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 →
John Driscoll (image via Fridman Gallery / Facebook)
Slight Perturbations / The Weight of Things Opening Wednesday, January 16 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 13.
Fridman Gallery’s new space on Bowery has two levels, upper and lower. Fittingly, there will be two exhibitions opening there this Wednesday: a show of of interactive sound sculptures by John Driscoll in the upper space, and a two-channel video installation by Dana Levy centered around the Palace of Versailles in the lower space. Driscoll’s sculptures resemble hodgepodge collections of found objects or avant-garde furniture pieces crossed with a science fair, but they’re much more than something to puzzle over: they contain minuscule microphones and speakers, and a “reflective foil” that creates sound with help from whatever objects are nearby. And though it’s in the lower level, Levy’s video work deals with the upper crust of Versailles, depicting the palace’s contents steadily crumbling due to an earthquake.More →
Joel Osteen (Jessie Pierrot) part 1, 2018 Single Channel Video 00:31:28
Holy Fools Opening Wednesday, January 9 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 3.
Clowns are perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on this green earth. Some people have a literal phobia of them, some find them distasteful, some chuckle at them, some employ them, some become them, and some make art about them. One of the art world’s more notable clown-based endeavors is Bruce Nauman’s 1987 piece Clown Torture, featuring a slew of video displays portraying “an absurd misadventure of a clown” that’s both morbid and humorous. Over three decades later, artist Ondine Viñao is putting her own spin on this work in an exhibition at Rubber Factory, recruiting four all-female clownish performers to stage their own mishaps, mixing both trauma and folly.More →
It’s the new year, and most of us are probably reflecting on what we did over the last 365 days and what we can do to at least be marginally better. Rather than dream up a more perfect being, artist Logan T. Sibrel prefers to focus more on the flaws and complications of being alive, making drawings depicting people who are acting difficult, awkward, aroused, and sometimes all three at once. Deemed “a serious joke,” his mixture of words and images are reminiscent of a sort of existential comic book. Perhaps they’ll inspire you to finally think of a resolution, or maybe just to ditch the concept entirely.More →
Close Your Eyes Opening Thursday, December 13 at The Storefront Project, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 6.
Looking at Nat Girsberger’s collages, on view at the Lower East Side’s Storefront Project starting Thursday, is a good way to get lost in a kind of psychedelic fantasy land. Outer space, nature, animals, and human figures intermingle in landscapes with colors that seem brighter than what one would typically encounter in reality. In a time where the news feels more and more anxiety-inducing every day, it’s important to have little moments of escape, where we’re not filled with dread and instead perhaps wondering about the inner life of a deer standing among very large mushrooms standing on a vivid path that seems to be leading into the sun.
Flash of the Spirit Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.
Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now.More →
Hot Farce Opening Thursday, November 1 at Field Projects, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 15.
Throughout centuries, one thing has remained the same when it comes to art: in some way, nudes will be there. Curator and artist Kristen Racaniello knows this, but seeks to do something a bit different with her group show Hot Farce. The work on view seeks to be the antithesis of the “hetero-sexy nude,” meaning nudes that trouble the binary, nudes that question why you’re looking at them, nudes that may not even qualify as nudes at all. According to the exhibit statement, Hot Farce’s artists “admire figuration and are at the same time deeply suspicious of it,” a feeling in this time of existential dread I can only assume is shared by many.More →
In the Name of the Hypersurface of the Present Opening Wednesday, October 17 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through November 11.
Presented in conjunction with Lower East Side Art Week, which spotlights women artists in the neighborhood, this solo show by Pakistani artist Umber Majeed may have a sci-fi-sounding name, but the work on view more closely resembles Word Art, trippy memes, or old Geocities web pages than any high-tech, augmented reality creation. That’s not to diminish its appeal; the distorted text, flattened graphics, and occasional use of Comic Sans creates a world of online intrigue that feels half in the past, half far in some weird corner of the future. Through this, Majeed seeks to explore a “feminist re-historicization of Pakistan as the first ‘Muslim nuclear state,’” bringing it out of the patriarchy and into a more radical framing.More →