This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Painted Rooms, Painted Faces, Digital Everything

by Michael Anthony Farley on September 6, 2016 Events


Well, we hope the art world had a good summer vacation because school is officially back in session. There are so many good shows opening on Thursday night in Chelsea we just couldn’t list them all—Matthew Barney at Gladstone, Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth and Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read, to name a few.

We’ve focused on the absolute can’t-miss openings and those that might get overlooked below. From Wednesday night’s opening exhibition on the work and collaborative legacy of early digital/conceptual artist Alison Knowles at The Graduate Center to Thursday night’s absolute must-see double exhibition of Meleko Mokgosi [pictured] at both of Jack Shainman’s Chelsea locations there’s plenty to see and do.

But to offer a quick summary of where the most openings which nights, expect to spend Wednesday on the LES, Thursday in Chelsea, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday rushing from neighborhood to neighborhood. This should be a good week for Uber.

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The James Gallery at The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Alison Knowles: The House of Dust

In 1967, Alison Knowles created a computer program that generated poems from the phrase “a house of” and randomized situations and descriptors. Later, some of these poems were translated into built structures. Most notably, one of these “houses” served as a site of collaboration and classes on the campus of Cal Arts Burbank, where Knowles taught in the 1970s.

Knowles poems and documentation of her installations will be displayed here alongside the works of other artists who either participated or were influenced by her Fluxus experiments. This is probably one of the coolest pieces of early digital art history, and it’s an all-star cast of artists:

Alison Knowles and Ay-o, Chloë Bass, Keren Benbenisty, Jérémie Bennequin, George Brecht, Hugo Brégeau, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Alejandro Cesarco, Jagna Ciuchta, Constant, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Yona Friedman, Mark Geffriaud, Beatrice Gibson, Eugen Gomringer, Dan Graham, Jeff Guess, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Maria Hupfield, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Norman C. Kaplan, Allan Kaprow, Frederick Kiesler, Nicholas Knight, Katarzyna Krakowiak, Mikko Kuorinki, Theo Lutz, Stephane Mallarmé, Alan Michelson, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Jenny Perlin, Nina Safainia, Carolee Schneeman, Mieko Shiomi, James Tenney, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss, and Emmett Williams.

Curators: Katherine Carl, Maud Jacquin, Sebastien Pluot

Johannes Vogt Gallery‎

55 Chrystie St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Residual Historical Haunting

A lot of the past really sucks, but it certainly provides some fertile ground for artists to work with. In this show curated by Roxana Fabius and Humberto Moro, eight artists tackle “cultural ghosts” that leave a loaded/spooky/pesky imprint on contemporary life. We’re not sure if this means grappling with the legacy of slavery or tracing etymology to our ancestors’ Roman conquerors or if things are actually haunted? Either way, the show looks good because all eight of the artists make smart, clean, easy-on-the-eyes work based on strong conceptual concerns.  Artists: Keren Benbenisty, Sari Carel, Jorge De La Garza, TR Ericsson, Gonzalo Lebrija, Dana Levy, Matthew Schreiber, and Melanie Smith

Half Gallery

43 East 78th Street
New York, NY
6:00 PM to 8:00 PMWebsite

Ginny Casey, Play Things


Team Gallery

83 Grand Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.Website


For this exhibition, four artists—Catharine Czudej, Jessi Reaves, Max Hooper Schneider, Anicka Yi—have restaged Team Gallery as a domestic mise en scène. The sculptures here reference furniture or other homegoods, but with a twist. Some are rigged with sensors and act as “booby traps” or seem to suggest an alien narrative.

Jack Shainman

513 W. 20th Street and 524 W. 24th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Meleko Mokgosi: Democratic Intuition; Lerato & Comrades II

There’s probably no show that I’m personally looking forward to more this fall than Democratic Intuition. I saw a previous iteration at Boston’s ICA last year, and it remains one of the most memorable exhibitions of my life. Mokgosi collects and collages photographs from his native Botswana from afar (he’s a New Yorker now) and renders them as a life-sized cinematic tableau in oil on canvas. The canvases are hung end-to-end, creating a wholly immersive landscape of fragmented storylines and a variety of techniques—from the painterly to photo-realistic. They’re beautiful surfaces and wholly dreamy, curious imagery.

This show spans both of Jack Shainman’s Chelsea locations, so I’m especially curious to see how this is hung.

BravinLee programs

526 W 26th St #211
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Jeffrey Beebe

If you enjoyed Stranger Things, you’ll probably like Jeffrey Beebe’s work. For decades, he’s imagined the fantasy world of Refractoria and fleshed-out its cultures and conflicts. Inspired in part by Dungeons & Dragons, the body of work here includes a clubhouse, ephemera, and 2D work documenting Beebe’s imagined adventures in Refractoria.

Salon 94 Bowery

243 Bowery
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Lorna Simpson

Lorna Simpson is best known for her photography, but damn, can she make a painting!

In this exhibition, Simpson combines lithography and photographic images with painterly abstraction and other mark-making interventions. The above image of a woman ascending a mid-century modernist staircase surrounded by pops of cadmium hues is just gorgeous. We can’t wait to see this show.


Kustera Projects

57 Wolcott St.
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Eric Mistretta: Bad Doctor

Have you ever gone to a doctor whose waiting room was so creepy that you wanted to run out from your appointment? Eric Mistretta’s installation aims to channel that discomfort with paintings and sculptures arranged like a surreal doctor’s office. This is probably the weirdest (but unfortunately relatable) concept for a solo show we’ve seen in a while.

Rubber Factory

29 Ludlow St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website


Curator Efrem Zelony-Mindell poses the question,”What does queer look like beyond the body?” In a visual discourse dominated by anatomical navel-gazing, this exhibition refreshingly applies “queerness” to architectural interventions, identity obfuscation, and constructed images. The work seems pretty diverse, but complimentary and considered.

Artists: Thomas Albdorf, Ruth van Beek, Ellen Carey, Alli Coates, Joy Drury Cox, Dillon DeWaters, Izaac Dario Enciso Castillo, Aaron Hegert, Nico Krijno, Namsa Leuba, Ryan Oskin, Signe Pierce, Ilana Savdie, Pacifico Silano, Quinn Torrens

Superchief Gallery

66 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

DiMoDA 2.0: Morphḗ Presence

The second iteration of the VR Digital Museum of Digital Art launches Friday with works from Miyö Van Stenis,  Brenna Murphy, Theo Trian, Rosa Menkman. We already gushed about how much we’re looking forward to this last week. Just go experience it. It’s so cool.


67 West St, Ste 203
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m - 9:00 p.m.Website

Adams Puryear: Secret Wars 4.1

Adam Puryear extends his interest in comics to the realm of lumpy sculpture. These works are poised like tiny conflicts, drawing inspiration purportedly from sources that include tweens’ Tumblrs and the idea of disintegrating narrative. What is this pink thing in the image above? A weird battleship miniature or Roomba prototype? I’m not sure, but it’s charming and certainly piques one’s curiosity.


The Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, NY
2:00 p.m.Website

Bushwig 2016

Bushwig returns! But this year the enormous all-day drag festival will be located just outside its namesake neighborhood, in Maspeth. We’re really looking forward to seeing the festival at the Knockdown Center, because drag is usually more conducive to indoor venues anyway! In addition to 150+ drag performances, there will be music, visual art, an “all weekend long techno brunch” and plenty more weirdness. This is really one of the best annual events in the city, and its exciting that it’s bigger than ever!

Postmasters Gallery

54 Franklin St
New York, NY

Molly Crabapple: Annotated Muses and Nidaa Badwan: 100 Days of Solitude

We’re big fans of Molly Crabapple’s unique brand of feminist punk imagery, and this new body of work has a lot behind it—Crabapple has collected papers from her friends who inspire her and created portraits using the material. They range in subject matter from a biochemist revolutionary to porn stars and journalists.

100 Days of Solitude is documentation of Palestinian artist Nidaa Badwan’s self-imposed solitary confinement within her 100 square foot apartment. During her time alone, she staged elaborate tableaus for self-portraiture or merely documented her insular domestic life.

The two solo shows seem to be cleverly in dialogue—one about community and travel, the other about lack thereof. In both, the process is just as important (if not more) than the finished “product.”

James Fuentes

55 Delancey Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Bad Faith

The artists in this exhibition—Nayland Blake, Jessica Diamond, Peter Halley, and Robert Morris—were all lucky enough to be living and working in New York in the years before trickle-down-economics and Giuliani ruined everything. But the 80s were also a pretty horrible time in terms of politics, the AIDS epidemic, the culture wars, etc…

All the work in this show was created between 1982 and 1994, responding to the extreme socio-political context of the time. Nayland Blake’s “Joe Dallesandro as Augustin” (pictured) “reinterpret[s] Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom as a critique of identity politics.” This sounds pretty heady, but we’re sure there’s going to be plenty of humor to the work here too.


1030 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6-10 PMWebsite

Angela Washko, The Game: The Game

An immersive installation which allows videos to play the video game, “The Game”, which stars pick-up artists that are referred to as “seduction coaches”. These coaches attempt to seduce the player using signature techniques taken verbatim from their instructional books and videos.

We gotta say, we’re really curious if these signature techniques will lead anywhere. In our experience, the term pick-up artist tends to be an oxymoron. Perhaps their new title, though, signals a new era of more effective techniques.

The game’s soundtrack was composed by Xiu Xiu and its illustrations are made from hundreds of original cyanotype prints that have been digitally manipulated. The video game is presented alongside the video and print-based source materials published by the seduction coaches themselves as well as handmade cyanotype prints on tile, videos and books produced by the artist in response to her experience investigating this field and the ways in which women are literally presented as objects in physical and digital spaces.


The Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, NY
2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Bushwig Day 2

The second day of Bushwig is going to be even more fun than the first. Because, full disclosure, I (Michael) will be performing as Ellen Degenerate at 4. So if I ever wrote a snarky review of your work, now’s your chance to heckle me.

Over the Eight

594 Union Av
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.Website

Comedy Commons 2

Absurd Comedy Collective and the BHQFU are reuniting to present Comedy Commons 2. Hosted by Rachel Kaly, enjoy the artsy-comedy stylings of Wanjiko Eke, Patti Harrison, Mary Houlihan, Aparna Nancherla, Lorelei Ramirez, Julio Torres, Bowen Yang, and Amy Zimmer.

The evening kicks off with an open mic from 7-8, but this is one Sunday event you can’t catch me performing in—the open mic spots are prioritized for everyone except white dudes. It’s okay, missing out on my sterling wit is a small price to pay for political correctness.

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