Through Oct. 19. Tanya Bonakdar, 521 West 21st Street, Manhattan, 212-414-4144, tanyabonakdargallery.com.
Sarah Sze, who has taken over all the spaces at Tanya Bonakdar, is considering her options. She continues to excel as a conjurer of enchanting labor-intensive multimedia environments, as evidenced by “Crescent (Timekeeper),” one of the most beautiful installations of her career. Its shimmering metal scaffolding resembles a magnificent building, and is alive with scores of small moving images projected (somewhat miraculously) onto pieces of paper the size of snapshots. More moving images float past on the walls; the overall effect is of being inside an enormous magic lantern or aquarium.
But Ms. Sze has other things on her mind. In the front of the gallery, two installations — “Images in Refraction [East]” and “Images in Refraction [West]” — suggest works in progress. “West,” the more interesting of the two, presents a loose combination of still images taped to the wall and identical moving versions that come and go. They establish motifs that recur throughout the show: an empty highway; a fox crossing a road; hands kneading dough; an erupting volcano.
And in the back space, the installation “After Studio” re-creates the artist’s somewhat disheveled work space — an unnecessary “bridge” in the show’s narrative. It also interferes with seeing the collaged and painted works on view, which try to evoke the complexity of the environments, but in two dimensions. Most are wintry in tone, with an image of a tiny flame at the center, except for “Surround Sound (After Studio),” an imposing work that pushes bits of fiery orange to the edges. Three similar but more finished efforts dominate the proceedings upstairs. With them, Ms. Sze heads bravely into unknown territory, in search, it seems, of hybrid surfaces that allow her love of the delicate, the ephemeral and the salvaged to have a new, more permanent form of expression. ROBERTA SMITH
Through Sept. 21. Burning in Water, 515 West 29th Street, Manhattan; 646-918-7696, burninginwater.net.
Ceramics were not central to the conversation of mid-20th-century art in the United States, but Peter Voulkos (1924-2002) helped change that. Mr. Voulkos, who taught at Black Mountain College, N.C., and established the ceramics program at the University of California, Berkeley, was famous for throwing huge amounts of clay on the potter’s wheel — up to 150 pounds at a time — and using that material instead of marble or bronze to make sculpture. You can experience this at “Peter Voulkos: Stacks (1969-2001)” at Burning in Water.
However, this show consists primarily of bronze casts of Mr. Voulkos’s “stacks” (wheel-thrown clay forms, arranged upon one another into tower-like sculptures), which means these works are once-removed from the originals. Nevertheless, the scale and indexical traces of the artist’s hands — as well as slashing marks made by various tools — are apparent here.
Mr. Voulkos’s stacks are reminiscent of large Greek funerary amphorae (vases) and wood-burning ovens. During the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, they also bridged the gap between craft and art by showing that clay can be as monumental and expressive as paint on canvas or welded steel. And while Mr. Voulkos still remains marginal in some narratives of modern sculpture — colossal in the craft world, but less visible at the Museum of Modern Art, for instance — shows like this help rectify that and remind you of how ceramics came to be more popular as a contemporary art practice. MARTHA SCHWENDENER
Through Sept. 29. Pierogi, 155 Suffolk Street, Manhattan; 646-429-9073, pierogi2000.com.
If you hadn’t heard about Andrew Ohanesian’s show at Pierogi, you might walk by there and fear the worst: The gallery has closed. A street-facing sign atop brown paper advertises “Retail Space for Lease,” with the numbers for two brokers listed below. Inside, what was formerly an art space looks like a construction site, complete with trash bags, exposed steel framing and dangling wires. The artist has emptied out the space and, in true New York fashion, turned its vacancy into an opportunity: “5000 SqFt WILL DIVIDE,” the exhibition is titled.
Mr. Ohanesian has made a practice of painstakingly re-creating such unremarkable objects as slot machines, paper-towel dispensers, and A.T.M.s. Crucially, his artworks don’t just look like the real thing; they function like it, too. Think of it as trompe l’oeil meets the ready-made. In 2012, he built a suburban home inside a gallery with working plumbing, appliances and more. The opening was a house party. Attendees felt so comfortable they trashed the place.
What makes Mr. Ohanesian’s work thought-provoking is his total embrace of reality, to the point where art imitates life so faithfully that it becomes a kind of uncanny mirror. With “5000 SqFt WILL DIVIDE,” someone could walk by or through the vacant storefront and regard the gallery’s displacement as utterly normal. That’s something to reconsider. JILLIAN STEINHAUER
Through Oct. 20. Jack Barrett, 173 Henry Street, Manhattan; 347-377-2764, jackbarrettgallery.com.
It’s hard to know what hits you first when you enter Guadalupe Maravilla’s exhibition at Jack Barrett gallery — the sight before you or the feeling it evokes. Reigning over the room is “Disease Thrower #5” (2019), which looks and acts as much like a shrine as a sculpture. The work combines found and handmade objects, including a glass orb, plastic models of body parts and luffa gourds. At the top, woven star patterns support a shimmering gong, hinting at the piece’s other uses: It’s also a headdress and instrument.
“Disease Thrower #5,” along with the sculpture “Circle Serpent” (2019) snaking around it on the floor, invokes a space of sacredness. Even without knowing the meanings of its parts, you can intuit the spiritual importance that bolsters its artistic force.
The rest of the show bears this out. Mr. Maravilla immigrated alone from El Salvador when he was 8; years later, he received a diagnosis of colon cancer. These are the narrative threads of the exhibition, titled “Saga,” and for the artist they’re irrevocably intertwined. Through collaborative works, including drawings made with an undocumented immigrant and a series of “milagros,” or votive, paintings created with a Mexican artisan, Mr. Maravilla maps his own harrowing journey and extends the healing he has found outward. JILLIAN STEINHAUER
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