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David Byrne, Tight Spot (rendering), 2011, Pace Gallery
David Byrne, Tight Spot (rendering), 2011, Pace Gallery


Aug. 24, 2011

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The New York art season kicks off in a couple of weeks, and plenty of celebrity art is on tap. Pace Gallery boasts not one but two shows involving artist and Talking Head David Byrne. Pace has just purchased a lot under the High Line on West 25th Street, down the block from its first Chelsea outpost, and conscripted Byrne to do a site-specific work there -- stuffing a giant inflatable globe in the space beneath the tracks. In the work, the 48-by-20-foot balloon of the earth is contorted and compressed, as if a metaphor for the world’s increasingly awkward accommodation of its human population.

Like his 2008 site-specific sound installation Playing the Building, in which Byrne transformed a downtown building into a giant musical instrument, Tight Spot, 2011, Sept. 15-Oct. 1, 2011, is expected to attract passersby via an audio recording of Byrne’s voice, electronically distorted into a low groaning sound that emanates from a speaker hidden inside the globe.

Meanwhile, Byrne is also included in a group show at Pace’s West 25th Street gallery. For the tech-themed exhibition “Social Media,” Sept. 16-Oct. 15, 2011, he has done a series of satirical advertisements for faux iPhone apps, as well as a multimedia installation of 20 framed digital pictures of arguing politicians. Other artists in the show include Christopher Baker, Jonathan Harris, Aram Bartholl, Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher.

The art world still awaits official details of the forthcoming show of paintings by Bob Dylan, which, as Artnet Magazine reported in July, is slated to bow at Gagosian Gallery, Sept. 20-Oct. 22, 2011. Though the famed folk troubadour has previously exhibited his artworks in London and Germany, New York has not yet had the pleasure. The Gagosian show includes 18 new paintings, called “The Asia Series,” inspired by the Dylan’s travels.

Meanwhile, Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Chelsea has scheduled "Revolutions: The Album Cover Art of Shepard Fairey," Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2011 -- but the exhibition takes place not in New York City but in a special pop-up gallery on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, N.J. (site, of course, of the Stone Pony, legendary home base of rocker Bruce Springsteen). The show is in conjunction with the insider rock festival known as All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Last but not least, the year-old RH Gallery on Duane Street in Tribeca presents "Melodymania," Sept. 13-Oct. 29, 2011, boasting “artworks that emanate music even in their silence.” On hand are portraits of Kurt Cobain and Lady Gaga, among other works.

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Bonnie Engelbardt Lautenberg’s portrait of Lady Gaga in "Melodymania" at RH Gallery, New York
Bonnie Engelbardt Lautenberg’s portrait of Lady Gaga in "Melodymania" at RH Gallery, New York