A human skull, submerged in a fish tank, occupies the center of Marianne Boesky’s Chelsea gallery.
Piercing light illuminates the head from above. The coral stuck to its cheeks and one eye socket is slowly nibbling away the bone.
Titled “Nowhere to Be Found,” the 2010 piece by Mathias Kessler will eventually disappear thanks to the calcium-loving creatures.
Destruction and creation coexist in “The Nature of Disappearance,” a provocative, two-venue group show organized by Dieter Buchhart. By the time it ends, many works will change their appearance.
In Chelsea, slices of prosciutto on a stem resemble maple leaves. On the opening night the meat was bright red; a day later it shriveled and darkened. A tiered white cake, frosted with larvae, will be eaten up by the bugs once they hatch. There’s also an Edvard Munch landscape covered with bird droppings.
At Boesky’s uptown location, there’s a 1978 Andy Warhol “piss” painting which includes materials such as urine and diamond dust. Continuing the theme of destruction, there’s Lucio Fontana’s slashed and pierced canvases.
Prices range from $5,000 to $1.5 million. The show runs through Aug. 10 at 509 W. 24th St. and at 118 E. 64th St.; +1-212-680-9889; http://www.marianneboeskygallery.com
Vagabond performance artist Dawn Kasper has moved some of her clutter to a space rented by gallery owner David Zwirner.
You may remember her from the Whitney Museum’s biennial, when she hung around a large room filled with her stuff.
For the Zwirner space, Kasper organized a group exhibition titled “Fuel for the Fire.”
“He invited me to be here and do whatever I wanted,” Kasper said in a telephone interview. “I put an open call to friends and I invited them to invite their friends.”
Kasper’s books, records, stuffed bags and a white Singer sewing machine clutter an alcove by the entrance.
The main space and the basement host paintings, installations, photographs and sculptures by about 40 emerging artists. One colorful poster sums it all up: “Very different but much more.”
Prices range from $1,000 to $15,000. The show runs through July 31 at 535 W.20th St.
At the Newman Popiashvili Gallery, the meditative exhibition “More Songs About Buildings and Food” includes just a few photo-based works by three artists.
A small black-and-white photo by Hungarian-born modernist Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) sets the tone. The tightly cropped image shows a table from above. The composition includes clay pitchers, a bowl of fruit, several knives -- and a collapsed woman. It seems at once random, perfectly choreographed and mysterious.
So are the works by two contemporary artists, Susa Templin and Jude Broughan.
Templin’s washed-out images of people, curtains and tables have a retro look and an experimental feel, in part because they are printed on unframed, curling sheets of paper. In Broughan’s assemblage, original and found photographs of a sunset and sliced fruit are framed by a long strap of unprimed linen.
Prices range from $1,100 to $3,800. The show runs through July 28 at 504 W.22nd St.; +1-212-274-9166; http://npgallery.com.
Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars and Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.