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.

Stretcher Bar Painting 2, 2015 Pigment and oil on canvas 195.6 x 111.8 cm / 77 x 44 in © Rita Ackermann Courtesy Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson

Stretcher Bar Painting 2, 2015
Pigment and oil on canvas
195.6 x 111.8 cm / 77 x 44 in
© Rita Ackermann
Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Genevieve Hanson

Rita Ackermann, Kline Rape
Opening Thursday, November 10 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 14. 

Admittedly, the title of this show is a little off-putting. Sure, the title refers to the painter Rita Ackermann creatively intervening in expressionist painter Franz Kline’s works, creating feminine curves and bright colors where there was previously only dark, harsh, masculine lines. It’s great to be offsetting the patriarchy in whatever way we can, but I wouldn’t exactly be throwing around the term “rape” if I was her, just as a general rule of thumb. But the paintings do look nice.

This series will be paired with another Ackermann series, Stretcher Bar. Supposedly the name stems from “the emergence of x-ray-like imprints which surface when impressions of paint and pigment become transpired with the structural presence of the picture plane itself.” To me, Stretcher Bar sounds like it could be a medieval torture device, or a watering hole where you’re encouraged to be particularly acrobatic or leisurely. The latter sounds like it could fit, as these paintings often feature wobbly, streaky, almost Rubenesque femme figures, fading in and out of the foreground and often accompanied by a drinking goblet. I’ll leave the rest of the interpreting up to you.

Jennifer Dwyer (image courtesy of the artist)

Jennifer Dwyer (image courtesy of the artist)

Tell Me More
Opening Friday, November 11 at academic gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through December 10. 

Three artists, each working in different mediums, explore the unknown and one’s desire to understand it in this group show opening at Long Island City’s academic gallery. Jen Dwyer’s sculptural ceramic works are soft and pastel-colored, sometimes dusted with sparkle, forming open spaces that viewers can inscribe their own meanings on or creating a jumble of nondescript shapes and odd, identifiable objects such as two feet. Natalie Fisk’s paintings merge reality and the supernatural, manifesting swirls of color that are at once abstract and clear. Meanwhile, Mary Negro’s large-scale drawings create twisting, turning webs you could get lost in. Her work begins with trails of “stream-of-consciousness writing” that she then goes over with ink, making the words essentially invisible. You could stare for a while and try to make out the words, hoping it’ll be able to “tell [you] more,” but you may never get that satisfaction.

(image via I Can’t Breathe / Eventbrite)

Wound: I Can’t Breathe
Friday, November 11 at 41 Cooper Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. RSVP required.

Not exactly a formal art exhibit but a “study center for practices of listening, attention, and collaboration,” housed in the basement gallery space of Cooper Union, Wound (like the clock, not like the injury) has for the past month hosted a variety of workshops and organizing tools, with in-person group activities as well as written scores for collaborative action penned by folks like Yoko Ono and feminist performance artist Linda Montano, books, clocks, and visual art pieces.

The experience comes to a close this Friday with one final workshop, Shaun Leonardo’s I Can’t Breathe, a “public-participatory” performance in the form of a self-defense class. Participants will learn only self-protective moves, no offensive moves, then will be paired up to practice what they have learned, with each alternating the role of an attacker. While this is happening, Leonardo will recite a text inspired by Nina Simone, welcoming the participants to embody their interpretations of the words in order to decide how to conduct themselves. As the title may have implied, the piece is about society’s need to fight to survive, and is dedicated to the memories of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and so many others.