Buhmann on Art
Spring gallery offerings addrress military, celebrity, domestic concerns
BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN
Organized by Greg Allen, this exhibition features multiple images and objects from the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey and Project Echo. Both were prominent projects from the early days of the Space Race. Including one object and two seemingly unrelated series of photographs, the show reveals the sudden transition in mankind’s perception of outer space. As the launch of Sputnik heightened the Cold War’s contentious dynamic, the U.S.’s aggressive and highly visual response transformed space into a site of military, political and cultural activity.
Through May 8, at apexart (291 Church St., btw. Walker & White Sts.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11am-6pm. Call 212-431-5270 or visit apexart.org.
DAVID J. MERRITT
For his first solo exhibition with the gallery, Merritt presents new work from his “Templates for a Machine Made From Earth” series. In addition to the featured gypsum cement tablets and objects made of wax, aluminum and magnesium, Merritt also works with sound and video. One of his site-specific projects involved collaboration with a city utility locator. Demarcating various lines of flow throughout the gallery space, the work reflects the Brooklyn-based artist’s thesis that, “We are abstractions swimming through a concrete haze; constantly excavating, constantly sifting.”
Through May 12, at KANSAS (59 Franklin St., btw. Lafayette & Broadway). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11am-6pm. Call 646-559-1423 or visit kansasgallery.com.
Since the mid-1990s, when Peyton reached critical acclaim, she has been one of the most influential figurative painters of our time. Her subjects range from close friends and boyfriends to European monarchy and celebrities. Many of her stylized portraits of rock stars such as David Bowie and Kurt Cobain have become well-known and frequently publicized images in the media landscape. Small-scale, these works are usually executed in oil paint, applied with washy glazes, watercolor, pencilz and etching. This show features new works by the artist, who splits her time between Long Island and Berlin.
Through May 13, at Gavin Brown’s enterprise (620 Greenwich St., at Morton St.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 212-627-5258 or visit gavinbrown.biz.
ENGINES OF WAR
In this exhibition, curators Charles Dee Mitchell and Cynthia Mulcahy explore how the United States of America conducts war in the 21st century. Though images of drones and other material military equipment make up much of the content, Mitchell and Mulcahy’s show stresses that it is still the men and women serving in the armed forces who remain the primary, highly trained yet fragile weapons of the United States military. Contributing artists to the exhibition employ a wide range of approaches.
Through May 4, at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc. (524 W. 19th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 646-944-6197 or visit gassergrunert.net.
In the 1920s, Margaret Watkins (1884-1969) was an instructor at the Clarence H. White School of Photography — the most prominent American pedagogical institution for pictorialism at the time. Her photographs are characterized by the nuanced interplay of light and shade. Inspired by Cubism, their overall aesthetic is distinctly modernist, while their subject matter is usually rooted in the domestic environment. Born in Canada, Watkins’ professional success in New York in the 1920s was cut short when she moved to Scotland in 1929 to care for elderly relatives. Stranded by circumstance and then the arrival of war, she never returned to North America.
Through May 11 at Robert Mann Gallery (525 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Fri., 10am-6pm and Sat., 11am-6pm. Call 212-989-7600 or visit robertmann.com.