Close Your Eyes Opening Thursday, December 13 at The Storefront Project, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 6.
Looking at Nat Girsberger’s collages, on view at the Lower East Side’s Storefront Project starting Thursday, is a good way to get lost in a kind of psychedelic fantasy land. Outer space, nature, animals, and human figures intermingle in landscapes with colors that seem brighter than what one would typically encounter in reality. In a time where the news feels more and more anxiety-inducing every day, it’s important to have little moments of escape, where we’re not filled with dread and instead perhaps wondering about the inner life of a deer standing among very large mushrooms standing on a vivid path that seems to be leading into the sun.
Stigma Unbound: The Birthday Party Opening Thursday, November 29 at Wild Embeddings, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through December 4.
Stigma Unbound, a performance series dedicated to giving a platform to sex workers and allies, is celebrating their first birthday with an art exhibit and a week of special programming. They’re kicking it off with an opening reception that will presumably not look like any typical gallery opening filled with fancy people furrowing their brows at paintings while daintily sipping small plastic cups of free wine. Rather, this will be more of a party, with drag, burlesque, and performance art to accompany the visual art on display from 20+ artists working in multiple mediums. It costs $10 to get in, but remember you’re supporting local marginalized creators here, not a big fancy gallery catering to the rich. If you can’t make the opening, later in the week they’re doing body art presentations, artist talks, and a pole dance night.Keep Reading »
Thomas Lanigan Schmidt. Lollipop Knick Knack (Let’s Talk About You), c. 1968-69. Foil, printed material, linoleum, glitter, staples, Magic marker, found objects and other media
Tenemental (With Sighs Too Deep For Words) Opening Friday, November 16 at HOWL! Happening, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through December 19.
The year 2019 (which isn’t too far away) will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a pivotal and much-debated moment in LGBTQ history. While 50 years is a fairly long time ago, some people who were present on that fateful day are still alive and kicking today, including the artist Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, who will be exhibiting a collection of art and ephemera at HOWL! Happening right before Stonewall’s 50th. Lanigan-Schmidt’s work is kitschy and eye-catching, using common-yet-ostentatious materials like foil, glitter, and colorful plastic wrap. Broken down into individual parts, his materials may appear to some as trash, but assembled into these creations they take on a new, queer life full of promise.Keep Reading »
Flash of the Spirit Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.
Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now.Keep Reading »
Hot Farce Opening Thursday, November 1 at Field Projects, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 15.
Throughout centuries, one thing has remained the same when it comes to art: in some way, nudes will be there. Curator and artist Kristen Racaniello knows this, but seeks to do something a bit different with her group show Hot Farce. The work on view seeks to be the antithesis of the “hetero-sexy nude,” meaning nudes that trouble the binary, nudes that question why you’re looking at them, nudes that may not even qualify as nudes at all. According to the exhibit statement, Hot Farce’s artists “admire figuration and are at the same time deeply suspicious of it,” a feeling in this time of existential dread I can only assume is shared by many.Keep Reading »
In the Name of the Hypersurface of the Present Opening Wednesday, October 17 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 11.
Presented in conjunction with Lower East Side Art Week, which spotlights women artists in the neighborhood, this solo show by Pakistani artist Umber Majeed may have a sci-fi-sounding name, but the work on view more closely resembles Word Art, trippy memes, or old Geocities web pages than any high-tech, augmented reality creation. That’s not to diminish its appeal; the distorted text, flattened graphics, and occasional use of Comic Sans creates a world of online intrigue that feels half in the past, half far in some weird corner of the future. Through this, Majeed seeks to explore a “feminist re-historicization of Pakistan as the first ‘Muslim nuclear state,’” bringing it out of the patriarchy and into a more radical framing.Keep Reading »
White Lies Opening Thursday, October 11 at Derek Eller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 11.
For better or for worse, we can all agree something there’s no shortage of in today’s world is information. From partisan pundits to much-maligned “fake news” to legitimate educational content, it’s hard to tune it all out completely, even if you try. This is evident in the work of painter Despina Stokou. What initially looks like colorful abstract work is revealed to be artistic, chaotic renderings of words: Twitter posts, political commentary, hashtags, and the multifaceted feelings of people living in America today. But of course, some of these painted-on phrases have become hard to understand, quite literally erased by broad strokes of white. Sound familiar?Keep Reading »
Watermelon Melange Opening Saturday, October 6 at 21 Ludlow Street, 7:30 pm to 10 pm. On view through October 7.
Have you ever been to a silent disco? You know, the kind of weird outdoor party where everyone’s wearing bulky headphones and dancing to the various channels of music blaring from them, making them look strange to any onlooker who doesn’t know what’s going on? This art exhibition by Mason Roberts, a painter from Perth, Australia whose 26,000 Instagram followers are equally likely to see both documentation of his artistic process and shirtless selfies, provides a somewhat similar experience. He’s partnered with lo-fi hip-hop artist Stirling Caiulo to create a multisensory artistic experience—don noise-canceling headphones and walk into a dark gallery, then you’ll hear beats n’ tunes while you steadily discover a series of paintings on display, lit by spotlights.Keep Reading »
Inside Out Here Opening Thursday, September 27 at La Mama Galleria. On view through October 20.
La Mama, the historic East Village theater space primarily known for presenting a range of experimental performance, also maintains a gallery space on Great Jones Street. Thursday, it will open Inside Out Here, an exhibition by multidisciplinary artists Devin N. Morris and Frederick Weston. Morris was born in 1986 and Weston in 1946, 40 years prior; uniting these two to create work around queerness, blackness, and how these communities have made space for themselves throughout history has made for a show that quite literally stretches across generations.Keep Reading »
It’s no secret that the city is filled with all sorts of microorganisms—yes, even the kind you’d rather not think about. They’re there! Rather than focus on just the unsettling spores, a uniquely scientific new installation at the Storefront for Art and Architecture seeks to reimagine the city and the many neighborhoods and cultures it contains using the framework of the “human microbiome.” This posits that each city in the world, and each subculture or pocket within them, has their own “gut biome,” just like human beings do. The installation (by Kevin Slavin, Elizabeth Hénaff, and the collective The Living) normalizes the idea that there are microorganisms everywhere in a city, collecting them through wood in the exhibition space’s facade as well “bio-receptive wooden tiles” scattered throughout the city. This wood is then displayed and analyzed, simultaneously art and scientific specimen.Keep Reading »
There’s something inexplicably entrancing about the colors that pervade vintage printed matter, such as ads or movie posters. The colors tend to look impossibly vivid, or at least they do to my eyes. I get a similar feeling when viewing the work of the late artist Nassos Daphnis, who also developed a color theory stating each primary color, plus white and black, “occupies a number of planes on a scale of 1 to 100.” It’s no surprise, then, that the man stuck with these five shades in his art-making as well. This show at Richard Taittinger Gallery is a “reimagining” of a 1983 show at Leo Castelli Gallery, a place Daphnis exhibited at often, though it also includes works that haven’t been shown before. If you’re into fine lines, bold colors, geometric precision, and a minimal-yet-vivid take on radio waves and the like, this is the show for you.Keep Reading »
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 »