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.
Walking In Lightness
Opening Thursday, April 19 at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 12.
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 →
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 →
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 →
Opening Wednesday, March 28 at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 5.
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 →
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 →
Opening Wednesday, February 28 at Tina Kim Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm.
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
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 →