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2 Art Gallery Shows to Explore From Home


Through July 12. Bard Graduate Center; exhibitions.bgc.bard.edu/eileengray.

I’ve had many fantasies about houses where I wish I could wait out this health emergency. A Montana ranch? A big Spanish farmhouse? Or just a regular apartment in Covid-crushing Seoul? But I can’t do better than E-1027, a fabled modernist bungalow on the French Riviera. Built in 1927, this seaside cabin has the white walls and nautical balconies common to so much European functionalist architecture, but inside it’s lusher and racier, with bespoke leather-clad beds and fondle-inviting carpets. A morning swim in the Mediterranean, lunchtime on the flat roof terrace, reading in the balcony hammock, cocktails from the inbuilt lacquered bar: I could manage a quarantine here.

E-1027 was masterminded, inside and out, by the Irish-French architect Eileen Gray (with her partner, Jean Badovici), and many of the furnishings she conceived for the house are in New York now, at the Bard Graduate Center, which opened a retrospective of her designs and architecture a few weeks before lockdown. I saw it then, and I’m impressed with Bard’s conversion of this major show for the web; click on any of the chairs or credenzas in the installation shots, and you’ll discover higher-resolution photographs and thorough contextual materials about her work process and commercial ambitions. In the gallery devoted to E-1027, make sure to select the white dining room serving table, so you can see its four pivoting drawers fanned out like a peacock’s tail.

Though you can buy reproductions of her end tables at Design Within Reach, Gray remains less famous than modern architecture’s men — and only partly because she specialized in residential settings. She was born in 1878 and lived nearly a century; in a chronological slide show of portraits you can see her first in the frippery of Dublin’s upper classes, and later with the bobbed hair and black pantsuit of a modern Parisienne. When she opened a furniture dealership in the 1920s she resorted to a male pseudonym, and her talent sometimes infuriated the bad boys of modernism; Le Corbusier, notoriously, vandalized E-1027 in the ’30s by covering its white walls with eight garish murals, and the house sat in ruins for decades. This exhibition and its website, with copious documents of her geometric carpets and tubular steel furniture, makes clear how central she was to this era of architecture, and how she transcended the house as a “machine for living” to design places where you might actually want to live. JASON FARAGO

The first thing to appreciate about the group show “Time Share,” as you view it over the internet, is simply that it was made to be there. A rotation of video pieces highlighting the relationship of video to live performance, the show was organized by Job Piston for Performa’s “Radical Broadcast” series, an online channel inspired by Nam June Paik’s experiments with television, and it plays at its own schedule on the performance art institution’s website.

Depending when you tune in, you might catch pop fans hoisting their smartphones in Oscar Nñ’s clip of a Robyn concert, art-world insiders wielding smartphones of their own at a 2017 dance staged by the choreographers FlucT; or black and white footage of Robert Rauschenberg’s “Pelican” (1963).

But what stays with you isn’t so much these or other fine pieces as how vividly, as a group, as they all throw video and digital media themselves into relief. While the video-within-video-within-the-internet phenomenon is familiar enough, the tight focus on it here is exceptionally alienating. It’s so difficult to watch someone dancing and someone else recording it that you end up feeling as if the two events aren’t related at all. The one simply can’t be preserved — but the other is a new performance of its own. It’s equally bleak and exciting. WILL HEINRICH

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