This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Djinns Against Digital Colonialism, John Waters Action Figures, and “Werifesteria”

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 22, 2017 · 2 comments Events

Tyson Tabbert's "Female Trouble" action figures will be on view at La MaMa Galleria.

Tyson Tabbert’s “Female Trouble” action figures will be on view at La MaMa Galleria.

This week you’re in for a weird ride. From Aaron Pexa’s installation inspired by faeries from Welsh mythology (opening Wednesday at UrbanGlass) to a show of fake John Waters memorabilia Thursday night at La MaMa, there’s a lot of idiosyncratic happenings to partake in. Add to that itinerary a Friday night group show of emotion-altering colors (like the opposite of a mood ring!) at Small Editions and Eva Papamargariti’s speculative mutant frogs at TRANSFER on Saturday.

  1. T
  2. W
  3. T
  4. F
  5. S


Mitchell-Innes & Nash

1018 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Website

Pope.L : Proto-Skin Set

A friend and I recently had a conversation about the trend of galleries putting together shows of famous artist’s lesser-known works from yesteryear and writing a vague exhibition text to explain why they’re important. Here, that means “an exhibition of early work by Pope.L dating from 1979-1994 that demonstrates the function of materiality and language in his practice.”

While that sentence doesn’t really say anything, we’re guessing this show will be good because Pope.L is a genius and the racial politics he’s addressed in his work since 1979 are sadly still all-too-relevant today. We’re guessing “the function of materiality and language” will always be “relevant” until we’re all telepathically linked by some Elon Musk gadget.



11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY
3:30 p.m. Website

Ulrike Ottinger’s: Johanna D’Arc of Mongolia

This week’s “most-likely-to-offend-someone” event is likely MoMA’s presentation of Ulrike Ottinger’s nearly-three-hour-long bizarre 1989 film Johanna D’Arc of Mongolia.

I’m recommending it because of it’s supposedly gorgeous cinematography and because it sounds weird as hell. Mostly, you’ll want to know what people are talking about when the inevitable flood of think-pieces hits the web Thursday morning.

The story follows a group of privileged western women (including an ethnologist who happens to speak Mongolian… grimace) as they’re captured by “the exotic, fierce Mongolian princess Ulan Iga”. They spend a Summer as hostages and ultimately find common cultural ground with the Mongolian clan. I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t say if it’s a thoughtful, culturally sensitive story about overcoming differences or cringe-inducingly problematic. Either way, we can pretty much guess how it’s going to be received (at least on the internet) by audiences in 2017.


647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY
6;00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website

Aaron Pexa: The Spoils of Annwn

Inspired by a Middle Welsh epic poem, “Preiddeu Annwn”, this immersive installation references King Arthur’s mythical voyage to the Glass Fortress, home of the faerie folk. Aaron Pexa is bringing this tale to life through surrealist glass sets, neon, video, light sculptures, and illustration.

All of this is supposed to evoke a feeling of “werifesteria,” which means to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery.


San Damiano Mission in Brooklyn

85 North 15th St.
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Website

Rally for a Better Loft Law

NYC Loft Tenants are organizing to demand a better version of the state’s “Loft Law”.  Intended to protect housing in converted buildings, a new version of the Loft Law is making its way through the mess that is Albany and needs amendments and support. Basically anyone who cares about art in New York needs to come out and learn about what politicians are and aren’t doing to preserve affordable live/work housing.


Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, Senator Martin Dilan, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Councilman Steven Levin, Councilman Rafael Espinal.

Legendary tenant advocates: Chuck Delaney – Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants and Michael Mckee – TenantsPAC;

Loft tenant lawyer: Michael Kozek;

Artists/Activists: Ximena Garnica – Leimay/NYLCT, Aniela Coveleski – Arts in Bushwick, Aaron Scaturro – NYCLT

La MaMa Galleria

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

Lost Merchandise of Dreamlanders

During Frieze week I was wandering the stalls of a satellite fair and thought: “Someone should really make a guide of what art to not bother making. The top of that list would be anything involving Barbies.” But lo and behold, today I spied this Divine doll by Kyle Lords and changed my mind.

Kitschy, yes. But a fitting tribute to John Waters and his “Dreamlanders” (the Baltimore equivalent of Warhol’s factory scene). Except for Divine, most of the crew never achieved “superstar” status, sadly. But what if they did? Curator Tyson Tabbert imagines an alternate reality in which the trashy world of 1970s John Waters films filtered into pop minutiae: Pink Flamingos bed sheets and breakfast cereal, for example.

The project grew out of a Facebook community of likeminded fans, and now will have an IRL exhibition of things like the action figures for recreating the infamous “I WANT MY CHA CHA HEELS” Christmas morning scene from Female Trouble.  The tagline is “The childhood you wish you had.” For those of us who had to resort to giving Cal Ripken (serious, he looks exactly like Divine) bobble heads colored pencil makeovers, that’s all too real.

Shin Gallery

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

Grand Opening of Batu Museum

Batu Museum is a new nomadic curatorial platform dedicated to placing the work of artists at different career stages in dialog. Here, that means figurative work from canonical legends such as the late, great Louise Bourgeois will be shown alongside emerging artists and living art stars including Marlene Dumas. That’s an interesting curatorial concept, opening in a gallery I like for their wild installs. This show is dedicated to works that convey narratives about the body through figuration or related processes.

Artists: Hyon Gyon, Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Goshka Macuga, Lucas Samaras and Keunmin Lee


The Jungle Lounge

248 McKibbin Street
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Website

For the Love of Barbara (DeGenevieve)

This is a show paying tribute to the late artist/educator Barbara DeGenevieve, featuring work by artists who collaborated with or studied under her. DeGenevieve’s NEA-funded work famously came under attack during the Culture Wars of the 1990s, and she became an outspoken opponent of censorship and a popular professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

This show also marks the inauguration of the The Jungle Lounge, an apartment gallery in Sean Fader’s plant-filled McKibbin loft. He’s fundraising to convert the space into a gallery with queer-centric programming and a paid residency (the Barbara DeGenevieve Memorial Fellowship) program for recent queer SAIC grads to work and show in NYC.

Artists: Barbara DeGenevieve, Amber Hawk Swanson, Aiden Simon, Jules Rosskam, Mayumi Lake, Brad Farwell, Lacie Garnes, Eileen Mueller, Oli Rodriguez, AnnieLaurie Erickson, Jenyu Wang, Marissa L. Perel, Jamie Steele, Miao Jiaxin, Ei Jane Janet Lin, Annie Hogan, Liz Nielsen, Young Sun Han, Charles Lum, Elise Rasmussen, Sean Fader, Carly Ries, Catherine Gass, Christopher Sonny Martinez, Scott Patrick Wiener

Small Editions

60 Sackett Street
Brooklyn, NY
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Website

Four Steps to Self-Help: Color Therapy

Curated by collective Alt Esc, this show is all about the psychological effects of different colors. The description can read as a little-New-Age-y, but the work will likely be good. Aliza Morell’s radiant canvases seem to glow like a Lisa Frank screensaver or beauty shop neon signs. Evie Falci’s assemblage/painting technique is what Tibetan mandalas would look like if monks lived in a suburban craft store instead of the Himalayas. They’re so much better than how that description makes them sound. All of the work here is likely similar in the sense that it’s best experienced IRL.

Artists; Aliza Morell, Calli Moore, Nicole Ruggiero, and Evie Falci.



34 35th Sreet, 5th floor
Brooklyn, NY
5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Website


Eyebeam artist-in-residence Morehshin Allahyari is in the midst of a two-year project exploring “digital colonialism”. That reads like a research paper I probably couldn’t get through, but this show sounds surprisingly engaging. She’s invited artists, activists, and scientists (Gelare Khoshgozaran, Nooshin Rostami, Ida Momennejad, and Maryam Darvishi) to create “Fabulation Stations”. Here, they’ll present new and appropriated fables through different media that relate to past and hypothetical future colonization. They’ll be inhabiting the archetype of the female Djinn and drawing inspiration from sources ranging from Italo Calvino to Islamic mythology and the immigrant experience.


1030 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY
6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Website

Eva Papamargariti: Precarious Inhabitants

We’re very excited about this solo show from Greek multimedia artist Eva Papamargariti. We’re big fans (and sometimes curators) of her digital works, which comprise everything from biting critiques of consumer culture to surreal landscapes (or both at the same time).

Here, she’s focusing on plastic—that ubiquitous, supposedly “democratic” substance that’s literally rewriting the fabric of countless species’ DNA as it accumulates in landfills, roadsides, slums, and oceans. What will these future creatures look like after millennia of ingesting errant molecules of synthetic polymers? Papamargariti proposes new mutations as she traces plastic’s real and speculative lifespan from creation to all-too-distant decomposition.

Previous post:

Next post: