A young man with rich brown hair, soft lips and a blindfold reposes on a mattress. It will only take one quick movement of your wrist to sign the waiver, and then he is yours to watch. To kiss. Or both.
If Girls at Night on the Internet is a pool full of multicolored Jell-O, then the digi-only gallery known as Art Baby, founded by 26-year-old artist and curator Grace Miceli, is the diving board. “Being a girl at night on the internet is where I personally found the confidence to share my work and to create this really supportive community of artists,” explained Miceli, who also curated this show. “For me, it’s an identity and a space I wanted to celebrate. Being a girl at night on the internet is where I met all these artists and, in a very basic way, it’s just a description of where this all comes from. And this show has just been partially about bringing this world that already exists to a broader audience.”
“All the drones were dead and gone by the end,” my friend laughed, filling me in on the last hour of opening night at First Person View, the Knockdown Center’s drone-centric art exhibition. The show lifted off last weekend after months of planning; unfortunately/fortunately, my friend’s account of all the mayhem I’d missed by leaving early wasn’t 100 percent accurate. “The show will go on!” Vanessa Thill, who co-curated the show, assured us. “Crashing is all part of the fun.”
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will scar me for life,” reads a framed art installation, the white cursive letters bleached onto a black background with a skull and cross bones underneath. Just below is a larger framed piece, all chalkboard black except for the whites of one eye that looks at you as you read, “Forget who your parents taught you to hate forget forget.”
“Bushwick is on its own, she doesn’t need our help anymore,” laughed Jason Andrew, co-founder of Norte Maar. “She really doesn’t need our help anymore.” Though neither he nor his partner, Julia K. Gleich, have quit the neighborhood entirely, they’ve taken what to many was a quintessentially Bushwick arts organization (see: Beat Nite, the biannual art party at galleries and studios throughout the neighborhood the organization has begotten) and moved its headquarters to East New York. “Our plight is the same as everybody else’s in New York, we just want to try and find a way to stay here,” Jason said.
“It’s cold. It’s a protest, it’s them marching in,” said Adrian Van Der Plas as he looked at an oil painting hanging in his Lower East Side gallery. “There’s some fire, some smoke. They’re here to scorch the opposition with shear manpower and guns.”
“Ferguson,” by Vincent Zambrano, depicts police force in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, and a tension that has flared back up in recent days as the St. Louis suburb marks the anniversary of the shooting.
Last year, Clayton Patterson announced that he and Elsa Rensaa, his partner and collaborator of more than 40 years, were moving from the Lower East Side to a small spa town in Austria. Lucky for anyone who admires his unflagging commitment to keeping it real and his tirades against the processes of gentrification and corporatization (see: his damning of Taylor Swift as the city’s cultural ambassador), the 66-year-old outsider artist, photographer, tattoo artist, dissident, and haberdasher who is known to many as the neighborhood’s “last bohemian” is not just still residing there, he also has a new solo exhibition. If you haven’t had a chance to see “Outside In” at Howl! Happening, tonight is the night to do so: the gallery will be screening Captured, the must-see documentary about Clayton’s obsessive documentation of the city as it once was.
A new group exhibition at Signal Gallery Surface Support started out with the question, “How does video exist outside itself?” Curator Amanda Schmitt has worked with video artists since about the dawn of Postinternet thinking. It’s almost as if now that thinking too heavily about the internet as a thing (and just accepting it as an inherent part of aesthetics, social interaction, and sadly even existence) we can get back to thinking about video in new ways again. “Video and of course screens changed the way we think,” Amanda explained. “We’re always on our phones now, so sometimes we take it for granted.”
Ludlow Studios was packed to the brim with people for the private one-night only event to celebrate and ogle Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s art work. The crowd included everyone from stylish hip kids furtively scanning the room for Barnett’s messy brown mane to appear somewhere in the crowd, loafers who weren’t sure exactly what all the hoopla and video cameras were all about but knew for certain there were infinite free mezcal cocktails to be guzzled, and the nearing-the-top-of-the-hills sponging around to see what the kids are into these days. I’m not old, but this event made me feel old, particularly because up until I heard word of this event, I had no idea who Courtney Barnett was.
In the past year and a half, the East Village has grown accustomed to the presence of candles, messages of remembrance and fresh flowers outside 136 Second Avenue, home to the Ukrainian American Youth Foundation. This impromptu memorial has served as a constant reminder of the many lives lost during the November 2013 “Rise up, Ukraine!” anti-government uprisings in Kiev.