Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor
11 W 53rd St
Runs through January 18
Decades after their making, Gober’s room-size installations can still fill viewers with pangs of rage, confusion—and sometimes, divine revelation. After 9/11, Gober constructed a devotional room with, depending on how you look at it, either a heart-wrenching or offensive scene: a headless Jesus pours a continuous stream of water out of his nipples while two creaked-open doors provide a glimpse into two rooms where a man and woman bathe in an endless stream of water. It’s a trinity of sorts, and it’s entirely effective.
Lining the walls of the “church” are replicas of the New York Times from the day after the World Trade Center attacks, with one difference: Gober drew couples in embrace across those pages, noting the desire for closeness after the attacks. Thirteen years later, these papers seem like artifacts of former emotions—but not entirely. I was still brought to tears. Perhaps that’s what the best artists do, though with Gober, I’m still unsure if he’s doing much more than pulling at our heartstrings.
Puddle, pothole, portal
44-19 Purves St, Long Island City
Runs through January 5, 2015
Bump into some animated art in a show curated by SculptureCenter’s Ruba Katrib and artist Camille Henrot. You might find yourself doing so without intending it: a rubbery, gloved hand several feet long slithers along the gallery floor, a herd of concrete sheep stand guard outside a clear plastic door, and super-size bits of chalk stick out sharply from a blackboard. That silly and cartoony- sensibility runs throughout the show, but the works that function best aren’t just one note. Standout works include Olga Balema’s “Interior Biomorphic Attachment” series in which half a dozen, hard-as-a-rock foam sculptures seem to be in the middle of a transformation, dangling, dripping, and rolling off the basement gallery’s walls. They’ve been painted to appear hard as a rock, leaving your imagination to believe in sculptural alchemy.
Artists include: Olga Balema, Joachim Bandau, Camille Blatrix, Teresa Burga, Antoine Catala, Abigail DeVille, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, Judith Hopf, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Allison Katz, Mark Leckey, Maria Loboda, Win McCarthy, Danny McDonald, Marlie Mul, Mick Peter, Chadwick Rantanen, Lucie Stahl, Saul Steinberg, Keiichi Tanaami, Lina Viste Grønli, and Jordan Wolfson.