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Meriem Bennani Surfs Through Morocco in Gradual Kingdom

"Gradual Kingdom" at Signal Gallery in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Gradual Kingdom” at Signal Gallery in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

To get a feel for Meriem Bennani‘s work, it’s best to look up @meriembennani on Instagram. After scrolling through the photoshopped weirdness and absurd takes on everything from Drake videos to the avant-garde hijabs of Fardaous Funjab, you’ll find that Bennani is really good at the internet. So good, that the Times was moved to highlight her, qualifying her as a representative “Millennial Artist” fluent in the language of post-Internet. Millennial accusations aside, she’s one of those people who makes the internet weird/smart and not just weird/depressing. In other words, Bennani’s work actually deserves that happy-tears cat emoji.

Gradual Kingdom is the artist’s most significant solo-installation presence yet; now on view at Signal Gallery, it offers an opportunity for people to see Meriem Bennani, for once, in slow motion.

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Vaginal Davis Returns to New York, Taking on Sculpture and Mozart

Vaginal Davis (Photo by Hector, courtesy of Invisible-Exports)

Vaginal Davis (Photo by Hector, courtesy of Invisible-Exports)

Vaginal Davis is undeniably one of the most prolific artists to come out of the ’70s punk scene. The black, inter-sex born, self-declared outsider artist is nothing short of a queer icon. And even though she’s from Los Angeles (South Central, to be precise), she has a special place in New York City, where she’s had a serious impact on contemporary underground culture– the Bushwick drag scene is particularly indebted to her, as Davis is one of the founding mothers of “terrorist drag.”

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Art: Richard Kern’s New York Girls Revisited

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Legendary downtown photographer Richard Kern takes us back to 1995, the year he released his first, New York Girls. Back then, the East Village was still a place where getting mugged wasn’t unusual (it happened to Kern five times over the years) and Williamsburg, he recalled was still “rough.” Both neighborhoods provided the backdrop for his nude portraits of gun-toting, cigarette-smoking tattooed babes– the quintessential fantasy of New York York tough girls. “At the time, someone said in a review, ‘New York girls are tattooed and rough-looking and LA girls are blonde and enhanced,'” Kern recalled. The show features unreleased photographs spanning the ’80s through the mid-’90s, with the added bonus of never-before-screened Super 8 footage from the photo shoots.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Kern about what happened to the women in his photographs, how Instagram has changed his career, and the why he went from making edgy, “drug-infused” films to shooting mostly nude still portraits. Read more here.

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Paintings Inspired by the Real Housewives and ‘Comfort Creatures’ Coming to Greenpoint

"Blue Onesie," painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

“Blue Onesie,” painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

Next week Kharis Kennedy will unveil a series of new paintings as part of her solo exhibition, Comfort Animals, at The Greenpoint Gallery. Though Kennedy has been living in St. Croix for the last five years, her work is still imbued with trappings of high-society life and obsessive consumerism she picked up on while living in New York City. But a midnight-hued vision of her new home in the tropics is slowly beginning to take over.

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Agathe Snow Is Blowing Into The Journal Gallery

Agathe Snow, whose work often blends performance with immersive multimedia installations, is opening a new show, Continuum, tonight. This is the Corsican-born artist’s first solo exhibition at Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Snow is the ex-wife of the late Dash Snow (they married when he was just 18 years old) whose pal Ryan McGinley has some new photos up, incidentally, in a show called Winter at Team Gallery.

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Bruce High Quality Foundation Leaving East Village, Shows Off Brooklyn Base

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last night the mask-wielding artists of the Bruce High Quality Foundation opened up the doors of their epic new studio space in Sunset Park. The excuses were a party and an exhibition featuring work inspired by French Baroque painter Nicholas Poussin’s landscapes, while the reason was fundraising for the Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHFQU), an experimental, non-profit art school that offers free classes and an alternative to the MFA by separating art from careerism. Come January, BHQFU, which has had a home base in the East Village since 2013, will move its operations here to Sunset Park.

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A New Gallery With Epic Views of Shit Creek Will Host the Next Wild Torus Event

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

I’m not gonna lie, when I heard Wild Torus— the aggressively psychedelic Bushwick performance art duo– would be hosting their “most ambitious event yet” this weekend, I imagined a sweaty, gyrating orgy of disembodied tentacles coated in globs of indecipherable goo, or “Torus Juice” as it’s known (it’s actually corn syrup). Not exactly gallery material. When I first encountered Wild Torus’ cult-like “digital spirituality” rituals at their Bushwick home base, Torus Portus, I had never seen anything like it– and I haven’t seen anything to match it since.

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Christopher Stout Gallery Opens With a Show Focused on ‘Queer Hate Crime’

"Shepard" at Christopher Stout Gallery

“Shepard” at Christopher Stout Gallery

Christopher Stout, founder of Bushwick Art Crit Group, has just opened his gallery in the disputed territory of East Williamsburg, the realization of plans we first heard about in early September. I had a chance to check the place out on Friday, and found that Stout is already keeping good on his pledge to show “subversive art.” The centerpiece of the gallery’s inaugural show, Shepard by Phoenix Lindsey-Hall, is a massive, meticulously crafted porcelain replica of the iconic fence Matthew Shepard (the victim of a notorious hate crime) was bound to before he was tortured and left for dead back in 1998. Not easy-to-swallow material, to say the least.

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Art: First Show at Christopher Stout Gallery, Phoenix Lindsey-Hall’s “Shepard”

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Founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group, Christopher Stout is now the head of his own gallery, which has its very first art opening with sculptor Phoenix Lindsey Hall’s solo exhibition, “Shepard.” The centerpiece of the show, a 14-foot replica of the fence Matthew Shepard was chained to while his assailants tortured him to death, is a stark confrontation with a symbol of hate and anti-gay violence. “It’s a very somber show,” Stout explained. “New York tends to show very serious work in the fall and it seems like a very important way but also a very different way to talk about some of the issues we’re interested in exploring.”

 

Read more about the gallery here.

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How the ‘Fuck Paintings’ of Betty Tompkins Landed in Art Jail

"Ersatz Kiss #1" by Betty Tompkins (Photo: Nicole Disser)

left, “Ersatz Kiss #1” and right, “Masturbation Painting #9” by Betty Tompkins (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Betty Tompkins spent decades working as, in her own words, “your typical rejected artist.” On and off again since 1969, she’s painted up-close-and-personal images of sex– literally, contact between nether regions, penetration, and other intimate moments. But it wasn’t until more than 30 years later that her work, more specifically her “fuck paintings,” began getting more attention than shame. Recently, the artist has revived the subject that inspired her the most and continues to evolve her process, as seen in her latest work now on view at BHQFU‘s project space and gallery FUG (Foundation University Gallery) in the East Village, as part of Tompkins’ solo show, Real Ersatz. 

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Royal Young Taps into Death, the Damned, and ‘Lost Generation’ for Lush Doom

Royal Young in his old habitat (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Royal Young returns to his old habitat (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Royal Young is currently living in his grandparents’ attic in Long Island. While that may not sound like the most inspiring place for a 30-year-old writer and now painter (especially one who’s spent almost his entire life living in the city) the journalist and author of Fame Shark seems to be loving it. “New York City sucks, let’s be real,” he laughed. Royal only recently admitted defeat, something he still seems to have a hard time believing. Nevertheless, his early retirement has been a productive one as evidenced by a series large, colorful paintings, currently on view at Figureworks gallery in Williamsburg as part of Lush Doom.

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Founder of Bushwick Art Crit Group to Open Gallery Dedicated to ‘Subversive’ Art

“This gallery is my baby,” explained Christopher Stout, founder of the Bushwick Art Crit Group. This fall, Stout will host his inaugural exhibition as a gallery owner at his new space, the first of several anticipated art institutions inside an East Williamsburg warehouse space. BACG is “a not-for-profit community resource for everybody,” Stout explained. “But it felt like it was increasingly challenging– in a negative way– to make programming that was about everyone.” In order to host exhibitions that relate to specific subjects that Stout is more personally invested in, without having to worry about “alienating everyone else,” he said, “it really needed to be separate and become its own thing.”

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