Welcome to ArtsGazing

Selecting the best of New York City’s arts scene

On the face of it, our exhibit recommendations this week couldn’t be more different. On one hand we have all the knowledge in the world that can be obtained by money and power, on the other we have the singular quest of the artist exploring the boundaries of a seemingly unbound aesthetic. But what they do have in common is curiosity: how the world works, why do things do what they do, and a belief that all the knowledge gained is going to make the future better, or at least more understandable. It’s a great example of one of our favorite sayings: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For our ‘Opening This Week’ section, click on the tab to read about Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and make connections between the past and the present through art and science. One of our favorite parts of this exhibit are the automatons, a sort of early robot, created to entertain nobility as well as illustrate philosophical arguments about the nature of life itself. There are several videos showing these objects in motion, and the delight we felt as they went through their paces reminded us of the first time we saw Sony’s Aibo dog. It’s a shock to realize our reactions are pretty much identical to people of the past – at the same time it’s great to know that no matter how sophisticated we think we are, an independently moving object shaped like a human or animal still has the power to entertain and produce a touch of awe as well.

Clicking on the ‘Gallery Shows’ tab brings us to Joe Overstreet, Selected Works: 1975 – 1982 at the Eric Firestone Gallery. These works balance experimentation with rigorous planning and the results are a master class in abstract art. Overstreet made it a policy not to follow fads in the art world, instead just going his own way, following his own conclusions in experiments with canvas, paint and how they come together. Some of these pieces are a surprise, pushing into the viewer’s space, almost like an actor breaking the fourth wall. Forty-plus years later, it remains an exciting innovation in abstract art and one worth seeing in person.