This Week’s Must-see Art Events: Bask in the Obscure

by Michael Anthony Farley on August 31, 2015 Events

penelopegazin you know I always bounce back

Penelope Gazin, “You Know I Always Bounce Back.” Gazin has a show opening at the bar Tender Trap in Brooklyn, presented by Superchief Gallery Friday night.

Skip the blockbuster museum shows and blue chip galleries; what makes New York so great is access to the under-exposed. Tonight, hear a lecture at Asia Art Archive in America about the little-known influence of Seattle modernists on the career of art star Yayoi Kusama. Tuesday, go check out poetry and art at Outlet—part of an exhibition I’m convinced is on the cutting edge of a sea change regarding artists’ relationship with place. Wednesday, traverse a secret garden for a chance to see a performance by Otion Front Studio artist in residence La Martelle, which will be performed for just two groups of twelve people at a time. Thursday, go play a quick game of basketball with the New Art Dealers Association. Then, head to Rhizome for a lecture about the emerging ontology of digital painting or hop on the F train to check out off-the-beaten-path art spaces in DUMBO’s First Thursday Gallery Walk. Friday night, head to Tender Trap in Greenpoint, where bi-coastal gallery Superchief is throwing a pop-up exhibition of Penelope Gazin’s trippy horror-pop illustrations. And Saturday, load up on affordable multiples and zines from DIY presses from across the East Coast at The Silent Barn. Some of the most talented young artists aren’t Instagram celebrities, they’re distributing their work with Xerox machines and silk screens.

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Asia Art Archive in America

43 Remsen Street
Brooklyn, NY
7 p.m.Website

From the Northwest School to Abstraction: A Case Study of Yayoi Kusama

The under-recognized Northwest School of American modernists that coalesced around WWII-era Seattle was a major influence on Japanese artists at the time. This seemingly unlikely relationship isn’t well known, but professor Izumi Nakajima of Hiroshima City University wants to change that. He’ll be speaking tonight in Brooklyn about the influence of the Pacific Northwest’s early modernists on the practice of Yayoi Kusama—whose career far outshined the movement that inspired it. Is there anything more fascinating than obscure art history? Seriously.



253 Wilson Ave
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m.

Sight | Site | Cite Reading Series: featuring Jocelyn Spaar, Anselm Berrigan, Jeff Nagy & Giovanna Olmos

Last week, I wrote about Outlet’s exhibition Sight | Site | Cite, which seemed to suggest a shift for artists away from conventional considerations of “place” towards a small-scale, nomadic approach to inhabiting or defining space.

This week, check out the exhibition while listening to poetry and other readings from Jocelyn Spaar, Anselm Berrigan, Jeff Nagy, and Giovanna Olmos. The night is part of a series of performances and readings that function as an extension of the exhibition, which closes on Sunday.


Otion Front Studio

1196 Myrtle Ave
Brooklyn, NY
8:00 p.m.Website

La Martelle: teaching a Rectangle how to c

Hidden behind the studios at 1196 Myrtle Ave, there’s an unassuming little out-building in the garden. Inside is one of the coolest spaces in Brooklyn. Otion Front Studio is an experimental performance space that hosts everything from dance classes to screenings, and it’s overall pretty magical. The studio hosts a rotating artist-in-residency program on a monthly basis. Presently, that resident is La Martelle, who will be performing teaching a Rectangle how to c for two lucky groups of 12 people, at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. Pre-ordering tickets is encouraged.

The performance questions the desire to attain “self worth” through the production or consumption of culture—from artists performing for the market to the performance of gender for another. What exactly that’s going to look like, we’re not sure, but we’re intrigued.


Basketball City

299 South St Pier 36
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

NADA Hoops

Earlier this year, Paddy discussed how we like Basketball City as a venue for NADA—it’s accessible across class lines and doesn’t come across as “posturing”, as the fair’s Miami venue can. Now, the art dealers are returning to Pier 36 for a game of pick-up basketball that’s open to anyone. First-timers are encouraged to join in, but remember: the art world can be a competitive place.


235 Bowery
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

First Look: Brushes

Rhizome and the New Museum are launching an exhibition of digital paintings, Brushes, as part of the series First Look: New Art Online. On Thursday, Rhizome is hosting a discussion with artists Laura Brothers, Michael Manning, Giovanna Olmos, Andrej Ujhazy, and art historian Alex Bacon about the possibilities of screen-based display and distribution of digital paintings—a medium whose “hard copies” are increasingly gaining a foothold in the commercial art market. This looks like it’s going to be a good talk, and certainly one that’s relevant as digital artwork becomes more and more commodified.


York Street F Train
Brooklyn, NY
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.Website

DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk

Every month, all the galleries in DUMBO have coordinated receptions with refreshments. And many bars in the neighborhood offer drink specials too!  There’s a handy map of all the exhibition venues here. This month, be sure to stop by Usagi NY’s new digs from architect Sou Fujimoto. We checked it out a few weeks ago, and were wowed by the space.

Participating galleries:

  • Gallery Gaia, 79 Hudson Avenue
    Vernita Nemec Aka N’cognita: Plastic Blues
  • Light Year, Manhattan Bridge Anchorage
    Chimera Project
  • MINY Media Center, 30 John Street
    Featuring artists: TG Noise, Joao Vasco Piava, Karl Erickson, Thomas D. Rotenberg, Ryan Uzilevsky
  • Museum Quality, 59 Pearl Street
    Christian Mateit: Exploration of Stillness
  • Porter Contemporary, 145 Plymouth Street
    Johnny Romeo: Angry Birds
  • Rabbithole, 33 Washington Street
    ISLAND TIME, Group show curated by Morgan Maher
  • Sculptors Guild, 55 Washington Street #256
    #NotABox, Group show of Sculptors Guild Members and invited guest artists
  • United Photo Industries, 16 Main Street
    Anderson Zaca: Block Party: NYC Soul of Summer
  • Usagi NY, 163 Plymouth Street
    Infinitive White


Tender Trap

66 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Superchief Gallery NYC Presents: Penelope Gazin's Solo Show

Superchief Gallery is throwing a pop-up exhibition of work by Penelope Gazin at the Greenpoint bar Tender Trap. Expect this to be more fun than your average white box opening. Gazin is a talented illustrator who has been published everywhere, but this looks to be a great opportunity to see her personal work, which mines pulp iconography from comic superheros to alien erotica with a punk-show-flyer sensibility. Look forward to pin-up girls partying with sci-fi monsters, all rendered in a deceptively cheery palette. If you’ve ever wondered what The Misfits’ album artwork would’ve looked like had it been drawn in a fan’s Lisa Frank binder, you’ll probably love this show.


The Silent Barn

603 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.Website

Paper Jam Small Press Fest 4

Paper Jam, now in its fourth year, is the awesomely-named small press, zine, and multiples fair hosted by The Silent Barn. This year, there are too many exhibitors to name [check out the Facebook event page for the full list] along with performances and all-around good times. Other great news: this year’s fair is free. It’s a prime chance to grab some inexpensive artwork, check out smaller, hard-to-find DIY publications, and support independent presses.

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