Post image for This Week’s Must-See Art Events: R&B Diva to Save Distant Brown Dwarf Star

Much like Paddy’s experience of the Whitney Biennial, New York’s art scene this week is dominated by the political with a healthy smattering of painterly painting, ubiquitous identity politics, and the unapologetically weird.

Highlights include a talk about “the intersectional self” at the 8th Floor featuring Genesis P-Orridge on Thursday, followed by a solo show from Dona Nelson at Thomas Erben Gallery. We’re looking forward to Ernesto Burgos’ work at Kate Werble Gallery (think ab-ex in 3D) on Friday night and some afro-futurist cyberpunk world-building by E. Jane at American Medium on Saturday. If you need a moment of zen before the work week starts, head to E.S.P. TV’s closing reception at Pioneer Works on Sunday—you can join them on a corporate retreat, complete with a self-help guru.

Post image for SLIDESHOW: Mexico City Galleries, Part 2

Last month, I checked out what was on view at some of Mexico City’s galleries during the art fairs. Over the past week, I stopped by a few more. Highlights include Rurru Mipanochia at ArtSpace Mexico (bastion of queer contemporary art), SANGREE at Yautepec, and Mauricio Limón at Galería Hilario Galguera a few blocks away. Today is the last day to see Mauricio Limón’s show, and I highly recommend it.

All three very different solo shows share one thing in common: they mine Mexico’s turbulent post-colonial history with a sense of humor. Strategies range from queering pre-Columbian cosmology or hybridizing Mayan and classical European pottery to recycling imagery from currencies that failed in the face of globalization. Notably, none of this work comes across as bitter or preachy.

Post image for Cataloguing Immigration’s Impact At Yinka Shonibare MBE’s “Prejudice At Home: A Parlour, a Library and a Room” at James Cohan Gallery

Six thousand patterned books line the walls of two rooms at the back of James Cohan Gallery. The spine of each book is emblazoned with names of first and second generation immigrants who have impacted British culture–Christian Bale, Tom Stoppard, Sir Ben Kingsley, Henry James, Yoko Ono, Anish Kapoor, John Galliano and even, rumored “Becky with the good hair” herself, Rita Ora. Basically, it’s your dinner party dream list.

This towering reflection of immigrants’ historical influence comes courtesy of Yinka Shonibare MBE’s installation The British Library, currently on view as a part of his solo show Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, A Library and A Room. With Trump’s travel ban and increased crackdown on undocumented workers, the installation could not have arrived in New York at a more crucial moment. As countless articles attempt to make the case for immigrants and refugees by pointing out foreign-born founders of tech companies or American inventions created by immigrants, Shonibare’s installation achieves what these listicles can’t. It confronts viewers with a tangible, physical record of immigration’s creative impact on a country.

Post image for The Whitney Biennial: Visual Screen Burn Courtesy of America’s Finest

Out of the ten Whitney Biennials I’ve seen, this is the first one that could have used a vomit warning. But here we are, in Trump’s America, a future many of us never wanted to imagine, let alone live through. What is the purpose of art in this New America? This year’s Biennial bears no answers. Art doesn’t exist to defend its purpose and even if it did this exhibition was organized prior to the election. Nevertheless, it does bring then-simmering themes to a boil. So, while almost none of the work is Trump themed, as a whole the exhibition reads as a responsive to the challenges the country faces—increasing income inequality across the board, failing institutions, and the rise of hate-fueled violence. If art is a mirror, then this year’s Biennial should scare the shit out of you.

Post image for We Went to Gabriel Orozco’s OXXO

Gabriel Orozco has built a fully-functional Mexican convenience store chain inside the gallery Kurimanzutto. Almost everything is free.

Whitney: This triggered a Supermarket Sweep fantasy I didn’t realize I have been actively repressing every time I go shopping.

Michael: …with the aspect of monetary value removed, yet another set of limitations imposed, an almost-mania set in as we tried to adjust to a new value system.