Lower East Side

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Art This Week: Language, Marching Bands, 11 Shows In One

Beryl Korot, Babel 2 (detail), 1980, Pigment on linen woven by the artist, 72 x 38.75 in (image via bitforms gallery nyc / Facebook)

A Coded Language
Opening Thursday, April 12 at bitforms gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 20.

As a child, perhaps you tried to invent a new language with your friends, or merely came up with a new phrase so that parents or teachers or what have you didn’t get to know the kind of stuff you were actually getting up to. Codenames and made-up, just-for-you languages have made an appearance in nearly everyone’s lives, even if yours just consists of you doing a gibberish vocal warmup in an acting class once or something. Technologically-inclined artist Beryl Korot has also created her own language, but it’s inspired by something a little more mathematical: the grid pattern formed from woven cloth. Her solo exhibition A Coded Language will showcase work made between 1980 and 2017, many of which utilize this language of the grid, initially created in 1980. In addition to this language’s presence, she also pays tribute to others who have forged their own way of communicating, such as Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum, who wrote to her friends in code during the Nazi invasion in Holland. Keep Reading »

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Free-Jazz Pioneer Cecil Taylor Has Died At 89

A piano at Cecil Taylor’s retrospective at The Whitney. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Avant-garde jazz pianist and composer Cecil Taylor died at his Brooklyn home Thursday evening. He was 89. A polarizing figure during the jazz heyday of the 50s and 60s due to his frenzied and untraditional playing style, Taylor helped to pioneer the free jazz genre along with Ornette Coleman. His avant-garde style has influenced countless musicians and left an indelible mark on the jazz as a whole.

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Coffee With A Conscience? GrandLo Cafe Serves Up Cold Brew With a Splash of Job Skills

GrandLo Café, a “new social enterprise” from nonprofit Grand St. Settlement, will turn your daily coffee habit into a chance to support disadvantaged youth. The coffee shop and café, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 16 after a soft opening that same week, is now fully open for business.

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Art This Week: Developer Trays and Stylized Selfhood

(image via Elizabeth Houston Gallery)

Developer Trays
Opening Wednesday, March 28 at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 5.

Though digital photography (whether on fancy DSLRs or iPhones with portrait mode) is inarguably king today, there are still people out there shooting film. Though not quite a relic yet, the chemical-laden process of developing and printing your own film in a darkroom is something many people may not understand or even be aware of. One of the key components of doing this is laying the soon-to-be photograph in a tray filled with developer chemicals, which steadily brings the photo to life. Artist John Cyr, a photographer and printer himself, has latched onto the developer tray as an integral object to the working photographer. His images, portraying developer trays that belonged to notable and unknown photographers alike, cast these practical objects in a light usually reserved for more “important”-seeming items. Their unique textures, stains, colors, and designs documented for posterity illuminate film development as a historically-significant art practice in itself. Keep Reading »

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Boxing, Competitive Comedy, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Uncharted)

Polly Mope
Thursday, March 22 at Greenwich House Music School, 8 pm: $15

I have to be totally honest, I have not yet managed to see one of performer Molly Pope’s cabaret shows, but based on what I know of her and who she has collaborated with, I feel like I can still say with confidence that you’ll be in for a treat when you do. Thursday is a particularly good time to do so, as Pope will be premiering her first ever “completely original solo piece,” Polly Mope, as part of Uncharted, a concert series focused on new work and first-time experiments. By “completely original” she means the music is her own instead of the familiar cabaret protocol of covers n’ banter, but you can trust that the originality will not stop there. Keep Reading »

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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 »