New York Galleries: What to See Right Now

Konrad Lueg

Through Nov. 2. Greene Naftali, 508 West 26th Street, Manhattan; 212-463-7770,

Some of the most visionary art dealers started as artists. One was Konrad Fischer (1939-96), whose gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany, represented figures like Carl Andre, Charlotte Posenenske, Sol LeWitt and Bruce Nauman, and instituted the idea of artists making work on site — what would later be called “site-specific” art. Before becoming a dealer in 1967, however, Mr. Fischer went by Konrad Lueg (Lueg was his mother’s maiden name) and made the paintings and sculptures now on view at Greene Naftali.

Like other Pop artists of his generation, Mr. Lueg focused on mass media, popular culture and consumerism. (Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke were his classmates at art school, and he and Mr. Richter performed a famous “Capitalist Realism” happening in a Düsseldorf department store in 1963, partly a critique of the emerging commercial art world.) Mr. Lueg painted politicians, athletes and industrial patterns and materials, using a wallpaper roller or featuring plastics, as in the inflated, sculptural “Cubes” (1967).

There are also Pop curiosities, in the vein of Andy Warhol. To “finish” an “Untitled” 1968 work here, you stand before a bright light that temporarily imprints your shadow onto a canvas slathered with phosphorous pigment. These are interesting gestures, if not brilliant artworks. (Mr. Fischer himself deemed his earlier work as an artist “a failure.”) Mr. Lueg clearly found his calling and purpose in being Mr. Fischer, the art dealer.


Rebecca Morgan

Through Nov. 2. Asya Geisberg Gallery, 537b West 23rd Street, Manhattan; 212-675-7525,

Art featuring nature tends to fall into familiar categories: for instance, landscapes or romantic depictions of working-class people. Part of what makes Rebecca Morgan’s work so fresh, especially in her new show, “Town and Country,” is that she eschews timeworn symbolism for the messy realities and conflicting mythologies of rural life.

“Realities” might sound like a stretch if you’ve beheld Ms. Morgan’s cartoonish, outrageous style. In her paintings, prints and sculptures — which seem like an unholy mix of Peter Saul, R. Crumb and Lisa Yuskavage — body parts bubble and bulge; the most salient feature of the man in “Boring Cunnilingus” (2019) is his pimple-covered buttocks. Yet Ms. Morgan, who grew up in a small Pennsylvania town, includes herself among the characters who grope, slug and lounge in the woods. It keeps her honest.

Her work in this, her fourth solo exhibition at Asya Geisberg, looks sharper than ever as it coalesces around a pair of themes: gender roles and sexism. My favorite piece, “You Can Have It All” (2019), shows a young mother huffing as she carries her baby, flowers, a dish of pasta and the weight of her own breasts. The scene is a perfect, precarious balance of bright colors and big forms. In both cases — woman and painting — upsetting a single element would push the whole thing over the edge.


Leonhard Hurzlmeier

Through Nov. 3. Rachel Uffner Gallery, 170 Suffolk Street, Manhattan; 212-274-0064,

There’s a cheerful self-deprecation to the bright colors and sharp edges of Leonhard Hurzlmeier’s paintings. (Though his exhibition “Told Tales,” at the Rachel Uffner Gallery, includes some charming sculptures and an illuminating little group show of work by other artists, curated by Christian Ganzenberg, it’s Mr. Hurzlmeier’s own paintings that are the main event.) They make you think of the Bauhaus, that idealistic interwar German art school — but we know what happened to the idealists of the 1930s. But there’s also an inherent irony in pictures that seem so easy to read just because we’re all so well practiced at reading them.

“Candle in the Wind,” portraying a thick white column in a wooden bowl, is an immediately recognizable image. But it’s also full of little winks and nudges. Mr. Hurzlmeier uses nearly the same teardrop shape for the candle’s tilting flame as for its bulbous drips of wax. The purple background looks like empty space, and the yellow beneath like a flat tabletop, though they’re both just rectangles. The white eyelid shape at the candle’s tip is such a conventional marker of roundness and depth that you barely notice that no depth is actually created.

But similar conventions govern the way we see everything. Where Mr. Hurzlmeier’s entrancing trickery becomes transcendent is in the painting “Elephant in the Room.” A pale, eyeless beast in near silhouette, it’s weirdly difficult to focus on, making it a thrilling attempt at the impossible goal of showing the world as it is.


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