This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Reading is Fundamental

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 8, 2017 Events


Start your week off with a dose of Civil Rights history Monday at IFC, where fierce pussy is screening The Black Power Mixtape and Wednesday at ICP, where Hettie Jones will be talking about what Making America Great really looks like. Thursday, we’re looking forward to two book launches. Andrea McGinty will be releasing her Ah Yes Bad Things at Printed Matter and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is throwing a party to celebrate the catalog for their current exhibition Queer Threads. Friday night there are mysterious but promising exhibitions opening all over Brooklyn. Then it’s DUMBO open studios all weekend. End the week with a day trip to New Haven (seriously, it’s a painless train ride) where Bortolami’s ARTIST/CITY program has paired Tom Burr with a Marcel Breuer masterpiece that now finds itself surrounded by an IKEA parking lot.

The world is a strange and wondrous place. We’ll see you out in it.

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IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave at West 3rd St,
New York, NY
8:00 PMWebsite

fierce pussy presents The Black Power Mixtape

Queer feminist collective fierce pussy is hosting this screening of The Black Power Mixtape, which everyone should see. The film is the result of Swedish journalists travelling to the United States in the 1960s and 70s with the intention of exposing the country’s lesser-told realities. It features appearances from Angela Davis, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

After the film, join fierce pussy at Julius Bar (159 West 10th St. at Waverly), the oldest gay bar in New York City, for drinks and discussion.


Black Ball Projects

374 Bedford Ave. 1st Floor
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM Website

Just Cause

This exhibition includes the work of three artists from the international Residency Unlimited program: Maria Agureeva (Russia), Juan Sánchez (Spain), and Benjamin Brett (UK). All of their work is extremely different, but intersects along “by way of conceptual concerns and intellectual reason, paired with doing something ‘just because’—instinctual and driven by a sense of chance and play.”

Here, that conceptual concern is the balance between external politics and free will. We’re curious to see how that translates to each artist’s respective practice—Agureeva uses her own body in pieces that function as both painting and sculpture, Benjamin Brett makes conceptual paintings that combine narrative and abstraction, and Juan Sánchez uses economical materials and art historical references to comment on labor and impermanence. This should be a heady show.


Curated by Jason Tomme, Ana Wolovick


The International Center of Photography

1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY
7:30 PM - 9:30 PMWebsite

Radical Conversation: Making America Great - Hettie Jones: The History of Greatness

ICP has been responding the current political crisis with a programming series that’s pretty on point. This week, they’re hosting a talk by Hettie Jones on exactly what making America “great again” really means. Jones has a long history of working through publications—she published the radical Yugen magazine from 1958 to 1962, numerous books for children of color when they were a rarity, and was a chair of the PEN Prison Writing Program. That’s a lot of experience and wisdom to share about working in the face of adversity, and boy do we need it right about now!

Vector Gallery

199 E 3rd St.
New York, NY
8:00 PM - 11:59 PMWebsite

Vectorian New Year : HAPPY 2030 AD

Who ever knows what the hell is going on at Vector Gallery? We applaud AFC alum Whitney Kimball for her in-depth attempt at deciphering their mysterious ways. Whatever “Crown Prince of Hell” JJ Brine and his accomplices are up to, it’s usually fun. If you need a break from reality in these stressful days, this celebration of the 2030 Vectorian New Year might be just about the closest thing to experiencing an alternate universe on a Wednesday night in Manhattan.

From the event page:

Facebook has rejected the language of this event ad on numerous ocasions due to the asymmetrical relationship between SHAY culture of 2017 and the notion fo a 2030 temporality by Vectorian reckoning. Therefore Eye am left with no other choice than to state the following : all symbological designations of time and its passage, Gregorian or otherwise, are conceptual art proects purporting to account for the laws of now, then, soon, and when was that again?


Printed Matter

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

Book Launch: Ah Yes Bad Things by Andrea McGinty

We’re big fans of Andrea McGinty. The artist has a rare capacity for conveying bittersweet, humorous reflections on contemporary living with economical combinations of mass-produced products. That might be a vibrator dancing endlessly around a juicer or a humidifier wrapped in workout clothes with optimistic platitudes. For anyone who’s felt alienated by the endless barrage of ever-more-unattainable “wellness” or “self-care” promised by consumer culture, her work feels like a poetic confidant to share a skeptical eye-roll.

We’re excited to see how this strategy translates to publication form. McGinty is launching her first book from local publishers Soft City, Ah Yes Bad Things. The book comprises ephemera from her smartphone: Tweets, messages, notes, and images from the camera roll. That’s an increasingly common approach to compiling artist books, but we’re guessing McGinty’s will be singularly insightful, weird, and funny.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

26 Wooster St
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Book Launch: Queer Threads

We haven’t had a chance to check out Queer Threads, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art’s survey of LGBTQ+ fibers artist yet. This looks like the night to do it. AMMO Books is launching a 192-page color catalog featuring the work of and interviews with 30 queer fiber artists. It’s a good mix of local, national, and international artists. It sounds like a keeper. JD Samson (queer icon behind feminist bands such as MEN and Le Tigre) will be DJing the event.

Curated by John Chaich

Artists: Chris Bogia, Melanie Braverman, Jai Andrew Carrillo, Chiachio & Giannone, Liz Collins, Ben Cuevas, Pierre Fouché, James Gobel, Jesse Harrod, Larry Krone, Rebecca Levi, Aubrey Longley-Cook, Aaron McIntosch, Allyson Mitchell, John Thomas Paradiso, Sheila Pepe, Maria E. Piñeres, Allen Porter, L. J. Roberts, Sonny Schneider, Buzz Slutzky, Nathan Vincent, Jessica Whitbread.


This Friday or Next Friday

89 Bridge Street
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 PM - 9:00 PMWebsite


What’s this show going to look like? If Alicia Gibson’s oil painting “Nail Polishing Club” (above) is any indication, great. The event page only lists the artists and the below list of tough stuff, so we’ll have to wait until Friday to satisfy our piqued curiosity. Even the artists we’re familiar with aren’t an indication—conceptual painter Joshua Bienko’s work always seems to look different, but it’s almost always good.

Tough break
Tough shit
Tough cookies
Tough nut
Tough luck
Tough love
Tough as nails

Artists: Alex Sewell, Alicia Gibson, Joshua Bienko, Jenna Gribbon, Sam Jablon

Present Company

254 Johnson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM - 10:00 PMWebsite

Sharper Image

We love Dina Kelberman and Milton Melvin Croissant III (two of the artists in our Providence College show Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies: The Animated GIF as Place). Kelberman samples pop culture or the endless archives of the internet with often hilarious, often overwhelming ends. Croissant (yes… real, awesome name) creates insanely detailed CGI renderings of the corporate blandscape and various other digital environments. Whatever they’re showing here, it’s going to be great.

Andrew Brischler, Milton Melvin Croissant III, Matthew Deleget, Rico Gatson, Adam Henry, Dina Kelberman, Andy Mister, Adams Puryear, Christopher Rivera, Emily Mae Smith, Wendy White

Grace Exhibition Space

840 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 PM - 11:55 PMWebsite

Heartbreak Hotel

Heartbreak Hotel is succinctly described as “Five hour simultaneous durational pieces with bells, whistles, and fog.” Sounds like a fun haunted house?

The show features work from some of our favorite artists in the Bushwick scene, such as FlucT’s Sigrid Lauren and video/installation artist Miles Pflanz.

Generally, I’d say five hours is more of an endurance challenge for the viewer than the performer. But this format and lineup might just keep things engaging all the way to midnight.

Artists: Angeli, Camila Cañeque, David Ian Bellows/Griess, Sigrid Lauren, Whitney Mallett, Miles Pflanz



20 Jay Street, Smack Mellon, A.I.R. Gallery, Art in General, Janet Borden, Inc., Made in NY Media Center by IFP, MINUS SPACE, Smack Mellon, This Friday or Next Friday, United Photo Industries, Usagi NY

Brooklyn, NY
1:00 PM - 6:00 PMWebsite

DUMBO Open Studios

Thanks to Two Trees’ Space Subsidy Program (of which we’re also a beneficiary) AFC has some pretty cool neighbors. Come meet them at Art in DUMBO’s open studio crawl. Participating spaces include New York Studio School, The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Triangle Arts Association, A.I.R. Gallery, Art in General, Janet Borden, Inc., Made in NY Media Center by IFP, MINUS SPACE, Smack Mellon, This Friday or Next Friday, United Photo Industries, Usagi NY.

It’s a lot of art to see, but it’s mostly within a block or two of 20 Jay Street (where about half of the participants are tenants). If you can’t do it all at once, come back on Sunday, when studios will also be open.

Artists: Cey Adams, Alejandro Avakian, Sharon Buttler, Chantal Calato, CAM, Davide Cantoni, Elise Church, Jennifer Paige Cohen, Marsha Cottrell, Beth Dary, Eva Davidova, Blane De St Croix, Marc Dennis, Peter Drake, Rodolfo Edwards, Gabriele Evertz, Michael Farmer, Jen Ferguson, Celeste Fichter, Marney Fuller, Tom Fruin, Anne Gilman, Tessa Grundon, Teri Hackett, Michelle Handelman, Elizabeth Hazan, Daniel Horowitz, Julian Hsiung, Diana Jensen, Dale Kaplan, Laura Karetzky, Jerry Kearns, Kevin Kelly, Minku Kim, Stefan Killen, Brian Kokoska, Pavel Kraus, Jen Lewin, Eric LoPresti, Roxi Marsen, Jamie Martinez, Mary Mattingly, Gregory Mirzayantz, Vladimir Nazarov, James Nazarov, Anne Peabody, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Margaret Reid Boyer, Elizabeth Riley, Jennifer Riley, Kara Rooney, Natalie Rye, Andrea Sanders, Shelter Serra, Richard Sigmund, Deborah Simon, Jiwon Song, Laetitia Soulier, Susan Stainman, Thomas Stevenson, Auguste Rhonda Tymeson, Alexi Worth, Zach Zeeger, Darrel Hostvedt, Weixian Jiang


Former Armstrong Rubber Building

450 Sargent Drive
New Haven, CT
11:00 AM - 4:00 PMWebsite

Tom Burr: New Haven

Bortolami’s ARTIST/CITY initiative famously put Eric Wesley in a Suburban Midwestern Taco Bell last year (the idea behind the project is to pair the gallery’s artists with unusual spaces outside of NYC to make new work). But the most exciting pairing might be Tom Burr’s takeover of the IKEA-owned brutalist landmark Pirelli building. Designed by Marcel Breuer, it’s one of the many modernist gems sprinkled incongruously around the small city. At present, it sits empty like a sculptural object in the parking lot of an IKEA. It’s an odd example of suburbia sort of subsuming the utopian architecture that just-barely preceded it.

Tom Burr has been creating works in response to the building (which was designed, coincidentally, in 6-foot segments; exactly the artist’s height). This should definitely be worth the Metro North ride (and like, a trip to IKEA!). It’s one of the few Bortolami ARTIST/CITY projects within the NYC metro area, so be sure not to miss it.


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