This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Hacking Dystopias

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 22, 2016 Events

Maryam_Jafri BEER

Maryam Jafri collects hyper-generic product packaging. Her show “Economy Corner” opens Thursday at P [exclamation].

This weekend’s must-see events include a lot of AFC’s friends and favs, from Friday’s discussion on hacktivism as part of Joyce Yu-Jean Lee’s project FIREWALL Internet Cafe to fundraiser events featuring the work of AFC’s own Matthew Leifheit and F.A.G. Bar artist Macon Reed on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. But during the week, do check out solo shows from Leanne Shapton (Tuesday) and Sherrie Levine (Wednesday). Thursday’s all about dystopia, with sci-fi cityscapes by Romain Erkiletlian and found hyper-generic product packaging from Maryam Jafri. Hack on, New York. 

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Picture Room

236 Mulberry St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Leanne Shapton: Was She Pretty?


A decade ago, Leanne Shapton published Was She Pretty? a graphic novel containing vignettes of ex-lovers. The book comprised candid stories—often comical, often a little sad—that touched on insecurity and jealousy between women. But it’s mostly acclaimed for Shapton’s delicate ink drawings of the anecdotes’ subjects. Now those drawings are getting their own show at Picture Room. They’re illustration-like but somehow too raw-looking to come across as overly twee—perfectly capturing the conflicted emotions of not-quite-fondly remembering a beautiful former lover or rival.


David Zwirner

537 W 20th St.
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Sherrie Levine

Sherrie Levine has the enviable ability to snatch whatever she wants from the art historical canon and make it sexier, shinier, or otherwise more desirable than whoever did it first. Just look at “Beach Ball after Lichtenstein,” 2015, above. It’s somehow just as pop as the original but updated to the shiny preferences of the contemporary market in a way that’s a thousand times classier and less idiotic than those idiotic gazing-ball-meets-art-history paintings Jeff Koons hawked at Gagosian last year.

In addition to works like the above, Levine has paired a series of her monochromatic works (a practice that is itself a play on Yves Klein) with those colorful/expensive SMEG refrigerators everyone salivates over in interior decorating magazines. The color choices are all based on flesh tones from Renoir’s paintings of nudes. Is all this referential play necessary to enjoy the work? Probably not, because Levine’s practice is as much about harvesting tried-and-true things that people find beautiful as it is making commentary about them.


Sandra Gering Inc

14 East 63rd Street
New York, NY
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Romain Erkiletlian

Tokyo-based Romain Erkiletlian works in a variety of media to construct quasi-abstract cityscapes inspired by films such as Metropolis and Blade Runner. Be still my heart! These are so much fun to look at—balancing utopian, minimalist compositions with texture and grit—it’s a bit like trying to figure out what exactly you’re looking at in a smoggy skyline.

P [exclamation]

334 Broome St,
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Maryam Jafri: Economy Corner

You know how all those futuristic storefronts on Roosevelt Island just have a sans-serif sign telling you exactly what the business is? Like, “PIZZA” or “DRY CLEANING” or “LAW OFFICE”? Maram Jafri’s work is kinda like that. The artist mines images of 1970s discount products that just featured black-and-white no-nonsense labels sans logos or images. They’re pretty cool. This is what grocery shopping at the American Apparel outlet store would look like.


Printed Matter

231 Eleventh Ave.
New York, NY
11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Young Japanese Artist Book Fair

The 10th Annual Young Japanese Artist Book Fair is a collaboration between Printed Matter and Tokyo gallery PEPPER’S PROJECT. The fair features photography, works on paper, multiples, and artists’ books in multiple venues in NYC, with an exhibition at Printed Matter from artists/collectives: Yoko Haraoka, Yoko Naito, misaki matsui +//from the white room., Yuko K., kirika Shirobayashi, toterapotch, Haruna Yasui, Miori Kobayashi, Yoshiyuki Maeda, Haruka Hiramatsu, Miyuki Sakurai, and Takuya Takano.

Denny Gallery

261 Broome St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Lauren Seiden: Yesterday So Fast


Lauren Seiden attempts to freeze objects in time by coating them in graphite—crumbling marble, falling thread, and various other materials caught mid-action. Picture Han Solo’s screaming face frozen in carbonite and you get the idea. As individual objects, one of these sculptures might be a curiosity. A whole room full of subtly lustrous, monochromatic things in various stages of falling or breaking promises to be stunning.


155 Rivington St
New York, NY
7:30 p.m.Website

Creative Hacktivism

Here’s a panel discussion on hacking, internet censorship in China, and “implementing collateral freedom” featuring hacktivists, tech experts, and journalists. It sounds badass! This is an affiliated program to artist Joyce Yu-Jean Lee’s FIREWALL Internet Cafe, the details of which we posted last week, and visitors are encouraged to check out the installation at Chinatown Soup from 5:00 – 7:00 before heading to the talk.

Panelists: Jason Q. Ng, Dan Phiffer, Sisi Wei, Josh Bronson



Field Projects

526 W 26th St.
New York, NY
1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Yale Student MFA Benefit Auction

Here’s a chance to buy artwork from students who may already have a pretty solid career (including AFC alum Matthew Leifheit and the insanely talented Nick Mayer) for a mere $100. This is a benefit for Yale’s open studio program… because if there’s one cultural institution that’s hurting for cash, it’s Yale. Basically, the show is free to attend, but raffle tickets start at $100 if you want to take a piece of art home (which is guaranteed) and you get to pick your artwork based on the order your ticket number is called. Priority tickets are available. So get there early and buy a lot of art!

Artists: Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Mohammad Al Mohsin, Eddie Aparicio, Selva Aparicio, Doug Ashford, Monique S. Atherton, Bianca Boragi, Lauren Britton, Coady Brown, Lex Brown, Sara Coffin, Mauricio Cortes Ortega, Sheila de Bretteville, Samuel Davis, Christie DeNizio, Tim Enthoven, Michael Eckblad, John Edmonds, Ben Fehrman–Lee, Nate Flagg, Erik Freer, Steph Gonzalez-Turner, Alteronce Gumby, Sarah Esme Harrison, Isaac Howell, Joe Hoyt, Ashton Hudgins, Alex Jackson, Tomashi Jackson, Jody Joyner, Georgia Kennedy, Hasabie Kidanu, Cindy Kim, Simon Ko, Abe Lambert, Wesley Larios, Charlotte de Larminat, Young Joo Lee, Matthew Leifheit, Dani Levine, Lucy Lindsey, Nick Mayer, Karel Martens, Josephine Messer, Samuel Messer, Mauricio Cortes Ortega, Sheila Pepe, Christina Quarles, Iman Raad, Res, Douglas Rieger, Gerald Sheffield, Danna Singer, Edwin Smalling, Alexander Stevens, Vincent Stracquadino, Constance Tenvik, Chau Tran, Masha Vlasova, Franci Virgili, Zoe Walsh, Erica Wessmann, Will Wheeler, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung



55 W 28th St,
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

MDF Blog


This show begins with the premise that a standardized MDF pedestal is the IRL equivalent to a standardized blog format. That’s the context given to 16 sculptors to respond to by curator Grayson Cox. This sounds like it would be pretty goofy, but the artist list is impressive: Neal Bashor, Liene Bosquê, Katherine Bradford, Van Hanos, Rachel Higgins, Anna K.E., Alexandra Lerman, Sara Magenheimer, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Birgit Rathsmann, Robert Rhee, Esther Ruiz (whose solo exhibition I reviewed last year), Gabriela Salazar, Lauren Pakradooni, Megan Plunkett, Virginia Poundstone



Henrietta Hudson

438 Hudson St
New York, NY
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.Website

Eulogy for the Dyke Bar: Pre-Party Fundraiser

Over the winter, we launched our curatorial project Fine Art Gallery in Miami’s Artist-Run at SATELLITE with F.A.G. Bar, an pop-up bemoaning the loss of gay bars. We were thrilled to show excerpts from Macon Reed’s Eulogy for the Dyke Bar, an immersive installation that specifically recalls the all-but-extinct lesbian bars that once dotted America’s more fun cities of yesteryear. Now, Eulogy for the Dyke Bar is coming back to NYC in the form of an exhibition with tons of queer-tastic programming at PULSE. To get a preview, head to Henrietta Hudson (one of the last lesbian businesses left standing in the West Village) to party and raise some funds to make this project happen! HELL YES! 

Here’s more info from the organizers:

Tickets for the Pre-Party are $25! You’ll get:

one VID (Very Important Dyke) card granting you unlimited access to the PULSE New York Contemporary Art Fair, March 3-6

access to all Dyke Bar programming including Rocky and Rhoda Trivia Night, Switch ’n Play Drag Show, A Critical Eulogy: The Loss and Legacy of Dyke Bars panel discussion, and Eulogy Ritual

free glass of champagne at the Pre-Party at Henrietta Hudson

free drinks at PULSE on Thursday, March 3 from 10am-1pm and 6-8pm
For $300, you can also purchase a ticket that includes all of the above plus a limited edition signed print by Macon Reed!

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