This Week’s Must-see Art Events: Superstar Pee

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on October 5, 2015 · 1 comment Events

brigid berlinPlan to spend at least part of your time at major exhibition openings in New York this week. This Wednesday the New Museum opens their Jim Shaw exhibition, an artist who has been referred to as the posterboy for “junk shop sublime”. (He incorporates a lot of second hand work into his sculptures and installations.) Come Sunday the quinquennial survey show everyone loves to hate—Greater New York—opens at MoMA PS1. No artist list has been released [Update: it’s been released] but we’re sure this show will be better than the last if for no other reason than the bar was set so low. Critic Christian Viveros-Faune, when complaining of the pains the 2010 show took to be politically correct hilariously concluded, “No matter—black Jesus floating down from on high with a strap-on would not improve this disaster of an assembly one iota.” We’re hoping an artist has made that work for this exhibition.
The rest of the week’s events include a talk by artist, writer, lawyer and teacher Sergio

Munoz Sarmiento which will focus on property through the lens of the law and art and Taner Ceylan’s opening of hyper-realistic borderline gay porn paintings. The most promising opening, though, is a solo show of work by Brigid Berlin, a Warhol Superstar who once boasted about a daily routine that involved throwing her coat off on the floor, dropping her pants and pissing. Can’t wait to see what’s in that show!


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133/141 W 21st St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Website

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento: Working, Drawings, and Other Visible Things Not Necessarily Meant to Be Viewed as Art, Fourth Iteration

I can’t even imagine what this talk is going to cover, though I guess it will be the art making practice of Sergio Munoz Sarmiento. Sarmiento is an artist, writer, lawyer and MFA Fine Arts faculty member whose work “focuses on the analysis of property and structures through legal and cultural discourse and practices.” Are we going to be looking at a bunch of legal briefs, drawings, performances? No idea. But Sarmiento ran the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts program for years before joining the SVA faculty and we’ve had the good fortune of being the beneficiary of his council and a co-panelist with him at various talks. He’s extremely smart, entertaining and creative, so I’m sure this panel will be great.


New Museum

235 Bowery
New York, NY
11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.Website

Jim Shaw: The End is Here

“If the Junk shop sublime needs a posterboy Jim Shaw could fill that role with ease.” I didn’t write that sentence, but boy, I wish I did. It was part of Steven Stern’s 2002 feature for Frieze on Shaw, and it describes his work in near perfect pitch. “His entire artistic career has been a sustained engagement with the second-hand, the detritus of 20th-century visual culture, high and low. It’s cluttered and overwhelming, and filled with strange things that seem uncomfortably personal. It’s embarrassing. It’s funny. It’s funny because it’s embarrassing.”

Anyway, expect airbrush drawings, immersive installations of sculpture and theatrical backdrops, thrift store paintings and more.

Miguel Abreu Gallery

36 Orchard St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

R. H. Quaytman: חקק, Chapter 29

A small show of R. H. Quaytman’s paintings, which are drawn, at least in part from a series of Scientific imaging techniques, such as x-ray and thermography on a Paul Klee painting in which he had glued the “Angelus Novus” monoprint directly onto an old engraving. The purpose of these tests was to find out who was behind the angel, though technology ultimately failed her. She did not find her answers though the test results. Intensive research, though, did help and she eventually came to an answer. And for that, you have to go see the show.


Paul Kasmin Gallery

297 Tenth Ave.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Taner Ceylan: We Now Must Say Goodbye

Taner Ceylan’s incredibly-skilled, hyper-realistic paintings are impossibly seductive—and not just because they’re borderline-gay-porn. Ceylan has a hand for bringing a seemingly endless variety of tactile surfaces to life in paint: water, fabric, glistening sweat, and of course—flesh. John Berger theorized that oil paintings fulfilled a desire to create an index of things one wants to touch and possess, and Ceylan’s work excels at presenting the idealized bodies or relationships so many gay men aspire to. In this exhibition, however, we might be in for something a little different. The flier is a of a man (the artist?) in a gown inspired by “Princess de Broglie”,1851-53 by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Apart from the gender switch, it looks exactly like a classical portrait out of art history. This unexpected non-nude twist brings to mind the question: did male painters start putting clothes on their female subjects when they realized they could render satin and wanted to show off?


329 Broome Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Yu Lik Way: It’s A Bright Guilty World

Filmmaker/photographer Yu Lik Way travels to the strangest, most barren corners of China’s overbuilt real estate market. But this isn’t run-of-the-abandoned-mill “ruin porn”. When an eye trained for cinematic narrative casts its gaze upon a location like a dilapidated-but-never-used shopping mall, it can convey an eerie feeling of suspense that’s unnervingly evocative of fiction: these locations aren’t just spooky because of their stillness; they’re spooky because of their potential for something awful to happen. This exhibition is co-presented by the Museum of Chinese in America and also features holograms, which are always a must-see—even if they’re not authored by one of China’s most respected filmmakers like these ones.


The Still House Group

481 Van Brunt St. #9D
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Alex Ito: Cloud Nine

Alex Ito has a way with image/object relations that somehow makes us realize the distinction is stupid but reminds us of how potent it is at the same time. From digitally manipulated photographic prints on metal to 3-D collages, Ito approaches both found imagery and sculpture with an oddly painterly eye—usually resulting in unclassifiable works that scream to be photographed yet again. We’re not sure exactly what to expect here, but the premise looks good. Ito is mining visions of the future, utopia, progress, and modernity as his source material. It’s a logical (and fertile) field given his penchant for the shiny and sterile, as well as his somewhat cool criticality when calling images out for their unfulfilled promises.


253 Wilson Ave
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

HIT THE STREET: Four Decades of New York Street Photography

Street photography sometimes gets a bad rap as guilty-pleasure art. That’s mostly because everyone secretly likes it; there’s an undeniable allure to fulfilling our voyeuristic/flâneuristic impulses from behind the anonymity of someone else’s lense. The endless sharing of Humans of New York’s somewhat-sappy posts or the 20+ year longevity of VICE’s popular, acerbic “Do’s and Dont’s” can’t be wrong, right?

Here, though, we can expect a less pedestrian take at documenting pedestrian life from curator John Silvis. He’s brought together Alan Kleinberg (who photographed the city’s tumultuous streets in the 1960s and 70s), Amy Arbus (who published a street fashion column in the Village Voice in the 1980s), Ash Thayer (who lived amongst the Lower East Side’s squats in the 1990s), and the contemporary Andre D. Wagner (who’s stuck documenting an increasingly homogenous Brooklyn today). This looks to be good, and yet another occasion to have us all nostalgically shaking our fists at Koch, Giuliani, and Bloomberg for making Manhattan so much less weird/photogenic.

Invisible Exports

89 Eldridge St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Brigid Berlin: It’s All About Me

The press release for this Warhol Superstar’s show begins with this quote:

Usually the first thing I do when I come home in New York is take the coat off.  Drop it in the middle of the room on the floor.  Pull down my pants and have a long tinkle.  Then with my pants half on and half off I run and plug my tape recorder into the house current, roll back to side A and listen to what I’ve just done.  This thrills me!! While I listen I put backing on all of the Polaroids, and if it’s a new person I’ve photographed or a new subject matter, I fill out a new file card for them and put them away.  I’ve smoked a few Marlboros in the meantime and probably ordered up from room service a chocolate malted or two and a cheeseburger heavy on the ketchup.” – Brigid Berlin (1970, Cologne)

This kind of no-holds-barred, obsessive documentation is so ambiguous as to intent: was Berlin documenting to capture her eccentric life, or living eccentrically to document it? It’s a question that’s valid in terms of her life/work with Warhol, but also in relation to contemporary concerns regarding social media and how identities are performed for it. Has anyone ever considered the presentation of a home-cooked meal for one because you wanted to Instagram it?



286 Stanhope Street
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m - 9:00 p.m.Website

Janine Polak: Thirsty

The lead image for this Janine Polak show looks like a bunch of black foam stripes tacked to a wall. It’s actually ceramic. The work seems very much about materiality, though the artist’s inspiration is described as internal power struggles and things right and wrong with nature, sex, and beauty. However it comes into being, the restraint shown in these minimal works creates a kind of vibrating tension not to be missed.



22-25 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Greater New York

This is the fourth iteration of the Greater New York series, which has been showcasing local talent since 2000. Who is this local talent? That remains a mystery [Update: until today]. MoMA’s promotional materials told us only the show is about exploring connections between “emerging and more established artists” from the New York Metropolitan Area against the backdrop of a changing city. Uh, that is the vaguest press release ever.

On the just released artist list, there are a few dead artists—Lebbeus Woods, Gordon Matta-Clarke, and William Greaves for instance. So that’s new. Look for a few brand new talents including Sondra Perry, (whose work we wrote about this July), Bunny Rogers, (whose work we included in this show), and Rebecca Patek (whose work we’ve raved about). And of course, what’s a show like this about if there aren’t a few art market heavy hitters who have yet to live up to their promise—(Seth Price, we’re looking at you.)

In sum, we don’t really know what to expect, but the survey is organized by an all-star team of MoMA’s curatorial staff: Peter Eleey, Curator and Associate Director of Exhibitions and Programs, MoMA PS1, art historian Douglas Crimp, University of Rochester; Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, MoMA; and Mia Locks, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1.

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