This Week’s Must-See Art Events: The AFC Goth Benefit and More

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 17, 2017 Events

Joseph Keckler, shot by Jaimie Warren

The time has finally come. Our Goth Benefit is here. We’ll be converting Collapsable Hole into a goth wonderland, complete with drag performers, surprise guests, and options such as handcuffs for couples. (We’re also having a goth couple outfit contest, so plan accordingly). If last year’s benefit was any indication, this is basically going to be the party of the year.

Wednesday, nurse your hangover with a likely-nipple-tastic Betty Tompkins solo show at Marlborough Contemporary. Other highlights this week include Siebren Versteeg’s digital paintings at bitforms on Thursday, the annual Seven on Seven conference at the New Museum on Saturday, and Sunday’s open studios at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Don’t forget: Buy your Goth Opera tickets now!

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Collapsable Hole

55 Bethune Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

The AFC Goth Benefit

As anyone who has ever attended an AFC benefit can tell you, we know how to throw a good party.

This year, our annual benefit is a celebration of all things goth. Joseph Keckler will be performing his epic, operatic “Goth Song”, we’ve got giveaways from Hot Topic (yes really), a goth photobooth manned by Sean Fader, and so much more. I’ll be DJing as Ellen Degenerate (leave goth song requests in the comments!) and promise to keep the party going long after my black lipstick has faded.

If you want some behind-the-scenes info about the benefit, check out our interview with Performa Magazine, where I talk goth with Paddy Johnson, Joseph Keckler, and Jaimie Warren (who did our awesome promo photos).

Advanced Tickets:

  • Artist/Student/Musician—$75.
  • Individual—$150
  • Gothic coupling (the ultimate date night for those who come in costume):$250

Additional donation levels and perks available. Tickets at the door cost $100 for artists and $200 for individuals. 



Marlborough Contemporary

545 W 25th St
New York, NY
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Website

Betty Tompkins

It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that we at AFC love Betty Tompkins. She’s been making super-graphic drawings and paintings of porn since the late 60’s, when such work was a big feminist no-no. Thankfully, today, she has an audience for her larger-than-life depictions of (often very weird) intercourse.

Bonus: Marlborough Contemporary is opening two other shows today, Julius Von Bismarck and Lucas Ajemian.


bitforms gallery

131 Allen Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Siebren Versteeg: Reflection Eternal

Siebren Versteeg’s digital paintings are generated by code. One, for instance, endlessly creates a wallpaper motif. Another, “Today,” samples the crushing stream of images from the web and distorts their content into surprisingly pleasing compositions.

I saw a similar work of Versteeg’s (“Fake News”) at Material Art Fair earlier this year, and it remains one of the fair’s most memorable highlights.


88 Eldridge Street (5th Floor)
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Body Language

There’s basically no information about Body Language anywhere online beyond this drawing of a dress form and a list of artists. Nevertheless, this is an absolute must-see. We have never been disappointed by Jacolby Satterwhite’s imaginative work, and in a show about the body he’s sure to shine—whether that means a vogue performance in a digitally-printed jumpsuit or a VR environment full of CGI doppelgangers having an orgy. The suspense is killing us!

Artists: niv acosta, Jimmy DeSana, Jacolby Satterwhite, Tschabalala Self


SOHO20 Gallery

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

She Persisted

We don’t know much about the artists in this show (SOHO20 National Affiliates members) but the premise has us hooked. The title gets its name from the “weaponized meme” of Mitch McConnell’s attempted take-down of Elizabeth Warren: “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech… She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

Even in an era of political theater with far more jaw-dropping soundbites, this one has maintained traction. Turning it into a show is a great idea, and we look forward to seeing the results.

Artists: B Amore, Laura Cloud, Louise Farrell, Gail Hoffman, Elizabeth Michelman, Nelleke Nix, Barb Rehg, Ann Rowles, Georgia Strange, Rosie G. Thompson, Virginia Tyler

The Center for Book Arts

28 W 27th St
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Website

En Masse: Books Orchestrated

Like houseplants, fluorescent lighting, and colorful rugs, books have made the jump from the realm of interior decor to full-blown contemporary art trend. Groups of books, as sculptural objects, seem to be everywhere these days. Curator Osman Can Yerebakan has clearly noted this, and organized an exhibition where groups of books are used as a sculptural medium. This should be a smart show, as it seems the tension between the book as a formal object and one that can contain content is explored.

Artists: Louis Zoeller Bickett, Jordan Buschur, Emilio Chapela, Özgür Demirci, Donald Daedalus, Leor Grady, Katarina Jerinic, Nina Katchadourian, j.c. lenochan, Liz Linden, Michael Mandiberg, Phil Shaw, Ward Shelley, Douglas Paulson, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Julia Weist.


New Museum

235 Bowery
New York, NY
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Seven on Seven

We look forward to seeing what comes out of Seven on Seven every year. Sometimes the results are brilliant, sometimes goofy, and often though-provoking. The event pairs seven artists with seven people from the tech industry (researchers, inventors, capitalists, designers, etc…) and prompts them to create anything they want.

This year’s pairings (below) look to be promising, and include plenty of artists who already blur the lines between artwork and product, digital media, etc…

  • Artist Jayson Musson & Jonah Peretti, Founder and CEO, Buzzfeed
  • Artist collective and NEW INC resident DIS & Rachel Haot, Managing Director, 1776
  • Artist Bunny Rogers & Nozlee Samadzadeh, Engineer, Vox
  • Artist Olia Lialina & Mike Tyka, artificial intelligence researcher at Google
  • Artist Addie Wagenknecht & Cindy Gallop, Founder, MakeLoveNotPorn and IfWeRanTheWorld
  • Artist Constant Dullaart & Chris Paik, Partner, Thrive Capital
  • Artist Miao Ying & Mehdi Yahyanejad, Founder, Balatarin and Net Freedom Pioneers

Paula Cooper Gallery

521 West 21st Street
New York, NY
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Justin Matherly: A recrudescence

Justin Matherly’s sculptures have an endearingly crafty, almost painterly quality to them that evokes folk objects of devotion or ancient ruins. Here, appropriately, his subject matter is Greek mythology. Specifically, Asclepius, Telesphoros and Hygeia—the ancient deities of medicine, recovery, and healthy.

Who doesn’t need a little recuperation about now?


The Studio Museum in Harlem

144 West 125th Street
New York, NY
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.Website

Artists-in-Residence Open Studios

As its name would suggest, the residency program at The Studio Museum was one of the institution’s’s founding and most important programs. Twice a year, those studios open to the public, and we get a peek at the processes of some of the top Black contemporary artists. This batch comprises multidisciplinary artists Autumn Knight and Julia Phillips and painter Andy Robert. All three artists have process-intensive practices, so this edition of open studios should be particularly interesting.

The Java Project

252 Java St
Brooklyn, NY
3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.Website

Gina Dawson: Bad Tattoos Closing Reception

Gina Dawson has been archiving others’ terrible, terrible tattoos through a variety of media. That might be a small painting of a tramp stamp or a large sculpture comprised of detritus from her past installations. These are funny, and oddly, feel a little precious. Practically everyone I know who went to art school has at least one regrettable tattoo, so I think we can all relate to this exhibition.

Curated by Carl Gunhouse.

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