One-Line Reviews: Our Staff's Pithy Takes on "This Nameless Spectacle," "The Feverish Library," and Other Gallery Shows

Leonardo Drew's "Number 158," 2012
(Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co.)

This week, the fall art season kicked off, and our trusty staff made it outdoors, tasked, as usual, with summarizing what they saw in the form of a single (sometimes run-in) sentence. (To see our One-Line Reviews in illustrated slide show format, click here.)

* “Aggro Crag,” at BOSI Contemporary, 48 Orchard Street, September 1-23

The New York painters in this group show take palpable joy in their medium, whether it’s Joyce Pensato with her monolithic “Punk Homer” drenched in black paint, Austin Eddy creating creepy faces from cardboard and oil paint, or Trudy Benson building dimensional layers in “Monolith,” so it's no loss if the “digital culture” that the press release claims to be highlighted seems missing. — Allison Meier

* Leonardo Drew, at Sikkema Jenkins Co., 530 West 22nd Street, September 6-October 13

Winding through the gallery like a giant snake, Leonardo Drew's burnt wood construction “Number 161” isn't for the claustrophobic, pushing the viewer against the wall and forcing her to yield personal space to its looming, clapboard body, which towers overhead like a demonic, charred Noah’s Ark. — Julia Halperin

“The Feverish Library,” curated by Matthew Higgs, at Friedrich Petzel Gallery, 537 West 22nd Street, September 6-October 20

It may be a mildly audacious move to start the new art season with a group show, even one organized by the redoubtable Matthew Higgs —but this pungent selection of artworks by figures interrogating “the book as a conceptual, psychological, and cultural form” proves that the smell and feel of actual, physical print is as much of a draw as any art star. — Ben Davis

* Jesper Just, “This Nameless Spectacle,” at James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, September 6-October 27

The gallery has added a series of darkened alcoves that provide intimate silent environments to get lost in this Danish artist’s diverse film works, from “Sirens of Chrome,” a sensual portrait of African-American women set against seductive music and the shining surfaces of cars, to “Llano,” a meditative look back at a dried-up century-old Utopian community outside of Los Angeles, which failed due to lack of access to water, but that the artist now films under a rain machine for what amounts to an act of cinematic reanimation. — Alanna Martinez

* Sandi Slone, “Quick Mettle Rich Blood,” at Allegra LaViola Gallery, 179 East Broadway, September 5-October 6

Pour paintings are having a big year, and Slone — who has been making them for decades — proves that she is still one of the splashy technique's best practitioners in this show of recent compositions, whose pools of glowing pinks, reds, and blues conceal the faintly visible linear forms below. Benjamin Sutton

“Shift,” at Lesley Heller Workspace, 54 Orchard Street, September 5-October 14

Landscape is the subject uniting the diverse works in this group show where, put together, the works form a panorama of the delirious, funny, and mundane reaches of the artists’ minds. — Rachel Corbett