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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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‘Catholic Anarchist’ Dorothy Day Returns to the East Village Via an Art Show

Dorothy Day sculpture. (Photos: Oliver Conroy)

“We need to change the system. We need to overthrow, not the government, as the authorities are always accusing the Communists [of conspiring to do], but this rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering in the whited sepulcher of New York.”

So spoke Dorothy Day – “Catholic anarchist” and founder of the radical Catholic Worker, still published seven times a year at Maryhouse in the East Village. Day, an activist and writer who became the godmother of the religious-left “Catholic worker” movement, died in 1980, but her legacy lives on in the form of the East 3rd Street soup kitchen she founded to minister to the poor and homeless of the East Village and Lower East Side.

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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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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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Women Getting Lit, Plexiglas Playgrounds, and More Art

Kate Hush (image via Cooler Gallery)

Kate Hush (image via Cooler Gallery)

Female Behavior
Opening Tuesday January 10 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through January 31. 

Firstly, let’s discuss this gallery’s name. Sure, it sounds sort of pompous, in a cooler-than-you kind of way, and maybe that’s what they think of themselves. But the origin of this gallery is actually, well, cool. It exists within a “repurposed industrial icebox” in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, so it really is a cooler gallery. Plus, it seeks to display work that involves elements of manufacturing, so it’s aware of its roots. But enough about the gallery, let’s get to the show: artist Kate Hush makes massive sculptures of neon light, and what she is particularly trying to capture in her solo show, Female Behavior, are women and their so-called “wicked ways.” She writes of light being produced when bonds are broken, such as the cutting of a diamond, so she has crafted female silhouettes to portray those who are seen as cruel and conniving simply for being “sharp” or for cutting ties with a man who will then call her crazy. May women burn bright and powerful as much as they can, especially now.

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Skin-Like Sculptures, ‘Apocalyptic Trophies,’ and Other Art Events

(photo via Brandon Perdomo / Facebook)

(photo via Brandon Perdomo / Facebook)

MVMT: a solo exhibition by Brandon Perdomo
Opening Monday December 5 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 10:30 pm. One night only. 

Multidisciplinary artist Brandon Perdomo presents a one-night-only exhibition, which includes photography and performance work. Though this is a solo exhibition, he has enlisted the help of two performances to fill the night: at 8 pm, Another Lopez, who is the subject of a photo series by Perdomo, will perform a live dance installation piece and at 8:30 pm the silly, catchy, trash-loving band Pinc Louds will be leaving their home base of the NYC subway underground to play a colorful set. There is an $8 suggested donation, vegan dumplings may make an appearance, and BYOB is welcome.

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A Bed-Stuy Biennial, Nina Simone Self-Defense, and Other Art Events This Week

Nkiruka J. Oparah, study n° 080415, 2015, digital collage (image via BRIC)

Nkiruka J. Oparah, study n° 080415, 2015, digital collage (image via BRIC)

BRIC Biennial: Volume II, Bed Stuy / Crown Heights
Opening Wednesday, November 9 at BRIC, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 15. 

BRIC’s largest exhibition to date is centered at Downtown Brooklyn’s BRIC House but also taking place in portions of Crown Heights’s FiveMyles, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Weeksville Heritage Center. The show’s sprawling spread reflects the artists represented in the show, as all 40 are local to Crown Heights and Bed Stuy. The theme for the exhibit is “Affective Bodies,” placing a focus on “bodily experience rather than on learned knowledge,” a somewhat subversive move in the world of art exhibits, as so many are grounded in theory, explained using highly academic terms, and/or featuring high-class educated folks. Each non-BRIC venue will showcase a different sort of work: Weeksville Heritage artists are focused on the “emotional resonance” people give urban spaces, the Brooklyn Public Library artists use preexisting documents as their source material to create new works, and FiveMyles will focus on performance art. Keep Reading »

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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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Art Openings: Genderless Fashion, Return of the East Village Eye, and More

Raque Ford, Yours Truly, Georgia Brown, 2016, Laser cut plexiglass. (image via ISCP)

Raque Ford, Yours Truly, Georgia Brown, 2016, Laser cut plexiglass. (image via ISCP)

Yours Truly, Georgia Brown
Opening Tuesday September 13 at International Studio and Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 11.

In this show, artist Raque Ford takes on the character of Georgia Brown, a “temptress” figure from the 1940s film and Broadway musical Cabin in the Sky. The show made history as the first production to feature an entirely African-American cast, but the creators were (shocking!) all white. Using a variety of techniques, including plexiglass sculpture and a zine of handwritten letters that attendees can take home with them, Ford will reexamine and rewrite the narrative of Georgia Brown through a rigorous and contemporary lens.

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Vomitous Volcanoes, an Auction That Doesn’t Suck, and More Art Haps

(Flyer via Living Gallery / Facebook)

(Flyer via Living Gallery / Facebook)

Consumption
Opening Monday August 22, 6 pm to 9 pm at The Living Gallery. On view one night only. 

For one night only, the humble Living Gallery will be taken over by artist and “earth-loving dumpster-diver” Jill Rosati’s fantastical sculptures. Among them are “vomcanoes,” vaguely grotesque creations that look as if a mound of dirt grew legs and eternally spewed a fine stream of luminescent sludge that may or may not contain human hair. Yum! Rosati is committed to showing the ugly and excess-filled side of human nature (and sometimes, just nature itself), but smartly does so using sustainable and recycled materials so she doesn’t necessarily waste in order to portray waste.

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Artist Blowin’ Up IUDs with a Show About ‘Sacrificing’ Body and Mind for Baby

Closeup of "Baby Mobile," 2016, wire hangers, fishing line, copper, 3d-printed plastic. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Closeup of “Baby Mobile,” 2016, wire hangers, fishing line, copper, 3d-printed plastic. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

You’ve heard the saying: “Don’t let people walk all over you.” If you’re a woman, this has probably been said to you especially often. But how often is it meant literally? At Kristin Smallwood’s debut solo exhibition IUD, now on view at American Medium in Bed-Stuy, the only way to access the art is by walking over scores of women (including photos of the artist herself), adhered endlessly and stickily to the gallery floor. The female figures are grinning lipstick-painted grins while your boot presses into their torso and your sweat drips onto their breasts.

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John Murray Goes to Dexter-esque Lengths to Create Incredible Replicas of Body Parts

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

(Photo: Karissa Gall)

On a recent Sunday afternoon in a Bushwick art studio, I took my top off, changed into a paper-thin, full-body Tyvek suit, and took a seat in front of a tall, blond man twirling a pair of surgical scissors. He cut off the top of the disposable suit and then wrapped my chest with clear tape, effectively pinning my arms to my sides. “This is starting to get a little too Dexter,” he said, before covering my neck with alginate.

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