(image via The Walther Collection / Facebook)

Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment
Opening Thursday, February 7 at The Walther Collection, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 25.

No geographic location ever looks exactly the same over time, but if there’s one type of place that has the most potential for rapid transformation, it’s cities. This photo show at Chelsea’s The Walther Collection seeks to spotlight photographs taken throughout history that reveal the ways buildings and land have been knocked down and built upon, and not always in beneficial ways. Taken between 1876 and 2000, this “vernacular photography” (defined as “utilitarian imagery made primarily for commercial or personal purposes”) illustrates how urban expansion has been historically valued more than preserving the natural world, from mining towns in rural Kentucky and West Virginia to the sprawling metropolises of NYC and Los Angeles.

(image via Rubber Factory / Facebook)

Violet: Mythologies and Other Truths
Opening Friday, February 8 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 10.

As February is Black History Month, it’s fitting that it’s also the month that Jon Key’s solo show, which explores the multifaceted experience of the queer black man, opens at LES space Rubber Factory. Key’s abstract, geometric portraits and landscapes pop with color, but limit their palette to four shades: green, black, red, and violet, the latter of which has a particularly pervasive, purply presence throughout all the works. Limitations like this can often lead to creative blossoming, and Key’s work is no exception, compelling you to get lost in the colors and shapes and “imagine a world where queer black bodies reign.” 

The Views
Opening Friday, February 8 at Fisher Parrish Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 24.

Not to be confused with the talk show, The Views is a group exhibition of paintings of windows. Such a simple theme might seem boring initially, but remember, windows are far more than mere pieces of glass you can see through. They can be many shapes, many sizes, ornate or plain—and they can possess the ability to facilitate all kinds of things, from unsavory voyeurism to the joy of learning an outside world is in fact out there somewhere. The exhibition’s 11 artists have interpreted the prompt in equally creative ways, from literal renditions of windows so pristine you want to reach out and touch them to colorful, cartoonish abstractions.