The obstacles faced by the more than 2.3 million incarcerated people in the United States today are enormous, and the consequences of the prison system are felt by whole communities, families, and the 5 million children who have at least one parent either currently or previously imprisoned.
If your blood hasn’t stopped boiling since last Tuesday, a weekend art show could be a chance to find some semblance of catharsis. This Saturday, the fifth iteration of the RE: Art Show opens, once again taking over a portion of the old Pfizer Building at 630 Flushing in Bed-Stuy. Last month’s edition of the show featured the celebrated group exhibit Fatter IRL. This month’s Re:Re:Re:Re:Re: will take place in an area of the building that perhaps most reflects the state of affairs in this country, as it appears to be in shambles. A press release states the gallery area will be a “large, open, unfinished space with chipped paint, exposed wiring, and fire alarm components dangling from the ceiling.” May we try our best to hang on to the “unfinished” aspect of that to give us a kernel of hope to keep on going. Call your senators!
Nowadays, Soho is mostly known for luxury shopping rather than the groundbreaking artistic work for which it was known in the past. Earlier this month, a new space for digital art called The Current Museum opened its doors at a temporary location on Sullivan Street. Its group exhibit Test Patterns takes digital art out of the box (screen) and showcases digitally-influenced works of all mediums and forms. Keep Reading »
“Preservationist” has become something of a slur, used to denigrate the old-timers and neo-hippies who’d rather save ratty old tenant buildings and dusty mom-and-pop stores than make way for clean big-box stores with cheap stuff for everyone, and skyscraping mixed-use luxury complexes with their affordable housing pittance. It’s sorta like: C’mon, New York City is, by its nature, dynamic and changing. But the ever-faster pace of development and the lightyear rate of change have made for an urban landscape where transformation takes place exponentially and squeezes out the very people who have made this city vibrant and interesting in the first place.
Over the weekend, a slew of more than 40 local and visiting artists, as well as organizations like the Chinatown Art Brigade (a grassroots effort tackling the divisive issue of gallery-led gentrification in their neighborhood) demonstrated that preservation doesn’t have to be backward-looking.
Since Thursday, the white walls at Eric Firestone Gallery have been wholly devoted to just a small portion of Henry Chalfant’s archive of “subway photographs.” Henry Chalfant: 1980 focuses on a year in which graffiti was still regarded as subversive and dangerous. At the same time, street art was at its most vibrant and anarchic. The work offers not only a trip back to the “golden age of graffiti,” but a thorough “visual anthropology,” as Chalfant describes it– a studied view of street culture back when it actually came from the streets.
Attending an art opening usually means agreeing to a trade-off: in exchange for free booze and the company of other humans, you won’t be seeing much, if any of the art work. But at “Slow, Dimwitted Carnage,” the second exhibition from newcomer gallery Coustof Waxman, guests can have their art and, um, drink it too.
A new art show at the Fortnight Institute is flipping the script on a persistent imbalance in the art world. While men still dominate the major museums, massive retrospectives, and money-makers of the art market, most of the weens found at DICKS (on view now through December 4) are actually nailed to the wall.
All but one of the eight participating artists are women, and each artwork included in the show (paintings, photography, and sculpture) is strikingly phallocentric and jarringly figurative. DICKS is so literal in its approach to the ding-dong (arguably the most hilarious feature associated with the male anatomy) that the show was announced without explanation. The title, and a glimpse of Betty Tompkins’s contribution, Dick Painting #3, said it all.
For the most part, Greenpoint artists fly under the radar, and they seem to prefer it that way. Walking along Franklin Avenue last night, a street I walk every day, I caught a glimpse of a painters studio I’d never seen before. It was bathed in red light, hidden inside an industrial building.
“Definitely my whole approach toward the art world is a little quieter,” explained Kim Brown, the owner of Greenpoint Hill, a brand new gallery/retail shop that just opened near the waterfront last week.
Not too long ago, Michael Alan, the multimedia artist of Nude Thrift Shop notoriety, hosted an event at Bowery venue Teatro IATI and “really fucked up,” in his own words. “There was cake everywhere and, like, a bunch of bugs for months after,” he recalled. “I turned every person into a cake, and there was fish and garbage, for like a whole month I collected garbage. There was this infestation. They were really nice– they didn’t kick me out, they were just like, ‘Let’s take a break.’”
The former Pfizer plant at 630 Flushing Avenue on the Bushwick/Bed-Stuy/Williamsburg border is odd and massive, a veritable maze sporting a slew of office culture flyers and a strange sterile smell. No longer a biopharmaceutical plant, the building still mostly looks that way, making it a unique and sometimes strange home for local food companies, office workers, and also, art. Last week, the Re:Art show opened, transforming the fifth floor of the building into a massive art display. Some work was spread out over large hallways or slyly hidden among machinery, but in one mighty room was the vibrant “Fatter IRL” show, showcasing only work by artists who identify as fat.
Last week’s video of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault threw a giant dildo into a campaign that seemed impervious to shame, just as the candidate had almost started seeming more presidential (at least, in light of the spotty track record of previous presidents). As screwed up as the whole thing is, nothing in the video was all that surprising. The “locker room talk” only confirmed Trump’s image as a billionaire playboy who trades skyscrapers (his most phallic assets) like Pokémon cards, and gets whatever his little Trump desires.
“His whole image is vulgarly sexual in a way,” agreed Alfred Steiner, the curator of a very timely new art show. “And he’s played right into that the whole time.”
It’s rare when a music trend hits at all levels of the listener spectrum, but right now African music is resonating with everyone from pop junkies and passive, whatever’s-playing-at-the-club consumers to crate-diggers with eclectic collections and torrent combers with multiple hard drives devoted to the most obscure sounds they can find.