ARTICLE KEVIN MCGARRY
In January the art world will awake from holiday hangovers to a busy menu of shows opening around the world. Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York will break the winter gray with its first exhibition of photographer Alex Prager, opening at their Lower East Side location on January 9 (through February 22). Known for a quasi-retro brand of maudlin, full-color noir, Prager straddles the worlds of art, fashion, and celebrity in a very contemporary way. To shoot her new body of work, “Face in the Crowd,” she cast and choreographed scenes packed with bodies and directed one protagonist to give the camera a knowing, uneasy twinkle.
The following week, the Hammer Museum at UCLA will inaugurate British artist Nathaniel Mellors with his first solo show on January 18 (through May 25). Treading familiar terrain, Mellors’s new film is called The Sophisticated Neanderthal Interview, which as the title suggests involves an erudite caveman caught on camera in an allegorical dialogue critiquing the sustainability of modern society. Roughly 6,000 miles east and 1,000 meters up, globe-trotting curator Neville Wakefield and his artistic paramour, Olympia Scarry, will open “Elevation 1049” in the tony alpine stronghold of Gstaad, Switzerland, on January 27 (through March 8). Named for the altitude of the famed ski resort, “Elevation 1049” is the first in a series of itinerant group exhibitions the couple promises to stage around the world, and will include work by an intergenerational, all-Swiss cast including Urs Fischer, Roman Signer, and Olaf Breuning.
Down the mountain, Kunsthalle Zürich will host the first Swiss museum show by phenom London video artist Ed Atkins, on Valentine’s Day. Atkins’s videos have garnered lots of attention for their existential evocations and home-brewed uses of sophisticated audio and video technologies. For this project he’ll unite a series of projections spread throughout several galleries with a master score that permeates the museum.
By then New York’s New Museum will be ready to show the first retrospective in the U.S. of Polish sculptor Pawel Althamer. An innovator who has long worked forms of social collaboration into his own art practice, Althamer will reprise his blockbuster piece from the 2012 Berlin Biennale, “Draftmen’s Congress,” on the museum’s fourth floor. The show opens on February 12 as a room wrapped in white paper and will become—by way of democratically elected chaos—a forest of charcoal, paint, and collage by the time it closes on April 20.
Cycling back to pictures, 303 Gallery in New York will open its latest exhibition by Collier Schorr on February 27 (through April 12). Like Prager, Schorr is not only a fine artist but also embedded in fashion as an editorial photographer (she is a regular contributor to V). Her new series, “8 Women,” spans works from the mid ’90s to the present. Focusing on various types of performers, who desire and depend on being looked at, Schorr presents a diverse catalog that simultaneously embraces and inverts the traditional power dynamics between models and photographer, who in this case are all post-feminist ladies.