This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Drag and Derby

by Paddy Johnson Whitney Kimball and Corinna Kirsch on April 28, 2014 Events

From Linda Simpson's Drag Explosion.

From Linda Simpson’s The Drag Explosion. Image courtesy of Linda Simpson.

Spring is here! Outdoor events are happening: The Met’s opening up their rooftop and artists are planning parades to protest gentrification. Round that out with the always rollicking good times of Rhizome’s Seven on Seven, Linda Simpson’s Drag Explosion at Participant, Inc., and Smack Mellon’s Kentucky Derby Party and Art Auction, and we’ll call this a darn eventful week. All that and more, below.

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Swiss Institute

18 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
5:00 PMWebsite

Book Launch: Lucy Lippard, Undermining

Critic and activist Lucy Lippard might give New York Times critic Ken Johnson a run for his money. He’s stated that it’s problematic for art critics to talk about politics. Lippard is one of the best critics we have, and now she’s written Undermining, a book about the politics of land use and culture of the West. Go to her book launch to hear what she has to say.

Americas Society

680 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
12:00 - 6:00 PMWebsite

Unity of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt and the Americas

Cool! To go with the Audubon show at the New York Historical Society, the Americas Society has a show of illustrated volumes by the adventurer Alexander von Humboldt. He’s not well known to Americans today, but Humboldt’s writings led to the belief in Manifest Destiny. The show will include a variety of works by explorer-artists whom he influenced.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10028
10:00 AM to 5:30 PMWebsite

The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt

How do you know summer is near? It’s time for the Met’s rooftop exhibition series! This time round it’s Dan Graham who’s designed a steel and glass pavilion set within a “specially engineered landscape” designed by the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt. Beware the crowds.

Storefront for Art and Architecture

97 Kenmare Street
New York, NY 10012
7:00 PMWebsite

Letters to the Mayor

Architects make cities happen, but they’re not often content to just make a building and leave it at that. Letters to the Mayor presents 50 letters sent to political officials by internationally known architects. The Storefront for Art and Architecture launched their own competition in 2013—the aptly titled “Competition of Competitions”—asking architects to rethink citywide architectural competitions. They’ve come up with 18 finalists; their briefs will be on display throughout the length of Letters to the Mayor.

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Peter Jay Sharp Building

30 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn , NY 11217
8:00 PMWebsite

David Lynch in Conversation

DAVID fucking LYNCH. Tickets for this talk are already sold out, so if you’re a Lynch diehard, you’d better start asking around, drooling at the feet of your luckier, ticket-wielding neighbors. And this talk should be a rare one: Lynch rarely talks about his movies, though BAM promises he will.


The Graduate Center, Room C197

365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
6:30 PMWebsite

Chinese Media Censorship

Understanding media regulation in China isn’t so easy. The rules just aren’t clear-cut to outside observers. Media scholars Ying Zhu and Jason Q. Ng will discuss what we can know about Chinese media regulation and how journalists, among others, help perpetuate the government’s laws.

Participant Gallery

253 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10014
8:30 PMWebsite

Linda Simpson's The Drag Explosion: Expanded!

Those who liked Linda Simpson’s Clampart exhibition of photographs featuring PAGE, an active member of the transgender community in the 90’s may also want to check out The Drag Explosion at Participant. It’s a slideshow composed of Simpson’s NYC drag scene photos from the late 1980s to the mid ‘90s.

The event is sponsored by the queer film-and-video series “Dirty Looks.”


20 Jay Street, Suites 318 and 350

Brooklyn NY 11201
Thursday: 6:00 – 10:00 PM; Magda Stanová performance at 6:30 PM; Saturday: 2:00 – 6:00 PM Open Studios; 3:00 PM performance by Magda StanováWebsite

Triangle Arts Association Open Studios (Thursday May 1 and Saturday May 3)

Residencies are about a dime a dozen in New York, but Triangle Arts might be the most conceptually focused international residency program we’ve got. The six current residents seem focused on the nuts-and-bolts of artistic practice—Magda Stanová’s lectures include 101-style instructions on how to make art—or social research—one of Júlia Vécsei’s projects investigates the current-day trajectory of public housing projects in ex-Socialist countries compared to those in the States.
The full list of this year’s residents: Magda Stanová (Slovakia), Wu Chi-Tsung (Taiwan), Júlia Vécsei (Hungary), Jessica Segall (USA), Christopher Mahonski (USA), and Anna Kell (USA).

Le Petit Versailles

At East Houston between Avenue B and Avenue C
New York, New York 10009
11:00 AM - 1:00 PMWebsite

May Day Protest and Celebration

Jack Waters and Peter Cramer, co-directors of Le Petit Versailles garden and art space, are hosting a call to action and cause to celebrate. Speakers will discuss the impacts of gentrification to the surrounding community and world at large, followed by a 12:00 PM May Pole decorating and dance party.

Speakers include:

-Carlina Rivera, Director of Programming and Services Good Old Lower East Side – GOLES, Democratic District Leader 74A Coalition for a District Alternative (C.O.D.A.)

-Shafaq Islam, Senior Staff Attorney Urban Justice Center

-Phyllissima Abe, artist and Neighborhood Tenants Representative (141 Ridge Street)

-Peter Cramer, artist and Co-Director, Le Petit Versailles, member of 245 East 2nd Street Tenants association

-David Orama, Community Youth Councilor and longtime resident member of 245 East 2nd Street Tenants association

-Kembra Pfahler, artist and musician, member of 245 east 2nd Street Tenants Association.

– Cuchifritos Gallery And Project Space



547 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
6:00 - 8:00 PMWebsite


The title for this show takes its name from the meeting place of Minnesota-based hackers in the 1990s. That’s a reference to the digital/physical crossovers of the artists in the show. In other words: Expect some Postinternet art. Probably.


Tompkins Square Park

East 7th Street and Ave A
12:00 PM

Artists’ Anti-Gentrifcation Parade

Tompkins Square Park—the site of the famed squatters’ riots which may have coined the phrase “Die, Yuppie Scum”—will be the site of another anti-gentrification parade this weekend. Tenants will specifically target landlords Steve and Harriet Croman and 9300 Realty.

The New Museum

235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
12:00 - 6:00 PM (Tickets are sold out!)Website

Seven on Seven

We’ve been covering Rhizome’s Seven on Seven conference for years, and for good reason. The conference, which sends seven artists and seven technologists off in pairs for the purpose of a 24 hour collaboration is almost always brimming with excitement. This year, we’re probably most excited about the Kevin McCoy Anil Dash pairing—we’ve been following the careers of both for years—but you never know who’s going to make the most interesting project. That’s the glory of Seven on Seven; the collaborations are by definition a crap shoot. They’d never happen without the conference, and that makes them unique. Our only wish? A long collaboration period.

Artists: Kari Altmann, Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Holly Herndon, Kevin McCoy, Hannah Sawtell, and Frances Stark.

Technologists: Nick Bilton, Anil Dash, Jen Fong-Adwent, David Kravitz, Aza Raskin, Kate Ray and Avi Flombaum. Keynote by Kate Crawford.

Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
4:00 PMWebsite

Smack Mellon Kentucky Derby Party and Art Auction

Anyone who loves horseracing, art, and fine hats needs to make their way out to Smack Mellon’s Derby Day benefit.  300 dollars gets you and a guest into this extravagant affair and an artwork to boot.  The event itself is a total riot. Guests are encouraged to wear their craziest hats (Allegra LaViola should own this event) while betting on the Derby Day race projected live on the walls of Smack Mellon. Those bets determine the order in which guests get to pick their artwork.

Betting window opens at 4:00 PM and closes at 5:30 PM.

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