1. Peter Regli: Snow Monsters is open at the Flatiron Plaza until March 13, 2015.
In case you didn’t get enough during Juno, Peter Regli is presenting his next installment of his “Reality Hacking” initiative, Snow Monsters at the Flatiron Plaza. If the name doesn’t say it all, Regli’s first New York-based first large-scale installation is compiled of … snowmen. Regli’s “Reality Hacking” interventions seek to subtly subvert our daily experience of the public realm around us, either by transforming existing elements in the streetscape or by inserting sculptures into an almost too-familiar setting. These sculptures mimic the pervasive and often ostentatious presence of large artificial figures – objects such as oversize figural holiday decorations and advertising ploys – while simultaneously distancing themselves from such figures through the use of materials that are generally confined to the world of high art, such as marble.
2. Bruce Nauman: Animal Pyramid is open at the Gagosian Gallery until February 21, 2015.
Since the 1960s, Bruce Nauman’s radical interdisciplinary approach has challenged conventions while producing new methodologies for creating art and meaning. Animal Pyramid is a stack of seventeen taxidermy molds rising to twelve feet. The carnivalesque arrangement of these alien creatures made out of amber-hued polyurethane evokes the dichotomy of nature and sport: four upside-down foxes crown graduated rows of deer and caribou, eerily featureless—even ambiguous—without their prized pelts and horns. The entire ensemble is visibly cobbled together with wire as the work of a morbid puppeteer. With Animal Pyramid, Nauman’s meditations on the fraught human condition within a larger world ecology take shape in the very materials by which living nature is transformed into still life.
3. Nancy Graves is open at Mitchell-Innes & Nash until March 7, 2015.
Nancy Graves was an American artist who worked across various media, including sculpture, painting, printing, and filmmaking. Her work shows the formative influence of the natural sciences, history, art, and cultural studies that she encountered as a child. Graves burst onto the international scene in 1969 with a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, followed by her prominent inclusion in Documenta 5 (1972) and Documenta 6 (1977). Graves’s iconic early work used the form of a camel as a starting point from which to test the boundaries of art-making. The larger-than-life, mysterious sculptures are “realistic illusions,” or “natural fictions,” hovering between art and reality, abstraction and figuration. Sculptures such as Inside-Outside (1970) appear to be a camel skeleton, but closer examination reveals a formidable construction of steel, wax, marble dust, acrylic, fiberglass, animal skin, and oil paint. Graves guides the viewer through her own process of discovery and creation, exploring common themes between scientific documentation, natural history, and fine art.
4. Harold Edgerton is open at Sikkema Jenkins & Co until March 7, 2015.
Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton (1903 – 1990) was a photographer, engineer, inventor, and life-long educator known for his iconic images taken with the aid of the electric strobescope. Originally developed by Edgerton during his time as a doctoral student to study the motion of motors, the strobescope was able to capture motion too fast to be observed by the naked eye through the use of use of rapid, short electronic flashes. Edgerton later applied this signature technique to observe and document everyday phenomena: the wings of a hummingbird in flight, a golf swing, the splash of a drop of milk, or a bullet piercing a balloon. While rooted in scientific observation, Edgerton’s powerful visual aesthetic produced unique and groundbreaking photographs that lie at the intersection of science, technology, and art.
5. Matthew Sleeth: Magnificent Obsessions is open at Claire Oliver until February 21, 2015.
Historically, photography has been dominated by two key philosophies: capturing candid narratives or creating constructed images. Matthew Sleeth’s studio practice holds a tension between these two positions; the viewer is not quite sure if they are looking at documentary snapshots, or scenes that are complete digital fictions created so convincingly they could depict reality. “I want the viewer to be able to see my departure from the traditions of orthodox documentary,” Sleeth explains. “I want to engage with my times – to make works of art that grapple with social and political ideals.” Sleeth’s Magnificent Obsessions is the culmination of a ten year preoccupation with defining pattern in chaos and creating harmony from discountenance. Bringing a new sense of visual pleasure to conceptual art, this exhibition includes Sleeth’s sculpture, video and photographic works. Through typology and repetition, the Artist aims to draw attention to our compulsion for collecting, cataloging and composing. The works in this exhibition focus on what we do well — making patterns in the chaos.