This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Pumpkinhead Appreciation, and a New Sarah Thornton Book

by Whitney Kimball on October 27, 2014 Events

Image via National Pumpkinhead Appreciation Month on Facebook

Image via National Pumpkinhead Appreciation Month on Facebook

Our plastic pumpkin baskets overfloweth: a new book by Sarah Thornton, a queer eighties sci-fi film, a gala, the release of Godard’s 3D movie, and a talk by the great new media artist Peter Burr (to appear soon today’s “GIF of the Day”) are just a few treasures. And a friendly note—you may know this week as Halloween, but we are also winding down National Pumpkinhead Appreciation Month, a month celebrating artist Beth Heinly’s cartoon character who pees gasoline on people and lights them on fire. Happy month.

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The Institute of Fine Arts

1 East 78th Street
6:30 Website

Talk: Simon Fujiwara

Simon Fujiwara speaks about his erotically tinged autobiographical surrealist performances, weaving details like his sexuality, a trip to China, and his family memories into his work. This will probably only be useful to people who’ve seen his work, but based on Fujiwara’s skyrocketing exhibition history, those viewers seem to include a number of superfans.

IFC Center

323 Avenue of the Americas
8 PM Website

Screening: “Liquid Sky”

A meaty nugget, dangled into the frothing piranha bath of the queer New York film scene:

Androgynous fashion models, dope dealing performance artists, UFOs and killer orgasms are just a few of the elements that made Russian director Slava Tsukerman’s Warholian sci-fi film an instant cult-classic upon its release in 1982. Most alluring to the LGBT crowd was co-writer and star Anne Carlisle, who brilliantly played both bisexual model Margaret and her skuzzy drug-addict nemesis Jimmy (the scene where both characters have sex is surely a first in film history).

Drool. The film is followed by a Q&A with the host, the pro-gay writer and activist Slava Mogutin, who moved to New York after his exile from Russia in 1995.



647 Fulton Street
6-9 PM Website


I wish the press had been allowed to review David Levine’s opera “WOW” (Work-in-Progress) last year. (We weren’t allowed to discuss it in full, because it was a work in progress.) Actors mingled with the audience, directed by a narrator who discussed the careers of lip-synching pop stars Milli Vanilli. Their dance movements were set to a backdrop of professional opera singers, who sight-read auto-generated music loops from large screens overhead. Once again David Levine rethinks ways of making art.

“WOW” was a product of the BRIC House Fireworks Residency. Help BRIC make more of New York’s best performances keep coming by buying tickets to their gala. This is where the arteratti will be, so you won’t want to miss this party.

Friend Ticket $500 SOLD OUT!
Deluxe Ticket $750
Premium Ticket $1,000



536 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn
Myrtle Hall 4E-03 DDA Studio, Brooklyn

Peter Burr Lecture

I’ve seen a lot of slacker-painter digital-looking decals and sculpture, but rarely such sculptural treatment of actual greenscreening and projection as Peter Burr is capable of pulling off– and did so last year at the Museum of the Moving Image (see the Creators Project profile for more details). The Cartune Xprez member will be lecturing at Pratt on Wednesday. The digital media younguns need to see this.

IFC Center

323 Avenue of the Americas
Multiple showtimes Website

Screening: Goodbye to Language

Godard’s new 3D film is finally on view to the public! I joined the thousand reviewers who took stabs at trying to describe and praise this, but based on the film’s visual and narrative complexity, my rendition could only be clumsy. Get tickets.

The New Museum

235 Bowery
11 AM - 6 PM Website

Opening: Chris Ofili

Artist known for putting elephant poop on canvas also had a whole career. For decades, Ofili’s intricate jewel-like panels, many inspired by Zimbabwe cave painting, have woven together themes of many facets of black culture, reflecting upon its treatment in the West and pop culture today.


Artist Space Books & Talks

55 Walker Street
7 PM Website

Talk: David Bussel on “Going Down the Market”

Writer David Bussel will talk about the slacker gallery business model— for example, his former employer, the American Fine Arts Gallery. The space was founded by dealer Colin de Land, who set the tone for the eff-you, unrenovated, anti-market market of galleries like Reena Spaulings, The Hole, Ramiken Crucible (you can see evidence of this in his New York Times obituary). Fast forward over ten years after de Land’s death, and for better or worse, you’ve got Gagosian pop-ups in the Lower East Side, and Venus Over Manhattan on the Upper East Side. Interested to hear what Bussel thinks of those.
$5 donation at the door


Spectacle Theater

124 South 3rd Street
Screenings start at 8Website

Night of the Living Dead/THE CURSE OF GHOUL FRIDAY

The only natural art venue to celebrate Halloween in is, of course, Spectacle, where even Thanksgiving is known as Shlashgiving. This year, the holiday will be observed with a screening of “Night of the Living Dead” followed by “The Curse of Ghoul Friday.”


22-25 Jackson Avenue
8-10 PM Website

Halloween Ball: HalloQueens! Presented with Susanne Bartsch MoMA PS1 in the VW Dome

Finally, a use for the VW Dome. If you must spend Halloween at PS1, then I submit the idea that we all make Klaus Biesenbach masks and show up in hoards. 30 bucks for the afterparty.

King’s Tavern

949 Grand Street
7-11 PM Website

Emoji Halloween

If you seek a subtler, but more unsettling, kind of horror, then look no further than Carla Gannis’s updated “Garden of Earthly Delights”. As she describes it, contemporary iconography like emojis mask the sins of contemporary consumerism with the superflat, hollow sense of unquestioning apathy. On Halloween, Transfer holds a GIF screening of Eden, Hell, and Earth, around the corner at King’s Tavern. Emoji costumes encouraged.


The Metropolitan Museum

1000 Fifth Avenue
7 PMWebsite

Prague Philharmonic Choir

In the category of stuff to do with a hangover, a choir of 65 people singing 16th century imperial choral music, paired with hardcore erotica paintings by Bartholomeus Spranger, is probably not high on most people’s lists. But the Prague Philharmonic Choir, an over century-old organization, is apparently legendary and the Met claims to its possessing “awesome power.” For us, the big carrot is the YouTube. (We know nothing about music.)
Note that it’s $65.


The New Museum

235 Bowery
3 PM Website

33 Artists in 3 Acts: Sarah Thornton with Andrea Fraser, Massimiliano Gioni, and Laurie Simmons

Looks like Sarah Thornton, author of “Seven Days in the Art World” hasn’t totally walked out on us (just the market). Her new book is out! “33 Artists in 3 Acts” once again takes a “behind-the-scenes” look at the art world, humanizing people like Massimiliano Gioni and Maurizio Cattelan. On Sunday, Andrea Fraser and Laurie Simmons will discuss the book with Thornton and Gioni. Apparently, Cattelan couldn’t make it.

Expect this event to sell out fast.

$10 general, $8 members

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