This Week’s Must-See Art Events

by Whitney Kimball on April 29, 2013 Events

A tidal energy sweeps the art world! Pruitt-Early officially ends it long withdrawal from New York, in a series of retrospective shows; Jack Ferver fans worship at the Abrons Arts Center; the New Museum brainstorms how to monetize; PS1 brainstorms how to fix the Rockaways.

Tuesday, April 30th
Screening and Artist Talk: Alex Hubbard, EAI
$7 regular, $5 students. EAI, 535 West 22nd Street, 5th floor

What happens when you turn neo-Modernist junk sculpture into a feature-length film? We’ll find out when Alex Hubbard presents two clips from his latest collaboration with avant-garde playwright Richard Maxwell and young star curator Jay Sanders. Hubbard will also present some of his recent sculptural videos (click for an idea of what that looks like), and he’ll be speaking about his work.

Screening: FRENZY A Riot Decade, The Kitchen
7 PM, 512 West 19th Street

It’s nice to see an all-grrrl line-up for this week’s Dirty Looks. The screening of badass girl short films from early 90s will satisfy our Sadie Benning craving since seeing the New Museum’s 1993 show. Her pixelvision film “It Wasn’t Love” will be shown with work by Jennifer Reeves, Jill Reiter, Shu Lea Cheang, and Michael Lucid; all but Shu Lea Cheang will be at the screening.

Pruitt-Early: "Finding Pruitt-Early," 1992 (Image courtesy of Daniel Reich Gallery, via Timeout)

Wednesday, May 1st
Opening: Pruitt-Early: The Early Years, McCaffrey Fine Art
6-8PM, 23 East 67th Street, McCaffrey Fine Art

Many will remember Jack Early as one half of the notorious Pruitt-Early, and the controversial 1992 Leo Castelli show which resulted in his nearly 20-year divorce from art-making and the gallery world. It was a huge loss for the art world, though Early didn’t stop creating; he’d hum tunes and asked every street performer he could find to play the lines, finally producing a record. His beautiful melodies (a few of which have been popularized by Dean & Britta) couldn’t be better proof of the old adage that the wrong people always leave the art world.

I can attest to this personally, having had the rare fortune to know and work with him. But from his new shows at Southfirst, Daniel Reich, and McCaffrey Fine Art, I think many would agree that art is lucky to have him back. This week, see for yourself at “Pruitt-Early: The Early Years,” a small retrospective of unseen work by Pruitt-Early, followed by a solo installation of Early’s new work at Frieze New York.

Thursday, May 2nd
Talk: Mayoral Panel, Cooper Union’s Great Hall
$15, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM The Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 E. 7th Street (between 3rd and 4th Aves.)

“Untapped capital” is the theme of this year’s Ideas City, the New Museum’s festival of presentations about art and economic expansion. While I’d hope this means policymakers coming around and seeing the necessity of community art spaces like ABC No Rio, it sounds more like a plan to gentrify, creatively. The topic will be addressed on Thursday by five former mayors (all men, of course) who have used art to expand their cities, including Austin, Miami, and Nashville. NPR’s Kurt Andersen moderates.

See the website for a full list of events.

Friday, May 3rd
Opening: Pornalikes, Karma
6 – 8 PM, 39 Great Jones Street

Porn stars who resemble celebrities. Piotr Uklański.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, May 2nd – 4th
Performance: Ferver: All of a Sudden, Abrons Arts Center
$20, 8 PM. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street

Jack Ferver’s ability to examine relationships through equal parts caustic camp and relentless sexual ennui has earned him adoration as a contemporary performance star. (Fittingly, he also appears alongside Amy Sedaris on “Strangers With Candy.”) “All of a Sudden” may broaden his repertoire from inspiration from his own life, in a play about plays, based on the film (also a play) Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams. He performs with collaborator Joshua Lubin-Levy and Jacob Slominski. Based on his high rate of rave reviews, we expect this to be worth the $20.

Saturday, May 4th
Benefit: Kentucky Derby Party and Art Auction, Smack Mellon
4 PM, 92 Plymouth Street @ Washington

This Fall Smack Mellon’s residency and exhibition program was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Their recovery from this disaster is ongoing, so this year’s annual Kentucky Derby Party and Art Auction is more important than ever. Buy a ticket and help one of the few programs in the city dedicated to providing exposure to under-recognized artists. We need all the Smack Mellon we can get.

Sunday, May 5th
Talk: Community and Coastal Resiliency, VW Dome 2
1 – 3 PM, Rockaway Beach
between Beach 94th St. and Beach 95th St. at Shore Front Parkway

This week’s Rockaways talk features researcher Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back and Chief Creative Officer of PopTech, a progressive tech company which campaigns for things like using text messages to disseminate information during riots. His talk doesn’t sound any better or worse than the rest, but just a reminder that the Dome is there.

Sunday Session Finale: Ragnar Kjartansson, PS1
$15, 12-6 PM, 22-25 Jackson Ave. at the intersection of 46th Ave.

And down in VW Dome #1, PS1 holds the last of this season’s Sunday Sessions. We’re not surprised to see Icelandic art star Ragnar Kjartansson headlining as the finale, after having heard his name come up about six thousand times this winter. Kjartansson hires the rock band The National to perform their song Sorrow repeatedly for six hours straight. It’s going to be mind-numbing.

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