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).
Tackling 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
A riddle: how do you get all the artists in Bushwick in the same place at the same time? Tell them that everyone is going to be there.
In anticipation of the Bushwick Open Studios, the neighborhood arts festival happening this year in October, photographer Meryl Meisler is trying to get a group photo of every artist who calls the artistically vibrant Brooklyn neighborhood home. To do so, Meisler and writer James Panero, who is curating the project, have put out a call for any artist who is planning on being involved in BOS this October to meet tomorrow at 11 a.m. outside Stout Projects on Meadow Street.
Opening night for In the Raw: The Female Gaze on the Nude (on view now through May 21 at The Untitled Space) was predictably packed, and not just because it’s Frieze week and the gallery was giving out free booze. I’d like to think that people were there for the actual art exhibition, which was billed as an all-female, all-nude art show where 20 women artists, aged 21 to 60-something, from Russia, Chile, and beyond, “explore a perspective less chartered, that of a woman’s eye on another,” and in the process “challenge the status quo with a liberating and authentic beauty.” Or maybe they were there because Victoria de Lesseps (daughter of Real Housewives “star” Countess LuAnn de Lesseps) is also on the roster of participating artists. Who could tell?
Indira Cesarine, who curated the multimedia art show along with Coco Dolle of Milk and Night, told me that she felt the exhibition was a “timely” one. Dolle told Whitehot magazine that the work is “saleable.” They’re in no way wrong.
Rafael Fuchs has lived in Bushwick for the last 11 years. For the first five, Fuchs worked as an independent artist and since 2012 he’s run Fuchs Projects, a gallery for showing work by himself and other artists (international and local) inside the BogArt, a building that on weekends is packed with streams of visitors headed to galleries with names like Soho20. An Israeli photographer who’s lived in New York since 1985, Fuchs arrived in Bushwick just prior to what he calls the “art explosion,” as just another newcomer looking for cheap rent. His neighborhood stomping grounds over the years have been mostly confined to the area around the Morgan stop. Beyond that zone of familiarity is what Fuchs described to me as “deep Bushwick.”
Winter Mendelson couldn’t wait to get the hell out of Georgia. “I graduated college and moved here, like, the very next day,” laughed the founder and editor-in-chief of Posture, a fresh-faced queer-centric magazine dedicated to gender, identity, and the arts. “I didn’t have a community there at all– it was like three lesbians and they were all dating each other, so it was kind of torturous.”
Arriving in New York City, she immediately realized things were going to be different. “I was so relieved and excited that there were people like me, like, everywhere. I was like, ‘This is a dream!” And yet, she realized there was something missing from the scene. “I just felt like there really needed to be a platform that showed all kinds of voices and aesthetics,” she said.