This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Rejoice! Our Times Are Intolerable and Nasty Women Are Front-and-Center

by Michael Anthony Farley on January 9, 2017 · 1 comment Events


Jenny Holzer’s eerily prescient works from the late 70s and early 80s open at Alden Projects on Friday.

New York’s week is characterized by two dominant themes: revisiting art history, and women owning “nastiness”. Monday, NYU’s Grey Art Gallery is launching Inventing Downtown, an ambitious look at how artist-run spaces informed the city’s radical aesthetics decades ago. Tuesday, Kate Hush illuminates archetypal feminine deception and betrayal at Cooler Gallery. She’ll be joined by legions of Nasty Women starting Thursday, when the Knockdown Center kicks-off a four-day fundraiser for Planned Parenthood featuring art, dance parties, and more. Alden Projects has a timely survey of Jenny Holzer’s early poster work that opens Friday, and White Columns is opening it’s 11th Annual, Looking Back. That’s but a sampling of the art history-mining going on this week. Stay nasty, New York, and remember that you always have been.

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Grey Art Gallery at NYU

100 Washington Square East
New York, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Website

Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965

Curated by Melissa Rachleff, this exhibition presents the first comprehensive look at midcentury artistic innovations from the perspective of artist-run spaces. We’re big fans of archiving the oft-forgotten artist-run spaces of yesteryear, so this ambitious show is near and dear to our hearts. Many of the wildest advancements in art history happened in spite of established institutions, in lofts and cheap storefronts back when Downtown was in its affordable, seedy glory. Who wouldn’t kill to be a fly on some of those walls? With archival photographs alongside art from the era, Inventing Downtown can hopefully help us fantasize.

Artists: Jim Dine, Red Grooms, Allan Kaprow, Alex Katz, Yayoi Kusama, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Mark di Suvero, Emilio Cruz, Lois Dodd, Rosalyn Drexler, Sally Hazelet Drummond, Jean Follett, Lester Johnson, Boris Lurie, Jan Müller, Aldo Tambellini


Cooler Gallery

22 Waverly Ave
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Website

Kate Hush: Female Behaviour

Kate Hush’s neons are what I imagine strip club signs would look like if they were designed by Patrick Nagel. By that I mean they’re awesome. Here, though, she wants sexiness to communicate something quite sinister. She seems to invoke and reclaim the misogynistic archetype of the deceptive seductress:

“The men have suffered, and will suffer. The women are conniving and manipulative, naturally. Their tears are phony and their heels are high. I am bringing to light, literally, their wicked ways. They are fiery, guileful, calculating, crazy … or is it just that their brightness is harder to shield?”


David Nolan Gallery

527 West 29th Street
New York, NY
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Barry Le Va: Cleaved Wall

 Barry Le Va, pioneer of Process Art, returns to David Nolan Gallery with a 1969 piece that made it to the Whitney one year later. “Cleaved Wall” was conceived of following a Midwestern road trip that involved a stop at a butcher supply shop. There, Le Va purchased meat cleavers, which he began using to hack patterns into the gallery wall. This is a very cool chance to see a piece from the Wild West days of conceptual art resurrected.

Galleria Ca' d'Oro New York

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

Tabula Rasa

Apparently there was an ancient Roman art trend of trompe l’oeil “Unswept Floor” mosaics. These depicted the remains of decadent feasts, as if party guests had discarded half-eaten rare delicacies on the floor. Leslie Lyons and J.B. Wilson draw inspiration from this art historical oddity, creating sublimated print tiles that both reference the “Unswept Floor” as well figurative tile works which “remove the trappings of mythologizing human behavior and return to a place of rational accounting and purification.”

I’m not sure what that means, but one of the tile floors depicts spent bullet casings and money. I can’t believe we haven’t seen this in a rapper’s foyer on MTV’s Cribs.



88 Eldridge Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Paul Kopkau: Palm Crest & Suites

Paul Kopkau’s dystopian wall works mash-up details from mass-produced interiors. These include luxury hotels with signifiers of domesticity to apartments that aspire to become more like luxury hotels for the Airbnb market. To add to the pseudo-home-non-place vibe, the whole installation will be carpeted. I’m curious about this show—if decor blandness has become the signifier of commodified space, how do we approach its representation as a decorative object?

Knockdown Center

52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

Nasty Women

A weekend-long fundraiser exhibition for Planned Parenthood in Trump’s America, this show was open to artists who wished to donate artwork to be sold for $100 or less. It could be a good opportunity to snag something cool for a good cause. We can’t guarantee the quality of the work here, but this opening kicks off four days of programming that looks great—from dance parties to art installations. We’re especially looking forward to Friday night’s “Chasm,” curated by artist Julia Sinelnikova and featuring work from Alfredo Salazar-Caro, JJ Brine, and others. And Saturday, the organizers will host a sign-making workshop in anticipation of the Women’s March on Washington. Rad.


Alden Projects

34 Orchard Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Rejoice! Our Times Are Intolerable: Jenny Holzer Street Posters '77-'82

There’s perhaps no art-historical exhibition this week as timely as Jenny Holzer’s work from the twilight Carter era and advent of the awful Reagan administration. Inspired by anonymous posters she encountered in pre-gentrification Times Square, Holzer mashed-up conflicting statements, ideological truisms, and other blocks of arresting text for colorful posters. Many of these read so much like the contradictory manifestos we’re bombarded with in today’s politically uncertain media—almost eerily prescient.

Lehmann Maupin

201 Chrystie Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Kader Attia: Reason's Oxymorons

Kader Attia is one of my favorite living artists, largely because he’s unafraid to cast a critical eye across various cultural lines to search for humor and empathy in misunderstanding and absurdity in different societies’ hypocrisies. He usually accomplishes this task without an obnoxiously didactic tone and a light, highly-aestheticized touch.

So one line in this press release caught me off-guard:

“In Western society, there is an unspoken ideology of flawlessness where any physical injury or deformity is ‘fixed’ with plastic surgery or other extreme interventions; applied to emotional wounds, this approach can result in suppression. In non-Western cultures, there is often a celebration of flaws or deliberate and ritual acts of scarification and physical modification.”

That’s such a bizarrely specious, brash statement I don’t even know where to start—particularly coming from someone who attended art school in “The West” and must’ve seen more than his fair share of “acts of scarification and physical modification.” What about North Africa’s booming, unspoken industry of hymen “repair”?

Obligatory knee-jerk West-bashing aside, the show’s worth checking out. Attia’s installation evokes a sterile office or research space, wherein video interviews with African and European psychiatrists. philosophers, and other professionals in the industry of thought discuss a variety of topics. These include “Genocide,” “Totem and Fetish,” “Reason and Politics,” and “Trance.” My hope here is that these are presented more like individuals with agency dialoguing despite cultural differences and less like an ethnographic study. Attia’s usual nuance could be the antidote to the dominant narrative of reductive identity politics.


56 Henry Street SE
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Matthew Leifheit, Your Giorgio

We’re big fans of the work of Matthew Leifheit—a former AFC intern and photographer, writer and curator extraordinaire. His new show, “Your Giorgio”, includes 13 works inspired by the secret scrapbooks of George Platt Lynes. Expect to see a collaged book, a short film and original photographs—all poetic interpretations of the original documentation. Those seeking to get a flavor of the work need look no further than our own F.A.G. Bar presented at Miami last year. Leifheit presented a large 8 foot photograph drawn from Lynes archives. It was the center piece of our show and a draw to all who saw it.


Smack Mellon

92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

ruby onyinyechi amanze: STAR FISH

One can get lost in the large, dreamy drawings of ruby onyinyechi amanze, despite generous amounts of negative space. Her series “aliens, hybrids and ghosts” features surreal chimeric figures floating through ambiguous spaces defined by photo transfer, calculated mark-making, and washy mixed-media. They feel introverted and contemplative but don’t lack a sense of humor.


175 Rivington Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website


Join curators D. Dominick Lombardi and Augustus Goertz for an exhibition walk-through and artist talk before this show’s opening reception—this show about SPORTS!

The two were encouraged to seek out artists making work about sports after a Google image search for “sports related fine art” brought up little in the way of contemporary art. That’s not to say the two aren’t aware of and interested in millennia worth of art historical precedent. This looks to be a really smart show about something a lot of the art world thinks is kinda dumb.

Artists: Gennadi Barbush, Ryan Cronin, Chris Dimino, Don Doe, Cary Leibowitz (Candyass), D.Dominick Lombardi, Ray Materson, Antony Petracca, Tyson Reeder, Karen Shaw, Lewis Smith and Robert Yoder

White Columns

320 W 13th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Looking Back / The 11th White Columns Annual

We know nothing about White Column’s 11th Annual other than the fact that it’s been curated by Anne Doran.

A lot of the names on this list, though, are enough for us to recommend it:

Bas Jan Ader, Hilton Als, Sara Cwynar, Raoul De Keyser, Sara Deraedt, Liz Deschenes, Thornton Dial, William Eggleston, Nicole Eisenman, John Ferris, Silvia Gruner, Marcia Hafif, Denzil Hurley, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Kinke Kooi, William Leavitt, Zoe Leonard, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Carol Rama, Jessi Reaves, Robert Bittenbender, Cameron Rowland, Fred Sandback


Anthology Film Archives

32 Second Avenue
New York, NY
7:30 p.m.Website

Inventing Downtown: Artists Make Movies

The ambitious Inventing Downtown exhibition program includes this gem, a night of artist-produced films from the tumultuous 1960s Manhattan art scene. For most of these films, this is an all-too rare chance to see them on the big screen, so don’t pass-up the opportunity.

Red Grooms & Mimi Gross: FAT FEET (1965-66, 19 min, 16mm, b&w)
Alfred Leslie: THE LAST CLEAN SHIRT (1964, 42 min, 16mm, b&w. Preserved by Anthology Film Archives.)
Yoko Ono: ONE (1965, 5 min, 16mm-to-digital, b&w, silent)
Carolee Schneemann: VIET FLAKES (1965, 7 min, 16mm-to-digital, b&w)
THE MEDIUM IS THE MEDIUM (1969, 17 min, video)

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