Post image for This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Happy Not-My-President’s Day

Kick the week off with the closing reception of an anti-Trump poetry show at EIDIA House, part of their “Plato’s Cave” exhibition series. Tuesday, artist Hakan Topal and curator Joanna Lehan talk about representations of refugees at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and Wednesday two artists plunge into the aesthetics of capitalism and consumption at respective openings downtown.

Things lighten up a bit starting Thursday. We’re looking forward to the NYC debut of North Carolina artist Carmen Neely at Jane Lombard Gallery and Monica Bonvicini’s oddly sexy work at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. On Friday, AFC friend Saul Chernick is opening a collaborative show at NURTUREart in Bushwick, and Saturday Liinu Grönlund’s rat-centric video work goes live at Open Source Gallery. End the week with a timely show about barriers and portals from A.K. Burns at Callicoon Fine Arts.

Post image for Doomed Capitalism And Psychedelic Escape In David Spriggs and Matthijs Munnik’s “Permutations of Light” at Pittsburgh’s Wood Street Galleries

Before the election and the daily drama of Trump’s administration, I never fully understood just how important the current sociopolitical state is to the success of an exhibition. Of course, I was aware that timeliness could make or break a show. But, less than a month into Trump’s presidency, work that normally wouldn’t interest me in galleries I typically bypass have taken on new meaning and resonance.

The latest project to remind me of art’s dependence on its political context is David Spriggs and Matthijs Munnik’s dual exhibition Permutations of Light at Pittsburgh’s Wood Street Galleries. The show presents two large-scale immersive installations, Spriggs’s Gold and Munnik’s Citadels, on separate floors of the gallery. Concentrated on formal aspects of light, color and form, this type of experiential installation (which are often associated with Wood Street Galleries’ programming) have become so commonplace that they seem, at this point, like a crowd-pleasing cliché. But, when viewed in the context of our surreal times, Spriggs’s critique of capitalism and Munnik’s escapism feel surprisingly relevant.