185th ANNUAL EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ART
National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.
Friday, April 9, free with museum admission of $10, 6:45
Exhibition continues through June 8
Founded in 1825, the National Academy is in the midst of its 185th Annual, featuring painting, sculpture, and installations by sixty-five American artists who are not members of the academy, selected by a panel of National Academicians. The exhibit includes work by such artists as Ghada Amer, Petah Coyne, Barkley L. Hendricks, Valerie Jaudon, and Dana Schutz, with all but one piece dating from 2006 or later. (Delfina Nahrgang’s “Woman in the Mosque I” is from 1994.) The show, which has several empty rooms because of budget constraints (keep on moving even if you think it’s over, as that last room past a narrow hallway is often overlooked by visitors), contains some fine painting; among the award winners are Richard McLean’s “Toward Delano,” Elisa Jensen’s “Trapped Sky,” and Charles Parness’s “Sometimes the Yoni Gets Angry with the Lingham.” Richard Van Buren’s “Green Movement” captured the sculpture prize, while Chuck Holtzman’s “Untitled (#798)” won for best graphics. Be sure to sit in the chair that is part of Sam Hernandez’s “I’m Listening,” which offers a unique perspective. Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s unusual wood inlay and shellac piece, “Bombay Beach,” gets a position of prominence, standing boldly by itself. Cildo Meireles slyly comments on Piero Manzoni in the playful light-box transparency “Atlas.” Perhaps the academy’s boldest selection, for a somewhat traditional organization, is Nina Yankowitz’s multimedia installation “Buried Treasures,” which comments on great and overlooked scientific discoveries made by women.
On April 9 at 6:45, chief curator David Dearinger will lecture on the history of the National Academy’s annual exhibition. In addition, there will be a guided tour of the annual on May 7 at 6:45; artists Julia Randall, Ghada Amer, and Judith Bernstein will participate in “Let’s Talk About Sex: Gender Issues in a Post-Feminist World” on April 16 at 6:45; and curator Marshall Price will host a tour and lecture of the exhibit with artist Sarah Walker on June 4 at 6:30.