This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Future Bodies are Everywhere and Scary

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on October 17, 2016 Events


Chris Jones, “OF VANISHED ALPHABETS,” 2016. Book and magazine images, board, polymer varnish 76 x 21 x 21 inches

There’s plenty of heady discourse this week—future bodies, hypothetical architectures, theories of curation and criticism—and of course plenty of election-related hand-wringing.

Kick it off Monday night at Jersey City’s Word Bookstore, where the Brooklyn Institute of Social Research is inaugurating a lecture series about cyborgs. Or head to Manhattan’s Red Bull Studios for an event celebrating Grand Arts, the Kansas City project space that launched dozens of conceptual art projects and, now, a catalogue. Tuesday night, Paddy Johnson joins other art critics to talk shop at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Dweck Cultural Center, and Tyler Coburn talks genetic engineering and body mods as the future of humanity at e-flux. If you’re looking for something more hands-on (or a chance to move your feet), there’s a survey of handmade prints at Site:Brooklyn and an epic-looking disco fundraiser for El Museo del Bario Wednesday night. Thursday, White Box is opening a jam-packed group show (with some impressive names!) all about political angst. Friday we’ve got a talk from Maura Riley at Stony Brook Manhattan and Underdonk opening a class-conscious solo show by Patrice Renee Washington.

But the weekend brings us back to what we like the most: artwork that investigates the weird. Selena Gallery’s two person show from Dalia Amara and Florencia Escudero looks for uncanny surrogate female bodies in consumer goods on Saturday night. Sunday, Sascha Braunig’s work at MoMA will likely strike a similar chord. And MARC STRAUS opens a solo show by Chris Joneswho builds fantastical dioramas (pictured) from mundane images.

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Word Bookstore

123 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Becoming Cyborg: Science and Science Fiction


Everyone’s talking about cyborgs lately. Now, the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research is offering a course comprising a series of lectures and discussions on the topic. Sign up here. You can even apply for a scholarship for discounted admission!

Red Bull Studios

220 W 18th St
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Fun Problems with Smart People: A Book Opening


In conjunction with the epic retrospective TOTAL PROOF: The GALA Committee 1995-97, Red Bull Studios is hosting a book launch event for the 20-year survey catalog Problems and Provocations: Grand Arts 1995–2015. Grand Arts is the Kansas City-based project space that facilitated groundbreaking work from the Gala Committee as well as Alice Aycock, Patricia Cronin, Ellie Ga, Alfredo Jaar, Isaac Julien, Annie Lapin, Laurel Nakadate, Filip Noterdaeme, William Pope L., Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Emily Roysdon, Tavares Strachan, the Propeller Group, and more.

This reception features talks, interviews, or “guest appearances” from Mel Chin, Michael Jones McKean, Maria Buszek, Emily Roysdon, John Salvest, Rosemarie Fiore, Filip Noterdaeme, Stephen Lichty, Christophe Thompson, and other featured artists in Problems and Provocations.


Dweck Cultural Center, Brooklyn Public Library

10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m.Website

The Review Panel: David Humphrey, Paddy Johnson, Terence Trouillot with Moderator David Cohen

Once a month ArtCritical’s David Cohen assembles some of the city’s best critics and invites them to discuss four shows currently on view. This month, the line up of critics and shows promises a meaty discussion—and that’s not just because AFC’s Paddy Johnson will be on the panel. David Humphrey is phenomenal painter and a thoughtful critic and Terence Trouillot is currently Bomb magazine’s Oral History Fellow and a writer and critic. Cohen, the founder of the Review Panel series will moderate a discussion on Lorna Simpson at Salon 94, Julie Mehretu at Marian Goodman, Kai Altoff at MoMA and Martin Creed at Brooklyn Bridge Park. These conversations tend to be illuminated and can become heated debate. It’s always fun to watch, so don’t miss this.


311 E. Broadway
New York, NY
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.Website

Tyler Coburn: Ergonomic Futures

Resistance is futile. Yes, the cyborg, or post-human, or whatever is on everyone’s lips this week. Tyler Coburn has been talking to ergonomics experts, genetic engineers, and other specialists to ask: “What are future scenarios for imagining new types of human bodies, and how might this thought experiment reframe conversations about body normativity in the present day?
This performance piece grew out of those conversations, and is related to design objects and a website the artist has produced collaboratively.



165 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Hand Pulled Prints: The Current Practice in Printmaking

In this survey exhibition organized by master printmaker Kathy Caraccio, a variety of printmaking techniques demonstrate that we’ll always be in love with old-school modes of reproduction. As demand for multiplesbut also a sense of “authenticity”proliferates, the hand-pulled print has seen a major surge in popularity. The artist list here is a mystery, but we’re guessing this is going to be a really skill-heavy show, so take notes!


Dune Studios

55 Water Street
New York, NY
8:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.Website


El Museo del Barrio’s annual Dia de los Muertos fundraiser is getting a little more glam this year, bring in a disco theme to coincide with their excellent retrospective ANTONIO LOPEZ: Future Funk Fashion. This is probably going to be the art world’s most fun party of the week. Mickey Perez is DJing, and there’s an installation by Hector Madera, projections by Lionel Cruet & an artist performance by former El Museo Artist in Residence Ayana Evans.

Tickets are $95 ($75 for members) but Don Julio is providing tequila, Tacombi is catering, Kim Crawford is providing wine, and M A C Cosmetics is doing make-up, so $95 for a good cause (all the proceeds benefit El Museo’s education programs) sounds like a steal. There’s also an afterparty at Happy Endings on the LES.


White Box

329 Broome Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Acts of Sedition


There’s been a lot of political artwork this year, but the crowded group show Acts of Sedition might take the cake for being the most discontent exhibition of the season. From #BlackLivesMatter to the topic of “sedition” as both protest from the left and accusation hurled at the right, this sounds like a pretty all-over-the-place bout of fist-shaking. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—I think most of us can relate.

The artist line-up is certainly impressive. Dread Scott’s “controversial” (because it’s usually true?) “A MAN WAS LYNCHED BY POLICE YESTERDAY” flag will be there. As will pieces from Martha Rosler, our favorite artist who seems ubiquitous in politically-charged exhibitions these days, and Kader Attia, one of the great international artists we wish would show more often in NYC. This is an all-too-rare opportunity to see his work this side of the pond. Seize it.

Artists: Carlos Aires, Kader Attia, Stefano Cagol, Wafaa Bilal, Tania Bruguera, Jim Costanzo/Aaron Burr Society, Paolo Cirio, Annabel Daou, Josechu Davila, Cleverson De Oliviera, Decolonize this Place, Shahram Entekhabi, Regina José Galindo, Kendell Geers, Kyle Goen, Alex Gulla, Patrick Hamilton, Barbara Hammer, Ivaylo Hristov, Marisa Jahn, Enrique Jezek, Mona Saeed Kamal, Marco Maggi, Teresa Margolles, Ferran Martin, Julia San Martin, Jasa Mrevlje, Damián Ontiveros, Pasha Radetzki, Norma Vila Rivero, Martha Rosler, Gitte Sætre, Riiko Sakkinen, Avelino Sala, Dread Scott, Joaquín Segura, Miguel Rodríguez Sepúlveda, Celia Eslamieh Shomal, Federico Solmi, S & P Stanikas, Jorge Tacla, Wojtek Ulrich,Ruben Verdu, Roberto Visani, Johan Wahlstrom



Stony Brook Manhattan

387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.Website

Stony Brook Manhattan's Art History & Criticism Lecture Series: Maura Reilly


Curator Maura Reilly’s new book, “Curatorial Activism: Toward an Ethics of Curating”, is slated for release this year, and this talk should give us a good idea of what’s in store. The lecture will derive from the book, but expect lots of talk of feminism. Last year, Reilly edited the ARTnews issue on feminism, drawing upon her long experience as a curator. She is the Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, and a founding member of The Feminist Art Project, the Women’s Action Coalition, and Feminist Curators United. Currently she is the director and chief curator at the National Academy Museum. 

Needless to say, for those who are interested in the intersection of activism, art and politics this isn’t a lecture you can afford to miss.


1329 Willoughby Ave #211
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Patrice Renee Washington: Rags & Rinds


“Rags & Rinds” challenges the American dream as expressed by “Rags to Riches”—the idea that anyone can rise from poverty to wealth. The title alone suggests no such opportunity exists. Rinds are garbage. But the show will further the challenge to the metaphor, largely through its own metaphors. From the press release, “Structural design elements become both stand-ins for an architecture that doesn’t yet exist, and representations for fleeting moments of strength. The sculptures repeatedly use food as a proxy for origin, examining how discriminating taste can actually be—”


Selena Gallery

37 Troutman Street
Brooklyn NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Skin Dips


This two person show from Dalia Amara and Florencia Escudero delves into the uncanny valley to “emit female beauty terror.” Which means (somewhat in keeping with the cyborg craze) that objectified surrogates for women’s bodies are creepy as hell, but exist near-ubiquitously in consumer culture. If Amara’s photograph “Practice Heads” (detail above) is any indication, expect lots of Westworld-esque eeriness.



22-25 Jackson Ave.
Queens, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Website

Sascha Braunig: Shivers

We first covered the work of Sascha Braunig in 2011, but it’s only been the last couple of years that the museum world has picked up on the trippy work. The paintings typically investigate the body under duress, though the distinction between duress and weird alien portraits can sometimes blur to a point where struggle is no longer evident.

These figures aren’t quite cyborgs, but they fit into Tyler Coburn’s talk earlier in the week on post-humans. The future is upon us.




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

Chris Jones


London-based artist Chris Jones uses exclusively found imagery in his work. This involves pouring over old magazines and books, snipping out interesting photos. The result is a series of interior dioramas of surrealist domestic spaces, which Jones calls “Apartments”. Here, several of these fully-realized architectural spaces have been stacked and assembled into a tower, a four-sided sculpture that’s a bit reminiscent of Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi. But while that real-life mash-up apartment building is designed for celebrities looking to escape the voyeurism invited by more transparent towers, Jones’s miniature work invites the viewer to peer in each window. I imagine this opening is going to involve a lot of people squatting in a huddle together to get a closer look, which might be an art-viewing experience to remember.



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