This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Talking GIFs, Kissing Painting, Watching Dogs

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 16, 2016 Events

"The Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless" from militantly identity-defying artist Elektra KB. Elektra will be speaking on a panel about GIFs alongside Paddy Johnson at NYU Friday afternoon. Don't miss this!

“The Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless” from militantly identity-defying artist Elektra KB. Elektra will be speaking on a panel about GIFs alongside Paddy Johnson at NYU Friday afternoon. Don’t miss this!

What a week for New York City! From the small gestures aimed at pedestrians, like project space FOUR A.M. in the Lower East Side, to the triumphant return of Jack Early to Chelsea on Thursday night, we’ve got you covered on weeknights. Our very own Paddy Johnson will be speaking at NYU on Friday all about our favorite medium: GIFs. Be sure to pre-register for the event, which has a reception where you can say hi! Then, head to Bushwick for a night of group and two-person shows at neighboring artist-run spaces Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Transmitter, and Underdonk. Saturday, check out perpetual AFC fav Alex Ebstein’s yoga mat paintings at Ridgewood’s lorimoto. But Sunday might be the day that goes down as one of the weirdest and most fun in the city’s art history: Greater New York artist Hayley Aviva Silverman is mashing-up 1990s disaster cinema with 1830s literature for a theatrical production starring dogs. Let that singular experience marinate on your 35 minute M train ride to Chinatown Soup, where Joyce Yu-Jean Lee’s pop-up cybercafe promises to give us a glimpse of what the internet looks like in China (hint: very different) plus snacks!

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Window at 291 Grand Street
New York, NY

Robin Cameron

FOUR A.M., the peculiar little “art window” project space has changed over its show today to a solo work by Robin Cameron. I’m out of town and haven’t seen this project yet, but do check it out. Cameron’s work is notable because it very much looks like “art” but never feels overly precious or tiresomely referential. She’s somehow fluent in the elegance of 20th century modernism and the awkwardness/vulnerability of the process-based object. Seeing her work always feels a bit like visiting the studio of an artist you love and having them ask you “What do you think? Is this finished? Is this good? I don’t care. I like it.” I’m sure the work is perfect for a storefront with a lot of passers-by. There’s also an online component that goes live at 9:00 p.m. tonight at


509 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.Website

Mixology Power Switch: The Nine Lives of Electronic Music with Dorit Chrysler and DJ Dog Dick

Roulette’s Festival of Mixology has been around for 25 years now, celebrating all the weird and wonderful ways technology—from obsolete vintage media to DIY electronics—impacts how we perform or interact with music. Tonight, there’s a performance from Dorit Chrysler and DJ Dog Dick. (Some readers may remember Mr. Dog Dick from the SATELLITE art fair in Miami this year). I have no idea what this set will look/sound like, but I’m a fan of DJ Dog Dick, whose peculiar brand of danceable noise music sounds like a cross between a performance art after party that gets shut down by the cops and a seriously fucked car stereo.



Kai Matsumiya Gallery

153 1/2 Stanton St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Closing Reception: Don't Make a Scene

This is the last chance to catch this two person show from Graham Durward and Walter Robinson. Has anyone seen this show yet? Please tell me what it’s like in the comments, because the artist statement/press release is charmingly odd and compares making a painting to a French kiss. This is probably the most informative excerpt:

Its a little like kissing, lips meet, the tongue finds its way, there is an initial understanding, a relenting,a reciprocation. Its just that one has to be both sometimes. There will be four or five paintings.”

I like this, because my first thought upon seeing the above painting of a neatly-folded shirt was “that painting looks like it was fun to make. I bet that painter really likes painting.” I think that speaks for itself.



Fergus McCaffrey

514 W 26th St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Jack Early

Jack Early is known as a pioneer of remixing pop culture with identity politics before it was trendy. In his latest, much-anticipated solo show, we can look forward to more of the artist’s famously phallic popsicle paintings as well as figurative work and a roughly-20-minute autobiographical audio piece. Even in a listing of “Must-See Art Events”, this stands out as an absolute can’t miss.

New Museum

235 Bowery
New York, NY
7:00 p.m.Website

Who Owns Digital Social Memory?


Here’s another discussion of how much stuff there is online. What sets this panel discussion apart, though, is the focus on the archiving of user-generated content. Now that institutions such as Rhizome are creating copies of social media, for the benefit of posterity, it raises questions about the authorship and ownership of our collective (but individually-produced) online culture. Good luck trying to get these worms back in the can, academia!
Panelists will include Kimberly Drew, Associate Online Community Producer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and founder of the Black Contemporary Art Tumblr and the V V Rare: Black Librarians and Archivists Link Share Facebook group; Dragan Espenschied, Digital Conservator, Rhizome; Nathan Jurgenson, social media theorist, editor of the New Inquiry, and researcher for Snapchat; Guadalupe Rosales, visual artist and founder of the veteranas_and_rucas Instagram account; and Øs Crunc Tesla, artist, filmmaker, musician, and inventor of the Turntablist Transcription Methodology. The panel will be moderated by Michael Connor, Artistic Director, Rhizome.


NYU Center for the Humanities

20 Cooper Square, Fifth Floor
New York, NY
1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

What We Talk About When We Talk About GIFs: Visual Culture and Social Media

Five hours of discussions with animated GIF enthusiasts and experts, such as AFC’s own Paddy Johnson and some of our favorite artists including Elektra KB and Lorna Mills. How could someone not attend this? Be sure to register here!

The full schedule:

Welcome and Introductions: 1:00PM to 1:30PM

Panel One: 1:30PM to 2:45PM

Moderated by Anna McCarthy, Tisch

Paddy Johnson, art blogger, publisher of, an art world daily read. Paddy also curated a show on GIFs at Providence College.

Jason Eppink, Curator of Digital Media at the Museum of the Moving Image. Jason recently curated a show on reaction GIFs.

Elektra KB, a Colombian artist living in NYC who makes gifs as part of a multimedia practice involving video, performance, textile art, and sound.

Coffee Break – 2:45PM to 3:15PM

Panel Two: 3:15PM to 4:30PM

Moderated by Luke Stark, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

Sha Hwang, designer and programmer, founder of

Charlton McIlwain, Steinhardt, author of Race Appeal, When Death Goes Pop, and Death in Black and White.

Lorna Mills, Canadian net artist, curator of Ways of Something (2014), a series of one minute videos by artists responding to John Berger’s 1971 Ways of Seeing

Closing Discussion: 4:30PM to 5:00PM

Reception: 5:00PM to 6:00PM

Tiger Strikes Asteroid

1329 Willoughby Ave, # 2A
Brooklyn, New York
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Conversation Space

This two person show from mixed-media artists Caroline Santa and Jen Schwarting might just have too much going on: from process-based art-historical  allusions to cyberfeminist critiques of sousveillance merged with 20th century furniture design. What? This could be an overwhelming start to your Friday night gallery crawl, but the show will almost certainly live up to its name and give us plenty to talk about. I for one love both pictures of drunk strangers on the internet and Bauhaus textiles. I just never expected to see them in the same artwork.


1329 Willoughby Ave,
Brooklyn, New York
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Faulted Valley Fog

Of all the artspeak words in the world, I’ve always loved “sfumato”—a blur or haze in Renaissance paintings that can indicate distance, among other things. It’s surprisingly absent from this show’s press release. But here painter Elliott Green updates the technique for recent Italian landscapes, Katie Bell considers the materials of the contemporary built environment receding toward their future ruin, and duo Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis literally manufacture sfumato (Italian for “smoke”) in the gallery. This looks like the best type of group show, where all the work seems totally different but fully in dialogue.


1329 Willoughby Ave,
Brooklyn, New York
7:00 p.m.Website

Slow Hello: Andrew D. Moeller and Sun You

At first glance, the pairing of painter Andrew D. Moeller and sculptor Sun You makes for an odd two person show. Moeller’s repetitive paintings evoke digital architectural rendering “skins”, where a pattern of generic bricks or grid of parking spaces can be paintcan-poured onto a plane of a 3D model. They’re the blandscape genre reduced to it’s purest form. Apparent traces of the artist’s hand are almost absent in their execution, and they read as patterned obstructions rather than painterly spaces to be visually penetrated. Sun You’s work, conversely, turns mass-produced objects like fake eyelashes into surreal, precarious assemblages held together with magnets and pins. For sculptures that consist mostly of found objects, they almost read as painterly. But together, the two bodies of work suggest artists mining the readymades of the built/manufactured landscape for something like a subjective experience.




1623 Hancock St
Ridgewood, New York
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website


Most of the artists in this show appear to be producers of abstract images that somehow sample art history. Everyone at AFC is glad that curator Robert Otto Epstein has brought Alex Ebstein back up to New York. We’re big fans of her cut-yoga-mat works, which read like Matisse cut-outs or Miró paintings rendered in colorful PVC foam. They’re so loveable it almost doesn’t make sense. .

Artists: Alex Ebstein, Andrea Bergart, Denise Kupferschmidt, Emily Noelle Lambert, Gary Komarin, Jason Stopa



22-25 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY
3:00 p.m.Website

SUNDAY SESSIONS: Hayley Aviva Silverman, "Twister"


This Greater New York presentation is pretty much everything we at AFC like to see in an artwork. Namely, live dogs. Here, artist Hayley Aviva Silverman will mash-up the amazingly made-for-a-motion-simulator-ride film Twister with elements of Dickens’ Oliver Twist as a live-action theater piece to be performed by untrained dogs. If this is actually anything like that description, it will be my favorite artwork of the century.

Chinatown Soup

16 Orchard St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee: FIREWALL Internet Cafe

Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, in collaboration with Dan Phiffer, has set up an “Internet Cafe” where users can search for images using Google or Chinese equivalent Baidu. Results might differ culturally, but also because of censorship. For example, the Chinese government blocks searches of terms like “Tibet” or “Tiananmen Square”. The inequalities of the supposedly “world-wide” web are pretty depressing, but at least there will be snacks and tea here!


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