Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
September 6-7, $45-$60 (including same-day museum admission), 7:00
At FIAF’s 2014 Crossing the Line Festival, Japanese multimedia artist Ryoji Ikeda dazzled audiences at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the sold-out U.S. premiere of superposition, an audiovisual marvel that explored technology, philosophy, probability, and the future of existence. He’s now back with the follow-up, supercodex [live set], which kicks off the 2017 festival, again at the Met. (Ikeda’s gallery show, “the transcendental,” was part of the 2010 festival, at FIAF.) The piece, which was conceived and composed by Ikeda and features computer graphics and programming by Tomonaga Tokuyama, is the culmination of Ikeda’s Raster-Norton trilogy of albums that began with Dataplex and continued with Test Pattern, as Ikeda investigates the limits of technological-human connection. Viewers will be enveloped in black-and-white digital imagery while experimental music blasts throughout the space. Ikeda, who lives and works in Japan and Paris and also blew people’s minds with the immersive, site-specific the transfinite at the Park Avenue Armory in 2011, mines the “data of sound” and the “sound of data” in his work, incorporating scientific and mathematical elements, and the New York premiere of supercodex [live set] should bring that to a whole new level. (Tickets include museum admission, so be sure to go early and check out such exhibits as “The Theater of Disappearance,” “Talking Pictures: Camera-Phone Conversations Between Artists,” “Sara Barman’s Closet,” and “Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection.”)
22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46th Ave.
Thursday - Monday through September 10, suggested donation $5-$10 (free for New York City residents), 12 noon – 6:00 pm
For more than twenty-five years, painter Maureen Gallace has let her work do her talking for her. The Stamford-born, New York-based artist gives very few interviews, and the only monograph about her seems to be a thirty-two-page accompaniment to a small 2004 gallery show, with text by Rick Moody, who was born in New York City but also grew up primarily in Connecticut. For Gallace’s first major survey, the gorgeous “Clear Day,” continuing at MoMA PS1 through September 10, MoMA has provided very only the most basic of information; there is no catalog, no extensive wall or label text, and very spare press materials about the nearly seventy works. But that goes hand in hand with the wonderful aura and mystery that surround her small canvases, mostly exquisitely rendered paintings of homes on Cape Cod, each much more than it first appears. In 2016, as part of the Met’s “Artist Project,” Gallace made a short video discussing the still lifes of Paul Cézanne, concentrating on his paintings of apples. It’s a fascinating analysis of the painter and the painting; in fact, change just a few words here and there and Gallace could have just as easily been referring to her own creative process and output.
“[Cézanne] was taking this simple, naïve everyday object that we’re all familiar with, but the paintings don’t ever feel about copying the apples. The paintings are about painting; you can see the canvas. Everything points back at what it took to make the painting,” she says over shots of some of Cézanne’s works. “Every single mark is laid bare, so he really wanted everybody to know the experience of the painter, and he took forever to make the paintings. . . . I’m someone who often takes an hour to make a brushmark; painting is a lot of thinking, a lot of staring. The emotion comes from the way paint is handled. The forms seem kind of crude because they’re built up from the marks. They’re so solid, the apples, they almost become sculpture. It’s like you could feel those apples in your hand. . . . There is an uneasiness to these paintings, and I think that comes from the shifting perspective. There’s no horizon line . . . and the tilting can be a little claustrophobic and destabilizing. There’s perfectionism in there; it’s so Type B, controlled, but also, it wasn’t about the one painting that was going to be the masterpiece. I mean, I think that was the point, to keep going, keep going, keep going and getting better and better and better, and so it was okay to fail. There’s less pressure on the painting because you’ll just get it right the next time. I think he was trying to put everything that he knew about painting into each object. . . . It’s a type of experience that some painters have; they need to distill things down to get at the essence of what painting is, even if it’s just choosing an apple.”
In Gallace’s case, the apples have been replaced by cottages along the water on the Cape. Each house is different, but nearly every structure is not quite a true representation of reality, with compelling flourishes of abstraction. Gallace, who works from sketches and photographs rather than en plein air, often leaves out doors and windows, or paints roads that twist in impossible ways, or depicts a house that seems to be built right on top of the water. There are no interiors; in some works, you can see right through windows and across the ocean, as if there is no furniture inside, and there are no people anywhere. Gallace’s use of line, light, and color is breathtaking, much more complex than one might initially notice. The horizontal and angled lines of “Cape Cod, Winter” make the work resemble a Dali-esque faceless double portrait. The blue and white of the structure in “Blue Beach Shack” nearly disappears into the blue and white of the sky. Lush greenery surrounds a gray house in “September 1.” “Surf Road” consists of a patch of flowers in the left foreground, a windowless white and gray barn in the right background, and a deserted roadway through the middle, a pair of telephone poles standing like ghosts, with no wires connecting them to anything. There are no cars to be seen on “Merritt Parkway, Winter,” one of Connecticut’s busiest thoroughfares, a curious overpass awaiting in the distance. The “Clear Day” show seems to falter only in a series of flower still lifes, which are more direct, lacking the deft sense of otherworldliness and isolation that can be found in the cottage canvases.
Arranged at eye level across several galleries at PS1, one after another in a nearly endless display that disorients visitors’ sense of place, the paintings evoke the phenomenal still lifes of Italian master Giorgio Morandi, which featured bottles, pitchers, bowls, and other common objects. In addition to Morandi, Gallace has also cited Fairfield Porter, Edward Hopper, Jane Freilicher, Albert York, Agnes Martin, and Robert Ryman as influences. In a short 2009 piece for Travel & Leisure magazine, “An Artist’s New England,” Gallace wrote of Truro, in Cape Cod, “Part of the reason I love Truro is that Edward Hopper lived here. His work has been a big influence on mine. His landscapes are so beautifully painted and are so much about the essence of the places he depicts.” As with her description of Cézanne’s works, she could be talking about her own paintings, which are beautiful indeed, and transport viewers to another place. “The house doesn’t mean anything per se. It’s an empty vessel,” she told Elle Décor in 2010, when she was part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Gallace skillfully imbues these empty vessels with a kind of psychological mystery, leaving it up to each viewer to come up with their own private narrative.
New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery at Prince St.
Through Sunday, September 3, $16
Upon entering the fourth floor of the New Museum, visitors join a fascinating gathering already taking place, sixteen figures in stunning canvases, beautifully arranged across three walls as if the black and brown men and women in the paintings are in conversation with one another, the chatter nearly audible, each with a different story to tell. But it turns out that British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s site-specific “Under-Song for a Cipher,” created specifically for this space, is a completely fictional world. Despite their realistic nature, none of the figures is based on real people; instead, 2013 Turner Prize finalist Yiadom-Boakye, who was born in London in 1977, works from her imagination, making each composite canvas in one day, finishing it before the paint dries (and discarding paintings she doesn’t like). “The term ‘imaginary’ is perhaps a little misleading. It suggests I pull everything out of the air. I don’t,” she tells curators Natalie Bell and Massimiliano Gioni in a catalog interview. “By composite I mean that they’re a combination of different sources: scrapbooks, drawings, photographs, etc. In many ways, I think less about the figures than I do about how they are painted. I ceased to see the paintings as portraits a long time ago. Thus, I don’t really see them as ‘characters’ in the individual sense, as personalities or people with specific traits. I always think of them as somehow beyond these things. They exist entirely in paint.” Yiadom-Boakye, who is of Ghanaian descent and is inspired by such masters as Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, and Walter Sickert, boasts a bold, firm brushstroke, including just enough abstraction to place her figures in an indefinable time and space, evoking but not specifically referencing art history, in which classic portraiture is heavily associated with white people.
In “Medicine at Playtime,” a man sits on a chair in the middle of a room, the floor composed of black and white square tiles, his left elbow on his knee, his left hand on his head. In “The Much-Vaunted Air,” a woman stands in front of a window, facing off to the left, in a sly way the mirror image of Edward Hopper’s “A Woman in the Sun.” Yiadom-Boakye references Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” in “8am Cadiz,” but instead of a white girl looking across a grassy yellow field, her back to us, a black man in a green field faces the viewer. The gaze of both the viewer and the figures are central to Yiadom-Boakye’s process; earlier in life, she even considered becoming an optician. In “The Women Watchful,” a tall woman looks through binoculars, as if peering at a painting off to the right, “Of All the Seasons,” in which a woman with penetrating white eyes stares back suspiciously. Yiadom-Boakye, who had her first solo museum show, “Any Number of Preoccupations,” at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2010-11, is also a voracious writer of essays, poems, and short stories, but she leaves it up to the viewer to determine what tale her figures have to tell, even seeing her titles as another stroke on the canvas rather than an informational description. “It’s all there, thoughts about race, masculinity, femininity, what is to be human and in the world alongside everyone else,” she says in the interview. “But it is complex, joyful, miserable, infuriating, and overwhelming — so not easily put into words. That is why it is painted. The marks, the light, the dark, the color, the composition, the form, the scale: All of these things take on meanings to me, like a language to speak. And beauty is there too, unabashed and brazen.” One of her most unabashed and brazen works is “Light of the Lit Wick,” a lush, sensual depiction of a dancer in a white top and black leggings stretching her torso, arms raised, large light and dark circles on the back wall, mimicking her clothing. It’s a magisterial piece, demanding of extended viewing to absorb its subtle immensity. But don’t get lost in the beauty of the individual canvases, which also include the triptych “Vigil for a Horseman,” of a man in black and red posing on a red-and-white bed. They are in dialogue with one another as much as they are speaking to us. “As I’m working on a painting, I’m looking at and responding to whatever else is hanging near it in the studio,” Yiadom-Boakye tells Bell and Gioni. “That’s inevitable. It’s an immersive process with precious little logical planning, but plenty of magic, rumination, and deviation. Madness can take on a logic of its own sometimes.” It would be madness to miss this ecstatic show, one of the most involving and dynamic of the year.
Met Fifth Avenue
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Through September 4, $12-$25
Many art lovers have accidentally wandered into the Comme des Garçons flagship store in Chelsea, thinking it was a gallery. So in turn, the Met Costume Institute exhibition “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” comes complete with a fashion counter with items available for purchase. The show itself, celebrating the unique and innovative design sense of Tokyo-born designer and Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo, is utterly delightful, fancifully arranged in geometric white “closets” that offer colorful treats throughout its winding path, evoking her concepts of emptiness (mu) and space (ma). Many of the pieces are more objet d’art than wearable outfit, and that dichotomy is reflected in the organization of the exhibit, which is divided into “Absence/Presence,” “Design/Not Design,” “Fashion/Antifashion,” “Model/Multiple,” “High/Low,” “Then/Now,” “Self/Other,” “Object/Subject,” and “Clothes/Not Clothes.” Kawakubo, who recently turned seventy-five, notes, “My clothes and the spaces they inhabit are inseparable — they are one and the same. They convey the same message, and the same sense of values.” Pieces from the 1997 ready-to-wear collection “Body Meets Dress — Dress Meets Body” stand out in a dazzling red. One dress from “The Future of Silhouette” is made of brown paper, two others of white synthetic wadding in an unusual shape, with the mannequins sporting Brillo-y silver hairstyles. (The faceless heads and wild wigs are by Julien d’Ys.) A black polyester lace and net dress from “Ceremony of Separation” seems to have escaped from a horror movie. And a group of “Ballerina Motorbike” jackets and skirts are, per Kawakubo, “Harley-Davidson loves Margot Fonteyn.” The show also features clothes from such other collections as “Bad Taste,” “Clustering Beauty,” “Adult Punk,” “Round Rubbber,” “Abstract Excellence,” and “Not Making Clothing.” In 2012, Kawakubo said, “Personally, I don’t care about function at all. . . . When I hear ‘where could you wear that?’ or ‘it’s not very wearable’ or ‘who would wear that?’ to me it’s just a sign that someone missed the point.” Don’t miss the point at this rad show, which continues at the Met through September 4. In addition, on September 1 from 5:00 to 9:00, “MetFridays: In-Between Fashion” features a fashion design contest involving undergrad and graduate students, a panel discussion with Greg Foley, Phil Oh, and Shelley Fox, a photo booth, drop-in art workshops, and a party with music by DJ Reborn.
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave.
BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Pl.
September 14 - December 16
As usual, we are considering moving in to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for three months after the announcement of the lineup for the thirty-fifth BAM Next Wave Festival, running September 14 through December 16 at the Harvey, the Howard Gilman Opera House, and the Fisher. “This year’s Next Wave showcases artists from Switzerland to Senegal in creative dialogue with historic events, personal histories, and the present moment,” longtime BAM executive producer Joe Melillo said in a statement. The roster includes old favorites and up-and-comers from around the world, with several surprises. Dance enthusiasts will be particularly impressed with the schedule, which begins September 14-24 with a superb double bill of Tanztheater Wuppertal/Pina Bausch’s Café Müller and The Rite of Spring, which were part of the first Bausch program at BAM back in June 1984. For The Principles of Uncertainty (September 27-30), Maira Kalman teams up with John Heginbotham, Dance Heginbotham, and the Knights to bring her online graphic diary to life. New York Live Arts artistic director and cofounder Bill T. Jones returns to BAM with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and composer Nick Hallett for A Letter to My Nephew (October 3-7), about his nephew, Lance T. Briggs, who battled illness and addiction. Senegalese artist Germaine Acogny takes center stage for the emotional solo piece Mon élue noire (My Black Chosen One): Sacre #2 (October 4-7), choreographed specifically for her by Olivier Dubois of Ballet du Nord, set to music by Stravinsky. Also on the movement bill are Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY’s Saudade, Cynthia Oliver’s Virago-Man Dem, ODC/Dance, Brenda Way, and KT Nelson’s boulders and bones, David Dorfman Dance’s Aroundtown, Hofesh Shechter Company’s Grand Finale, Xavier Cha’s Buffer, Big Dance Theater’s 17c, and Tesseract, a multimedia collaboration between Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener.
The festival also boasts impressive theater productions, kicking off October 11-14 with Schaubühne Berlin’s tantalizing version of Shakespeare’s Richard III, translated and adapted by Marius von Mayenburg, directed by Thomas Ostermeier, and starring Lars Eidinger. Théâtre de la Ville, Paris is back November 2-4 with Albert Camus’s State of Siege, directed by Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota. Tony-winning Belgian director Ivo van Hove takes on Ayn Rand in Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s four-hour The Fountainhead November 28 to December 2. Rachel Dickstein and Ripe Time bring Naomi Iizuka’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Sleep to the Fisher November 20 to December 2. Fresh off her Broadway stint in Marvin’s Room, Lili Taylor stars in Farmhouse/Whorehouse: An Artist Lecture by Suzanne Bocanegra, directed by Lee Sunday Evans (December 12-16). Geoff Sobelle, who went solo at BAM for The Object Lesson, is joined by an ensemble of designers and dancers for Home (December 6-10). And be on the lookout for Manfred Karge, Alexandra Wood, and Wales Millennium Centre’s Man to Man, Thaddeus Phillips and Steven Dufala’s A Billion Nights on Earth, the Cameri Theatre of Tel-Aviv’s adaptation of Etgar Keret’s Suddenly, directed by Zvi Sahar and PuppetCinema, Manual Cinema’s Mementos Mori, Marc Bamuthi Joseph/The Living Word Project’s /peh-LO-tah/, and James Thierrée and Compagnie du Hanneton’s La grenouille avait raison (The Toad Knew).
Music aficionados have plenty to choose from, with Olivier Py Sings Les Premiere Adieux de Miss Knife, Kronos Quartet, Rinde Eckert, and Vân-Ánh Võ’s My Lai, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Counts’s Road Trip, Gabriel Kahane’s Book of Travelers, Rithy Panh, Him Sophy, Trent Walker, Jonathan Berger, and Harriet Scott’s Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, Wordless Music Orchestra and Chorus’s two-part John Cale: The Velvet Underground & Nico, and the New York premiere of American Repertory Theater’s Crossing, an opera inspired by Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” composed, written, and conducted by Matthew Aucoin and directed by Diane Paulus. The season is supplemented with several postperformance talks and master classes.
French Institute Alliance Française and other locations
Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
FIAF Gallery, 22 East 60th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
September 6 - October 15, free - $60
FIAF’s annual Crossing the Line Festival enters its second decade with the eleventh edition of its always exciting multidisciplinary lineup featuring unique and eclectic works from around the world. This year’s focus is on Congolese choreographer and CTL veteran Faustin Linyekula, who will be presenting the world premiere of the site-specific Banataba at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (9/9, 9/10, 9/12, $65), the U.S. premiere of In Search of Dinozord with Studios Kabako at the NYU Skirball Center (9/22, 9/23, $40), and the world premiere of Festival of Dreams at Roberto Clemente Plaza on 9/23 and Weeksville Heritage Center on 9/24 (free, 3:00). The festival begins September 6-7 with Ryoji Ikeda’s supercodex (live set) at the Met ($45-$60), a follow-up to his dazzling Superposition from 2014. In #PUNK, taking place 9/14-15 in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium ($30), Zimbabwe-born, New York–based Nora Chipaumire channels the musical rage of Patti Smith; the 9/14 show will be followed by a Q&A with Chipaumire and Linyekula, moderated by Ralph Lemon. Performance festival regular Annie Dorsen (Magical, Yesterday Tomorrow) takes a new narrative approach to the internet in The Great Outdoors, 9/21-23 in FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall ($35). Alessandro Sciarroni continues his “Will you still love me tomorrow?” trilogy with the New York premiere of UNTITLED_I will be there when you die at La MaMa 9/28-30 ($25, 8:00).
Moroccan dancer-choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen’s Corbeaux (Crows) is a site-specific living sculpture that will move throughout the Brooklyn Museum’s Beaux-Arts Court 9/30 and 10/1 (free with museum admission). Drag fave Dickie Beau conjures Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland in Blackouts 10/5-8 at Abrons Arts Center ($30). Adelheid Roosen and Nazmiye Oral transform FIAF’s Le Skyroom into an intimate living room in No Longer without You 10/12-15 ($25), in which traditional Muslim immigrant Havva Oral and her Westernized daughter, Nazmiye, discuss faith, sexuality, identity, and more. In addition, Alain Willaume’s immersive exhibition, “VULNERABLE,” will be on view 9/15 to 10/28 in the FIAF Gallery (free), and Sophie Calle’s Voir la mer, set by the Black Sea in Istanbul, will be projected on Times Square billboards every night in October at 11:57 as part of the monthly Midnight Moment program.
Who: Jonah Bokaer
What: The Disappearance Portraits
Where: Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 90th St. between Madison & Fifth Aves.
When: Thursday, August 24, $13-$15, 6:00
Why: The summer Thursdays Cocktails at Cooper Hewitt series concludes August 24 with American choreographer and visual artist Jonah Bokaer’s The Disappearance Portraits, taking place in the Smithsonian Design Museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden. Bokaer, whose previous works include Eclipse, Triple Echo, Rules of the Game and Neither, will be performing to original music by Soundwalk Collective. The site-specific live installation was inspired by research Bokaer conducted into his family history and the Mediterranean migration crisis.