New Alex Katz, Ibrahim El-Salahi & Japanese Ceramics Group Shows

The shows you can’t miss this week in NY. We pick only 3.

Highlight: Ibrahim El-Salahi at Salon 94 (Salon 94)

1. Alex Katz @ Richard Gray Gallery
February 29 — April 22

“Black Hat,” 2010 (Richard Gray Gallery)

Even at age 88, Alex Katz remains an important and influential voice in American art, redefining the line between formalism and representation. His new show with Richard Gray Gallery features a 60-year survey of the artist’s portrait drawings, filling both the gallery’s New York and Chicago spaces. The exhibit presents drawing as both the artistic field in which Katz roots his practice and a means of encountering a more personal approach to his artwork; the gallery explains, “the experience of the drawings, for both the maker and the viewer, is one of intimacy. The paper captures the artist’s hand in direct and unexpected ways.”

On view at 1018 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.

2. Ibrahim El-Salahi @ Salon 94
March 1 — April 24

(Salon 94)

Often recognized as the father of African and Arab Modernism, Ibrahim El-Salahi aims to redefine trends in European and American art through the artistic traditions of African, Islamic and Arab cultures. His first exhibit with Salon 94 features his 2009 Flamenco series of paintings. Inspired by the history and aesthetic of the Alhambra fortress in Granada, Spain, the paintings source their color palette and content from the medieval palace, depicting historical clashes and overlappings of world cultures.

On view at 234 Bowery, New York, NY.

3. Kazunori Hamana, Yuji Ueda & Otani Workshop 
@ Blume & Poe
March 3 — April 9

(Blum & Poe)

Organized and curated by Takashi Murakami, Blum & Poe’s group show of Japanese ceramics showcases a new generation of artists whose works merge traditional Japanese ceramic practices with a contemporary aesthetic. Japan itself is also invoked in the use of locally harvested clay, often mixed with other materials for experimental results, including unusual coloration or textures. Furthermore, in creating works that showcase the natural cracking that can occur in pottery or that are made intentionally asymmetrical, the artists question the fine line in pottery between artistic object and functional tool.

On view at 19 East 66th Street, New York, NY.