A handful of gallery shows that matter this month.
Gagosian Chelsea Gallery
555 West 24th Street
Dan Colen’s debut at Gagosian Chelsea choked the street with crowds on opening night Thursday. Larry Gagosian himself walked outside to cull the crowd, like a nightclub manager, for the people who really belonged inside (pulling in Tico Mugrabi, whose family owns perhaps the world’s largest collections of Andy Warhol). Mr. Colen was the good friend and artistic collaborator of Dash Snow, the young artist who died, famously, a year ago of an overdose. The crowd was dense with people who just wanted to be where the buzz was, but there were also hundreds really rooting for the artist, who’s freshly sober, to do great work.
BUT the exhibition hits a wall-literally. Brick greets visitors, and what’s behind-a pile of motorcycles, paintings with gum, a skateboard ramp, didn’t live up to the hype. To be fair, what could have? Still worth seeing for yourself. Through Oct. 16.
Peter Blum Galleries
99 Wooster Street/526 West 29th Street
Matthew Day Jackson
The infamous P.S. 1 “Greater New York” show of 2005 launched several artists (Dana Schutz, Wangechi Mutu), but few have had perhaps the fast and furious climb of Matthew Day Jackson. His memorable salute to a Viking ship, its sails painted like a Mondrian, put him on the radar screen of a host of collectors, including Francois Pinault. Oddsmaker artist William Powhida assigned this “quasi-mythic, masculine naturalist” the greatest chance of success among the current crop of young artists (along with Ryan McGinley), and he’s already climbed at auction. Peter Blum opens shows by the artist in both of his spaces on Thursday, Sept. 16, and in November, he will offer a show teaming Jackson with another rising star, Huma Bhabha. Both of the Jackson solo shows run through Nov. 13.
Ricco Maresca Gallery
529 West 20th Street
This West 20th Street building is the home of more than a dozen galleries. But the crowds, on opening night Thursday, clustered in only two: Kim Foster Gallery’s show of Jim Toia, and Ricco Maresca’s show “Ed Welch, Signs.” Mr. Welch is a 93-year-old sign painter from the South who specializes in sequin-and-sparkles-decorated images of famous African-Americans. Advertising their lives with childish delight and artistic sophistication, he creates vivid paintings that seemed to work like a magnet.
50 Years at Pace
In a suite of exhibitions more ambitious than the majority of museum exhibitions, Pace salutes founder Arne Glimcher’s 50 years with loan exhibitions at five venues. A boastful greatest hits, the company’s various galleries re-create Pace’s 1981 show, “Picasso at Avignon,” which was one of the first serious looks at his late works (32 East 57th Street); document and salute minimalism with a show featuring work by virtually all of its major practitioners (545 West 22nd Street); and pull out all the stops in Pop Art and Ab-Ex (534 West 25th Street) The company’s new gallery, at 510 West 25th Street, will look at artists they’ve handled in the 21st century, Chuck Close and Zhang Xiaogang among them. For any serious art lover, attendance is required.
Carolina Nitsch Project Room
534 West 22nd Street
Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin
Powerhouse sculptor Louise Bourgeois and British art star Tracey Emin, both known for their autobiographical subject matter, collaborated on a series of works before Bourgeois’s death last year. The opening brought together fans of both artists, plus director John Waters, to view the 16 gouache and multimedia works. Through Nov. 13.
Marian Goodman Gallery
24 West 57th Street
In 1977, gallerist Marian Goodman opened her space with a show of work by Belgian poet and artist Marcel Broodthaers. She celebrates the 33rd anniversary with this 57th Street installation of his Section Cinéma. (Michael Werner Gallery will also show his works this fall.) The works were dense, smart and involving, but the real good news for the art market was that, on opening night, Nobu downstairs was choked with art worlders seemingly ready to spend again. Through Oct. 16
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
534 West 26th Street
A palate-cleanser after the chaos and throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks of the rest of Chelsea, this show features works spanning nearly 40 years of the pioneer Pop artist’s life. They focus on reflections and mirrors in his work, a motif that continued throughout his career. The show catalog is a highlight, with text by painter David Salle. Showing savvy timing, the show coincides with the Morgan Library and Museum’s “Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961-1968,” opening Sept. 24. Through Oct. 30.
Matthew Marks Gallery
522-526 West 22nd Street; 523 West 24th Street
Group shows have a bad rap in the art world, as they’re often a mélange with no curatorial focus and uneven quality. That’s not the problem here, as Matthew Marks is showing something of a Hall-of-Famers group show. His three spaces feature new work by Andreas Gursky (a powerhouse photo of a huge German soccer stadium), Katharina Fritsch (a vivid orange octopus), Robert Gober (a sink sculpture), Nan Goldin, Martin Honert, Charles Ray and two freshly painted works by Terry Winters. Through Oct. 16.