VISIONAIRE RECOMMENDS

1. Tomas Saraceno: Hybrid Solitary… Semi-social Quintet… On Cosmic Webs… is open at Tanya Bonakdar gallery until May 2, 2015.

For this fifth solo show with the gallery, Tomas Saraceno will further develop his investigation of mapping societal complexities and possibilities with a presentation of new hanging sculptures and a major installation that transforms the ground floor gallery space into an immersive universe. Saraceno’s multidisciplinary artistic practice takes inspiration from a variety of sources ranging from architecture and space exploration to science fiction and geometries found in the biological sciences. Among these subjects, Saraceno has long included arachnology as a tool for the investigation of alternative constructions, forming the basis for recent exhibitions such as Cosmic Jive: Tomás Saraceno at Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce (2014), 14 Billions (Working Title) at the Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm (2010), and the artist’s 2009 presentation at the Venice Biennial Galaxy Forming along Filaments, like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web. For Saraceno, spider webs spark inquiry into possible modes to redefine relationships between humans and nature, proposing utopian conditions for sustainable societies. Entering into Saraceno’s installation on the ground floor of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, perception is reoriented in a darkened environment dotted with glowing sculptures articulated in silvery spider silk.

2. Piotr Uklanski: Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Photographs is open at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until August 17, 2015.

Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the first survey of this provocative artist’s photography. Known for working in a wide variety of media including installation, fiber art, resin paintings, and collage, Uklański (born 1968) invests overlooked and exhausted styles with new meanings. This Polish-born, New York-based artist similarly explores clichéd or obsolete photographic languages. Nearly half of the works on display in the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition are from The Joy of Photography (1997-2007), the artist’s seminal yet under-known series, in which he adopted the hackneyed subjects and styles of Eastman Kodak’s 1979 how-to book for amateur photographers to create a rapturous ode to the medium, both ironic and sincere. Also included in the exhibition is The Nazis (1998), the show-stopping suite of headshots of movie and television actors that demonstrates the artist’s fascination with the taboo. Known for plundering and paying homage to forgotten episodes from modernism, Uklański arguably improved upon Philippe Halsman and Salvador Dalí’s 1951 image “In Volupta Mars” by lifting the best part of his source material—as camp as any of The Joy of Photography’s kitschy subjects—and putting himself center-stage.

3. Salon Style is open at Studio Museum Harlem until June 28, 2015.

Hair and nails are universal sites of expression, sites where one’s identity and personhood can be asserted, however temporarily. Through an interdisciplinary examination, Salon Style looks at artists that use hair and fingernails as subjects or media in order to explore the complexities of identity, and issues such as gender, politics and consumerism. As a way to actively merge the seemingly superficial with the world of high art, the exhibition title takes on two meanings; it references both the fashions that emerge from beauty parlors and an art historical term for the exhibition of a large number of works stacked upon each other in a limited space. Studio Museum Harlem’s Salon Style explores the use of hair and nails as fluid sites of identity and self-expression through work primarily drawn from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection. The collection contains almost two thousand works of art, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, installation and performance.

4. Joyce Kozloff: Maps + Patterns is open at DC Moore gallery until April 25, 2015.

This exhibition of new mixed media work synthesizes Kozloff’s interest in the meaning of maps with the forms of the Pattern and Decoration painting she pioneered in the 1970s. A catalogue featuring an interview with Kozloff accompanies the exhibition. Spurred by recent travel along the silk route, Kozloff has returned for the first time to the Islamic star patterns that structured her early art. A group of works titled If I Were a Botanist and If I Were an Astronomer revisit two artist books Kozloff made in 1977, in which she manipulated the black-and-white diagrams in Islamic geometry books to create kaleidoscopic compositions saturated with color. In characteristic defiance of the hierarchies of high and low, Kozloff considered this work to be “a cross between coloring books and illuminated manuscripts.” Using these earlier pages as templates, Kozloff employed digital processes to reimagine the arrangement and scale of the patterns for her new work. She then infused these stunningly intricate paintings with collage elements comprised entirely of trial proofs from previous projects. Merging the biographical and the political, each panel becomes a microcosm of the artist’s career.

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