This Week’s Must-See Art Events: The Roving Eye

by Paddy Johnson and Rea McNamara on February 1, 2016 Events

Yes, this is a Lorna Mills GIF.

Yes, this is a Lorna Mills GIF.

Legacies, transitions and milestones loom largely in this week’s slate of events. Black History Month kicks off in Harlem tonight at the Schomburg Center with a panel featuring Juliana Huxtable and Kimberly Drew among others dwelling on Basquiat’s life and legacy. Further on the BHM-related tip, decolonial knowledge is dropped by Tabita Rezaire at MoCADA’s Window Gallery, and the representation of black and queer personhood is re-assessed in Sondra Perry’s selection of video works for MoMA PS1’s Sunday Session.

Time still goes by slowly, which is probably why El Museo del Barrio’s op and kinetic art survey coinciding with the 50th anniversary of MoMA’s “Responsive Eye” exhibition promises to include the Latin American artists the original forgot, or the need to revisit early works by Warhol (the Morgan) and Fred Tomaselli (James Cohan). But forget the past. How about the new? Besides Laura Poitras’s first solo at the Whitney (who’s reaching the art world equivalent of EGOT status with her Pulitzer, Oscar and MacArthur “Genius” grant) opening this Friday, we’re excited by Saturday’s Pratt Upload 2016, a ten-hour long “intensive” symposium promising an overview of “new mutations” in digital art and a keynote from GIF artist Lorna Mills.

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NYPL Schomburg Center

515 Malcolm X Blvd
New York, NY
6:30 — 8:00 PMWebsite

Talks at the Schomburg: Basquiat and Contemporary Queer Art

According to the proposed hashtags, expect a #veryqueer #verybasquiat #verydiasporic #veryblack conversation on Basquiat’s life and legacy. Organized by graduate students at NYU’s Africana Studies program, the panel features artist Juliana Huxtable, MET social media producer Kimberly Drew, artist-educator Andrw Singleton of the Very Black Project, Dr. Jordana Saggese and Dr. David Clinton Wills. If you can’t make it to the Schomburg, the talk will be livestreamed.

Time Square’s electronic billboards

West 47th St and 7th Ave
New York, NY

Midnight Moment: Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s Büsi (Kitty)

Long before cats came to dominate viral video, Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss created Büsi (Kitty), a 2001 short featuring a cat lapping up milk. Coinciding with the opening later this week of the duo’s Guggenheim survey, Büsi (Kitty) was originally commissioned by Creative Time and screened as part of its 59th Minute Retrospective at Times Square. So it’s a return to the giant screen of sorts, and you can catch the short play three minutes before midnight every evening this month.


International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP)

1040 Metropolitan Ave.
Williamsburg, NY
6 — 8PMWebsite

Eva Kot’átková: Error

Czech artist Eva Kot’átková creates sculptures and drawings inspired by the fraught relationship between human bodies and the oppressive societal structures that surround them. Referencing outmoded medical equipment and body parts, the exhibition of new works also includes a video work that was shot at Prague’s Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital featuring professional actors alongside real patients and staff.


44 - 19 Purves St.
Long Island City, NY

The Eccentrics Performance Program: Georgia Sagri

SculptureCenter describes Georgia Sagri as a “news tamer” in her new performance Sunday Stroll Undone and Redone. In this performance she reorders news items and images through sculpture. The whole thing is supposed to be a call for empathy.


El Museo del Barrio

1230 Fifth Ave.
Harlem, NY
11AM — 6PMWebsite

The Illusive Eye

A survey of op and kinetic art on the fiftieth anniversary of MoMA’s much-discussed 1965 exhibition, “The Responsive Eye”. The Illusive Eye updates the exhibition with Latin American artists it lacked 50 years ago. The museum also promises the addition of thoughtful essays on the subject.

The 8th Floor

17 W 17th St.
New York, NY

Arts Education as Cultural Capital: A Conversation with Adjunct Commuter Weekly and BFAMFAPhD

Panel Participants: Dushko Petrovich, Agnes Szanyi, Vicky Virgin, Caroline Woolard, Susan Jahoda, Sara Reisman

This panel will address the economic, professional, and intellectual impacts of art school, from the perspectives of both students and alumni, as well as artists who work as adjunct lecturers.

New York Academy of Art

111 Franklin Street
New York, NY

Professional Practice Lecture Series: Art Fairs

Billed as a casual and informative platform, the Academy’s Professional Practice lecture series kicks off this week with MINUS SPACE’s Matthew Delegate in conversation with PULSE director Helen Toomer.


Lyons Wier Gallery

542 W 24th St
New York, NY

Cobi Moules: New Kid

Are New Kids on the Block due for a critical re-assessment? Carrie Brownstein recently confessed her NKOTB fandom (her favourite is Danny) and former Interview Magazine music editor Rebecca Wallwork is penning a 33⅓ book on their seminal album Hangin’ Tough. Moules’s solo show taps into the nineties boyband zeitgeist, but from a queer standpoint. In paintings that recreate and alter NKOTB posters, trading cards and magazine clippings, the FTM transgender artist reconstructs his “lost boyhood”, rejecting Danny and inserting himself as the so-called New Kid.

Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art - Prince St Project Space

127-B Prince St
New York, NY


Right now, I’m (Rea) watching Ayakamay’s music video for Ebony Bones!’s “Bread & Circus Pt. 2”, and am duly impressed with the Japanese-American artist’s Kawaii parody, and her ability to stay frozen for over four minutes in a microphone-holding KTV pose. Last seen giving Art Miami visitors traditional mimikaki (earwax) cleanings, expect from the series of self-portraits a cross-cultural data mine of traditional Japanese aesthetics and American urbanity.

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

530 W 22nd St
New York, NY

Amy Sillman: Stuff Change

Sillman’s new body of work draws inspiration from the metabolism—a process that involves breaking things down—because that’s similar to abstraction. The show’s gonna include new oil paintings, two dozen individual works on paper, a wall of smaller drawings, and a body of paintings that began as inkjet-printed canvases. In the past, Sillman’s palette has been so bright her paintings seemed almost buoyant. These new works—or at least the image of the show card—uses a more sombre palette. Not our favorite, but let’s see what the rest of the exhibition has to offer.


Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort St
New York, NY

Laura Poitras: Astro Noise

Taking over the Whitney’s entire eighth floor, the filmmaker and journalist’s solo draws from classified images leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden of a British and American intelligence hack of Israeli drone feeds. According to ARTINFO, the show — which includes a mixed media installation of video, prints and written materials — has put the Whitney at legal risk, given that the highly classified materials only went public last week.

The Morgan Library & Museum

225 Madison Ave
New York, NY

Warhol by the Book

This touring Warhol Museum retrospective is the first to focus on Warhol’s career as a book artist. The show features more than 130 objects, dating from Warhol’s student days up until his death in the 1980s. Besides the highly-sought dust jacket designs and Pop era prints, the show also includes the artist’s only surviving book project from the 1940s.

James Cohan Gallery

533 W 26th St
New York, NY

Fred Tomaselli: Early Work or How I Became a Painter

Best known for his surreal New York Times collages, Fred Tomaselli’s fifth solo at Cohan features work made in the mid 1980s to early 1990s that haven’t been shown publicly for over 20 years. The works, which include two immersive installations, four interactive artworks and mixed-media paintings, were made during Tomaselli’s “crisis of faith” when he abandoned painting to focus on installations made from cheap commercially-available materials like styrofoam cups and electric fans.


Pratt Institute

200 Willoughby Ave
Brooklyn, NY

Pratt Upload 2016: Patterns of the Mind

A one-day intensive digital media symposium. And by intensive, we mean intensive. This is a 12 hour conference. Look forward to panels that examine death in art, online clicks defined by interest not geography, and female empowerment. This year’s keynote speaker is the acclaimed GIF artist Lorna Mills. Patterns of the Mind, an exhibition about how the urgency of artistic practice can impact the medium, opens 7-10 at the Digital Arts Gallery.

MoCADA’s Window Gallery on South Portland Ave.

80 Hanson Pl.
Brooklyn, NY

Tabita Rezaire: Sorry For Real

Johannesburg-based internet artist Tabita Rezaire — who holds a Master in Artist Moving Image from Central Saint Martins — focuses on screen-based work exploring decolonial knowledge and the political aesthetics of resistance. This window gallery installation is a series of stills imagining an “SMS apology on behalf of the Western world…explor[ing] the power imbalances within the apology-forgiveness narrative.” If you’re looking to challenge internet colonialism, this is a good bet.



22-25 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY

Sunday Sessions: Comrade, what is your visual bond today?

Sondra Perry, the young video and performance artist we deemed one of the best unrepresented artists of 2015, curates a screening of video works exploring how black and queer personhood is portrayed in visual languages. The show, which takes inspiration from Hito Steyerl’s essay “In Defense of the Poor Image”, includes video works by Danielle Dean, Ja’Tovia Gary, Tiona McClodden and Sable Elyse Smith.

Queens Museum

New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY

ENGAGING ARTISTS: Opening Reception and Artist Roundtable

Guest artists: Hidemi Takagi, Andrew Nemr, Guido Garaycochea, Aurélien Grèzes, and Raul Ayala.

Moderated by Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz.

A panel discussion about the challenges the social practice group More Art has encountered working with aging immigrants. Do intergenerational exchanges have an impact on the creative mind of an artist? This panel hopes to answer this question and more.

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