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May 31, 2012

“Everyday Abstract—Abstract Everyday” Opens at James Cohan Gallery

By Maud Doyle | Arts + Culture, Exhibitions

Everyday Abstract--Abstract Everyday at the James Cohan Gallery
Alexandra Bircken, "Wärmegitter," 2011 / Courtesy the artist and Kimmerich, New York

Every summer the galleries of New York City invite the hippest art critics, artists and guest curators into their prime white-walled real estate to put on group shows, seeking to attract new audiences and play with fresh ideas. These shows vary in theme and scope, touching on the relationships between two or three artists or covering the aesthetic themes of a century in broad, daring strokes. They are litmus tests based on unexpected juxtapositions that are designed to entertain while blue-chip collectors summer in the Hamptons. The season’s docket is full, and we plan to see it all. (Check back here throughout the summer for updates.)

This week, “Everyday Abstract—Abstract Everyday” opens at James Cohan Gallery in Chelsea. Guest-curator Matthew Higgs, director of the implacable gallery White Columns, explores the intrusion of recognizable everyday objects into the abstract work of art. Repetition hums behind the creation of all the works on display. Judith Scott obscured an object by winding layers of colored string around it until it took on a new form. Walead Beshty shipped a polished copper box via FedEx from show to artist to show again, and it will continue to collect handprints and labels from its journeys. Bill Walton simply clipped a four-inch segment from a wisteria branch, creating a cross-section of the world’s own processes of growth and abstraction. Throughout the exhibit, the patterns—of actions or of objects—shift the focus from the quotidian to an abstract realm that touches something greater. Opens June 1 (6–8 p.m.) and continues through July 27. James Cohan Gallery, 533 W. 26th St.; 212-714-9500; jamescohan.com.