Sex Toys, Piped Pollution, African Lesbians: Chelsea Art

A life-size skeleton of a sea cow hovers over a glittering surface of trinkets and tar, providing the centerpiece of Mark Dion’s marine-themed exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar gallery in New York’s Chelsea district.

Dion’s six sculptures include a book cart filled with nautical guides and adventure novels. A cabinet displays jars stuffed with colorful sex and dog toys, evoking squishy undersea creatures.

Prices are $55,000 to $120,000. Through April 13 at 521 W. 21st St.;

Here are a few more stops for a gallery stroll in Chelsea. Take a break by the fire at Moran’s (146 10th Ave., at West 19th St.), over steamed mussels and wine;

West 21st Street

Gagosian Gallery: The early work of abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler is the subject of the exhibition organized by John Elderfield, the Museum of Modern Art’s curator emeritus, who also works for the gallery. It includes 29 paintings from 1950 to 1959. Through April 13 at 522 W. 21st St.;

Gladstone Gallery: A nondescript white door opens to a soaring space dominated by Miroslaw Balka’s two gigantic steel urns. Inky liquid noisily gushes into them from black pipes above in endless circulation, suggesting a cycle of environmental pollution. The price is in the mid-six-figures, the gallery said, declining to specify. Through March 30 at 530 W. 21th St.;

303 Gallery: Across the street, Doug Aitken’s sonic fountain makes more melodious sounds as water drips from the ceiling into a milky pit on the floor (the excavated debris is piled nearby). The sound of each drop echoes through the gallery, amplified by underwater microphones. Prices are $180,000 to $450,000. Through April 6 at 547 W. 21st St.;

Paula Cooper Gallery: Repetition is the subject of an elegant Minimalist art exhibition. Steel floor planks by Carl Andre shimmer in the fluorescent glow of Dan Flavin’s light tubes; Douglas Huebler’s S-shaped sculpture creates a counterpoint for Sol LeWitt’s grid tower. Prices are $400,000 to $1.2 million. Through March 23 at 534 W. 21st St.;

West 22nd Street

Matthew Marks: In Luigi Ghirri’s 1973 photograph “Bologna,” a man and a woman appear bored to death as they wait at a restaurant table. They are unaware of the huge waves painted on a wall behind them that look as if they are about to swallow the couple. The show’s 25 color photographs demonstrate that Ghirri is a master of witty juxtapositions, unexpected framing and brilliant manipulation of space. Prices are $12,000 to $20,000. Through April 20 at 526 W. 22nd St.;

Yancey Richardson: The first U.S. exhibition of South African artist Zanele Muholi includes 29 striking black-and-white photographs of the members of African lesbian and transgender communities. All but one image were part of Muholi’s project at the Documenta survey of contemporary art in Kassel, Germany, in 2012. Each framed work is $4,200. Through April 6 at 535 W. 22nd St.;

West 25th Street

Leila Heller: Iranian artist Shiva Ahmadi marries 16th-century Persian painting with images of pipelines, monkey worshipers and enthroned rulers with bloody faces and explosives in their hands. Despite its dark symbolism, the work has a feathery touch with luminous washes of watercolor and calligraphic ink curls. Prices are $4,000 to $55,000. Through March 23 at 568 W.25th St.;

Pace Gallery: In his small, electrifying paintings, Thomas Nozkowski seamlessly juggles many opposing elements: hard-edged grids and amorphous blobs, electric colors and earthy tones, matte and glossy surfaces. Prices are $85,000 to $200,000. Through March 23 at 508 W. 25th St.;

Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars, Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.

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