This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Manicures for the Post-Apocalypse

by Michael Anthony Farley on October 10, 2016 Events

Sam McKinniss's seductive solo show "Egyptian Violet" opens Thursday night at Team Gallery.

Sam McKinniss’s seductive solo show “Egyptian Violet” opens Thursday night at Team Gallery.

Behold: a perfect week for the fun-but-a-little-nerdy art lover.

Finally, a week in New York City where there’s at least one totally worthwhile, low-key art event every night without too many #FOMO -inducing major scheduling conflicts. We’ve picked out the best of the best, including such different activities as a pop-up opening party at Babycastles with a Kawaii nail art bar on Monday night and an artist talk from painter Keltie Ferris at the New York Studio School on Tuesday.

Wednesday, check out Lauren Marsolier’s suburban surrealestate at Galerie Richard, and Thursday night head to the West SoHo zone for solo shows from Sam McKinniss and Philip Vanderhyden at Team Gallery and Mumbo’s Outfit, respectively. Friday gets a little more hectic, with an exhibition of the late, great Tetsumi Kudo’s work at Andrea Rosen, an architectural “performance” from Gabrielle Mertz at the LES’s former PS160, and a group show about intimacy and craft at 315 Gallery in Brooklyn.

Saturday, two group shows open in a former Pfizer plant on Flushing Ave (where we expect artists to take full advantage of the post-industrial setting) and Sunday Pierogi has a solo show of drawings by John O’Connor. What a good week, and just think—you’ll have bomb nails for all of it.

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137 W 14th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Wee Girls Club x JessAudrey Pop-up Party

There’s almost certainly nothing cooler happening on any Monday night in Manhattan than this pop-up exhibition and party from Wee Girls Club and JessAudrey. Their work remixes Kawaii culture and “reimagines cyber fashion,” so we’re expecting something akin to a William Gibson novel as retold by a tween girl’s Tumblr.

Apart from the visual art, there will be drinks and a dance party from DJ Noah B & DJ Wtchcrft and a Nail Mani bar by Sonya Belakhlef. I can’t count on both hands (no pun intended) the number of times I’ve showed up at an art opening and realized my nails look like shit, so it’s nice to see artists considering such amenities at their events!


New York Studio School

8 West 8th Street
New York, NY
6:30 p.m.Website

Keltie Ferris: On Her Work

Remember how a few years ago there was a maelstrom of new buzzwords to denigrate abstract painting? “Zombie Formalism”, “Crapstraction”, or that subset of Jerry Saltz’s “Neo-Mannerism”: “Modest Abstraction”? At first glance, Keltie Ferris’s work might be able to fall into any of the above categories. But there’s something here that elevates it way above that all-too-crowded field. If her paintings feel formulaic, I suspect it’s because there’s a very justified, singular logic behind them.

If you’re just as curious about what makes Ferris’s work subjectively better than all the other work it kinda-looks-like, head to this artist talk. It’s been my experience that hearing a good abstract painter talk about their work is far more rewarding than didactic lectures about more objective practices. Let the secrets of this alchemy be divulged!


Galerie Richard

121 Orchard Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Lauren Marsolier: Dislocation

Lauren Marsolier’s digital photomontages are uncanny depictions of the unnaturally familiar blandscape. They composite fragments of suburbia, parking garages, infrastructure, and all the non-locations Rem Koolhaas might label “residual space”. These snippets of built environment are overlaid against barren natural landscapes, creating not-quite-picturesque views that could be a surrealist postcard from the fringes of Phoenix or Houston. Oddly, they’re really beautiful. Sprawl never looked so much like a backdrop for a Prada photoshoot.



Team Gallery

83 Grand Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Sam McKinniss: Egyptian Violet


There’s an element of camp in Sam McKinniss’s work, which can peek out subtly in his homoerotic oil portraiture or ham it up in more “pop” pieces, that belies a smart, nuanced approach to painting. In this show, he’s focused on the pigment Egyptian Violet—a versatile color that can be used straight-from-the-tube as an ambiguously cool/warm black or thinned to a wash for describing pastel objects with a deceptively saturated purple tint. Egyptian Violet’s illusionistic properties are varied, but here it’s applied almost exclusively to rendering a whole lotta queer imagery. May purple reign!

Mumbo’s Outfit

185 Varick Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Philip Vanderhyden: Devils Are Actually Angels


Phillip Vanderhyden uses rendering software—originally designed to market luxury products, specifically—to create surreal videos of absurd, seductive objects that don’t exist. There’s no reference to current electoral events in the press release, but it’s hard to not draw a timely parallel here. Demagogic promises with a penchant for lustrous gold aesthetics and unfulfilled promises of luxury products? Sounds familiar.



Andrea Rosen Gallery

525 W 24th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Tetsumi Kudo

The late Tetsumi Kudo was an influential member of the respective “anti-art” movements of Tokyo and Paris in the mid-20th Century, incorporating store-bought and found objects into conceptual works and assemblage-dioramas. Much of his work examined what he described as a “new ecology” of technology, capitalism, and humanity—incorporating allusions to pollution, prosthesis, and cybernetics before these became topics of day-to-day discourse. Kudo’s work is a must-see, if for no reason other than a friendly reminder that artists frequently presage the concerns of society at large.

Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center

107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.Website

Gabrielle Mertz: PS160


What happens when a choreographer casts an 1897 Dutch Neo-Gothic former school as the star of a performance? Apparently an immersive installation that involves light, sound, and a bit of a history lesson. We don’t really know what to suspect here, but the building is gorgeous and we trust that the artist’s interventions will likely make it even better.

315 Gallery

312 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

It started with a rose


This exhibition press cites the increasingly antisocial world of food delivery apps such as Seamless and home shopping options such as Amazon as evidence that humans need more intimacy. And this neo-craft-heavy exhibition from curator Cecilia Salama certainly fulfills our need for more physicality. From Elizabeth Jaeger’s charmingly goofy figurative sculpture (with weaves!) to Sophia Narrett’s sprawling, highly-detailed embroidery tableaus, the artist’s hand is reassuringly present in almost all of the pieces here. Importantly, it’s nice to see a show that looks like the artists actually enjoyed making their work.

Artists: Elizabeth Englander, Greg Ito, Elizabeth Jaeger, Aidan Alexis Koch, Lee Maida, Sophia Narrett, Anna Sagström and Diamond Stingily




630 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Re:Re:Re:Re:and Fatter IRL

Curators Erin Davis and Max C Lee are launching the fourth iteration of their “ever-evolving group exhibition” in a cavernous industrial space once used by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. This could mean installations in loft-like production floors or creepy spaces like chemical showers. This is an especially fitting context for Phaan Howng (pictured), an artist whose work is a bit like watching that show Life After People on acid. Howng’s painting’s envision a post-apocalyptic landscape where all flora appear to be melting, consuming, or pulsating across a neon wasteland. She likens them to futuristic camouflage, but on a recent studio visit I think I described one canvas as “a LaCroix can for a flavor that might kill you.” They’re huge and epic and great.

Artists: Rin Johnson, Matthew Herrmann, Phaan Howng, Alex Hovet, Bailey Scieszka, Steel Stillman, Stephen Grebinski, Erin Davis, Max C Lee, uv production house (Brad Troemel and Joshua Citarella).

Also opening in the building, an exhibition from guest curator Annie Rose, all about “the work and labor of fat artists/bodies.” We’re not familiar with any of the artists in Fatter IRL, but “Fatty Spice” is probably the best nom de plume of 2016. 

Artists: Shoog McDaniel, Daniel Johnson, Fatty Spice, Rochelle Brock, Jacqueline Marie, Chuck Charlotte, Rachele Cateyes, PervvyPanda, Tawni Staples, Laura Marie, and La’Shaune Steward



155 Suffolk St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

John O'Connor: Thin, Dark Crash (how I dread that blue jay)

John O’Connor’s colored pencil and graphite works form a semi-narrative series that take cues from ancient pictograms and pop culture. In these new, largely text-and-logo-based works, O’Connor traces a working-class adolescent’s journey through drug experimentation and the corporate blandscape. That might sound bleak, but these works are deceptively colorful and cheery, recalling textile patterns moreso than the conventional aesthetics of teen angst.


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