Humor and absurdity invest the conceptual experiments of German artist Sigmar Polke now being shown at Leo Koenig Inc.
One group of photographs stars cucumbers; another displays random objects arranged to look like palm trees. Gold nuggets, vines and blankets also make appearances. Depending on his photographic development process, which included the use of radioactive materials, the same composition might look crisp, sepia-aged or dreamlike.
One highlight is a group of five macabre images of mummified corpses from a Capuchin monastery in Palermo, Italy. Each shows them dressed in shirts and coats. One pair seems to be having an interesting conversation.
Prices range from $16,000 for a single photo to $1.2 million (for all the dead people). “Sigmar Polke: Photoworks 1964-2000” runs through Sept. 3 at 545 W. 23rd St.; +1-212-334-9255; http://www.leokoenig.com
At the D’Amelio Terras gallery, curator Kate McNamara has organized a lively group exhibition featuring abstract art by eight women.
A co-founder of the hip emerging art space Cleopatra’s in Brooklyn, McNamara chooses paintings and sculptures that vibrate with color.
In Joanne Greenbaum’s charged, expansive composition, various shades of pink swirl and drip amid black and yellow. Dona Nelson’s “Lunar Eclipse” hangs in midair, with both sides of the canvas forming Rorschach shapes in yellow and blue. Cheerful lemon-hued paint brings to life Nicole Cherubini’s totem-like sculpture assembled from plywood and ceramic parts.
Prices range from $2,500 to $30,000. “Affinities: Painting in Abstraction” runs through Aug. 19 at 525 W. 22nd St.; +1-212-352-9460; http://www.damelioterras.com
A few doors west, Friedrich Petzel is showing understated, attractive canvases by Dutch artist Willem De Rooij.
At first they look like glittering monochromes. Five 7-foot vertical canvases form a subtle progression from gold to silver. One 9-foot-wide canvas shows a gradual change from brown to black.
It takes a few minutes to realize that the color is achieved through intricately woven threads.
Most pieces were produced at a 200-year-old weaving factory outside of Potsdam, Germany. Prices range from 22,000 euros to 120,000 euros ($30,918 to $168,648). “Crazy Repelled Firelight” runs through Aug. 5 at 537 W. 22nd St.; +1-212-680-9467; http://www.petzel.com
Moments after two lovers embrace, the man is torn apart by four horses. More sadistic acts follow. But wait, this is all an arty send-up of horror flicks, and optimistic too. At the end, the woman sculpts her dead lover’s head from bread crumbs tossed her way by a crazy priest. Love and art triumph eventually.
The silent, black-and-white movie at Anton Kern Gallery is the main event of an exhibition by John Bock, who plays the priest.
Glass vitrines on two sides of the screening room display props used in the film, including the four horses, which turn out to be small paper cutouts.
The entire installation is $250,000. The film, which comes in the edition of three, is $90,000. “In the Shadow of the Maggot” runs through Aug. 12 at 532 W. 20th St.; +1-212-367-9663; http://www.antonkerngallery.com
(Katya Kazakina is a reporter for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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