What to See in N.Y.C. Galleries Right Now

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Want to see new art this weekend? Start in Chinatown with Rafael Sánchez and Kathleen White’s found materials from the AIDS crisis to Sept. 11. Then head to Chelsea to check out the Kitchen’s four-artist exhibition, which takes up its hallways, offices and exhibition spaces. And don’t miss Stephanie Syjuco’s haunting manipulations of archival photos.

Chinatown

Through March 12. Martos Gallery, 41 Elizabeth Street, Manhattan. 212-560-0670; martosgallery.com.

Rafael Sánchez and Kathleen White were both formed by New York City’s underground scene of the 1980s and ’90s. Sánchez, Cuban-born, was doing cross-gendered performances work in downtown drag clubs; and White, born in Fall River, Mass., was part of the Lower East Side art world when they met in 2004. They then lived together until White’s death from cancer in 2014.

Along with cultural turf, they shared lived histories: the AIDS crisis, urban gentrification, Sept. 11. As is evident in this moving, intricately textured two-person show, both drew on a personal experience of those years in their art. At one point Sánchez made assemblages from light bulbs in memory of friends who had died of AIDS. (A single photograph here seems to refer to that work.) White made sculptures from the wigs of deceased drag queens whose possessions had been thrown out into the street.

Despite the thrum of mortality, their art pulses with joy, in part through their witty use of found materials: dust, makeup, cinder block, telephone-book pages. The installation intermingles work in ways that suggests how they were different as artists (simplistically put: Sánchez looks more conceptually oriented, White more hands-on expressive.) But we also sense how they were alike. Two small paintings hung side by side — Sánchez’s “Onement in a Field” (2002) and White’s “Moon” (2005-2006) — could be depictions of the same evening sky vista seen by two people with a shared vision and distinctive temperaments, sitting side by side. HOLLAND COTTER


Chelsea

Through March 12. The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, Manhattan. 212-255-5793; thekitchen.org.

Since 1986, the nonprofit art and performance space the Kitchen has occupied a former film studio on West 19th Street. The building is due to be renovated this spring, but to bid farewell to its interior, a well-loved time capsule from the ad-hoc days before art fully corporatized, the curator Alison Burstein and the production manager Zack Tinkelman invited four artists to, in Burstein’s words, “perform the building” by installing new works and mounting performances all over its hallways, offices and exhibition spaces.

Fia Backstrom, who installed speakers, texts on plastic film and patches of brightly colored paint on ceilings and in stairwells, will perform on March 10, 11 and 12. Papo Colo set a dreamy two-channel video and three enormous unstretched paintings on the normally off-limits roof, overshadowed by tacky new apartment buildings. Clynton Lowry’s “Invisible Art Handler” series uses discreetly mounted QR codes to call up videos of the building’s routine maintenance tasks. And Francisca Benítez, with a handsome series of lush green photos and videos, documents the folk irrigation systems of central Chile.

The unusual installation of all this work primes you to see art everywhere you look. (Are those two clamps on a broken window sculpture? What about the fire extinguisher labeled “fire extinguisher”?) It also helps you see the entire social ecosystem in which art happens — the artists, the curators, the visiting public and the physical structures in which they all meet — as a rare and beautiful kind of art work in itself. WILL HEINRICH


Chelsea

Through March 12. Ryan Lee Gallery, 515 West 26th Street, Manhattan. 212-397-0742; ryanleegallery.com.

While the country debates what histories are taught in schools and how, the Oakland-based artist Stephanie Syjuco dives into the archives to reveal how history is made in the first place. Her current exhibition, “Latent Images,” emerged from a research stint at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. There she rooted through boxes and files, taking pictures of documents and photographs that someone, at some point, believed were important enough to keep in a national repository. She blew up her snapshots, printed them out in segments on letter-size paper, reassembled them, rephotographed the stitched-together image, and then reprinted them at a high quality. We can see Syjuco’s manipulations clearly in the final photographs — the tape that holds the parts together, the artist’s gloved hand as she moves a paper around on her desk.

Some of these are presented on a low table in “Partial Anarchival Index (Working Platform),” from 2021. Here, the viewer can, at a remove, experience this sifting through the past. Others, like “Better America” (2021) are framed on the wall. Here we see a gloved hand holding a slide, labeled to indicate that it was part of a mass-produced teaching curriculum from the 1920s and 1930s, meant to instill in students nationalist and anti-socialist values. The film itself has become illegible over time — an abstraction of colored stripes. The metaphor is perfect: History is, far from being a given, a messy process of creating a whole from the fragmentary and sometimes unreadable past. ARUNA D’SOUZA


Union Square

Through Feb. 27. Gordon Robichaux, 41 Union Square West (enter at 22 East 17th Street), Manhattan, 646-678-5532, gordonrobichaux.com.

This terrific show, a solo wrapped into a group exhibition, is multidimensional in every sense. It’s a time capsule of a golden age of queer downtown performance, a glimpse into the life of an underground legend and an entrancing species of installation art: the archive-as-assemblage.

New York City-born, of Chinese-Spanish-Filipino descent, Agosto Machado hung out at the Warhol Factory in the 1960s, was in the streets for Stonewall, and present when La MaMa opened its doors. He participated in productions by theater immortals like Charles Ludlum and Ethyl Eichelberger; posed for Peter Hujar; and collaborated with Stephen Varble and with the Cockettes.

All the while, he collected souvenirs of the people he knew (Jack Smith’s stage props; Candy Darling’s shoes) and work by generations of downtown artists, among them Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Arch Connelly, Caroline Goe, Gilda Pervin, Tabboo! and Martin Wong. Many colleagues and friends were taken out by AIDS. The highlights of the show, titled “The Forbidden City,” are shrines to them, created from snapshots, news clips, personal relics and prayer cards.

All of this material comes straight from storage in Machado’s apartment, and there’s lots more still there. Item by item, it makes for a fascinating and moving show; taken together it’s a monument to the memory of an era and population who must not be lost. Some institution should acquire and preserve it, every last scrap, and hire Machado as a forever curator. HOLLAND COTTER


Midtown

Through Feb. 26. EFA Project Space, 323 West 39th Street, second floor, Manhattan. 212-563-5855 x244; projectspace-efanyc.org.

The Swedish artist Hilma af Klint was as much a pioneer of abstraction as a mystic. So, in 2020, when the artists Sharmistha Ray and Dannielle Tegeder formed a collective devoted to artwork by women, nonbinary, and trans people interested in spirituality, they named it after her.

Hilma’s Ghost’s first big project was creating a set of tarot cards. Now the duo has curated “Cosmic Geometries,” which expands on the deck, by continuing its exploration of connections between abstraction and mysticism. Aided by Sarah Potter, a witch, Ray and Tegeder used tarot as a guide for laying out the show. For each of the 25 artists, they pulled a card that’s displayed alongside the work.

Even if, like me, you don’t know much about tarot, you can appreciate its apparent curatorial powers. “March ’94” (1994), a bold and radiant canvas by Biren De, hangs next to Jackie Tileston’s painting “14. Muon Seance Aftermath” (2021), which evokes unseen forces in a quieter, more hermetic way. With their playful dances of color and shape, Marilyn Lerner’s “Queen Bee” (2020) and Rico Gatson’s “Untitled (Double Sun/Sonhouse)” (2021) look like a ready-made pair. Barbara Takenaga’s transcendent painting “Floater (Revised)” (2013—15) is unique, yet I felt echoes of it in the vibratory rhinestones of Evie Falci’s “Thalia” (2016).

It’s exhilarating to see a knockout exhibition that celebrates abstraction’s spiritual searching. These works are rooted in culture and form, but reminders, too, that when it comes to art, we’re often seeking something deeper. JILLIAN STEINHAUER


Tribeca

Through Feb. 26. Denny Dimin Gallery, 39 Lispenard Street, Manhattan. 212-226-6537; dennydimingallery.com.

Jessie Edelman’s new paintings seduce with abandon. The seven canvases in “Getaway” are alive with contrasting, if not clashing arrangements of gorgeous color; variations in paint-handling and distortions of style, space and scale. They contrast flattening patterns and plunging or tilted depths, modernist sophistication with gleeful naïveté.

These new works feature lush tropical promontories and turquoise bays seen from above: the safety of well-appointed modernist interiors that conjure Phillip Johnson’s famous Glass House. Jungle growth and area rugs alike are painted in thick slurries of brushwork. The scenes resemble over-lighted real estate ads sourced from the internet and are surrounded — framed, really, but also encroached upon — by bands of bright floral pattern that have a life of their own. They suggest cheap peasant textiles sometimes mixed with touches of Emilio Pucci or Lilly Pulitzer. The borders’ paint application is deft and smooth, like mass-produced “craft,” as are the decorated tourist-souvenir candlesticks in paintings like “Getaway” and “Candlesticks,” which has van Gogh’s “Starry Night” floating overhead.

These paintings imply excesses of surplus income, subverted by a kaleidoscopic energy that discourages single readings. For example, the floral patterns can be read as wall paper or tablecloths. If the latter, the real estate scenes are reduced to the size of postcards or snapshots plopped down while the maid is serving breakfast by the pool. Edelman’s work is fun to unpack and ultimately beautiful, if you like beauty with a side of humor. ROBERTA SMITH


NoHO

Through Feb. 26. Eric Firestone, 4 Great Jones Street, Manhattan; 646-998-3727, ericfirestonegallery.com.

Thomas Sills (1914-2000) is, for many contemporary viewers, a discovery: Much of the work in “Variegations, Paintings From the 1950s-70s” at Eric Firestone was in storage before being mounted here. Sills was hardly unknown during his lifetime, though. He socialized with New York School painters like Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko and had several solo exhibitions at the historically significant Betty Parsons Gallery before receding from the art world around 1980.

Sills’s paintings here include many of the traditional mid-20th-century New York School concerns. Abstract canvases with colored interlocking forms like “Travel” (1958) and “Son Bright” (1975) have a vibrant, dynamic tension similar to works by Lee Krasner and Piet Mondrian, who played with the painterly grid, and with the fleshy, promiscuous pink favored by de Kooning. Sills’s surfaces are also notable. He used rags instead of brushes to finish his paintings, and this gives the pigment a particularly even look, beautifully integrated into the canvas surface.

So why was he forgotten? One reason was that Sills was a largely self-taught African American artist. Born to sharecroppers in North Carolina, he moved to Harlem as a child before becoming part of the New York art world. Another reason: There are some pretty weird, spectral canvases here, like “Easter Holliday” (1955) and “The Morning” (1954), which has a perky, pink bird at its center. Spiritualist and transcendentalist painting, which flourished outside New York, is being re-evaluated today (think Hilma af Klint and Agnes Pelton). Sills’s jazzy, cool and skillful abstractions offer another case of welcome rediscovery. MARTHA SCHWENDENER


Midtown

Through Feb. 26. Anton Kern Gallery, 16 East 55th Street, Manhattan; (212) 367-9663, antonkerngallery.com

It’s thrilling to think of an exhibition — even a small one — of the gorgeous, funky, spiritual paintings of Chris Martin at the Whitney or the Museum of Modern Art, not to mention the Brooklyn Museum. But who do I kid? Although in his late 60s, this hero of the Williamsburg painting scene (who has also shown in Manhattan galleries since 1988) is represented in none of these museums; he’s never even been in a Whitney Biennial.

In a museum, these paintings would attract art novices of any age. With their allusions to immense night skies, preoccupation with outer space and their elegant improvisational brushwork, they are unusually accessible. Frequent additions of glitter, sequins and magazine images further demystify abstraction. And although often enormous, Martin’s paintings are never overwhelming. Their alluring lightness all but invites us to enter their vast spaces, and float away.

In an untitled painting, a dense field of brown glitter becomes a garden for a collage of gleaming marijuana leaves. “Jupiter Landscape” dots a fiery terrain with white ovals ringed in yellow. And the show’s tour de force, “Telescope Sphinx in Outer Space,” is collaged with photographs of Jupiter, the pyramids of Giza and Greta Garbo. On its very low horizon, Martin reviews motifs from his earlier work. One large untitled painting is unlike any Martin I’ve ever seen; working with a very broad brush, he created a vortex of color and light finished off with a restrained scattering of little gold stars. ROBERTA SMITH


Chelsea

Through Feb. 26. Paul Kasmin Gallery, 297 10th Avenue, Manhattan; 212-563-4474; kasmingallery.com.

In 1925, the story goes, André Breton, Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert and Marcel Duhamel took turns drawing on a sheet of paper folded into multiple horizontal panels. Only when it was unfolded would they discover if they’d produced a dream image, a prophetic indictment of a disordered civilization, or a joke. Though they also painted, printed leaflets, shot film and circulated petitions, this parlor game — later called “exquisite corpse,” after a line in a poem written with the same technique — may be the Parisian Surrealists’ most lasting contribution. It’s also the focus of a rich show, subtitled “Poetry, Art, Literature, Ingenuity and Life Itself,” presented by Paul Kasmin Gallery and the private dealer Timothy Baum.

The exhibition’s wide range of historical ephemera includes a painfully earnest manifesto signed by Diego Rivera; candid photos of Breton and company; “dessins communiqués,” in which multiple artists responded to a single verbal prompt; and alternate styles of exquisite corpse done with photographs or on stiff black paper. But the real hits are the raggedy, spontaneous originals, which demonstrate that making sense of a painful and terrifying world, if you really put your mind to it, can be fun. One 1928 example, by Breton, Duhamel, Max Morise and Tanguy, shows an orange-furred creature with a pair of smokestacks atop his head like horns, a flowerpot for a mouth, a green coconut brassiere, visible intestines, and a pair of tiny bleeding corpses for shoes. WILL HEINRICH


Lower East Side

Through Feb. 26. Karma, 188 & 172 East Second Street, Manhattan; (212) 390-8290, karmakarma.org.

Figures with mask-like faces materialize as if from a mist in Maja Ruznic’s latest paintings. Sometimes the figures do not appear at all, as in the allover abstraction of “Mother (Green Purple),” which uncannily reads like a dreamy moonlit reimagining of Monet’s water lilies. In the 33 paintings and works on paper on view, all from 2021, Ruznic conjures many other artists while remaining firmly her own. Her abstract paintings and backgrounds recall the saturated tones of Clyfford Still and, at their best, approach the reverential awe of Mark Rothko. The insectlike shape of “Mother & Child (Green)” suggests the spider-mother monsters of Louise Bourgeois. “Father (Consulting Shadows I)” evokes the geometries and theosophical symbolism of Hilma af Klint. “Mother (Blue-Yellow Hand)” seems to refer to Marlene Dumas’s toddler daughter, depicted in “The Painter” with hands in contrasting red and blue. Here, in Ruznic’s inversion, the titular mother’s hands are covered in blue and yellow paint, as if reaffirming her role as artist after becoming a mother.

The works here were made after giving birth mid-pandemic and document the sleep-deprived night-space of early motherhood. Despite the many references, this isn’t busy postmodernism nor academic pastiche. Ruznic’s gathering of nocturnes are coherent and lyrical, often strongest when not trying to do too much. While fewer works would have made for a more refined exhibition, the small paintings and works on paper can make you wonder how they relate to the eight larger paintings, providing an opportunity to speculate over how the artist works. JOHN VINCLER

Upper East Side

Through Feb. 26. Craig F. Starr Gallery, 5 East 73rd Street, Manhattan. 212-570-1739; craigstarr.com.

Over the past several decades, the self-taught artist John Willenbecher has gone relatively overlooked. But his exhibition “Works From the 1960s” proves that even his earliest output is well worth revisiting. The show begins with wall-mounted shadowboxes containing items of the sort one might find at rummage sales.

Arranged into simple configurations and painted sinister shades of black, white or gray, these found objects include Christmas ornaments, balusters and a handmade roulette wheel, not to mention rows and rows of balls. At times embellished with numbers, these spheres invoke lotteries, secret ballots or Newton’s Cradles. Some strange game is clearly afoot. Five gilded, cryptic letters — “PANSA”— gleam near the bottom of “Unknown Game #3” (1963). (The artist has long remained tight-lipped about what that word might mean.) In a second room, a group of artworks are more straightforward about their subject matter: astronomy and color. The drawing “Study for Sunup Sundown” (1966) conjures the blues and pinks of a changing sky.

A trained art historian, Willenbecher owes much in his compositions to Joseph Cornell’s boxes and Louise Nevelson’s all-black assemblages. And his interests in hazard and chance certainly connect him to Dada artists like Marcel Duchamp. Revisited now, though, Willenbecher’s works resound at a uniquely contemporary pitch, at a time when every next TV show features diabolical trials and contests. Precise and ominously elegant, his shadowboxes evoke the archetypal villain of the moment: the untouchably powerful maestro ensuring that the house always wins. DAWN CHAN


Chelsea

Through Feb. 26. Tina Kim Gallery, 525 West 21st Street, Manhattan. 212-716-1100; tinakimgallery.com.

As the writer and curator John Yau points out, grouping the sculptors Minoru Niizuma (1930-1998), Leo Amino (1911-1989) and John Pai (born 1937) as “Asian Americans” is a little reductive — but it may also be the neatest way of encapsulating why they haven’t gotten more attention. Born in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, Amino briefly attended college in California before moving to New York, while Niizuma, raised and educated in Tokyo, didn’t get here till 1959. Pai, who lives in Connecticut, left Korea with his parents as an 11-year-old.

Juxtaposed by Yau in “The Unseen Professors,” though, their works complement powerfully. Pai’s welded steel skirts the border between math and craft, while Niizuma’s chunky marble sculptures reveal the beauty of the stone without eliding the ambivalent violence of carving it.

But it’s Amino, if you missed last year’s show at David Zwirner, who’s likely to be the revelation. Experimenting with polyester resin after it was declassified following World War II, Amino made transparent boxes enlivened with streaks of primary color, transforming the ordinary experience of viewing sculpture by making his objects seem, from certain vantage points, less than solid. The angled facets of “Refractional #21,” a geometric composition of triangles and rhomboids, flicker like an old movie as you move around it, while “Refractional 27A,” whose colors float like clouds in a frozen fish tank, seems to exist not in three full dimensions but only in two and a half. WILL HEINRICH



Lower East Side

Through March 10. Tibor de Nagy, 11 Rivington Street, Manhattan; 212-262-5050; tibordenagy.com.

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1917, Louisa Matthiasdottir came to New York in 1942 and stayed, either in the city or upstate, until her death in 2000. Like her husband, Leland Bell, and other artists of their coterie, Matthiasdottir was a figurative painter, but one for whom the figure was as much a pretext for arranging blocks of color as an end in itself.

In “Hestar — Paintings in Iceland,” a strange and wonderful show at Tibor de Nagy, those color blocks are devoted to the stocky little horses (“hestar”) introduced to her native country by Nordic settlers. Rendered mostly in silhouette, without eyes, against glowing green heath and blue stripes of ocean and sky, these repeating figures might make you think of more recent conceptual painters like Ann Craven or Josh Smith. But Matthiasdottir’s compositions aren’t as simple as they look. A horse in a green field, with its bulky torso and narrow legs, is actually the perfect means of exploring the way solid objects distort our perception of their backgrounds. In “Black Horse With Pink Shirted Rider,” the animal’s feet are all level but the ground seems to rise, and change color, under its belly. The chestnut-colored equine in the glorious “Dark Horse, Yellow House, Red Roof I,” meanwhile, sheds golden light like an electric lamp. WILL HEINRICH

TriBeCa

Through March 12. Lomex, 86 Walker Street, Manhattan; 917-667-8541, lomex.gallery.

Cute, zany animal antics on TikTok may be the only thing holding civilization together at this point. In the art world, H.R. Giger’s dark depictions of erotic aliens and posthumans are the nonpartisan glue. His show, “HRGNYC,” organized with Alessio Ascari of Kaleidoscope media, is easily one of the most popular in downtown right now. In addition to sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs in the gallery, Lomex’s Instagram account also documents people showing off their Giger-inspired tattoos, tributes and costumes.

Giger (1940-2014) was a Swiss artist who used airbrush techniques to create “biomechanical” figures that merged humans with machines and imagined a future in creepily gothic terms. His contributions reached a high point in his designs for films like “Alien 3” (1992) and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unrealized version of “Dune.” However, in true Swiss fashion, Giger was also obsessed with wristwatches — a merger of body and mechanized time — and these appear frequently in the show, like in a purple aluminum and bronze “Female Torso (1994) that is actually a design for a Swatch watch.

Giger’s aesthetic is the touchstone for a variety of communities. The opening for “HRGNYC,” for instance, brought together members of the band Slayer as well as Comic Con devotees. Much like Tom of Finland’s over-the-top fantasy depictions of gay men cruising, Giger’s salacious drawings lean toward kitsch — but kitsch that’s become culturally relevant in these dystopian times. For most of the attendees here, it’s a not-so-guilty pleasure. I’m more of a recent, if reluctant convert. MARTHA SCHWENDENER


Lower East Side

Through March 5. Bureau, 178 Norfolk Street, Manhattan; 212-227-2783, bureau-inc.com.

When I saw my first Julia Rommel exhibition at Bureau in 2019, I was taken with the anarchic joy of the New York-based artist’s geometric abstractions, a mode that usually leaves me cold in its perfecting rigor. Unlike the pristine quality of Ellsworth Kelly or Carmen Herrera, Rommel’s paintings are rough-hewed. Constellations of staples dot some of her surfaces or protrude from her edges, stretcher bars are teasingly exposed, patches of coarse linen remain unprimed or splattered with paint. Still, her judicious use of shape and vibrant eye for color keep up the family resemblance to the tradition.

The title of her exhibition, “Uncle,” may refer to a family relation or to the exclamation a kid might yell to another as an arm is being bent in the wrong direction. Rommel’s signature technique is to fold her surfaces as she works, distressing her cloth substrate, which makes her geometries pop with a sculptural quality that demands you come in for a closer look. Here you’ll find minute details, like abstract expressionist flourishes of color in the space of less than a square inch in an otherwise color-blocked composition. Her work has evolved to include monochromatic sequences of vertical rectangles divided by precise, decisive folds, painted in either languidly expressive broad brush strokes, as in the magma of “Red Nude,” or shown in pristine compositions, as in the deep green of “New Grip.” A pleasurable ease radiates off these paintings, happily obliterating how difficult this is to pull off. JOHN VINCLER


TriBeCa

Through March 12. Postmasters, 54 Franklin Street, Manhattan; 212-727-3323; postmastersart.com.

A century ago, Marcel Duchamp presented everyday objects — a urinal, a shovel — as “readymade” art. An “assisted readymade” was a found postcard of Mona Lisa with a mustache added; a “reciprocal readymade” was supposed to take art, like a Rembrandt, and put it to work as an everyday ironing board.

In David Diao’s 14th Postmasters solo show since 1985, the 79-year-old artist takes an everyday object that already derives from art and uses paint to turn it back into the kind of art it derives from. It’s something like a “readymade assisted reciprocal readymade” — the art equivalent of a skater’s triple axel.

The not-so-everyday object that Diao based his work on hangs from the Postmasters ceiling: It’s the “Berlin” chair conceived by the Dutch designer Gerrit Rietveld in 1923. Built — uncomfortably — from eight rectangular planks of white, gray and black wood, it’s a functional riff on the Constructivist abstractions that Russian painters had just developed. Diao has taken Rietveld’s functional components and used them as forms in some new abstract paintings.

In one, the chair’s eight shapes are placed vertically, in rigorous order, like bars in a bar-graph. Another piles them messily on top of each other, evoking the dynamic compositions of the Constructivist El Lissitzky.

But these aren’t Duchamp’s “antiretinal” exercises in artistic irony. Diao’s sleek surfaces are gorgeous and complex, like the plaster walls in a palazzo. His colors and compositions are thrilling.

His “conceptual” paintings truly give retinal pleasure. BLAKE GOPNIK


Midtown

Through March 20. Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Manhattan. 212-832-1155; japansociety.org.

Shiko Munakata (1903-1975), a self-taught artist from a poor family in northern Honshu, wanted to be the Japanese van Gogh. Unlike van Gogh, he enjoyed great success in his lifetime, particularly with his woodblock prints, which, in a break with most earlier masters of the form, he carved himself. In the early 1960s, Munakata traveled along the 53 former official rest stations of the Tokaido, the Shogunate-era road connecting Kyoto to Edo, as Tokyo was known, to make 61 scenic prints on white paper, half in black sumi ink and half with additional colors applied by hand.

This series, which hasn’t been shown in the United States for over 50 years, is the highlight of “A Way of Seeing” at Japan Society, an exhibition that also includes the dozen large woodblock prints of Munakata’s charming “Ten Great Disciples of Buddha” series. Hung only an arm’s breadth apart in two double rows that bisect the gallery, the Tokaido prints pass like tantalizing glimpses from the window of a clattering train. Black and white, in Munakata’s hands, become a Buddhist poem about the power of context: White can be both sky and earth, and black anything from a towering tree trunk to a lattice of cool shadow. Mount Fuji also appears in many guises: Seen from Hara, the iconic volcano is a Modernist black triangle, flecked with white but dense as oil paint; from Matsubara, it floats over a gorgeous fog of royal blue daubs bordered in rosy pink. WILL HEINRICH


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