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.
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.
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.
Wallbreaker Thursday, May 9 at Macri Park, 10:30 pm: donation suggested
By now, you’ve probably heard of Drag Queen Story Hour, a wholesome event where drag performers from the local community go to a library or other such space outside of nightlife hours and read a story to some children. Once the sun goes down, you can support this heartwarming initiative at the latest edition of Wallbreaker, a monthly fundraiser party and drag show that will be aiming their philanthropy at Drag Queen Story Hour this month. There will be a raffle featuring all sorts of prizes alongside the main event: performances by Dezi 5, Junior Mint, Juniper Juicy, Mini Horrorwitz, and more. More →
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 →
Phantom Paradise Opening Wednesday, April 17 at Lesley Heller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19.
Delano Dunn’s work is colorful and busy; it draws you in and demands you stay a while, in order to soak up all the shades and shapes and details on view. The LA-based artist’s collages, paintings, and mixed-media creations aren’t just nice to look at, they also pack an emotional punch—each piece of art is one part of a patchwork quilt of memories Dunn recounts from experiencing the 1992 LA riots, which occurred in the midst of his childhood. Birds, protestors, flames, cops, and streaks of neon colors help tell a story of chaos that’s abstract and visceral.More →
Quitters Thursday, February 28 at C’mon Everybody, 8 pm: $8 advance, $10 doors
It could be argued that February is a quitter. All the other months stretch on for 30 or 31 days, while February stops short. It gives up. And then, suddenly, it’s March, and you’re left wondering why rent costs the same for 28 days as it does for 31. Celebrate the last day of this short month tonight at Quitters, a comedy show hosted by Sam Corbin and Ian Goldstein that embraces failure in all its forms, particularly the funny ones. This time, they’re welcoming guests Karen Chee, Brett Davis, Marcia Belsky, and Matt Buechele to the stage, and audience members have the chance to confess their own memorable moment of quitting for a chance to win a free drink.More →
Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment Opening Thursday, February 7 at The Walther Collection, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 25.
No geographic location ever looks exactly the same over time, but if there’s one type of place that has the most potential for rapid transformation, it’s cities. This photo show at Chelsea’s The Walther Collection seeks to spotlight photographs taken throughout history that reveal the ways buildings and land have been knocked down and built upon, and not always in beneficial ways. Taken between 1876 and 2000, this “vernacular photography” (defined as “utilitarian imagery made primarily for commercial or personal purposes”) illustrates how urban expansion has been historically valued more than preserving the natural world, from mining towns in rural Kentucky and West Virginia to the sprawling metropolises of NYC and Los Angeles.More →
Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos Opening Thursday, January 31 at Contra Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through February 15.
While playing with your food has long been understood as a childish act one grows out of, not everyone stops meddling in their munchies. Sometimes this is actually for the best; in the case of artist David Henry Nobody Jr., it’s resulted in some compelling (and sometimes stomach-turning) sculptural works featuring the artist’s head and corn, cabbage, tomatoes, lunch meat, and even a bag of corn flakes stuck around his head that then gets steadily filled with milk. That’s just a smattering of what Nobody Jr. has to offer in his new show Fake Smears and Facial Food Fiascos (say that fives times fast). Opening at Chelsea’s Contra Gallery on Thursday, it explores the absurdity of both humanity and the waste we leave behind. More →