Lower East Side

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Art This Week: Lines, Cut Paper, and Low-Tech Glitches

thecatamites, Magic Wand, 2016, Video game, Dimensions variable (still) (image via apexart)

Dire Jank
Opening Wednesday, March 20 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19. 

It’s usually considered good and impressive for something digitally created to look flawless, almost like it wasn’t created by humans to begin with. Usually this process is time-consuming; it almost always involves some sort of expensive software, or equipment, or graduate degrees. Dire Jank, an exhibition of games, videos, and digital art curated by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, celebrates pretty much everything that isn’t that. Pixelated images, old Photo Booth filters, outdated Flash games, glitches, and more are put on a pedestal here, valued more than the glossy, hyper-realistic creations that modern technology can create. 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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Art Shows: Fire Island, Creative Teens, and Political Cakes

Photo via @companygallery on Instagram)

Fire
Opening Wednesday, March 6 at Baby Company, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 14. 

Oh, Fire Island. Even if you’ve never been (I haven’t), you’ve probably come across it in one way or another, even if it’s just on your Instagram feed or that time you overheard a group of partygoers dishing about their weekend outing. You have another chance to soak in this getaway through the eyes of another at group exhibition Fire, opening Wednesday at Allen Street’s Baby Company (an offshoot of the nearby Company Gallery). The show, organized by photographer Ryan McNamara, features familiar queer art names like Raúl de Nieves, Kia Labeija, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Nicole Eisenman, all revealing snapshots of what Fire Island (and by extension, spaces known for being queer sanctuaries) means to them.

Patrick Martinez, Chocolate Cake for the Black Panther Party, 2018, Heavy body acrylic, acrylic, airbrush, and ceramic cake roses on panel with gold mirror plex, 20 x 26 x 3 inches (image via Fort Gansevoort)

That Which We Do Not See
Opening Thursday, March 7 at Fort Gansevoort, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 20. 

Artist Patrick Martinez brings something simultaneously sweet and politically-charged to the Meatpacking District gallery Fort Gansevoort this week when he opens his solo show of paintings, multimedia pieces, and neon works. The show, which takes its title from a Martin Luther King quote, is peppered with notable figures from modern history, from author Rebecca Solnit to Malcolm X and James Baldwin. These faces, along with other iconography like the Black Panther Party’s panther image, are emblazoned on cakes in remarkable mixed media paintings that truly look edible—their decadence hints at portrait painting’s history of elevating those who could afford to commission one. In addition to the cakes, a selection of paintings of Los Angeles’s changing landscape and text-based neon sculptures will also be on view.

(image via Sonder Exhibition)

Sonder iii
Opening Friday, March 8 at 198 Allen Street, 6 pm to 10 pm. On view through March 10. 

In many instances, going to see art means going to see the work of older people, whether that be artists who made work decades or centuries ago or contemporary greats who have been in the art world for years. But exhibition series Sonder, returning to the Lower East Side for a third year, only shows work by young people. No, not people who are in their mid/late twenties. It’s curated by teenagers, and features work by teenagers who create in multiple genres, who are both local to NYC and based around the globe. When I think about what I was doing when I was a teen, it definitely wasn’t showing art in a New York City gallery, so this is your chance to get a peek at those paving the way for the future of art. I can only wonder if, in light of all the news, there’ll be some Momo-themed art…

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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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Performance Picks: Green New Deal Raps, Comedians Get Serious

THURSDAY

(image via Make/Shift / Facebook)

SHE Creates 2k19
Now through February 24 at New Ohio Theater, various times: $25 

The hills are alive with the sound of performances from female-identifying and genderqueer artists at She Creates, a festival presented by Make/Shift and Akin running through the end of the weekend at the New Ohio Theater. The festival centers around the premiere of The Clark Doll, a play by Liz Morgan about three black women figuring out how to escape a confining situation, but it offers much more than just plays, with night after night of drag, performance art, live music, visual art, and more. 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: Two V-Day Shows and Fruity Fellows

Vesuvius, Will You Be My Girlfriend?, 2018. 10 x 12½’ (image courtesy of Howl Happening)

Homo Eruptus
Opening Thursday, February 14 at HOWL! Happening, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 13. 

Scooter LaForge’s paintings, on view at East Village space Howl Happening starting on Valentine’s Day, are satisfyingly messy, so it’s only appropriate they are unveiled on a day classically associated with messy emotional feelings, whether they be good or bad. Similar feelings are articulated through LaForge’s brushstrokes, which create compelling and mind-boggling scenes featuring cartoon animals, bodily fluids, autofellatio, angels, and much more. He manages to fit a doe-eyed rabbit that looks straight out of a Disney movie in the same frame as angry black paint smears, a urinating brown bear with big black boots, and human(ish) figures that look almost like they’d be fit to adorn the ceiling of a church somewhere, provided that church was sufficiently strange. The longer you look, the more you’ll find. 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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Performance Picks: Gross Girls, Thirst Traps, and More

FRIDAY

(image via The Nobodies / Facebook)

The Nobodies Hosting All Stars 4
Friday, February 1 at Brooklyn Bazaar, 7 pm: FREE

The fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars is upon us, and has been for some weeks now. It also happens to be the only season I have ever watched, and every week I am reminded of how much the main challenge of each episode typically resembles something I was once made to do in theater school. If you don’t want to watch alone, sashay to Brooklyn Bazaar, where drag collective (and pro-wrestling aficionados) The Nobodies will be hosting a screening of the latest episode, as they do every week. Obviously when drag performers host a Drag Race screening, you’re not just going to get people sitting and staring at a screen. This is a show in its own right: expect live drag acts, bingo, banter, and even the chance to do your own lip-synch if you so desire.

SATURDAY

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Performance Picks: Dystopian Theater, A C.R.E.A.M. Afternoon, and More

THURSDAY

(image via The Nova Experiment / Facebook)

EthnoGraphic
Thursday, January 24 at Eris Evolution, 8 pm: $11 advance, $15 doors

The average show in Brooklyn—comedy, burlesque, music, and beyond—seems to have gotten a touch more diverse in recent years, but it’s still common to walk into a venue and see predominantly white faces staring back. That’s not the case at burlesque performer Stella Nova’s EthnoGraphic, a variety show featuring exclusively performers of color. As Nova does burlesque herself, the lineup is filled with striptease and pasties, with acts from Abby Fantastic, Fox Squire, and Lady Mabuhay, as well as slam poet Omar Holman and comedian Lauren Clark. 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 This Week: Traumatized Clowns and Reducing Food Waste

Joel Osteen (Jessie Pierrot) part 1, 2018
Single Channel Video
00:31:28

Holy Fools
Opening Wednesday, January 9 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 3.

Clowns are perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on this green earth. Some people have a literal phobia of them, some find them distasteful, some chuckle at them, some employ them, some become them, and some make art about them. One of the art world’s more notable clown-based endeavors is Bruce Nauman’s 1987 piece Clown Torture, featuring a slew of video displays portraying “an absurd misadventure of a clown” that’s both morbid and humorous. Over three decades later, artist Ondine Viñao is putting her own spin on this work in an exhibition at Rubber Factory, recruiting four all-female clownish performers to stage their own mishaps, mixing both trauma and folly. Keep Reading »