Every two weeks we will be highlighting three top shows going on in and around the the city Vonnegut brilliantly described as a “skyscraper national park.” Apparently quite a few people live in New York (needs citation) so we thought it only polite that we dedicate this bi-weekly slot to all things art in The Big Apple. This inaugural edition includes New Photography 2011 at the MoMA, Picasso’s Drawings, 1890 – 1921: Reinventing Tradition at The Frick Collection, and Olaf Breuning’s The Art Freaks at the Metro Pictures Gallery. How do you say? New York, New York?
New Photography 2011 MoMa, New York
The annual showcase of photography at New York’s MoMA is typical of the impossible scope and potential for the medium, celebrating that remarkable ability to capture a time and likeness as seen/imagined by the photographer’s lens. What New Photography 2011 presents is the absolute epitome of diversity realised by the six artists who represent contemporary, autonomous photography. They are Moyra Davey, George Georgiou – a documentarian of the Turkish struggle with identity – Zhang Dali, Doug Rickard – whose remarkable road trip round the US has been completed using Google Streetview – Viviane Sassen, and Deana Lawson – a witness and a stranger who captures vivid portraits of an intense intimacy. Show runs until January 16, 2012.
Picasso’s Drawings, 1890–1921: Reinventing Tradition The Frick Collection
Life begins at 40 so the saying goes, but Pablo Picasso packed so much into his first four decades that he might just disprove that aphorism. From blue, to rose, to Africa, to cubism and round to neoclassicism, by the time he reached the milestone in 1921 – he had already established himself as perhaps the most ceaselessly inventive artist who has ever lived. But this is no dilettantism; experimentation and evolution are at the core of his artistic mission, or as he put it: “Disciples be damned. It’s not interesting. It’s only the masters that matter. Those who create.” The story of his drawing in that period is the behind-the-scenes story of his famous works, and the most obvious link between him and his classical forebears. Terrific technique meets vaulting artistic ambition and offers an original glimpse into Picasso’s extraordinary talent. Runs until January 8, 2011. Images © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Olaf Breuning: The Art Freaks Metro Pictures Gallery
From my experience, no street performer in London’s Covent Garden has ever painted his naked body silver, hung banana skins off, well, anywhere they would hang, and called it Andy. But there is still that surreal familiarity that these Art Freaks are something like those prosaic human statues. What they really are is a conflation of a really fun guessing game and a humorously questioning look at signature styles and how that now defines an artist’s personal identity – an investigation of the “so-called high and low artistic techniques as they discuss notions of kitsch, cliché, and reproduction.” Edvard is my favourite – and just in time for halloween! Now showing at Metro Pictures until October 29.