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Art Openings: Teacups Get Handsy, Ruminations on the Grid, Photography Galore

Tom Butler, analog photography (image via Foley Gallery)

Analog v. Digital
Opening Wednesday, August 16 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 26.

Nowadays, it’s common to hear that film photography is dead and that anyone can be a photographer who has enough money to get the iPhone with that fancy Portrait Mode built-in. Nothing like automated depth of field to convey the illusion of skill and craft! However, this group show at Foley Gallery seeks to uplift both analog and digital forms of photographic art.

The gallery defines “analog” as “the photographer using light sensitive paper or film in the process” and “digital” as “using hardware requiring a digital component (point and shoot, cell phone or dSLR cameras) regardless of how it was printed.” Fifty artists in total, approximately 25 in each category, will demonstrate the wide range of photography that’s still out there. It’s one of the rare times that focusing on the merits of “both sides” isn’t a totally useless thing to do.

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Art This Week: Printmaking in Protest, Robots Will Kill, Mexico + Staten Island

(image via Center for Book Arts)

Center for Book Arts Summer Exhibitions
Opening Wednesday, July 12 at Center for Book Arts, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 23.

This Wednesday, The Center for Book Arts will unveil their two summer exhibitions, titled “Protest Profest: Global Burdens” and “Animation + Printing.”  Though the institutions focuses on books (obviously), the exhibitions themselves span a variety of disciplines. “Protest ≠ Profest” is their annual Artist Members Exhibition, with the timely concept of showing work dealing with activism and “current societal concerns.” In order to narrow down the type of theme that could easily fill multiple rooms worth of art (and to keep with the book focus), works on display will either be artist’s books or works relating to the book arts.

“Animation + Printing” is predominantly a short film showcase, but all films have been created using techniques typically applied to the creation of books, such as  etching, moveable type, and silkscreen. A whopping 50-ish artists will be partaking, and the exhibition theme invites a cross-discipline experience for many, as several printmakers will be attempting animation and vice versa. Keep Reading »

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Duane Michals Targets Trump in New Art Show, But Does He Hit the Mark?

“The Lyin King” (c) Duane Michals.

Political art is easy to create but hard to pull off. The election of President Trump has spurred much talk among the chattering classes about art’s potential as a weapon of activism and satire. Unfortunately, as we’ve noted before, that political impulse often comes up short. The cultural left has an unfortunate tendency to bring butter knives to gun fights; but satire, like knives, only works when it has a real edge.

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Funky Ceramics, Mermaids at Sunny’s, and More Art Openings

Jess Sheridan. Trump This, 2017. Screenprint. 22 x 15 in. Printed and published by the artist. Edition: 45. (c) 2017 Jess Sheridan.

Just Under 100
Opening Thursday, June 22 at International Print Center, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 16. 

This show marks the 56th edition of the International Print Center’s New Prints Program, the result of an open call for fine art prints created in the last 12 months. Curator Katherine Bradford has selected 98 of them from artists all over the world, and they will all be on view in the self-proclaimed “small” gallery space of the IPC on West 26th Street.

While there isn’t necessarily a unifying theme for all the prints, several seem to have a political bent. On the gallery’s website, I observed at least one pussy hat reference and one print involving a woman in an American flag hijab and ripped jeans skateboarding on top of the head of a man with very orange skin. Which isn’t surprising, as nowadays it almost seems like more effort to avoid referencing the current political climate than not. Keep Reading »

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One Structure To Sustain You, Selena Lives On, And More Art Openings

(image courtesy of Cooler Gallery)

A Structure For Hope And Survival
Opening Tuesday, June 6 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through June 30.

Artist Huy Bui has a penchant for constructing environments, and his latest creation to be brought to life at Navy Yard-adjacent art space Cooler Gallery is timely in its name: A Structure For Hope and Survival. Deemed a “framework of organizing artifacts, objects, art, tools, books, games, supplies, seeds, plants and provisions,” this “modular ecological unit” serves as a structure and container for anything you might need, from plants and seating areas to how-to books and emergency snacks. An artist statement indicates that a manual is in the works for anyone who might want to build one themselves. The opening reception on Tuesday will begin with a panel discussion entitled “Art and Architecture in the Anthropocene” with Bui, fellow artists, and people who have worked on projects like Playlab and the Lowline.

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Light-Soaked Galleries, Meditative Street Ads, and More Art Exhibitions

(image via Foley Gallery)

Subtext II: Meditations
Opening Wednesday, May 17 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 25.

I would remark on the humor inherent in exhibiting artist Wyatt Gallery’s name, who is indeed showing artwork in a gallery, but it seems he’s already got that covered. As soon as you visit his website, the very large and very green phrase “a person, not a place” is followed, literally, by a trademark symbol. So, guys… he gets it.

For this show, Gallery is displaying a series of works using foundational material quite truly ripped off of the city streets, in that they are portions of the endlessly-stacked-and-glued mountains that are NYC street advertising and flyering. He transformed these found object compilations into “UV cured photographic plates,” making them even more abstract in the process. Interestingly, Gallery sees these dirty, aged poster creations as relevant to his practice of mindfulness and meditation. So next time you’re saddled with a 20-minute train wait, maybe you should try deep breathing while staring at the many advertisements on the walls. Perhaps inner peace will crawl out from in between the pages.

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What’s Up With the Giant Spikes Outside of Cooper Union?

Jan Palach Memorial at Cooper Union (Photo: Anaka Kaundinya)

Cube, meet spikes.

The Alamo returned in November and now another piece of monumental art is being installed outside of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. The sculpture, a nine-foot-by-nine-foot cube with spikes mounted on top, is by John Hejduk, an artist, architect and former Dean Emeritus of Cooper Union.

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Patron Saints of the Local Scene, and More Art Affairs This Week

F8 Tropical , 2017
28 x 21 Inches
Dye Sublimation on Aluminum

Particle Paradise
Opening Wednesday March 22 at Foley Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 30.

Photography is said to be a significant documentation tactic due to its ability to capture reality in its truest form. Particle Paradise, Joseph Desler Costa’s solo show at Foley Gallery, seeks to lay bare the ways one can manipulate the medium of photography to turn it into something sleeker, or even a total rejection of reality. This can happen through tactics like double exposures, cut paper constructions, in-camera editing, or even snapshots of the equipment used to create the photo in the first place.

The show is named for a video game mod that allows players to customize their experience through hacking and tweaking the existing code, allowing the gameplay experience to change oh-so-slightly or immensely. I don’t know about you, but I associate mods with either sneakily downloading sexy clothes for my Sims or that time I bought a Gameshark to use with my Pokemon and it glitched in a way it was not supposed to and I felt fear deep in my heart. Maybe this show will be something like that?

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This Week: Art Fair Affairs, Club Kid Portraits, and Anything But Trash

(image via Volta NY)

Volta NY
Opening Wednesday March 1 at Pier 90, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through March 5.

Now is the time for art fairs aplenty, and Volta NY is just one of many. Volta stands out singularly (ha) because they focus on solo artist projects only. Though they’re all about solo stuff, by no means are they taking a minimalist route. At Pier 90 you can catch not only the water, but the work of artists from 38 nations shown by 96 galleries and art spaces across 5 continents and 36 cities. You needn’t be a math whiz to figure out that is a lot of art to place your eyes on. Only not literally, that could cause vision issues and probably a lot of side-eyeing. If you stop by on the first night, it’s free to enter, but any other day it’ll cost you $25.

This is Volta’s tenth year of existence, so you can expect they’re pulling out all the stops this time. This week you can also catch The Armory Show (ticket bundles are available, which get you into Volta and Armory) and SPRING/BREAK, in a new location in Times Square. If you wish, you can pop around the piers all weekend for a veritable art adventure. The art doesn’t stop there: the Architectural Digest Design Show will be from March 16-19, also on the pier. And we can only wonder: will The Mars Volta be at Volta NY?

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Henry Chalfant’s Golden Age ‘Graf Writers’ Speak

Henry Chalfant, "Mad PJ" 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Henry Chalfant, “Mad PJ” 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Long before Gordon Gekko’s bimbo cousin was inaugurated in January (no doubt aided by doing the best impression of Ronald Reagan he could muster), trend pieces had picked up a scent that hinted which way the wind was blowing. It had notes of burnt hair and overcooked mini vegetables on the nose, followed by white wine spritzer, and finished with a robust whiff of Misty Slim Lights and the lingering, chemically after-stank of cheap knockoff perfumes like “If you like Giorgio you’ll love PRIMO!” Then, the elections made it official: the ’80s are back, baby.

It might have smelled delicious, but the Decade of Greed wasn’t exactly a superbly excellent time for everyone involved. But for all the negi vibes–magnified in New York City by an extreme wealth gap– the ’80s produced some truly inspiring art, and the best of it came from a thriving, vibrant underground. During this time, graffiti reached its “golden age,” as a recent photography exhibition, Henry Chalfant: 1980, reminded us, and it wasn’t long before graf became a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

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Art This Week: Colorful Constructions, Lovin’ on Planned Parenthood, and More

Denise Treizman, Gripped, 2016. Glazed ceramic, PVC pipe scrap, ink, spray paint, resin, pom-pom and bungee cord, 7 x 4 x 2 inches (image via SOHO20 Gallery)

Denise Treizman, Gripped, 2016. Glazed ceramic, PVC pipe scrap, ink, spray paint, resin, pom-pom and bungee cord, 7 x 4 x 2 inches (image via SOHO20 Gallery)

Part Is No Object
Opening Friday February 10 at SOHO20 Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 12. 

Denise Treizman’s colorful sculptural creations are refreshingly playful, uplifting and childlike. This solo show of her work is opening in SOHO20 Gallery’s modest +/- Project Space, a space highlighting “ephemeral” or site-specific work. For Treizman, site-specific is everywhere, as her “constructions” are made of essentially anything that crosses her path, from pom-pom puffballs to PVC pipe. She collects these “fragments,” whether they be bits and pieces found on the side of the road or broken remains of a studio project, and then puts the mismatched pieces together to create something entirely new. There will be two other openings this weekend at SOHO20 Gallery, one of paintings by Nana Olivas and one showcasing work by the gallery’s three 2016 Residency Lab artists.

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Ayakamay’s ‘Captive Train_reck’ Nods to Her Days as a Used-Panty Hustler

(photo: Apiwich Bangrapimolpong)

(photo: Apiwich Bangrapimolpong)

On a recent night at The Lodge Gallery, Ayakamay stood inside a spherical sculpture of white drapes, extending a manicured nail, beckoning her audience one by one to join her in the cramped space. Once she lured them in, there was a flash, and a small instant film photo fell to the floor. In one instance, she kneeled in front of a visitor within the enclosure. Sometimes you could see other kinds of flashes in between the drapes— suddenly bare breasts or the pleats of a short schoolgirl skirt. Other than that, you couldn’t see much else. It was up to your imagination. Keep Reading »