This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Let’s Keep Gentrifiers Out of Our Museums

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on November 16, 2015 Events

gentrification brooklyn museum

This Tuesday, New York artists, activists and renters head out to protest the Brooklyn Real Estate Summit at The Brooklyn Museum. The summit will be where some of the city’s biggest real estate moguls convene to discuss how they can best raise rents so high that it will push working and middle class residents out of the city. It’s essential to attend this protest and will almost certainly be very, very fun. There will be a satirical performance/protest of the Brooklyn Museum’s latest “exhibition”, Double Crossing Brooklyn plus Reverend Billy Talent will perform.  

Other events on the horizon: Tonight Justene Williams promises complicit spectatorship, with her installation made of cardboard and paper sets and crazy costumed performers. If you miss it tonight, not to worry: she’ll perform it every day at noon for the rest of the week.  For those who love to hear about architecture, Bjarke Ingels will discuss how he and his firm B.I.G. are transforming New York at Cooper Hewitt Tuesday night. Expect to hear about ideas of play. And finally, apartment gallery shows are the rage: we’ve listed two openings this Friday, one in the Upper East Side and another in—you guessed it —Bushwick. Get out and see these shows.

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47 Walker St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m.Website

Justene Williams: The Curtain Breathed Deeply

Justene Williams creates situations of “complicit spectatorship”, drawing inspiration from art history, shamanistic ritual, and suburban life in her native Australia. Her colorful, painterly installations envelop viewers and performers with cardboard and paper sets, eccentric costuming, and video projections. This interactive performance will be roughly two hours long and we recommend getting there early as it’s easy to foresee this selling out, and you won’t want to miss it. But if you do, there will be additional performances everyday this week at noon.



Brooklyn Museum

200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn. NY
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Double Crossing Brooklyn

The week’s most important event by far. From a flyer produced for the event:

The Brooklyn Museum has rented out space to host a major Real Estate Summit. This is a meeting of the biggest real estate speculators in the city, convening to further their aim of driving rents higher, resulting in the displacement of long-time residents, small businesses, and artists. The art community is uniting with community groups to say we’ve had enough of the hypergentrification which is destroying our city: this summit should not be hosted by the Brooklyn Museum, whose mission is to serve NYC residents, Brooklyn communities, and artists. This afternoon’s action speaks to the displacement of thousands of working artists from our studios: over 53,000 of us applied for just 90 units in the P.S. 109 space in El Barrio, and just a mile or two from here, in Gowanus, over 300 artists summarily lost their leases in a single building.

We recommend attending the protest from 4 PM to 6 PM, where there will be a welcoming invocation provided by Reverend Billy Talent,  a satirical performance/protest of the Brooklyn Museum’s latest “exhibition”, Double Crossing Brooklyn (check out Eliot Spitzer’s latest body of work and enjoy the BEST press release ever), and special guests, The Guerilla Girls! Basically, it’s the best protest line up ever. You gotta come out.

Cooper Hewitt

2 E 91st St.
New York, NY
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Game Changers: Bjarke Ingels

Love him or hate him. there’s no denying that Bjarke Ingels and his firm B.I.G. are very much changing the architectural discourse—not to mention skyline—of New York in a huge way. “The Avicii of Architecture” brings a sense of crowd-pleasing fun and Scandinavian eco-cred to otherwise controversial projects from skyscrapers to climate-resilient infrastructure. Here, he’ll be discussing his relentlessly optimistic vision and practice with Cooper Hewitt Curatorial Director Cara McCarty.

Tickets: $15 General Admission, $10 Members, $8 Students


Jing Fong

20 Elizabeth S
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.Website

A Benefit for Triple Canopy

Support artist writing and socialize with some of the art world’s most impressive luminaries at Triple Canopy’s annual fall benefit. Seriously, the list of names on their near endless benefit committee is impressive: Thelma Golden, Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, Eileen & Michael Cohen, Agnes Gund, and so on. Wear something nice to this event honoring Ralph Lemon. Tickets start at $250 bucks, and everyone there will be a star of some sort.


Japan Society Gallery

333 East 47th St
New York, NY
6:30 p.m.Website

Leo Rubinfien on Seeing the World through Tokyo: Poetry in Photography, Japan in the 1960s

Leo Rubinfien will discuss the influence of Tokyo’s experimental photography scene on his own practice, which has been very much informed by the years he spent there during the tumultuous 1960s. This talk coincides with the Japan Society’s exhibition For a New World to Come. Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968–1979—a survey of the uncertainty and innovation in visual culture that accompanied a decade of postwar growth, student uprisings, and seismic shifts in the nation’s identity.  



Invisible Exports

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

Vaginal Davis: Come On Daughter Save Me


Vaginal Davis is an always-unpredictable icon of genderqueer punk, performance, and more recently, visual art. This series of relief portraits marks Davis’s first foray into sculpture—depicting archetypal heroines glazed in blood-red nail polish. Look for other nods to beauty supplies, such as an occasional whiff of hairspray or perfume.

437 A

437A Pulaski Street
Brooklyn, NY
7:00pm - 9:00pmWebsite

Left to Right


437A is an art space run out of someone’s apartment, which is an art-viewing context that’s always weird but also intimate and often better than a white-box gallery. Tonight, they’re showing visual work from Beverly Acha, Nobutaka Aozaki, Jennifer Grimyser, and Robin Kang, along with a poetry reading by Elizabeth Gollan at 8 p.m. Robin Kang will be displaying her “Video Textiles” (detail above) which alternately create step-and-repeat patterns and close-ups of decorative motifs from a grid of footage that recalls the act of loom weaving.



181 East 90th st. #28B
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Wet Eyes


Wet Eyes assembles a series of works that impose artistic intervention on lived experience, a perfect theme for an apartment gallery. (Our second apartment gallery listing this week!)  For instance, Joseph Buckley’s Pervert’s Lament blacks out the windows, and thus all the natural light in the main room of the gallery to display a small bit of text that describes the room as if from an alternate reality. Jonathan Mildenberg takes on the shitter: he’s transformed the bathroom into what the press release describes as “an odd and orphaned simulation of an institutional restroom (sans toilet and sink).”

I’m not sure bathroom is going to a real crowd pleaser here, but I like how boldly this show lays claim to the intervention of banal spaces. Recommended.

Artists: Zak Arctander, Daniel Klaas Beckwith (detail above), Joseph Buckley, Jonathan Mildenberg. Curated by Sarah Meyohas.



52 Tompkins Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

If Grandpa Sucks, We'll Leave

This three-person show features artists who share a penchant for narrative, absurdism, and a painterly/crafty aesthetic. Lindsay Wraga’s “The City” is an accumulation of doll-house-like dioramas depicting tableaus of sex, comedy, and mundane life. The multi-story structures, like their miniature inhabitants, are endearingly wonky. Similarly, Tess Bilhartz’s paintings read like cinematic vignettes, or a sequential comic. The paintings are storyboarded with establishing shots, closeups, and the (mis)adventures of usually-female protagonists in a washy, candy-colored setting. Painter Zuriel Waters assumes a variety of clownish personas in his self-portraits, whose painterly surfaces provide an index of their making, but reveal few details about the artist himself or explanations for the absurd circumstances/costuming he’s placed himself in.

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