Every fall, New York art world renews with a fresh batch of solo shows. This season, the major institutions focused their attention on large surveys on rule-breakers from Carolee Schneemann at MoMA PS1 to Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum. Here, Emily Gallagher shares the highlights.
November 2–December 16th; The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street
The premise of German-born artist Nikolas Gambaroff’s show at the Kitchen is a bit far fetched maybe even fatally flawed. Of course, it’s meant to be. Gambaroff’s installation finds inspiration in a theorist by the name of Karl Kraus, who wrote a satirical, 213-scene play, called The Last Days of Mankind, deemed ‘unperformable’ by the theorist himself- “intended for the theatre of mars” he even quipped.The play, published in 1919, tackled the social ills in German society during the WWI-especially a pervasive nationalist rhetoric. The inspiration for Gambaroff’s installation is unsettlingly, though powerfully tied to America’s current narrative, just add the complication of social media.
November 10–February 4th; Whitney Museum of Art, 99 Gansevoort St
Back in 2003, the then 32 year-old painter Laura Owens had her first ‘mid-career survey’ at MOCA LA. The absurdity of such a label might fit a little better this time around, as the Whitney mounts a solo show of Owen’s work almost 15 years later, organized by chief curator, Scott Rothkopf. It will be interesting to see what the most updated collection of the shape shifting artist reveals in 2017, a master of transforming the most dire of emotions into wicked, humor-infused beauty. This is especially true of Owen’s materially complicated, silk-screened paintings, like Untitled, 2014, of a cartoonish figure at the end of their rope. It recalls her contemporary, Nicole Eisenman’s advice to young artists but really can span to everyone: “Be that kitten on the branch and hang in there, baby!”
Maryam Hoseini “Of Strangers and Parrots”
November 5–December 23; Rachel Uffner, 170 Suffolk Street
Following on the heels of the deeply felt group show Other Romances, the upstairs of Rachel Uffner continues to be a quietly powerful exhibition space with the work of Iranian-born painter Maryam Hoseini. This will be the first solo for the young painter, who simultaneously completed MFA programs at University of Chicago and Bard College last year. ‘Doubling’ permeates in Hosseini’s opaquely-hued portraiture. Thick trails of color continue from the canvas, reaching towards the floor as impromptu pedestal for a sculpture. Similarly, her female subjects reach across a world real and imagined, as Hosseini acknowledges the socialized expectation of women of her native Iran, to then restage her figures in the painter’s created space- one full of possibility.
November 19–May 28th, 2018; Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd St
Stephen Shore’s chameleon-like persona has earned the photographer some of the most famed portraits of American life in its pop cultural obsession, through its most mundane signifiers. The retrospective at MoMA this November will be a homecoming of sorts, as it will be the first exhaustive exhibition of the native New Yorker’s five-decade career. Disarmingly familiar gelatin silver-prints of Warhol and the gang remain uncannily alive, through Shore’s lens of the late 1960’s, before the photographer goes technicolor in the following decade. Shore proves himself ever materially-subversive, skipping out on photographic fads to beat his own drum. One that zigs-zags him across country in his ‘American Surfaces’ series, and propels him through the Instagram age (@Stephen.Shore).