Orchestra di stracci – vetro diviso (Rag Orchestra – Divided Glass) — Michelangelo Pistoletto, 1968
Rags, bricks, fabric, glass, kettles, steam, hot plates
2 glass panels, each: 0.4 x 130 x 90 cm / 1/8 x 51 1/8 x 35 3/8 in
Installation: 50 x 320 x 270 cm / 19 5/8 x 126 x 106 1/4 in (approx.)

Arte Povera
Opening Tuesday, September 12 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 28.

When you think about Italian art, the Renaissance probably is the first thing to come to mind. However, as many of us have come to know far too late in life, what you were taught in your history classes is far from the whole picture. In this case, Italy is and has been home to a wide variety of artistic movements, and not all of them involved painting elaborate portraits for wealthy patrons.

An exhibition opening this week at Hauser & Wirth is all about Arte Povera, a 20th-century Italian art movement that largely took place in the ’60s. “Arte povera” means “poor art,” so no one should be shocked to hear that this group was unhappy with capitalism. They also didn’t feel too great about Soviet communism. So, instead of unifying to produce the same type of art, they used whatever artistic medium they felt most drawn to, in order to create work that envisioned new ways to make art and operate society. Though Arte Povera is not active today, one of its members was arrested for involvement with an anti-fascist group, so it’s more than likely this exhibition will feel more relevant to today than not.

(image via The Kitchen / Facebook)

Siham and Hafida
Opening Wednesday, September 13 at The Kitchen, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 21.

In addition to being a long-lasting hub for experimental dance and performance art, The Kitchen hosts a variety of visual art exhibitions. Their latest show, by Moroccan artist Meriem Bennani, shines a spotlight on the chikha, a female performer of music and dance in Moroccan culture. During the advent of colonialism, the chikha was seen as a symbol of resistance.

Bennani was featured in The New York Times for her parody reality show “Fabulous Punjab,” about a fictional absurdist hijab designer, but her latest multimedia venture is very real. She’s made a video profiling two chikhas of differing generations, who have varying views about their role in the culture. This specific divergence serves to shed light on potential cultural differences across generations in Morocco, and how things like social media have also played a role.

(image via Disclaimer Gallery / Facebook)

Build The Love You Deserve
Opening Thursday, September 14 at Disclaimer Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. Workshop on September 23. On view through October 14.

Robots exist. Sex exists. Therefore, sex robots will be created and used. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been online, but at the same time, there are a surprising array of ways to approach making a robotic replacement for the physical (and emotional) stimulation typically provided by human beings.

And no, I don’t just mean how certain robotic body parts are shaped, but that’s certainly something that you could look into if you wanted to. For artist Fei Liu, it’s not enough to just create a robot with knowledge of all things carnal. In her solo exhibition Build The Love You Deserve, she’s built a robot using open source technology that is designed to not only attend to her physical needs (silicone is involved), but her emotional needs as well. So rather than a sexbot or any variation of that, Liu’s creation is an “intimacy robot.” At the opening this Thursday, she will do a performance with her bot that involves a reading of “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure cyber erotica.” Is this kind of automation the future of relationships? Later this month there will be a workshop teaching you to make a simpler version of your own intimacy robot, so perhaps you can find out for yourself.

George Byrne
New Order, Hollywood Boulevard 2017
Archival pigment print
41.5″ x 41.75″

New Order
Opening Friday, September 15 at Olsen Gruin, 5 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 9.

George Byrne is a photographer. He’s also the brother of actress Rose Bryne. When you are a notable artist and your sister is a famous actress, it means that your NYC art opening will be hosted by Bobby Cannavale. So if this reception is a bit more crowded than most, this is likely the reason why.

Big-name hosts aside, the LA-based Byrne’s art itself is intriguing and compelling, reminiscent of the parts of cities that are too quiet and too perfect to feel comfortable. Surroundings are the colors of sherbet, both trees and telephone poles stand perfectly straight in the air, or with matching curves that look more god-induced than wind-induced. In a way, Byrne’s snapshots feel a lot like the world of Hollywood: it’s real, but it’s also too good to be true, because someone (or a team of someones) made it look that way.