It’s finally almost here, New York’s Alright 2015! Get excited for this year’s all things punk fest where tons of related official and unofficial happenings are being held in and around Bushwick, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, and the Lower East Side. And you can stop screaming now, this isn’t a festival in any traditional / horrendous sense of the word, meaning you can put all your eggs in a basket marked “no” as in no you aren’t going to find anyone looking “Coachella as fuck” at this event. Or maybe you will. I haven’t turned on any TVs in a while so there’s a distinct possibility I’ve just been asleep at the wheel and Coachella hats are the new normcore. Well, normcore be damned — it’s time to break out your spikes, boys and girls (but only if you like saxophones).
Do you sneer at the Iron Man franchise? Do Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey provide you with positively no ironic pleasure? Did you feel that Boyhood was just another celebration of the magic of white male experience? Well, perhaps underground film is more your thing then. And if there’s one thing we can never get enough of it’s avant-garde art and experimental work because, like, isn’t that what living in New York City is all about? Well, maybe it used to be. But let’s make it that way again.
In anticipation of the opening for the Witches of Bushwick residency at Stream Gallery, we stopped by the Bushwick mini-art front yesterday. We can’t say we didn’t look sort of ridiculous getting there right as the gate opened, but thankfully we were greeted not only by a singular, unopened bottle of red wine sitting by its lonesome on a pedestal but also by Christine Tran (co-founder of Witches of Bushwick along with Anne Alexander).
A scowling woman shoved a plastic bag in my face and gestured toward the mound of grapefruits at a Chinatown grocery like any other. “No thanks,” I smiled, pointing toward the rust red door with chicken scratch white paint that reads: 94 1/2. “Oh,” she said knowingly and smiled. Unlike everyone else clucking around the piles of produce, I wasn’t shopping. I was looking for an art show supposedly behind this dingy door. I tentatively knocked and heard no echo, no indication there was anything but darkness behind there, let alone an exhibition dedicated to work by the street artist RAE, some recent and some that might have otherwise been lost had it not been for a helpful neighbor.
When I first walked in to Torus Porta, it was difficult to understand exactly what was happening. After opening a door at the bottom of a staircase, all I could see were a number of sweaty, naked bodies covered in stickiness and powder. On the floor a human-centipede-like blob of people thrashed about. I thought maybe this was an illusion or some optical trick brought on by the kaleidoscopic glow of multiple projections, but even after a few minutes of adjusting I found I couldn’t distinguish between men, women, and blow-up dolls.
This exhibition is New York’s first gallery-wide exhibition of artists from the Arab world, and is appropriately (and devastatingly) dedicated to exploring the ethics of representation and the status of images as instruments of political consciousness. Bringing together 45 artists and collectives from over 15 countries, from North Africa to the Gulf, Here and Elsewhere presents a sweeping, riotous portrait of a heterogeneous region heretofore underrepresented in the NYC art world.
Broke art collectors don’t exist, and broke artists can only exist for so long. Enter: Brooklyn Community Supported Art + Design (CSA+D). Putting a twist on the idea of Community Supported Agriculture, where subscribers get a weekly supply of fruits and veggies from a farm or community garden, CSA+D is a program where shareholders purchase stocks in local artists in exchange for pieces of art and design.
Anti-mass incarceration activist Fury Young and his team are planning a cross-country road-trip, in order to begin production on a concept album that will give formerly and currently incarcerated persons a voice. They’ll be stopping off at prisons to make recordings of musically-minded prisoners, and meeting formerly incarcerated correspondents to record with them as well. They’ll also be spreading awareness of America’s insanely over-saturated prison system along the way. To fund-raise for said trip, Fury’s holding a pop-up art show (including his work and that of several formerly and currently incarcerated persons) in one of New York’s most beautiful public gardens.
For the last fifteen years, Massimiliano Gioni has enthusiastically observed the increased presence of the work of artists of Arabic origin at various biennials and international exhibitions. “And I started getting worried and suspicious,” says the Associate Director and Director of Programming of the New Museum, “because many of these great artists—who we would see everywhere else—were not being shown in New York.”
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Several Brooklyn-based artists transported their signature aesthetics uptown this week, creating window displays and in-store installations for Bergdorf Goodman. Intuitively titled Ten Artists for Ten Spaces, it features the works of artists curated by Kyle DeWoody, founder of Grey Area – a company that continuously puts art in places one would least expect to find it (you’ll remember the Bic lighter ring).
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Like to grouse about your landlord? Why not do it over Kosher rugelach at an upcoming art opening?
Later this month at his Bushwick gallery, Rafael Fuchs will show new work “based on true stories” about North Brooklyn’s Jewish landlords. For the appropriately titled “LandLords” series, the artist digitally manipulated photographs he had taken of landlords — wearing Shabbat fur hats and following after their children, among other things — by adding imagery, writing, and portions of other photographs. One print features a naked woman with an airplane about to fly into her ass, with a couple landlords in traditional Hasidic garb in the background.
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The real Marina Abramović is often busy chatting with the New Yorker about “being present,” making a film about James Franco and perfecting the Abramović Method, which mere mortals will soon be able to learn at the Marina Abramović Institute. Thankfully, the trend to imitate, pay tribute to or otherwise parody the famed performance artist means that we can always get our fix, even when the artist herself is not present.
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