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opens Sept 5, 6-8p:

Calligraffiti 1984/2013
 curated by Leila Heller with Jeffrey Deitch

Leila Heller Gallery, 568 W25th St., NYC

Originally curated in 1984 by Jeffrey Deitch at Leila Heller’s former uptown gallery, Calligraffiti explored a myriad of possible connections shared between the seemingly disparate styles of select mid-century abstract, U.S. graffiti, and calligraphic artists from the Middle East and its diaspora. By presenting an expanded and updated roster of artists including site-specific installations by emerging and established artists 30 years later, Calligraffiti 1984/2013 re-examines the global impact of graffiti and calligraphy as converging modes of personal expression, popular culture, and political dissent mutually grounded in arrogating the systems of language. Featuring more than 50 works by artists ranging from Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner; Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Hossein Zenderoudi and Pouran Jinchi, the exhibition will also include site-specific installations by emerging and established artists such as eL Seed and LA2. - thru Oct 5

Alas, Poor Pollock:

A basalt head created by Jackson Pollock in 1930-33, shortly after he moved to New York, is one of his little-known sculptures. The objects, which he made throughout his life, are receiving more attention in the light of a show featuring his last ones, which recently opened at Matthew Marks. While the masklike head clearly reflects Pollock’s fascination with Native American art, dealer Jason McCoy (the artist’s nephew) sees a certain existential quality in the work, reminiscent of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. 

© The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Courtesy Leila Heller Gallery  

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce that the work of Nir Hod, Taner Ceylan, Deborah Kass, and Constantin Brancusi is included in Leila Heller Gallery’s exhibition “Look at Me: Portraiture from Manet to the Present.”

Image: Nir Hod, Genius Todd, 2012, oil on canvas, 56 x 43 inches, 142.2 x 109.2 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery.

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The Revolutionary, No-Bullshit Art of ganzeer

“In Egypt, no one would buy a drama where the cop was a hero,” Ganzeer told me. “The story people buy is one where an unjust cop does evil things to the protagonist.”

Ganzeer is the pseudonym of a 32-year-old Egyptian artist who became famous during therevolution. He’s also a friend with whom I like to drink. Earlier this month, few days after his first US solo show opened at New York’s Leila Heller Gallery, we sat in the cement cave in the back of Interferance Archive that serves as his studio and talked.

He conceived of the concept for his show, titled All American, only a few months after his May 2014 move from Cairo to New York. NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo had just choked Eric Garner to death. Anti-police protests were blossoming across America. Murder by cop became an inescapable subject, and one he wanted to confront on its home turf.

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a week after visiting rachel lee hovnanian’s cereal cafe, i stopped by her show at chelsea’s leila heller gallery, which has garnered a bit of hype because of her “perfect baby showroom.” set up like a hospital nursery, with babies in each bed, the showroom riffs on genetic modification, high expectations, and the overall influence of technology. hovnanian has created babies with particular character traits and predetermined (outrageously ambitious) futures. gallery-goers are encouraged to hold the babies, which feel shockingly real to the touch and have a weight distribution very similar to that of a real child.

between the cereal cafe and “plastic perfect,” i’ve fallen in love with hovnanian’s work and worldview. technology influences every part of contemporary life, and instead of fighting it, hovnanian mocks us a little and highlights the general absurdities of what we’ve now come to see as normal (liiike texting while in bed with a partner, which hovnanian’s chelsea show addresses, and which an unsettling number of people find no problem with).

The works in Disguise: Masks and Global African Art are organized around the idea that masquerade is always an art of becoming.

Contemporary works in Disguise that explore the theme of Becoming Another Body play with the relationship between costume and the body to reveal the prejudices and expectations of the world around us. Iké Udé’s work plays with categories, crossing and transgressing boundaries. Udé stages elaborate self-portraits, drawing on clothes and accessories from around the globe to create a style he calls “post-dandyism.”

Posted by Kevin D. Dumouchelle and Meghan Bill
Iké Udé (Nigerian, born 1964). Sartorial Anarchy #23, 2013. Courtesy ofthe artist and Leila Heller Gallery, New York. © Iké Udé. Photo:Courtesy of the artist and Leila Heller Gallery, New York

Detail of one of LACMA’s recently acquired pieces, Mitra Tabrizian's Tehran 2006. 

Mitra Tabrizian, Tehran 2006, 2006, gift of the Buddy Taub Foundation, Jill and Dennis A. Roach, Directors, through the 2014 Collectors Committee, © Mitra Tabrizian, courtesy Leila Heller Gallery, New York, photo © 2014 Museum Associates, LACMA