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Joachim Koester at Greene Naftali

Brooklyn-based Danish artist Joachim Koester channels the wild west in a distinctly avant-garde way in his absorbing video installation, The Place of Dead Roads, in which dancers dressed as grubby gunslingers move around an eerie boarded-up space as if locked in a tense shootout, all without weapons or an obvious enemy. (At Chelsea’s GreenNaftali through Feb 14th).

Joachim Koester, The Place of Dead Roads, HD video installation, color, sound, 33:30 min, 2013.

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Titus Kaphar at Jack Shainman Gallery

New York artist Titus Kaphar disrupts each of his works, cutting figures out of a canvas to consider the impact of absence, whiting out and redrawing figures or peeling back a layer of canvas to literally reveal a back story. Here, a colonial-era man’s portrait is shredded and stretched to shatter any illusion of a tidy personal narrative. (At Chelsea’s Jack Shainman Gallery through Feb 21st).

Titus Kaphar, Stripes, oil on canvas and nails, 59 ½ x 51 x 1 ½ inches, 2014.

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Sarah Braman in ‘Zabriskie Point’ at Jack Hanley Gallery

Man-made objects and nature come together in surprising ways in this sculpture by New York artist Sarah Braman, as a cube recalling modernist architecture perches atop a massive tree stump (nature sacrificed?). A table and houseplant complete this pretty assemblage which points to the domestic realm as a place where nature is potted for pleasure and convenience. (At Jack Hanley Gallery on the Lower East Side through Feb 8th).

Sarah Braman, Underthunk, welded steel, color gels, glass, tree stump, house plant, aluminum, 65 x 35 x 70in, 2014.

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Robert Kushner at DC Moore

Robert Kushner’s latest paintings at DC Moore include this gorgeous rendition of a fern, which blends modernist stripes with Japanese-style gold leafing and complex surface texture in a radiant homage to the natural world. (In Chelsea through Feb 14th).

Robert Kushner, Fern, oil, acrylic and gold leaf on linen, 84 x 60 inches, 2014.

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Devin Troy Strother at Marlborough Chelsea

It could be the outer space carpet or the thickly painted pastel-colored smiley face on this painting, but it’s hard to be sober in young LA artist Devin Troy Strothers’ latest solo show at Marlborough Chelsea. Here, basketball literally becomes an art form as little players in mid-dunk decorate the eyes and smile of this goofily-grinning abstract painting. (Through Feb 14th).

Devin Troy Strother, Devin Troy Strother x Rob Pruitt x Cory Arcangel x Walead Beshty x A Sad Face x 10 Michael Jordans, ink jet, air brush, acrylic, oil varnish, painted paper on birch panel, 84 x 60 x 2 inches, 2014.