photography

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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 »

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Jennifer Rubell, Art By Animals, and More Art Openings To Investigate

(flyer via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

(flyer via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

Emergence: Emerging Artists in New York
Opening Tuesday January 17 at The Living Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. One night only. 

The term “emerging artist” has been a bit of a buzzword for quite some time now. To some, it means someone who has literally just started creating, to others, it is someone who’s been on the scene for a couple years but hasn’t won any fancy awards. And sometimes it’s somewhere in between. But this art show really owns the title in a way that’s clear: simply, Emergence is showing work by New York artists who have never shown their work in a gallery before. There will be over 20 artists covering the gallery in their work, whether it be painting and sculpture, performance, or even fashion pieces. Come one, come all, and witness the emergence.

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It’s All Over Now for Williamsburg Bar Over the Eight

Over the Eight says goodbye (Photo: Nick McManus)

Over the Eight says goodbye at their New Year’s Eve comics celebration (Photo: Nick McManus)

Last year was a rough one for cultural spaces of all kinds in New York City, so it was somewhat fitting (if not totally sad) that a slew of local spots said their peace-outs during New Year’s Eve festivities. Among the departing establishments that went out with a bang on one of the drunkest night of the year was Over the Eight, a Williamsburg bar which closed up shop after “three and a half years” of “slinging cheap drinks and treasured times” (as we heard back in November when the owners first announced their departure).

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Wake Up and Smell the Poppins at Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious_inviteL copyTackling the topic of feminism is a monumental task for any art exhibition, let alone one that fits inside a downtown art space called White Box–which you already know, or maybe just guessed, is not all that enormous. Even if the curator had the MoMA to herself, a show like this would require some epic planning. And from the viewer’s perspective? Yeah right. Seeing everything in one go would be require an Odyssean attention span which, let’s be real, just doesn’t exist anymore.

So when curator Lara Pan was commissioned by the non-profit art space White Box to put together a show “about women,” she and her co-curator Ruben Natal-San Miguel came up with Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (on view through January 21), a 27-piece show that fits neatly within a realm of feminism she knows well. She may have felt compelled to whittle down the larger theme, but she managed to keep the feeling of an epic, history-sweeping, time-spanning, half-the-human-race, cross-culturally inclusive narrative. At the same time, the show defies what we’ve come to expect from women’s art exhibitions: those one-note, temporary deviations from the default (i.e. white men) that are plagued by tokenism, tiptoeing, stale themes, and work that’s about as revolutionary as a closet full of pantsuits.

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‘Style Wars’ Producer Henry Chalfant Offers Panoramic Views of Graffiti’s ‘Golden Age’

Henry Chalfant's subway photographs now on view (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Henry Chalfant’s subway photographs now on view (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Since Thursday, the white walls at Eric Firestone Gallery have been wholly devoted to just a small portion of Henry Chalfant’s  archive of “subway photographs.” Henry Chalfant: 1980 focuses on a year in which graffiti was still regarded as subversive and dangerous. At the same time, street art was at its most vibrant and anarchic. The work offers not only a trip back to the “golden age of graffiti,” but a thorough “visual anthropology,” as Chalfant describes it– a studied view of street culture back when it actually came from the streets.

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Fruit-Powered Chandeliers, Brooklyn Drag Art, and Other Art Happenings

"SELF REFLECTION" The Untitled Space Gallery, New York

(image courtesy of Milk & Night Curatorial)

Self-Reflection
Opening Tuesday September 27 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through October 8. 

No less than 21 female artists will descend upon Tribeca art gallery The Untitled Space this Tuesday for the show “Self-Reflection.” Their art spans multiple genres, but all pieces will focus on some form of self-portrait, using the artists’s own bodies as a tool for creation. These self-portraits aren’t the typical depiction of oneself; some are even constructed through wool tapestry weaving. Rather than being potrayed by others, where objectification and the pesky male gaze can run rampant, these women will take their bodies into their own hands (in some cases, literally) to construct a self that feels authentic to them, however that might manifest. Some photograph themselves, some use images of their own nude form for painting references– either way, it’s all them.

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Vist Trump’s Tombstone and Some Other Art Shows This Week

(flyer via Manhattan BP Gale Brewer)

(flyer via Manhattan BP Gale Brewer)

Arlene Schulman: The First 100 Years
Reception Tuesday September 20 at The David N. Dinkins Municipal Building, 5 pm to 7 pm. On view through September 29. 

Bronx-born Arlene Schulman has had a robust career as a photographer, with an array of published books, including the award-winning The Prizefighters: An Intimate Look at Champions and Contenders. Her photos reflect a lifetime living in the city, and I mean lifetime: she started taking photos when she was a mere eight years old. They focus on the everyday and the working class, portraying subjects like police officers and boxers in large-format prints. And photography isn’t all she does– she also writes, edits, and teaches. This exhibit, presented by Manhattan BP Gale A. Brewer, seeks to showcase her large body of work and the unique way she sees the city. But careful, don’t go offering her the chance to shoot artful pictures of any lima beans or olives—she writes on her website that she hates those.

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Death By Audio’s Residents Dish on the DIY Venue’s Final Freaky Streak

"We've Come So Far" a new book of photos by Ebru Yildiz documenting the last days of Death By Audio is out now, available at Rough Trade

“We’ve Come So Far” a new book of photos by Ebru Yildiz documenting the last days of Death By Audio is out now, available at Rough Trade

To celebrate the arrival of Ebru Yildiz’s new book, a hefty collection of black-and-white photos from the final 70 or so days of Death By Audio, the photographer and nearly everyone from the bygone Williamsburg DIY venue’s inner circle descended on Rough Trade on Thursday night for a panel discussion. But really, it was more like a bunch of friends telling great stories from the venue that reigned for seven years, and was known for its wide array of amazing shows with lineups that weren’t so much about making money (uh, tickets were around $7 and a friend who played there several times told me that DBA was known for taking care of its touring bands).

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Fire Hydrants Flowin’, Vegan Feasts, Beating that Heat: Last Weekend on Insta

(Photo: Camilo José Vergara, 1970/Library of Congress)

(Photo: Camilo José Vergara, 1970/Library of Congress)

Soaring temperatures, brunch plans, hangovers of various kinds, cute outfits, and sundry pictures of food and iced beverages: if you had an awesome weekend but didn’t Instagram it for the world to see, then did it really happen? The way we see it– pics or it didn’t happen.

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International Center of Photography Reveals New Museum on the Bowery

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

With your smartphone at your fingertips, these days its easy to mistake Instagram and Facebook for the ultimate arbiters of visual taste. But the International Center of Photography begs to differ. On Thursday they open their brand new museum on the Bowery, with an inaugural exhibition making the case for considered curation and historical perspective to broaden the conversation around images and their impact.

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