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Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson in collaboration with Hsin-Chien Huang, “Chalkroom” (2017, room installation for VR work) at Guild Hall

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Art's Experimental Arc

By Sahar Khan

"Chalkroom" photo courtesy of MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass.; Keith Sonnier Image courtesy of Keith Sonnier Studio, Photo by Genevieve Hanson, © 2018 Keith Sonnier Studio/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Louis Schanker photo courtesy of Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center

06.25.18

July’s art shows bend toward the groundbreaking.

Bent Out of Shape
A pioneer in post-minimalism, conceptual, performance and video art, NYC- and Bridgehampton-based Keith Sonnier gets his first solo exhibit at an American museum in 35 years. Keith Sonnier: Until Today at Parrish Art Museum is a 38-piece study of the artist’s twisted neon tube light sculptures, sound installations and large-scale works rarely seen in the United States and influenced by cultures as diverse as India and Japan. The exhibition maps Sonnier’s evolution. “Rat Tail Exercise” (1968) showcases his use of nontraditional materials like string and latex (they were considered sensual compared to his postmodernist compatriots’ industrial works). “Palm: Saw Tooth Blatt” (2004), on the other hand, fashions harder-to-manipulate neon lights into a palm leaf-esque wall sculpture based on drawings Sonnier made in a New Orleans garden. Each work emphasizes the artist’s groundbreaking experimentation and an imagination that has only grown more complex and boundary-pushing over the decades. July 1 to Jan. 27, 2019, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill

Keith Sonnier

Keith Sonnier, "Mastodon (Herd Series)" (2008, steel, neon tubing, electrical wire and transformer), 83 inches by 45 inches by 32 inches, at the Parrish Art Museum

Virtual Worlds
Laurie Anderson thrives in multimedia art. The avant-garde artist, musician, composer and film director can’t be contained in one box—or in one room. That’s why Guild Hall is spreading out her works across three galleries for an eponymous show on the artist. The exhibit highlights Anderson’s work by separating it into three sections: virtual reality, video performance and drawings. Included are Anderson’s mind-bending “Chalkroom,” a surreal structure that houses flying emails that turn into dust and reform. A series of videos run on a loop in another room, while seven large-scale drawings of Anderson’s deceased pet Lolabelle portray the canine in the Bardo, the place where Buddhists believe all creatures must wait for 49 days before reincarnation (Anderson is a practicing Buddhist). To coincide with the exhibit, Anderson performs on the Guild Hall stage July 14. Through July 22, 158 Main St., East Hampton

Louis Schanker

Louis Schanker, "Study for lobby mural, WNYC Radio, New York" (1937, ink and watercolor on paper), 6 inches by 17.75 inches, at the Pollack-Krasner House

Drawings on the Wall
American muralist, painter and printmaker Louis Schanker’s (1903-81) semiabstract style became a forerunner to the abstract expressionists in many ways. He was employed by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, which aimed to relieve unemployment during the Great Depression. Schanker’s well-known works include a mural depicting musicians at WNYC, the city’s municipal radio station, and another at a children’s hospital in Rockaway Beach illustrating clowns, circus performers and a seal twirling a ball on its nose. Although most of his murals have been destroyed, mural studies, preliminary sketches and archival photos remain to give us an idea of Schanker’s seminal genius. Twenty-one of these are on display in Louis Shanker: The WPA Years at the Pollock-Krasner House. The show also includes thematic anomalies: Two woodblock prints from 1936 show a baton-wielding policeman attacking a picketing worker, rare examples of Schanker using his art as social commentary. Through July 28, 830 Springs-Fireplace Road, East Hampton