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Holy Heat Wave! Playing Catch Up

Was Germany more volatile from 1904/05 through the 20s than what we are experiencing in the world now? The devastation of WWI, the social conscience, the advent of expressionism -- the prints! Maybe it's happening more digitally in this era and I'm just smitten by the ink-pressed paper. Truly, I was in print heaven at the Museum of Modern Art's exhibit German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse.

This show has almost all of my favorites. Woodcuts from Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Max Pechstein, and Emil Nolde from the Brücke and Blaue Reiter groups. Egon Schiele’s watercolors and dry point etchings are divine, including some from Oskar Kokoschka, Max Beckmann, and George Grosz.

Otto Dix's series The War is present in its chilling entirety, which immediately brought to mind Ferdinand Botero's paintings at the Katzen Center, about the atrocities at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Yes, art can still punch back.

I have renewed respect for Emile Nolde: he was so prolific. His lithograph Young Couple, as an example, is an edition of 112, with 68 color variations! That's how you push a print to the limits. He did that on a regular basis -- I am humbled, sir.

Two shows that will remain up until the end of the month that have stayed with me and are worth seeing are the lush, impastoed landscape and portrait paintings of Leon Kossoff at Mitchell-Innes & Nash and Louise Bourgeois's fabric work at Cheim Read, stunning patterns of woven color.

This week's heat wave lingering over New York had one comfort for me, besides the chilled Pinot Grigio: it came in a group show at Lohin Geduld. Lois Dodd's Open Poppy is an 11x11" oil on masonite that just blew me away with its subtle beauty. She does that to me often.

A few blocks over and a world away at Andrew Edlin is ZAP: Masters of Psychedelic Art. Curated by Gary Panter and Chris Byrne, the show's focus is the early days when Zap artists like Robert Crumb and Rick Griffin were reinventing the comic book. It's sick, depraved, and gooey and it's up through the 25th.

If you have never been to the Museum of Arts and Design before, go. Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities, a new exhibit featuring over thirty artists, opened this week. Organized around four themes -- Apocalyptic Archaeology, Dreams and Memories, Unnatural Nature, and Voyeur/Provocateur -- the artists have assembled video, paintings, and scaled models of imagined or actual scenes. Probably most known to Ionarts readers would be Joe Fig's reproductions of artist studios. This exhibit includes the summer studio of Chuck Close, Jackson Pollack in action, and a self-portrait, Fig's own studio.

Amy Bennet's Waiting Room, a depiction of arguably the most unsettling place to spend your time -- a doctor's office -- is spot on. In June Bum Park's video 3 crossing, a human hand orchestrates the movements of a parking lot -- I wish! -- and Tracey Snelling's Foot & Ass, KFC begs the question -- is KFC really American?

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