This Week’s Must-See Events: Queer Power Edition

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on June 13, 2016 Events

Illustration by Antonio Lopez, whose retrospective opens Tuesday at El Museo del Barrio.

Illustration by Antonio Lopez, whose retrospective opens Tuesday at El Museo del Barrio.

Monday’s been a rough day for us here at AFC as I’m sure it has for many readers. We’re still processing the horrific news of Orlando’s mass killing Sunday morning and it’s made writing much of anything difficult. Is there anything that can be said on the subject of guns, prayers, Islam, hate crimes and ISIS that social media hasn’t covered?

Probably not, that doesn’t diminish our need to mourn. One way we’ve decided to do this is to  focus on queer events in this week’s must see events. It’s a small gesture to be sure—we’re not saving any lives. But it’s what we can do to say to the families, friends and lovers of those lost that, “you’re not alone.”  

So, let’s talk all things homo-tastic: Monday night, Neil Goldberg revisits the David Lynch classic ERASERHEAD with a queer perspective. Tuesday, the unsung godfather of glam illustration Antonio Lopez gets his long-overdue retrospective at El Museo del Barrio, and two events at BRIC and Mitchell Innes & Nash bring queer/feminist perspectives to the city’s affordability crisis. Wednesday night, dyke icon K8 Hardy opens a mysterious solo show at Strap-On Projects while Thursday offers a one-night-only performance/installation from Scottish duo Ruby Pester and Nadia Rossi, who will be tackling sexuality, gender, and more at Bannerette. Friday night, head to Bushwick, where the Hot Summer Nights gallery crawl has some queer-tastic highlights in time for Pride month—be sure to catch Los Ojos’s all-LGBTQ group show and Vincent Tiley’s solo project at Christopher Stout Gallery. Also in Brooklyn Friday night: solo shows from AFC favs Björn Meyer-Ebrecht and Rachel Stern at Studio 10 and Black & White Projects, respectively, both located in the same building.

If you’re not politically/emotionally exhausted by the weekend, we recommend checking out the massive group show Of the people on Saturday at Smack Mellon. It’s all about the issues involved in this fucked, fucked election cycle. So when you’re feeling thoroughly anti-establishment, check out the Queens Museum’s Sunday panel on the visual legacy of punk.

It’s too late to wish everyone a happy Pride Month, but hopefully we can at least have a thoughtful one.

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IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY
8:00 p.m.Website

Queer | Art | Film: Neil Goldberg presents ERASERHEAD

Artist Neil Goldberg presents a queer perspective on David Lynch’s 1977 cult classic ERASERHEAD. Goldberg will discuss the film’s “fascination and horror of embodiment” as well as its attack on heteronormative monogamy. YES!


El Museo del Barrio

1230 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion

Antonio Lopez died of complications from AIDS in 1987 at the age of 44. But in his short lifetime, he pretty much gave us the very definition of glamour. Born in Puerto Rico to a seamstress and mannequin maker, Lopez attended FIT with a background in skills such as wig making and drawing from his childhood. He became a fashion illustrator for some of the biggest names in the industry, populating his colorful, graphic worlds with futuristic, ambiguous figures. If a drag queen Grace Jones impersonator had a cameo on a more multicultural version of Jem and the Holograms, it might be something close to Lopez’s vision. This is an overdue retrospective but all-too timely—when our reality is shitty and depressing, I’d rather escape to his.

BRIC Arts Media House

647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m.Website

Pride 20/20: LGBTQ Civil Rights

Housing Works and BRIC TV are teaming up to present a series of panel discussions on the future of LGBTQ rights, and housing seems to be an issue front-and-center—obviously an issue close to our hearts.


Ritchie Torres- New York City Council Member, District 15 (Bronx)

Kiara St. James- Housing Works and New York Trans Advocacy Group (NYTAG)

Meredith Talusan- LGBT Staff Writer at Buzzfeed News

Kenyon Farrow- US & Global Health Policy Director at Treatment Action Group

Carl Siciliano-Executive Director of The Ali Forney Center

Professor Katherine Franke- Director, Columbia University Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Mitchell Innes & Nash

534 West 26th street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Martha Rosler: If you can’t afford to live here, Mo-o-ve!! Town Hall Discussion 1: Art Estate; Real Estate and Contemporary Art

Participants: Ben Davis, art critic, Coco Fusco, artist and writer, Greg Sholette, artist and activist, Martha Rosler, artist and writer, and Stephen Squibb, writer and editor

Having been to and organized a lot of panels on affordable workspace, it will be interesting to see what gets discussed here. The real estate literacy level of most artists we know has increased significantly over the past few years, and thus so has the substantive quality of the discussions. But we’re still suffering from a lack of will on the part of our elected officials to back bills that would create meaningful change. We hope someone on the panel has an answer to that problem because we certainly don’t. 


Strap-On Projects

255 Canal St.
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

K8 Hardy: Aunt Margie

There’s not a lot of info about this show, other than the fact that it’s K8 Hardy at something called Strap-On Projects. Based on those two names alone, it’s a must-see. K8 Hardy’s a modern icon of the queer feminist movement, from fine art to zines and music videos for bands such as Le Tigre and Lesbians on Ecstasy. Hardy’s mixed-media, collage-like works and garments present a totally race/class/gender-jamming visual feast of what identity should look like.



52 Tompkins Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Ruby Pester and Nadia Rossi: Cheek to Cheek, Soft Play

This is a one-night-only performance/installation from Glasgow-based duo Ruby Pester and Nadia Rossi, known for their work in the feminist art collectives NOW NOW and Fallopé & the Tubes. What to expect? We’re not quite sure, but we’re promised “wearable sculpture”, temporary architectures, and bawdy performance to redraw the boundaries of the body, sexuality, and societal norms.


Los Ojos

12 Cypress Ave
Brooklyn, New York
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

A Garden Sown

The body, and identity, are more malleable than we think. In Thomas McCarty’s BDSM photographs, we see gay men bound in all sorts of positions and an unclear line between an image’s subject, viewer, and author. Christian Lord’s sculptures allude to constraint and role play as well, albeit without obvious allusions to the human form. Buzz Slutsky uses wood as a surrogate body, upon which iconography from trans culture has been “tattooed”, and in a reversal of that process, video artist Sean Capone presents “Daphne in 4 Parts,” chronicling the nymph’s transformation into a tree as told in Ovid’s Metamorphosis.


Christopher Stout Gallery

289 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Vincent Tiley: SILENT HEAT & Eric Gottshall: Testing In Progress: Trial One

Vincent Tiley’s practice collapses any remaining distinctions between garment, performance, sculpture, and painting into a bundle that’s anything but neat—there’s a visceral quality in his work that recalls a sexier, grungier, more punk-rock era in both imagery and execution. Expect stretcher bars and performers respectively bound-up and slathered into BDSM sculptural objects that weirdly evoke abstract expressionism as much as Vivienne Westwood. It works.

In the project space, Eric Gottshall is beta testing his dystopian F.A.C.E. (Facilitating Analogue Cerebral Exploitation) device. The F.A.C.E. sits over a user’s head and relays an artwork’s pure colors via fiber optic gloves, directly into one’s eyes. Think of it as Google Glass for those of us who don’t want to have pop-ups reminding us of unread emails while trying to focus on art-viewing.


Black & White Project Space

56 Bogart
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Rachel Stern: Yes, Death

Rachel Stern first hit our radar two years ago with her portraits of gay men in constructed landscapes. Two years later she’s continuing to explore the constructed, this time with mid-nineteenth century cemeteries—a highly cultivated environment designed to appear natural. This new work will focus on the subject of death with a series of photographs and sculptures.  

Typically, Stern’s work is ornate to the point of being overwhelming. We love this quality and hope to see more of it with this show.


Studio 10

56 Bogart St.
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Björn Meyer-Ebrecht: Places for People

An artist who makes work about a subject dear to our heart: public places and architecture! Long time AFC fave Björn Meyer-Ebrecht will exhibit 12 large-scale ink drawings drawn from reproductions in books of late modernist and public architecture. The show comes with an informative interview between the artist and Brittany Prater from Studio 10 on the subject of the new work. In this discussion the subject of nostalgia comes up a lot, which Meyer-Ebrecht describes as stemming “from our desire to idealize these structures as places of social cohesion and equality.” I guess it’s not a big surprise that we might want to imagine what we never had.


Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth St
Brooklyn, NY
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Of the people

More than any election cycle, this one has revealed the flawed system we work with and how politicians and voters must navigate it. Now there’s a new exhibition that reflects the political opinions shaping the presidential race. The show was assembled through an open call with artists coming from California, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Mediums include, pretty much anything you can think of, plus socially engaged projects.  With a curatorial method such as this, it’s likely not all the art will match a viewer’s taste. But, by the same token, it may also present a broader range of views and voices and that, almost by definition, is a good thing. Curated by Erin Donnelly.

Exhibiting Artists:

Lauren Frances Adams, Daniel Bejar, Guy Ben-Ari, Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine (Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney), Isabella Cruz-Cong, Peggy Diggs, Esteban del Valle, Emily Greenberg, Jeremy D. Olson, Sheryl Oring, Ben Pinder, Brittany M. Powell, Kate Sopko, Leah Wolff

Public Event Artists:

Alicia Grullon, t.Rutt (Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson), Martha Wilson


Queens Museum New York City Building

Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY
1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Website

Pop to Punk: Ramones and Visual Art

This two-part discussion is moderated by Marc H. Miller, who co-curated Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: Ramones and the Birth of Art, now on view at the Queens Museum, as well as the groundbreaking 1978 exhibition Punk Art at the Washington Project for the Arts. From 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Miller will be joined by photographer Roberta Bayley and cartoonist John Holmstrom, who co-founded Punk Magazine in the 1970’s and defined so much of the movement’s visual aesthetics. From 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. artist Ted Riederer and arts writer Sandra Schulman will discuss the legacy of  Arturo Vega, who art directed The Ramones’ print media and album art. If you were ever curious about where those iconic and oft-parodied Ramones T-shirts came from, this is the room to be in Sunday afternoon.

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