Hito Steyerl (b. 1966), Installation view of Factory of the Sun, 2015 (German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, 2015). Video, color, sound; 21 min., looped; with environment, dimensions variable. Collection of the artist; courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Photograph by Manuel Reinartz; image courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
BY ISIDRO CAMACHO
Filling the 18,000 square feet of the Whitney’s fifth-floor gallery, “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016” promises to be the museum’s most technologically progressive show to date. Highlighting the advances, both stylistic and technologic, in cinema during the last century, the exhibit will feature animation, 3-D visuals, and installations that use real-time data feeds from the internet.
Cinema, in comparison to other art forms, is a unique and relatively new vehicle of artistic expression. Since its inception by the Lumière brothers nearly 100 years ago, filmmaking has evolved to new technologic heights. When the two French brothers premiered their first short film in 1895 audiences jumped out of their seats and ran for the exits, convinced that a train that appeared on screen was going to slam into the theater. Audiences today are still attracted to the silver screen because of its ability to temporarily bend reality.
The Whitney’s exhibit, which opens Oct. 28, will draw upon the transcendent power of cinema. The name of the project, “Dreamlands,” alludes to a fantasy world imagined by the cult-horror author H.P Lovecraft that one can only enter while sleeping. The exhibit’s curators — Chrissie Iles, Anne Ehrenkranz and Joel Ehrenkranz — hope to reinterpret Lovecraft’s world by creating spaces so enveloping that viewers feel like they are being transported to a different period in history. Visitors will have the chance to explore early projects that laid the groundwork for modern cinema as well more contemporary pieces. The Whitney is an artistic institution predominately focusing on American Art but “Dreamlands” will also feature certain early European cinematic works that served as inspirations for pioneer American filmmakers.
Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016
Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St.)
Oct. 28 through Feb. 5Stella show Extended, Baselitz opens
The Gagosian galleries are two of the most revered spaces in Chelsea and their tastes in modern and contemporary art always seem to be on the cutting edge of the international art world. Most recently the galleries featured the work of Richard Serra, whose exhibit at 24th Street has been extended until Oct. 22. Visitors came in droves to venture inside his colossal steel blocks. Serra’s pieces echoed the solemn tranquility of aged metal, ushering in stillness with their hard, weathered exteriors. This fall the 21st Street Gagosian space will switch its focus to the human form with the work of Georg Baselitz. Well respected in Europe, the work of this German-born contemporary artist has almost always focused on new visualizations of the human body.
Baselitz has often been frustrated by the tendency of viewers to directly relate his work to real life. To combat this, in the 1960’s he began painting his figures upside down to distance them from reality. This theme — placing the human body in a context different from reality — is still central to his work. “Jumping Over My Shadow,” a collection of the artist’s most recent works, features canvases whose figures are misted with a fine layer of paint, hiding them from easy observation. In addition to his tableaus, the Gagosian will also showcase his recent works of sculpture. His sculptures, dubbed by the gallery’s official press release as “monumental,” are strikingly expressive and cubic. Often constructed from wood or bronze, his interpretations of the human body, most often his version of a head, are textured with marks that resemble slashes or hack marks. These large works will fill the huge space on 21st Street until late October.
Georg Baselitz: Jumping Over My Shadow
Opens, with a reception, Sept. 20 and runs until Oct. 29Flood waters as art
In 2012 the basement of the Westbeth Gallery in Greenwich Village was completely flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Few would have anticipated the Hudson River to reach such record-setting water levels that day, but now most understand the severity of the storm was related to global warming.
Starting Sept. 16, the basement of the Westbeth will again be flooded to create a new gallery experience featuring the photos of Anne De Carbuccia. Visitors can use walkways to explore photos taken by Carbuccia during her adventures abroad. All of Carbuccia’s shots feature skulls, a symbol of decimated species, and hourglasses, a literal symbol of time running out to save them. Carbuccia work places these two symbols in different contexts, such as a coral reef or the African savannah, to show how the fight to reverse climate change is a global plight. The effects of climate change will be apparent by the water constantly underfoot while the visitor moves from photo to photo.
Part of the gallery will also be visible to people passing on the street. The Westbeth resides in a meatpacking-style building that was once attached to the same rail track as the Highline. The artist plans to plant a small forest of trees inside this portion of the building to further the exhibits connection with the environment. Images of Carbuccia’s work will be projected onto the arches of the building and the trees themselves. “One Planet One Future” is the collaborative efforts of the Westbeth gallery and Carbuccia’s Time Shrine Foundation. Admission to the exhibit is free and all the proceeds from Carbuccia’s work will be donated to NGOs dedicated to fighting climate change.
One Planet One Future: A series of photographs by Anne de Carbuccia
Wesbeth Gallery (55 Bethune St.)
Opens Sept. 16 and runs until Nov. 21