New Museum Premieres Five New Solo Exhibitions

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, That which identifies them like the eye of the Cyclops, 2015. Production still. Courtesy the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra (the via New Museum)

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, “That which identifies them like the eye of the Cyclops,” 2015. Production still. Courtesy the artist and Galería Agustina Ferreyra (the via New Museum). Her films are installed in the Fifth Floor gallery of the New Museum. Through June 12, 2016.

Artists Andra Ursuţa, Nicole Eisenman, Goshka Macuga, Cally Spooner, and Beatriz Santiago Munoz have each been given a floor at the New Museum for their new exhibitions which open collectively today.

London artist Cally Spooner kicks things off in the museum’s Lobby Gallery with the dance/movement installation piece, “Cally Spooner: On False Tears and Outsourcing.”  She has added some special features to the gallery space, like harsh office-type florescent lighting and a group of dancers performing in the glassed-in, fish tank-like space. The dancers respond to “conflicting choreographic instructions: to stay intimately bound together while remaining fiercely separate.” Trained by rugby players and a movie director, and following the logic of a “stand-up scrum”—a daily meeting often used in collaborative, responsive practices such as software development—the dancers use a set of techniques taken from contact sports, management strategies, and on-screen romance. Through attempts to seduce, defend, and self-organize, the group performs a sequence of mesmerizing athletic movements in response to simple tasks set by Spooner.

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Goshka Macuga: Time as Fabric is on the second floor. Based in London, artist Goshka Macuga is originally from Warsaw, Poland. Her installation work has an entrenched activist feel, showing her interest in using art to “voice current concerns, rouse public debate, and inspire social change.” She works in large scale sculpture, installation, architecture, and design. The exhibition brings together a selection of the rising star’s recent projects, including five of her large scale tapestries and a theatrical environment.

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Considered to be one of the most important painters of her generation, Nicole Eisenman‘s show, Al-ugh-ories is on the third floor. Her dramatic portraits “combine the imaginative with the lucid, the absurd with the banal, and the stereotypical with the countercultural and queer.” Indeed.

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On the fourth floor is Andra Ursuţa: Alps, featuring Andra Ursuta‘s wonderful sculptures and her latest gigantic installation, “Alps.” It’s based on the idea of a climbing wall and shaped like the “Alps,” but as noted, the walls are “covered with pouches of bodily mass—in the shape of inflatable toy skeletons—appear suspended like flies in a web or frozen like fossilized bog bodies. Other skeletal cavities perforate the surface and, together with penis-shaped climbing holds.”  She is known for using a “fatalistic dark humor to expose power dynamics, to probe the vulnerability of the human body, and to examine modes of desire.”

In the Fifth Floor gallery you’ll find Beatriz Santiago Muñoz ‘s first solo museum exhibition in New York (and my favorite out of the five).  Munoz is a filmmaker and video artist from Puerto Rico. She debuts a three-channel video, created during a residency at the New Musuem, that is loosely inspired by Monique Wittig’s 1969 novel Les Guérillères, which describes a world where the patriarchy has fallen after a bloody war between the sexes; a silent 16mm film, which weaves together portraits of friends living in Vieques, Puerto Rico, the site of a bombing range used by the US Navy for sixty years; and a set of commissioned masks that will be activated in a series of new films and videos produced this spring. The masks will also be featured in a performance by Macha Colón (the stage name of Gisela Rosario Ramos, a queer performer in the underground music scene in Puerto Rico).

For more info, museum hours and admission fees, go here.