This Week’s Must See Events: Is Gagosian Having an Identity Crisis?

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on March 10, 2014 · 1 comment Events

My Barbarian, still from "Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations." Courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art.

My Barbarian, still from “Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in Creative Impulse,” 2013. Courtesy the artists. My Barbarian will be performing at the Whitney until March 23rd.

After the tide of art fairs and biennials last week, we get a lighter events listing this week. For those of you interested in luxury, there’s Gagosian’s exhibition of Chinese antiques—a strange choice for a contemporary art gallery. We’re going to William Powhida’s solo exhibition at Postmasters for a dose of art-as-criticism and checking out Smack Mellon’s open studios for a glimpse into what artists are working on outside of the galleries. Finally, if you hurry you can catch “Sandwiched” at Fulton Mall where, until Wednesday, you’ll see artists standing on the corner wearing full-body sandwich boards.



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Fulton Mall

Between Boerum Pl and Lawrence St
Friday March 7th through Wednesday March 12th, from 11 AM to 2 PM


Artists will be standing in the street wearing sandwich boards thanks the curatorial genius of Jack Fabricius. Formerly of Sweden’s Malmo and now the head of Charlottenborg, Fabricius is responsible for some of the zanier curatorial projects we’ve laid eyes on. New Yorkers will remember him as the curator of the Nordic wing of the Armory’s Focus section two years ago. Today, if you hurry, you can see Kerry James Marshall perform. Sergej Jensen and Alfredo Jaar’s performances will take place tomorrow and Wednesday.


Museum of the Moving Image

36-01 35th Avenue
New York, NY 11106
Wednesday March 12, 2014, From 10:30 AM to 5:00 PMWebsite

The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture

Does the reaction GIF deserve more contemplation than a site like Know Your Meme can offer? If you ask the Museum of the Moving Image this question their answer would be a resounding “yes”; Wednesday they launch a show called The Reaction GIF: Moving Image as Gesture. The rationale for the show does a good job of explaining the importance of such GIFs:

Over the last few years, the reaction GIF has emerged as a form for communicating with short moving images in response to, and often in lieu of, text in online forums and comment threads. These brief loops of bodies in motion are primarily excerpted from recognizable pop culture moments to express emotions like wonder, distrust, bemused curiosity, and smug satisfaction. Understood as gestures, they communicate more nuance and concision than their verbal translations.


The Whitney Museum of American Art

945 Madison Ave
Manhattan, NY 10021
Through March 23, 2014, every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:30 PM; Friday at 7:30 PMWebsite

My Barbarian’s “The Mother”

For the next three weeks, performance troupe My Barbarian will be showing their hour-plus-long play “The Mother.” It has the appearance of a quirky high school musical—if there were such a thing as a Marxist high school—and unlike anything else you’ll see in the Biennial.
Basically, their performance is a musical adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht play of the same name, based on the Maxim Gorky novel, also of the same name. My Barbarian’s version keeps close to the original setting of the play, as Russian workers rise up to become Bolsheviks. Art references tend to take place in the breaks between the scenes; the Barbarians (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade) ask the audience about their experience as workers—and mothers—and get them up on stage to participate, too.


The Jewish Museum

1109 5th Ave at 92nd Street
New York , NY 10128

Other Primary Structures

In 1966, the Jewish Museum hosted Primary Structures, one of the first exhibitions devoted to Minimalism. That exhibition brought names like Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Walter De Maria into the public spotlight. Looking back at that exhibition, though, it doesn’t give the fullest picture of how the movement was taking shape around the world. (And it is full of mostly white, English-speaking men.) Jewish Museum Deputy Director Jens Hoffmann has a remedy for that cultural “oops” with Other Primary Structures; for this go-around, the only Minimalists showing will be those from Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. Should be an eye-opener.

Featuring artists: Rasheed Araeen, Sérgio Camargo, Willys de Castro, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Lygia Clark, Noemí Escandell, Gego, Stanislav Kolíbal, Edward Krasiński, David Lamelas, David Medalla, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Alejandro Puente, Norberto Puzzolo, and Branko Vlahović.

Matter and Memory: Early Chinese Art Treasures

980 Madison Avenue
New York , NY 10075
5:00 PM to 9:00 PMWebsite

Gagosian Madison Avenue

Is Gagosian having an identity crisis? Clearly, the contemporary art gallery’s upcoming exhibition of ancient chinese wares, including a Shang Dynasty dagger and earthenware sculptures dating from the Han and Tang periods, points to schizophrenic programming. (Other upcoming exhibitions at Gagosian Madison Avenue include a show by Christian Dior jewelry Creative Director Victoire de Castellane.) The only constant seems to be what’s bound to sell.

Image: Zeng Fanzhi “Untitled”, 2014 © Zeng Fanzhi. Courtesy Zeng Fanzhi Studio and Gagosian Gallery.


Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

327 Broome Street
11:00 AM to 6:00 PMWebsite

Afruz Amighil: Far from God

Cut-paper nerds are certain to go crazy for Amighi’s hanging curtains adorned with patterning, detailed renderings of architectural spaces, and the occasional figure. The sole image on Beauchene’s website suggests we’ll see sculptural work in a more minimalist vein than we’ve seen previously from Amighi, but that too, seems worth a view.

Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn NY 11201

Smack Mellon Open Studios

It’s Smack Mellon Open Studio season! We recommend checking out the work of Bryan Zanisnik, the winner of last year’s DUMBO Art Festival prize. Zanisnik is known for incorporating his parents into his work and transforming spaces with childhood memorabilia, photos, and objects. We’re not overly familiar with many of the other artists, and we take that to be a good sign; Smack Mellon always introduces us to new talent. Look forward to seeing the following artists’ work: Chelsea Knight, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Lina Puerta, Six Of Twelve, Saya Woolfalk, Bryan Zanisnik, and Tyler Henry.


54 Franklin Street
New York, NY
5:30 - 8:00 PMWebsite

William Powhida: Overculture

For this exhibition of new paintings, drawings, sculptures, and lists, William Powhida is tackling the meaning of “overculture” in the art world. One definition of “overculture” provided by Powhida is “a small cultural group (artists) within the larger culture, often affirming the beliefs or interests of the ruling class (collectors).” It’s an important question to wonder how we in the arts remain complicit with the rampant fashions of the blue-chip, art-fair class of dealers and collectors, even when we feel otherwise, that price should not be the rallying point for any discussion. Thankfully, Powhida’s there to make us question ourselves; and if the Tweets included in the PR are any example of what we’re to expect on Saturday, it seems he’s been keeping track of the dissent that’s been fomenting for some time.

{ 1 comment }

The office of failed projects March 10, 2014 at 9:39 pm

hey ladies! leigh ledare’s show opens next friday, march 21st >

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