Suggested Viewing: Shows to see before Summer Vacation

Summer time is quiet time in the art world. Everyone has had their fill from what seemed like a never ending barrage of fairs. With galleries mounting their summer shows and keeping summer hours, here is a concise list of the shows that I highly recommend during your summertime stroll.

Elmer Bischoff: Figurative Paintings
George Adams Gallery
525-531 West 26th Street
First Floor
New York, NY 10001
June – August, 2015

After getting treated to Joan Brown’s large scale figurative paintings, George Adams Gallery has hung an impressive survey Elmer Bischoff, another Bay Area Figurative Expressionist. Bischoff was a native and lifelong resident of the Bay Area and is probably the best known of the 1950’s Bay Area group along with David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. The poet and critic Bill Berkson wrote that if “David Park was the classicist of the founding triad of the Bay Area Figurative painters, and Richard Diebenkorn the modernist, Bischoff was the romantic.” Also on view in the smaller Drawing Gallery is a show of a few whimsical works by Red Grooms.

Anthems for Mother Earth Goddess
Andrew Edlin Gallery
134 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
June 25 – August 15, 2015

For the gallery’s final show in their Chelsea location, they invited a strong roster of artists to create new works directly on the walls of the gallery. The theme of the exhibition is the environment, and each artist takes on the theme in a uniquely profound way, be it spiritually, politically, or emotionally. Just as the cycle of nature is ephemeral, so too are the works in this show. They will be demolished along with the building sometime in the near future. I recently reviewed this exhibition here.

New Dominion
Mixed Greens
521 West 26th Street
1st floor
New York, NY 10001
June 11 – July 17, 2015

This show is centered around artwork made in Richmond, Virginia. Featured in this exhibition curated by Lauren Ross of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, are eight contemporary artists who have created a diverse range of work including themes of heritage, race, identity, memory, urban life, art history, and the environment. I had recently written about Sonya Clark’s performative piece Unraveling, where the artist unraveled a Confederate flag during the opening night.

Profiled: Surveillance of a Sharing Society
Apex Art
291 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
June 4 – July 25, 2015

When our daily lives are shared amongst vast social networks, is there a place within the digital age that remains autonomous? This exhibition focuses on artists who are operating within the global framework of surveillance. Notable works include the Instagram account of James Bridle, who uses aerial photography from Google Earth to show the subtle geography of the places where drone attacks have been reported. Sans drone, these images seem banal, however it is the volatile free for all in the form of unfiltered comments by Instagram users that is striking.

The Last Party
329 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002
June 17 – August 23, 2015

The Last Party is arguably the most fun show of the summer. The exhibition surveys the underground nightlife, which was the pulse of New York City during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s before fizzling out into the corporate playground for the rich we know today. The show features artists who were integral in the club scene and the underground culture of that period. There is even a reincarnation of the legendary Mars Bar!

-Hank Willis Thomas: The Truth I See You
MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn, NY
August 4, 2015 – June, 2016

One of today’s most dynamic visual artists, Hank Willis Thomas, will be displaying three large scale and intimate works for the public in Brooklyn beginning August 4th. The work includes Willis’ Truth Booth (2011), a 16 foot high by 23 foot wide video booth in the form of a speech bubble projecting the word “TRUTH.” The site will entice visitors to record their thoughts on the word’s meaning with a two minute video response. Other brand new works also incorporate speech bubbles, such as the installation of 22 bubbles hung on light posts in the Myrtle Promenade, which feature a poem written with artist Ryan Alexiev. The exhibition is presented by The Public Art Fund and Forest City Ratner.

Anthems for Mother Earth Goddess

For the final show in their Chelsea location, the Andrew Edlin Gallery invited a strong roster of artists to create new mural works directly on their walls. The central theme of the exhibition titled Anthems for the Mother Earth Goddess is the environment, and each artist takes on this theme in a uniquely profound way, be it spiritually, politically, scientifically or emotionally. Just as the cycle of nature is ephemeral, so too are the works in this show. They will be demolished along with the building sometime in the near future.

While the show as a whole is a treat to experience, two particular works struck me with profound intensity. They are by Kevin Blythe Sampson and Brian Adams Douglas.


Kevin Blythe Sampson’s mural titled¬†The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree (2015)

Sampson’s expressionistic tree bleeds out from the poisonous doctrines that have tainted civilization. The names of places where national injustice have occurred are scratched into the bark. The mangled roots, which form the word “MIASMA”¬† bleed into the Earth and spreading foul poison throughout the land. Hooded Klansmen, at the base of the tree represent catastrophic ideas like the Keystone pipeline and fracking, as well as the GMO corporation Monsanto and the Republican National Convention (which supports these aforementioned problematic environmental issues). The tree is tapped by problems that drain our society of justice and peace. A poached Rhino (with it’s horns cut off and black human feet) reminds us that we are an endangered species as well.


A mural by Brian Adams Douglas titled Everhigher (2015).

Brian Adam Douglas’ epic realist mural is the most dramatic in the show. It’s an end of days theme where nature has taken back the Earth through a biblical flood that would rival Noah’s. There’s a huddled mass, piled on top of each other in the form of a pyramid. They are seemingly the last survivors of the catastrophic storm. One barren tree is still standing tall from the flood waters. It is held afloat by a life preserver.

The rest of the must see murals are by Saya Woolfalk, Chris Doyle, Peter Fend, Rigo 23, and Katerina Lanfranco.

So while you’re walking along the adjacent Highline experiencing one of the more positive ways in which we can interact with and preserve our natural environment; don’t miss this show where the anthems to Mother Earth will get stuck in your head for days.