1. Takashi Murakami: In the Land of the Dead, Stepping On the Tail of a Rainbow is open at the Gagosian until January 17, 2015.
“To me, religions are a narrative…Natural catastrophes, earthquakes, are things caused by nature. Such chaos is natural, but we have to make sense of it somehow, and so we had to invent these stories. That is what I wanted to paint,” said Takashi Murakami about his new exhibition In the Land of the Dead, Stepping On the Tail of a Rainbow at the Gagosian. The Japanese heavy-hitter, who’s created prints for Louis Vuitton bags and Supreme boards amongst other “cheaper” collaborations, is hard to ignore: he has not only installed his intricate paintings at the 24th street gallery, he’s also created a full-size temple that fills the impressive skylit space.
2. Thomas Houseago: Moon Room is open at Hauser & Wirth until January 17, 2015.
Measuring approximately 37 feet by 45 feet wide, and 12 feet tall, Thomas Houseago’s Moon Room only takes up part of Hauser & Wirth’s 18th street space. But that doesn’t make the piece any less interesting. The immersive sculpture marks a departure for the artist who’s known for his plaster work of the human body. Drawing upon and deftly subverting classical sources, the artist creates forms that hover between power and vulnerability, old and new worlds. But with ‘Moun Room’, Houseago reverses his standard subject-object relationship and, for the first time, places the viewer in the role of primary figure and active participant. So go, participate.
3. Sean Landers: North American Mammals is open at Petzel until December 20, 2014.
A 30-foot whale is covering an entire wall at Petzel at the moment. But it’s not just any whale; it’s Mody-Dick and he is not white, he’s plaid. Other animals like a horse, a monkey, a deer and many more have been given the same treatment and are painted in different “shades of plaid” as part of the artist Sean Landers newest exhibition North American Mammals. The recurring motif is an ode to the Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. Landers achieved recognition in the early 1990s for work derived from his confessional outpourings, densely covering paper and canvas with imagery of breasts, chimpanzees, and clowns.
4. Martin Puryear is open at Matthew Marks until January 10, 2015
Martin Puryear’s abstract organic forms are rich with psychological and intellectual references that explore issues of ethnicity, culture, and history. His new handmade sculptures—now on display at Matthew Marks—incorporate a diverse range of materials, from bronze, cast iron, and mirror-polished stainless steel to a variety woods. Puryear is known for his devotion to traditional craft and for challenging the physical boundaries of his materials. Beginning his career in 1968, 71-year-old Puryear has exhibited his work all over the world and in 2007 MoMA put on a retrospective of his work featuring 47 of his intricate sculptures.