Post image for With Art As My Witness: Carrie Mae Weems at Jack Shainman Gallery

I often hear the platitude that art thrives when artists are forced into action by life or death necessity. But, what might this new politically engaged art actually do to combat racism, xenophobia, misogyny and a host of other threats that have already appeared well before Trump’s inauguration?

Carrie Mae Weems’s two current exhibitions, on view at both Jack Shainman galleries, seem to offer an answer: art can act as a witness. In the dual shows, Weems shines a light on violence, institutional silence, judicial ignorance and black underrepresentation. This is seen most vividly her gut-wrenching take on the killings of unarmed black men and women by police in the 24th street space. Not all the pieces in Weems’s shows force viewers to witness these crimes, but those that do drag these issues into view for a Chelsea art audience, rendering a passive and apolitical viewing experience almost impossible.

Post image for This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Give Thanks for Kate Bush

It’s a slow week, but one with just enough good events to keep any Thanksgiving-related food coma at bay. Monday night, we’ve got two book release events with talks and more! Fragments of Metropolis – Rhein & Ruhr launches with a panel discussion at NYU’s Deutsches Haus and Douglas Crimp: Before Pictures is kicking-off at The Kitchen. Tuesday, rising video art star Sondra Perry speaks at SVA and bitforms gallery returns to its roots for a homecoming party. Wednesday, MoMA opens a Josef Albers exhibit that shows the color guru’s dark(room) side.

Thursday is Thanskgiving, so there are no art events. But if you can’t deal with the potential of seeing a Trump-supporting relative, I recommend teaming up with friends to support local immigrant-owned businesses instead! Post-holiday, there’s a bit of a slowdown. On Black Friday, check out a campy screening at Williamsburg’s Spectacle theater. Saturday Pioneer Works is hosting the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. If that’s not your thing, head to Roulette, where artists reinterpret the music of Kate Bush. That’s one thing we can all be thankful for.

Post image for Carolee Schneemann’s Body Is A Battlefield At PPOW Gallery and Galerie Lelong

A week after the election, women’s bodies are a battleground yet again. Donald Trump hinted at overturning Roe v. Wade on 60 Minutes and Paul Ryan thought birth control was a “nitty-gritty detail” of the dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t even taking into consideration the pussy-grabbing rhetoric of the campaign. With President-elect Trump and a Republican majority in Congress, women–like many diverse populations–feel newly under siege.

This danger to women’s health and civil liberties inadvertently breathes new life into art that engages with the female body and its subjugation. While using the body, in the recent past, may have felt like Feminism 101, art now needs to reflect and reject this patriarchal threat. Feminist art stalwart Carolee Schneemann achieves just that in her dual exhibitions Further Evidence–Exhibit A at PPOW Gallery and Further Evidence–Exhibit B at Galerie Lelong. In these dual shows, Schneemann depicts the female body as contested, controlled and imprisoned. And it couldn’t feel more timely.