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SundayArts News 3/13/2011
Posted: March 14th, 2011
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George Condo: Mental States
At the New Museum, the exhibition George Condo: Mental States gives visitors a tightly edited look at the work of a highly prolific contemporary artist. Some eighty paintings and sculptures on display here reflect thirty years of the artist’s career. Your first view on entering the exhibit is a selection of fifty of Condo’s portraits of both imaginary and sometimes recognizable characters. It’s quite an introduction to his signature combination of the fantastical, the grotesque and the humorous.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company
The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s legacy tour continues in March with the company marking its last appearance at the Joyce Theater. With the passing of its renowned choreographer in 2009, the company will disband at the end of the year, letting other companies carry on its legacy. At the Joyce the company will perform three works tracing the arc of its nearly 60-year history, including the highly energetic “CRWDSPCR.” Audience members will also see one of the most iconic works by the three original collaborators – choreographer Merce Cunningham, musician John Cage and costume and set designer Robert Rauschenberg. “Antic Meet” is a comedic dance structured as a series of vaudeville scenes, set to Cage’s music. Rauschenberg’s witty costumes include parachute dresses, and, famously, a chair strapped to Cunningham’s back.

Asia Week New York 2011
Whether your interest is China, Japan or Pakistan, classical or contemporary art, you’re sure to find something to see and do during Asia Week New York 2011, which begins March 18th. Currently on view at the Asia Society Museum is one of the finest surviving Persian manuscripts – a richly illuminated 15th Century volume of more than 30 miniatures illustrating scenes from the national epic, “The Shahnamah.” Prince Muhammad Juki commissioned what’s known as “The Book of Kings.” It depicts legendary accounts from the beginning of civilization until the Arab Muslim conquest that ended Persian rule. This manuscript from the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland has rarely been exhibited. Visitors to the Asia Society Museum are provided with magnifying glasses to better see all the exquisite, and at times, graphic details.

On March 18, Japan Society introduces American audiences to a new wave of artists who are challenging the prevailing kawaii (cute) aesthetic that has dominated Japanese art for years. The show is called “Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art.” Here, artists critically examine culture and history, respond to a threatened natural world, and reveal disturbed and nightmarish visions. At the Museum of the Chinese in America, everyone can enjoy “Chinese Puzzles: Games for the Hands and Mind.” The current exhibit is drawn from a collection of over 1300 antique puzzles dating from the Song Dynasty to the mid-20th Century. Many of the puzzles are beautiful objects in their own right, made of porcelain, carved ivory, or mother-of-pearl. Visitors young and old can try their luck and skill with modern reproductions of these addictive puzzles, which have been the study of mathematicians and military strategists for ages. “Chinese Puzzles” has been extended to Sept. 2nd.

In music, kodo drummers come to Avery Fisher Hall on March 20th as part of Carnegie Hall’s ongoing festival of traditional and contemporary arts, JapanNYC. Kodo is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. The group explores the possibilities of the Japanese taiko drum, playing both traditional works as well as new compositions. The name kodo comes from the Japanese word for “heartbeat,” and the vigorous style of play this group engages in is sure to raise yours.

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.