A year after the close of the American Civil War, America’s first homegrown musical, “The Black Crook,” premiered in New York. That timing probably has a lot to do with why the Broadway-style musical has come to be seen as American as apple pie. But it also now begs the question: Why aren’t there more singing Lincolns? For that, there’s Courtesy the Artists to fill the void. Made up of Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade from the performance group My Barbarian, Courtesy the Artists channeled the same type of zany, yet critical theatrics the group’s known for.
Just like a reality TV show, the premise behind this year’s Whitney Biennial aims for high spectacle: What happens when you take three curators and ask them to put on three separate exhibitions at one of the world’s most prestigious museums? The world watches on, and we wonder what could possibly go wrong.
After the tide of art fairs and biennials last week, we get a lighter events listing this week. For those of you interested in luxury, there’s Gagosian’s exhibition of Chinese antiques—a strange choice for a contemporary art gallery. We’re going to William Powhida’s solo exhibition at Postmasters for a dose of art-as-criticism and checking out Smack Mellon’s open studios for a glimpse into what artists are working on outside of the galleries.
Thanks to Performa, we’re looking forward to a month of actual art—hopefully with less of a commercial focus than we’re used to seeing around New York. Given Performa’s ability to identify great artists, its depth of historical engagement, and the independent nature of performance art, you’re bound to find some great work this month. It’s also humongous (for better or worse). You need our guide.
You wouldn’t think that spending a weekend watching 71 seven-minute presentations by Creative Capital grantees would be any fun at all. That’s a lot of art to look at in a short period of time, and a few bad presentations can make for a really long night.
There was almost nothing I didn’t enjoy, though, so I had a great time. In this post, I recap my favorite artist presentations.