Saturday, September 8, 2018

Vernissages | Fall Season in New York: First Week

"Truth & Beauty" at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
“To open man’s eyes to the world, to enable him to see beauty, to better understand reality, and to have a closer affinity with truth... beauty, reality and truth are the philosophical basis for my work.”   —Ebony, July 1967
The fall season has officially opened in New York, and these are my picks for the first week of September 2018, which promises a quite dense and diverse array of exhibition. The quote from Charles White (1918-1979) important exhibition at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is a comforting general statement going beyond art and especially meaningful in these unsettling times.

Another important posthumous exhibition of Lygia Clark (1929-2004) also resorts to beauty, here more abstract as the beauty found in geometric constructions. The artist was one of the most influential representatives of the Brazilian  Neo-Concrete Movement (1959–61). The extensive exhibition of Pape's work at Hauser & Wirth—including sculptures, drawing and writings—  motivated me to read more about the Neo-Concrete Movement, and its manifesto, written by Ferreira Gullar. Below are some excerpts which are well represented by the work in the exhibition: 
We do not conceive of art either as a “machine” or as an “object” but as a quasi-corpus, that is, an entity whose reality is not exhausted in the external relationships of its elements; an entity that, though analytically divisible into its parts, only gives itself up fully to a direct, phenomenological approach. We believe that the work of art overcomes the material mechanism upon which it rests, not due to some virtue lying outside this Earth: it overcomes it by transcending those mechanical relationships (which is the object of Gestalt theory) and by creating for itself a tacit signification (Merleau-Ponty) that emerges in it for the first time. If we had to search for a simile for the work of art, we could not find it, therefore, either in a machine or in objects taken objectively, but rather, as S. Langer and V. Wleidlé [sic] argue, in living organisms. Furthermore, this comparison would not be sufficient to express the specific reality of the aesthetic organism.Since the work of art is not limited to occupying a place in objective space—but rather transcends it in basing a new signification in it—the objective notions of time, space, form, structure, color, etc. are not sufficient to understand the work of art, to fully explain its “reality.” The lack of an adequate terminology for expressing a world that does not succumb to notions led art critics indiscriminately to employ words that are unfaithful to the complexity of the created work. The influence of technology and science was manifest here as well, to the degree that today, with their roles reversed, certain artists, confused by that terminology, attempt to make art starting from these objective notions in order to apply them as a creative method. Inevitably, the artists who work in this fashion only reveal a priori notions, since they are constrained by a method that already prescribes the results of their work before they begin. By avoiding intuitive creation, by reducing himself to an objective body in an objective space, with his paintings the rationalist concrete artist hardly demands, from himself and from the viewer, a stimulating and reflexive reaction. He speaks to the eye as an instrument and not to the eye as a human means of possessing the world and of giving oneself to it; he speaks to the machine-eye and not the body-eye.

Bold geometric investigations of Lygia Pape at Hauser & Wirth (East 69 Street)

More geometric exploration can be found at David Richard Gallery in the exhibition "Systemic Pattern Painting", including works by a group of artists from the 1970s and 1980s Criss-Cross cooperative, based n New York City and Boulder (Colorado). Criss-Cross artists "explored complex mathematically-derived patterns and abstract structures. The cooperative was part of the broader Pattern and Decoration movement from the 1970s."

 "Systemic Pattern Painting" at David Richard Gallery

"NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932" at Grey Art Gallery (NYU)

Emilio Cavallini, Meguru Yamaguchi "Untainted Abstraction" at GR Gallery

Lower East Side "Confirmation Bias" at bit forms gallery

"Superimposition" at Lesley Heller Gallery

"Urs Fischer: Play" at Gagosian