Richard Hell, Christopher Wool, “Psychopts”

The collaboration of punk icon Richard Hell and artist Christopher Wool makes for an exhibit composed of art that doubles as wordplay. The two-word pieces of scrawled handwriting and various fonts on paper and silkscreen entangle words that are visually similar but conceptually disparate. Bold “nicest” tramples over timid “incest,” “anus” chases the rump of “stuns,” while “perils” mounts a subsidiary “penis.” Subliminal connections between the words challenge an over-conscious ego, but the words also exist as a visual experience without being readable puzzles.

John McWhinnie @ Glenn Horowitz Bookseller and Art Gallery, 50 1/2 E. 64th St., (212) 754-5626. Opening reception May 1, 6-8 p.m. Through Jun. 4.

Aziz + Cucher, “Scenapse”

This exhibit by photo collaborative Anthony Aziz and Sammy Cucher is a part of an ongoing project called “Synaptic Bliss” in which the solidity of all surfaces is challenged in favor of a more permeable world. “Scenapse” does this with landscapes, featuring pixelated willows and a field of particle-y white daisies at eye level. The idea is to remind you that your body is nothing but a big lump of particles, too, and that we have a lot in common with nature and, well, everything around us.

ClampArt, 521–531 W. 25th St., (646) 230-0020. Opening reception May 2, 6-8 p.m. Through Jun. 7.

Jim Toia, “At the Mercy of the Gate”

Natural phenomena had a heavy hand in Jim Toia’s semi-spooky exhibition. Pewter castings of ant colonies from hardscrabble Texas resemble spindly skeletons, and white drawings of mushroom spores on black paper look not unlike foggy phantoms. It’s rough, it’s raw, it’s unpredictable, and it is intended to imply something about the human condition. Not unrelatedly, while artmaking for this exhibition, Toia found himself in rural Mexico trapped behind a locked gate, being threatened to a throat-slitting by a drunken local. We’re thinking this undoubtedly makes this exhibition rougher and more raw.

Kim Foster Gallery, 529 W. 20th St. (212) 229-0044. Opening reception May 3, 6-8 p.m. Through May 31.