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Fall Preview: Art

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MUSEUMS

Old Masters

"Ruskin's Italy, Ruskin's England," at the Pierpont Morgan Library (September 28 to January 7), could be listed under Old Master or modern exhibitions. With his extraordinary writings on Italian Renaissance painters and on the art of his time (nineteenth-century England), informed by his ability to understand the artistic process as an artist, from the inside, and with his stormy soap opera of a life, Ruskin is an endless source of insight into the emergence of modernism and the modernist reinvention of an old-master world.

In "Nardo di Cione" (November 17 to February 18), the Brooklyn Museum will organize a small exhibition around the two recently reunited parts of its treasured fourteenth-century Italian altarpiece, Christ Blessing. And in "The Still Lifes of Evaristo Baschenis and the Music of Silence" (November 17 to March 4), the Metropolitan Museum of Art is introducing the United States to a contemplative seventeenth-century Italian painter known for his still lifes of musical instruments.

Modernism

"Open Ends" (September 28 to January 30) is the third cycle of exhibitions organized by the Museum of Modern Art to respond to the millennium. The first two cycles, "ModernStarts" and "Making Choices," revealed the breadth and richness of the museum's pre-1960 holdings. "Open Ends," which is concerned with art after 1960, will show fewer works, since many of them are bigger, which makes the choices more worthy of attention. Some of the themes, such as "The Vanishing Monument and the Archives of Memory," and "Actual Size," which deals with the wonderfully tricky issue of scale, are particularly promising.

Contemporary Art

Roni Horn, a sculptor who works with many materials as well as with words, is one of the feisty women whose work will be shown in New York museums this fall. "Roni Horn: Still Water (The River Thames, for Example), 1999," at the Whitney (September 16 to January 14), brings to New York a series of photographs of the surface of the Thames that shift between lyrical romanticism and hard scientific documentation.

Asian Art and Culture

Many of the major exhibitions devoted to Asian art and culture this fall will be based on individual collections, on which museums are increasingly dependent. Even if "The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy From the John B. Elliott Collection" (September 15 to January 7) is not the most important display of calligraphy ever assembled in the West, as the Metropolitan Museum is promoting it, the exhibition, spanning 1,500 years, will offer a terrific opportunity to consider the distinctly Chinese relationship between image and words.

"Power and Desire: South Asian Paintings From the San Diego Museum of Art, Edwin Binney III Collection" (Asia Society, October 12 to January 7), will show work from the Mughal and Rajput courts shaped by that passionate investigation of body and soul that has made Indian art so alluring to the West.

"Face to Face: Shiseido and the Manufacture of Beauty, 1900 to 2000," at New York University Grey Art Gallery (September 15 to October 28), will offer a meditation on beauty based on a century of Japanese approaches to makeup. The exhibition will argue that Shiseido, a global cosmetic corporation that established one of Japan's first art galleries and at one point provided a regular gathering place for artists and intellectuals, had a decisive influence on the development of Japanese modernism.

"Yes Yoko Ono" (October 18 to January 14), at the Japan Society, is devoted to an artist at home with both popular culture and the avant-garde, and who has worked for four decades to make art that connects the mundane and spiritual aspects of life.

Wild Cards

What was art criticism in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and what impact did it have on American art? The National Academy of Design's "Rave Reviews: American Art and its Critics, 1826-1925" (September 20 to December 31) will provide answers.

"Giorgio Armani" (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, October 20 to January 17) is a blockbuster devoted to the Italian fashion designer that will give the museum another chance to prove it's a well-connected international cultural franchise that knows how to appeal to the rich and famous and to the masses.

At the other extreme is the Jewish Museum's "Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?" (December 10 to March 25). "Life? or Theatre?" is the title Salomon gave to 800 gouaches she produced between 1940 and 1942, a year before she died in Auschwitz at the age of 26. These little-known watercolors are childlike in their luminosity and trust, and sophisticated and moving in their narration.
M.B.

GALLERIES

Paintings and Works on Paper

It sounds like a Henry James novel morphed into contemporary paintings. First, Los Angeles artist Delia Brown has a photographer shoot hired models posing in lavish interiors meant to suggest a world of money and fame beyond their reach. Then, working from those shots, she creates paintings and watercolors that depict her constructed identities for her characters: shallow aspiring party animals. (D'Amelio Terras, 525 West 22nd Street; October 7 to November 4.)

With two well-received New York shows under his belt, the Thailand-born Udomsak Krisanamis continues making some of the most enchanting work around, cutting out numbers and words from newspapers and other printed matter; photocopying them; attaching them to plywood, silk-screen-cloth, or canvas backing (with the occasional addition of cellophane rice noodles); and then filling in everything but the negative spaces with graphite, marker, or paint. The result: twinkling collage patterns that evoke a city at night. (Gavin Brown's Enterprise, 436 West 15th Street; September 9 to October 7.)

A year before his death at the age of 43, German "bad boy" Martin Kippenberger found a subject in which all of his themes -- the artist's persona, the conventions of painting, and the role of art in society -- took a Freudian turn. The ten paintings in "Jacqueline: The Paintings Pablo Couldn't Paint Anymore," Kippenberger's 1996 homage to Picasso, are based on photographs of Picasso's widow taken in the artist's studio after his death, and depict her against a background of intense colors, stripes, and other signature Kippenberger touches. (Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street; September 30 to November 4.)

It's a rare event when Joan T. Washburn Gallery takes on a new artist -- we're speaking, after all, of the 57th Street site that handles the estates of Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Ray Parker, and other icons of abstraction. Then again, few contemporary artists are more perfectly in sync with this gallery's aesthetic than Andrew Masullo, who is opening its fall season with his small abstract paintings, works that comprise all-over geometric fields or interlocking shapes of thick dried pigment. (20 West 57th Street; September 14 to October 21.)

From a distance, Barry Goldberg's linear renderings of geometric figures could pass for minimalist paintings from the sixties and seventies -- or an Austin Powers-ish revisiting of that era's abstraction. Seen close up, though, Goldberg's paintings are more about process: substrata of color, glimpsed through abrasions and fissures in the painting's outer skin, seem to be simmering beneath the surface. (Howard Scott Gallery, 529 West 20th Street; September 7 to October 7.)

"He has no studio. Works anywhere, in this or that house, in his bed, often at night. He paints only a few times each year and for a few days, when it really 'overruns' him, he says, when it 'overwhelms' him; when his eyes 'catch fire.' " Thus wrote French poet Franck André Jamme of Acharya Vyakul, an Indian artist who died this past May and whose tantra-folk paintings Jamme "discovered" in Jaipur in 1988 and brought back to France. Now you can see them for yourself. (Lawrence Markey Gallery, 42 East 76th Street; September 7 to October 7.)

Shortlist

Abstract paintings by Louise Fishman, (Cheim & Read, 521 West 23rd Street; September 15 to October 21), Lydia Dona (Von Lintel & Nusser, 555 West 25th Street; October 19 to November 25), and Erin Parish (Winston Wächter Mayer Fine Art, 39 East 78th Street; September 12 to October 14). Ecology meets fantasy in six new canvases by Alexis Rockman (Gorney Bravin + Lee, 534 West 26th Street; October 14 to November 11). Precisionist-inspired views of New York's skyscraper "canyons" by Mark Innerst (Paul Kasmin Gallery, 293 Tenth Avenue; September 8 to October 7). Interiors of artists' studios, including those of Alberto Giacometti, Giorgio Morandi, and David Smith, by Rafael Ferrer (Nancy Hoffman Gallery, 429 West Broadway; October 4 to November 1). Nature-oriented landscapes by April Gornik (Edward Thorp Gallery, 210 Eleventh Avenue; September 15 to October 14). A selection of late portraits by Alice Neel (Robert Miller Gallery, 524 West 26th Street; September 8 to October 14). Collages on printed vinyl that feature clowns as a central element, by Raven Schlossberg (James Graham & Sons, 1014 Madison Avenue; September 14 to October 7).

Sculpture and Installation

No matter where you look, the figure -- both human and animal -- is still the big subject in contemporary sculpture and installation, particularly outside the U.S. In September in SoHo, there's German artist Pia Stadtbäumer's life-size, cast-porcelain-and-plaster sculptures of her nephew (Max) and the daughter of a friend (Clara) frozen in mid-gesture poses (Sean Kelly Gallery, 43 Mercer Street; September 15 to October 21); a site-specific installation by Korean artist Do-Ho Suh, of various sculptures comprising hundreds of tiny human figures (Lehmann Maupin, 39 Greene Street; September 7 to October 7); and what her gallery is calling "a startling sculptural relief of slaughtered animals" by Argentine artist Nicola Costantino (Deitch Projects, 76 Grand Street; September 7 to October 7).

The latest British efforts in the figurative vein can be seen in Chelsea, as in Rachel Berwick's cast-resin sculptures of the extinct Tasmanian tiger based on film footage of the beast from the twenties (Brent Sikkema, 530 West 22nd Street; September 9 to October 14) and erstwhile animal pickler Damien Hirst's almost-twenty-foot-tall painted bronze anatomical model, Hymn. (Gagosian Gallery, 555 West 24th Street; September 23 to December 16.)

If you missed them on the Met's roof garden last year, travel to 57th Street to see Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz's Bambini, a group of 40 child-size figures, which is part of a larger monumental group of 95 figures. (Marlborough Gallery, 40 West 57th Street; September 28 to October 28.)

Shortlist

A new mixed-media installation, "The Four Seasons," and film stills from Fly (1970) and Bottoms (1966) by Yoko Ono (Ubu Gallery, 16 East 78th Street; September 15 to October 21). Sculptures made from melted plastic everyday objects by Ian Dawson (James Cohan Gallery, 41 West 57th Street; September 7 to October 7). Whimsical biospheres and wall sculptures of miniature universes by Rob de Mar (Clementine Gallery, 526 West 26th Street; September 7 to October 7). Cast-concrete sculptures that play on minimalism and New York's ubiquitous paving material by Stefanie Nagorka (Debs & Co., 525 West 26th Street; September 7 to October 14). An undulating clay floor sculpture and a lagoonlike environment by Meg Webster (Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 West 21st Street; September 9 to October 14). The Hiroshima Projection, a public video project in which Japanese A-bomb survivors speak of the prejudice that exists against them, by Krzysztof Wodiczko (Galerie Lelong, 20 West 57th Street; September 7 to October 21). Painting, the movie, a continuous performance/installation by Claude Wampler (Postmasters, 459 West 19th Street; September 9 to October 7.)

Best Group Shows

"Against Nature," paintings from the fifties and sixties by the iconoclastic postwar Italian artists Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana, and Piero Manzoni (Sperone Westwater, 142 Greene Street; September 14 to October 28). "Paradise Now: Picturing the Genetic Revolution," works by 39 artists from this country and abroad -- among them Nancy Burson, Mark Dion, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle -- who are examining the meaning and implications of genetic research (Exit Art, 548 Broadway; September 9 to October 28); "Portraits of Leo," images of the legendary New York gallery owner Leo Castelli by Richard Artschwager, Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman, and others (Castelli Gallery, 59 East 79th Street; September 7 to October 7).

Photography

Warhol's Brillo box meets its contemporary match in Neil Winokur's wry images of the MetroCard, the hot dog, the rat, and other New York icons isolated against vividly colored backgrounds. (Janet Borden, Inc., 560 Broadway; September 21 to October 28.)

His 25-year survey show opens at the Baltimore Museum of Art in September; here in Chelsea, James Welling is showing four series that illustrate his investigation of photography's history and processes -- including Eastern Window, 24 contact prints recording the changing view from his window. (Gorney, Bravin + Lee, 534 West 26th Street; September 8 to October 7.)

British conceptual photographer John Hilliard, not seen here since the mid-eighties, is back with mysterious staged images that simultaneously present and obstruct a narrative -- using screens, for example, to cut off views of urban interiors and their inhabitants. (Senior & Shopmaker, 21 East 26th Street; September 22 to November 4.)

He's done it all -- covers for Life, fashion spreads for Vogue, the Police's Synchronicity album cover, and (perhaps most impressively) his dreamlike narrative explorations of his emotional life. This month Duane Michals gets SVA's Masters Series Award and a retrospective. (Visual Arts Museum, 209 East 23rd Street; September 18 to October 21.)

People who shoot people are the luckiest people in the fall: Jenny Gage is making her debut at Luhring Augustine with Ventura, staged images of "fast" girls in a small Southern California town (531 West 24th Street; September 9 to October 14). Katy Grannan's first solo show in New York comprises large color portraits of mothers and children, adolescents, and couples posed in their own homes (Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, 730 Fifth Avenue; through September 30). And those who love grunge can take a gander at fashion photographer Terry Richardson's shots of a nudist colony (Alleged Galleries, 809 Washington Street; September 15 to October 14).

Three of photography's giants get their close-ups this season. "Edward Steichen" marks the first retrospective of Steichen's work since moma's 1961 exhibition and includes nearly 200 vintage prints -- portraits, landscapes, fashion and advertising work, combat shots -- as well as his early tonalist paintings and textile designs (Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue; October 5 to February 4). In October, there's "Eugène Atget: the Pioneer," illustrating the French photographer's influence on Walker Evans, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Strand, and others (ICP, 1130 Fifth Avenue; October 7 to January 21), followed by "A Portrait of Paris: Eugène Atget at Work," comprising 180 of the French photographer's images of the historic core of Paris -- shot between 1898 and a few months before his death in 1927 (Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue; November 4 to February 4). Another French master, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, the photographer whose breezy style embodied spontaneity and movement, will be represented in more than 60 prints dating from 1902 to the thirties from the collection of his late widow, Florette (Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue; September 21 to November 4).
EDITH NEWHALL


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