1. John Waters: Beverly Hills John is open at Marianne Boesky until February 14, 2015.
As the appropriator of “low culture,” John Waters is known for his perverse and sexually charged films such as cult classic Pink Flamingos, Polyester and Hairspray (the original 1988 version). Mocking the movie industry is a trademark of the Baltimore-native and the same themes have been recurrent in his photographic work. Beverly Hills John, his new exhibition at Marianne Boesky, treats his own anxieties over fame and “carreericide.” In one piece, Waters has given himself a plastic-surgery makeover: lip and cheek augmentation has the portrait looking very “Hollywood” leaving only his signature pencil moustache intact. “Since I haven’t made a film in ten years, must I give my entire life’s work a facelift? Now that celebrity is the only obscenity left in the art world, where do I fit in?” Waters asks.
2. Ryan McNamara: Gently Used is open at Mary Boone until February 28, 2015.
Ryan McNamara is often inspired by historical events’ relevance in a society constantly bombarded with news: new film, new artists, new politicians, new scandals etc. MEEM, his award-winning performance, depicted the vastness of the internet and how one is lead from one point to another almost involuntarily. Anyone who has been lucky enough to experience the performance knows that this is an artist with a relevant voice. Gently Used, his new static exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery, is also inspired by trains of events: “Event generates material, material becomes art object, art object performs, only to be used as prop once again,” the description reads.
3. Helmut Lang is open at Sperone Westwater until February 21, 2015.
When Helmut Lang left his namesake fashion label 2004, it was to dedicate himself to what he’d always wanted to do: art. More than ten years later, the Long Island-resident is back with his first New York-based solo exhibition at Sperone Westwater Gallery. Although, he’s had museum exhibitions overseas, the NYC debut seems like the definitive start of his art career and the final goodbye to fashion: Lang shredded his remaining collections, drenched them in resin and poured the thick mass into aluminum pipes. From afar, the sculptures look like a line of beautifully colored—some have been dyed bright red, others blue, tan and black—birch tree trunks. But at a closer look, the torn up clothes is revealed. Zippers, buttons, shoe soles and everything a collection is made from stands out and reminds us of Lang’s incredible past.
4. Diana Thater: Science, Fiction is open at David Zwirner until February 21, 2015.
Through a combination of the temporal qualities of video and the architectural dimension of its physical installation, Diana Thater’s work explores the artifice of its own production and its capacity to construct perception and shape the way we think about the world through its image. Natural diversity, wildlife, and conservation have been persistent themes in the artist’s work, and she has dedicated herself to an examination of the varied kinds of relationships humans have constructed with animals. While her in-depth studies of ecosystems and animal behavior propose observation as a kind of understanding in itself, her ethical position is implicit in the work, which, while subtly political, provides views of the sublime in all its incarnations—stunning, beautiful, and simultaneously terrifying. In her new installation, which like the exhibition is titled Science, Fiction, Thater focuses on the dung beetle and the intricate navigation system it deploys in disposing balls of animal excrement, its main source of nutrition.
5. John Miller: Here in the Real World is open at Metro Pictures until February 14, 2015.
Here in the Real World is John Miller’s 14th exhibition at Metro Pictures since joining the gallery in 1984. Miller exhibits his game show paintings (begun in 1998) and two series of relief portrait paintings: reality tv personalities (started 2009) and the more recent pedestrian paintings (started 2013), which are presented as a frieze of figures in the gallery’s first room. Additionally, he presents a wallpaper mural and a digital animation made with longtime collaborator Takuji Kogo under the name Robot. The subsequent framework for Miller’s work results in mundane and familiar constructs.