Santi Moix at Pace Prints
September 20 through October 26
The Spanish artist Santi Moix’s exuberant watercolor abstractions often look as though they’re bursting off the page, so the subject of his current series of monotypes — Japan’s Hanabi fireworks festivals — seems especially fitting. To capture the energy of those colorful explosions, which were originally conceived to ward off evil spirits, Moix has applied watercolor directly to the plate, leaving parts of it untouched so that, in the resulting print, the white of the paper shines through like bright light.
One of the most exciting things about printmaking is how experimental artists can get, and Moix does not hold back in this show at Pace Prints’ 26th Street location. He applied Mylar cutouts to the paint to create different textures and dampened the paper before running it through the press to pull the watercolor into firework-like bursts.
Doron Langberg at Yossi Milo Gallery
Through October 19
One of the most interesting young figurative painters working today, Doron Langberg creates intimate portraits of friends, family and lovers. Painting from life (rather than photos), often through the lens of his own queerness, he cites David Hockney, Alice Neel and Pierre Bonnard (among others) as influences, and his appreciation of those masters shows: He derives a tremendous amount of intrigue and emotion from texture, pattern and color, but also from body language.
Although he has learned from art history, his portraits — on view at Yossi Milo in a show called “Likeness” — appear thoroughly of this moment, a body of work that feels less intentional than a function of his keen eye for observation.
“Meet Me in the Bathroom: The Art Show” at The Hole
Through September 22
“We were all — every kid in the crowd and every person on stage — chasing the same thing; a feeling of rebellion, of possibility, of promise, of chaos. . . . We were all chasing New York City,” writes author Lizzy Gordon in the introduction to her 2016 Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City, 2001–2011. The book is a compilation of conversations with downtown New York’s music greats — the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, to name a few — and music writers, DJs, doormen, and revelers in the early, edgier years of the new millennium. The Hole’s exhibition “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” cocurated by Goodman and film director Hala Matar, is like an abridged visual version, as well as a performance series.
The show includes artworks by a few of the musicians who defined the era’s sounds — Karen O, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Paul Banks, of Interpol, for instance — along with pieces by visual artists like Urs Fischer, Nate Lowman, Ryan McGinley and Doug Aitken. It’s sure to be nostalgic for those who transitioned to adulthood in the wilder New York of the Aughts, and just plain entertaining for anyone interested in one of the city’s more authentic recent chapters.
Vera Molnár at Senior & Shopmaker Gallery
September 12 through November 2
In the 1960s, long before personal computers became office fixtures let alone household staples, Vera Molnár began experimenting in a lab in Paris with the use of early programming languages to create abstract images. The appealing results — sequential patterns of lines “drawn” using code — don’t erase the pioneering artist’s hand as one might expect, but merge the systematic order of the digital with Molnár’s own lyrical imperfection.
This show at Senior & Shopmaker, of works made between 1947 and 1986, offers a wonderful chance to see some of the important computer-generated ink images side by side with colorful hand-painted abstractions that Molnár, who is still working at age 95, made before and after her digital experiments.
Gary Hume at Matthew Marks Gallery
September 13 through October 26
When asked what makes a painting interesting, British painter Gary Hume once told an interviewer that “a painting should be tough, it should have some muscle, but I have to find some tenderness in it too.” His latest body of work, “Destroyed School Paintings,” up at Matthew Marks Gallery, meets all those requirements.
The images have a sunniness at first glance, with their naive flatness and creamy enamel colors — both hallmarks of the style he’s been developing since the 1980s. When we learn that they were inspired by news photos of decimated classrooms in war-torn sectors of the Middle East, we realize how easily digestible such unnerving scenes can become in an era of image oversaturation.
Alex Prager at Lehmann Maupin
Through October 26
Acclaimed for her seductive mix of artifice and reality, the extraordinary and mundane, filmmaker and photographer Alex Prager has been known to spend months preparing a single shot. Her cinematically composed images might include dozens of people — friends, family, bystanders, extras and professional actors — each with a role to play, an outfit to wear and a position to occupy. And then there are her carefully chosen locations, which she often accentuates with built sets.
Prager’s latest short film, the eight-minute Play the Wind (2019), now on view at Lehmann Maupin together with new photos, focuses on her native Los Angeles. As befits the locale, the film was shot from a car, and it provides a good dose of the emotionally charged glamour and grunge that have made Prager such a phenomenon over the years.
Udo Nöger at Sundarm Tagore Gallery
Through October 5
Light is something we usually find in the tool kit of a photographer, not a painter. But for Udo Nöger, light is a material, one that is as crucial as the canvas. For his first solo show at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, called “Painting with Light,” the German artist is presenting recent monochromatic abstractions made by layering canvases soaked in mineral oil so that light shines through, illuminating glyphlike swooshes and loops that he’s applied to an interior layer.
Carefully constructed and strangely luminous and smooth, they differ from straightforward canvases, even while bringing to mind Brice Marden’s calligraphic markings and Robert Ryman’s saturated white fields.
Laura Letinsky at Yancey Richardson
September 12 through October 19
The traditional genre of still life does not seem easily expandable, but photographer Laura Letinsky has had no problem pushing its boundaries for the past two decades. In her fifth solo show with Yancey Richardson, “To Want For Nothing,” Letinsky, who teaches art at the University of Chicago, deploys the tried-and-true style that makes her work instantly recognizable: photos of delicate arrangements of objects on pristine, all-white grounds that evoke high fashion, interior design and the white box of the gallery.
In her newest works, however, the artist takes another direction, scanning, recombining and then photographing pages ripped from magazines, catalogues and other aspirational mass media, shot at disorienting angles. The images read like Dada-esque collages but have the appeal of glossy ads. It’s a compelling mix.
Wang Yan Cheng at Acquavella Galleries
Through October 18
This is Wang Yan Cheng’s first solo show in the United States, although the Chinese painter has spent decades observing, emulating and reinterpreting some of the greats of 20th-century American modernism through the lens of Chinese cosmology. In his luminous canvases at Acquavella Galleries paint seems to gush over the surface rather than cling to it.
The gestural drama of the Abstract Expressionists doesn’t seem very far away, nor do Gerhard Richter’s squeegee paintings, but Wang, who has studios in Beijing and Paris, is also looking East, weaving in ancient and modern Chinese practices. Some of his abstractions hint at calligraphic markings, for instance. Influence aside, the paintings are a pleasure to look at.