Barton Lidicé Beneš, “Lethal Weapons: Silencer,” 1994. Mixed-media assemblage with artist’s HIV-positive blood, 16 1/8 x 15 1/8 x 3 1/2 in. Collection of Joshua Rechnitz. Courtesy of the estate of Barton Lidicé Beneš and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York (image via Visual AIDS / Facebook)
Cell Count Opening Thursday, May 31 at La MaMa Galleria, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 16.
Presented by Visual AIDS and curated by Kyle Croft and Asher Mones, this exhibition zeroes in on the insidious intersection of HIV and incarceration, both today and throughout history. Currently, more than half the states in America have laws in effect that criminalizes the act of potentially exposing someone to HIV without first disclosing their status, often regardless of other factors like viral load or actual transmission risk, leading many to deem them dangerous. The 15+ artists of Cell Count use their work to interrogate these laws and how they affect people with HIV, placing them into conversation with a larger history of “medically sanctioned violence and incarceration.” More →
The mythology of Greek gods have been around for ages, and usually comprise a large chunk of one’s education, whether that be in grade school or college theater classes. But something that is often glazed over or diminished in seriousness is the deep-seated misogyny inherent in many of these powerful characters, and how their actions may have laid a foundation for how our world operates today. Artist Susanna Coffey published an art book in 1988 centered around these tales of gods (men) taking what they want (women, usually), and woodcuts made from these images will be on view alongside self-portraits imbued with the same passionate feminine anger. “Now I see that the tale told in The Homeric Hymn is more of an ongoing truth than a myth,” Coffey writes in an essay included with the exhibition, and it’s worth wondering if the opposite will ever be true.More →
Things Opening Tuesday, May 15 at Gagosian, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 23.
When you look into the body of work that Swiss artist Urs Fischer is created, you’ll quickly see a common theme is how the human form can be manipulated and distorted, whether that’s crafting grotesque collages of faces that once looked typical or sculpting a huge bust of Katy Perry and inviting onlookers to alter it with clay. He’s also interested in how everyday objects (a block of cheese, a gallery floor) can be broken open or picked apart until something new and surprising is created. Average objects will once again be on display in his latest show at Midtown’s Gagosian, aptly titled Things. The central “thing” of the show is a life-size rhinoceros sculpture with household items like vacuum cleaners and copiers clinging to it as if it was some sort of huge magnet for domestic chores or office tasks. And isn’t everyone, unfortunately, at some point in their lives?More →
There are only a paltry handful of lesbian-specific spaces left in the city, but many initiatives exist to inform of the bars, venues, and collectives that make up lesbian and queer history in the city and beyond. The Lesbian Herstory Archives in collaboration with EFA will be presenting an archival exhibition that shines a light on the Salsa Soul Sisters, a collective of lesbian and bisexual Black, Latina, Indigenous, and Asian-American women founded in NYC in 1976. If you can’t make the opening reception on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and open mic on June 1 and a closing reception on June 29.More →
“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.”More →
Sometimes you want to go to a Chelsea gallery to silently stare at art alongside a bunch of people who probably have more money than you, and sometimes you want to stay in Bushwick and see some art while a local trans punk band plays. You can do the latter on Thursday at The Living Gallery (which just celebrated its sixth anniversary) at Neu Show, a showcase of nine local underground photographers, painters, experimental mixed-media artists, graphic artists, and more, with live tunes from local punk outfit Library and tracks from DJ Drew Redmond to keep the mood nice and energized. There is a $5 cover at the door, but the show is a mere one night only, and these artists need to be supported somehow.More →
“Ring Toss at The Lower East Side Street Festival, NY, NY June 1978” (Photo Meryl Meisler / Courtesy of The Storefront Project & Stephen Kasher Gallery
Meryl Meisler, the New York-based photographer known for her images of the city in the ’70s and ’80s, will show previously unseen photos of the Lower East Side during those years in an upcoming exhibition. Opening May 3 at The Storefront Project, “LES YES!” focuses on the rich cultural history of the neighborhood and takes an unflinching look at the daily lives of the working-class people and immigrants who lived there.
Some photography is staged, utilizing the lens to create a fantastical scene that would very likely never be encountered in a candid sense. Rather than doing that, Mexico City-born photographer Amanda Gutiérrez seeks to document her surroundings as she ventures through Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, focusing both on her “subjective experience as a Mexican woman living and working in New York” and painting a photographic portrait of the neighborhood’s Mexican immigrant community. In addition to photography (shot with a 35mm disposable camera), Gutiérrez’s solo show will also feature videos of her working in the darkroom, animations created from her own prints, and binaural audio tracks of her walking through various environments, welcoming you in on multiple sensory levels. More →
Beryl Korot, Babel 2 (detail), 1980, Pigment on linen woven by the artist, 72 x 38.75 in (image via bitforms gallery nyc / Facebook)
A Coded Language Opening Thursday, April 12 at bitforms gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 20.
As a child, perhaps you tried to invent a new language with your friends, or merely came up with a new phrase so that parents or teachers or what have you didn’t get to know the kind of stuff you were actually getting up to. Codenames and made-up, just-for-you languages have made an appearance in nearly everyone’s lives, even if yours just consists of you doing a gibberish vocal warmup in an acting class once or something. Technologically-inclined artist Beryl Korot has also created her own language, but it’s inspired by something a little more mathematical: the grid pattern formed from woven cloth. Her solo exhibition A Coded Language will showcase work made between 1980 and 2017, many of which utilize this language of the grid, initially created in 1980. In addition to this language’s presence, she also pays tribute to others who have forged their own way of communicating, such as Dutch Jewish writer Etty Hillesum, who wrote to her friends in code during the Nazi invasion in Holland. More →
Origins Opening Tuesday, April 3 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm. On view through May 19.
What is a Fuzzy Dude? I have some theories, but so does artist and director John McLaughlin, whose solo show Origins will give you a thorough introduction to these wacky creatures that have sprung from his brain. Appropriately, Fuzzy Dudes are beings covered in a stringy, colorful fur that recalls silly string, shaggy dogs, household mops, or something else entirely. They come from a “space-like” dystopian world, or so I’m told, but you can see them come to life on Earth by way of sculpture, video, and more. Watching these curious creatures feels almost like a psychedelic experience, as their multicolored, textured bodies run, jump, and sway. Their actions are humanlike, but their appearance is a lot more interesting. Why not take a break from the dreaded news cycle for an evening and go meet some otherworldly beings?More →