One-Line Reviews: Our Staff's Pithy Takes on "Beasts of Revelation," "Post-Op," And Other Summer Exhibitions

Takahiro Iwasaki's "Out of Disorder (Coney Island)" (2012) at C24 Gallery
(Courtesy of the Artist and C24 Gallery)

Once again, our trusty ARTINFO staff set out around our New York offices, tasked with reviewing the art they saw in exactly one (often run-on) sentence. (To see our One-Line Reviews in illustrated slide show format, click here.)

* “Beasts of Revelation,” at DC Moore, 535 West 22nd Street, June 21-August 3

Though it sets out to prod Christian sensitivities, this 29-artist group show is really more contemplative than shocking, and while most of the more literal pieces fall short of challenging any beliefs, a certain subtle strength is best shown through the Bronx-born Whitfield Lovell’s “Crossroads,” which consists of a cross made of old, yellowed books with a charcoal portrait of a woman mounted on it as an icon, as well as Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt’s fragile diorama, “A Summer Before Vatican II (Tridentine Church).” — Allison Meier

* “Becoming: Worlds in Flux” at C24, 514 West 24th Street, July 10-August 24

Curator Melissa Keys has gathered a group of emerging artists from around the world who capture movement in imaginative ways, with by far the best being Japanese micro-sculptor Takahiro Iwasaki, whose intricate structures (power line towers set in toothbrush bristles, and a miniature Coney Island housed atop a bundle of towels) transform big, powerful industrial machines into delicate objects reliant on the framework of everyday materials to remain upright. — Shane Ferro

* “Cool Calm Collected,” at Danese, 535 West 24th Street, June 14-August 17

An appropriately named series of emphatically calm work — based on dots, lines, cubes, and an awful lot of grids — would flirt with somnolence if it weren’t for the two 3-D objects that succeed at being simple and energetic at the same time: Jene Highstein’s light-as-steel sculpture “Off-Balance Balloon” (2008) and George’s Stoll’s “Untitled (Three Corners in Stepped Corner Pyramid)” (2011). — Reid Singer

* “Exercises ab initio,” at Greene Naftali, 508 West 26th Street, June 21-August 10

Imagine a yoga studio where the space, matts, and music were the same but the yogis were replaced by table lamps, while stream-of-conscious poetry graced the walls and the sounds of the construction often interrupt, and you might come close to experiencing the aura of meditative randomness that Josef Strau conjures in this show. — Terri Ciccone

* “Home Again, Again,” at the Journal Gallery, 168 North 1st Street, Williamsburg July 3-August 3

When Chris Martin opined, back in 2003, “The new abstract painting says ‘Fuck you we will not stand guard at the tomb of modernism but neither do we feel pressed to deliver the latest titillation,” he could have been prophesizing this nonchalantly smart little show, which offers a curatorial summary of contemporary abstraction emptied of its grandiloquence and sublimity, via Martin's own mesmerizing sparkly painting which rescues glitter from its girl-kitsch associations, Jeffrey Trichell's paint-chips-on-masonite pegboard composition (a scrappy rejoinder to Hirst's “Spot Paintings”), and, finally, Darren Bader's hyper-literal object-oriented sculpture — this one featuring garlic, a netti pot, and a carton of coconut water — which, though neither abstract nor a painting, fits right in because of its deadpan attitude. — Chloe Wyma

* “Piping Down the Valleys Wild,” at Stefan Stux, 530 West 25th Street, June 28-September 8

In this summer group show inspired by William Blake's 1789 collection of poems, “Songs of Innocence,” the fading state of human innocence is debated via works that invoke childlike creativity, with Akikazu Iwamoto's highlighter-hued and comic-themed acrylic painting “The Father,” Barnaby Whitfeld's enchanting wolf-princess pastel “Flamingo Road,” and Kosyo Minchev's crude and haunting silicone painting “Boar #3” being clear standouts. — Alanna Martinez

* “Post-Op,” at Mixed Greens, 531 West 26th Street, July 12-August 17

Timely in light of the New Museum’s current engagement with Op Art in “Ghosts in the Machine,” this group exhibition showcases contemporary Op practitioners who largely lack the dazzling intensity of the first wave, with the majority of the works tending toward decorative minimalism rather than interrogations of perception. — Kyle Chayka

* “Systemic,” at Carolina Nitsch Project Room, 534 West 22nd Street, June 29-August 11

Carolina Nitsch's systems theory-informed group show juxtaposes exactly the type of serialized, geometric imagery you might expect — Tauba Auerbach's pop-up books of LeWittian sculpture, Alyson Shotz's suspended Louise Bourgeois homage — with more organic works like E.V. Day's Koonsian steel wall sculpture of a flower's pollinator and, most strikingly, Richard Dupont's terrific “Head Head” (2011), a transparent polyurethane head full of other casts of heads, making for a (literally) heady mix that really comes out ahead. Benjamin Sutton

* “The Skin We’re In,” at Yossi Milo, 245 10th Avenue, August 2-31

Responding to a 19th-century Oliver Wendell Holmes quote predicting the impending over-saturation of images, the group show “The Skin We're In” consists only of works created through the reconstitution of already existing images, resulting in an aesthetically rich, multi-layered, and complex show highlighted by “A. Trio,” Lindsay Lawson's video re-creation of dancer Yvonne Rainer’s performance “Trio A.” — Sara Roffino