This week is heavy on all things futuristic: digital art, space travel, and video games. At Whitebox Art Center, you can see a show that looks at computer-based art practices from the 70s to the present. The group Guerilla Science, meanwhile, appears to be booking trips across the universe with their Intergalactic Travel Bureau. Finally, Chris Marker and Tabor Robak provide two different dystopic visions of video games.
IFC Center323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd Street
Murray Hill presents The Queen
Those of you looking for your weekly fix of drag can get it from The Queen (1968), a rare look into a 1960s drag beauty pageant. The Queen boasts art-world cameos from Andy Warhol and Jim Dine, who were amongst the judges of the pageant. Paris is Burning superfans, in particular, should head to this, as one of the pageant’s contestants is Crystal LaBeija, who would go on to found the (in)famous “House of LaBeija”. Expect plenty of sass.
Light Industry155 Freeman Street
Radical Sex Education Films: San Francisco's Multi-Media Resource Center
From 1968 to 1972, a production company called The National Sex Forum released a series of sex-ed films. Because the late 60’s was a time of social reformation, the short 16-mm films were exponentially more radical than those clinical sex-ed films from the early 60’s. There’s a cartoon sex trip in a sea of breasts, a lesson on hinduism’s belief in the infinite variability of sexuality, and a dream-like short about race’s role in sex. Come and feel the ethos of 1969 with films about sexual liberation, racial tension, and the psychedelic drug user portrayed as maverick.
Sargent’s Daughters179 East Broadway
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite
Visible Man- Jordan Casteel
Jordan Casteel is straight out of Yale graduate school, but she’s already getting attention for her paintings of African-American men portrayed as if they were Manet’s Olympia, naked and vulnerable. There’s a lot of talk about the emasculation of the black male in pop culture these days, and these works seem to reappropriate that tradition.
Whitebox329 Broome Street
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite
Coded After Lovelace
An historical take on creative use of technology, from Lillian F. Schwartz (an early residence at Bell Laboratories) to the more recent glitch-based work of Rosa Menkman. Go, and maybe you’ll learn something.
Chashama266 West 37th Street
12:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite
The Intergalactic Travel Bureau by Guerilla Science
The Intergalactic Travel Bureau is a piece of “Free Interactive Science Theater.” I’m not 100 percent sure what this entails, except that the founders describe this as “Virgin Galactic and Space X meet the Jetsons and Mad Men.” After a successful Kickstarter, the ITB will be traveling around the States for another month as a “resource for all your luxury space travel needs.” This favorable New Yorker piece on them says that one of their main goals (besides selling billion dollar trips) is to get more girls into science, which is pretty great.
BAM Rose Cinemas30 Lafayette Avenue
See website for screening timesWebsite
Level Five follows a video-game designer making a game about Okinawa, who finds that elements from the game start appearing in her everyday life. This is from Chris Marker (director of Le Jéete) so expect Level Five to be equal parts abstract and cyberpunk. From the looks of the trailer, Level Five is full of early ‘90s digital graphics, so net-art aficionados, go to this!
Swiss Institute18 Wooster Street
Tabor Robak in Conversation with Simon Castets
Imagine a massive, self-playing Bejewelled-esque iPhone game. That comes closest to approximating Tabor Robak’s uncanny HD animations, which often sprawl across multiple LCD screens. Hear Robak talk with the Swiss Institute’s director Simon Castets at this closing event for the SI’s current exhibition, The St. Petersburg Paradox.
Penelope18-28 Troutman Street
6:00 PM to 9:00 PMWebsite
To get the feeling of Dull Theatrics, this is how its gallery statement begins:
The Story of Buddha with a shoe on his head.
Warhol – gold phone to god. The Doors movie.
Jokes told by an android. Data from Star Trek.
We don’t know if these things will be in this group show (I kind of hope to see jokes told by an android), or if this is absurdity for absurdity sake. Either way it seems like the show will be filled with misfit art made by some of the art world’s best misfits.
Aritsts include: Robert Costello, Mike Ellyson, Alicia Gibson, Daniel Johnston, Irena Jurek, Yasamin Keshtkar, Bradford Kessler, Jonathan Stanish, Vaughn Taormina
Pioneer Works159 Pioneer Street
3:00 PM - 7:00 PMWebsite
Kenan Juska, Artist and co-founder of the radio program “Chances with Wolves,” from March 2005 to November 2008 created a time-based collages made from cast- off materials found on the streets of New York. I’m excited to see objects from a time in such recent memory(second Bush administration, pre-recession, pre-iPhone), that is markedly different from the world we live in now.
Pioneer works will also be selling a book of Juska’s work, which you can pick up at the opening.
MoMA11 West 53rd Street
12:00 PM - 5:00 PMWebsite
James Lee Byars
One of this summer’s more under-the-radar retrospectives has been the James Lee Byar’s show, ½ An Autobiography, at MoMA PS1. Much of Byar’s performance work was accomplished with little more than paper and fabric, and it’s a refreshing alternative to the high-gloss of other major museum retrospectives on view this summer (Jeff Koons, anyone?) Beginning August 17 and continuing until September 7, MoMA will re-create several of Byars’s performances. This Sunday, you can see “The Mile-Long Paper Walk,” which includes a performer in a feathered costume and a 500-foot strand of paper. Other pieces, like Byar’s “Ten in a Hat,” involve massive articles of clothing that multiple individuals wear at once.
Museum of the Moving Image36-01 35 Avenue
Imitation of Life
No one does melodrama better than Douglas Sirk. If you haven’t seen his work before, Imitation of Life is the perfect entry point. Half the film revolves around a Broadway star, Lora, and her teenage daughter, Susie, who both fall in love with the same man. The rest of the film follows Lora’s black housekeeper, Annie, who is spurned and subsequently heartbroken by her white-passing daughter. Both plots reach soap-opera levels of intensity, but what makes Imitation of Life great is that underneath all of its fun campiness lies a surprisingly bleak critique of American culture.