Six Global Art Hot Spots -- by Rosetta Stone

Contemporary art is truly a global affair, and 2010 is starting off with artists bringing their own individual types of "crazy" to every corner of the earth. The elemental Swiss artist Not Vital, who splits his time between studios in New York, Niger, Patagonia and now Beijing, introduced several irreverent works at his recent show at Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing, based on the culture of the global art world’s newest economic powerhouse, including an outsized sculpture made of coal of the famous wart on Mao’s chin and a Beijing Duck in Gold that can be had made of actual precious metal (for $1.5 million). Halfway around the globe at Haas & Fuchs Galerie in Berlin are the mysterious "Alice in Wonderland" paintings of odd figures dwarfed by their colorful surroundings, the otherworldly visions of Gama, the Mongolian-born 30-something artist now living in Karlsruhe. Terry Rodgers, the Amherst grad who has become an expert at painting orgies that he stages himself, takes his show toAeroplastics Contemporary in Brussels. Up north at the Angelika Knapper Gallery in Stockholm is "L’Origine du Monde," a show of works by a dozen women artists taking Gustave Courbet’s scandalous 1866 painting as a starting point. At M+B in Los Angeles, the young (b. 1979) photographer Alex Prager presents "Week-End," a photographic ode to the image of the L.A. woman, caught in the high-key glare of the media spectacle. Prager’s photos simultaneously go on view in New York at Yancey Richardson Gallery. Meanwhile, down in Fort Worth, the TSU professor Randall Reidtakes a more grounded view of the world at William Campbell Contemporary Art with "In Times Past," a show of collage-pictures made of tactile, weathered surfaces of wood and painted metal, which he calls "earth symptoms." Over in Austin, Lora Reynolds Gallery hosts "Clowns and Portraits" by New York artist Jim Torok, who makes both jewel-like portraits and comic paintings featuring a clownish alter ego. In London, the Australian artist John Beard takes his own approach to our celebrity-saturated society at the Fine Art Society with his paintings of everyone from Marilyn Monroe to the Mona Lisa -- all done in black monochrome. Back in New York City, Peter Blum in Chelsea presents "Flooded McDonald’s" by Superflex, the Danish collective’s recent film in which a true-to-life replica of the eponymous fast-food restaurant slowly fills with water. More oddity is guaranteed at Hasted Hunt Kraeutler, which boasts new photographs by Erwin Olaf from three separate series, including the erotic "Hotel," which features the artist’s hyperrealistic models in various states of dishabille.