(image via Max Rosen / Facebook)

Omg Random
Opening Tuesday, September 5 at Benson’s NYC, 7 pm. On view through September 19.

Some art shows are tightly curated, conceptually driven projects that claim to elegantly tackle a Big Theme. Others are just selections of nice-looking stuff. Both types of curation are valid, but sometimes you want to give your lil’ old brain a break and just look at some fun, colorful works of art. Luckily, it appears that the aptly-titled Omg Random, opening tonight in the Lower East Side, will deliver all this and a bag of chips. But probably a bag of chips in painting form.

The show consists of work by Mary Houlihan, Max Rosen, and Rosie Morales. They will be showing paintings, mixed media works, collages, and more. Some of you may know Mary as a comedian, but she also makes very fun paintings. I once commissioned her to make a custom dog painting that really turned out great. I have not commissioned dog paintings from the other artists, but they seem top-notch as well. And if you like what you see, prints will be available for sale at the opening.

Soda_Jerk, Astro Black: We are the Robots, 2010, 2-channel video installation with four episodes, 25:24 minutes (still) (image via apexart)

Fellow Travelers
Opening Wednesday, September 6 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 21.

Ah, space, the thing typically known as the final frontier. I’m sure you have thought at some point since November 2016 that maybe living in space would be better than hanging out here. Elon Musk wants to colonize space, which stresses me out but maybe will one day be our only option. While we can still consider space occupation in sort of theoretical terms, one way to do so this week is at Fellow Travelers, an exhibition framing space travel as a potential way to escape a failing neoliberalism and imagine new realities.

Artists from all over the world are partaking in curator Katherine Rochester’s exhibition. There’s Afrofuturist Sun Ra’s large body of work from the 1950s that mixed black liberation, galactic relocation, and free jazz; a piece entitled Space Refugee based on an actual Turkish refugee; a riot for “sci-fi civil rights.” That’s just a taste of the show, as it appears to be as expansive as space itself.

(image via Khuzami Art Studio / Facebook)

Women of Absurbia
Opening Thursday, September 7 at Carter Burden Gallery, 6 pm to 8pm. On view through September 28.

The suburbs can be, and are usually, absurd. If you mix “suburbia” and “absurd” you get “absurbia,” which is both an absurd word in itself and an integral part of this new exhibition at Carter Burden Gallery. Women of Absurbia showcases painting series by two artists: Vicki Khuzami and Daena Title.

Khuzami takes inspiration from kitschy knickknacks and filmmakers like Todd Solondz and Wes Anderson. Her process is multifaceted; first she creates a miniature strange suburban scene using real objects and sets it up inside an actual vintage dollhouse. She lights these scenes and photographs them, then plays with the images digitally. After all this, she creates a painting based on the final result. Daena Title’s work focuses less on the actual suburbs and what they look like, but rather what activities its residents may partake in. She paints beauty pageant contestants, delving into the insidious nature of that faux-empowerment culture.

Image: m(ARTHA) BURGESS, from the series Queer as a Clockwork Orange (Justin Vivien Bond and Amos Mac), Archival Print on Cotton Rag, 16 x 20 (image via Trestle Gallery / Facebook)

Queer As A Clockwork Peachfish
Artist reception Friday, September 8 at Trestle Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through September 15.

m(ARTHA) BURGESS’s show at Trestle Gallery may be a solo show, but it provides a lot to chew on. The exhibition is comprised of sculptures and two series of photos. One of these photo series predominantly consists of nudes. The other places notable members of the city’s queer and trans community such as Mx. Justin Vivian Bond in handmade sets based on A Clockwork Orange, interesting when considering what the ultraviolence-loving Alex DeLarge would think about such an infiltration of space. Can A Clockwork Orange be queer, or is it merely a story of aggressive and unchecked white men who love dairy and slang and are destined to end up either psychologically ruined or equally aggressive members of the police force? Author Anthony Burgess himself explains the title of his book came from Cockney slang meaning “a queerness … so extreme as to subvert nature.” Maybe such an intense dose of queer subversion will do us some good right now.