Lower East Side

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Choreographed Photos, Experiments In Light, and More Art This Week

Image: Jenna Westra, Mariana Sits on “The Complete Photographer, An Encyclopedia of Photography” (1949), Volume 6, Pages 2178-79, ‘Best Fashion Study and Best Action Production Still Taken in a Studio’, 2018. Archival pigment print, 26 x 21.75 inches (image courtesy of Lubov)

Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits
Opening Saturday, March 24 at Lubov, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 6.

The Tribeca gallery Lubov is small, tucked away on the second floor of an office building, but within it you’ll find none of the monotony typically associated with such work. Instead, you’ll be greeted with contemporary art of all sorts, including their newest exhibition Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits. In addition to being a very good exhibition name in my opinion, it’s also an assortment of analog photography by Jenna Westra that focuses on what happens when you don’t shy away from the act of purposefully trying to create an engaging scene ripe for the snapping. The scenarios recall a kind of captured choreography, such as an amateur model (or maybe a dancer?) kneeling with their dirt-dusted feet squarely sitting on (what else?) a book of photography, simultaneously desecrating and establishing its position as subject. Keep Reading »

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A Tribute To Brooklyn, Queer Storytelling, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(photo: Aaron “RadioSilence” Jaker)

¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn
March 15-31 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $20

It’s far too common to see comedians, storytellers, and other performance-based creative types make quips about living in Brooklyn, but usually these are predominantly white transplants talking about how quirky it is to live there, with all the cute cafes and niche boutiques and all that. I typically find this very grating, because living in a place is not a personality trait, particularly when you are a white person being all “Haha, how funny is Brooklyn” about what is almost always a gentrifying neighborhood. But if you’re looking for a different kind of love letter to the borough, look no further than Modesto Flako Jimenez and the Oye Group’s latest multimedia production, ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn. Using projections, bilingual storytelling, poetry, music, and more, Jimenez waxes quite literally poetic about his unique life, the multifaceted place he calls home, and all the complicated forces currently at work within it. Keep Reading »

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Sesame Street Drag, Disabled Comedians, and More Performance Picks

Asia Gagnon’s ‘The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About’ at SipFest

SipFest
Now through March 14 at Wild Project, various times, various prices

The nature of live theater is that anything can happen at any time. Sometimes this is good, but not always. Spaceman, a high-tech play from Loading Dock Theater about a woman astronaut’s journey to Mars, was supposed to have a run at Wild Project currently, but had to be canceled due to an injury sustained by the lead performer. However, the venue will not be empty. A last-minute festival of original performance works by women and queer artists called Sipfest will run at the Lower East Side venue in its stead. There, you’ll find a solo show digging into how we discuss sexual assault, drag performances, femme ballads, a play inspired by the fanfiction epic My Immortal, and more. Keep Reading »

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Spring/Break, Emma Sulkowicz, and More Art To See

(image via SPRING/BREAK Art Show / Facebook)

Spring/Break Art Show
Opening Tuesday, March 6 at 4 Times Square, 5 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 12.

While it may not be spring quite yet, we will soon see the return of the Spring/Break Art Show, springing (sorry) back into action during Armory Arts Week for a seventh year. This show in particular stands out among the dizzying array of art shows and fairs and shows-within-fairs due to both its focus on art that’s a little more out-there than some contemporary offerings, and its location, which utilizes “underused, atypical, and historic” space rather than some pristine white box or whatever. It would take me a very long time to count all the artists involved this year, which range from Iggy Pop and Robert Mapplethorpe to Parker Day and Azikiwe Mohammed, so I can only assume there are hundreds and you will have plenty to see. Granted, you’ll have to go to Times Square to do it, but it will probably be worth it. Keep Reading »

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City Life, Bodily Resistance, and More Art This Week

(image via Tina Kim Gallery / Facebook)

Jeong
Opening Wednesday, February 28 at Tina Kim Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm.

You’re probably familiar with the most common way to write music, with notes on a staff, even if you can’t read music yourself. But did you know there are other ways to do it? One of them, the Korean system Jeongganbo, dates all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty, which began in 1392 and ended much later, in 1910. Rather than using a staff system, it uses a grid system, with each note taking up a square in sequential order. Seoul-based artist Suki Seokyeong Kang was drawn to this geometric composition technique, and has created a series of “visual translations” of Jeonggabo in her new solo show at Chelsea’s Tina Kim Gallery. The show is mostly sculpture based, in a way that attempts to put forth both logic and harmony. Perhaps after exploring, you’ll come away with a subconscious new knowledge of how music can be made. Keep Reading »

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Choreographed Memes, Afropunk Spaghetti Westerns, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents: The New Review
Thursday, February 22 at Mayday Space, 8 pm: $5

Out with the old, in with the new, that’s what they say. Or at least, that’s what someone said, sometime, somewhere. Regardless of your opinion on the old, you can see the new coming out in full force at the inclusive troupe Magical Girl Burlesque’s recurring show, The New Review. True to its name, it centers around showcasing both emerging and experienced burlesque performers who have new acts they’d like to workshop for an audience. Think of it as a kind of open mic for burlesque, except the lineup is technically pre-curated and there probably won’t be any white men telling jokes that they (and no one else) think are funny. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Environmental Imaginings, Sonic Voids, and More

(image via The Bellwether / Facebook)

Hair Paintings & Other Stories
Opening Tuesday, February 6 at La MaMa Galleria, 7:30 pm. On view through March 3.

The Bellwether and Codify Art team up with La MaMa Galleria to present this solo exhibition by multidisciplinary creator Jarrett Key. Though yes, it’s technically a showcase of just work created by Key, it’s representative of so much more than that. Their works deal specifically with “the collective bodily memories and rituals of the Black community,” so each one of them manages to be deeply personal while also literally containing multitudes. As you may have guessed by the title, hair has a significant presence here, which can be seen both in the exhibition description (“Key grew up in rural Alabama to their grandmother singing, ‘your hair is your strength'”) and the look of the actual paintings themselves, which often resemble vast and complex tangles you could get lost in. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Clickbait, Cults, and… Miss Frizzle

(image via HERE Arts Center)

America Is Hard To See
Now through February 24 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $35-45

Do you ever have an idea and sort of less-than-halfway execute that idea, and then spend a really long time procrastinating doing any more work on it and then find out that someone has beat you to the punch but in a way that seems really interesting and cool so you can’t help but appreciate it? Whether you have or you haven’t, that very thing happened to me with this new play. In college, I started writing a play about a trailer park community of sex offenders with nowhere else to live, based on the real manifestations of this phenomenon. I never finished it, or even came close, because writing plot is hard. Life Jacket Theater Company did, and they even traveled to Florida’s Miracle Village and interviewed its residents to create their show. Add in a helping of methodist hymns and theatricality, and you’ve got the recipe for a play that seems truly nuanced and exciting, particularly in today’s tumultuous time of #metoo reckonings. Keep Reading »

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Girl Power: Metrograph and Nitehawk Focus On Female Filmmakers

Image via Metrograph’s website

The lack of female directors in the film industry isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but with the rise of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp in the past year, this gender gap has been highlighted now more than ever– just take Natalie Portman’s presentation of the Best Director award at this year’s Golden Globes as an example. Nitehawk Cinema and Metrograph, two local movie theaters, are also recognizing this disparity with a series of film screenings focusing exclusively on female directors.

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Performance Picks: Battleship Burlesque, Benefit Shows, and More

FRIDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents Birthday Battleship Burlesque
Friday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm: FREE (suggested donation to benefit Southern Poverty Law Center)

Ah, Battleship. That classic game of pegs, coordinates, and nearly naked bodies. If you’re confused about that last part, perhaps you’ll have your memory refreshed on Friday night, when the performers of Magical Girl Burlesque take to the stage and somehow reenact an entire game of Battleship with a burlesque twist. Here’s how such a thing will work: each performer on the lineup represents a boat piece. Audience members will play the game in the classic way, and when the battleships are sunk, the performer will perform. So in this case, losing the game is actually winning the game. The show is free, but donations will be collected for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Keep Reading »

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Responses To The Inauguration Anniversary, And More Shows To See

WEDNESDAY

(image via Ars Nova / Facebook)

Citizens United II: What Happened?
Wednesday, January 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15

If you couldn’t tell from the title alone, this is a political show. Though just to clarify, it’s not a staged reading of the Hillary Clinton book. At least, I don’t think it is. “Leftist performance collective” Citizens United returns once more to the Ars Nova stage to parse through these troubled political times by way of drag shows, poetry, performance art, punk music, and more. The group joins the many artistic efforts happening this month to commemorate-slash-mourn the one-year anniversary of the presidential inauguration. In fact, the last time Citizens United brought their unique stylings to the stage was January 2017. What has happened since that fateful month is dizzying and often cringe-worthy to think of, and possibly perfectly summed up by a night of chaotic performance. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Mourning Braiding and Cyber Warfare

Nene Humphrey (image courtesy of Lesley Heller Workspace)

Transmission
Opening Wednesday, January 10 at Lesley Heller Workspace, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 18.

In the Victorian age, those who lost a loved one would enact an odd and intimate ritual known as mourning braiding. This practice consisted of braiding the actual hair of the deceased into a piece of jewelry. Artist Nene Humphrey is no stranger to incorporating mourning-centric behaviors into her work, and come Wednesday she will open a new exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace on Orchard Street that combines the brain’s reaction to grief with this old-school hair ritual. The installation and “ritualized site of production” includes braiding stations featuring wire instead of hair and walls covered with weaved strands. Instead of actual people doing the braiding, the stations sit empty and projected videos show the plaits being constructed alongside similar-looking images of the brain. Keep Reading »