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Weekend Art Openings: African Masks, Tiny Sculptures, and The Apocalypse

(image courtesy of Salon 94 Bowery)

Flash of the Spirit
Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now. 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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Riot Gear With Feminist Slogans and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Rubber Factory)

In the Name of the Hypersurface of the Present
Opening Wednesday, October 17 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 11.

Presented in conjunction with Lower East Side Art Week, which spotlights women artists in the neighborhood, this solo show by Pakistani artist Umber Majeed may have a sci-fi-sounding name, but the work on view more closely resembles Word Art, trippy memes, or old Geocities web pages than any high-tech, augmented reality creation. That’s not to diminish its appeal; the distorted text, flattened graphics, and occasional use of Comic Sans creates a world of online intrigue that feels half in the past, half far in some weird corner of the future. Through this, Majeed seeks to explore a “feminist re-historicization of Pakistan as the first ‘Muslim nuclear state,’” bringing it out of the patriarchy and into a more radical framing. Keep Reading »

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A Silent Disco Art Show, Glamorous Putin, And More Weekend Exhibitions

(screenshot via watermelonmelange.com)

Watermelon Melange
Opening Saturday, October 6 at 21 Ludlow Street, 7:30 pm to 10 pm. On view through October 7.

Have you ever been to a silent disco? You know, the kind of weird outdoor party where everyone’s wearing bulky headphones and dancing to the various channels of music blaring from them, making them look strange to any onlooker who doesn’t know what’s going on? This art exhibition by Mason Roberts, a painter from Perth, Australia whose 26,000 Instagram followers are equally likely to see both documentation of his artistic process and shirtless selfies, provides a somewhat similar experience. He’s partnered with lo-fi hip-hop artist Stirling Caiulo to create a multisensory artistic experience—don noise-canceling headphones and walk into a dark gallery, then you’ll hear beats n’ tunes while you steadily discover a series of paintings on display, lit by spotlights. Keep Reading »

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New York City’s ‘Gut Biome’ And More Art Opening This Week

(image via Storefront for Art and Architecture)

Subculture: Microbial Metrics and the Multi-Species City
Opening Tuesday, September 18 at Storefront For Art and Architecture, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 12.

It’s no secret that the city is filled with all sorts of microorganisms—yes, even the kind you’d rather not think about. They’re there! Rather than focus on just the unsettling spores, a uniquely scientific new installation at the Storefront for Art and Architecture seeks to reimagine the city and the many neighborhoods and cultures it contains using the framework of the “human microbiome.” This posits that each city in the world, and each subculture or pocket within them, has their own “gut biome,” just like human beings do. The installation (by Kevin Slavin, Elizabeth Hénaff, and the collective The Living) normalizes the idea that there are microorganisms everywhere in a city, collecting them through wood in the exhibition space’s facade as well “bio-receptive wooden tiles” scattered throughout the city. This wood is then displayed and analyzed, simultaneously art and scientific specimen. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Vases, Radio Waves, Self-Reflection

(image via Richard Taittinger Gallery)

Transmitting Waves
Opening Wednesday, September 12 at Richard Taittinger Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through November 10.

There’s something inexplicably entrancing about the colors that pervade vintage printed matter, such as ads or movie posters. The colors tend to look impossibly vivid, or at least they do to my eyes. I get a similar feeling when viewing the work of the late artist Nassos Daphnis, who also developed a color theory stating each primary color, plus white and black, “occupies a number of planes on a scale of 1 to 100.” It’s no surprise, then, that the man stuck with these five shades in his art-making as well. This show at Richard Taittinger Gallery is a “reimagining” of a 1983 show at Leo Castelli Gallery, a place Daphnis exhibited at often, though it also includes works that haven’t been shown before. If you’re into fine lines, bold colors, geometric precision, and a minimal-yet-vivid take on radio waves and the like, this is the show for you. Keep Reading »

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Black Art Matters and More Exhibitions This Week

(image via Con Artist Collective)

August Summer Residency Showcase
Opening Wednesday, August 29 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through August 31.

It’s the end of the summer, which means people are scrambling to get the last of their leisure time in before it feels less justifiable to do so. This often means less events and other artistic goings-on. After all, it’s hard to have an art show when you don’t want to leave the beach. But the restless vigor of Con Artist Collective continues—on any given day (including in the midst of the end-of-summer lull) you can probably find them up to something, whether that be the party-filled unveiling of a new art exhibition or something else entirely. Starting Wednesday night, the Lower East Side art space’s summer studio residents will be showing their latest creations. Keep Reading »

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Art That Lulls You Into Relaxation and More Openings This Week

Image: Raul Valverde in collaboration with Muntadas, ‘Calendar for Travelling Artists’, 2018, 8 × 51/2 in. (20.32 × 13.97 cm). Courtesy of the artist. (via ISCP / Facebook)

Never Take a Vacation with an Artist Who Collects the Same Stuff You Do
Opening Tuesday, August 14 at International Studio + Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

The title of this new group show from ISCP conjures some immediate images: two artists, lounging on the beach. Their peaceful time is cut short due to the fact that they both really want to collect the same type of shells, but there are only a couple of those, so they start fighting over them. Dare I say, all shell breaks loose? I forget if you can even take shells from beaches, but still. The actual content of this show, which features nine artists from ISCP’s Ground Floor Program, appears to be more interesting (or soothing) than my strange musings about beaches. With a goal of “lull[ing] the viewer into a state of relaxation,” the show offers vacation-centric content like thoughts on summer road trips and an interactive piece that quite literally gives the gallery’s front desk staff a break from working. It’s summer, after all. 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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Art This Week: Disasters, Morir Soñando, a Different Dia:Beacon

(image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)

Edge of Eden
Opening Wednesday, June 20 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 20.

Maybe all your friends have been to Dia:Beacon, that trendy hub of Minimalist art just a hop, skip, and a jump upstate, but you haven’t made it yet. Fret not—there’s a way to experience it without figuring out how to convince your friend’s roommate to let you use their car. The art and the scenery will be rendered in paint as part of German painter Alina Grasmann’s solo exhibition at Fridman Gallery, Edge of Eden. The show has two components: large paintings of Dia:Beacon’s scenery and art with components of other notable paintings added in, and 40 small oil paintings of Agloe, a fictional New York town dreamt up to prevent map copyright that became real for a spell and then dissipated once more. Combined, the two painting series conjure a New York that’s outside the city and maybe even our reality. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Chapels, Cryptids, Self-Portraits

(image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

Chiaozza Chapel
Opening Tuesday, February 13 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm.

Everyone’s favorite Navy Yard industrial icebox turned gallery is at it once again with a new exhibition by artistic duo Chiaozza. While their show’s name, Chiaozza Chapel, may sound like an old piece of ornate architecture you’d learn about in art history class, their work is certainly very modern. However, it’s still an actual chapel, at least in the formal sense of the word. The duo has transformed a small 6’x7’ section of the space into a colorful, geometrical space for contemplation and gathering. If you’re old-school, think of the structure within as a kind of modernized, minimalist stained glass. Personally, I think it kind of looks like a nice, stylish condo for birds. Keep Reading »

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City Planning Weapons, The Internet’s Queer Future, And More Art This Week

Zhang Enli
The Broken Sofa, 2017
Oil on canvas
220 x 180 cm / 86 5/8 x 70 7/8 in
© Zhang Enli
Courtesy the Artist and Hauser & Wirth

The Garden
Opening Thursday, January 25 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 7.

Some abstract art is indeed just blotches of color, shape, and brushstroke. But some art that looks abstract, such as the works of Zhang Enli, could in fact be a version of hyperrealism. The subjects of Enli’s paintings are often recognizable landscapes, such as the gardens peppered throughout Shanghai, zoomed in far enough to become unrecognizable and in doing so, take on a new type of beauty. However, there’s only the partial presence of hyperrealism in Enil’s works, as they’re modeled off of real imagery but imbued with his own personal interpretation. Is that swirl green because it was originally green, or does it look that way because the artist made it so? You can give your best guess, but not knowing is part of the fun.

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