“Summer Sisters” 2018 by Rebecca Leveille (image via The Untitled Space)

The End of Love
Opening Tuesday, May 1 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 13.

For an exhibition sporting as foreboding a title as The End of Love, Rebecca Leveille’s paintings are so entrancing as to inspire a sort of optimism in the viewer. In addition to being strikingly beautiful, her paintings portray feminine beauty, bliss, and sexuality in a way that’s playful and mixes elements of realism and mythology, allowing for a mental break from the seemingly constant barrage of nonsense coming from the world. Leveille is no stranger to the realm of the fantastical, as she has previously created illustrations for Magic: The Gathering under the name Rebecca Guay. Looking to how the artist herself has spoken of this show, the connection between the title and the content begins to feel more clear. “What comes after delusions of ‘love?,’” she writes. “Feminine power and sexuality find new ground, as does an urgency to assert the female gaze.”

Who Am I, 2018, Collage on wood, 25 x 19 inches (image via Fort Gansevoort)

The Land + Rated Rookie
Opening Thursday, May 3 at Fort Gansevoort, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 16.

There are two exhibitions opening at Meatpacking District gallery Fort Gansevoort this Thursday: one of paintings by Michelangelo Lovelace, another of collages and paintings by Ashley Teamer. Both zero in on specific groups, with Lovelace colorfully rendering the inner city life in his hometown of Cleveland and Teamer taking on gender dynamics in sports, specifically basketball. Lovelace, who will be showing paintings he’s made from 1994 to 2016, captures the life of the inner city from memory and “inserts people of color into the language of American painting” through a style that’s been called both childlike and Hopper-esque. Teamer’s collage works primarily draw from Women’s National Basketball Association and men’s league trading cards, exploring the possibility for the two to exist on equal footing and delving into the way female players’s faces can simultaneously seem to portray both athletic achievement and deep pain.

​Erik Bergrin
“Crematorium;” 2016
Wool, jute, cotton, metal, acrylic, thread.
6ft 8in x 4ft

Opening Thursday, May 3 at Marlborough Contemporary, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 6.

It’s not every day that an artist exhibiting in a local gallery has also done costume designs for Lady Gaga, but fiber artist Erik Bergrin has managed to do that and more. In addition to his more star-studded work, he has also made costumes for downtown performers and composers like M Lamar, Dane Terry, and Max Vernon, and has exhibited internationally. More recently, his interest in Buddhist meditation has made its way into his artistic practice, and he focuses on making “wearable fiber sculptures” that are associated with rituals. For his solo exhibition Shadowwork, he’s made nine cocoon-like sculptures that represent “metaphoric mental spaces” that err on the darker side of things and aim to help audiences have “a confrontation with their own shadows.” That is, if you’re not already doing that on a daily basis.

Alesia Exum, ‘Merrie Cherry’, 2016, Digital photograph. (image via Leslie-Lohman Museum / Facebook)

Neon Angels
Opening Friday, May 4 at Leslie-Lohman Museum Project Space, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 6.

Pix or it didn’t happen. While this is sort of a silly phrase, it becomes almost poignant when considering how often spaces for queer art and nightlife are disappearing. The photos taken there can end up becoming one of the only ways these happenings are memorialized. While many exhibits showcase nightlife in the ’80’s and ‘90s, photographer Alesia Exum’s first encounter with queer nightlife was with the drag-centric parties in north Brooklyn in 2012. The parties and events she’s been documenting, like Bath Salts, Bushwig, and On Top, are a chronicle of unique spaces both long departed and still thriving, and the many colorful characters who have either passed through momentarily or made these places their home.