This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Skip Most Fairs, See The Real Hennessy Youngman

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 1, 2017 Events

Jayson Musson

Jayson Musson

Plan comfortable shoes for the week: it’s another inundation of art fairs and satellite events.

Thankfully, Frieze and SPRING/BREAK’s new Brooklyn offshoot are the only big fairs we’re recommending by now, so fair fatigue shouldn’t be too much of a problem. But of course, the city is packed with art star openings, book launches, and more brunches than you can shake a croissant at. We’ve done you the favor of skimming only the best of the best events this week though, to save you from too much overload.

Highlights include Roxy Paine’s creepy interiors at Paul Kasmin Tuesday night, Martin Roth’s Twitter-fed lavender farm at the Austrian Cultural Forum on Wednesday, and Jon Rafman’s screening and book launch at Printed Matter on Thursday. If you’re not fair-pooped after Friday, check out Salon 94’s demon-wrestling solo show from Jayson Musson (of “Hennessy Youngman” fame) on Saturday and Columbia MFA candidates paying tribute to Walter Benjamin at the Jewish Museum on Sunday.

So much more below…

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Paul Kasmin Gallery

293 & 297 10th Avenue
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Roxy Paine: Farewell Transmission

The first time I saw a photo of Roxy Paine’s dystopian dioramas, I assumed they were room-sized installations. His work has an uncanny realism, wherein institutional blandscapes are rendered with such precision that the only things missing are the real world’s ubiquitous logos. In this show, he’s taking over both of Paul Kasmin’s 10th Avenue galleries. In one piece, a bedroom appears to be under surveillance from a two-way mirror for some pseudo-scientific or institutionally voyeuristic end. In another, a group of mismatched chairs is arranged in a depressing room (complete with faux drop ceiling) and folding table with coffee. It looks like a 12 step program is about to begin, eerily devoid of participants. You’ll definitely want to attend, though, even if the viewing experience makes you feel a little icky and complicit in some sinister plot.

Skarstedt Chelsea

550 West 21st Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Eric Fischl: Late America

I know a lot of people who aren’t big fans of Eric Fischl, and a lot of people who are. I have personally never had a strong feeling about most of his work one way or another, until Jerry Saltz described the titular piece, “Late America,” of these new post-election paintings as such:

“I read the painting a dozen different ways, all of them bigger than just a story of a man in a weird pose by a swimming pool, a boy, and a couple of workers. I saw dozens of different American narratives unfold. All the figures are male, so this is a story of the wreck of masculinity, something bankrupt, buckling, sick, unconscious of everything around it. Especially in the naked man, who is totally somaticized, I see an empire ending in an infantile whimper, a country identified by the heroism and pain it is forgetting, turning inward, being consumed by itself, pampered, deluded, duped, marooned, and wishing for stronger others to make quick fixes and take dramatic actions, to show the self-confidence that they lack, and to make those they feared go away by turning them into objects of open hatred and discrimination. So that we can be great again. Or forget that we haven’t lived up to our own expectations.”

It really is a phenomenally evocative work, and I’m excited there’s apparently more where that came from. The mysterious dramas here play out around suburban swimming pools, and I’d much rather be seeing these than more paintings set in art fairs, especially this week.


Austrian Cultural Forum New York

11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:30 PMWebsite

Martin Roth: Exhibition Opening, Book Launch & Artist Talk

For roughly two months, a subterranean forest will sprout in the basement galleries of the Austrian Cultural Forum. At the center of this installation, a lavender field will grow under artificial lights. These lights are regulated by the Twitter activity of opinion-shapers. All that angry online bickering will, through a complicated-sounding mechanism, translate to the cultivation of lavender, which has medicinal properties to relieve stress.

This is the latest outdoors-indoor project from Martin Roth, whose 2015 installation of parakeets, frogs, rubble, and water in Louis B James we covered.  At the Austrian Cultural Forum, Roth will be launching a new book and speaking about his work starting at 6, followed by a reception at 7.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1

Furman Street at Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY
6:30 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Anish Kapoor: Descension

It sounds like a satirical headline from The Onion, but Anish Kapoor is installing a swirling vortex of doom in Brooklyn. The piece promises to be the next big selfie magnet of public art, so try to get there early. Tickets to the talk are $10 (unless you’re a student, in which case you get in for free). The price is probably worth it to stare into a bottomless whirlpool of sinister  liquid on the East River waterfront.

Lever House

390 Park Avenue
New York, NY
8:00 PM - 9:00 PMWebsite


For fans of midcentury modern design, dance, and artists/designer hybrids such as the late Vito Acconci, this is going to be the week’s highlight.

Bushwick/Baltimore dance duo FlucT never disappoint. Here, they’ll be interacting with design objects and sculptures curated into the office spaces of the historic Lever House. The line-up of featured artists and designers is a doozy:

Vito Acconci, Anton Alvarez, Leonor Antunes, Thomas Barger, Jarrod Beck, Huma Bhabha, Carol Bove, Scott Burton, Nick Cave, Barbara Chase-Riboud, James Crosby, Alex Da Corte, Luca Dellaverson, Andile Dyalvane, Urs Fischer, Luis Flores, FlucT, Christina Forrer, Josep Grau-Garriga, Alex Hubbard, Dozie Kanu, Melike Kara, Jon Kessler, Rosy Keyser, Takuro Kuwata, Max Lamb, Kwangho Lee, Hannah Levy, Hanna Liden, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Carly Mark, Christine McHorse, Rodney McMillan, Marilyn Minter, Robert Morris, Senga Nengudi, Ruby Neri, Leon Niehues, Jo Nigoghossian, Jay Sae Jung Oh, Rick Owens, Virginia Overton, Anna-Bella Papp, Gaetano Pesce, Jessi Reaves, Max Hooper Schneider, Kenzi Shiokava, Lucien Smith, Keith Sonnier, Ryan Sullivan, Oscar Tuazon, Betty Woodman, Haegue Yang, Daisy Youngblood, Andrea Zittel, and Joe Zucker.


Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
10:00 AM - 5:30 PMWebsite

Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

Rei Kawakubo: Art of the In-Between famously opens to celebrities and other really rich people on Monday night’s gala. For everyone else, it remains one of the most hotly-anticipated exhibitions of the year. The famously mysterious Kawakubo has insisted that none of her critically-informed garments be accompanied by wall text. Instead, they’ll be grouped by opposing conceptual concerns in a futuristic landscape. Every image we’ve seen so far has been gorgeous. This one’s definitely going to be worth the lines.

Printed Matter

231 Eleventh Ave.
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Jon Rafman: Nine Eyes Screening and Book Launch

Here at AFC we’re quite proud of Jon Rafman’s “The Nine Eyes of Google Street View,” which to this day remains one of our most popular IMG MGMT commissions. That essay was the result of years of exploration via the Google Maps feature, catching glimpses of humanity’s weirdness and the built environment the world over. Fans of Rafman’s screen-grabbing post-photography will be happy to know he’s also applied his lens (so to speak) to video and a book on the subject. We can’t wait to get a copy!

Alessandro Berni Gallery | c/o ITALIAN GREEN DESIGN

530 West 25th Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite


For fans looking to pay their respect to Vito Acconci this week, we’re in luck his work is in a handful of shows!

We’re not entirely sure what this show is about (CITY BITES sounds like a food delivery startup app) but curator Asya Rotella has sure put together an impressive lineup:

Carla Accardi, Vito Acconci, Maurizio Cattelan, Jacopo Degl’Innocenti (JAPA), Jamie Martinez, Gilbert Salinas, Cecilia Yaghoubi, Fu Wenjun


Randall’s Island Park

New York, NY
11:00 AM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Frieze Art Fair

Frieze is one of New York’s biggest art fairs, and now that NADA has made the questionable switch to Armory Week,, is really the only big one worth seeing this week.

Yes, it’s worth seeing. Of course there’s always a proliferation of art fair schlock, but Frieze makes a better effort than most commercial fairs to have high-quality booths. Plus, it’s an excuse to ride a boat to Randalls Island. How can you pass that up?

It opens to the public on Friday, but it runs all weekend.

Washington Square Mews

New York, NY
4:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite


Basically one big small-press-centric block party thrown by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses [CLMP].

In their words: “Buy books. Party with publishers. Celebrate independent and international literature.”

If you like reading, this one’s a big obvious “duh”.

Sean Kelly

475 Tenth Ave
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Kehinde Wiley: Trickster

Kehinde Wiley needs no introduction. His art-historically-influenced portraits of mostly young black men are now part of the cannon, and we pretty much know what to expect. These will be big and colorful and great. This series is inspired by Goya, so expect plenty of drama!


Black Ball Projects |

374 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Website

POSTER Closing & Zine Release Party

Black Ball Projects has been hosting programming in response to Trump since the election. This project invited the public to contribute their protest signs, t shirts, and other ephemera to an installation that feels like a demonstration march. These pieces are being archived in a zine, which will be distributed at the closing. That should be a cool piece of history to take home.

Salon 94 Freemans

1 Freeman Alley
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Jayson Musson: Demon All Day

Jayson Musson, arguably better known as his YouTube alter ego Hennessy Youngman, is presenting a surprisingly conventional new series this week. Returning to his drawing roots, Musson has been exorcising some anxieties through illustration-like demon gauche paintings. They’re actually a really nice balance of considered composition and gestural brushwork, recalling sumi ink calligraphy, Grecian pottery, and numerous other art historical references.

City Point

300 Flatbush Avenue Extension
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM - 10:00 PMWebsite


We can’t get enough of the curator-driven SPRING/BREAK Art Show, always the highlight during Armory Week. So it’s good news for us that they’ve launched a satellite event during Frieze Week as well!

BRKLYN IMMERSIVE will launch large-scale installation and public works at megaproject City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. They’re in keeping with the theme of “Black Mirror”, which was a hit at their Times Square fair, so we’re excited to see what that looks like when artists have the space to work at a larger scale.

The fair kicks off with a reception Saturday night, and will be up for a week.


The Jewish Museum

1109 5th Ave at 92nd Street
New York, NY
6:30 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

In Response: The Arcades

Walter Benjamin’s unfinished masterpiece “The Arcades Project” remains one of my personal favorite things to read. His unmatched capacity for observation has left quite an impression on the art world, and The Jewish Museum has a whole exhibition devoted to that legacy: The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin.

As part of the programming, Columbia University Visual Arts MFA candidates have been invited to produce works in dialogue with the show. These include performance, video, and installations, which will be presented in the Scheuer Auditorium.

Participating Artists: Ivan Forde, Davey Hawkins, Cary Hulbert, Daria Irincheeva, Emily Kloppenburg, Leah Moskowitz, Ana Rivera, Rocio Olivares, Emily Shaffer, Jacqueline Silberbush, Sara Stern

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