THURS 1/5 Thomas Woodruff’s "The Four Temperament Variations" at P.P.O.W., 535 West 22nd St., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
For this exhibition, Woodruff has created a staggering series of delicately psychedelic paintings based on Hippocrates’s 400 B.C. conception of the “four humors,” human emotions that are controlled by varying levels of fluids in our bodies. The results are sets of different characters and animals, one cast in each humor — Sanguinic, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic. [Link]
THURS 1/5 Joel Sternfeld’s "First Pictures" at Luhring Augustine Gallery, 531 West 24th St., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Neither Jeff Wall’s high-budget pictorialist extravaganzas nor Andreas Gursky’s dizzying panoramas would have been possible without the leading example of large-format documentary photographer Joel Sternfeld. Luhring Augustine mounts a show of the early work of this pioneer of color photography, focusing on images of economic recession and social conflict in '70s America. [Link]
THURS 1/5 "Mind the Gap" at Kent Fine Art, 210 Eleventh Ave., 2 p.m. — 6 p.m.
“Mind the Gap” brings together a formidable (and frankly perplexing) group of artists — from the Teutonic shaman of social sculpture, Joseph Beuys, to October golden boy, Hans Haake, to swinging London’s grandfather of Pop, Richard Hamilton. The group is collected under the aegis of an obscure quotation from an academic essay on W.G. Sebald. Despite — or maybe because of — the looseness of its theme, “Mind the Gap” looks promising. With thoughtful political work like Alfredo Jaar’s post-colonial send up of “Life” magazine and Hamilton’s ever-troubling photographic document of the Kent State massacre, this show is sure to be an intellectual workout. [Link]
THURS 01/5 “Unlikely Friends: James Brooks & Dan Flavin” at Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, 730 Fifth Ave., 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Our crystal ball tells us that 2012 will be a year to rethink the legacy of Dan Flavin. In the spirit of healthy art historical revisionism, a new exhibition at Greenberg Van Doren puts the minimalist light sculptor and abstract expressionist painter tête-à-tête — caught in a bad bromance. “This exhibition pairs these visually disparate bodies of work by exploring the mutual professional respect and friendship Brooks and Flavin had for one another, demonstrated through correspondence, curation of exhibitions, and dedication of artworks,” the press release informs us. [Link]
FRI 1/6 On Kawara's “Date Painting(s) in New York and 136 Other Cities” at David Zwirner Gallery, 525 West 19th St., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Conceptual art and obsessive-compulsive behavior make happy bedfellows in On Kawara’s exhibition of date paintings at David Zwirner gallery. ARTINFO listings editor Alanna Martinez recommends this sweeping show, which charts not only his date paintings from 1966 to the present but also his life in travel. Both locations will be filled to the brim with over 150 works selected by Kawara, with one gallery showing pieces done in New York and the other containing works painted in every other city the artist has ever visited. [Link]
FRI 1/6 Zefrey Throwell: "Ocularpation: Wall Street" at Gasser Grunert, 524 West 19th St., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Throwell, he of the storefront strip poker marathon and a host of other performance art provocations, will screen his new film documenting “Ocularpation: Wall Street,” a proto-OWS action that saw participants stripping down in public at high finance’s symbolic hub. [Link]
SAT 01/7 Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds” at Mary Boone Gallery, 541 West 24th St., 5 p.m. — 7 p.m.
Mary Boone presents the New York debut of “Sunflower Seeds” by dissident artist, human rights activist, and cause célèbre Ai Weiwei. Originally installed in the Tate Modern Turbine Tall in 2010, “Sunflower Seeds” comprises five tons of hand-painted porcelain seeds, each one meticulously hand-made by Chinese artisans. Ai’s mind-blowing installation offers a profound meditation on labor, mass-production, and the tenuous relationship between collectivity and individualism in contemporary China. [Link]
SAT 1/7 Norma Markley: "Yes No (I love you tenderly, totally, tragically)" at Y Gallery, 165 Orchard St., 6 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Norma Markley’s show at Y Gallery is a little mysterious, but the teaser image is a strangely color-shifted photo of blue female statuary in a green field, nude or partly dressed, with the words “SEX Bless me Father for I have sinned” emblazoned on top. The artist’s bio states that she paints “the clash of sex and Americana.” Color us intrigued. [Link]
SUN 1/8 "FaceTime" at On Stellar Rays, 133 Orchard St., 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
The Lower East Side gallery’s latest show examines the relationship between digital presence and the physical human face, dealing with “the state of the face today... a face that behaves both as object and subject.” Including such multimedia practitioners as DIS Magazine and street artist Zevs, the exhibition is sure to be provocative. A new wave to kick off the new year? [Link]
MON 1/9 Maurizio Cattelan signs copies of "All" and "Toilet Paper" at The Guggenheim Museum, 071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St., 6 p.m. — 7:45 p.m. (free with museum admission)
Art critics be damned. The adoring masses can’t get enough of Maurizio Cattelan. Duchampain satirist or gimmicky schlock-monger, the celebrity artist will celebrate his early retirement by signing copies of his Guggenheim catalogue and "Toilet Paper," Cattelan’s photo-based magazine featuring soft-core surrealist collaborations with photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari. [Link]