TUESDAY, JANUARY 5
Screening: “The Revenant” at the Museum of Modern Art
After winning the Academy Award for best director, best original screenplay and best picture for Birdman in 2015, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is back with the epic western film The Revenant. The screenplay, co-written by Inarritu, is partly based on Michael Punke’s 2002 book “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” which takes the story of American frontiersman Hugh Glass (c. 1780 – 1833) as its point of departure. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the part of Mr. Glass, the protagonist left for dead by his fellow hunters after being mauled by a bear; Tom Hardy is John Fitzgerald, the primary antagonist who seeks Mr. Glass’ death for his own gain; and Domhnall Gleeson is the hunting party leader. “It’s one brutal, badass epic,” says Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers. “Hang on…for the power of cinema unleashed.”
MoMA, 11 West 53 Street, New York, 7:30 p.m., $12
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6
Performance: “New Ear Festival” at Fridman Gallery
Fridman Gallery kicks off the New Year with a one-week program of sound and performance. Artist Marina Rosenfeld, who blurs the lines between art and music with her large-scale performances, and electronic music composer Ben Vida, well known as the co-founder of the group Town and Country, perform on Wednesday night. Electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello, who uses atmospheric noises from his surrounding environment in his soundscapes for films, videos and art installations, shares the bill with Byron Westbrook and Andrea Parkins on Thursday evening. On Saturday, the festival premieres legendary drone-composer Phill Niblock’s new guitar piece with David First and hosts the screening of The Movement of Phill Niblock, a documentary portrait by Belgian filmmaker Maurits Wouters. A video installation by Argentinian artist and composer Cecilia Lopez will play each night at 7:30 p.m. and performances, introduced by festival MC Mona Chromatic, will begin at 8:00 p.m.
Fridman Gallery, 287 Spring Street, New York, 7:30, $10
THURSDAY, JANUARY 7
Opening: “Janet Biggs: Within Touching Distance” at Cristin Tierney Gallery
A celebrated and prolific video artist for the past 20 years, Janet Biggs brings her latest works—a four-channel video installation and a dual-channel video—to the immersive exhibition “Within Touching Distance,” which deals with memories in relation to identity. The video installation Can’t Find My Way Home juxtaposes footage of Ms. Biggs exploring the massive crystal caves of a salt mine in Germany with analysis by a neurologist and an elderly man looking at crystals at a gemstone show to draw parallels between the forms of the underground crystals and proteins active in brains with dementia, from which her grandfather—a gem collector—suffered. In the video presentation Written in Wax the artist submits herself to electric shocks.
Cristin Tierney Gallery, 540 West 28 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: “Noah Becker Presents Something” at Berry Campbell
Noah Becker—artist, curator and founder of Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art (full disclosure, I also write for the publication)—takes on the role as the first guest curator at Berry Campbell with a show of 20 international artists exploring enigmatic narratives in their paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Michael Anderson contributes the massive 2009 collage Blue Abstract, which is assembled from street posters gleaned from New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Mexico City. Marc Dennis presents a witty, realistic painting of a young woman looking at Gustave Courbet’s controversial canvas Origin of the World from the vantage point of the woman’s long hair obscuring Mr. Courbet’s subject’s genitals and pubic hair. Meanwhile, Nir Hod’s painting of the word “Fame” on an oxidized chrome canvas looks tarnished, as if to express that celebrity just might be a passing thing.
Berry Campbell, 530 West 24 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: “Jonathan Lasker” at Cheim & Read
An American abstract painter who has had more than 80 international solo shows since 1981, Jonathan Lasker is widely known for his formalist paintings and drawings that are both planned and improvised. Beginning with black and white drawings of biomorphic shapes and gestural marks on gridded, solid or patterned grounds, the artist makes color studies that become maquettes for his large-scale canvases. The layering of imagery creates a push-pull effect, where the shapes on the canvas seem to exist on different planes. Thickly painted forms interact with squiggly lines and flat surfaces to create a type of abstraction that knowingly flirts with Pop art.
Cheim & Read, 547 West 25 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: “Diana Fonseca Quiñones” at Sean Kelly
The first solo show of the Havana-based artist Diana Fonseca Quiñones outside of Cuba, this exhibition features recent paintings, sculptures and video works employing everyday objects and experiences to create poetic narratives that comment on social concerns. Highlights include the video Pasa Tiempo (Pastime), which shows the artist stitching an airplane on her hand to express the Cuban peoples desire to travel, and a series of three paintings titled Degradación (Degradation) that is made from fragments of paint that Ms. Quiñones has peeled from the facades of deteriorating buildings in old Havana.
Sean Kelly, 475 Tenth Avenue, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: “Izumi Kato” at Galerie Perrotin
After exhibiting in Japan since 1996, Izumi Kato makes his New York solo show debut with a display of recent paintings and sculptures of nude, alien-like figures with multiple heads, limbs that sprout plants and torsos with wings. New Yorkers last got a look at his surreal work in the acclaimed Japan Society group show “Little Boy,” curated by Japanese superstar Takashi Murakami in 2005. After receiving a degree in painting in 1992, Mr. Kato became a manual laborer. When he returned to art-making some years later, he put down his brushes and began painting with his fingers and a rubber spatula. In 2000, he added strange sculptures to his oeuvre, first in carved wood and then soft vinyl. His big-eyed figures look like imaginary avatars and anime characters that transcend the spiritual realm.
Galerie Perrotin, 909 Madison Avenue, New York, 6-8 p.m.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8
Opening: “Guido van der Werve: Nummer zestien, the present moment” at Luhring Augustine
The latest work in Guido van der Werve’s series of numbered film and video pieces, Nummer zestien, the present moment is a three-channel video installation with a player piano. Three years in the making, the Dutch artist conceived it as a companion piece to his film Nummer veertien, home, which was exhibited at Luhring Augustine in 2012. Whereas that film was about the body, this video work is about the mind. It shows three groups of people instinctively performing daily routines on three different screens. Mr. van der Werve wrote the music for Nummer veertien in 12 minor keys, while he composed music for Nummer zestien in 12 major keys. Additionally, it is the first work in which he doesn’t himself perform and it’s the first time that he has shot entirely in the studio. This showing marks the works worldwide debut.
Luhring Augustine, 531 West 24 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Talk: “Working Space: Contemporary Artists on Frank Stella” at the Whitney Museum of Art”
Showcasing more than 100 paintings, reliefs, sculptures, drawings and prints from the mid-1950s to the present by America’s best-known abstract artist, “Frank Stella: A Retrospective” features Mr. Stella’s radical “Black Paintings,” as well as shaped reliefs from the influential “Polish Village” and “Indian Bird” series and his recent 3-D works that use digital processes. Friday evening’s roundtable discussion with established art stars Walead Beshty and Sarah Morris and emerging talents Keltie Ferris and Jordan Kantor delves into the venerable artist’s varied slant on painting and abstraction and its impact on a new generation of artists working today. See the show before or after the talk, as the museum is open until 10 p.m.
Whitney Museum of Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, 6 p.m., $8
SATURDAY, JANUARY 9
Opening: “Martin Wong: Voices” at P.P.O.W
Concurrent with his retrospective “Human Instamatic” on view at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, P.P.O.W presents Voices, an exhibition of more than 100 works focusing on language as the source of Martin Wong’s artistic practice. Featuring poetry scrolls, paintings, drawings, ceramics and publications from 1968 to 1999 (the year of his death from an AIDS-related illness), the exhibition reveals the artist’s focus on Nuyorican poetry, Kufic manuscripts and Sanskrit calligraphy, as well as his inventive adaptation of sign language, astronomical constellations and New York City graffiti in his work. Nowadays, Mr. Wong’s work can be found in the collections of major museums, including the Met, MoMA and the Whitney.
P.P.O.W, 535 West 22 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: “Tauba Auerbach: Projective Instrument” at Paula Cooper Gallery
A conceptual artist who mixes process abstraction with philosophical ideas across a variety of media, Tauba Auerbach returns to the Paula Cooper for her second solo show featuring new paintings, sculptures and a special project in the gallery’s bookstore. Taking direction from architect and theosophist Claude Bragdon’s treatise on drawing four-dimensional patterns on a two-dimensional plane, Ms. Auerbach presents a series of glass sculptures and a sculpture consisting of 3D-printed parts, along with large-scale acrylic paintings created with custom-made tools and a new group of her coveted Weave paintings. The bookstore project offers a selection of books influential to the artist and reprints of seminal books by Mr. Bragdon with supplementary content by Ms. Auerbach. The show also includes a series of three concerts, starting with a performance by experimental band Zs during the opening reception.
Paula Cooper Gallery, 534 West 21 Street, New York, 6-8 p.m.
Screening and Talk: “Ugly Duckling Presse: Costume en Face” at The Kitchen
In conjunction with Big Dance Theater’s new production “Big Dance: Short Form,” the Kitchen presents a screening of a rare film of Butoh dance’s founding father Tatsumi Hijikata’s 1976 production of Costume en Face. One of Big Dance Theater’s performance pieces in Short Form, “Resplendent Shimmering Topaz Waterfall,” was inspired by a page from Mr. Hijikata notebook notations from “Costume en Face: A Primer of Darkness for Young Boys and Girls,” which was recently published by Ugly Duckling Presse. Following the screening is a talk with Big Dance Theater’s Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, artist Aki Sasamoto, Butoh scholar Bruce Baird, and Ugly Duckling Presse editor Yelena Gluzman, who will discuss the influence of Mr. Hijikata’s work on artists and choreographers today.
The Kitchen, 512 West 19 Street, New York, 5 p.m.
Opening: “Brassaï: Language of the Wall: The Tapestries, 1968” at Higher Pictures
One of the important players in the modernist movement in Paris between WWI and WWII, the Hungarian photographer, sculptor, writer and filmmaker Brassaï (the pseudonym of Gyula Halász) is best known for his salacious photographs of Paris at night and his poignant portraits of the famous artists and writers of his time. He also made an important series of photographs of Parisian graffiti in the 1930s, which was exhibited at MoMA in 1956 and is being celebrated in this show featuring a selection of silver gelatin prints and two large and rare tapestries that the artist had fabricated from composites made from his pictures in the late-1960s.
Higher Pictures, 980 Madison Avenue, New York. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 10Talk: “Robert Smithson: Pop” at James Cohan
Widely considered one of the founders of the Land Art movement, with his famous Spiral Jetty in Utah’s Great Salt Lake cementing his place in art history, Robert Smithson actually started out making figurative work inspired by science fiction and photographs and illustrations of pin-up girls and beefcake guys. The inaugural exhibition at James Cohan’s new Lower East Side includes nearly 20 of his colorful drawings and eccentric assemblages from 1962 to 1964. On Sunday afternoon, Brooklyn Museum Curator of Contemporary Art Eugenie Tsai, Jewish Museum Deputy Director and Head of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Jewish Museum Jens Hoffmann, and Andrianna Campbell, a PhD candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, discuss the rarely seen work in the exhibition in relation to the broader themes of the artist’s oeuvre.
James Cohan, 291 Grand Street, New York, 1 p.m.
MONDAY, JANUARY 11
Performance: “New York City Ballet and Justin Peck: Creation of a Story Ballet” at the Guggenheim Museum
As part of the “Works & Process” series, the museum presents a preview of New York City Ballet resident choreographer and soloist Justin Peck’s new ballet for the company. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Most Incredible Thing, a fairy tale about a contest, the ballet features a new score by Bryce Dessner (from the band The National), costumes and sets by David Zwirner art star Marcel Dzama and lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker, who has illuminated dance companies around the world. Prior to the premiere, NYCB dancers perform excerpts from the work and Mr. Peck, Mr. Dessner, Mr. Dzama, and Mr. Baker discuss their creative process with moderator Ellen Sorrin, director of the George Balanchine Trust and managing director of the New York Choreographic Institute.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York, 7:30 p.m., $40