A black-and-white illustration by David Wojnarowicz, on view last week at Chelsea gallery ClampArt, shows a grim reaper descending with a large scythe. The reaper claims to be “Democracy At Work,” but freely slices through individuals and activists voicing concerns like “No healthcare,” “Killer cops,” “Corrupt politicians,” and “Unemployment.” Though the piece was created in 1990, this so-called democracy keeps on wounding today.
Posts by Cassidy Dawn Graves:
2017 Next Wave Art
Opened Monday, September 25 at BAM, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 22.
If you are involved in media or even know someone involved in media, you have probably heard frequent mentions of the phrase “pivot to video.” This typically means deciding your digital media company is going to focus on making videos instead of producing written editorial content, and frequently means writers getting fired. Many argue that this new focus on short-form video content that’s prone to autoplaying all over Facebook is happening because it’s an easier way for advertisers to make money in an unstable industry. It could also signal a change in how people want to consume content. Keep Reading »
September 20-October 4 at The Eagle Bar, 7 pm: $25
The “father of modern queer theater” is back, and fittingly doing a show inside a gay leather bar in Manhattan. Yes, the late playwright and Stonewall Uprising participant Doric Wilson, who recently received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to gay theater, is bringing his satirical Stonewall play Street Theater to Chelsea’s The Eagle.
Street Theater, which won an Innovative Theater award for a recent prior revival, was written in part to chronicle the events and people Wilson experienced personally at Stonewall in 1969. It’s produced by The Other Side of Silence (TSOS), one of the city’s first LGBT-centric theater companies, initially co-founded by Wilson and “resurrected” in 2002 by Wilson, Street Theater‘s director Mark Finley, and Barry Childs. Plus, after the show tonight, it’s “jockstrap night” at the bar. Keep Reading »
The Future Is (Black) Femme
Opening Friday, September 22 at 329 Broome Street, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. On view through October 3.
While the rest of our art opening recs for this week correspond with the return of Bushwick Open Studios, this show is happening in Manhattan. Lower Manhattan, so you Brooklyn dwellers don’t have to travel very far, don’t worry. The Future Is (Black) Femme is, unsurprisingly, an art exhibition of work by black femme artists. For the uninformed, “femme” is a term that describes a feminine-presenting person that may but doesn’t necessarily have to conform to the binary identity of “woman.” It can also mean a feminine-presenting lesbian, used as the opposite of “butch.”
Enough about semantics, on to the art. The exhibition is curated by Jessica Pettway, Josette Roberts, and Miranda Barnes, and features the work of 14 artists, including Roberts and Barnes. Though every artist identifies as a black femme and an artist, the show’s content spans a wide variety of artistic disciplines and themes, as every artist has something unique to say about existing in this country as a black femme. These lived experiences can often be painful, but the exhibition’s description notes that “similar themes of kinship, tenderness and rejoicing” are present throughout all the works. Keep Reading »
On August 24, the City Council passed Council Member Rafael Espinal’s Office of Nightlife bill, which would establish a “night mayor” and nightlife task force to mediate between residents, the government, and the nightlife industry. This was good news for the city’s nightlife operators, particularly smaller DIY spaces that currently have to wade through a web of complicated regulations with little to no assistance or funding. However, the Nightlife Office on its own would not solve everything. Not when dancing still remains largely illegal in New York City. Keep Reading »
Wednesday, September 13 at The Glove, 8 pm: $7
Clowns have been a big news item recently. Recall last year, when there were stories about creepy clowns roaming the streets and congregating by way of Facebook. In the past few months, there have been Juggalos allying with leftists and the latest film version of Stephen King’s IT. If you’re not big on Faygo or horror films but still want to get down with the clown, tonight’s the night, my friends. It’s Clown Night at The Glove, and clowns of all shapes, sizes, and sensibilities will be coming out of the woodwork to show you what they can do. Expect burlesque dancer clowns, Bushwick clowns, clown-filled cinematography by Julie Orlick, clowns in cartoons and on canvas, and much more oddity-filled merriment. Keep Reading »
Opening Tuesday, September 12 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 28.
When you think about Italian art, the Renaissance probably is the first thing to come to mind. However, as many of us have come to know far too late in life, what you were taught in your history classes is far from the whole picture. In this case, Italy is and has been home to a wide variety of artistic movements, and not all of them involved painting elaborate portraits for wealthy patrons. Keep Reading »
The Illustrious Blacks: HYPERBOLIC!
Thursday, September 7 at Joe’s Pub, 9 pm: $15 advance, $20 doors
The Illustrious Blacks is a duo comprised of musician Manchildblack and performance artist Monstah Black. The mythos behind the Afro-futurist group goes like this: each man was the ruler of his own planet and known throughout the cosmos for his own unique artistic offerings. One day, the two planets collided, resulting in a colorful explosion that was not disastrous, but instead created a perfect union of art, music, fashion, dance, and theater. I have to say, this whole origin story somehow reminds me of the King Of All Cosmos from the Katamari video games, which is a game in which you play a little creature who rolls up big spheres of stuff to be turned into planets to please a big king. I’m sure that isn’t a very relevant comparison to what The Illustrious Blacks’s show will be like, but it’s still kind of fun to think about.
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.
Nowadays, the latest form of media to stir up a craze is also probably the most simple. Podcasts are becoming more popular than ever, allowing anyone anywhere the chance to hear people jabber on about anything from carnal desires to hyper-niche political in-jokes. Some fund their ventures through services like Patreon, others insert mid-show interludes hawking mattresses and web design platforms for advertiser money.
New satirical play Ex Habitus, written by Lilla Goettler and Katie Hathaway and presented as part of the inaugural Corkscrew Theater Festival, gives a behind-the-scenes look into the world and drama of this auditory media form. While it’s billed as a take on “millennial podcasting,” don’t expect any complaints about killing industries. There’s not even one mention of avocado toast. Keep Reading »
What Is A Body?
Wednesday, August 30 at 58 Kent Street, 7 pm: FREE
What is a body? Well, that’s a good question. For one, it’s a sack of flesh with some organs in it. But it’s also so much more. This performance and panel discussion delves into the inherent relationship that live performance has with bodies. If you make something and perform it yourself, the way your body exists, moves, and functions affects how that performance happens. Additionally, the societal constructs regarding bodies and how they should act and appear will affect the audience’s perception of the performance. Is there a way to prevent or subvert this? Performers Erin Markey, Neil Goldberg, and Jonathan Gonzalez will all show you some of their work, and then discuss what you’ve seen and how it relates to the big wide world of bodies. Keep Reading »
Trash Capsules: Archives of Illness, Food, and Diaspora
Opening Monday, August 28 at New Women Space, 7:30 pm to 10 pm. One night only.
Our bodies tell us a lot about ourselves. Other material objects do too, such as what we throw away, what we eat, and what we hold on to. Performance and visual art showcase Trash Capsules asks artists and creators working across disciplines to create something that deals in stories of chronic illness, assimilation, food-based rituals, and cultural memory. These topics vary, but they all relate to what makes us human. Artists posting on the show’s Facebook event are attempting to crowdsource items like a baby pool, baby toilet, and a blender, so it seems like it will be an interesting and probably messy night. Keep Reading »