“Don’t be shy! Anyone can join! Bring the whole family!” says a text balloon above Robert Crumb’s 1969 comic book depiction of an “intercontinental orgy-riot.”
At once coarse and funny, the sea of bodies was from an underground magazine called Zap.
“Zap: Masters of Psychedelic Art 1965-74” at Andrew Edlin Gallery is one of several amusing exhibitions within a few blocks’ walk of one another in Chelsea.
There are artists from Israel, Russia and China, Donald Judd’s understated mix of poetry and Minimalism at David Zwirner and Joseph Marioni’s sensual monochrome canvases at Paul Rodgers/9W.
Created by a group of subversive San Francisco artists -- Crumb, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso, Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Williams and S. Clay Wilson -- Zap was manic, militant and fearless. You’ll see dismemberment, drug consumption and many other kinds of bad behavior.
Coupled with deft execution and racy writing, the works offer a glimpse of a deliriously noncommercial, nonconformist art scene.
As its master craftsman, Crumb has gone on to mainstream recognition and acceptance, such as 2009’s graphic “Book of Genesis.” His illustrations from another brush with serious literature can be seen at Tony Shafrazi Gallery in “R. Crumb: Kafka” through July 30.
Most works in the “Zap” show are from a private California collection. Several are available for prices ranging from $15,000 to $40,000. The show runs through June 25 at 134 Tenth Ave.; +1-212-206-9723; http://www.edlingallery.com
Thomas, the Dump Truck
A block north, Chinese artist Cao Fei’s fourth solo show with Lombard Freid Projects trades the virtual reality of her previous series for familiar play symbols: Thomas the Tank Engine, CBeebies, hand shadows and a finger-skateboard park.
Titled “Play Time,” it includes a video “East West,” in which a blue dump truck with Thomas’s face on the front bumper delivers refuse from a construction site on one side of Beijing to a trash dump across town.
The 10-minute film shows the mundane side of the country’s rapid expansion: cranes mounting to the horizon, cheap food joints, rude policemen, excited children and lots of bicycles. The incongruous presence of Thomas adds tenderness and playfulness to these bleak settings, seamlessly connecting the East and the West.
The work is 28,000 euros ($40,000). Other pieces range from 13,000 euros to 84,000 euros. The show runs through June 25 at 518 West 19th St.; +1-212-967-8040; http://www.lombard-freid.com
Glamour takes over with photographs of Kate Moss at Danziger Projects.
“For someone who smokes and drinks as much as she does, she has aged extremely well,” said James Danziger who recently moved into the former quarters of Perry Rubenstein gallery on West 23rd Street.
The highlight is a portfolio of 11 works by 11 photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber. The supermodel is depicted blowing bubbles, wearing a white furry coat, pulling up her dress, and showing off her waifish figure in the buff.
The earliest pictures by Gene Lemuel are from 1988, the year Moss was discovered at the age of 14, where she looks more like a baby than a babe. Herb Ritts depicted Moss hugging a Great Dane. Chuck Close focused on her toned and suntanned naked torso, leaving the head out of the frame.
The portfolio costs $100,000 and comes in an edition of 30. There are also individual images that range from $2,500 to $15,000. “The Kate Moss Portfolio and Other Stories” runs through June 30 at 527 W. 23rd St.; +1-212-629-6778; http://www.danzigerprojects.com
For a local bite and beverage: Wash down tapas with a crispy Navara rose at Tia Pol, a sliver of a place where artsy types gather after gallery openings; telephone +1-212-675-8805. Cookshop’s local, organic dishes attract the art world’s movers and shakers for lunch, while locals take over in the evenings; telephone +1-212-924-4440. Moran’s has hearty Irish fare and bartenders who pour liberally; telephone +1-212-627-3030.
(Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are