This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Summer in the City

by Michael Anthony Farley on June 21, 2016 Events

Wendy White, "Santa Cruz," 2016, acrylic on canvas, cotton rope, plexiglas, hardware, 84 x 120 inches

Wendy White, “Santa Cruz,” 2016, acrylic on canvas, cotton rope, plexiglas, hardware, 84 x 120 inches

When I started compiling a list of art events for this week, I thought “this is going to be slim pickings.” There’s a stereotype that New York in the Summer sucks because everyone’s gone to the beach except tourists who stupidly vacation in Manhattan instead of also going to the beach. But that’s totally not true!

There’s plenty of cool stuff to do in New York this week, including a storefront installation from Jeff De Golier that opened today at FOUR A.M. Wendy White (pictured above) has a solo show of California-dreamin’ surf-inspired paintings (for those of you who are thinking longingly of the seashore) at Eric Firestone Loft. Wednesday, Xaviera Simmons unveils a new series of body-centric work at The Kitchen and Booth Gallery is (by happy coincidence) hosting a panel discussion on the future of figuration right afterwards. We’re looking at two group shows with big-name, smart artists at Team Gallery and Pace. Friday, The National Sculpture Conference kicks-off its three-day fest of all things sculpture, from figure sculpting classes to a supplies vendor fair on Saturday and 3D printing on Sunday. Friday night, take in a show all about children from Trevor Shimizu (there’s a Jessica Alba tribute!) and a group show at Lehmann Maupin featuring French-Algerian wunderkind Kader Attia alongside Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Mickalene Thomas.

Saturday the Queens Museum promises to be “overrun by hoards of punks” for a celebration of all things Ramones, including a flea market. Then bounce down to Brooklyn for a group show at American Medium. But the real party happens Sunday, when a mysterious fest thrown by some very arty queers takes over a secret loft in Gowanus. If you’re not exhausted after that, be sure to check out Nancy Shaver’s solo show at Derek Eller—she makes diorama-like assemblages that make boxy grids fun again. And really, fun (or figurative sculpture?) is the name of the game this week.

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Window at 291 Grand Street
New York, NY
All dayWebsite

Jeff De Golier

It’s always nice when artwork can be enjoyed in different ways. For example, when I stayed at the Waterfront artist residency upstate, Jeff De Golier had just finished installing “Microramp Boombox,” an indoor skateboard ramp that doubled as a boombox. People skated on it and blared music by day and evening, and then I ended up sleeping in it at night.

No one is probably going to be sleeping in De Golier’s new piece, “Sculpture Boombox Shelf for Obama,” because FOUR A.M. is a tiny storefront project space in the middle of the Lower East Side. Nevertheless, the piece is pretty multifunctional. It plays Christian radio, and also doubles as a shelf for a nifty Obama mug from a dollar store. Is the message here that Obama was a promised Messiah? Did he live up to the faith we placed in him? I’m not sure, but stop by Grand Street and see for yourself. The piece was unveiled this morning, alongside a mysterious vibrating canvas, and will be up until the very-patriotic day July 4th.

Eric Firestone Loft

4 Great Jones
New York, NY
6:00 PM to 8:00 PMWebsite

Wendy White's Santa Cruz

What would #seapunk aesthetics look like when approached from a place of sincerity? Wendy White’s airbrushed, stenciled, and macraméd canvases give us a pretty good idea. They’re all about her childhood desire to live the California surfer dream, and they’re appropriately neon and dreamy. If you’re looking for an excuse to wear your American Apparel “Cali Sun & Fun” collection from a few years ago to an art opening, this is it.


The Kitchen

512 W 19th St
New York, NY
12:00 PM - 6:00 PMWebsite

Xaviera Simmons: CODED

Javiera Simmons is so great. This new body of work includes photography, performance, and video sampling poses from art history that examine the ways masculine and feminine posturing are constructed. But beyond being smart and loaded, Simmons’ work is just so damn beautiful. For all the problematic ways human bodies have been contorted and represented throughout the centuries, we’re reminded why they never loose their allure as subject/medium: these awkward/elegant flesh vessels can convey so much so eloquently.

Booth Gallery

325 W 38th St
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Panel Discussion: The Future of Figurative

What a fitting coda to seeing Xaviera Simmons’ work at The Kitchen: a panel discussion on the future and relevance of figuration. Join artists Vincent Desiderio, Julie Heffernan, and Adam Miller in conversation with artist/critic David Molesky as they discuss why we like (and likely always will like) representing the human body, moderated by critic Donald Kuspit.


Team Gallery

83 Grand Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Golden Eggs

Holy shit! Talk about an all star cast: Alex Bag, Cristine Brache, Chivas Clem, Jessica Diamond, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Hans Haacke, Barbara Kruger, Bjarne Melgaard, John Miller (pictured) and Banks Violette. This show could be about absolutely nothing and I’d still show up and likely love it.

But curator Alissa Bennett has organized the exhibition around Karl Marx’s metaphor of capital as a “golden egg”—meaning money makes more money, even though a golden egg has no practical value or application. She then extends that metaphor to include art, which makes so much sense it hurts a little.

So the objects in this show promise to generate future revenue despite being utterly inutile. Judging from my impulse to see this show based solely on the artist line-up, I’d say the Golden Eggs analogy is spot-on.

Pace Gallery

510 W 25th St
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Blackness in Abstraction

In a week characterized by figuration and colorful work, here’s a standout must-see: curator Adrienne Edwards’ survey of monochromatic abstraction from the 1940s through present. The show proves black never goes out of style, with work from Louise Nevelson, Sol LeWitt, Ad Reinhardt, Ellen Gallagher, Turiya Magadlela, Laura Lima, Jonathas de Andrade, Jack Whitten and Ulrike Müller alongside new pieces created just for this exhibition from Pope.L , Wangechi Mutu, Adam Pendleton, and Glenn Ligon. Mutu is actually creating a site-specific installation with pulp from black-printed newspaper that sounds like it’s going to be good.


New York Academy of Art

111 Franklin St
New York, NY
12:45 PM - 7:30 PMWebsite

National Sculpture Conference

The National Sculpture Society tends to have tastes a little more conservative than our own, but the conference they’re hosting in New York this weekend looks like a great opportunity to freshen up your 3D skills. They have three days of programming, beginning with a portrait modelling session at the New York Academy of Art in the afternoon and multiple other workshops at the Compleat Sculptor from 5:00 to 7:30.

Go learn some skills such as stone carving and waste-mold making! And even those sessions with a life model might come in handy—figuration is, after all, very en vogue at the moment.

47 Canal

291 Grand Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Trevor Shimizu: New Work

Father’s Day comes late for Trevor Shimizu—his new body of work is all about child-rearing and parenting. Work inspired by the way babies see the world, a devotional painting of Jessica Alba and her organic childcare line, and even a piece about Margaret Cho’s short-lived sitcom “Off the Boat” (which Shimizu sees as a role model for his daughter) are some of the paternal pieces we’ll be treated to. Shimizu’s work has always had a sense of vulnerability to it, but this promises to be exceptionally personal without treading into the realm of cheeseball.

Lehmann Maupin

201 Chrystie Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite


Kader Attia is probably my favorite living artist, so I’m thrilled to see him showing in the US again. In this exhibition, Attia, Tim Rollins & K.O.S., and Mickalene Thomas are positioned in dialogue through the medium of collage. All three raise questions about dominant art historical narratives and play with semiotics, so collage is a pretty natural medium, though I’ve never seen any of Attia’s collage work (at least of the 2-D variety). It’s not that often that we get to see his work at all—he mostly shows in Europe and the Middle East—so prioritize this show!


Marriott Downtown Hotel

85 West Street
New York, NY
9:00 AM - 8:00 PMWebsite

National Sculpture Conference

Day two of the National Sculpture Conference has portfolio reviews, more workshops, talks, and an especially cool Supplies and Services show. This is a good opportunity to check out new materials and tools, as well as a book swap and magazine giveaways.

Queens Museum

Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY
12:00 PM - 6:00 PMWebsite

Ramones Mania

The Queens Museum continues its celebration of all things Ramones with a day of punk programming. Damn, this looks fun:

12–5pm Punk Rock Heavy Metal Flea Market (with multiple vendors)
1-3pm Screening: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
2-3pm Book signing and Q&A celebrating David Godlis’ History Is Made at Night (launch party for a new book of punk photography)
3-5pm Screening: End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones
Followed by a Q&A with Ramones tour manager Monte Melnick

5pm Performance: Rockaway Bitch

American Medium

424 Gates Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 PM - 9:00 PMWebsite

A Dance That Describes

We don’t have much information about this group show, but trust that American Medium seldom disappoints and it features three great artists: Raúl De Nieves, Sofia Leiby, and David Roesing.

You might remember Raúl De Nieves from his intricately-beaded sculpture at Greater New York, one of many obsessively-crafted objects De Nieves makes from kitschy craft materials elevated through loving labor. His insane, plastic-organic looking high heels are a perpetual fav. Whatever’s on display here, It’s likely going to be beautiful and wonderfully weird.



Brooklyn, NY
2:00 PM - 10:00 PMWebsite

Psychic Sun: Afternoon Tea

There’s such a great group of queerdos working to return NYC nightlife (uh, or in this instance, afternoon drinking) to its legendary days where art and music and booze and other vices were gloriously swirled into a blur that’s recorded only by a few excruciatingly cool Polaroids and the oral histories of your rent-controlled neighbors. Anyway, a bunch of them are throwing this kinda-secret party at an undisclosed location in Gowanus. There will be performances and great DJs and plenty of people I’m not used to seeing before midnight. Buy a ticket and you get the address. This is what I want summer in the city to be like every day.

Derek Eller Gallery

300 Broome St
New York, NY
6:00 PM - 8:00 PMWebsite

Nancy Shaver: Dress the Form

It’s easy to love Nancy Shaver’s boxy-painterly-lumpy-modernist-naïve abstract assemblages but it’s hard to say quite why. I’ll give it a shot anyway: this is what the diorama sets would look like if Jessica Stockholder designed a puppet show about midcentury architecture for children. There’s such a complex understanding of color with such simple (but unique) forms I wish I were doll-sized and could live in one of these.

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