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Art This Week: Extinct Fish and Playable Simulations

(image via Rubber Factory)

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.

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Art This Week: Incarceration Meditations, Awkward Domesticity, and More

(image courtesy of Rachel Margolin)

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.

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Art This Week: Lines, Cut Paper, and Low-Tech Glitches

thecatamites, Magic Wand, 2016, Video game, Dimensions variable (still) (image via apexart)

Dire Jank
Opening Wednesday, March 20 at apexart, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 19. 

It’s usually considered good and impressive for something digitally created to look flawless, almost like it wasn’t created by humans to begin with. Usually this process is time-consuming; it almost always involves some sort of expensive software, or equipment, or graduate degrees. Dire Jank, an exhibition of games, videos, and digital art curated by Porpentine Charity Heartscape, celebrates pretty much everything that isn’t that. Pixelated images, old Photo Booth filters, outdated Flash games, glitches, and more are put on a pedestal here, valued more than the glossy, hyper-realistic creations that modern technology can create. More →

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Art This Week: Traumatized Clowns and Reducing Food Waste

Joel Osteen (Jessie Pierrot) part 1, 2018
Single Channel Video
00:31:28

Holy Fools
Opening Wednesday, January 9 at Rubber Factory, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through February 3.

Clowns are perhaps one of the most polarizing figures on this green earth. Some people have a literal phobia of them, some find them distasteful, some chuckle at them, some employ them, some become them, and some make art about them. One of the art world’s more notable clown-based endeavors is Bruce Nauman’s 1987 piece Clown Torture, featuring a slew of video displays portraying “an absurd misadventure of a clown” that’s both morbid and humorous. Over three decades later, artist Ondine Viñao is putting her own spin on this work in an exhibition at Rubber Factory, recruiting four all-female clownish performers to stage their own mishaps, mixing both trauma and folly. More →

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Weekend Art Openings: African Masks, Tiny Sculptures, and The Apocalypse

(image courtesy of Salon 94 Bowery)

Flash of the Spirit
Opening Friday, November 9 at Salon Bowery 94, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Lyle Ashton Harris’s photos, on view at Salon 94 Bowery starting this Friday, contain much colorful, vivid imagery, but few human faces. Instead, the faces in the bodies he captures are covered by elaborate, striking masks sourced from a variety of places, including several African masks from his uncle’s collection. These images are actually self-portraits, but you might not know it. And that’s kind of the point: throughout history, people putting on masks has been equated with them transforming into someone (or something) else, whether that be an improved version of oneself or a way to avoid accountability. Harris has been making work dealing with queerness, Blackness, and the self in the context of diaspora for decades, and this is a chance to see what he’s up to now. More →

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A Future Without Cisgender Men, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Lorene Bouboushian / Facebook)

This Is It
Wednesday, September 26 at The Glove, 8:30 pm: $8

If you were planning on going to a show tonight and being rowdy and inattentive, I’d advise you not to come to The Glove. “I will pick you up and slide you down the stairs if you are shitty,” notes Lorene Bouboushian, the host for the evening of performance art, and you’d best heed their warning. So, get your respectful and enthusiastic self to Bushwick to see some weird and wonderful work by noise-drag performer Reagan Holiday, queer Latinx performance artist Sierra Ortega, multidisciplinary artist Rina Espiritu, and a butt-tastic collaboration between Lily Chambers and Hannah Kallenbach. More →

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At Cuomo’s ‘Marijuana Listening Session,’ High Hopes For Legalization

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

When Governor Cuomo’s office announced a series of statewide “marijuana listening sessions” to get community feedback when drafting legislation for legal adult use, many rushed to make jokes; the name conjured images of stoned people jamming to records. But recreational cannabis use was one of the last things on the minds of those at last night’s Manhattan session. Rather, the two-hour event at BMCC’s Tribeca Performing Arts Center was rife with dialogue surrounding the potentials and risks this type of historic legalization could bring, and how New York might be able to get it right. More →

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Art This Week: Groovy Folk Art, Incarceration Adaptations, and More

(image via Front Room Gallery)

Back To Nature
Opening Wednesday, September 5 at Front Room Gallery, 7 pm. On view through October 21.

If you ever rode the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, you’ll recall paintings hung on some of the walls that had eyes that appeared to follow you as you moved your own from side to side. Spooky! That’s sort of how I feel when I look at the wide-eyed paintings done by Amy Hill, who is opening a solo exhibition at Lower East Side’s Front Room Gallery on Wednesday. Her portraits are realistic while also being surreal and a little creepy (even the cats stare at you with unblinkingly large eyes), bringing the style of 19th century American folk art into more modern times. Rather than setting her figures in the 21st century, she curiously grounds them in 1960s counterculture, where peace-sign necklaces and fringed leather replace any peasant frocks. We never actually found that peace, did we… More →

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Cole Escola, Sloppy Shakespeare, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Sanina Leilani / Facebook)

Glow Up!: An All POC Variety Show
Thursday, August 16 at Starr Bar, 8:45 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors

Queer drag performers Noctua and C’ètait BonTemps host this variety show featuring exclusively artists of color. If you’ve been posting on social media about how bad white supremacy in America is lately, attending would be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support a show where the lineup, hosts, and producers are all people of color. And what can you expect out of the night? The lineup isn’t too packed with people, but the ones they do have really pack a punch: burlesque performer Miss Sugar Mamasota, soulful singer Cherry, drag and music artist Laé D. Boi, and Texas-based pole and burlesque performer Black Orchid. More →

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Art That Lulls You Into Relaxation and More Openings This Week

Image: Raul Valverde in collaboration with Muntadas, ‘Calendar for Travelling Artists’, 2018, 8 × 51/2 in. (20.32 × 13.97 cm). Courtesy of the artist. (via ISCP / Facebook)

Never Take a Vacation with an Artist Who Collects the Same Stuff You Do
Opening Tuesday, August 14 at International Studio + Curatorial Program, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through October 12.

The title of this new group show from ISCP conjures some immediate images: two artists, lounging on the beach. Their peaceful time is cut short due to the fact that they both really want to collect the same type of shells, but there are only a couple of those, so they start fighting over them. Dare I say, all shell breaks loose? I forget if you can even take shells from beaches, but still. The actual content of this show, which features nine artists from ISCP’s Ground Floor Program, appears to be more interesting (or soothing) than my strange musings about beaches. With a goal of “lull[ing] the viewer into a state of relaxation,” the show offers vacation-centric content like thoughts on summer road trips and an interactive piece that quite literally gives the gallery’s front desk staff a break from working. It’s summer, after all. More →