This Week’s Must-See Events: Sext Me, Sext Me, Don’t Forget Me

by Paddy Johnson Michael Anthony Farley Rea McNamara on January 19, 2016 Events

Modern-day slavery, female representation and outsider art are the big themes of this week’s Must-See Art Events. Today, two talks (Cheryl I. Harris at Artists Space and the Normalities Austrian Cultural Forum) look at the market-enforced instability of ‘black’ spaces and the ongoing Balkan immigration to Vienna, respectively. Two solo shows — Betty Tompkins at FLAG Art Foundation and Carla Gannis at TRANSFER — could be seen together as first- and third-wave feminist responses to female representation. And the Outsider Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion — coinciding with a Christie’s sale of outsider art on January 22 — suggests the formerly niche art market sector is finally going mainstream.

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Artists Space Books & Talk

55 Walker Street
New York, New York
7:00 PMWebsite

The Afterlife of Slavery: Markets, Property and Race

Cheryl I. Harris is a leading scholar in the field of critical race theory — her seminal text, “Whiteness as Property” (1993), considered how whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, came to become a form of property affirmed and protected by American law. This talk, organized in conjunction with Cameron Rowland’s 91020000 exhibition at Artists Space’s exhibition space, will explore how racial hierarchy is enforced by the markets: “For example, ‘black’ spaces are forever unstable, subprime and ‘waste’, making them always available for (re)appropriation through various technologies such as debt, (de)regulation and development,” writes Harris on the talk’s event page. Given that Rowland’s show features banal objects sourced via Corcraft, a state prison industry facility, this talk should bring some much-needed historical context.

Austrian Cultural Forum

11 East 52nd Street
New York, New York
6:00 PM - 9:00 PMWebsite

Normalities Panel Discussion and Reception

This is a group exhibition centered on the idea of “normalcy” from the perspective of artists from Austria, the United States, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It’s curated in response to the influx of immigrants from the Balkan region to Vienna—a trend that’s radically changing the demographics and culture of the city.

From the curators: “For philosopher Slavoj Zizek the very name ‘Balkans’ is almost synonymous with ‘otherness’ and deliberately used to distinguish oneself from one’s very neighbor.”

Artists: Cäcilia Brown, Nemanja Cvijanovic, Dusica Drazic, Flaka Haliti, Ibro Hasanovic, Jelena Juresa, Jakob Lena Knebl, Irena Lagator Pejovic, Armando Lulaj, Alban Muja, Damir Ocko, Ana Prvacki, Marusa Sagadin, Saso Stanojkovik, Kerstin von Gabain


Spectacle Theater

124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, New York
7:30 PMWebsite

LJ Frezza and Chris Collins

IMG MGMT alum Chris Collins will present his 2011 AFC essay “A Letter to Ron Tye”, which documents the strange corporate imagery that accompanied what appeared to be a pyramid scheme tied to the “.ws” domain (Western Samoan). It’s a strange tale that looks at obsession, connection and community. 

This work will be presented alongside that of LJ Frezz, who’s art similarly examines these themes. Both will present their work in the form of video.

Questions promised for the talk: Can an obsessive fan-made supercut say something about loneliness? Can cheesy corporate stock photos be used to tell a story of desperation and redemption? What can video games communicate about labor, or existential boredom?

The FLAG Art Foundation

545 West 25th Street
New York, New York
6:00-8:00 PMWebsite

Betty Tompkins: WOMEN Words, Phrases and Stories

Best known for her renowned Fuck Paintings, this first comprehensive presentation of Betty Tompkins’s WOMEN Words — over 1,000 small paintings focusing on words or phrases used to describe women. The project began with Tompkins sending out an email call in 2002 and 2013 for the words, and garnered a mass response that let to the gathering of over 3,500 words in seven different language. Work on the series began soon after the last call, with Tompkins stenciling or free-hand drawing phrases like Piece of Ass or The Only Thing That Would Make Her More Beautiful is My Dick In Her Mouth over imagery that includes lace, female body close-ups and ripped “old-boy painting” styles ranging from de Kooning to Pollock. (If you’re interested, Tompkins has been tweeting the install process under the hashtag #womanwords.)  

Eastern Bloc

505 East 6th Street
New York, NY
10 PM - Website

Sext Me Video Release

“Sext me, Sext me, don’t forget me. I’m just lying all alone we could be fucking on the phone” So begins what has to be the catchiest club song we’ve heard  in a long time. The release party for the single and video by Molly Rhinestones (directed by Spencer Rothman) launches tomorrow and we can’t wait. We reached out to Rhinestones for additional details who told us,

“We shot the video in a limitless white room in a warehouse yesterday. I built different sets//brought the glitter toy trash from my room and kind of recreated an abstract Molly Rhinestones princess space. The video concept was loosely aiming to be like a I Want To Dance With Somebody vibe but the protagonist is detached from all the other players…we were  going for the same vibe as the song but with the disconnect between sex and intimacy. We ended with me rolling in about 20 bags of confetti and breaking a disco ball over the floor.”

The single can be heard here.


Anthology Film Archives

32 2nd Avenue, New York

Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner

The first Inuktitut-language feature film, made in 2002, is screening as part of the Anthology’s Through Indian Eyes: Native Indian Cinema programme. Based on an ancient Inuit legend, the Zacharias Kunuk-directed film won the Camera D’Or at Cannes in 2001, and was recently voted the number one Canadian film of all time (italicizing for extra effect) by the Toronto International Film Festival. If you’re looking to spend three hours gazing at Lean-esque cinematography of the Great White North, then this is a sure bet.

LeRoy Neiman Gallery

310 Dodge Hall, 2960 Broadway
New York, NY
5:00-7:00 PMWebsite

Love 2016

A group show of more than 45 artists that looks at contemporary love. What an artist list. Everyone from the most established to the under-known is in this show. And there appears to be a real breadth of approach too. Kent Rogowski is known for his pictures of teddy bears, for example, while Leigh LeDare is known for his pictures of his naked mom. Can’t wait to see how it all looks in a gallery.
Artist list: Alexandra Forsyth, Allana Clarke, Alli Coates, Benjamin Peterson, Bobby Gonzalez, Brooke Holloway, Bryan Jabs, Bryson Rand, Cynthia Talmadge, Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE, Henry Horenstein, Hobbes Ginsberg, Jason Lazarus, Joe Mama Nitzberg, John Edmonds, Joseph Kaplan, Julianne Hagerty Cole, Justin Olerud, Kent Rogowski, Kimberly Smallz La’Beija, Leah Moskowitz, Leigh LeDare, Marc Swanson, Martín Gutierrez, Matt Leifheit, Matthew Morrocco, Meredith Sands, Michael Bühler-Rose, Michael Stablein, Jr., Michelle Handelman, Natasha Ochshorn, Nayland Blake, Nick Doyle, Patrice Helmar, Paul Legault, Peter Clough, Phoebe Hinton, Sara Stern, Scott Alario, Sharon Madanes, Sheila Pepe, Signe Pierce, Susan Metrican, Thomas Roma, TM Davy, Whitney Artell, Yoshie Sakai.

Curated by Rachel Stern

SVA Chelsea Gallery

601 West 26th Street
New York, NY

El Museo del Barrio

This is a collaboration between El Museo del Barrio, which focuses on culture from the Caribbean and Latin America, and the School of the Visual Arts MFA program. Curator Rocío Aranda-Alvarado (of El Museo) has put together a nice group show of SVA alumni who use found or appropriated imagery or objects—acting as surveyors of culture. Cynthia Rojas paintings, for example, seem to translate colorful textiles or architectural motifs to paintings. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Alejandro Guzman’s work, who is known for sculptural assemblages and installations of urban detritus reimagined as almost-architectural or monumental forms. Expect a lot of work that’s bright and fun here.

Arists: Soledad Arias, Vladimir Cybil Charlier, Guido Garaycochea, Alejandro Guzman, Erik Shorrock Guzman, Elisabeth Jobim, Elan Jurado, Cynthia Rojas, Diana Santiago, K.C. Tidemand, Denise Treizman, and Juana Valdes.

Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th Street
New York, New York
When: Thursday, January 21–Sunday, January 24 ($20 one-day pass) Website

Outsider Art Fair

The best place to find Outsider Art, a genre that refers to art made by artists who derive all inspiration through looking inward—not the conventions of contemporary or modern art.

Now in its 24th edition, the fair boasts nearly 60 exhibitors — 13 of them newcomers — all with an impressive pedigree. Gallery’s we’re looking forward to seeing include Andrew Edlin Gallery, James Feuntes, and Morgan Lehmann gallery.


Artists Alliance Inc. - Cuchifritos Gallery & Project Space

120 Essex Street (inside Essex Market)
New York, New York
5:00 - 7:00 PMWebsite


Curated by Joe Namy


First mounted as an audio compilation in 2012, this group show of sound artists by Lebanese-artist and experimental musician Joe Namy focuses on sampling-driven compositions. Since then, the project has been shown at the Beirut exhibition space in Cairo and is now a dubplate record installation at Cuchifritos — yes, visitors can physically handle and play the vinyl, and be a part of initiating this sensorial sound experience.
Artist list: Basel Abbas, Boikutt, Cynthia Zaven, El-Iqaa, Halim El Dabh, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Mohamed Abdelkarim, Rayya Badran, Rough Americana and SC MoCha

Of Plectics

250 Moore Street
7:00 PM to 9:00 PMWebsite

Lawrence Swan

Longtime Brooklyn resident, writer, filmmaker and artist Lawrence Swan presents a portfolio of new work. No word on what the work will be, but if it’s anything like his previous work expect modernist influenced paintings and sculptures along with word drawings.  Swan and his recently departed wife Lori Ellison are pillars of the Bushwick artist community. Go see this show.

Greene Naftali Gallery

508 West 26th Street
New York, New York
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Website

Tony Conrad, undone

The promo picture for this exhibition shows a pair of white men’s underwear wrapped around corkboard that’s been mounted on a white wall and outlined with a bit of black paint. That on its own is enough to get us to the show, but for the uninitiated, Conrad is something of a cult figure  who performed with La Monte Young, John Cale, and Faust in the ’60s/early 70s. In a 2007 show at Greene Naftali, I saw a series of yellow paintings he showed as films. (Back in the day, he invited press and illuminati to a ’70s film screening and instead of the avant garde Stan Brakhage-like art cinema they were expecting he hung a group of abstract paintings around the room the approximate height and orientation of film screens. Their aging was the film.)
Anyway, ever since seeing that 2007 show, I’ve always checked out his work. The man has balls.


Queens Museum

New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, New York
2:00 - 4:00 PM Website

BOO! The Winter Spooktacular Enchanted Forest 2016

Queens Museum typically hosts its annual family-friendly fundraiser in Halloween, but the event got pushed back to this month due to scheduling issues. Nonetheless, if your child is in that phase where they need to wear a princess dress to the playground, this might offer a respite from the usual Park Slope stroller set. The event promises stilt walkers, painting faces and yes, even an “enchanted beer garden” for adults. All proceeds go to supports its educational programming: if you splurge on the $150 ticket, you get 6 event tickets, a family membership to the Museum and “advance sign-up” access to their summer art kids camp. (But like most camp and after-school programs, the sign-up has the depressing caveat that “placement not guaranteed”.)


1030 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
6:00 - 10:00 PMWebsite

Carla Gannis, A Subject Self Defined

In 2015, Carla Gannis began her Selfie Drawings series as a so-called 52-week self-promotional digital drawing experiment that saw the artist turn an inward gaze at how female representation. She asked how the framing of our electronic devices informed the representation of women and shared these reflections sequentially over social media. The work has now culminated in a body of new work featured in this second solo show at TRANSFER where the selfies have been re-inserted into looping 4K video works. According to TRANSFER’s Director Kelani Nichole, expect “two monumental projected altarpieces custom designed to the space, constructed specifically to display the four primary self-portraiture pieces, along with their corresponding predellas which extend Gannis’ narratives through her four phases of self-reflection.”


Otion Front Studio

1196 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
8:00 PMWebsite


Yes, everyone is still obsessed with food.

This latest iteration of Otion Front Studio’s monthly dance/video art screening series is being curated by Sarah Kinlaw in collaboration with Bad Taste will be all about the snacks, including an immersive food-themed installation and cotton candy for viewers. The event is $10 and space is limited, so we recommend getting there a little early. It’s always fun to just hang out at Otion Front anyway.

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