Laughter in the Dark, Drawings from 1971 & 1975
Opening Tuesday, November 1 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 14.
While our heads are all aflurry with the politics of today, it could be good to take a break, clear your head before you place pen to paper and fill out that absentee ballot, trying not to smudge the ink with your tears of frustration and hopelessness. Though this election season seems truly eternal, there were other presidents, and there was art made about them, too. Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street location will be showing a tremendous collection of Philip Guston’s satirical caricature drawings of Richard Nixon, from his well-known “Poor Richard” series to collections of sketches rarely seen by the public, if at all.
The scribbly, cartoonish depictions of Tricky Dick, made during a chaotic time in American politics by an artist who was once nearly excommunicated by the art world for his first foray into this cartoonish style, feel like a triumph. Indeed, you can make playful sketches of politicians with beady eyes and large, puffy, phallic noses and find success. Nowadays, you can even create entire gleaming portraits with carefully-arranged (albeit oddly-shaped) genitalia. Mocking the corrupt in power may not stop the madness going on in this world, but I suppose it’s better than sitting wordlessly, wondering how we got to this point.
Opening Wednesday, November 2 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 17.
Apexart, a gallery that has shown a penchant for exploration, focuses its latest show on exploration of the self. Organized by hannes bend, “Youniverse” offers a series of “inclusive free experiences” in addition to visual art and digital games, most of which promotes mindfulness, love, and inclusivity.
The show’s opening will not just be for sipping wine and making conversation, there will be quite a spread of activities. La Vonne Natasha Caesar will offer a special blend of her “healing exilir” MantraTea, made from ginger and turmeric roots, Holy Basil, cinnamon, and other ingredients, supposedly infused with a “Sanskrit mantra and energywork vibrations.” Two workshops by Robin Arnott and Malia Kulp encourage exploration of the voice and singing to inhabit a spirit of play, and a “Magical Laughter Workshop” espouses similar ideas. Stranger still is the Geobacter Micropulse series, investigating the “possibility of interspecies communication” through examining microbial cells. It’s trendy to consume good bacteria, maybe the next step will be conversing with it.
(Untitled), four beds
Opening Thursday, November 3 at Idio Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through November 27.
The experience of attending an art opening can make some weary. Perhaps you’ve yearned to curl up in a corner and doze off for a moment. Or even a whole night. If this is you, it’s your lucky evening: Ayden LeRoux’s unique new exhibition at East Williamsburg’s Idio Gallery employs one of the most unexpected mediums to be seen in a fine art setting: Airbnb. Yes, the artist’s four “bed installations,” adorned with interesting accoutrements such as pages from women’s diaries, salt harvested from Robert Smithson’s seminal “earthwork” Spiral Jetty, and rice, and are open for the sleeping. The project aims to reach (possibly unwitting) folks from beyond the often-niche Art World by listing the beds for overnight stay on Airbnb.
As you try to get comfortable amongst the strange textures and objects, consider LeRoux’s beds as a literal manifestation of the purging of thoughts one often has when trying to get to sleep at night, and what your bed might look (and feel) like. Maybe it’ll be sunrise before you get any shut-eye, but it’ll be a night to remember. For the more energized, the opening reception will be less sleepy, with a cash bar and live experimental music.
Test Patterns / TRANSFER Download
Opening Friday, November 4 at The Current Museum, 6 pm to 10 pm. On view through December 15.
New art space The Current Museum is a home for artists exploring how to harness the digital realm to make their work. The museum’s inaugural show, in the spirit of the all-too-frequent multitasking that happens online, is actually two shows at once. The first and most cryptic, “Test Patterns,” is a way for the museum to “calibrate its vision” and explore how patterns form and images configure, citing the colorful stripes of the test patterns seen late at night on television news networks as a central theme. The second is “TRANSFER Download,” a pop-up “series of hyperlinked solo exhibitions” available for selection like a menu or a playlist. Some are more abstract, some are VR, some are whimsical GIFs, some are more narrative and filmic, and some—like Rollin Leonard’s “Spinning Pinwheel of Death,” made distorted not through digital manipulation but by taking each photograph through a droplet of water—seem to do all they can without using the sophisticated technologies at their disposal.