We hope you’ve regained your strength from the always exhausting Armory Week because there are so many awesome gallery exhibitions out there for you to see, some of which are about to close forever. Here are seven of our favorites from the Lower East Side, listed from North to South, plus an awesome little dinner/movie combo to cap off an afternoon art outing.
“Hill of Munch” at Rachel Uffner / 170 Suffolk Street
Nora Griffin at Louis B. James / 143b Orchard St.
Camouflage might be the first thing that comes to mind when viewing Nora Griffin’s newer paintings, the longer one looks, the more visual elements will pop out, begging to be noticed. It’s a playful show, both in color (even the frames are painted with funky patterns) and theme (yes, that is a David Bowie reference in the title) and this attitude can’t help but lift spirits. If you can’t get enough Nora Griffin, the artist also pens criticism for both Art in America and The Brooklyn Rail.
Meg Lipke at Freight+Volume / 97 Allen Street
Bushwick’s own Meg Lipke (co-founder of Northeast Kingdom) stars in this latest exhibition that feature patterned paintings alongside her stunning textile sculptures. Lipke’s familiarity with fabric stems from family history, while her present forms feel futuristic and alien, resembling something like the hippest of life preservers.
Samuel T. Adams at DUTTON / 124 Forsyth Street
While an exhibition title homage to hermetic collagist Joseph Cornell might not make sense at first glance, what you see is not necessarily what you get. The artist starts by creating elaborate paintings and sculptures on the backs of the canvases, then power sands the front, allowing pigments and shapes from the verso to appear. The shapes and forms all add up to action, especially evident in the rips and tears in the surfaces themselves.
Luke Murphy at CANADA / 333 Broome Street
Winning the award for strangest exhibition on the list is Luke Murphy’s “Unhappy Users,” which is comprised of dashed off, diagrammatic paintings on one side, and goofy streaming LED panels on the other, connected by a keyboard cave (that you can, and should, opt to walk through). Also, CANADA’s continued their run of awesome auxiliary room shows, so be sure to walk through the gallery’s side hallway to see “Anthem of the Sun,” a jam-packed group show that riffs on ideas of sunlight and reflection.
“Young Frankensteins” at Lesley Heller / 54 Orchard Street
From their studio laboratories to the streets of the Lower East Side, the thirteen artists in this zany group show have brought bizarre takes on figuration in an effort to find a form that fits the 21st century. Associations range from Peter Saul to The Ren & Stimpy Show, as the wacky works somehow accurately convey the eccentricities of our time.
“Let’s Walk” at Cuevas Tilleard / 142 Henry Street
A startlingly upfront press release promises a show of no frills, just an honest examination of the figure in contemporary art and culture, a declaration that’s both open-ended and defined.The artists, for their part, deliver—dashes of humor are present in simple sculptures by Alexander Heffesse and paintings by Tood Bienvenu, though fair warning: you may get lost forever the lush works of Ariel Dill. Careful eyes will also spot an Anne Vieux painting in the basement; part of the gallery’s beautiful blue booth at this year’s SPRING/BREAK Art Show.
WHAT TO DO AFTER //
You may have already heard rumblings about Metrograph, the neighborhood’s newest old-school style cinema infused with some modern twists. Film buffs will appreciate the curated programming that can even appeal to a neophyte. Head there this weekend to see A Space Program, a documentary that follows the production of artist Tom Sachs’ immersive large-scale installation at the Park Avenue Armory in 2012. (For those of you into this kind of thing, both the artist and director will be present at the evening screenings this Saturday!) If you need a bite to eat before or after the movie, do yourself a favor and stop in at the exceptional Dimes just around the corner.