Last week, our Seattle-bred writer told New Yorkers to stop being babies about the five-cent fee that the City Council had voted to impose for the use of plastic takeout bags. That plea fell on deaf ears, because on Tuesday, Governor Cuomo blocked implementation of the Bring Your Own Bag Law for at least a year. The Lower East Side’s own Margaret Chin was among those who dropped a W-T-F bomb, insisting that “carryout bag fees are the right policy” and that Cuomo’s move had quashed a measure that she and her colleagues in City Council had “democratically adopted” after slogging through “two years of hearings, reviewing evidence, reusable bag giveaways, and public debate.”
Mike Taylor: Condensed Flesh
Opening Thursday October 13 at Idio Gallery, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through October 30.
East Williamsburg space Idio Gallery put out a call for crowdsourced financial support several months ago, which very well could have signaled that it was beginning to scale down. However, with a show at Bushwick Open Studios and another show opening shortly after, they don’t appear to be going anywhere. This one is a solo show, presenting works on paper and paintings by renowned graphic artist Mike Taylor, created between 2012 and now. Finished works won’t be the only thing on display in this show, as Idio’s downstairs basement space will be transformed into a showcase of the artist in-process, with drawings not yet done, prints, and “printmaking debris” on view as well. Taylor’s work is bold and bright, often utilizing neon colors and mixing abstract patterns with notes of realism and the human form filtered through the style of the illustrator and comic artist.
Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years
Reception Tuesday September 20 at The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, 5 pm to 7 pm. On view through September 29.
Bronx-born Arlene Schulman has had a robust career as a photographer, with an array of published books, including the award-winning The Prizefighters: An Intimate Look at Champions and Contenders. Her photos reflect a lifetime living in the city, and I mean lifetime: she started taking photos when she was a mere eight years old. They focus on the everyday and the working class, portraying subjects like police officers and boxers in large-format prints. And photography isn’t all she does– she also writes, edits, and teaches. This exhibit, presented by Manhattan BP Gale A. Brewer, seeks to showcase her large body of work and the unique way she sees the city. But careful, don’t go offering her the chance to shoot artful pictures of any lima beans or olives—she writes on her website that she hates those.
On Thursday evening, a group of 10 or 15 people descended into a mysterious basement on Bed-Stuy’s Myrtle Avenue. If not for the beats of FKA Twigs that floated up the dark staircase, you might have missed it completely. The space, which lies below an apartment and has been renovated into an art space called TT Gallery, carries a musty scent and feels otherworldly. Some of the floor is still dirt, the intricate roof panels and stone walls look like something out of a Final Fantasy realm. Only, the characters of this world weren’t there to adventure amongst monsters, but to strut their stuff. This was the setting for Iranian-born, Montreal-based designer and artist Pedram Karimi‘s SS17 show.
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.
Hyperallergic IRL 2
August 16, 7 pm at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe,
The super stylish Hyperallergic, the online magazine for all your arts-and-culture-related thinkpiece needs, will come to life tonight at Housing Works for the second time as three Hyperallergic writers (Seph Rodney, Claire Voon, and Carey Dunne), as well as three editors (Elisa Wouk Almino, Jillian Steinhauer, and Hrag Vartanian) read from some of their pieces and bring your favorite self-proclaimed “Art Blogazine” to the masses.
Long Gone and Missing
Opening Wednesday August 1, 7 pm to 9 pm at Shin Gallery. On view through September 10.
Imagine a beach on the Lower East Side. Now imagine that beach stuffed inside an art gallery. Some might call it crazy, but this wacky dream will become reality at the opening of Peyton Freiman’s solo show, Long Gone and Missing. The Brooklyn-based artist (who also recently showed a piece in loft-gallery Club 157’s first group show) will transform Shin Gallery into a “veritable beach playground” filled with his colorful mixed media works on paper.
You’d be a fool to think that KPISS radio is some ramshackle operation. Sure, they might be tucked away in the far-back confines of Punk Alley– an assortment of shipping containers right along the Bushwick/ Bed-Stuy border where you’ll find a record store, used book purveyors, and even a mini-shop dedicated to paraphernalia from local punk bands. One by one, they’ve opened up over the last couple of years, joining maybe a dozen more smalltime vendors that were already there every day doin’ their thing, and about a year ago KPISS joined them. There’s no doubt that the KPISS.FM digs– a rectangular box with a couch and some turntables, mics, and other broadcast equipment behind a sheet of plexiglass– are pretty humble. “The last tenant was this guy who basically pissed all over the studio,” explained the station’s founder, Sheri Barclay. “No one would rent it, but I would. I called it KPISS in his honor.”
An imaginary line cuts across Broadway, separating Bed-Stuy from Bushwick and, just a few blocks north of the street’s intersection with Myrtle, Williamsburg begins. At any given hour here, the confusing jumble of crisscrossing streets are jammed with a chaotic crush of street traffic and pedestrians going about their day. The looming JMZ track overhead holds the busiest sections in near-permanent darkness, and at night, when the neon comes on and flickers across the fetid puddles of who knows what, Myrtle-Broadway starts to feel like a scene from Blade Runner. People have started to call this area “Zombieland” now that it has become a hot spot for K2, a synthetic cannabinoid that city leaders and cops can’t seem to get rid of, even though it carries a distinctly gnarly smell, and is sold and used out in the open, day and night.
When we arrived at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway today, the often hectic meeting point of Bushwick and Bed-Stuy was even more chaotic than usual– midday traffic jams were in full effect as trains rattled overhead at the JMZ transfer point and a crowd had gathered to hear a press conference held by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The racket was so loud that it was nearly impossible to hear at times, but the commotion was nothing compared to what went down here yesterday, when 33 people were plucked up from the area and rushed to the hospital after a “mass overdose.”
To meet with Debbie Medina, New York’s first Democratic Socialist candidate for State Senate, I was invited not to a campaign office, nor a public appearance, not even to join her on a campaigning stroll through the 18th district, but to Medina’s Williamsburg apartment– specifically, her dining room table. Here, she advised me not to take off my shoes. “You’ll ruin your socks if you do that,” she laughed.
It became clear to me immediately that Debbie Medina, who’s running her second grassroots campaign to snatch the 18th-district seat in the fall, isn’t at all like other politicians. For one, hers isn’t the sort of practiced, regal charisma that most politicos have– a perfect grin and an unerring face, both provided with extra protection from the elements by a layer of effervescent self-assurance so infectious that if you’re not careful it can briefly paralyze your capacity for doubt, and turn you into a nodding, agreeable dimwit.
Arto Lindsay Noise Quartet, Celestial Shore, Zula
Tuesday February 16, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $10
Arto Lindsay, the tireless no-wave guitar legend who’s been called “the perfect New Yorker” (by the New Yorker, no less), is well on his way into his 60s. And it’s true that DNA spent only a brief time on this earth, shredding weirdness at Max’s Kansas City and closing out the B side of Brian Eno’s nothing less than perfect glimpse of that particular scene, No New York (1978). But the dude is still doing all sorts of wonderful and new things in the New York music scene that keep him relevant and has been, pretty much without stopping, since the ’70s. Last fall, Lindsay showed the kids what was up when he played with seminal Brooklyn weirdos PC Worship, and in 2014 he dropped a compilation spanning his career (Encyclopedia of Arto) which, by many accounts, was all too modest and left us drooling for more.