This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Radical Is Radical

by Whitney Kimball on June 3, 2013 Events

"Kembra and Gordon," Image courtesy of the Gordon Kurtti Project (

A fairly apolitical experience at Bushwick Open Studios has us craving an engagement with the world beyond the studio. Luckily, this week’s art events will fill that void. A few shows honor artists who passed away before their time, others assess the market, and EXPO’s keynote will confront our ugly future. Good.

Wednesday, June 5th

Performances: One Night Stands, Participant Inc
7 PM, 253 East Houston Street

Carl George of Allied Productions (a performance-based collective founded in the East Village in the 80s) has curated a tribute to the work of artist Gordon Kurtti. If it’s anything like the last Allied Productions performance I saw back in April, which juxtaposed voices of the ACT-UP movement with the corporate Pride machine, I’ll be thinking about this for months to come.
The Gordon Kurtti Project evaluates Kurtti’s work and its lasting impact, long after his death of HIV/AIDS in 1987. Participant Inc hosts a series of performances by radicals who emerged on that scene at that time Wednesday night. Artists include, Q. Sakamaki and Kembra Pfahler, writer Joe Westmoreland, and poet and writer Eileen Myles. A tribute by his peers is a reminder of how many thinkers would have continued to steer the conversation today, were it not for the AIDS epidemic.

Thursday, June 6th 

Lecture: The International Network of Conceptual Artists 1967-77, Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street
$5 donation

In another tribute to an artist who passed away before his time, Artists Space presents “Documenting Cadere: 1972-1978.”  The exhibition focuses on the work of André Cadere, a painter who used stripes as a way of representing markets and systems of distribution. Mark Godfrey argued in a 2008 issue of Frieze that this was secretly radical. Whether or not that’s true, the show has led curator and writer Lynda Morris to tell us about the international network of conceptual artists from 1967-1977, revealing new relationships between galleries and museums.

Screening and Q&A: The Boys in the Band, Brooklyn Museum
7 PM, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor

Actor Laurence Luckinbill speaks to his role in The Boys in the Band, a tenant of gay and realist cinema. This is not entertainment.
If you get there early, AFC favorite (and WhiBi ‘12 highlight) LaToya Ruby Frazier has a show of photographs on the second floor mezzanine gallery. Thursday evening from 6:30-8 PM also marks the opening reception new installment of ‘Raw/Cooked,’ its series highlighting an underrepresented Brooklyn artist: currently, painter Caitlin Cherry of Sunset Park.

Open Studios: NARS Open Studios
1 – 6 PM, 88 35th Street, 3rd floor

The latest episode of art and real estate had us worried for a second there about NARS, one of Brooklyn’s better residency programs for six years running, which is moving next month to make way for a higher-paying tenant. NARS is one of those organizations which helps sustain the community, and it adds more artists, and an international mix, to its roster every year. On Saturday, find out who they’ve supported this year, and why. Their residency artist talk runs 2-3 pm.

Opening: Universal Pavilions, SO WHAT SPACE
7 – 10 PM, 220 36th Street, Room B424

While you’re in NARS’ neighborhood, the new gallery SO WHAT SPACE has an opening one block north. If you feel transcendent about expressionism, then you’ll definitely want to check out young artist Cecilia Salama’s charged, Rauschenbergian painting and sculpture.

6 – 9 PM, 39 – 31 29th Street, Long Island City

Resident artist Christine Laquet presents a show on monster metaphors which come from economic crashes– for example, King Kong. She’s releasing a book the subject, with contributions by artists, writers, historians, and composers.

Sunday, June 9th

EXPO Keynote: Kim Stanley Robinson, PS1
1:30 PM, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City

If you go to one EXPO, PS1’s lecture series on sustainability, the keynote should get right to the issue at hand. Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson will answer the question “What Is the Future For?” He’s given this some thought, as his “Mars” trilogy imagines what might happen if Mars became inhabitable when Earth’s over population and ecological issues threaten our world’s existence.

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