Weekend Update: 05.18.2023

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday May 18, 2023


Continuing: Lauren Halsey | The Met Museum Roof Commssion

Lauren Halsey has created a full-scale architectural structure imbued with the collective energy and imagination of the South Central Los Angeles Community where she was born and continues to work. Titled the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), the installation is designed to be inhabited by The Met’s visitors, who will be able to explore its connections to sources as varied as ancient Egyptian symbolism, 1960s utopian architecture, and contemporary visual expressions like tagging.

Using 750 glass-fiber-reinforced concrete tiles, the 35-year-old artist has constructed a 22-foot-tall structure that resembles an Egyptian-style temple. Four large-scale sphinx statues—their faces portraits of Halsey’s immediate family members and her life partner—serve as guardians, standing watch outside the open-sided space, which visitors can walk through.

Like the pyramids, the piece is designed with permanence in mind, and it will transported across the country following the run of the show, to a new home in Halsey’s native South Central Los Angeles, where she lives and works. The artist hopes the sculpture will become a civic monument at her Summaeverythang community center, as well as a record of the place in the face of increasingly encroaching forces of gentrification.

“My installation for the Met’s Roof Garden reflects my interest in conflating narratives from contemporary South Central Los Angeles with those evoked in ancient pharaonic architecture,” Halsey said in a statement. “My hope is that viewers in New York feel the connections intuitively.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY Info



Continuing: Avedon 100 at Gagosian

This landmark collection of Avedon photographs represents six decades of his oeuvre, including the In the American West series and images of the social justice movement, as well as classic portraiture, advertising, and fashion work. It was selected by more than 150 people—including prominent artists, designers, musicians, writers, curators, and fashion world representatives—who elaborate on the impact of the photographer’s work today.

His dynamic 1971 portrait of Tina Turner is printed at a monumental scale and was selected for the exhibition by Tonne Goodman. In many cases the link between a photograph and its selector enhances the work’s already powerful impact. Hillary Clinton, for example, has chosen Avedon’s 2003 portrait of her for The New Yorker, while Taryn Simon sought out a 1994 image of Salman Rushdie, inscribed by Avedon to the writer “Yours, in the struggle—Dick,” and loaned by Rushdie for exhibition. Among many extraordinary images selected by figures from the worlds of fashion and film are Miuccia Prada’s choice, a 1979 portrait of thirteen-year-old Texas rattlesnake skinner Boyd Fortin from In the American West, and Emma Watson’s, a 1965 photograph of Donyale Luna, who would become the first Black model to grace the cover of American Vogue.

Gagosian Gallery,522 West 21st Street, New York, NY Info



Continuing: Richard Avedon | Murals at The Met

On the centennial of the photographer’s birth, Richard Avedon: MURALS  brings together three of these monumental works, some as wide as 35 feet. For Avedon, the murals expanded the artistic possibilities of photography, radically reorienting viewers and subjects in a subsuming, larger-than-life view. Above: Andy Warhol and members of The Factory, New York, October 30, 1969.”

In 1969, Richard Avedon was at a crossroads. After a five-year hiatus, the photographer started making portraits again, this time with a new camera and a new sense of scale. Trading his handheld Rolleiflex for a larger, tripod-mounted device, he reinvented his studio dynamic. Instead of dancing around his subjects from behind a viewfinder, as he had in his lively fashion pictures, he could now stand beside a stationary camera and meet them head-on. Facing down groups of the era’s preeminent artists, activists, and politicians, he made huge photomural portraits, befitting their outsized cultural influence. 

The murals are society portraits. In them, Avedon assembles giants of the late twentieth century—members of Andy Warhol’s Factory, architects of the Vietnam war, and demonstrators against that war—who together shaped an extraordinarily turbulent era of American life. The formal innovations of Avedon’s style—of starkly lit bodies in an unsparing white surround—are best realized in these works, where subjects jostle and crowd the frame, and bright voids between them crackle with tension. Uniting the murals with session outtakes and contemporaneous projects, the exhibition will track Avedon’s evolving approach to group portraiture, through which he so transformed the conventions of the genre.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY Info




Continuing: Yayoi Kusama | Embracing Flowers at Zwirner 

The exhibition is named after three monumental flower sculptures, each titled I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers, which occupy 519 West 19th Street. Since the 1950s, Kusama has repeatedly engaged flowers and plants as motifs in her work, inspired by her fascination with the natural world. Experienced in the round, the immense blooms invite the audience to partake in a wholly immersive experience that suggests the atmosphere of a lush garden.

At the opposite end of the exhibition, at 533 West 19th Street, three massive undulating pumpkin sculptures transfigure the organic forms reimagined by Kusama over several long decades. These wall-like structures situate viewers in a space that envelops them in her characteristic polka dots. Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023) is a large Infinity Mirror Room that features round-colored windows. These openings let in a dance of natural and artificial light alongside the interplay of bodies that activate the immersive space. 

David Zwirner, 519, 525 & 533 West 19th Street, New York, NY Info

Saturday, May 20-Sunday May 21: LIC Arts Open Studios, 10th edition

Close to 100 artists in ten buildings open their doors for the 10th edition of this Queens classic. Exhibitions and demonstrations take place at Plaxall Gallery and Brickhouse Ceramics, with pop-up events here and there.

Artist Directory.  Map.  

Saturday, May 20-Sunday, May 21: The Clemente Open Studios

The 26th edition of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center will feature five floors of visual and performing arts, with more than 46 artist studios and six organizations. In addition, the fifth iteration of Public Spaces Open Studios (PSOS2023) — juried by María del Carmen Carrión — will present work from 16 artists, including Manuel Acevedo, Ophelia Arc, Jennie Booth, Kiani Ferris, María-Elena Pombo, Lucia Warck-Meister, and more. 

Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy participatory programming like free art-making activities with Cool Culture, the Capoeira Festival from Afro Brazil Arts, poetry readings from FELT Theater, and film screenings as part of the Kabayitos Microcinema Film Festival. All events are free and open to the public with an RSVP.

Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, 107 Suffolk Street, New York, NY Info