1. Tony Oursler is open at Lehmann Maupin until June 14, 2015.
A pioneering figure of new media art since the early 1980s, Tony Oursler developed his early practice under John Baldessari at CalArts, where he formed longstanding relationships with several of his fellow students, including Mike Kelly, John Miller, and Jim Shaw. This context encouraged Oursler to break the traditional strictures applied to various media and experiment with cross-pollination between painting, sculpture, video, installation, performance, language, music, and sound. This was a crucial moment in the development of conceptual art and Oursler emerged as a central figure in this multifaceted practice. The artist has also long been fascinated with the intersection of contemporary human psychology and mankind’s increasingly refined imitative technologies. He has been particularly focused on how the human body uses its corporeal mechanisms, especially the face and head, to express identity and project emotions. The modern initiative to develop machines that interpret and measure those expressions is a central concern for Oursler. His interest in exploring how much, or how little, information is needed to discern emotion is integral to his work on the subject of mimetic devices and is a primary theme in his Lehmann Maupin show. Oursler will present several large, aluminum panel works in abstract shapes resembling faces, each coated in a different reflective, metallic surface. Embedded with video screens depicting mouths and eyes, these visages also bear the marks, nodes, and geometric patterns of algorithmic facial recognition mapping, pairing the evocation of human expression with the efficient calculus of electronic profiling. One of the artist’s intentions is “to invite the viewer to glimpse themselves from another perspective, that of the machines we have recently created.”
2. David Salle: New Paintings is open at Skardsted Gallery until June 27, 2015.
David Salle’s new exhibition at Skarstedt features all new work from two recent series: the Late Product Paintings and the Silver Paintings. His new paintings are characterized by both immediacy and complexity; their vibrant color and highly energized, dynamic compositions display a marked evolution from his most recent exhibition, Ghost Paintings, shown at Skarstedt’s Upper East Side gallery in 2013. Salle’s Late Product Paintings can be seen as both revisiting and providing an extension to his 1993 series, Early Product Paintings, in which flatly painted backgrounds of collaged product advertisements were the stage upon which present-tense painting operations were carried out. Salle’s Late Product Paintings bring this premise to a much fuller, performative, and masterful resolution. Exploring the intangible relationships between subjects, Salle’s images float in a fragmented world of poetic simultaneity. Drawing images from a variety of sources, Salle combines them into paintings as one would create a collage. Though often surprising, his connections are never forced; they have a non-programmatic, improvised quality, and they arrive at a place of buoyant equilibrium. Speaking to William Powers in the catalogue’s text, Salle says of his use of collage, “I want the differences to show, but to somehow be resolved anyway. It’s symphonic. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a kind of orchestrator.” Indeed, many of Salle’s paintings seem to have an implied soundscape—he expertly juxtaposes a visual depiction of the first few bars of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with a fragmentary drawing of hands on a Pan’s pipe; a vacant cartoon speech bubble waiting to be filled might be juxtaposed with the implied whirring sound made by a kitchen garbage disposal, or the clinking of glasses, or the sound of words uttered to oneself.
3. The Whitney Museum’s block party is on May 2, 2015.
Created in the spirit of a neighborhood festival, the Whitney Block Party will welcome visitors of all ages with free art and performance, including hands-on activities and participatory events. Throughout the day, booths designed by a diverse group of contemporary artists and community organizations will offer activities for a range of audiences, including karaoke, map making, and performance workshops. Large-scale acts on the main stage will include all-ages performances, including puppetry, dance, music, and poetry. These distinctive projects embody the Museum’s multidisciplinary and inclusive approach to contemporary art. The festivities will encourage audiences to experience the new location and new architecture as part of the Museum’s active engagement with artists and the city. Booths and activities will be offered by Ei Arakawa and Shimon Minamikawa, Trisha Baga, Bed-Stuy Love Affair, Friends of the High Line, K8 Hardy and Ryan McNamara, J.T. Jobbagy Inc., the Meatpacking District Improvement Association, Lize Mogel, My Barbarian, Nari Ward, and the Whitney Education Community Advisory Network. Performances will be presented by Mark Beasley, Camp & Street (DonChristian, Le1f, Rahel, Boody, and special guest), The Door – A Center of Alternatives: the performing arts program, The Eichelburglers (Jennifer Miller, Heather Green, and special guest), The Tracie Morris Band with special guests Mr. Jerome Harris and Jemman, Jacolby Satterwhite with La’fem Ladosha and Nightfeelings, and A Tribe Called Red.