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BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN (stephaniebuhmann.com) | LIU CHANG: “LOVE STORY” | The first U.S. solo exhibition of the conceptual Chinese artist reflects on the social, economic, and political realities of contemporary China. Chang’s practice is rooted in quiet interventions and he often gathers personal details of others. This installation presents 500 used pulp fiction novels that were rented or borrowed by migrant workers in boomtown Shenzen. These “Love Stories,” which now mark some of the most popular romantic fiction of proletariat China, were illegal during the Cultural Revolution.
Rarely translated into other languages, they are primarily consumed by female teenagers, students, and young workers. What makes this project noteworthy is the large selection of anonymous notes that Chang found between the books’ pages. Culled, translated and painted onto the gallery walls, the notes of the readers tensely shift from the very personal to the public context.
Through June 21, at Salon 94 Freemans (1 Freeman Alley, btw. Bowery & Chrystie Sts.). Hours: Wed. – Sat., 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Call 212-529-7400 or visit salon94.com.
LARRY CLARK: “they thought i were but i aren’t anymore…” | Known primarily for his significant photographic and filmic works, Clark has recently expanded his creative production to the mediums of sculpture and painting. This exhibition serves as a significant survey of his oeuvre, featuring works from 1961 to the present. His earliest portrait of his friend Johnny Bridges, made with a Rolleiflex camera borrowed from his mother, is as much part of this tour de force as later paintings.
As a fervent collector, Clark sources inspiration from a large collection of snapshots and printed material. His main interest has been, and remains, kids on the brink of becoming men and women, capturing some of the beautiful, painful, productive and destructive aspects involved in this transition.
June 7 – Aug. 1, at Luhring Augustine (531 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. After July 4: Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For more info, call 212-206-9100 or visit luhringaugustine.com.
SYBIL GIBSON: “ART FROM WITHIN” | Considered one of the leading female folk artists from Alabama, the late Sybil Gibson (1908-1995) is best known for her naive portraits, gentle landscapes, and colorful floral arrangements. Though having enjoyed a prosperous upbringing as the daughter of a wealthy coal mine operator and farm owner, Gibson spent most of her adult life in poverty.
Employing watercolor, gouache and tempera on brown bags, scraps of paper, newsprint, and cardboard, Gibson found most of her subjects in childhood memories. What seems idyllic in paint marked a harsh reality for the artist. Over time, she grew out of touch from family and friends, finding art to be her sole escape from everyday hardships.
Through June 21, at Woodward Gallery (133 Eldridge St., btw. Broome & Delancey Sts.). Hours: Tues. – Sat., 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. & Sun., 12 – 5 p.m. (also by appointment). Call 212-966-3411 or visit woodwardgallerynet.
JOE FLEMING: “SUCKERPUNCH” | Fleming’s first New York solo show features a selection of paintings that employ an array of recycled materials. Enamel and spray foam are among the favored ingredients here and aid in generating an overall raw energy. The better-known Anselm Reyle comes to mind, but Fleming keeps his shapes more distinctly graphic. He embraces geometry in his forms, which are contrasted with brushy gestural backgrounds.
Many of Fleming’s paintings are built up and heavily textured, suggesting that Fleming has a keen interest in sculptural qualities. By focusing on vivid variety, “Suckerpunch” translates as a dynamic and enthusiastic indulgence of color, form, and gesture.
Through June 14, at Mike Weiss Gallery (520 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Call 212-691-6899 or visit mikeweissgallery.com.