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Concordia Wreckage, Burning Piano, Ceramics: NYC Hot Art

October 11, 2012

'Concordia, Concordia'

An installation view of ``Concordia, Concordia'' by Thomas Hirschhorn at Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea. The work was inspired by the capsizing of the cruise ship ``Costa Concordia'' in January. Photographer: Katya Kazakina via Bloomberg

The cruise ship that capsized off the Italian coast last January is recalled in a huge installation at the Gladstone gallery in Chelsea by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn.

Hirshhorn spent six weeks organizing “Concordia, Concordia,” which measures 52 feet deep, 33 feet wide and 25 feet high.

It’s as if the floor had tilted 90 degrees, tossing chairs, sofas, bar stools, life jackets and a floor lamp amid mounds of stuff that evoke the passengers on a pleasure trip that ended in death for 32 when the captain got distracted.

A grand piano is attached to a wall, once the floor, while a replica of Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa” hangs limply from what is now the ceiling.

The scale and detail of this orchestrated chaos inspire horror and also curiosity at who might wish to live with it.

The gallery declined to reveal the price because the work has been sold. The show runs through Oct. 20 at 530 W. 21st St.; +1-212-206-9300;

Burning Piano

Next door at Gagosian, Douglas Gordon offers more destruction in a two-hour video titled “The End of Civilization.”

A grand piano, symbol it would seem of mankind’s highest cultural achievements, is shown burning in green, rolling hills near the border between England and Scotland.

Projected onto screens -- one for the wide shots of the serene landscape at dusk, another for the close-ups of raging flames -- the film is exquisitely meditative.

You can walk around the screens (they stand at an angle to each other in the middle of the gallery; in a corner, a third screen shows the fire at a different stage), watching the intensity of light change as the fire consumes the instrument.

Gordon’s auction record for a video is $96,000. The show runs through Oct. 13 at 522 W. 21st St.; +1-212-741-1717;

Funny Stuff

Walk one block south to see “Fired People,” a vibrant if somewhat chaotic exhibition of ceramic sculptures and paintings by Italian artist Alessandro Pessoli at Anton Kern gallery.

Human heads and birds appear throughout the show, painted on sail-like canvases or as ceramic figures, alluding to Bosch, the Commedia dell’arte, children’s stories and pirate adventures. Seductive glazes and colors force you to keep looking and deciphering.

Prices range from $3,000 to $80,000. The show runs through Oct. 20 at 532 W. 20th St.; +1-212-367-9663;

Mysterious Portraits

Across the street at Jack Shainman gallery, Lynette Yiadom- Boakye, London-based artist of Ghanaian descent, populates her paintings with fictional characters, mostly black subjects looking unsmilingly at the viewer. Ranging from small to large, the works combine brushy expressionism with smooth areas hiding the artist’s hand.

The dark palette creates a sense of mystery and depth. In “Bracken or Moss,” the only bright spots are the whites of the man’s eyes and a touch of crimson around his neck.

Prices range from $15,000 to $45,000. “All Manner of Needs” runs through Oct. 13 at 513 W.20th St.; +1-212-645-1701;

Muse highlights include Jason Harper on cars, Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.

To contact the reporters of this story: Katya Kazakina in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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