Three exhibitions to see in New York this weekend

Jasper Johns: Spirit / Mirror

Until February 13 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan

The two-location retrospective of Jasper Johns, presented simultaneously at the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is envisioned as a single exhibition, with galleries in each location exploring variations in related subjects (e.g., a section devoted to ‘dreams “, Or surrealist images inspired by Picasso, is put in parallel with a” nightmare “section at the PMA). The exhibition celebrates the artist’s prolific and evolving practice, including some unpublished works by an artist whose career is already firmly anchored in American art history. From his ubiquitous encaustic and metal works depicting American flags and numbers to the stick-like spectra widespread in his post-1990s works, which depict meditations on death, the exhibition explores the motifs that have become points of obsession for Johns at different times in his career. . Perhaps the most intriguing part of the exhibit is a room devoted to archival materials and photographs, which chronicles Whitney’s long relationship with Johns. It includes a press release for his 1978 retrospective at the museum and an “artist questionnaire” on the philosophy and the materials and methods behind the work. Studio (1964) – the first of more than 220 works that Whitney acquired by the artist.

John Chamberlain, Tambourinefrappe (2010). Photo: © 2021 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of Gagosian.

John Chamberlain: position, rhythm and incline

Until December 11 at Gagosian, 522 West 21st Street, Manhattan

The career-spanning exhibition marks the first major presentation of John Chamberlain’s enigmatic crushed steel sculptures since his retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2012. Like the retrospective, the exhibition was curated by eminent curator Susan Davidson , a friend and scholar of the late artist. “John paid attention to the hardness and the physicality of his job, he was a real guy,” Davidson says. Chamberlain’s use of materials and his emphasis on scale were heavily influenced by his three-year tenure in the US Navy and his observation of the command power of industrial machinery. “He once said that if you get the right scale, size doesn’t matter,” Davidson adds. The show includes a series of automotive frames that eclipse the viewer with their raw and unmistakably masculine presence. For example, the massif Tambourine (2010) merges a vintage car with strips of painted chrome steel. The works visually and linguistically invite a scrupulous consideration. Each bears a poetic and at times humorous title, echoing Chamberlain’s study of poetry at Black Mountain College in the 1950s.

View of the Mandala Lab installation at the Rubin Museum of Art. Photo: Rafael Gamo. Courtesy of the Rubin Museum of Art.

Mandala Lab: Where Emotions Can Turn Into Wisdom

Long-term installation at the Rubin Museum, 150 West 17th Street, Manhattan

Last summer, the Rubin Museum announced that it would be emptying its third-floor Himalayan art galleries to build the $ 1 million “Mandala Lab”, a long-term exhibit that aims to merge Buddhist principles with interactive installations designed with contemporary artists like Laurie Anderson. and Sanford Biggers. The ambitious project, which opens this week, seems incongruous with the museum and its inimitable collection, seeming to appeal to children dabbling in Eastern philosophy. Visitors first encounter a series of scent-emitting machines, each complemented by a video of an artist recounting memories of particular scents (Anderson on cigarette smoke; Biggers on temple incense). Rather than appeasing the senses, the scents linger strongly in the air. At the cost of some Rubin Collection gems being relegated to storage, there is life affirming signage all over the floor; a light sculpture in the shape of a mandala in the center of Palden Weinreb where visitors are encouraged to practice breathing exercises; and a series of gongs that can be struck and submerged in water, creating trippy sounds.

About Glenn Gosselin

Glenn Gosselin

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