About Cassidy Dawn Graves

Contact: cassidydawngraves@gmail.com / Twitter: @malegazegraves

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Art This Week: Groovy Folk Art, Incarceration Adaptations, and More

(image via Front Room Gallery)

Back To Nature
Opening Wednesday, September 5 at Front Room Gallery, 7 pm. On view through October 21.

If you ever rode the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, you’ll recall paintings hung on some of the walls that had eyes that appeared to follow you as you moved your own from side to side. Spooky! That’s sort of how I feel when I look at the wide-eyed paintings done by Amy Hill, who is opening a solo exhibition at Lower East Side’s Front Room Gallery on Wednesday. Her portraits are realistic while also being surreal and a little creepy (even the cats stare at you with unblinkingly large eyes), bringing the style of 19th century American folk art into more modern times. Rather than setting her figures in the 21st century, she curiously grounds them in 1960s counterculture, where peace-sign necklaces and fringed leather replace any peasant frocks. We never actually found that peace, did we… Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Anarchist Emmas and Violent Ellens

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Tank / Facebook)

Red Emma and the Mad Monk
Now through September 1 at The Tank, 8 pm: $20-30

Nowadays, when one thinks about theater (particularly any form of commercial theater, Broadway or otherwise), radical politics aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. Or the second or third for that matter. That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this serve as the cornerstone of Red Emma and the Mad Monk, a new play with music by Alexis Roblan presented as part of The Tank’s Ladyfest. It centers around a 12 year-old girl who has a mystic Russian imaginary friend and enjoys fighting online with “deplorables,” an unsettling pastime for someone so young, but it probably happens more than we’d like to think. In the midst of this, she learns about the influential anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and starts to consider the world a bit differently. Keep Reading »

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Black Art Matters and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Con Artist Collective)

August Summer Residency Showcase
Opening Wednesday, August 29 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 31.

It’s the end of the summer, which means people are scrambling to get the last of their leisure time in before it feels less justifiable to do so. This often means less events and other artistic goings-on. After all, it’s hard to have an art show when you don’t want to leave the beach. But the restless vigor of Con Artist Collective continues—on any given day (including in the midst of the end-of-summer lull) you can probably find them up to something, whether that be the party-filled unveiling of a new art exhibition or something else entirely. Starting Wednesday night, the Lower East Side art space’s summer studio residents will be showing their latest creations. Keep Reading »

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Cole Escola, Sloppy Shakespeare, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Sanina Leilani / Facebook)

Glow Up!: An All POC Variety Show
Thursday, August 16 at Starr Bar, 8:45 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

Queer drag performers Noctua and C’ètait BonTemps host this variety show featuring exclusively artists of color. If you’ve been posting on social media about how bad white supremacy in America is lately, attending would be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support a show where the lineup, hosts, and producers are all people of color. And what can you expect out of the night? The lineup isn’t too packed with people, but the ones they do have really pack a punch: burlesque performer Miss Sugar Mamasota, soulful singer Cherry, drag and music artist Laé D. Boi, and Texas-based pole and burlesque performer Black Orchid. Keep Reading »

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Art That Lulls You Into Relaxation and More Openings This Week

Image: Raul Valverde in collaboration with Muntadas, ‘Calendar for Travelling Artists’, 2018, 8 × 51/2 in. (20.32 × 13.97 cm). Courtesy of the artist. (via ISCP / Facebook)

Never Take a Vacation with an Artist Who Collects the Same Stuff You Do
Opening Tuesday, August 14 at International Studio + Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

The title of this new group show from ISCP conjures some immediate images: two artists, lounging on the beach. Their peaceful time is cut short due to the fact that they both really want to collect the same type of shells, but there are only a couple of those, so they start fighting over them. Dare I say, all shell breaks loose? I forget if you can even take shells from beaches, but still. The actual content of this show, which features nine artists from ISCP’s Ground Floor Program, appears to be more interesting (or soothing) than my strange musings about beaches. With a goal of “lull[ing] the viewer into a state of relaxation,” the show offers vacation-centric content like thoughts on summer road trips and an interactive piece that quite literally gives the gallery’s front desk staff a break from working. It’s summer, after all. Keep Reading »

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The Return of The Macaulay Culkin Show and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Subtle Pride / Facebook)

Subtle Pride: Live in Concert
Thursday, August 9 at Rubulad, 8 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While yes this is a concert, and this listing typically does not include those, I happen to know that seeing the group Subtle Pride in concert is not your average musical experience. In addition to many songs (often a cappella, harmony-laden, and/or improvised), there are often sketches, monologues, and other strange theatrical experiences peppered in within all the music sung by Mina Walker (of the band Daisy The Great), Brigette Lundy-Paine (of Netflix series Atypical), Zach Donovan, and Misha Brooks. It’s sort of hard to explain, but when I saw them at Dixon Place a year or two ago I was very impressed and also a little confused at times. But if you like celebrity culture, vocal harmonies, weird theatrics, and other such things, it is likely you will have a nice time. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Kaufman-Inspired Comedy, Mental Health, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Vow Performance Party / Facebook)

Vow II: Mental Health
Thursday, August 2 at Rose Gold, 7:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

While it still carries some stigma, mental health has steadily become more and more of a presence in today’s everyday dialogues. This is undoubtedly due to the unfortunate prevalence of mental health issues, many of which have proven to be exacerbated by the current political climate. Even as (and especially) as things get worse, continually talking about it can help. One of the more unique ways you can engage is through Vow, a sex-positive party and performance series “for artists with stigmatized identities or experiences to express themselves freely in a supportive community.” The night is centered around mental health, and features relevant performances by a lineup that includes burlesque performers Regal Mortis, Lucy Risqué, and Miss Sugar Mamasota, dominatrix Venus Cuffs, performance artist Monika Rostvold, and more. Keep Reading »

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The Photographer Documenting DIY Culture in Brooklyn and Beyond

La Rhaata on the subway, New York City 2017 (photo: Walter Wlodarczyk)

Those who proclaim the spirit of New York City is dead would be wise to look away from the fresh horror that is the CBGB Target and instead fix their eyes on the work of photographer Walter Wlodarczyk. There, you’ll find a vibrant collection of musicians, performance artists, dancers, and other experimental creative types. As Wlodarczyk’s solo exhibition There Is Only One Of You demonstrates in an impressive 160 or so photos, thriving artistry is still alive and well here. Keep Reading »

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A ‘New Yonic Era’ and More Art This Week

(image via Cooler Gallery)

Surface Tension
Opening Tuesday, July 31 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 12.

Some art has sweeping sociopolitical messages, while other art serves a primarily aesthetic purpose. Neither is better or worse: sometimes you want to be provoked into thinking deeply about the world around you and sometimes you just want to be dazzled by how cool something looks. The work of mixed media artist Senem Oezdogan (presented in partnership with Uprise Art) falls more into the latter category, consisting largely of “fiber-based geometric studies” inspired by architecture, shapes, and the textures of fabrics. They’re fairly simple pieces, featuring abstract shapes and rich splashes of color, and manage to convey an alluring calmness in their playful minimalism. Rather than fixating on what message an artwork might be trying to proclaim, Oezdogan’s work invites you to merely appreciate the visuals. If it makes you feel nice, you don’t need to question it. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Boat Comedy, Puppetry, Being Very Online

WEDNESDAY

producer Catherine Woodard, playwright Stefani Kuo, and director Theo Maltz (image courtesy of Corkscrew Theater Festival)

delicacy of a puffin heart
July 25-August 5 at Paradise Factory, various times: $24 (pay what you can on July 28)

Presented as part of the second annual Corkscrew Theater Festival, a festival of new plays and readings showcasing up-and-coming artists, this play by writer, poet, and performer Stefani Kuo tackles the weighty topic of how female friendship and love perseveres in the midst of loss, lies, and decades of time. It does so by telling two stories: one of a lesbian couple trying to conceive in 1990s San Francisco, and one of their daughter 20 years later living in that same apartment and coping with illness. It can be hard to be a person who is consistently both living life and loving people, and this play seems to serve as a reminder of that. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Beach Bodies, Paintings, and Who Gets To Play

Nate Lewis (image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Strange Beach
Opening Tuesday, July 24 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 31.

Summertime is a time for going to the beach, but that’s not what this group exhibition at Fridman Gallery is about, despite the name. Rather, it’s a “metaphor for the body,” framing one’s physical form as a vessel of sorts that can advance, retreat, swallow up others, be intruded upon, amass debris and valuable items alike over time. Three artists comprise Strange Beach: Arghavan Khosravi, Nate Lewis, and Tajh Rust, who incorporate themes of race, social history, portraiture, and the marginalized retaking their own narratives, whether this be through drawing on photographs to create something celestial or painting portraits of people using their own skin tones to inform the color palette. Keep Reading »