African Spirits Opening Thursday, July 11 at Yossi Milo Gallery, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. On view through August 23.
Your standard art history education tends to stay pretty Eurocentric, so some people might not know that portrait photography has had quite a heyday in Africa, dating back to the early 1900s, when both European visitors and African locals experimented more and more with the form. The 1950s through the 1980s were considered the “golden age” of portraiture in West Africa, and images from this time will be showcased in a new group exhibition at Chelsea’s Yossi Milo Gallery, which range from staged studio imagery to more candid nightlife captures. These photos will be displayed alongside works from more contemporary photographers of all stripes.
Miss Meatface Opening Tuesday, July 2 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through July 13.
No, “Miss Meatface” does not refer to the latest right-wing woman to adopt the “carnivore diet,” that frightening all-beef culinary regime embraced by the likes of Jordan Peterson; it refers to the artist Kat Toronto, who creates bizarre and entrancing “performance-based photography” under the name Miss Meatface, which resemble stills from some surreal, experimental, BDSM-laced film you want to immediately consume in full. In addition to an exhibition of recent creations by Miss Meatface, Tuesday’s reception will also feature a zine signing and an artist talk between Meatface and The Untitled Space’s director, Indira Cesarine.
The never-ending slew of Pride-related events of all types continues! This time, with an exhibition at the new gallery within The Ford Foundation, which opened this past February and focuses on the intersection of art and social justice. Radical Love, curated by Natasha Becker and artist Jaishri Abichandani, showcases the work of over 20 artists (many of whom are queer) making work about the impact of love in the midst of a chaotic world. Queer people aren’t the only marginalized community centered in the show; disabled people and people of color are also uplifted. And the theme of “love” may seem corny to those jaded folks out there, but the exhibition expands the conventional notion of love beyond the romantic, dealing in self-love, religion, devotion to the natural world, and more.
Photography After Stonewall Opening Tuesday, June 4 at Soho Photo Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 29.
As I’m sure you’ve heard (and if you haven’t, you might want to broaden the types of media you consume), it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots this year, and it’s Pride month. Events commemorating this historic milestone can be found pretty much everywhere you look, including at the Soho Photo Gallery, which will be showing creative photography works from 23 living artists making work about queerness today. The pieces on view include portraits, abstract works, documentations of romance and love, images that have more of an editorial flair, and more.
Occupational Hazards Opening Wednesday, May 29 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 27.
The central concept of apexart’s latest exhibition is pieces of art that have been “lost, damaged, or destroyed when shipped through the Middle East,” a theme that seems so specific it might seem like it could only result in a meager showcase. As the show contains over a dozen artists from all over the world, particularly those with ties to places like Iran, Kuwait, and Palestine, it is apparent that art in international transit can meet this fate more frequently than one might surmise. This can encompass more mundane wear and tear from the everyday bumpiness of travel and the customs process, or it can have more complicated, insidious origins, such as the time artist Ahmad Hammound’s passport-esque creation got torn up and marked with red pen for daring to remotely resemble a travel document. More →
fish mystery in the shift horizon Opening Wednesday, May 22 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 23.
The natural world is so vast and multifaceted it can seem like an impossible task to quantify it all. In fact, sometimes it is, and the scientific inability to identify a species’s baseline population size (known as “shifting baseline syndrome”) is one of the driving factors behind Catalina Ouyang’s latest show of sculptures and videos, which also draws from notions of diaspora and mistranslation. Huge, curious, jade-colored creatures populate the gallery space, looking simultaneously like cows, humans, fish, and some other fantastical creation entirely. They’re based off the Chinese paddlefish and baiji, creatures that are now extinct but once had a shifting baseline. The opening reception on Wednesday will not only feature Ouyang’s sculptures and videos, but also a durational performance among the aquatic creatures.
Broken Heaven Opening Tuesday, May 14 at 7 Franklin Place, 6 pm to 10 pm. One night only.
Art exhibitions featuring people who are formerly or currently incarcerated have been fairly common, but it would be unproductive to shoehorn them into a category. After all, no one goes about remarking about how there are too many art exhibitions featuring people who live in houses. If you’ve yet to go to an art show that draws from the profound and traumatic experience of incarceration on creators, or even if you have, head to Tribeca tonight for a show by the formerly incarcerated artist Pingo, who will be showing his work to the public for one night before a stint at this year’s Art Basel Miami. Pingo’s work is abstract and textural, recalling Jackson Pollock and utilizing shocks of colorful paint to convey a landscape of emotion. Not only that, but the exhibition will also include ice sculptures.
Shame is the First Betrayer Opening Thursday, May 9 at Victori + Mo, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 22.
Art gallery Victori + Mo, which previously occupied a space within Bushwick’s 56 Bogart, is moving to Chelsea. The first exhibition in their new space, opening Thursday, is by multidisciplinary artist Phoenix Lindsey-Hall. The show takes its inspiration from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, specifically sections of the archive’s collection containing people’s personal belongings. Typically, these items stay in an archival setting, accessible only for people who already had the idea to go hunting for them. In Lindsey-Hall’s work, they come alive, as the gallery will be filled with replicas and reproductions of specific items that lesbians and queer women throughout the past decades possessed, whether that be everyday objects or treasured possessions. More →
The Portrait is Political Opening Wednesday, April 24 at BRIC, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 12.
Portraits have become one of the most ubiquitous forms of imagery in our society. While their origins lie in fine art, today’s portraits can take any form, but the most common is surely the selfie. Some might argue the vast proliferation of selfies and such has diluted the significance of this form, but I’m more inclined to believe it has opened up the opportunity to start thinking more purposefully about portraiture; one must, to cut through the churn. The Portrait is Political, a “suite” of exhibitions opening at BRIC this week, seeks to reassert the power of depicting people in art. Jaishri Abichandani immortalizes Brooklyn’s South Asian feminists in paint, Texas Isaiah creates collaborative works with his subjects, and Liz Collins curates a sprawling spread of portraits from over 35 queer artists. More →
Monika Monika Opening Monday, April 1 at Steuben Gallery, 5 pm to 8 pm. On view through April 5.
Monika Monika is both the name of a multimedia artist and an exhibition opening tonight at Pratt Institute’s Steuben Gallery. The self-titled display explores Monika Monika’s experiences as a sex worker, through lush paintings exposing snapshots of customers she’s gotten to know and sculptures combining imagery both kitschy and sensual. While sex workers are often the subject of non-sex-working people’s artistic endeavors, adding what some might see as an edgy appeal and others see as needless fetishization, this exhibition (designed to mimic the feel of a Times Square peep show) puts the sex worker’s perspective front and center, compelling viewers to see her world through her eyes.More →