Despite the suffocating amount of luxury stores, there are still some small pockets of Soho that retain the neighborhood’s old gritty art spirit. As you pass The Performing Garage, where experimental troupe The Wooster Group and others still rehearse and perform, you’ll now encounter an new and improved iteration of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. After lengthy renovations, the museum has reopened and nearly doubled in size with Expanded Visions: Fifty Years of Collecting, an exhibition rich in the history and scope of queerness and the artistic expression surrounding it.
Dokonoko was launched by Tokyo-born graphic designer Reina Sugiyama and her fellow New Yorker Lacey Voss, who has designed for American Outfitters and Victoria’s Secret. The brand describes itself as “a play on many things: Japanese and American cultures, femininity and feminism, identity and stereotypes, and the seriousness of the retail world.” The quintessential “Dokonoko woman,” according to the brand’s manifesto, had an international upbringing (Sugiyama was a globe-trotting diplomat’s daughter) and “found her freedom to be truly herself” in New York City.
The annual NADA New York art fair kicked off yesterday in Soho. With a new space (Skylight Clarkson North) and a new time of year (Armory Week), NADA remains a cacophony of serious art enthusiasts and neophytes. Among the 100 exhibitors are a host of downtown galleries like Jack Hanley Gallery, Regina Rex, Rawson Projects, Alden Projects, and Brennan & Griffin. In classic style, nearly everyone was dressed in an all-consuming black. Here’s a look at what was on display this year.
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?
On a chilly but pleasant afternoon, a group of people sat at tables in Soho art space Recess, poring over strips of film. One person scratches designs onto a strip, another adds metallic star-shaped stickers. Croatia-born artist Željka Blakšić, who also uses the name Gita Blak, has been conducting what she calls a “direct filmmaking workshop.” In it, 16mm film strips are directly altered through the use of collage, drawing, scratching, and other tactics. Each person’s customized film strip is individual, but soon they will all be assembled into one motley creation, fed into a projector, and screened for all its creators to behold.
Our love of geodesic domes is such that we’re willing to travel uptown for them, so imagine our excitement when we noticed a trio of them being erected at the corner of Varick and Canal, near the Holland Tunnel. OMG, could these be the orgy domes of the future? A new pied–à–terre for Jack White’s brother? The latest iteration of PS1’s art dome? A long-overdue Buckminster Fuller museum?
Mike Taylor: Condensed Flesh
Opening Thursday October 13 at Idio Gallery, 6 pm to 11 pm. On view through October 30.
East Williamsburg space Idio Gallery put out a call for crowdsourced financial support several months ago, which very well could have signaled that it was beginning to scale down. However, with a show at Bushwick Open Studios and another show opening shortly after, they don’t appear to be going anywhere. This one is a solo show, presenting works on paper and paintings by renowned graphic artist Mike Taylor, created between 2012 and now. Finished works won’t be the only thing on display in this show, as Idio’s downstairs basement space will be transformed into a showcase of the artist in-process, with drawings not yet done, prints, and “printmaking debris” on view as well. Taylor’s work is bold and bright, often utilizing neon colors and mixing abstract patterns with notes of realism and the human form filtered through the style of the illustrator and comic artist.
Co//Modified: A Showcase of Design Artists
Opening Monday October 3 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. One night only.
In this one-night-only show curated by Mia Schachter, eight artists who “straddle the line of intention between utilitarian design and art” will make their way to Bushwick’s The Living Gallery to show their work. Many of these artists make work that they predominantly try to sell as useful objects, like hyperstylized papier-mâché percussion instruments, ceramic mugs or pots, and embroidery. This show seeks to lay their salesperson spirit to rest momentarily so they can merely show off their creations as art. But if you’d like to go home with a piece or two, you’ll be able to do so as well.
Wednesday, September 28 at Throne Watches, 8 pm: FREE.
The future may not be looking very great for the country/society as a whole, but it’s looking okay for the four hosts of this recurring comedy show: Mary Houlihan recently went viral for her hilarious and biting interview with Martin Shkreli, “space prince” Julio Torres was recently hired as an SNL writer, Sam Taggart was named one of Brooklyn’s funniest people, and Joe Rumrill‘s face is currently comedian Tig Notaro‘s Twitter avatar. While they’re all certainly busy with all this and more, they still find time to gather in this Williamsburg watch store and host a comedy show.
Walking down Soho’s Elizabeth Street can feel like a neverending vortex of high-class retail, where the designer clothing racks outnumber the people. That is, until you arrive at the lush, green Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring Streets. The green “oasis” (as many have dubbed it) and community hub is once again being actively considered for a site for affordable senior housing, a decision that has long been opposed by Community Board 2 but supported by the area’s City Council member Margaret Chin.
The 20,000-square-foot garden is city-owned, but privately leased by gallerist Allan Reiver, who initially planned to use it to store his sculptures but opened it up as a unique respite from the city’s concrete surroundings, full of colorful flowers, green grass, seating areas, and many eye-catching sculptures. Volunteer-run, the garden has been used for community events, education, performances, film screenings, and an annual Harvest Festival. Some of these events draw hundreds of people, located in a neighborhood the NYC Parks Department has previously identified as “underserved by open space.”
Last week, news surfaced that the NYC Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) had officially issued a Request for Proposals to develop the land the garden stands on. Wednesday afternoon, dozens gathered in the garden for a press conference, bearing signs and passionately asserting their garden’s right to remain where it is.
At Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 7 pm: FREE.
If you’re not the type to sit around watching short-form video clips all day, this is the show for you. Impressively funny ladies Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla are bringing their Refinery29 web series, “Womanhood,” to a real, live venue. No more straining your eyes staring at bright screens to get your laugh on– these are 100% in-person joke-tellers, which is probably a lot more fun than 100% in-person bank tellers. Firestone and Nancherla have graciously assembled a group of nice folk to help them teach you all about the complex terrain of women’s bodies and lives, including Dylan Marron, Naomi Ekperegin, Marlena Rodriguez, and Diana Kolsky (who will truly contain multitudes as “The Haters.”) You might wanna take your headphones off for this one.
Up Against The Wall
Opening Tuesday August 30, 7 pm to 10 pm at Booklyn. On view through September 27.
Greenpoint “artist and bookmakers organization” Booklyn, which has impressively been hanging around since 1999, presents this exhibition of prints by two projects: Imagining Apartheid, a Montreal-based initiative bringing awareness to Palestinian liberation and the BDS movement with a focus on Israeli Apartheid, and Celebrate People’s History: Iraq Veterans Against the War, a portfolio project which aims to highlight veteran and active duty members who were against the war and have spoken out over the last ten years. Placed side-by-side, these prints and posters highlight years of a common struggle and fight for demilitarization and justice regardless of country or nationality.