The museums and galleries of New York, USA, program their best exhibitions for the summer. But that does not mean that the city’s programming is not intense at other stations. At the entrance of autumn, you can see works by provocative artists from all over the world: they questioned social and political injustices and the very perception of art. Grab your map and start making that artsy screenplay of weight.
1. Romuald Hazoumè on Gagosian
“I send back to the West what belongs to them, that is, the garbage of the consumer society that invades us every day,” explained the Beninese artist Romuald Hazoumè.
It has a strong connection with the Yoruba people and culture (the West African ethnic group that today is largely concentrated in Nigeria), which has the masks as the protagonist and use them to make a political statement in the form of ready-made. He uses ropes, funnels, and gallons and, with small gestures, turns them into faces by breaking conventions of ancestral knowledge.
The sacred masks gain a contemporary and critical air: the chosen objects make reference to the illegal transport of oil of Nigeria and denounce the danger of this lucrative system for the population. There is also a criticism of the garbage we are producing and depositing on the planet.
He also uses, in his works, the bidon, a basic item for the illegal purchase of cheap gasoline from Nigeria.
He also makes films and photographs that confront the complex realities of contemporary life in Benin and the broader ramifications of Pan-African politics. It appropriates symbols to draw attention to the lingering consequences of corruption and subjugation across Africa, pointing to an interdependent ecosystem. Until October 13th.
2. Gabriel Orozco at Marian Goodman Gallery
“Within this stone, there is only more stone, which is dust, which is a particle of all kinds of minerals, which is sediment …” says Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco, who shows this month new sculptures that make direct reference to modern pieces whose essence is in matter itself.
Orozco made the first of his stone sculptures in Bali, Indonesia, where he has lived for two years and where sculpture, such as manual stone cutting, remains an important form of skilled craftsmanship. The works of this group are all made of limestone, a local material traditionally used in the Balinese temple and home decor. He uses traditional skills to combine local techniques with his own method of using circles. Orozco extracts the same arrangement of circles with a compass on each face of the block, providing the basic scheme for the slow cutting process that follows.
In his notebooks, he constantly records thoughts such as “point to a stone and call it art” as if a stone could be some sort of natural ready-made.
3. Wolfgang Tillmans on David Zwirner
Few artists influenced so much the generation younger than the German Wolfgang Tillmans. Since the early 1990s, his work has synthesized a new kind of subjectivity in photography, combining intimacy and playfulness with social criticism and the persistent questioning of existing values and hierarchies.
He began in the world of fashion and photojournalism until he arrived in galleries with refined exhibition strategies and a peculiar relationship between genres and subjects
It addresses a crucial question: the fundamental question of what it means to create images in a world increasingly saturated with images.
The first photographer to receive the Turner Prize in 2000, he shows pictures in Wolfgang Tillmans: How likely is it that only I am right in this matter? which were created alternately with a photocopy machine, in the darkroom, and with a camera.
The common denominator is the focus on the materiality and surface of the physical world: large-scale representations of sand and foam find the counterpoint in aerial views of deserts and rivers – the intention is to confuse macro and micro notions. And collages with eggs, insects and body parts the intertwined reveal layers of life and decay, sex and fragmentation. Other jobs were created directly on a photocopier by manually moving the edges of the paper during four-color scanning.
4. Lygia Pape at Hauser & Wirth
Lygia Pape’s solo show in New York (first in a gallery in the US) is a great opportunity to showcase the relevance of the artist’s works that favored the viewer and her sensorial experience. Pape explored a rich territory through the media sculpture, drawing, engraving, filming, and installation, and the exhibition assumes this multidisciplinary vein always punctuating the ludic vein of the physical and material experience of its art.
It is inevitable, yet, to show its unique reformulation of geometry and abstraction. Red and Black Amazonino are sculptures seem to sprout from the walls, eliminating the weight of their industrial composition and appearing at the same time geometric and organic.
Here the artist emphasizes a dynamic relationship between the spectator, the work of art and architecture, encouraging a mode of interaction that takes shape along the course of the exhibition space. Also worthy of note is a version of Tteia, a silver wire installation made in 1978 – the yarn groups intersect and intersect, traversing space to create ghost lines on the walls.
5. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Brooklyn Museum
With the aim of researching the most politically, socially and aesthetically revolutionary period in American history, the Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power showcases 150 works of Afro-descendant artists from the United States between 1963 and 1983: they are works that directly address the unjust social conditions facing American blacks, such as Faith Ringgold’s painting with a bleeding flag and Emory Douglas’s graphic images of city life.
There are works that also address oblique references to racial violence, such as Jack Whitten’s abstract homage to Malcolm X, made in response to the assassin’s activist, or contorted metal sculptures by Melvin Edwards – who currently has shows at Masp, in São Paulo. Barley Hendricks, Emma Amos, and others painted daily portrayals of black people with reverence and intelligence.
All artists embraced a spirit of aesthetic innovation, but some took that as their primary goal, often through experimentation with color and the very way of applying ink.