Get your “disgusted-but-intrigued” face ready: the Morbid Anatomy Museum, the ultimate haven for the morbidly curious, is putting on a new exhibition. The Gowanus center for all things bizarre has featured enough deathly art and grotesque miscellany to last any one of us a lifetime. So let’s just assume that you’re dead. But has Morbid’s “temple of the weird” gone to the dogs? Apparently so. And the cats. And birds. And undoubtedly dozens of other long-dead animals.
I had a hard time believing I was in the right place, what with shattered glass scattered everywhere and the absence of a sign. I’ve been to a few galleries in my day, but none that looked like a party house from the outside. I was just about to turn around when a woman with neon yellow streaks in her dark hair, swung open the old door and invited me into the dark-red brick building’s castle-like space. Piril Gunduz– the founder of this Bushwick art space, The Hollows– apologized for the broken window downstairs. “What happened?” I wondered. She shrugged. Strange, but it was actually broken windows at a brand new development next door that inspired Piril to curate an ongoing program called Bushwick in Time.
In the late 1990s, Catherine Opie drove across the country, taking photos of lesbian families in and around their homes. The resulting series, Domestic, (which Opie, who herself is gay, said was an attempt to document “the lesbian dream’’) contains a still life of a washer and dryer, which the photographer joked was “a lesbian washer and dryer.” Because, as she put it, “it’s the same thing.” An ongoing pair of solo exhibitions, Portraits and Landscapes and 700 Nimes Road, at the Lehmann Maupin gallery locations in Chelsea and on the Lower East Side, respectively, also readjust our expectations about the artist and her long-held role as a “provocateur.”
To get a feel for Meriem Bennani‘s work, it’s best to look up @meriembennani on Instagram. After scrolling through the photoshopped weirdness and absurd takes on everything from Drake videos to the avant-garde hijabs of Fardaous Funjab, you’ll find that Bennani is really good at the internet. So good, that the Times was moved to highlight her, qualifying her as a representative “Millennial Artist” fluent in the language of post-Internet. Millennial accusations aside, she’s one of those people who makes the internet weird/smart and not just weird/depressing. In other words, Bennani’s work actually deserves that happy-tears cat emoji.
Gradual Kingdom is the artist’s most significant solo-installation presence yet; now on view at Signal Gallery, it offers an opportunity for people to see Meriem Bennani, for once, in slow motion.
Vaginal Davis is undeniably one of the most prolific artists to come out of the ’70s punk scene. The black, inter-sex born, self-declared outsider artist is nothing short of a queer icon. And even though she’s from Los Angeles (South Central, to be precise), she has a special place in New York City, where she’s had a serious impact on contemporary underground culture– the Bushwick drag scene is particularly indebted to her, as Davis is one of the founding mothers of “terrorist drag.”
We’re guessing the world would look a whole lot different if bad ass women like Penelope Gazin had been well-represented in animation and comics from the start. But Gazin has her hand in so many projects, it’s almost as if she’s single-handedly trying to make up for lost time. Her paintings, drawings, and animations have a unique staying power, and will almost certainly end up plastered all over the walls of your skull if you spend some time with them. Gazin’s sassy, hilarious, and sometimes twisted images of alien babes and monster princesses don’t depart amicably.
On Wednesday night the Living Gallery in Bushwick was abuzz with punk kids and curious passersby who had stepped inside to soak up the atmosphere of Collective Delusion / Mass Hysteria, a new all-female art exhibition. “Pretty much everyone is involved in the punk or noise scene in some way,” Jennifer Calandra, who curated the event, explained of the participating artists. “They’re mostly ladies I know from the scene here and from going to shows in different states.” The exhibition arrived just in time for the annual punk fest, New York’s Alright, which kicked off last night with shows at the Acheron and Tender Trap and continues throughout the weekend.