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September 13, 2013

Two New York Gallery Shows Not to Miss

By Maud Doyle | Art

Two New York Gallery Shows Not to Miss
Jean Tinguely © 2013 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris

In 1960 Yves Klein debuted his 40-minute Monotone-Silence Symphony, a single-toned work conceived 13 years earlier on a beach in Nice. That same year Robert Rauschenberg helped Jean Tinguely set his friend’s famously massive (and short-lived) sculpture, Homage to New York, into motion in the gardens at MoMA.

This week two New York galleries will show the relics of these momentary, sonorous works of art—“happenings,” as they were called at the time.

Klein’s symphony inspires “Audible Presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Cy Twombly” (September 18 to November 16), the inaugural exhibit at the new Dominique Lévy gallery (909 Madison Ave.; dominique-levy.com). It deals in the luminous, monochromatic and audio works of its three featured artists, including a Fontana “portrait” of the Venetian sky, an abstraction of a Roman sunset by Twombly and the first New York performance (currently sold out) of Monotone-Silence Symphony (September 18, 8 P.M.; Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 921 Madison Ave.; eventbrite.com).

Following his Homage to New York moment with Tinguely, Rauschenberg eventually added a rare preliminary sketch by the French artist of the “self-constructing and self-deconstructing” machine to his personal collection. It—along with several other pieces from Rauschenberg’s private compendium and archives—is now on view in “Radio Waves: New York ‘Nouveau Réalisme’ and Rauschenberg” (September 17 to November 2) at Sperone Westwater (257 Bowery; speronewestwater.com).

The two shows seem to demonstrate opposite instincts. Uptown, Klein’s resuscitated symphony upends time with 20 unbroken minutes of unchanging tone (and another 20 of silence) that harkens back 53 years. Downtown, time’s perpetual rush forward gets the attention. Even though Tinguely’s Radio No. 1 (1960) could still be turned on to transform quick-flipping radio signals into unpredictable white noise, that won’t happen here. But Rauschenberg’s Dry Cell (1963) still responds to environmental sound, a metal bobbin spinning in a Plexiglass box, still noting a changing present 50 years later.

Two More to See: “Aldo Tambellini: We Are the Primitives of a New Era, Paintings and Projections 1961–1989” (September 12 to October 19) at James Cohan Gallery (533 W. 26th St.; jamescohan.com) delves into the Italian artist’s performance and experiential installations. And “Rauschenberg and Photography” (through November 2) at Pace/MacGill Gallery (32 E. 57th St.; pacemacgill.com) considers the artist’s relationship with the medium.