This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Looming Disasters, Anxiety, Protest

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 4, 2017 Events


We don’t live in happy times, and that’s starting to show. With the exception of Art404’s video game show opening Wednesday at the AC Institute and Todd Bienvenu’s likely-hilarious beach paintings opening at yours mine & ours, there’s not a lot of lighthearted fun in the art world this week. Hell, even Art404’s show features a virtual reality space where the viewer is suffocated by news.

The doom-and-gloom kicks off with Bortolami Gallery’s University of Disasters Tuesday night, though Equity Gallery is opening Not the End on Friday, another show about anxiety with a somewhat more optimistic name. Sunday, the Queens Museum will be opening Italian artist Marinella Senatore’s solo show, which deals with protest and social space. Obviously, we all have the dire political situation on our minds.

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The Jewish Museum

1109 5th Ave at 92nd Street
New York, NY
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.Website

Curatorial Talk about The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin

I can’t wait to see The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin. Benjamin’s unfinished Arcades Project remains one of my personal favorite books (by some accounts, the writer had an additional manuscript in his briefcase when he killed himself while fleeing the Nazis). His influence on contemporary thinking can’t be overstated, so this show ought to be really good.

Bortolami Gallery

520 West 20th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

University of Disasters

Curator Matthew Grumbach borrows philosopher Paul Virilio’s term “University of Disasters” for this exhibition that sounds pretty timely. Doesn’t it seem like we’re always on the brink of disaster though? Maybe this show will shed some light on the pervasive feeling of gloom.

Artists: Richard Aldrich, Robert Bordo, Daniel Buren, Tom Burr, Simon Denny, Piero Golia, Ann Veronica Janssens, Barbara Kasten Jutta Koether, Slava Mogutin, Luigi Ontani, Anna Ostoya Claudio Parmiggiani, Daniel Pflumm, Jack Pierson, Sara Grace Powell Mimmo Rotella, Ben Schumacher, Jim Shaw, Eric Wesley


AC Institute

16 East 48th Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Art404: Barely Perceptible

Curated by Brittni Winkler, this show from collective Art404 promises to be fun. There will be a range of obsolete gaming consoles and artists working with video games as a medium. The exhibition is getting its own VR environment, which will continuously add content. Lorna Ruth Galloway will show screenprints of gas stations from the game Grand Theft Auto.



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

Art in DUMBO's First Thursday Gallery Walk

DUMBO’s first Thursday art walk returns, with performances, installations, and exhibition throughout the neighborhood. Highlights include, Postcommodity’s Coyotaje at Art in General, and Smack Mellon’s two exhibitions, Dan Lam, Jaz Harold, Yunjung Kang: Growth

yours mine & ours

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

Todd Bienvenu: Water Sports

Todd Bienvenu is one of those painters whose style and subject matter are so brashly similar that it’s sometimes easy to write his work off. Most of his paintings look fast, and might center on a pun, dick joke, or other impulse. But here, he’s showing some more introspective works as well—views of domestic life, beach trips with friends, and cityscapes. Of course, there will still be a calculator spelling out “8008135”.


Equity Gallery

245 Broome Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Not the End

How is anyone coping right now? This show looks at anxiety, particularly from the election to present, and how it affects artists. I for one am already impressed people have been managing to make anything other than a pile of cigarette butts in the carcass of a box of wine.

Artists: Wayne Adams, Shana Agid, Geoffrey Chadsey, Aaron Krach, Karen Lederer, Taja Lindley, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Janine Polak

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

530 West 22nd Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Website

Leslie Hewitt: Vanitas: Open system

Leslie Hewitt’s “post-conceptual photography” is so lovely it’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s also so damn smart. Here, she turns her critical eye to the still life genre. One would think such meta-commentaries have been done to death, but Hewitt’s still lives have an eery, arresting power. Obscured books, construction supplies, and other objects are stacked and framed carefully, with hints of domestic space and narrative lurking behind each.


Trestle Gallery

850 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Vatic Utterance

Curated by Sam Jablon, this show features artists who play with the line between abstraction and language. We can’t wait to see what Siebren Versteeg is showing—at Material Art Fair, his computer program that generated paintings from contemporary news images stood out. And appropriately, given all the shady gentrification stuff going down in Sunset Park, the show draws inspiration from a Rene Ricard poem:

Vatic Utterance

If I love you
There is no limit
But love is Luxury
The rent must be
The lease expires
Evictions are noticed
And a new Tenant
Moves in

Artists: Mike Cloud, Austin Eddy, Ron Ewert, EJ Houser, James Hyde, Sam Jablon, Ezra Johnson, Margaux Ogden, Tracy Thompson, Siebren Versteeg, Wendy White, Seldon Yuan



22-25 Jackson Ave.
Queens, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Website

Past Skin

Cyber-feminist Donna Haraway once asked, “Why should our body end at the skin?” Curated around the assumption that it doesn’t, this show considers objects and environments as extensions of the self. Knowing Jillian Mayer’s absurdist ergonomics (she’s made sculptures designed to cradle the body while texting) and painter Jordan Kasey’s odd treatment of human bodies, we’re expecting this show to have a healthy sense of humor too. If the visceral thrill of Kasey’s “Roller Coaster” (above) is any indication. this should be really good.

Artists: Cui Jie, Jordan Kasey, Hannah Levy, Abigail Lucien, Jillian Mayer, MSHR, and Madelon Vriesendorp

Queens Museum

New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Website

Marinella Senatore: Piazza Universale / Social Stages

Marinella Senatore’s work examines protest, public space, and collective communication. Her show includes mis-translated Italian slogans, interactive programming, and a big “protest” that will involve different activist groups and dancers. Recommended.

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