Last week, hundreds swarmed a Lower East Side gallery. They diligently lined up to see Bob, Linda, Louise, Tina, Gene, and others from beloved animated series Bob’s Burgers, immortalized within 75 works of art. Inside, the air was warm with bodies and beef (sliders were served all evening courtesy of Bareburger) and a certain delight pervaded the space. The gallery’s back wall was transformed into a life-size version of Bob Belcher’s animated restaurant counter, complete with actual ketchup and mustard bottles.
Even hazy patrons bumbling their way out of opium dens– if the dope cave hadn’t been replaced by frou frou cocktail bars– would have had a hard time missing a gallery boom like the one currently going down in Chinatown. Increasingly fancy art palaces are moving in, bringing with them pristine minimalism and white-walled remove, which presents a pretty dramatic departure from the existing chaotic density of saggy red-yellow-and-smog-colored awnings, old ladies in bucket hats hustling meat sticks, careening unmarked buses hiding in alleyways that you didn’t know New York City had, murky fish tank smells, frenetically blinking neon signs, and countless aging storefronts overflowing with sun-bleached gecko supplements, acupuncture diagrams, and yellowing, curly-edged Chinese calendars.
Lorna Simpson is returning to Salon 94 for her third exhibition at the Bowery gallery. The Brooklyn-born artist became well-known in the mid-’80s for her large-scale works combining photography and textual elements with watercolor, ink, or acrylic paint, and creating nuanced statements on contemporary society’s perception of race, gender, and identity. Her show at Salon 94, opening September 8, will feature a number of paintings that premiered in the 55th Venice Biennale.
As is JJ Brine’s way, he’s hesitant to speak about the past. Even the very recent past, when Brine– Satanic gallerist, practitioner of “Post-human” art, founder of the Vectorian and its “Crown Prince of Hell”– took off for Los Angeles to start fresh. “I don’t even know if it’s relevant to recall what happened in Los Angeles,” he said. “This is now, that was then. I’m doing what I’m doing now.”
Now that Brine has captured the attention of the art world, conservative conspiracy theorists, gossip columnists, even Dow Jones reporters, it’s much easier to track the artist’s more recent trajectory, even if he’s reluctant to go into too many details about the non-present.
You’ve heard the saying: “Don’t let people walk all over you.” If you’re a woman, this has probably been said to you especially often. But how often is it meant literally? At Kristin Smallwood’s debut solo exhibition IUD, now on view at American Medium in Bed-Stuy, the only way to access the art is by walking over scores of women (including photos of the artist herself), adhered endlessly and stickily to the gallery floor. The female figures are grinning lipstick-painted grins while your boot presses into their torso and your sweat drips onto their breasts.
Governors Island is more than just another out-of-the-way-ish New York City nook. After years of abandonment, the island’s only recently embarked on a steady climb towards reclamation and it remains largely stuck in the past, having missed out on years of the progress seen by the rest of the city while interned as an exclusive home for military officers, then a coast guard haven, before it was abandoned altogether in 1996, left to hang in an off-limits sort of limbo, with nature serving as its only developer.
Fresh off the ferry, you might be only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, but as you make your way inland, the Manhattan skyline starts to disappear, obscured by the super old Fort Jay, untrimmed trees, shrubs, and rolling grassy hills. The sirens fade into the background too, and time itself seems to slow down.
Do you like art that grapples with how artificial our culture has become? Even better– would you like to see the art crowd in Bushwick confronted with a portrayal of American hipster contradiction? If so, you’re in luck. Because this September, Joe Nanashe, a conceptual artist who sorta fits that bill himself as an Ohio-born transplant now based in New York, is debuting his solo show American Vanitas at Bushwick’s Victori + Mo gallery this September.
Whatever medium you work in, it’s hard to be an artist. Barely anyone pays attention to anything you do, so keeping self-motivated can be tricky when you’re consistently weary from day jobs, keeping track of your 1099s and W9s, and closing down that bar you performed at to ensure you grip that sparse handful of wrinkly cash you so rightfully deserve. In the midst of all this noise, it’s easy for all those half-baked ideas to slip into some dark, far-away box at the back of your mind, and potentially never see the light of day.
Luckily, there are some folks out there who are willing to nudge you in the direction of productivity. Here are two upcoming opportunities to inspire artists, both visual and performance types, to get out there and do their thing.
Alt Citizen, the Brooklyn-based music and arts blog-cum-zine, found permanence last year with the opening of their storefront and gallery Alt Space, a “very well-curated concept store,” as editor-in-chief and founder Nasa Hadizadeh told us last year, with sundry items such as zines, clothing, vinyl, tapes, art prints, and posters available for gawking and purchasing.
But when Nasa realized that a month’s worth rent at the brick-and-mortar could buy her a baby blue short bus and a road trip across the country, the Alt crew took off for greener, less wintery pastures. Now it seems Nasa’s got the travel itch again. The Alt kids are back on the move with “Sweet Like Honey,” a mini music and gallery tour which kicks off at IDIO Gallery in New York before moving on to LA.
Walking into an art gallery opening, you aren’t normally greeted with the smell of sweat and ketchup while men in flannel stare at still-life paintings, holding a Big Mac in one hand and a Coors Light in the other. The burger was snatched from a towering shrinelike art piece and the ketchup was dripping steadily from a fountain. But this isn’t an ordinary show, and the folks behind it aren’t an ordinary gallery.
Tuesday, August 2 at Chinatown Soup, 16 Orchard Street, Chinatown. Opening reception 6-9pm, show on view through August 9. More info here.
Gallery and art space Chinatown Soup will host this event that’s part art show, part pop-up shop showcasing the work of 10 local companies who make pins and patches. Don’t expect vintage band logos or anything of that sort, as this is a show of new, original work by artists. The first 50 who come to the opening will receive a free pin or patch from Strike Gently Co., and free PBR will be a-flowing. Get there feeling eager, and leave full of beer with a slew of cool new accessories for your denim vest, tote bag, or whatever you’d like.