This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Nightmares Before Christmas

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 12, 2016 Events


No, Bill Murray isn’t dead. But Con Artist Collective will be honoring him this Wednesday as if he were.

This week there’s not a lot of art stuff happening beyond holiday parties and craft fairs. One could say NYC’s taken an unexpectedly Middle-American turn in that regard, were it not for how morbid so much of the week’s happenings are. Tuesday night, scholars Sam Tanenhaus and Richard Wolin perform a post-election autopsy on the American Republic and speculate about its afterlife (hint: It’s not looking good) at CUNY. For a slightly less depressing evening, head to Ubu Gallery where German artist Heide Hatry is opening a new series of drawings made with the ashes of human remains. If that’s not enough mortuary holiday cheer for you, Con Artist Collective is throwing a fake memorial art show for the comedian Bill Murray (one of the few national treasures that hasn’t died in 2016). Thursday night we’re looking forward to a subversive holiday group show at Kate Werble Gallery, and a six-hour night of discussions about Art After Trump at Housing Works.

Friday night, things get a little less bleak city-wide. P! and Beverly’s are hosting events for a Bard CSS project that sprawls across Chinatown and continues with satellite events all weekend. At Brooklyn’s Orgy Park, a group show invites painters to make something collaborative, and in Queens, MoMA PS1 is throwing a holiday party for artists that looks totally bonkers. Have some spiked hot chocolate. After a week of thinking about Trump and death, you’re going to need it.

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The Graduate Center at CUNY

365 Fifth Ave. (Room 9100)
New York, NY
6:30 - 8:00Website

The Future of the Republic

Well, all bets are off when it comes to American politics now. Here, witness Sam Tanenhaus (historian and NYT writer-at-large) and Richard Wolin (Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at the CUNY Graduate Center, a critic of postmodernism) as they perform a postmortem on the 2016 election, and discuss what its implications are in terms of democracy’s future. Scary stuff.

Ubu Gallery

416 E 59th St.
New York, NY
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.Website

Heide Hatry: Icons in Ash; Cremation Portraits

Heide Hatry’s new body of work is made from actual human bodies—cremated, that is. What look like gorgeously rendered charcoal drawings are actually portraits of deceased individuals made using their own ashes. This is pretty morbid, but also a fascinating hypothetical for a future mourning ritual. Perhaps a portrait over the mantle will become the new urn on the mantle?


Con Artist Collective

119 Ludlow St.
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Website

RIP Bill Murray

Caveat: this listing is less of an endorsement and more out of recognition that this is the weirdest thing happening this week. Con Artist Collective, true to their name, are celebrating actor Bill Murray as if he had died. (Think all the creative tributes to Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, etc… earlier this year). If we were the superstitious type, we’d urge all parties involved to knock on wood—knowing 2016, it would be just this horrible year’s style to punish our cheekiness with a freak Murray accident.


Kate Werble Gallery

83 Vandam St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website



Ok, there are a million and one “holiday art markets” this week. Those are not really our cup of tea, but this one is. This group show promises everything from Nutcracker orgies to a Riot Grrrl window display, all with the aim of subverting seasonal consumerism. (Never has a sentence written about a Christmas art show sounded so much like a “Stefan” bit from SNL).

Featuring: Caroline Achaintre, Polly Apfelbaum, Hannah Barrett, Anna Betbeze, Beth Campbell, Borden Capalino, Nathan Carter, Caroline Wells Chandler, Nicole Cherubini, Christopher Chiappa, Jennifer Coates, Tony Cox, Brock Enright, Jesse Harrod, Baker Overstreet, Paul Rizzo, Nancy Shaver, Laurel Sparks, Marc Swanson, Brandi Twilley


Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

126 Crosby St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.Website

Art After Trump

What the fuck do we do now? That’s more-or-less the question posed to 150 artists, organizers, and performers, who will be reading their responses on Thursday. There’s a meet-and-mingle at 6 p.m., followed by continuous readings/performances half an hour later. This is a good opportunity for meeting potential collaborators/group therapy for those of us still in mourning.

Organizers: Molly Rose Quinn, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe; Brandon Stosuy, The Creative Independent, a project of Kickstarter; Glory Edim, Well-Read Black Girl; Jillian Steinhauer, Hyperallergic; Ben Sisto, Ace Hotel New York




334 Broome St.
New York, NY
7:00 - 7:30Website

We Are the Margins

The Bard Center for Curatorial Studies is in the midst of a sprawling, multiyear investigation into the dichotomy of “center” and “margin”. As part of this endeavor, P! will function as a “conceptual outpost” and a mini-epicenter of its own—tying together satellite programming around the neighborhood with an animated map by Ahmad Aiyad. Following the reception at P!, there will be a DJ battle between CCS Bard Director Paul O’Neill and a “surprise guest from the club scene” at neighboring art-bar Beverly’s. That sounds pretty fun, and wraps up at 10 p.m.

Curators: Shehab Awad, Marta Cacciavillani, Stephanie Goodalle, Emer Grant, Lian Ladia, Lynn Maliszewski, Lola Martinez


Orgy Park

237 Jefferson Street 1b
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Stone Soup Nasty


The conceit for this group exhibition is the old morality tale “Stone Soup,” in which a village is tricked into sharing food by a traveler with a magic stone. It’s a pretty cheesy story, but it might make for an interesting show. It seems as if there’s an element of collaboration or material-sharing among all the artists in the show, which sounds more promising than it usually would based on the list of great painters here, which includes Nicholas Cueva and Joshua Bienko.

Liz Ainslie, Andrea Arrubla, Katherine Aungier, Rory Baron, Joshua Bienko, Tess Bilhartz, Kate M. Blomquist, Lauren Collings Schwarz, Corydon Cowansage, Nicholas Cueva, Julie Curtiss, Emily Davidson, Sonya Derman, Rachel Fainter, Elise Ferguson, Angelina Gualdoni, Yuhi Hasegawa, Clinton King, Jenny Lee, Stuart Lorimer, Ioana Manolache, Anthony Miler, Patrick Mohundro, Dominic Musa, Steve Mykietyn, Dan Oglander, Maria Stabio, Adam Sipe, Tracy Thomason, Charles Tisa, Zuriel Waters, and Lindsay Wraga


22-25 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, NY
8:00 p.m. - 11:59 p.m.Website

Night at the Museum: Artists Holiday Party

More fun than most office Christmas parties, PS1’s artists’ holiday party promises spiked hot chocolate and the transformation of the courtyard dome into a giant snow globe. Keep warm with this all-star list of artist hosts:

Michele Abeles, Marina Abramović, Doug Aitken, Ed Atkins, Charles Atlas, Tauba Auerbach, Kevin Beasley, Gina Beavers, Huma Bhabha, Jonah Bokaer, Carol Bove, Lauren Boyle, Sascha Braunig, Mira Dancy, Lauren Devine, David Hallberg, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Devin Kenny, Ragnar Kjartansson, Jeff Koons, Liz Magic Laser, Deana Lawson, Glenn Ligon, Cinthia Marcelle, Christian Marclay, Julie Mehretu, Donald Moffett, Laurel Nakadate, Lorraine O’Grady, Adam Pendleton, Rob Pruitt, Ugo Rondinone, Jacolby Satterwhite, Dana Schutz, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Avery Singer, Kiki Smith, Casey Spooner, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Ryan Trecartin, Francesco Vezzoli, Anicka Yi




New York, NY
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Website

We Are the Margins: Panel + Community Debate

Mei Lum (The W.O.W Project), Robert Lee (Asian American Arts Centre), and a representative from the CSS project will discuss on art and education initiatives in the neighborhood and the concepts of exclusivity and community engagement. This seems like a timely discussion, as there’s increasing concern over gentrification in Chinatown as well as slowly-growing scrutiny of “community arts” or “socially engaged” practices. The discussion is free and open to the public, but a location has yet to be announced, so check back on the event page.


Kuma Inn

113 Ludlow St.
New York, NY
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.Website

We Are the Margins: Food Tasting + Discussion

Chef Perry Mamaril of NYC’s Purple Yam & Kuma Inn will prepare fish balls (or a vegetarian alternative) for 15 lucky guests (so RSVP and get there early) and lead a discussion about the globalization of food. RSVP to


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