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Art This Week: African Portraits, Radical Radio, Gender Expression

Samuel Fosso
Autoportrait, 1975-1978
From the series 70’s Lifestyle 
Gelatin Silver Print
© Samuel Fosso (image via Yossi Milo Gallery / Facebook)

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. 

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Art This Week: Radical Love, Abstraction, and Bedroom Exploits

Athi-Patra Ruga
Umesiyakazi in Waiting​, 2015
Image courtesy of the artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD
Photo by Hayden Phipps

Radical Love
Opening Tuesday, June 11 at The Ford Foundation Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through August 17.

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.

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Art This Week: Photography After Stonewall, IRL Investigation, Jojo Abot

(image by John Paul Evans, via Soho Photo Gallery / Facebook)

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.

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Performance Picks: Kissing, True Crime, Macaulay Culkin

THURSDAY

(image via Eventbrite)

Quitters
Thursday, May 16 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors

Whom among us has not quit something? This shared sentiment typically unites the room at Quitters, Sam Corbin and Ian Goldstein’s monthly comedy show that asks performers to ruminate upon the times they decided to throw in the towel. However, the quitting isn’t entirely pervasive, as the show is celebrating two whole consistent years of existence tonight. Yes, that’s two years without quitting, or at least without quitting this once specific thing. The folks helping the two hosts celebrate their commitment to the quit include Rachel Kaly, Shalewa Sharpe, Rachel Pegram, and Chris Donahue, and a portion of the ticket proceeds will be going to the ACLU. More →

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Art After Stonewall, Political Portraits, and More Art This Week

(image via BRIC)

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 →

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Performance Picks: Your New Favourite Queer Comedy Show and More

FRIDAY

(flyer courtesy of Tessa Skara)

The Favourites
Friday, April 12 at Club Cumming, 8 pm: FREE

Most people with an awareness of pop culture have at least heard of The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos’s recent feature film that facilitated, among other things, a frequent (and queer) call for actress Rachel Weisz to take control of them in every which way. With The Favourites, a new queer comedy show from Tessa Skara and Jes Tom, perhaps you’ll find a new object of affection to request bodily harm from. Described as “part safe space, part dyke party, part comics to watch showcase at a liberal arts college,” the kickoff show features Becca Blackwell, Kiko Soirée, Mila Myles, Spike Einbinder, Jess Salomon, and Eman El-Husseini—plus, of course, some obligatory Weisz fawning. More →

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Art This Week: An Activist’s Paintings, Interactive Light Vessels, and More

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Told the wife I’m fishing

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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 →

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Performance Picks: Cannabis Comedy, Grimm Burlesque Tales, and More

THURSDAY

(image via Brown Privilege Comedy / Facebook)

Brown Privilege Comedy
Thursday, March 21 at Friends and Lovers, 8:30 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

The 39th edition of Saurin Choksi and DJ Sareen’s Brown Privilege Comedy returns to Crown Heights bar Friends and Lovers tonight. As always, the show spotlights some of the best comedians of color the city has to offer, with nary a token white person to be found. This time, they’re bringing along Gibran Saleem, Aminah Imani, Ayanna Dookie, Kevin Iso, and Alex English. After all the jokes have concluded, stick around—DJ Sareen takes the stage and the show becomes a dance party. More →

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Performance Picks: The TEAM, Drippy Dollars, Butch Dionysus

THURSDAY

(photo: Eoin Carey, via the TEAM / Facebook)

Anything That Gives Off Light
Now through March 30 at Joe’s Pub, 7 pm (some dates at 9:30 pm): $35

The latest endeavor from theater collective The TEAM—working in collaboration with the National Theater of Scotland and music duo The Bengsons—is staged not in a traditional theater space but the cabaret coziness of Joe’s Pub, inside the Public Theater. Of course, that’s purposeful, considering the show is partially set in a London pub. Amongst pints and whiskeys, two Scottish men and an American woman cross paths and begin a journey that takes them throughout Scotland, America, and the inner workings of the mind, all set to a Scottish-influenced folk-punk score.

FRIDAY

(image via Wet Cash NYC / Facebook)

Wet Cash
Friday, March 15 at GG’s Social Trade and Treasure Club, 7:30 pm: $10 suggested donation

Yes, this comedy show to benefit Make the Road NY is named Wet Cash, but it’s probably not the greatest idea to stroll up to the venue (a Bushwick thrift store) and attempt to pay your suggested donation using a bunch of dollars that were once floating in a bucket of water. However, you might end your night with some—the team behind the show will be giving out drippy dollars (which could be a good band name) to a lucky(?) audience member. That’s not the only liquid present, however, there will also be free beer from Braven, and of course, comedy by Dylan Adler, Rachel McCartney, Ben Katzner, David Drake, and host Noah Rocklin.

SATURDAY

(photo: Sandy Honig)

Cream Sauce
Saturday, March 16 at The Windjammer, 8 pm: 

What is there to say about cream sauce? It is indulgent and sometimes too filling, but it is also good. Those three descriptors could very well also characterize comedian Edy Modica’s play of the same name, coming to Ridgewood’s The Windjammer this Saturday. Fittingly, Modica will be presenting absurd anecdotes of all sorts inspired by the Italian side of her family, with help from fellow performers Brian Fiddyment, Eliza Kimberley, Francesca d’Uva, Rachel Kaly, Chase Montavon, and opener Steve Girard. Expect tales of pasta, funerals, cannoli, and of course, plenty of sauciness.

SUNDAY

Leigh Silverman and Madeleine George (image via NYTW / Facebook)

Hurricane Diane
Now through March 24 at New York Theater Workshop, various times: $69 ($25 same-day rush tickets available for young people, artists, and East Village and Lower East Side residents) 

The hedonistic, hard-partying Greek god Dionysus has shown up in countless pieces of culture over the years, from the old classics to the name of a record label. Currently, you can find the wine-soaked deity in Madeleine George’s play Hurricane Diane, directed by Leigh Silverman. Rather than a bearded being clutching the traditional grapes and a drinking horn, George’s Dionysus takes the form of Diane, a butch lesbian gardener with a penchant for seducing housewives. Diane is played by actor Becca Blackwell, who describes themself as “someone living both genders,” and according to mythology, it’s likely that the actual Dionysus did too.

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Tinder Live Celebrates Five Years of Comedic Swiping

(photo: Mindy Tucker, courtesy of Lane Moore)

Most dating apps can be depressing. But Tinder, in all its swipe-based simplicity, is a digital landscape with perhaps the most potential to expose how absurd humanity can behave when it’s looking to get laid. Someone who knows this well is comedian, musician, and writer Lane Moore, who has been delving into the weird world of online dating through her comedy show Tinder Live, which will be celebrating its fifth year of existence tonight. More →