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Art This Week: Anxiety-Inspired Mosaics, Nostalgic Beading, and More

Rashid Johnson
The Broken Five, 2019
Ceramic tile, mirror tile, spray enamel, bronze, oil stick, black soap, wax
246.4 x 398.1 x 7.6 cm / 97 x 156 3/4 x 3 in
left: H.98 W.74 D.3 in
right: H.98 W.86 D.3 in
Photo: Martin Parsekian
© Rashid Johnson
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

The Hikers
Opening Tuesday, November 12 at Hauser & Wirth 22nd Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through January 25.

Mosaics have an interesting place in the realm of fine art. Similar to collage, they simultaneously occupy spots in both high and low art, and can occasionally be seen as part of home decor. As it turns out, Rashid Johnson works in both mosaic and collage, as well as sculpture, film, and other multimedia endeavors. His latest exhibition, The Hikers, is inspired by a film he shot in the Colorado mountains and uses all these artistic disciplines to explore the ever-growing anxiety that stems from the mere act of being alive in today’s tumultuous times, both in America and beyond. In addition to The Hikers, the gallery will also be opening a show of eclectic, colorful paintings by Mike Kelley.

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A Notable Pierogi Shop Comes From Overseas to Greenpoint

(image courtesy of Pierozek)

Greenpoint is a place where you can do your laundry while playing pinball, score affordable old-fashioned doughnuts, eat a nice dinner, and catch a metal show in the back of a bar. But in addition to all that, Greenpoint is very much a Polish neighborhood, with no shortage of traditional food. As of this week, the north Brooklyn neighborhood has a newcomer, in the form of Pierozek, a cafe serving up a modest but nourishing menu of borscht, beer, and most importantly, handmade pierogi, which will be crafted on the premises.

Though Pierozek, which opened on Manhattan Avenue this past Wednesday, is a newcomer to both the city and America, that’s about the only thing new about it. Pierozek’s Polish counterpart, PierozeQ, has been serving up traditional dumplings in the city of Częstochowa, in southern Poland, since 1999. PierozeQ’s chefs, Marzena Gęsiarz and Zofia Kuśmierska, have been cooking there since the beginning, and are assisting Pierozek’s owners in recipe development.

According to Greenpointers, Pierozek’s owners, married couple Alexandra Siwiec and Radek Kucharski, wanted to open the restaurant as a way to help maintain the neighborhood’s cultural roots in a time where traditional Polish spots are starting to fade away.

“As Polish-Americans working and living New York City, it was a very natural decision for us to bring Pierozek to life in our hometown,” Siwiec said. “We wanted to keep the Polish pride alive in our neighborhood.”

The couple is far from new to the world of Greenpoint hospitality; they also helm Early, a coffee and sandwich shop offering a Polish street-food sandwich called a zapiekanka. They also opened the now-closed bar Nights and Weekends, which Siwiec reopened in 2017 (and later closed) as the cafe One Bedford. Siwiec even already had her hands in the space at 592 Manhattan Avenue that is now Pierozek—in 2017 it was The Gentry, a poutine-focused spot she opened with chef Gillian Clark.

Pierozek’s Greenpoint menu is straightforward and classic, featuring familiar pierogi fillings like potato and cheese, pork, sauerkraut and mushroom, and spinach and garlic, which are topped with onions and served with sour cream. Those with a sweet tooth are catered to as well, with strawberry, blueberry, and sweet cheese pierogi options also available.

(image courtesy of Pierozek)
(image courtesy of Pierozek)

In addition to pierogi, Pierozek also offers croquettes (patrons can choose from meat or sauerkraut and mushroom) and red borscht, with combo options pairing the savory beet soup with either croquettes or mini pierogi stuffed with mushrooms.

Pierozek, located at 592 Manhattan Avenue, is open daily from 11 am to 7 pm.

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Performance Picks: Live Animal Comedy and a Carnival of Debauchery

THURSDAY

(image via Vital Joint / Facebook)

Petting Zoo: The Wildlife Stand-Up Show
Thursday, November 7 at Vital Joint, 8 pm: $10

Some might say performers and animals have quite a bit in common, what with their primal energy and general lack of regard for doing anything other than what they’ve planned on doing, like perform or eat grass. These two similar species will be converging tonight in a very special show, and we don’t mean that metaphorically. Petting Zoo features not only jokes by familiar comedic faces like Dan Licata (who now writes for SNL), Charlie Bardey, Maggie Crane, and Mariah Oxley, an actual professional animal handler will be in appearance to show you a gaggle of furry, scaly, feathered, and otherwise non-human friends.

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Art This Week: Riffs On History and Hyperreal Sculptures

Yvette Mayorga
Homeland Promised Land, 2019
Acrylic piping on canvas
24h x 24w in
60.96h x 60.96w cm

A Part of US
Opening Thursday, November 7 at Geary. On view through December 20.

The first thing an onlooker might notice about the works of Yvette Mayorga is the color, which draws you in with its fluorescent brightness and candied hues. Next, you might notice its unique style, consisting of acrylic piping on canvas instead of brushstrokes. Paired with the colors, the works almost resemble elaborate baked goods or confections—even her sculptures, made of glazed porcelain, could look good enough to eat. Mayorga isn’t just looking to please one’s sweet tooth; her work (on view starting Thursday at Soho gallery Geary) also provides commentary on the so-called American Dream, which isn’t quite so dreamy for everyone. 

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Performance Picks: Spooky Drag and Sex Work Fundraising

WEDNESDAY

(poster courtesy of Shark Party Media)

Never A Boy
Wednesday, October 30 at UCB Hell’s Kitchen, 9 pm: $9

Visibility and representation in the media for trans and gender non-conforming people is certainly better than it once was, but it’s still all too common to see trans characters played by cis actors (or written by cis writers) or shoehorned into unfortunate stereotypes. That’s not the case with comedian Chloe Koser’s one-woman show Never A Boy. Koser tells her own story in her own words, delving into her personal journey of transition with a narrative that’s poignant but also unabashedly, comedically explicit. It’s not all autobiography, though; in between the memoir components of the show, Koser will perform an array of absurd characters, from a tampon maker to someone with deep carnal desire for a whale.

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Art This Week: Human Bones and Tyree Guyton

Nicole Awai, Reflection Pool, 2019, acrylic paint, resin, graphite, nail polish, plastic, shells, crystalline solids and paper, 50 x 38 in. 

Envisioning the Liquid Land
Opening Wednesday, October 30 at Lesley Heller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Envisioning the Liquid Land could be the title of a book on how climate change will undoubtedly plunge us all underwater one day, but it’s also the name of Nicole Awai’s latest solo show, on view starting Wednesday at Lesley Heller Gallery on Orchard Street. The Trinidad-born artist and teacher is known for utilizing a wide range of items in her art, from nail polish and resin to feathers and shells, in order to explore the intricacies of living in America today. Awai’s multifaceted style gives her work a multi-dimensional feel reminiscent of candy-colored dreamlands that look almost like normal life, but more surreal and more intriguing. That’s not all—in the gallery’s project space, there will also be an installation by Rachelle Dang, inspired by Hawaiian colonialism and botanical cabinets.

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Musings on Mortality, Witches, and More Spooky Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Orchid Receipt Service / Facebook)

Orchid Receipt Service
Now through October 26 at Mitu580, 7 pm: $25 ($10 for low-income artists)

One of the perks of seeing theater in New York is that sometimes you get to see actors that would normally only occupy your TV screens in person. Typically, this happens on Broadway stages, where you have to fork over big bucks (and go to Times Square) to see big names. Corinne Donly’s new play Orchid Receipt Service, a dreamscape centering around two transmasculine people’s relationship, breaks that mold by being in Gowanus (well, still a trek for some). Not only does the show feature Billions actor Asia Kate Dillon, both its cast and creative team are almost entirely made up of trans, non binary, and gender non-conforming artists. So not only can you see a face you know from TV, you can also see the stars of an inclusive, expansive future.

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Art This Week: Trippy Paintings and Dreamy Colors

(image via Sidel and McElwreath)

Harvest
Opening Wednesday, October 23 at 172 East 4th Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 20.

Frequently, galleries will show work by acclaimed artists who just happen to not be alive anymore. Sometimes their work gets combined with more contemporary creations, but not when art advisory group Sidel & McElwreath is concerned. Their focus is squarely on living artists, and they’ll be showcasing nine of their favorites at an East Village exhibition opening this Wednesday. The work included runs the gamut in both form and content, like a bountiful harvest should, and presents a chance for artists and viewers of art who may not normally gather in the same room to come together as a community.

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Performance Picks: Comedy With Free Pizza and Plenty of Drag

WEDNESDAY

(image via The Great Fairy Venus Celestina / Facebook)

I’m Selfish! The Birth of Venus
Wednesday, October 16 at Dream Baby, 9:30 pm: $10

Drag performer The Great Fairy Venus Celestina’s recurring show at the bar Dream Baby is always named I’m Selfish, but this time the title feels even more justified, as it will be celebrating the literal birth of Venus herself. Join the birthday queen, members of her Haus, and other special guest performers who will be turning out “Venus-themed” numbers for all to see. The cast will be performing a whopping three sets, so there will be plenty of time to see, tip, and drink, including some chances to win free booze.

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