This Week’s Openings: Issues of Race, Breast Shelves, and Looking Beyond Haggis

by Whitney Kimball on September 27, 2011 Preview

Lisa Yuskavage, "Outskirts," 2011. David Zwirner.

In assembling our October gallery preview, we realized there were a few September stragglers we look forward to attending – or at least catching the tail end of – this week.  So, if you haven’t already heard, here are a few end-of-month picks.

September 27th:

David Zwirner: Lisa Yuskavage. 525 West 19th Street. Opening Tuesday, September 27th, 6-8 p.m.; through November 5th.

I have never seen Yuskavage’s work up close, and the curiosity is enough to entice me here.  In keeping with her bubbly, kitsch paintings of nubile, baby-faced women, David Zwirner presents her new series of fantasy narratives.  The perennial question about Yuskavage’s work is whether a point about female objectification is really made through actively practicing objectification; you may remember she’s received a few negative reviews from Jerry Saltz over the years, along those lines. [See if you can spot AFC-dubbed “Night on Boob Mountain” on the David Zwirner site]. However, the photos suggest that there may be enough gruesome detail and dark humor – a necessary wink – to make this new series work.

Photo from Industrial Aesthetics

Hunter College, Times Square GalleryIndustrial Aesthetics: Environmental Influences on Recent Art From Scotland. 450 West 41st Street. Opening Tuesday, September 27th, 6-8 p.m.; on view October 1st – November 12th.

What’s going on in the Scottish art scene?  Those of us who have no idea can go see Industrial Aesthetics at Hunter College. Billed as the “largest collection of Scottish art ever seen in New York,” the show will focus on how the industrial legacy and landscape of Glasgow has influenced contemporary Scottish art.  I came across an Alexander McQueen quote last night that made me want to see this: “The reason I'm patriotic about Scotland is because I think it's been dealt a really hard hand. It's marketed the world over as . . . haggis . . . bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.”

[Editor’s Note: Those of us who have some idea, on the other hand, will recognize that besides the standard suite of Scottish international stars – Douglas Gordon, Martin Creed, Jim Lambie – there are a lot of unknowns, or unknowns-with-the-right-galleries, here. Outside of those two poles, I’m interested in Ilana Halperin, who’s been doing her damnedest to make landscapes interesting and seems like a natural fit. Here’s a write-up on her work from the Guardian. -Will Brand]

September 30th:

Mary Jones, "From the Wall"

Storefront: Haywire. 16 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick. Opening Friday, September 30th, 7-10 p.m.; through October 23rd.

Aesthetic may be the heart of this show, but there’s something to be said for psychedelic beauty.  This manifests in painting, as in the work of Elisabeth Condon, or haywire circuitry, as in the work of dNASAb.

Rico Gatson, "Two Heads"

Exit Art: Rico Gatson, Three Trips Around the Block. 475 Tenth Ave. Opening September 30th, 7-9 p.m.; through November 23rd.

We’re still waiting on the Rico Gatson New Museum solo show Paddy asked for earlier this year, but this will do for now. In “Three Trips Around the Block,” the Brooklyn-based artist uses imagery from pop culture and symbols to talk about race and identity through collective memory.  The show’s title refers to a conversation Gatson had with his brother, who had recently been released from jail, in which they walked a few times around the block; the separation between himself and his brother is a focal point in the work.  At his best, Gatson brings back the sincerity, seriousness of purpose, and quality of storytelling that’s necessary in a balanced art diet.

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