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Art After Stonewall, Political Portraits, and More Art This Week

(image via BRIC)

The Portrait is Political
Opening Wednesday, April 24 at BRIC, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 12.

Portraits have become one of the most ubiquitous forms of imagery in our society. While their origins lie in fine art, today’s portraits can take any form, but the most common is surely the selfie. Some might argue the vast proliferation of selfies and such has diluted the significance of this form, but I’m more inclined to believe it has opened up the opportunity to start thinking more purposefully about portraiture; one must, to cut through the churn. The Portrait is Political, a “suite” of exhibitions opening at BRIC this week, seeks to reassert the power of depicting people in art. Jaishri Abichandani immortalizes Brooklyn’s South Asian feminists in paint, Texas Isaiah creates collaborative works with his subjects, and Liz Collins curates a sprawling spread of portraits from over 35 queer artists. Keep Reading »

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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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Performance Picks: Living Dolls, Coding Controversy, and More

THURSDAY

(flyer via Eventbrite)

Quitters
Thursday, February 28 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors 

It could be argued that February is a quitter. All the other months stretch on for 30 or 31 days, while February stops short. It gives up. And then, suddenly, it’s March, and you’re left wondering why rent costs the same for 28 days as it does for 31. Celebrate the last day of this short month tonight at Quitters, a comedy show hosted by Sam Corbin and Ian Goldstein that embraces failure in all its forms, particularly the funny ones. This time, they’re welcoming guests Karen Chee, Brett Davis, Marcia Belsky, and Matt Buechele to the stage, and audience members have the chance to confess their own memorable moment of quitting for a chance to win a free drink. 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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Art This Week: Food-Covered Faces, Chinatown Locals, and Witches

(image courtesy of Contra Gallery)

Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos
Opening Thursday, January 31 at Contra Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 15.

While playing with your food has long been understood as a childish act one grows out of, not everyone stops meddling in their munchies. Sometimes this is actually for the best; in the case of artist David Henry Nobody Jr., it’s resulted in some compelling (and sometimes stomach-turning) sculptural works featuring the artist’s head and corn, cabbage, tomatoes, lunch meat, and even a bag of corn flakes stuck around his head that then gets steadily filled with milk. That’s just a smattering of what Nobody Jr. has to offer in his new show Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos (say that fives times fast). Opening at Chelsea’s Contra Gallery on Thursday, it explores the absurdity of both humanity and the waste we leave behind. 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: ‘Anti-Nudes’ and KKK Cannibalism

(image via Field Projects / Facebook)

Hot Farce
Opening Thursday, November 1 at Field Projects, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 15.

Throughout centuries, one thing has remained the same when it comes to art: in some way, nudes will be there. Curator and artist Kristen Racaniello knows this, but seeks to do something a bit different with her group show Hot Farce. The work on view seeks to be the antithesis of the “hetero-sexy nude,” meaning nudes that trouble the binary, nudes that question why you’re looking at them, nudes that may not even qualify as nudes at all. According to the exhibit statement, Hot Farce’s artists “admire figuration and are at the same time deeply suspicious of it,” a feeling in this time of existential dread I can only assume is shared by many. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Algorithms, Jesus, and Bottle Blondes

(image via Flowers Gallery NY / Facebook)

yes no maybe
Opening Tuesday, July 17 at Flowers Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 24.

Thanks to social media, the word “algorithm” is no longer something only mentioned in math class. I’d say for better or for worse, but we all know that people typically invoke talks of The Algorithm when they are complaining about the latest way it’s seeming to screw them over. A new group exhibition at Chelsea’s Flowers Gallery, which takes its title from the mathematical theory of probability, asks five artists to create works using their own algorithmic processes. This may sound intimidating until you realize an algorithm isn’t much more than a purposeful pattern that repeats over time, which is something done in art often. The artists of yes no maybe (all prolific and regarded in their respective fields) take their algorithmic inspiration from topics as varied as geometric microscopic organisms, Berlin’s Tempelhof airport, jazz music, and hypercubes. At the opening, there will be a panel discussion with Beryl Korot, Manfred Mohr and Judith Stenneken, moderated by Zabet Patterson, a professor and writer who focuses on how contemporary art and computing interact. Keep Reading »

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Queer Intimacy From Mapplethorpe and Goldin, Plus More Art This Week

Hikaru Fujii, The Primary Fact, video still, 2018, seven-channel video, 73 min. Courtesy of the artist. (image via ISCP / Facebook)

The Primary Fact
Opening Tuesday, June 26 at the International Studio and Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

Did you know there is a recently-excavated mass grave in Athens, Greece with contents dating back to 7 B.C., including “eighty shackled skeletons” with great teeth? Artist and current resident at the International Studio and Curatorial Program Hikaru Fujii does, and he’s spent a lot of time documenting and learning about this curious piece of history. The result of this work will be on view in The Primary Fact, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. It features predominantly video and photography, focusing on the “inconclusive scientific viewpoints” that have emerged about the grave, its contents, and its history. In addition to displaying actual imagery from the Athenian grave, Fujii also assembled a group of Greek men to recreate the choreographic moment of mass execution (presumably due to a political coup) that led to this grave in the first place. Keep Reading »

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La Nacional Will Reopen, Seeking To Be ‘More Authentic Than Ever’

(image courtesy of La Nacional)

The last time we checked in with the Spanish Benevolent Society’s beloved restaurant La Nacional, they announced they’d be closing for a “complete renovation” in March 2016, with a planned reopening featuring new chefs in May of that same year.

The Spanish Benevolent Society’s executive director Robert Sanfiz finds it “really hilarious” to look back on that optimistic estimation. “We had go through major structural work,” he tells me. “Ultimately, it was going to eat a lot of our time and a lot of the money we put away.” Despite the delay, La Nacional will officially reopen on June 15, which coincides with both the 150th anniversary of the Spanish Benevolent Society and the World Cup match between Spain and Portugal. Keep Reading »

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Feminine Power, Queer Nightlife, and More Art This Week

“Summer Sisters” 2018 by Rebecca Leveille (image via The Untitled Space)

The End of Love
Opening Tuesday, May 1 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 13.

For an exhibition sporting as foreboding a title as The End of Love, Rebecca Leveille’s paintings are so entrancing as to inspire a sort of optimism in the viewer. In addition to being strikingly beautiful, her paintings portray feminine beauty, bliss, and sexuality in a way that’s playful and mixes elements of realism and mythology, allowing for a mental break from the seemingly constant barrage of nonsense coming from the world. Leveille is no stranger to the realm of the fantastical, as she has previously created illustrations for Magic: The Gathering under the name Rebecca Guay. Looking to how the artist herself has spoken of this show, the connection between the title and the content begins to feel more clear. “What comes after delusions of ‘love?,’” she writes. “Feminine power and sexuality find new ground, as does an urgency to assert the female gaze.” Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Immigrant Stories and Secondhand Paintings

(image courtesy of Baxter Street Camera Club of New York)

Walking In Lightness
Opening Thursday, April 19 at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 12.

Some photography is staged, utilizing the lens to create a fantastical scene that would very likely never be encountered in a candid sense. Rather than doing that, Mexico City-born photographer Amanda Gutiérrez seeks to document her surroundings as she ventures through Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, focusing both on her “subjective experience as a Mexican woman living and working in New York” and painting a photographic portrait of the neighborhood’s Mexican immigrant community. In addition to photography (shot with a 35mm disposable camera), Gutiérrez’s solo show will also feature videos of her working in the darkroom, animations created from her own prints, and binaural audio tracks of her walking through various environments, welcoming you in on multiple sensory levels. Keep Reading »