Take an art walk on the Lower East Side of Manhattan this weekend, where the New Museum and a few neighboring galleries -- all located along a two-block stretch of the Bowery -- have exciting new offerings.
Sperone Westwater, the edgy Norman Foster-designed art emporium, is presenting a surprising historical extravaganza sprawling through centuries. "Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to Last Week" shows 45 ancient and contemporary objects mingling with ease. A man parts with his family on a solemn Greek grave relief from the fourth century BC. Nearby, there's a set of six marble doors by Chinese art star Ai Weiwei dating from 2007. Also memorable: Bertozzi & Casoni's "GorilBattista" (2011), a beautifully chiseled marble of a serene, sad gorilla head resting on a platter a la John the Baptist.
There's a companion exhibition, "Portraits/Self-Portraits: From the 16th to the 21st Century," on the upper floors. Among the earliest is Alessandro Allori's portrait of one of the lesser and later Medicis, Francesco I, wearing a handsome outfit of leather and fur and a melancholy expression. Robert Lefevre's 1804 "Portrait of Michael Elias Meyer," shows the young merchant fashionably buttoned and beribboned. The third floor displays portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Warhol and Gilbert & George.
WHEN | WHERE Through Feb. 25 at 257 Bowery
INFO Admission free, 212-999-7337, speronewestwater.com
At Salon 94, one block south, surveillance cameras, cutouts of people, prints of smashed-up faces and rows of television screens are just a few components of Jon Kessler's dizzying installation, "The Blue Period."
It takes a while to figure out how all of the static and kinetic parts fit together. You may spot your own face on one of the screens, recorded by a camera and played in a kaleidoscopic sequence that includes footage from the Blue Man Group and Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto."
WHEN | WHERE Through March 10 at 243 Bowery
INFO Admission free, 212-979-0001, salon94.com
Next door at the New Museum, the off-kilter ziggurat designed by SANAA in 2007, check out what the next generation is up to. A triennial show, "The Ungovernables," features art by more than 50 artists and collectives born from the mid '70s to the mid '80s. The sculptures of 31-year-old Argentine Adrián Villar Rojas are otherworldy, ruined monuments made of cement, clay, burlap and wood.
WHEN | WHERE Through April 22 at 235 Bowery
INFO Admission $14, 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org
At Sue Scott Gallery around the corner, the playful prints of boats and planes in "Malcolm Morley: Another Way to Make and Image, Monotypes" resemble children's book illustrations: Colorful flags fly in the wind, the water is blue, beach umbrellas are open. Look more closely. Colliding aircraft are plunging into the sea, boats are sinking and people are flying through the air.
WHEN | WHERE Through Feb. 19 at 1 Rivington St.
INFO Free, 212-358-8767, suescottgallery.com
Tom Beer contributed to this story.