Monika Monika Opening Monday, April 1 at Steuben Gallery, 5 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 5.
Monika Monika is both the name of a multimedia artist and an exhibition opening tonight at Pratt Institute’s Steuben Gallery. The self-titled display explores Monika Monika’s experiences as a sex worker, through lush paintings exposing snapshots of customers she’s gotten to know and sculptures combining imagery both kitschy and sensual. While sex workers are often the subject of non-sex-working people’s artistic endeavors, adding what some might see as an edgy appeal and others see as needless fetishization, this exhibition (designed to mimic the feel of a Times Square peep show) puts the sex worker’s perspective front and center, compelling viewers to see her world through her eyes.More →
Dire Jank Opening Wednesday, March 20 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19.
It’s usually considered good and impressive for something digitally created to look flawless, almost like it wasn’t created by humans to begin with. Usually this process is time-consuming; it almost always involves some sort of expensive software, or equipment, or graduate degrees. Dire Jank, an exhibition of games, videos, and digital art curated by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, celebrates pretty much everything that isn’t that. Pixelated images, old Photo Booth filters, outdated Flash games, glitches, and more are put on a pedestal here, valued more than the glossy, hyper-realistic creations that modern technology can create.More →
Quiet as a Space Opening reception Thursday, March 14 at 54 Eldridge Street, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 1.
One type of trendy online content today can be found under the label “oddly satisfying.” Paint cutting videos, hands poking indents in spheres of colorful slime, objects fitting perfectly into one another, and so on. Imagery like that can be calming to observe, even if you don’t know exactly why. The work of artist Adrian Kay Wong, an LA dweller bringing his work to the Lower East Side beginning Thursday, has a similar feel to it. Smooth diagonal slashes, even squares, symmetrical curves, and more calming geometry abounds in Wong’s paintings, which are graced with bold colors and landscapes populated with desks, lamps, couches, and flowers. They’re simple, they’re impressive, and they’re definitely satisfying.More →
Fire Opening Wednesday, March 6 at Baby Company, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 14.
Oh, Fire Island. Even if you’ve never been (I haven’t), you’ve probably come across it in one way or another, even if it’s just on your Instagram feed or that time you overheard a group of partygoers dishing about their weekend outing. You have another chance to soak in this getaway through the eyes of another at group exhibition Fire, opening Wednesday at Allen Street’s Baby Company (an offshoot of the nearby Company Gallery). The show, organized by photographer Ryan McNamara, features familiar queer art names like Raúl de Nieves, Kia Labeija, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Nicole Eisenman, all revealing snapshots of what Fire Island (and by extension, spaces known for being queer sanctuaries) means to them.
Patrick Martinez, Chocolate Cake for the Black Panther Party, 2018, Heavy body acrylic, acrylic, airbrush, and ceramic cake roses on panel with gold mirror plex, 20 x 26 x 3 inches (image via Fort Gansevoort)
That Which We Do Not See Opening Thursday, March 7 at Fort Gansevoort, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 20.
Artist Patrick Martinez brings something simultaneously sweet and politically-charged to the Meatpacking District gallery Fort Gansevoort this week when he opens his solo show of paintings, multimedia pieces, and neon works. The show, which takes its title from a Martin Luther King quote, is peppered with notable figures from modern history, from author Rebecca Solnit to Malcolm X and James Baldwin. These faces, along with other iconography like the Black Panther Party’s panther image, are emblazoned on cakes in remarkable mixed media paintings that truly look edible—their decadence hints at portrait painting’s history of elevating those who could afford to commission one. In addition to the cakes, a selection of paintings of Los Angeles’s changing landscape and text-based neon sculptures will also be on view.
(image via Sonder Exhibition)
Sonder iii Opening Friday, March 8 at 198 Allen Street, 6 pm to 10 pm. On view through March 10.
In many instances, going to see art means going to see the work of older people, whether that be artists who made work decades or centuries ago or contemporary greats who have been in the art world for years. But exhibition series Sonder, returning to the Lower East Side for a third year, only shows work by young people. No, not people who are in their mid/late twenties. It’s curated by teenagers, and features work by teenagers who create in multiple genres, who are both local to NYC and based around the globe. When I think about what I was doing when I was a teen, it definitely wasn’t showing art in a New York City gallery, so this is your chance to get a peek at those paving the way for the future of art. I can only wonder if, in light of all the news, there’ll be some Momo-themed art…
It’s a shame you can’t consume paintings with more than just your eyes, as the works on view at Food For Thought, opening Thursday at Soho gallery Louis K. Meisel, certainly look good enough to eat. That’s not a metaphor: they’re artistic renderings of food, from sugary, cellophane-wrapped confections to simple still lives of walnuts or onions. The edible item isn’t always front and center in this stuffed show—some pieces are intricate retro renderings of the signs outside of diners, bars, or burger joints; others are painted nudes where the subject just happens to be holding an apple. Either way, the food is there. Sometimes you have to look for it, sometimes it’s so prominent you’ll start feeling peckish.More →
Smut Opening Wednesday, February 20 at Con Artist Collective, 7 pm to 11 pm. On view through February 22.
Many pieces of art are meant to be refined and cultured, prompting viewers to gaze at delicate brushstrokes and profound deeper meanings. But some art is just plain hot, and you sure can find a lot of that (plus some refined and cultured stuff, too) at the opening of Smut, a steamy group show curated by Liam Cotter and produced by Solas Studio featuring art ranging “from the erotic to the pornographic.” Of course, the line between those two descriptors is historically blurry, but it’s unfortunately common to see “fine art” insisting that porn doesn’t have a place in it, so the fact that that’s not the case here is refreshing to see. Over 40 artists working in all types of disciplines will be exhibiting as part of the show, so there’ll certainly be a lot to take in. Just make sure to keep it in your pants.More →
Vesuvius, Will You Be My Girlfriend?, 2018. 10 x 12½’ (image courtesy of Howl Happening)
Homo Eruptus Opening Thursday, February 14 at HOWL! Happening, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 13.
Scooter LaForge’s paintings, on view at East Village space Howl Happening starting on Valentine’s Day, are satisfyingly messy, so it’s only appropriate they are unveiled on a day classically associated with messy emotional feelings, whether they be good or bad. Similar feelings are articulated through LaForge’s brushstrokes, which create compelling and mind-boggling scenes featuring cartoon animals, bodily fluids, autofellatio, angels, and much more. He manages to fit a doe-eyed rabbit that looks straight out of a Disney movie in the same frame as angry black paint smears, a urinating brown bear with big black boots, and human(ish) figures that look almost like they’d be fit to adorn the ceiling of a church somewhere, provided that church was sufficiently strange. The longer you look, the more you’ll find. More →
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.More →
Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos Opening Thursday, January 31 at Contra Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 15.
While playing with your food has long been understood as a childish act one grows out of, not everyone stops meddling in their munchies. Sometimes this is actually for the best; in the case of artist David Henry Nobody Jr., it’s resulted in some compelling (and sometimes stomach-turning) sculptural works featuring the artist’s head and corn, cabbage, tomatoes, lunch meat, and even a bag of corn flakes stuck around his head that then gets steadily filled with milk. That’s just a smattering of what Nobody Jr. has to offer in his new show Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos (say that fives times fast). Opening at Chelsea’s Contra Gallery on Thursday, it explores the absurdity of both humanity and the waste we leave behind. More →
“Andy Warhol, Self Portrait, 1986” Image credit: Courtesy Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts/ Artists Rights Society (ARS)
Andy Warhol: By Hand, Drawings 1950s-1980s Opening Tuesday, January 22 at New York Academy of Art, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 10.
Most people know Andy Warhol by his colorful printed pop art creations, films, and tendency to bring together some of the city’s most intriguing artists, writers, socialites, and drag performers. Or perhaps his associations with The Velvet Underground or Interview magazine come to mind. But Warhol also made drawings—he started out as a commercial illustrator—and you can see a selection of them created over the course of 30 years in a new exhibition at the New York Academy of Art. Rather than the bold shades of Warhol works like the iconic painting Campbell’s Soup Cans, these drawings are more minimal, often featuring nothing more than a pencil and paper. If you’ve already seen the sprawling Whitney retrospective, here’s a chance to see the artist in a new light.More →