Spring Arts Preview: Top 10 Gallery Shows

“I always imagine that I want to make art that is going to kill you,” Robert Longo told an interviewer in 1984. “Whether it's going to do it visually or physically, I'll take either way.” Mr. Longo was 31 then and already famous for his “Men in the Cities” series, large-scale drawings of besuited men and women flailing in space that became defining images of 1980s New York (and appeared in the movie version of American Psycho). Over the past 30 years he’s built a career based on images that threaten to overwhelm in both their size and precision. At Metro, he’ll show new black-and-white charcoals, achingly exact (though sometimes resized) versions of iconic postwar abstract paintings (a luscious, febrile Joan Mitchell, a crisp, austere Barnett Newman). At Petzel, he’ll offer a towering new sculpture—a black American flag that has been wedged into the floor at an angle, looming some 17 feet over visitors—and a huge multi-panel depiction of the U.S. Capitol.

Robert Longo, Untitled (Capitol), 2012–13
One of New York’s most pleasantly, refreshingly idiosyncratic artists, Brooklyn-based Marie Lorenz has recently been making art about her journeys in homemade boats throughout the five boroughs, videotaping her travels and fashioning prints from the flotsam she discovers. This will be her third show with Hanley.

Marie Lorenz, still from Ezekia, 2013
This show at Venus Over Manhattan, the gallery owned by Observer columnist Adam Lindemann, focuses on the draftsman’s most thrilling series: fearsome, engulfing waves on which lone, brave surfers ride, tempting death. More fine news: Mr. Pettibon will apparently take a break from writing vitriolic tweets to make a new wave drawing directly on the gallery's walls.

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (But the Sand...), 2011
Last year’s Jay DeFeo retrospective at the Whitney Museum confirmed the Bay Area artist, who lived from 1929 to 1989, as one of postwar America’s great, unsung artistic figures. Known pretty much solely for The Rose, the sizable masterwork of a painting she labored on for eight years, from 1958 through 1966, it was revealed that she also produced spooky, spectral drawings and photographs. This will be the DeFeo Trust's first show with the gallery, and will focus on works from the 1970s and '80s, including never-before-shown photocopy works. Walead Beshty will contribute a catalogue essay.

Jay DeFeo, Untitled, 1987
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It’s a superb time to be a Jean-Michel Basquiat fan. A year after Gagosian Gallery’s gorgeous blowout exhibition of his frenetic, inventive, storied paintings, Acquavella offers a look at Basquiat’s comparatively little-known works on paper. Herb and Lenore Schorr, who were among his early supporters, are contributing 22 drawings and two canvases. Curator Fred Hoffman, who worked with the late artist throughout his too-short career, is handling curatorial duties. Expect revelations.

Jean-Michel Basquait, Portrait of Herb and Lenore, 1983

(© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat / ADAGP, Paris / ARS, New York 2014 / Photo by Kent Pell)
Marks happens to be opening an exhibition of the late, great West Coast ceramicist Ken Price the same day as its show with Mr. Fecteau, which is perfect timing since both are masters of their materials, gamely forging abstract shapes that twist and tweak notions of interior and exterior, front and back. The San Francisco–based Mr. Fecteau’s medium of choice is papier-mâché, which he manipulates into forms that can feel comfortingly domestic, creepily organic or chillingly alien, depending on where you’re standing.

Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2011
Daniel Turner works in a rich and strange zone where rough-and-tumble domestic and industrial materials and processes somehow yield subtle, bewitching results. He rubs white walls with steel wool for hours to make smoky, amorphous shapes and stains floors with rusty pools and waves of iron oxide. He has also encased tar in vinyl to make paintings that, like so much he touches, seem both deathly and sensual. This is his solo debut with Team.
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Darren Bader, another 2014 Whitney Biennial participant, has recently been terrorizing and delighting viewers with works that focus on or combine unusual found materials (and sometimes living things, like the odd cat or goat). It’s sculpture taken to its absolute limit. It’s also rather hard to pick a favorite piece, but right now I’m taken with the lawn mower he showed at his last Kreps show, in 2011, and the lasagna he injected with heroin for a 2012 London outing. It all sounds pretty funny and random at first, but bizarre and dark poetic associations are always lurking. No telling what he’ll offer this time.

Darren Bader, Kangaroo and Lobster, 2012
Sterling Ruby, who was born in Germany and is based in Los Angeles, is coming to town for his first solo here since 2010, when he showed two enormous sculptures at Pace Gallery, a custom-styled, graffiti-covered prison bus and a similarly sized stack of cages. (He tends to be ambitious.) For now, Hauser, which is showing Mr. Ruby in its mammoth new space on West 18th Street, is keeping mum about his plans. Will we get some of his trademark gargantuan, drippy stalagmite sculptures, which he makes with PVC, foam and urethane? Maybe scores of his wildly messy, spooky, intricate ceramics? Perhaps a room-filling video installation, like the masturbating male porn stars he showed in 2009 at Foxy Production? All bets are off when it comes to a Ruby production.

Sterling Ruby, SUPERMAX, 2008

Though recent temperatures in New York strongly suggest otherwise, spring arrives this week. Below, the 10 most hotly anticipated gallery shows of the season.

‘Robert Longo: Gang of Cosmos’ at Metro Pictures
April 10–May 23
‘Robert Longo: Strike the Sun’ at Petzel
April 10–May 10
“I always imagine that I want to make art that is going to kill you,” Robert Longo told an interviewer in 1984. “Whether it’s going to do it visually or physically, I’ll take either way.” Mr. Longo was 31 then and already famous for his “Men in the Cities” series, large-scale drawings of besuited men and women flailing in space that became defining images of 1980s New York (and appeared in the movie version of American Psycho). Over the past 30 years he’s built a career based on images that threaten to overwhelm in both their size and precision. At Metro, he’ll show new black-and-white charcoals, achingly exact (though sometimes resized) versions of iconic postwar abstract paintings (a luscious, febrile Joan Mitchell, a crisp, austere Barnett Newman). At Petzel, he’ll offer a towering new sculpture—a black American flag that has been wedged into the floor at an angle, looming some 17 feet over visitors—and a huge multi-panel depiction of the U.S. Capitol.

Rochelle Feinstein at On Stellar Rays
April 10–May 11
A painter’s painter, Rochelle Feinstein has been dazzling viewers for more than three decades by combining text, abstraction, found images, collage and more into a wild variety of styles, shrugging off the pressure to conform to a signature look. It’s a big moment for her—she’s featured in this year’s Whitney Biennial and will have a solo show at Kunsthalle Bern next year. The gallery will show a never-before-seen piece called Love Your Work from 1999, comprised of seven monumentally scaled paintings.

Marie Lorenz at Jack Hanley Gallery
April 18–May 17
One of New York’s most pleasantly, refreshingly idiosyncratic artists, Brooklyn-based Marie Lorenz has recently been making art about her journeys in homemade boats throughout the five boroughs, videotaping her travels and fashioning prints from the flotsam she discovers. This will be her third show with Hanley.

‘Raymond Pettibon: Surfers 1987–2012’ at Venus Over Manhattan
April 3–May 17
This show at Venus Over Manhattan, the gallery owned by Observer columnist Adam Lindemann, focuses on the draftsman’s most thrilling series: fearsome, engulfing waves on which lone, brave surfers ride, tempting death. More fine news: Mr. Pettibon will apparently take a break from writing vitriolic tweets to make a new wave drawing directly on the gallery’s walls.

Jay DeFeo at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
May 1–June 7
Last year’s Jay Defeo retrospective at the Whitney Museum confirmed the Bay Area artist, who lived from 1929 to 1989, as one of postwar America’s great, unsung artistic figures. Known pretty much solely for The Rose, the sizable masterwork of a painting she labored on for eight years, from 1958 through 1966, it was revealed that she also produced spooky, spectral drawings and photographs. This will be the DeFeo Trust’s first show with the gallery, and will focus on works from the 1970s and ’80s, including never-before-shown photocopy works. Walead Beshty will contribute a catalogue essay.

‘Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Work From the Schorr Family Collection’ at Acquavella Galleries
May 2–June 13
It’s a superb time to be a Jean-Michel Basquiat fan. A year after Gagosian Gallery’s gorgeous blowout exhibition of his frenetic, inventive, storied paintings, Acquavella offers a look at Basquiat’s comparatively little-known works on paper. Herb and Lenore Schorr, who were among his early supporters, are contributing 22 drawings and two canvases. Curator Fred Hoffman, who worked with the late artist throughout his too-short career, is handling curatorial duties. Expect revelations.

Vincent Fecteau at Matthew Marks Gallery
May 3–June 28
Marks happens to be opening an exhibition of the late, great West Coast ceramicist Ken Price the same day as its show with Mr. Fecteau, which is perfect timing since both are masters of their materials, gamely forging abstract shapes that twist and tweak notions of interior and exterior, front and back. The San Francisco–based Mr. Fecteau’s medium of choice is papier-mâché, which he manipulates into forms that can feel comfortingly domestic, creepily organic or chillingly alien, depending on where you’re standing.

‘Daniel Turner: PM’ at Team Gallery
May 4–June 1
Daniel Turner works in a rich and strange zone where rough-and-tumble domestic and industrial materials and processes somehow yield subtle, bewitching results. He rubs white walls with steel wool for hours to make smoky, amorphous shapes and stains floors with rusty pools and waves of iron oxide. He has also encased tar in vinyl to make paintings that, like so much he touches, seem both deathly and sensual. This is his solo debut with Team.

Darren Bader at Andrew Kreps
May 17–June 28
Darren Bader, another 2014 Whitney Biennial participant, has recently been terrorizing and delighting viewers with works that focus on or combine unusual found materials (and sometimes living things, like the odd cat or goat). It’s sculpture taken to its absolute limit. It’s also rather hard to pick a favorite piece, but right now I’m taken with the lawn mower he showed at his last Kreps show, in 2011, and the lasagna he injected with heroin for a 2012 London outing. It all sounds pretty funny and random at first, but bizarre and dark poetic associations are always lurking. No telling what he’ll offer this time.

‘Sterling Ruby: Sunrise Sunset’ at Hauser & Wirth
May 9–July 25
Sterling Ruby, who was born in Germany and is based in Los Angeles, is coming to town for his first solo here since 2010, when he showed two enormous sculptures at Pace Gallery, a custom-styled, graffiti-covered prison bus and a similarly sized stack of cages. (He tends to be ambitious.) For now, Hauser, which is showing Mr. Ruby in its mammoth new space on West 18th Street, is keeping mum about his plans. Will we get some of his trademark gargantuan, drippy stalagmite sculptures, which he makes with PVC, foam and urethane? Maybe scores of his wildly messy, spooky, intricate ceramics? Perhaps a room-filling video installation, like the masturbating male porn stars he showed in 2009 at Foxy Production? All bets are off when it comes to a Ruby production.

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