NEW YORK—The House and Senate may still be confused about the value of supporting the arts during an economic crisis, but we’ve never doubted art’s ability to inspire, entertain, and at the very least provide respite when everyday reality is bearing down harder than usual. Here, ARTINFO presents a selection of exhibitions currently on view in New York that either mine tough times for creative ore or offer an escape from them altogether.
“Things Fall Apart,” Winkleman Gallery, through Feb. 21
Although it may not sound like it from the title — which is a famed line from William Butler Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” — this tight group show at Winkleman Gallery is a good antidote to recession blues. The artists represented express varying political concerns — from the G8 forum (Mounir Fatmi) to post-Katrina New Orleans (Paul Chan and The Front), to the controversial Yangtze Three Gorges project in China (Joy Garnett) — but what they have in common is their view that, in contrast to the foreboding words of Yeats’s poem, the apocalypse is not upon us, no matter how bad things look. The works in the show are strong and evocative enough to fill you with a sense of — if not hope, than at the least, inspiration. That political messes and tragic events can spawn creative work is a nice reminder of the relevance of art, even in depressed times. —Jillian Steinhauer