Fin Simonetti at Company
Circulating around Fin Simonetti’s “Pledge,” one has the sensation they’ve entered a race. A metal barrier runs the gallery almost end to end, forcing the viewer to navigate the sculptural narrative laid out on top of its steely runway—small blue alabaster forms, shaped like hooks, dog paws, a phallus, a fire extinguisher. The forms feel connected, but what is their story? Two stained glass works are here to listen to your questions. With ears cocked towards the viewer, these partially-found sculptures that appropriate barber shop guides direct one attention to the flattened way male identity is disseminated in visual culture.
Penny Slinger at Fortnight Institute
Can you have your cake and eat it too? In the case of Fortnight Institute’s new Penny Slinger exhibition, “Inside Out,” you just might. The small survey delves into the pioneering feminist’s early collages and photographs, including the artist’s Bride’s Cake series, in which she donned an edible costume that played with the collapse between object and person under the patriarchal biases embedded in Western wedding rituals. Delectable to look at, Slinger’s collages leave a lingering sense of dread that follows you out into the wider world, asking you to look carefully at the way the chaos all around us is often indicative of a more insidious, underlying structure.
Derrick Adams at Luxembourg and Dayan
What would it be like to move to the Upper East Side? Wall-to-wall decadence, according to Derrick Adams, who takes up residence this month at Luxembourg and Dayan with Interior Life, a site-specific installation. The recently opened exhibition extrapolates the rich, colorful world found in Adams’ paintings and plasters it floor-to-ceiling, creating new realities in the demure townhouse. A two-dimensional dream house, Interior Life toys with the way portraiture embeds itself in the architectural vernacular and reflects back on the formal structures found in the artist’s paintings.
Jean-Michel Basquiat at The Brant Foundation
No one will ever be able to say Peter Brant can’t make an entrance. This month, he inaugurated the latest annex of his contemporary art empire with perhaps the most impressive Jean-Michel Basquiat survey the East Village has ever seen. And while the wait list for the show is already filling up (in addition to the 50,000 tickets that were originally offered), we recommend jumping in line. This is one canonical moment that cannot be missed.
Saul Steinberg at Totah Gallery
If Saul Steinberg’s drawings look familiar, you’re not imagining things. The late artist’s work often graced the cover of The New Yorker, and his resulting archive indeed skews towards the political and the pop. He referred to himself as “a writer who draws”; at Totah, Steinberg’s artistic side comes to the fore. The show brings together sketches that illustrate the breadth of Steinberg’s universe, from surreal landscapes that recall Hilma af Klint to fingerprint portraits.
Ghislaine Leung at Essex Street
Ghislaine Leung brings the outside in at Essex Street with “Power Relations,” her first solo show at the subterranean white cube. A stoic firing squad of street lamps occupies the gallery, greeting visitors as they descend into the freshly painted rectangle. The warm light they emit is muted by the freshly painted white walls and the glare of the LEDs over head, but they don’t blink. Everything feels frozen with the exception of a radio blaring its own agenda. The feeling one leaves with calls to mind a visit to a war memorial, when it is still unclear what was ever at stake.