, Rachel Harrison, and Shelly Silver — but given the fact that Steinbach’s been choosing, arranging, and laying out groupings of objects for almost forty years, we’re excited to see what he comes up with.

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