art exhibitions

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Art This Week: LA Comes to NYC and Questions of the Body

(image via Lesley Heller Gallery / Facebook)

Phantom Paradise
Opening Wednesday, April 17 at Lesley Heller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19.

Delano Dunn’s work is colorful and busy; it draws you in and demands you stay a while, in order to soak up all the shades and shapes and details on view. The LA-based artist’s collages, paintings, and mixed-media creations aren’t just nice to look at, they also pack an emotional punch—each piece of art is one part of a patchwork quilt of memories Dunn recounts from experiencing the 1992 LA riots, which occurred in the midst of his childhood. Birds, protestors, flames, cops, and streaks of neon colors help tell a story of chaos that’s abstract and visceral. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: An Activist’s Paintings, Interactive Light Vessels, and More

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Monika Monika
Opening Monday, April 1 at Steuben Gallery, 5 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 5.

Monika Monika is both the name of a multimedia artist and an exhibition opening tonight at Pratt Institute’s Steuben Gallery. The self-titled display explores Monika Monika’s experiences as a sex worker, through lush paintings exposing snapshots of customers she’s gotten to know and sculptures combining imagery both kitschy and sensual. While sex workers are often the subject of non-sex-working people’s artistic endeavors, adding what some might see as an edgy appeal and others see as needless fetishization, this exhibition (designed to mimic the feel of a Times Square peep show) puts the sex worker’s perspective front and center, compelling viewers to see her world through her eyes. Keep Reading »

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Satisfying Shapes, A Mother-Daughter Show, And More Art This Week

(image via Uprise Art)

Quiet as a Space
Opening reception Thursday, March 14 at 54 Eldridge Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 1. 

One type of trendy online content today can be found under the label “oddly satisfying.” Paint cutting videos, hands poking indents in spheres of colorful slime, objects fitting perfectly into one another, and so on. Imagery like that can be calming to observe, even if you don’t know exactly why. The work of artist Adrian Kay Wong, an LA dweller bringing his work to the Lower East Side beginning Thursday, has a similar feel to it. Smooth diagonal slashes, even squares, symmetrical curves, and more calming geometry abounds in Wong’s paintings, which are graced with bold colors and landscapes populated with desks, lamps, couches, and flowers. They’re simple, they’re impressive, and they’re definitely satisfying. Keep Reading »

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An X-Rated Exhibition, In-Flight Creations, and More Art This Week

(image via Solas Studio / Facebook)

Smut
Opening Wednesday, February 20 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through February 22. 

Many pieces of art are meant to be refined and cultured, prompting viewers to gaze at delicate brushstrokes and profound deeper meanings. But some art is just plain hot, and you sure can find a lot of that (plus some refined and cultured stuff, too) at the opening of Smut, a steamy group show curated by Liam Cotter and produced by Solas Studio featuring art ranging “from the erotic to the pornographic.” Of course, the line between those two descriptors is historically blurry, but it’s unfortunately common to see “fine art” insisting that porn doesn’t have a place in it, so the fact that that’s not the case here is refreshing to see. Over 40 artists working in all types of disciplines will be exhibiting as part of the show, so there’ll certainly be a lot to take in. Just make sure to keep it in your pants. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Construction, Windows, and Queer Black Bodies

(image via The Walther Collection / Facebook)

Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment
Opening Thursday, February 7 at The Walther Collection, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 25.

No geographic location ever looks exactly the same over time, but if there’s one type of place that has the most potential for rapid transformation, it’s cities. This photo show at Chelsea’s The Walther Collection seeks to spotlight photographs taken throughout history that reveal the ways buildings and land have been knocked down and built upon, and not always in beneficial ways. Taken between 1876 and 2000, this “vernacular photography” (defined as “utilitarian imagery made primarily for commercial or personal purposes”) illustrates how urban expansion has been historically valued more than preserving the natural world, from mining towns in rural Kentucky and West Virginia to the sprawling metropolises of NYC and Los Angeles. Keep Reading »

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Mapplethorpe, Warhol, and More Art This Week

“Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986” Image credit: Courtesy Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts/ Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Andy Warhol: By Hand, Drawings 1950s-1980s
Opening Tuesday, January 22 at New York Academy of Art, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 10.

Most people know Andy Warhol by his colorful printed pop art creations, films, and tendency to bring together some of the city’s most intriguing artists, writers, socialites, and drag performers. Or perhaps his associations with The Velvet Underground or Interview magazine come to mind. But Warhol also made drawings—he started out as a commercial illustrator—and you can see a selection of them created over the course of 30 years in a new exhibition at the New York Academy of Art. Rather than the bold shades of Warhol works like the iconic painting Campbell’s Soup Cans, these drawings are more minimal, often featuring nothing more than a pencil and paper. If you’ve already seen the sprawling Whitney retrospective, here’s a chance to see the artist in a new light. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: City Collages, Uyghur Portraits, and 2 Shows in 1

John Driscoll (image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Slight Perturbations / The Weight of Things
Opening Wednesday, January 16 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 13.

Fridman Gallery’s new space on Bowery has two levels, upper and lower. Fittingly, there will be two exhibitions opening there this Wednesday: a show of of interactive sound sculptures by John Driscoll in the upper space, and a two-channel video installation by Dana Levy centered around the Palace of Versailles in the lower space. Driscoll’s sculptures resemble hodgepodge collections of found objects or avant-garde furniture pieces crossed with a science fair, but they’re much more than something to puzzle over: they contain minuscule microphones and speakers, and a “reflective foil” that creates sound with help from whatever objects are nearby. And though it’s in the lower level, Levy’s video work deals with the upper crust of Versailles, depicting the palace’s contents steadily crumbling due to an earthquake. Keep Reading »

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Art Exhibitions To Start 2019 With

Image: Logan T. Sibrel, ‘Best-Case’, 2018, Pencil on paper, 6.75 x 5.25 in. Courtesy the artist. (image via Leslie-Lohman Museum / Facebook)

Better Loser
Opening Friday, January 4 at Leslie-Lohman Project Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 6.

It’s the new year, and most of us are probably reflecting on what we did over the last 365 days and what we can do to at least be marginally better. Rather than dream up a more perfect being, artist Logan T. Sibrel prefers to focus more on the flaws and complications of being alive, making drawings depicting people who are acting difficult, awkward, aroused, and sometimes all three at once. Deemed “a serious joke,” his mixture of words and images are reminiscent of a sort of existential comic book. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to finally think of a resolution, or maybe just to ditch the concept entirely. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Psychedelic Collage and Meditations On The Unpleasant

(image via Nat Girsberger / Facebook)

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.

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Art This Week: A Stonewall Veteran, Violent Clothing, and More

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 »

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Queer Zines From the Pre-MySpace Era and More Art Shows This Week

(image via Derek Eller Gallery / Facebook)

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 »

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Art This Week: Groovy Folk Art, Incarceration Adaptations, and More

(image via Front Room Gallery)

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 »