If you somehow haven’t made Valentine’s Day plans yet (and yes, I count staying home and groveling as ‘plans’), consider attending this sensorial sensation of a show at Secret Project Robot tonight. In addition to serving as home for the high-energy SSION’s first Brooklyn performance, you can also expect a hefty spritz of performance art, installations, and even perfume. The multi-talented Ziemba will not only be performing some new “boudoir songs” from her soon-to-be-released album ARDIS (which, might I say, doubles as a “feminist sci-fi fragrant musical”), she has also created a new fragrance specifically for tonight. On top of all that, Ziemba and SSION will be joined by performance art vixens Caitlin Baucom and Pauli Cakes, and they’ll be doing their thing in an installation created by Monica Mirabile that was once likened to a “modern Brooklyn dollhouse.” Plus, if you wear Valentine’s colors, you could score a free beverage. So, open your heart (and your nose) and get to SPR. 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 →
Magical Girl Burlesque Presents Birthday Battleship Burlesque Friday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm: FREE (suggested donation to benefit Southern Poverty Law Center)
Ah, Battleship. That classic game of pegs, coordinates, and nearly naked bodies. If you’re confused about that last part, perhaps you’ll have your memory refreshed on Friday night, when the performers of Magical Girl Burlesque take to the stage and somehow reenact an entire game of Battleship with a burlesque twist. Here’s how such a thing will work: each performer on the lineup represents a boat piece. Audience members will play the game in the classic way, and when the battleships are sunk, the performer will perform. So in this case, losing the game is actually winning the game. The show is free, but donations will be collected for the Southern Poverty Law Center. More →
In an effort to create a dialogue about the impending L train shutdown, the MTA recently announced that it will partner with the city’s Department of Transportation for a series of informal town hall-style meetings this January and February. The meetings are scheduled to take place in Manhattan and Brooklyn communities where the shutdown will be felt the most; the first open house is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 24 in East Williamsburg.
Citizens United II: What Happened? Wednesday, January 17 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $15
If you couldn’t tell from the title alone, this is a political show. Though just to clarify, it’s not a staged reading of the Hillary Clinton book. At least, I don’t think it is. “Leftist performance collective” Citizens United returns once more to the Ars Nova stage to parse through these troubled political times by way of drag shows, poetry, performance art, punk music, and more. The group joins the many artistic efforts happening this month to commemorate-slash-mourn the one-year anniversary of the presidential inauguration. In fact, the last time Citizens United brought their unique stylings to the stage was January 2017. What has happened since that fateful month is dizzying and often cringe-worthy to think of, and possibly perfectly summed up by a night of chaotic performance. More →
“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 →
(photo: Ian Douglas, courtesy of American Realness)
American Realness Now through January 16 at Abrons Arts Center and other venues, various times and prices.
If you thought last week’s Performance Picks covered all the winter theater festival shows to see, you would be incorrect. There are actually more, believe it or not. Abrons Arts Center and Gibney Dance’s American Realness festival began yesterday, bringing with it a slew of dance and movement-based works, including several world premieres. Whether you’re interested in profound performance art, classic dance, or pop cultural tribute, American Realness likely has you covered.
Some intriguing titles include nora chipaumire’s punk salute to Patti Smith and Zimbabwe, Neal Medlyn’s investigation into Pina Bausch and his years as an “untrained dancer in New York contemporary dance,” NIC Kay’s solo performance inspired by queer ballroom and Butoh, Adrienne Truscott’s “dance about dance without any dance,” Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’s physical delve into the seeing and perceiving of bodies both disabled and not, and of course, more. More →
In the Victorian age, those who lost a loved one would enact an odd and intimate ritual known as mourning braiding. This practice consisted of braiding the actual hair of the deceased into a piece of jewelry. Artist Nene Humphrey is no stranger to incorporating mourning-centric behaviors into her work, and come Wednesday she will open a new exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace on Orchard Street that combines the brain’s reaction to grief with this old-school hair ritual. The installation and “ritualized site of production” includes braiding stations featuring wire instead of hair and walls covered with weaved strands. Instead of actual people doing the braiding, the stations sit empty and projected videos show the plaits being constructed alongside similar-looking images of the brain. More →
It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.
A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more. More →
Channels Opening Wednesday, January 3 at Fridman Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through January 24.
Channels seem like they’re becoming a bit of a relic, at least when they’re referring to the ones found on television. Several technological relics of sorts play a major role in sound artist and audio engineer Daniel Neumann’s new solo exhibition, aptly titled Channels. In it, large auditory objects appear simultaneously as sculptures and music-makers, including a custom-built vintage speaker and a 56-channel mixing board suspended in midair. The third “sculptural” component of the show is a bit more abstract: a 3D sound field made up of 56 sounds and their subsequent feedback. Whether you see it as a concert of objects or a visual display, there will be something to take in.