Art This Week in Culture

This Week in Culture: January 29 - February 4

Harold Cohen, AARON KCAT, 2001. Image courtesy of the artist and the Whitney Museum.

New York 

Harold Cohen: AARON
The Whitney
When: February 3 - May, 2024
Why It’s Worth a Look: The Whitney Museum showcases the journey of Harold Cohen, a traditional painter turned A.I. innovator, and his creation, AARON, the world’s first A.I. artmaking software. From its initial abstractions to complex representations of figures and plant life, the evolution of AARON is a testament to Cohen’s pioneering work, which continued until his death in 2016.
Know Before You Go: Over time, Cohen began to consider AARON as a “sort of assistant.” 

No One Thing. David Smith, Late Sculptures
Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street
When: February 1 - April 13
Why It’s Worth a Look: Hauser & Wirth is showcasing the final years of David Smith’s trailblazing career, marked by audacious experimentation, prolific output, and surprising color combinations. Frank O’Hara once observed that Smith’s sculptures had a peculiar kind of energy emitting from them: “Circle them as you may; they are never napping. They present a total attention, and they are telling you that that is the way to be: on guard.”
Know Before You Go: “No One Thing. David Smith, Late Sculptures” features seven key works from the '60s, including pieces from his iconic "Zigs," "Primo Pianos," and "Gondolas" series.

Robert Gober, Paco, 2008-2024. Image courtesy of the artist and 125 Newbury.

Animal Watch

Where: 125 Newbury 
When: January 26 - March 2
Why It’s Worth a Look: This group show features an impressive lineup, including artists such as Nan Goldin, Natalie Frank, Joan Jonas, and Yoshitomo Nara. It explores the various ways animals are seen represented, from symbolic depictions to direct engagements with the natural world. “Animal Watch” is an exploration of how the “other” makes us human. 
Know Before You Go: The inspiration behind the exhibition is summarized in a quote from philosopher Jacques Derrida, who spoke on the disquieting experience of feeling observed by his cat while naked in his bathroom. “It is as if I were ashamed,” he wrote, “naked in front of this cat, but also ashamed for being ashamed.”

Women and Penguins” by Mathieu Malouf 
Nahmad Contemporary 
When: January 31 - March 16
Why It’s Worth a Look: In an attempt to understand and reinterpret art history’s traditional notions of beauty, Mathieu Malouf’s “Women and Penguins” delves into the intriguing dual themes of female figures and the flightless birds. It marks a departure from his focus on the male form, or as he says, “nude men, gay men, famous men.” He explained the shift, saying, “Painting women is a way to address art history itself.”
Know Before You Go: Malouf’s detailed oil paintings of women draw inspiration from the historical genre of the Odalisque and figures like Manet’s Olympia, 1863. 

Barbara Kruger, “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You." (Installation view), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers.


Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” by Barbara Kruger
Serpentine Galleries 
When: February 1 - March 17 
Why It’s Worth a Look: Barbara Kruger’s latest exhibition promises a thought-provoking exploration of identity, consumerism, and control. A highlight is the U.K. premiere of Untitled (No Comment), 2020, a three-channel video installation that delves into the complexities of online content creation and consumption. The exhibition offers commentary on our digital age and the nature of communication in our interconnected world. 
Know Before You Go: “Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.” is Kruger’s first solo institutional exhibition in London in over 20 years. 


Devotion” by Laura Owens and Calvin Marcus
When: Opening February 2
Why It’s Worth a Look: “Devotion” combines the distinct artistic styles of Los Angeles-based artists Laura Owens and Calvin Marcus. Known for her intricate, multi-layered canvases, Owens’s work blends the abstract with the figurative. Marcus’s whimsical and often absurdist works provide an intriguing counterpoint. 
Know Before You Go: The show explores the theme of devotion interpreted through the lense of two singular painters, tackling the same, religiously inclined concept from vastly different perspectives.