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Art: Bushwick in Time, Part 2 “Elevations: an Exploration in Structure”

Christina Cassone at right, the current "Bushwick in Time" artist in residence (Photo courtesy of The Hollows)

Christina Cassone at right, the current “Bushwick in Time” artist in residence (Photo courtesy of The Hollows)

This Bushwick-based residency at The Hollows, called Bushwick in Time, brings together artists from abroad and close to home for a discussion and creative exploration of the myriad changes happening in this neighborhood.

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Language of the Birds: Occult and Art

Peter Lamborn Wilson, "Leonora and Loplop," 2015  (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Leonora and Loplop,” 2015 (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people,” Aleister Crowley once said. That maxim echoes inside the walls of a new exhibit at 80WSELanguage of the Birds: Occult and Art. Even now, when dabbling in the occult has become morally ambiguous rather than universally derided, the work shown at NYU Steinhardt’s gallery is far from ordinary. Spanning the beginning of the last century to the present day, its authors range from avant-garde filmmakers (Kenneth Anger), to spiritual philosophers (Aleister Crowley), to industrial music makers (Genesis Breyer P-Orridge), and “just” plain artists (Kiki Smith). Somehow these varied participants share a similar worldview, which they’ve communicated (at various points in time) through symbols and talismans that have remained fairly static throughout.

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Sasha Velour Talks Vym, a Magazine Spotlighting the ‘Revolutionary’ Art of Drag

An excerpt from Vym (credit: © VYM Magazine and Kinzie Ferguson, Becca Kacanda, Ben Bascom & Veronica Bleaus)

An excerpt from Vym (credit: © VYM Magazine and Kinzie Ferguson, Becca Kacanda, Ben Bascom & Veronica Bleaus)

Bushwick’s gay scene is thriving by almost any measure. Happy Fun Hideaway is constantly packed to the gills. Bottoms is one of the hottest bands in New York. Rashaad Newsome, the artist bringing the fine art of vogue to the fine art world, has moved to the neighborhood. The annual drag fest Bushwig popped off for its fourth year in a row this fall, and drag king performances are seeing their biggest comeback in the city since the ’90s. And which Brooklyn neighborhood can claim its own glossy culture magazine dedicated to all things drag?

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Member of Pussy Riot Returns to Her Roots in Recycling Religion

"Punk Prayer" at WhiteBox Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Punk Prayer” at WhiteBox  (Photo: Nicole Disser)

It was nothing short of surreal seeing Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot — blonde curls, deadpan blue eyes and all — milling about by the wine table at WhiteBox this past Sunday. Alyokhina was not the only artist participating. In fact, there was a large group of artists, a number of them also Russian, participating in the group show, Recycling Religion, at the Lower East Side non-profit gallery. But she was certainly the most eye-popping of the lot.

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Are You Afraid of the Art? Bringing Modern Art Back to the People One Blow at a Time

Flyer via Artenol

Flyer via Artenol

Alexander Melamid speaks in sweeping terms, which is exactly how you might expect a 70-year-old Russian émigré to see the world.  “If the system sucks, everyone sucks within the system,” he boomed. “You cannot be right within the wrong system.” This can be intimidating at first. After all, Melamid is the co-founder, along with Vitaly Komar, of Sots Art, what is sometimes referred to as “Soviet Pop Art.” This is someone whose work many of us have read about in art history books, and so his declarations hold considerable weight for us comparatively smaller people.

But if it were up to Melamid, he’d have those books destroyed.

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Meriem Bennani Surfs Through Morocco in Gradual Kingdom

"Gradual Kingdom" at Signal Gallery in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Gradual Kingdom” at Signal Gallery in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

To get a feel for Meriem Bennani‘s work, it’s best to look up @meriembennani on Instagram. After scrolling through the photoshopped weirdness and absurd takes on everything from Drake videos to the avant-garde hijabs of Fardaous Funjab, you’ll find that Bennani is really good at the internet. So good, that the Times was moved to highlight her, qualifying her as a representative “Millennial Artist” fluent in the language of post-Internet. Millennial accusations aside, she’s one of those people who makes the internet weird/smart and not just weird/depressing. In other words, Bennani’s work actually deserves that happy-tears cat emoji.

Gradual Kingdom is the artist’s most significant solo-installation presence yet; now on view at Signal Gallery, it offers an opportunity for people to see Meriem Bennani, for once, in slow motion.

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Vaginal Davis Returns to New York, Taking on Sculpture and Mozart

Vaginal Davis (Photo by Hector, courtesy of Invisible-Exports)

Vaginal Davis (Photo by Hector, courtesy of Invisible-Exports)

Vaginal Davis is undeniably one of the most prolific artists to come out of the ’70s punk scene. The black, inter-sex born, self-declared outsider artist is nothing short of a queer icon. And even though she’s from Los Angeles (South Central, to be precise), she has a special place in New York City, where she’s had a serious impact on contemporary underground culture– the Bushwick drag scene is particularly indebted to her, as Davis is one of the founding mothers of “terrorist drag.”

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Art Opening: Kharis Kennedy’s Comfort Creatures

"Blue Onesie," painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

“Blue Onesie,” painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

Kharis Kennedy will unveil a series of new paintings as part of her solo exhibition, Comfort Animals, at The Greenpoint Gallery. Though Kennedy has been living in St. Croix for the last five years, her work is still imbued with trappings of high-society life and obsessive consumerism she picked up on while living in New York City. But a midnight-hued vision of her new home in the tropics is slowly beginning to take over.

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Richard Kern Revisits New York Girls, Feels ‘a Little Pervy Now’

Amy With Cigarette, 1993 photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Amy With Cigarette, 1993 photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

To honor the 20th anniversary of New York Girls and the re-release of Richard Kern‘s first book, the East Village photographer and Cinema of Transgression filmmaker is running two concurrent gallery shows– one is in Chelsea and the second opens tonight at Marlborough Broome on the Lower East Side. I stopped by the gallery yesterday to check out the photos and speak with Kern.

“It was so long ago, almost seems like somebody else did it,” he laughed. “It was definitely a different time period.” When I arrived, I found Kern sitting quietly at the front desk. I was late but, as he explained later, I’d given him a chance to catch up on Instagram.

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Art: Richard Kern’s New York Girls Revisited

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Legendary downtown photographer Richard Kern takes us back to 1995, the year he released his first, New York Girls. Back then, the East Village was still a place where getting mugged wasn’t unusual (it happened to Kern five times over the years) and Williamsburg, he recalled was still “rough.” Both neighborhoods provided the backdrop for his nude portraits of gun-toting, cigarette-smoking tattooed babes– the quintessential fantasy of New York York tough girls. “At the time, someone said in a review, ‘New York girls are tattooed and rough-looking and LA girls are blonde and enhanced,'” Kern recalled. The show features unreleased photographs spanning the ’80s through the mid-’90s, with the added bonus of never-before-screened Super 8 footage from the photo shoots.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Kern about what happened to the women in his photographs, how Instagram has changed his career, and the why he went from making edgy, “drug-infused” films to shooting mostly nude still portraits. Read more here.

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Paintings Inspired by the Real Housewives and ‘Comfort Creatures’ Coming to Greenpoint

"Blue Onesie," painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

“Blue Onesie,” painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

Next week Kharis Kennedy will unveil a series of new paintings as part of her solo exhibition, Comfort Animals, at The Greenpoint Gallery. Though Kennedy has been living in St. Croix for the last five years, her work is still imbued with trappings of high-society life and obsessive consumerism she picked up on while living in New York City. But a midnight-hued vision of her new home in the tropics is slowly beginning to take over.

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Agathe Snow Is Blowing Into The Journal Gallery

Agathe Snow, whose work often blends performance with immersive multimedia installations, is opening a new show, Continuum, tonight. This is the Corsican-born artist’s first solo exhibition at Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Snow is the ex-wife of the late Dash Snow (they married when he was just 18 years old) whose pal Ryan McGinley has some new photos up, incidentally, in a show called Winter at Team Gallery.

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