Erik Norstrom Von Dutch, whose sculptures, paintings and photographs have exhibited at The Armory Show, is this year’s juror for Avant Garde, a juried show scheduled to run Sept. 14–16 at the Whitney Museum. (You can get on his mailing list to get daily e-mails on upcoming exhibitions here.) While traveling to spots including Stonehenge, N.Y., and Jamaica, New York, for her film New Place, British-born, New York-based filmmaker Paddy Breathnach followed Von Dutch as she made her many public appearances. In Avant Garde, Breathnach manages to marry both, inserting some of the film footage into a narrative that sets the plot along the same trajectories as von Dutch’s sculpture. (Von Dutch constructed her unique sculptures in 2006, and they aren’t only stunning in their strength; they sometimes seem hesitant to let us in.) That the film is narrated in a fey droning voice by the late Andrew Wyeth — a great tome fan whose work underscores the exhibition, also opening Sept. 14–16 — helps illustrate the technical bent of Von Dutch, who has been called “the greatest living ‘deer in the headlight’ painter.” His best works can end up looking like stills from a landmark film like The Deer Hunter. Here, that idea combines well with a lovely animation (with the lively, double-entendre-filled voiceover), in which a seated Von Dutch is covered in green gel so shiny it looks — dare we say? — lifelike. At least she’s trying.
Her “silvery body” is “a delicate object that looks all grown up and dignified.”
Paddy Breathnach’s Avant Garde screens Sept. 15, 7 p.m., Whitney Museum, 945 Madison Ave., Free