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Weekend Art Openings: African Masks, Tiny Sculptures, and The Apocalypse

(image courtesy of Salon 94 Bowery)

Flash of the Spirit
Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now. Keep Reading »

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A Future Without Cisgender Men, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Lorene Bouboushian / Facebook)

This Is It
Wednesday, September 26 at The Glove, 8:30 pm: $8

If you were planning on going to a show tonight and being rowdy and inattentive, I’d advise you not to come to The Glove. “I will pick you up and slide you down the stairs if you are shitty,” notes Lorene Bouboushian, the host for the evening of performance art, and you’d best heed their warning. So, get your respectful and enthusiastic self to Bushwick to see some weird and wonderful work by noise-drag performer Reagan Holiday, queer Latinx performance artist Sierra Ortega, multidisciplinary artist Rina Espiritu, and a butt-tastic collaboration between Lily Chambers and Hannah Kallenbach. Keep Reading »

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At Cuomo’s ‘Marijuana Listening Session,’ High Hopes For Legalization

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

When Governor Cuomo’s office announced a series of statewide “marijuana listening sessions” to get community feedback when drafting legislation for legal adult use, many rushed to make jokes; the name conjured images of stoned people jamming to records. But recreational cannabis use was one of the last things on the minds of those at last night’s Manhattan session. Rather, the two-hour event at BMCC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center was rife with dialogue surrounding the potentials and risks this type of historic legalization could bring, and how New York might be able to get it right. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Groovy Folk Art, Incarceration Adaptations, and More

(image via Front Room Gallery)

Back To Nature
Opening Wednesday, September 5 at Front Room Gallery, 7 pm. On view through October 21.

If you ever rode the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, you’ll recall paintings hung on some of the walls that had eyes that appeared to follow you as you moved your own from side to side. Spooky! That’s sort of how I feel when I look at the wide-eyed paintings done by Amy Hill, who is opening a solo exhibition at Lower East Side’s Front Room Gallery on Wednesday. Her portraits are realistic while also being surreal and a little creepy (even the cats stare at you with unblinkingly large eyes), bringing the style of 19th century American folk art into more modern times. Rather than setting her figures in the 21st century, she curiously grounds them in 1960s counterculture, where peace-sign necklaces and fringed leather replace any peasant frocks. We never actually found that peace, did we… Keep Reading »

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Cole Escola, Sloppy Shakespeare, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Sanina Leilani / Facebook)

Glow Up!: An All POC Variety Show
Thursday, August 16 at Starr Bar, 8:45 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

Queer drag performers Noctua and C’ètait BonTemps host this variety show featuring exclusively artists of color. If you’ve been posting on social media about how bad white supremacy in America is lately, attending would be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support a show where the lineup, hosts, and producers are all people of color. And what can you expect out of the night? The lineup isn’t too packed with people, but the ones they do have really pack a punch: burlesque performer Miss Sugar Mamasota, soulful singer Cherry, drag and music artist Laé D. Boi, and Texas-based pole and burlesque performer Black Orchid. Keep Reading »

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Art That Lulls You Into Relaxation and More Openings This Week

Image: Raul Valverde in collaboration with Muntadas, ‘Calendar for Travelling Artists’, 2018, 8 × 51/2 in. (20.32 × 13.97 cm). Courtesy of the artist. (via ISCP / Facebook)

Never Take a Vacation with an Artist Who Collects the Same Stuff You Do
Opening Tuesday, August 14 at International Studio + Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

The title of this new group show from ISCP conjures some immediate images: two artists, lounging on the beach. Their peaceful time is cut short due to the fact that they both really want to collect the same type of shells, but there are only a couple of those, so they start fighting over them. Dare I say, all shell breaks loose? I forget if you can even take shells from beaches, but still. The actual content of this show, which features nine artists from ISCP’s Ground Floor Program, appears to be more interesting (or soothing) than my strange musings about beaches. With a goal of “lull[ing] the viewer into a state of relaxation,” the show offers vacation-centric content like thoughts on summer road trips and an interactive piece that quite literally gives the gallery’s front desk staff a break from working. It’s summer, after all. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: Pleas For Peace, New Sculptors, Motherhood

(image courtesy of The Untitled Space)

Defining Form
Opening Wednesday, July 11 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 1.

When one thinks of sculpture, it’s likely the old masters of yore come to mind: Donatello, Michelangelo, Bernini, even more modern creators like Duchamp and Calder. Something else these artists have in common, in addition to their acclaim and skill, is their gender. Surprise surprise, like most art historical figures, they’re all men. New group show Defining Form seeks to introduce the public to a new, more diverse generation of sculptors. Over 50 artists are participating in the exhibition, which features common motifs of feminism, unconventional materials, and technologically-advanced ways of creating art, such as 3-D printing. So, come and have your notions of what it means to be a sculptor expanded. Keep Reading »

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Art This Week: War, Globalism, and Multiple Realities

Richard Mosse, Love Is The Drug, 2012 (image via apexart)

Light In Wartime
Opening Wednesday, June 6 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 28.

War has been a near-constant in most people’s lives, whether they intimately know it or not. This exhibition, curated by Rola Khayyat, explores “the gap between understanding wars as historical happenings, and their fictionalized representations in the entertainment world, political realm, and collective consciousness.” Seeking to combine traditional documentary photographs with artistic metaphor and experimental development processes, the work in Light In Wartime predominantly depicts imagery that shows the aftermath of war, from sniper holes to newspaper articles. In viewing these new creations, we may start to form new thoughts about the information related to war we’ve been given for most of our lives. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Drag, Science, Neurodivergence

THURSDAY

(flyer via The Dirty Blondes / Facebook)

DRAG!
Thursday, May 31 at Le Poisson Rouge, 7 pm: $35

Everyone likes drag. Well, maybe not everyone, but it’s certainly been having a mainstream moment lately, so it’s safe to assume more people like drag than ever before. If you’d like to see some drag, there are many places you can go in the city, but tonight you can specifically go to Le Poisson Rouge, where an array of colorful performers such as Bear Lee Legal, Glace Chase, Chris Tyler, Dynasty, and Donald C. Shorter Jr will be giving shows, shows, shows to help raise money for feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes. The show’s Facebook event proclaims “bodies will dance, drinks will flow and gender norms will be smashed,” which sounds like a recipe for a nice night to me. And yes, I know Drag Race is also tonight, but you can just watch it later. Keep Reading »

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#StopSESTA, Lobotomies, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(poster by Mikey Heller)

Tim Platt: Live in COWncert
Thursday, April 26 at The Brick, 9:30 pm: $10

Many of us grew up watching Sesame Street. Comedian Tim Platt has recently written a song for this beloved children’s show, but that isn’t the only song he’s penned. In fact, you can see Platt’s entire repertoire of comedy music on Thursday night at The Brick when he plays a concert as part of the Brooklyn Comedy Collective’s residence at the Williamsburg theater. Sure, comedy music can be grating or cringe-inducing, but Tim’s music is neither of those things. Well, unless it’s trying to be. So, come one come all, and open your ears for songs about vegetables (as someone who once wrote an entire play about broccoli, this excites me) and all other sorts of topics, with accompanist Ben Kling and opening act Eudora Peterson. Maybe, just maybe, there will also be a cow. Keep Reading »

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Choreographed Photos, Experiments In Light, and More Art This Week

Image: Jenna Westra, Mariana Sits on “The Complete Photographer, An Encyclopedia of Photography” (1949), Volume 6, Pages 2178-79, ‘Best Fashion Study and Best Action Production Still Taken in a Studio’, 2018. Archival pigment print, 26 x 21.75 inches (image courtesy of Lubov)

Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits
Opening Saturday, March 24 at Lubov, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 6.

The Tribeca gallery Lubov is small, tucked away on the second floor of an office building, but within it you’ll find none of the monotony typically associated with such work. Instead, you’ll be greeted with contemporary art of all sorts, including their newest exhibition Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits. In addition to being a very good exhibition name in my opinion, it’s also an assortment of analog photography by Jenna Westra that focuses on what happens when you don’t shy away from the act of purposefully trying to create an engaging scene ripe for the snapping. The scenarios recall a kind of captured choreography, such as an amateur model (or maybe a dancer?) kneeling with their dirt-dusted feet squarely sitting on (what else?) a book of photography, simultaneously desecrating and establishing its position as subject. Keep Reading »

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Sesame Street Drag, Disabled Comedians, and More Performance Picks

Asia Gagnon’s ‘The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About’ at SipFest

SipFest
Now through March 14 at Wild Project, various times, various prices

The nature of live theater is that anything can happen at any time. Sometimes this is good, but not always. Spaceman, a high-tech play from Loading Dock Theater about a woman astronaut’s journey to Mars, was supposed to have a run at Wild Project currently, but had to be canceled due to an injury sustained by the lead performer. However, the venue will not be empty. A last-minute festival of original performance works by women and queer artists called Sipfest will run at the Lower East Side venue in its stead. There, you’ll find a solo show digging into how we discuss sexual assault, drag performances, femme ballads, a play inspired by the fanfiction epic My Immortal, and more. Keep Reading »