This Week’s Must-see Art Events: Dick Pics, GIFs, and Psychic TV

by Michael Anthony Farley and Rea McNamara on September 28, 2015 · 2 comments Events

Hands down, the must-see show this week is Lorna Mills’ “At Play in the Field of the Lord” which opens Saturday night at TRANSFER. Paddy was impressed by Mills’ immersive GIF installation “Ungentrified” (which featured this projection) last year in Toronto, and it created quite a buzz.

There doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming number of great shows opening this week. Which is kind of nice, actually. Take some time get the most out of art instead of rushing around to see it all. Tomorrow night, head to James Concannon’s book launch and leisurely leaf through his collection of dick pics. Attend a lecture or take a tour with Visual AIDS and reminisce about the 80s. Head to a discussion about feminist art at Artists Space on Friday. And Saturday, spend six hours listening to experimental music and watching performances from Psychic TV and other genre-bending artists. If that hasn’t expanded your mind enough, head to MoMA on Sunday for a documentary about the surreal album art of Storm Thorgerson. After a few busy weeks, isn’t it nice to sit with art and relax?


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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1071 5th Avenue
New York, NY
6:30 p.m.Website

28th Annual Hilla Rebay Lecture by Richard Meyer

In any major American folk art survey, you’ll likely find the work of self-taught artist Morris Hirshfield. A prominent Brooklyn slipper manufacturer, Hirshfield became a painter after poor health forced him to retire in the mid-1930s at the age of 65. His output — most often of meticulously-realized domestic pet portraits and female nudes with mosaic-like textures — eventually led to a 1943 solo show at MoMA that was so poorly received it led to the dismissal of its director, Arthur Barr. Richard Meyer, the Stanford art historian who co-authored Art and Queer Culture, revisits this moment, suggesting critics’ revile for the exhibition was perhaps more evocative of folk art’s controversial status within modernism. (Funnily enough, the lecture comes at the heels at the just-closed Folk Art and American Modernism exhibition at the American Folk Museum, which looked at the outsider art owned by Modernist artists like Elie Nadelman and Charles Sheeler.)


The Cock

29 2nd Ave
New York, NY
8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Website

Launch Party for James Concannon's "Machismo"

James Concannon’s work often walks a line between exposing vulnerability and giving the viewer the finger—a tension that translates at any scale from his small punk-influenced drawings and collages to his large, painterly assemblage-installations. Now, he’s channeling that ambiguity through a different type of erection. “Machismo” is a limited edition, full color, 46 page book of unedited cell phone photos of the artist’s penis. The photos were shot over the course of Concannon’s many travels—suggesting long-distance sexting, anonymous hookups over dating apps, or perhaps just boredom in a hotel room. And those contexts are what’s really interesting here. The dick is pretty much doing the same thing in almost every photo: erect, held with the artist’s right hand, looking oddly expectant. Flipping through the book, only the background seems to move—suggesting an animated narrative where Concannon’s penis is the lonely, unchanging protagonist holding its head high on some epic journey. Appropriately, that quest culminates tomorrow night with a book launch party at the gay bar The Cock, the most infamously cruisy holdout of Lower East Side sleaze.


FIT Special Exhibitions Gallery and La Mama Galleria

227 W 27th St.
New York, NY
10:30 a.m.Website

Fashion Underground & Party Out of Bounds: Guided Tour & Discussion

We have a feeling Susanne Bartsch is seldom up and out of the house by 10:30 AM, especially given her penchant for elaborate eyeshadow application that must take hours. Nevertheless, we recommend you check out her retrospective at the Fashion Institute of Technology at 10:30, when curator Dr. Valerie Steele and Visual AIDS will guide a tour through the exhibition that traces Bartsch’s iconic nightlife looks, their impact on mainstream fashion, and AIDS activism and fundraising from the 1980s to the present.

At noon, the tour heads to La MaMa Galleria, where the exhibition Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 similarly reconsiders the nightlife of what was arguably the bleakest and most fun decade of New York’s history. Curators Emily Colucci and Osman Can Yerebakan will discuss the seemingly contradictory functions of nightlife as both an escapist fantasy and space for political organizing and education at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980 features artwork by Nayland Blake, Elegance Bratton, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Luis Carle, Clit Club Archive/Julie Tolentino, Chloe Dzubilo, Scott Ewalt, Robert Getso, Keith Haring, Aldo Hernandez Archive, Peter Hujar, Kia Labeija, Marc Lida, Caldwell Linker, Lovett/Codagnone, Charles Lum, Joseph Modica, Hunter Reynolds, Eric Rhein, John Sex, Linda Simpson, Chad States, Nelson Sullivan, Wu Tsang & RJ Messineo, Conrad Ventur, John Walter, John Waters, Jessica Whitbread, and David Wojnarowicz


Eyebeam Seaport

117 Beekman Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website


These three artists consider social architecturefrom the built environment to digital communication interfaces—as permeable barriers. The screen/wall/window relationship is a compelling one, and Nancy Nowacek addresses it most directly in her sculptural assemblages of construction supplies and digital displays. In a similar vein, Casalegno (above) creates “frames” for webcam streams of strangers interacting—creating fictional spaces in which these exchanges might happen. Dyson uses an interactive wall to map the history of the surrounding Lower Manhattan neighborhood, calling attention to the power dynamics of economic forces from the Seaport’s old slave markets to the trading floors of Wall Street. This looks like it’s going to be good: a digital art show that’s very much married to reality.

Artists: Mattia Casalegno, Torkwase Dyson, Nancy Nowacek


Artists Space Books & Talks

55 Walker Street
New York, NY
7:00 p.m.Website

How to be a wo(man): Judith Bernstein, Dara Birnbaum, Joan Jonas, moderated by Kathy Noble

Joan Jonas’s triumphant Venice Biennale Pavilion brought long due attention to a pioneer in performance and video. In exploring gender archetypes, her work could be positioned alongside women artists of her generation: Judith Bernstein and her garishly crude “screw” paintings, Dara Birnbaum’s appropriations of pop culture iconography in her remixed videos. This highly-anticipated talk, part of this week’s WE (Not I) four-day long feminist art event series, brings together the artists to discuss how transformation has pre-figured into their artistic practices, and the impact of theorists like Judith Butler and Donna Haraway.



1030 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Website

Lorna Mills: At Play in the Field of the Lord

In her second solo show at Brooklyn’s TRANSFER, GIF doyenne Lorna Mills continues her obsessive foray into the user-generated pits of Reddit and Porn Fail for moving image collages of rhythmically synched car crashes, explosions and masturbating monkeys, among other subversive eyesores. TRANSFER’s director Kelani Nichole promises a “big show”, including a “massive composition from fourteen 40” TVs on one wall.” Given the increasing momentum of Mills’s career — next month sees the Chicago premiere of the final fourth episode of her massive Ways of Something curatorial project — this will be worthwhile to check out.

Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer St.
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.Website

Psychic TV

I once saw Genesis P-Orridge, Psychic TV’s founder/frontperson, speak at an art school. They explained the arc of their performance art/life as such: “If you had told us that in the 1960s we’d be pissing in a bottle and in the 1980’s we’d be rescuing dolphins, we wouldn’t have believed it. But looking back now, they’re both stages of the same process.” They also explained that Throbbing Gristle—the revolutionary band that preceded Psychic TV and essentially invented industrial music—was born out of complete indifference to the fact that no one in the band knew how to play an instrument. Instead. they just made noise until they recorded something they liked on a tape that could be played back. In essence, Genesis P-Orridge and crew are the poster children of a totally liberated creative process that miraculously manages to result in surprisingly quality output. Psychic TV is not to be missed. Tickets are available online for $20 and totally worth it—for the price of one show, you get something unclassifiable that’s a little bit performance art, a little bit punk, a little bit psychedelia, and a lot of wisdom. They’re also playing with Haribo, Shilpa Ray, and WETWARE


Theater 2, Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53 Street
New York, NY
2:00 p.m.Website

Taken by Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis

As one of the most influential 1970s album cover designers, Storm Thorgerson provided the visual gateway into rolling around high on the era’s rec room shag-pile rug while Pink Floyd or Alan Parson Project spun on the turntable. His company, Hipgnosis, was responsible for many iconic classic rock covers — Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon prism and rainbow design comes to mind — that built on the high concept 1960s pop art of a Warhol-designed cover for the Stones’ Sticky Fingers, and likely influenced Peter Saville’s Factory Records output. Even though much of Thorgerson’s work has since become bastardized as core branding for dad rock merchandise, it’s worth considering how the return of vinyl and neo-psychedelia has revived this stream of commercial art. This documentary assesses Thorgerson’s surrealist album cover work, as well as includes interviews with many of his musician collaborators (Dave Gilmour, Peter Gabriel), and explores how the graphics of album art impacts our headphone trippings.

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