Though digital photography (whether on fancy DSLRs or iPhones with portrait mode) is inarguably king today, there are still people out there shooting film. Though not quite a relic yet, the chemical-laden process of developing and printing your own film in a darkroom is something many people may not understand or even be aware of. One of the key components of doing this is laying the soon-to-be photograph in a tray filled with developer chemicals, which steadily brings the photo to life. Artist John Cyr, a photographer and printer himself, has latched onto the developer tray as an integral object to the working photographer. His images, portraying developer trays that belonged to notable and unknown photographers alike, cast these practical objects in a light usually reserved for more “important”-seeming items. Their unique textures, stains, colors, and designs documented for posterity illuminate film development as a historically-significant art practice in itself.More →
Image: Jenna Westra, Mariana Sits on “The Complete Photographer, An Encyclopedia of Photography” (1949), Volume 6, Pages 2178-79, ‘Best Fashion Study and Best Action Production Still Taken in a Studio’, 2018. Archival pigment print, 26 x 21.75 inches (image courtesy of Lubov)
Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits Opening Saturday, March 24 at Lubov, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 6.
The Tribeca gallery Lubov is small, tucked away on the second floor of an office building, but within it you’ll find none of the monotony typically associated with such work. Instead, you’ll be greeted with contemporary art of all sorts, including their newest exhibition Parts Of Some Quartet, Fruits. In addition to being a very good exhibition name in my opinion, it’s also an assortment of analog photography by Jenna Westra that focuses on what happens when you don’t shy away from the act of purposefully trying to create an engaging scene ripe for the snapping. The scenarios recall a kind of captured choreography, such as an amateur model (or maybe a dancer?) kneeling with their dirt-dusted feet squarely sitting on (what else?) a book of photography, simultaneously desecrating and establishing its position as subject.More →
Home Away From Home Opening Wednesday, March 14 at Aperture Gallery, 7pm to 8:30 pm. On view through May 10.
For some people, home is the place they have lived for their entire lives. But for immigrants, it’s not always so clear-cut. Photographer Taysir Batniji is originally from Gaza, in Palestine, but he is also French and splits his time between the two places. Members of his family, on the other hand, have ended up in America, in places like California and Florida. Batniji paid these people a series of visits, photographing and interviewing them about their sense of home and experience living in America. His new solo exhibition at Aperture Gallery combines these new images with archival material, such as old photographs and sketches of their family home made from memory, creating a portrait of generational memory and history contrasted with current lives.More →
Spring/Break Art Show Opening Tuesday, March 6 at 4 Times Square, 5 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 12.
While it may not be spring quite yet, we will soon see the return of the Spring/Break Art Show, springing (sorry) back into action during Armory Arts Week for a seventh year. This show in particular stands out among the dizzying array of art shows and fairs and shows-within-fairs due to both its focus on art that’s a little more out-there than some contemporary offerings, and its location, which utilizes “underused, atypical, and historic” space rather than some pristine white box or whatever. It would take me a very long time to count all the artists involved this year, which range from Iggy Pop and Robert Mapplethorpe to Parker Day and Azikiwe Mohammed, so I can only assume there are hundreds and you will have plenty to see. Granted, you’ll have to go to Times Square to do it, but it will probably be worth it. More →
You’re probably familiar with the most common way to write music, with notes on a staff, even if you can’t read music yourself. But did you know there are other ways to do it? One of them, the Korean system Jeongganbo, dates all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty, which began in 1392 and ended much later, in 1910. Rather than using a staff system, it uses a grid system, with each note taking up a square in sequential order. Seoul-based artist Suki Seokyeong Kang was drawn to this geometric composition technique, and has created a series of “visual translations” of Jeonggabo in her new solo show at Chelsea’s Tina Kim Gallery. The show is mostly sculpture based, in a way that attempts to put forth both logic and harmony. Perhaps after exploring, you’ll come away with a subconscious new knowledge of how music can be made.More →
Camae Ayewa/Moor Mother, detail from He’s Got the Whole World, 2017 (image via The Kitchen)
Camae Ayewa / Moor Mother Opening Wednesday, February 21 at The Kitchen, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through March 17.
Camae Ayewa, who some may know by her musician moniker Moor Mother, is a truly multifaceted artist. She writes poetry, pens and performs visceral electronic noise protest songs referencing black activists and theorists, photographs, leads community workshops, makes collages, and if you’re impressed already, that’s merely a partial list of what she’s capable of. If your curiosity has been piqued, head on over to The Kitchen for a comprehensive look at Ayewa’s creative output and process. Though this is an art exhibition, it’s so much more than that; created as an accompaniment to her second solo album (and its subsequent instrumental accompaniment), the show delves into the album’s creation and inspirations by way of collage, film, soundscape, and poetry. On March 6 and 7, Moor Mother will take to the stage. More →
Chiaozza Chapel Opening Tuesday, February 13 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 10 pm.
Everyone’s favorite Navy Yard industrial icebox turned gallery is at it once again with a new exhibition by artistic duo Chiaozza. While their show’s name, Chiaozza Chapel, may sound like an old piece of ornate architecture you’d learn about in art history class, their work is certainly very modern. However, it’s still an actual chapel, at least in the formal sense of the word. The duo has transformed a small 6’x7’ section of the space into a colorful, geometrical space for contemplation and gathering. If you’re old-school, think of the structure within as a kind of modernized, minimalist stained glass. Personally, I think it kind of looks like a nice, stylish condo for birds. More →
Hair Paintings & Other Stories Opening Tuesday, February 6 at La MaMa Galleria, 7:30 pm. On view through March 3.
The Bellwether and Codify Art team up with La MaMa Galleria to present this solo exhibition by multidisciplinary creator Jarrett Key. Though yes, it’s technically a showcase of just work created by Key, it’s representative of so much more than that. Their works deal specifically with “the collective bodily memories and rituals of the Black community,” so each one of them manages to be deeply personal while also literally containing multitudes. As you may have guessed by the title, hair has a significant presence here, which can be seen both in the exhibition description (“Key grew up in rural Alabama to their grandmother singing, ‘your hair is your strength'”) and the look of the actual paintings themselves, which often resemble vast and complex tangles you could get lost in.More →
Some abstract art is indeed just blotches of color, shape, and brushstroke. But some art that looks abstract, such as the works of Zhang Enli, could in fact be a version of hyperrealism. The subjects of Enli’s paintings are often recognizable landscapes, such as the gardens peppered throughout Shanghai, zoomed in far enough to become unrecognizable and in doing so, take on a new type of beauty. However, there’s only the partial presence of hyperrealism in Enil’s works, as they’re modeled off of real imagery but imbued with his own personal interpretation. Is that swirl green because it was originally green, or does it look that way because the artist made it so? You can give your best guess, but not knowing is part of the fun.
“America” ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE artwork by Touba Alipour
One Year of Resistance Opening Tuesday, January 16 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 4.
Though it feels like several eternities, it’s been about a year since Trump was inaugurated. A large array of artists have been asked to channel their rage and other such emotions into their work, resulting in the wide spread that is One Year of Resistance, a group show at The Untitled Space in Tribeca. This gallery is no stranger to art that responds to the current political climate; the month of the 2017 inauguration they presented group exhibition Uprise / Angry Women. For One Year of Resistance, which serves as a follow-up to Angry Women, curator and gallery director Indira Cesarine has asked over 80 artists of all genders to contribute work inspired by “the controversial policies and practices of our current president.” The work ranges from literal depictions of Trump to more symbolic renderings of #resistance. Can you believe it’s only been a year? More →