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Bloody Whales, 7-Ton Henry Moore, Bathhouse Nude: Hot Art

"If Wishes were Fishes" exhibition by Barnaby Furnas at the Marianne Boesky gallery in Chelsea. The show includes the 12-by-16 foot painting, "The Whalers" (2012). Photographer: Katya Kazakina/Bloomberg

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Blood-red paint gushes, splashes and drips in the new Barnaby Furnas paintings at Marianne Boesky gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district.

“If Wishes Were Fishes” has a feverish energy, down to the paint-smeared fingerprints on the canvases.

The New York-based Furnas feeds off historical and religious imagery -- bleeding whales, seagulls in flight and ax-wielding men in top hats.

The scenes allude to “Moby-Dick” and the Bible’s Jonah while incorporating elements of the artist’s earlier series, including his flood paintings and historic battles.

Particularly effective are “The Whalers,” a 12-by-16-foot whale-slaughter scene, and “Jonah in the Belly of the Whale,” depicting the prophet as a glowing-eyed creature lying as if entombed.

Prices for paintings range from $70,000 to $300,000; drawings start at $18,000. The show runs through Dec. 21 at 509 W. 24th St.; +1-212-680-9889;

Ai Weiwei

Down the street, at Mary Boone gallery, Ai Weiwei transforms twisted steel rebar from schools that collapsed during a 2008 earthquake in China into an elegant installation.

On the floor, the rusty metal, arranged in a rectangular area of 14-by-26 feet, coils and curves like a three-dimensional version of Brice Marden’s calligraphy painting.

On the nearby wall, a digital print of exactly the same dimensions depicts the junk on the floor from above.

During the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, the metal ended up under the water, experiencing its second natural disaster in less than five years.

The show is accompanied by an 18-minute video showing the area affected by the earthquake and the metal extracted from the disaster sites and brought to Chelsea.

The installation is $925,000. “Forge” runs through Dec. 21 at 541 W. 24th St.; +1-212-752-2929;

China Journey

Between 2005 and 2009, documentary photographer Danny Lyon made several trips to the coal country in China’s Shanxi province.

More than 40 gelatin silver prints he shot during his travels are now at the Churner and Churner gallery.

Hung in small groups around the gallery’s perimeter, these 8-by-10-inch images depict telling moments of real life: a local opera singer painting her face white, a group of old men playing checkers, workers taking a break, and two monks chanting in a smoky room.

You see a circus tent, a bathhouse full of naked men, a room corner with a Mao portrait, a man walking along railway tracks with smoke stacks billowing in the background.

The diffused light in the images gives them a retro look; were it not for the Asian faces, they could have easily been set in mid-century America.

The photographs are $6,000 each. “Deep Sea Diver” runs through Dec. 15 at 205 10th Ave.; +1-212-675-2750;

Giant Moore

Henry Moore’s monumental sculptures are usually encountered outdoors. This month, you can see seven huge works by the British artist (1898-1986) inside the Gagosian gallery. They look a bit cramped.

The largest of these biomorphic, semi-abstract configurations weighs seven tons. The smallest is half a ton.

Cast in bronze, most pieces allude to the human body, some more directly than others, as Moore moved back and forth between figuration and abstraction. While you can decipher a woman’s torso in one 1979 sculpture, an earlier piece resembles an array of spindles.

“Late Large Forms” runs through Jan. 19 at 522 W. 21st St.; +1-212-741-1717;

Muse highlights include Ryan Sutton on dining, Mark Beech on books.

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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