This Weeks Must-See Art Events: The Art World Mobilizes for 2017

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on January 3, 2017 Events

Farley Aguilar, "The Protest," oil on linen, 2015. Aguilar has a solo show opening Sunday night at Lyles & King.

Farley Aguilar, “The Protest,” oil on linen, 2015. Aguilar has a solo show opening Sunday night at Lyles & King.

For everyone who has complained that the art world is too apolitical in the past month or so, take note of how 2017 is kicking off. We have a week of feminist exhibitions, the start of a month-long project about Trump’s America Saturday at Petzel Gallery, and shows that tackle topics from water contamination to the holocaust and the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Welcome to the art world in the Trump era. If the list of participants at Petzel’s event is any indication, the big guns are coming out.

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The Callahan Center Gallery at St. Francis College

180 Remsen Street,
Brooklyn, NY
5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Fred Terna: Processing Chaos, Recurring Echoes

Fred Terna has been making art for over 70 years. In 1946, one year after being liberated from the concentration camps where he had survived for four year, Terna went to art school in Paris. Since then, he’s experimented with abstractions that borrow from surrealism and cubism—with emotional undertones informed by his traumatic experiences. In this exhibition, we’ll see work he’s made since 1970. That would be an entire retrospective for most living artists—it’s humbling to think that represents just about half of Terna’s career.


Cheim & Read

547 W 25th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Louise Bourgeois: Holograms

Who knew the late, great Louise Bourgeois made holograms? I sure as hell didn’t, and I’m a fan of both. In 1998, Bourgeois was approached by the holography studio C-Project and invited to produce a series. This is the first exhibition of the 8 plates that came from that collaboration. As one would expect, the press release promises they’re dreamy and full of “slapstick horror.” A definite can’t-miss.


Cheim & Read

547 W 25th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Tal R: Keyhole

Also at Cheim & Read, another show that looks great. Copenhagen-based artist Tal R has asked his friends in different cities to send photos of storefronts from their local red light districts. Tal R then translates these into whimsical crayon drawings and paintings—each depicting a colorful, stylized sex business from strip clubs to gay bars. These look like they’re going to be a lot of fun.


Paula Cooper Gallery

521 W 21st St
New York, NY
6:00 PM to 8:00 PMWebsite

Dan Walsh



Nobody commands a grid like Dan Walsh. It helps that his paintings tend to be much larger than your average grid painting. (Many of the canonical minimalist paintings from the 70’s as well as those that hail from Bushwick don’t tend to exceed 35 to 40 inches. Walsh’s paintings are more frequently in the 70 inch range.) As we noted in our review of his 2012 show, they have a lot of weight to them as a result is needed in a cavernous space like Paula Cooper Gallery. Past that, though, it’s the fact that each painting seems so worked that makes them so compelling. This is the type of art that can easily look mechanical and robotic. Walsh avoids that at every turn.

Morgan Lehman Gallery

534 West 24th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

David S. Allee: Chasing Firefly

Back in October at the Art Critical review panel nobody had very good things to say about Martin Creed’s billboard sized rotating sign “Understanding” located in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pretty much any interpretation had brought by the viewer and the piece really wasn’t that deep. Credit David S. Allee with a photograph of the sign that improves upon the public art work. In the nighttime photograph, the sign is surrounded by rings of light due to the slow exposure. It resembles the parenthesis people on twitter put around their name to express shock. In these dark times, Allee’s gesture seems right on the money.

The show will be filled with Allee’s night time photographs—a series he’s returning to after 10 years and we’re glad to see it. Night, through Allee’s lens, seems dramatic, bold, yet eerily still. It’s a good combination, and one that definitely should be seen in person.


Grady Alexis Gallery /El Taller Latino Americano at Artspace PS 109

215 E 99th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Nor Any Drop to Drink


As artists become more politically engaged, we expect to see more shows like Adam Zucker’s curated show “Nor Any Drop to Drink”. According to Zucker, the show is “a response to the global deterioration of water sources and the conflict between the synthetic and natural world.” Most recently, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s actions protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline have brought this issue for artists to the forefront, though the fact is we all need to be paying attention to the coming water shortage. This exhibition is just one attempt at raising consciousness.   

Participating artists: Vanessa Albury, Jacinto Astiazarán, Alli Miller, Jay Milder, Rifka Milder, Emilia Olsen, Michael Sheng

Chapter NY

249 E. Houston Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Ann Greene Kelly: May Not Be Private

Ann Greene Kelly’s assemblages mash-up references to the body, architecture, and just a little bit of consumer culture. They evoke a strange sensation of domestic and body horror, and given that the show takes its title from a women’s health brochure, have a political urgency as well.


56 Bogart St.
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Phoenix Lindsey-Hall: Never Stop Dancing

Phoenix Lindsey-Hall has slip-cast 49 porcelain disco balls, one for each victim of the terror attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This looks to be a powerful installation—each ball will be illuminated in the darkened gallery—in keeping with the artist’s practice of memorializing queer victims of hate crimes.

Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning

161-04 Jamaica Ave
Jamaica, New York
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

Closing Reception for Female Adapter: New Work by Faith Holland

We’ve frequently featured Faith Holland on the blog, whose singular brand of feminism-meets-web-savvy-meets-sexy-GIFs is right up our alley. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to make it to Jamaica to see this show, the end result of Holland’s year-long New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Studio Residency Program at the center. Be sure to make it to the closing reception, where one can check out her site-specific “Queer Connections” installation, which spans 13 feet.



Petzel Gallery

456 W 18th St
New York, NY
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

We need to talk...Artists and the public respond to the present conditions in America


The staff of Petzel Gallery decided to devote the first month of 2017 to some much-needed strategizing about how the art world can respond to the disastrous results of November’s elections. They’ve divided this program into both an exhibition and a space for viewers to dialogue. From the gallery:

Participation in writing, through film, and in live discussions.

As visitors enter the gallery they will be invited to write down their reactions, thoughts, anxieties, hopes for the future, on a giant billboard on the wall.

The gallery will also devote one room to screening film clippings, shorts, vignettes that in some way tackle today’s issues. This part of the program is open to anyone who wants his or her concerns brought before an audience. Submissions* will be added to a loop and screened in the gallery as well as on the website.

Saturday Symposiums: on three Saturdays during the show, interested parties and the public will be invited to participate in symposium-style conversations, debates, and readings on different issues: Civil Liberties (January 21st), Immigration (January 28th), and The Environment (February 4th). Details to follow.

Artists Respond: A list of artists whose work will be on view in the main space is in formation, but at time of press, includes Yael Bartana, Judith Bernstein, Andrea Bowers, Troy Brauntuch, AA Bronson, Paul Chan, Mark Dion, Sam Durant, Rainer Ganahl, Hans Haacke, Rachel Harrison, Dana Hoey, Jenny Holzer, Jonathan Horowitz, Josh Kline, Barbara Kruger, Sean Landers, Louise Lawler, Glenn Ligon, Robert Longo, Allan McCollum, Joyce Pensato, Raha Raissnia, Peter Saul, Dana Schutz, Gary Simmons, Dirk Skreber, Slavs and Tatars, Andrew Tider/Jeff Greenspan, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija…and more to come.
A percentage of sales will be donated to any organization that seems appropriate to artist and collector.

*Beginning January 1st, 2017: please send submitted video files titled “January2017” as downloadable links via WeTransfer, Dropbox, or Vimeo to If uploading via Vimeo, please ensure the video is downloadable and can be added to collections. Work should be up to 5 minutes in duration, with a max file size of 2GB, one submission per sender. Submissions will close January 31st. We reserve the right to omit videos with offensive content.


La MaMa Galleria

47 Great Jones Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Lintel, Mantel, Module, Shelf


Curated by Samuel Draxler, this show is intended to subvert the conventions of sterile, prefabricated domestic spaces. And if the press image is any indication, it should be a hit. GaHee Park’s oil painting “Drama” features a wine & cheese & sex party in a motel room. She’s the best. Full disclosure: we recently showed GaHee Park’s work in our exhibition Strange Genitals.


Lauren Bakst & Yuri Masnyj, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Mary-Ann Monforton, GaHee Park, Isaac Pool


CUE Art Foundation

137 W 25th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

The Visible Hand

“The Visible Hand” is a term in economics for management, in opposition to the Invisible Hand of the market. So here, four artists and one collective present themselves as managers of sorts. Maureen Connor, for example, presents a more counterpoint to institutional critique—she investigates the HR problems of host institutions and then creates installation to help solve them. I’m not sure if that’s what’s going on in the above image, but whatever these things are, I want one for our office.

Artists: Chloë Bass, BFAMFAPhD, Maureen Connor, Devin Kenny, Jen Liu.


Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY
3:00 p.m.Website

Blade Runner—Autoencoded


If there’s one benefit to living in the dystopian “future” we call the present, it’s that we finally know what androids dream of—and it’s usually weird as hell. Terence Broad has built an artificial neural network (which I imagine is somewhat similar to Google’s Deep Dream …or maybe one of those episodes of Star Trek where Data tries to make art) and shown his creation Blade Runner. He then tasked his AI to recreate the film, frame-by-frame, from memory. I can only imagine how weird the resulting movie, which is screening at the Whitney, will be. The event is free for members, or $12 for non-members. Totally worth it.



155 Plymouth St
Brooklyn, NY
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.mWebsite

Sinister Feminism


This is our DUMBO neighbor’s 12th biennial, and just based on the name alone it’s gotta be good. We’re not familiar with any of the artists involved, but the press release sounds bad-ass:

“Sinister Feminism. We fortify veneer into armor. We appropriate from misogynist sources. We exceed the cinematic ideal. We vibrate the sound of the city. We endure. Our physicalizations we know are transgressive. We are a halation of line. We throw shadow across the page. We teach the tongues of the past. We mock the habit of metonymy. We transmit the sense of hysterics. We smell. We hurl what we are required to withstand: our bodies, our selves. We are trying to reach you.
We wildly grin.”

Artists:Lucas Berd, Dora Budor, ceramics club (cc), Kerry Downey, Dolores Furtado, Nicolás Guagnini, Caitlin Keogh, Chelsea Rae Klein, Lizzy Marshall, Whitney Oldenburg, B. Quinn, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Torbjørn Rødland, Karin Schneider and Leigh Ledare, Bailey Scieszka

Curated by Piper Marshall and Lola Kramer

Lyles & King

106 Forsyth Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Farley Aguilar: Bad Color Book

Miami-based, self-taught painter Farley Aguilar’s paintings remind the viewer why paintings are fun, and sometimes frenetically anxious. They’re populated by expressionist figures in surreal tableaus. Clowns, wrestlers, religious figures, and other archetypes seem squeezed together in tense, brushy compositions. Traces of revisions and happy accidents dot their surfaces, and there’s a sense of playful horror in both subject matter and process. This is the definite highlight of Sunday night.


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