nyc art scene

a carefully curated calendar & cumulative catalog of new york city's most interesting art exhibitions and events. hand picked by Arthur Seen & Team

thru July 29:“Me, My Mother, My Father, and I” Ragnar Kjartansson New Museum, 235 Bowery, NYCthe first New York museum exhibition of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Kjartansson presents works with and about his family, including a newly orchestrated performance and video piece entitled Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage (2011/2014), in which ten musicians play a live composition for the duration of the exhibition. This work takes inspiration from a scene in Iceland’s first feature film, Morðsaga (1977), directed by Reynir Oddsson, in which the main character of the film, played by Kjartansson’s mother, Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, fantasizes about a plumber, played by Kjartansson’s father, Kjartan Ragnarsson, in a sex scene on the kitchen floor. As family legend has it, Kjartansson was conceived the night after the film shoot. Kjartan Sveinsson, composer and a former member of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, transformed the scene’s dialogue into a ten-part polyphony played by ten musicians, who sing and play guitar in the tradition of the troubadour to accompany a projection of the original film scene. (photo: Benoit Pailley)

thru July 29:

Me, My Mother, My Father, and I
 Ragnar Kjartansson
 
New Museum, 235 Bowery, NYC

the first New York museum exhibition of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Kjartansson presents works with and about his family, including a newly orchestrated performance and video piece entitled Take Me Here by the Dishwasher: Memorial for a Marriage (2011/2014), in which ten musicians play a live composition for the duration of the exhibition. This work takes inspiration from a scene in Iceland’s first feature film, Morðsaga (1977), directed by Reynir Oddsson, in which the main character of the film, played by Kjartansson’s mother, Guðrún Ásmundsdóttir, fantasizes about a plumber, played by Kjartansson’s father, Kjartan Ragnarsson, in a sex scene on the kitchen floor. As family legend has it, Kjartansson was conceived the night after the film shoot. Kjartan Sveinsson, composer and a former member of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, transformed the scene’s dialogue into a ten-part polyphony played by ten musicians, who sing and play guitar in the tradition of the troubadour to accompany a projection of the original film scene. (photo: Benoit Pailley)

opens tonight, Thurs, May 15, 6-8p:“Truppe Fledermaus & The Carnival at the End of the World” Kahn & Selesnick Yancey Richardson Gallery, 525 W22nd St., NYCUtilizing photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and performance, Kahn & Selesnick create robust mythic realities for each project, building imaginary, character-driven fictions from kernels of obscure historical truth. This exhibition follows a fictitious cabaret troupe – Truppe Fledermaus (Bat Troupe) – who travel the countryside staging absurd and inscrutable performances in abandoned landscapes for an audience of no one. The playful but dire message presented by the troupe is of impending ecological disaster, caused by rising waters and a warming planet, the immediate consequences of which include the extinction of the Bat, in this mythology a shamanistic figure representing both nature and humanity. In one sense, the entire cabaret troupe can be seen as a direct reflection of the artists themselves, both entities employing farce and black humor to engage utterly serious concerns. - thru July 3

opens tonight, Thurs, May 15, 6-8p:

Truppe Fledermaus & The Carnival at the End of the World
 Kahn & Selesnick
 
Yancey Richardson Gallery, 525 W22nd St., NYC

Utilizing photography, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and performance, Kahn & Selesnick create robust mythic realities for each project, building imaginary, character-driven fictions from kernels of obscure historical truth. This exhibition follows a fictitious cabaret troupe – Truppe Fledermaus (Bat Troupe) – who travel the countryside staging absurd and inscrutable performances in abandoned landscapes for an audience of no one. The playful but dire message presented by the troupe is of impending ecological disaster, caused by rising waters and a warming planet, the immediate consequences of which include the extinction of the Bat, in this mythology a shamanistic figure representing both nature and humanity. In one sense, the entire cabaret troupe can be seen as a direct reflection of the artists themselves, both entities employing farce and black humor to engage utterly serious concerns. - thru July 3

opens Feb 28, 6-8p:“Synthesa” Erwin Wurm Lehmann Maupin Gallery, 540 W26th St., NYCWorking in a variety of media, including photography, performance, video, and painting, Wurm considers his practice from a sculptural perspective… Comprised of three new sculptural bodies of work, Wurm’s current exhibition continues Wurm’s investigations of volume and abstraction of the human form. Wurm’s series of Abstract Sculptures contort sausage-like forms into bronze sculptures, re-envisioning the classic frankfurter in unexpected contexts to challenge our perceptions of the objects in reality.

opens Feb 28, 6-8p:

Synthesa
 Erwin Wurm
 
Lehmann Maupin Gallery, 540 W26th St., NYC

Working in a variety of media, including photography, performance, video, and painting, Wurm considers his practice from a sculptural perspective… Comprised of three new sculptural bodies of work, Wurm’s current exhibition continues Wurm’s investigations of volume and abstraction of the human form. Wurm’s series of Abstract Sculptures contort sausage-like forms into bronze sculptures, re-envisioning the classic frankfurter in unexpected contexts to challenge our perceptions of the objects in reality.

opens tonight, Sun, Jan 19, 6-8p:JOMAR STATKUNGaris & Hahn Gallery, 263 Bowery, NYCAn exhibition of Jomar Statkun’s complete work to date. The collection will be installed in the gallery’s downstairs space, leaving the upstairs empty until work is introduced through weekly “decorations” that will slowly transform the main space. Through participation and performance, visitors will be invited to the basement “Public Viewing Room” to interact with the artist as well as look at, examine, and handle the works of art. - thru Feb 23

opens tonight, Sun, Jan 19, 6-8p:

JOMAR STATKUN

Garis & Hahn Gallery, 263 Bowery, NYC

An exhibition of Jomar Statkun’s complete work to date. The collection will be installed in the gallery’s downstairs space, leaving the upstairs empty until work is introduced through weekly “decorations” that will slowly transform the main space. Through participation and performance, visitors will be invited to the basement “Public Viewing Room” to interact with the artist as well as look at, examine, and handle the works of art. - thru Feb 23

closing soon, ends Jan 12:

Extreme Measures
 Chris Burden
 
New Museum, 235 Bowery, NYC

Spanning a forty-year career and moving across mediums, “Extreme Measures” presents a selection of Burden’s work focused on weights and measures, boundaries and constraints, where physical and moral limits are called into question.

“As an artist, [Burden] was fast out of the gate, establishing his reputation with a series of exquisitely simple, often incendiary performances from 1971 to 1977. Many lasted only a few seconds, others for up to three weeks. But they tested will, discipline and endurance, sometimes to the point of real danger…  Few people saw Mr. Burden’s performances, but no matter: the best of them could be reduced to a vivid sentence or two that, once heard, stuck in the mind. By the mid-1970s, they formed a familiar litany of indelible acts and documentary photographs. After 54 performances, Mr. Burden succumbed to performance art’s primary occupational hazard: It was too grueling. He had always considered his performances sculptures, and now he turned to making sculptures that he saw as performances: feats or demonstrations that delved more deeply into reality with forms other than his body. His art-world visibility shrank because his efforts could no longer be distilled to an unforgettable sentence or two. They had to be experienced directly, which is what the New Museum’s spacious exhibition is all about.” - Roberta Smith, New York Times

Performance Today, Thurs, Oct 17, 7-9p:“King” Andrea Mary MarshallGaris & Hahn, 263 Bowery, NYCgarisandhahn.tumblr.com"In this live fan painting performance, Marshall will explore both Elvis and the Geisha, drawing on a variety of art historical references — from Warhol’s repeating Elvis to Pollock’s drip paintings to the grunge vibe of 80s Soho. The performance, entitled “King” in homage to Elvis, will see the artist personifying both the king of rock ‘n’ roll and the Geisha, the two characters central to her new body of work in SACRED/ICONIC.” - hyperallergic

Performance Today, Thurs, Oct 17, 7-9p:

King
 Andrea Mary Marshall

Garis & Hahn, 263 Bowery, NYC
garisandhahn.tumblr.com

"In this live fan painting performance, Marshall will explore both Elvis and the Geisha, drawing on a variety of art historical references — from Warhol’s repeating Elvis to Pollock’s drip paintings to the grunge vibe of 80s Soho. The performance, entitled “King” in homage to Elvis, will see the artist personifying both the king of rock ‘n’ roll and the Geisha, the two characters central to her new body of work in SACRED/ICONIC.” - hyperallergic

thru Aug 9:“Studio Pietà (King Kong Komplex)” Simon FujiwaraAndrea Rosen Gallery, 525 W24th St., NYCthe first New York solo exhibition by Simon Fujiwara. He is known for his autobiographical explorations of identity and sexuality that blend fact and fiction into rich, absorbing narratives. His complex installations incorporate sculpture, performance, video and photographic elements to create fully imagined scenarios that underscore the interdependence of personal history and more universal narratives. Studio Pietà (King Kong Komplex) details the artist’s attempt to re-stage a lost photograph remembered from childhood of his bikini-clad British mother held in the arms of a former Lebanese boyfriend and taken on a beach close to the famous Casino du Liban outside of Beirut where she worked as a cabaret dancer in the late 1960s. Beginning as an attempt to simply reconstruct the photograph, the artist’s role as director – casting the models, designing the set and even the make-up selection – soon draws him into a labyrinth of larger social and political questions about racial profiling, exoticism, terrorism, and sexual identity.

thru Aug 9:

Studio Pietà (King Kong Komplex)
 Simon Fujiwara

Andrea Rosen Gallery, 525 W24th St., NYC

the first New York solo exhibition by Simon Fujiwara. He is known for his autobiographical explorations of identity and sexuality that blend fact and fiction into rich, absorbing narratives. His complex installations incorporate sculpture, performance, video and photographic elements to create fully imagined scenarios that underscore the interdependence of personal history and more universal narratives. Studio Pietà (King Kong Komplex) details the artist’s attempt to re-stage a lost photograph remembered from childhood of his bikini-clad British mother held in the arms of a former Lebanese boyfriend and taken on a beach close to the famous Casino du Liban outside of Beirut where she worked as a cabaret dancer in the late 1960s. Beginning as an attempt to simply reconstruct the photograph, the artist’s role as director – casting the models, designing the set and even the make-up selection – soon draws him into a labyrinth of larger social and political questions about racial profiling, exoticism, terrorism, and sexual identity.

thru June 30:”The Report: Information Worship and Where has Gone the body” David ShullSecret Project Robot, 389 Melrose St., Brooklyn, NY (near Knickerbocker)David Shull’s work is a response to the effects and modes of manipulation applied both overtly and inadvertently throughout our lives. Seeking sentimentalities, or short- cuts to deeper places in the viewer’s mind, Shull’s art employs many forms and medias to create alternate realities; forcing the notion that their “regular” reality may have farcical roots. His “alternate realities” are often made up of emotive modernist forms that subtly attempt to re-write a history at odds with its utopian goals.the artist will also be curating performances every Thursday evening in June.

thru June 30:

The Report: Information Worship and Where has Gone the body”
 David Shull

Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose St., Brooklyn, NY (near Knickerbocker)

David Shull’s work is a response to the effects and modes of manipulation applied both overtly and inadvertently throughout our lives. Seeking sentimentalities, or short- cuts to deeper places in the viewer’s mind, Shull’s art employs many forms and medias to create alternate realities; forcing the notion that their “regular” reality may have farcical roots. His “alternate realities” are often made up of emotive modernist forms that subtly attempt to re-write a history at odds with its utopian goals.

the artist will also be curating performances every Thursday evening in June.

May 23–26:“Sext Me if You Can” Karen FinleyNew Museum (Lobby), 235 Bowery, NYCan interactive performance installation taking place in the New Museum Lobby in full view of Museum visitors. For this performance, Karen Finley creates a limited edition of paintings inspired by “sexts” that she receives from participating patrons. Participation takes the form of a commission and requires a ten-minute private and anonymous sitting on-site during announced performance times (bring your own cell phone!). Through this process, the erotic exchange with the artist—bound by rules of commerce—transforms into a lasting and collectible work of art. Presented as part of NEA 4 in Residence.

May 23–26:

Sext Me if You Can
 Karen Finley

New Museum (Lobby), 235 Bowery, NYC

an interactive performance installation taking place in the New Museum Lobby in full view of Museum visitors. For this performance, Karen Finley creates a limited edition of paintings inspired by “sexts” that she receives from participating patrons. Participation takes the form of a commission and requires a ten-minute private and anonymous sitting on-site during announced performance times (bring your own cell phone!). Through this process, the erotic exchange with the artist—bound by rules of commerce—transforms into a lasting and collectible work of art. Presented as part of NEA 4 in Residence.

nycARTscene Interview:  Michelangelo Alasa’


Michelangelo Alasa’s “Confessions of a Cuban Sex Addict” runs through August 9th at the Duo Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC), 62 East 4th St., NYC.

nycARTscene’s Hannah Krafcik leads us in conversation with the writer/director/producer/artist:

HK: Confessions depicts your personal narrative through imagery and performative tropes. Can you elaborate on why you’ve chosen to do this sort of work featuring interactive and visual art components at this point in your career? 

MA: The creation of Confessions began with my need to bring to life the interior safe place I had created in my mind since the age of 8. After a failed suicide attempt, I decided to fight my abusive parents back using style, wit, intelligence. I became a button pusher…a provocateur at an early age. At that same time, I found art, film, and theater and used it as an escape as well as a way to fight back. From an early age, I used collage as a way to bring disparate images into a homogenous whole that spoke to me deeply.

There was always a duality to my early years, which has continued into late adulthood - a tightrope dance of balancing a very strong sexual impulse with an even stronger passion to share my story. I think this came about from being sexualized at such an early age. The performative nature of the work stems from the fact that, for many years, I have been working in theater. It was natural for me to tell my story using actors along with a physical representation of the home or “House of Terror,” where I grew up, and the “safe place” in my mind, where I disappeared to when life became too trying or painful. As the work has progressed I came to the realization that what I had created was a classic self-portrait and that it would be important for me to embrace my own story and tell it as only I can tell it, without artifice or performance.

HK: Tell us a bit about the mediums and artistic practices you’ve intertwined to construct Confessions. How have you used collage throughout the work? 

MA: I see myself as a 21st century muralist. I use video, still images, and found objects to create the two worlds that I have inhabited all my life. I use the power of word(s) in conjunction with the visuals to bring to life and to explore the complexities of feeling and thoughts that have challenged me since the age of three when a rather delightful sexual relationship with my father began. At the age of six, when the sexual relationship with my dad ended, I lost my mother and father emotionally for ever, and art and story telling helped me survive. The work is still very much in process and progress, and it grows on a daily basis. My feeling is that I will know when the canvas is complete.

HK: Confessions tends to be catharsis inducing for viewers, and particularly those from the queer community. How do you hope viewers will interact with and experience the work?

MA: The piece is about redemption, healing and about moving on. I am using gay social media such as Manhunt, Adam, Daddyhunt and Grindr to reach out to the queer community. I am astounded at the number of men who, on a daily basis, reach out to me to tell their own stories of sexual abuse. My own frankness and directness in speaking about and bringing to life my own story of pain using visuals and words within in a physical space seems to raise questions in some concerning their own abuse. My belief is that abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, or emotional, is rampant in our society. I created this piece for myself because I needed to physically inhabit and experience the safe place. Only when my nephew walked through the an early version of the “safe space” discussing my tale of abuse, did I see the impact it could have on others. After each performance, I am approached with words of encouragement and support as well as people who need to share their won stories with me. I created a wall of “confessions” where audience members are able to share their won thoughts with the world.

HK: You have a long history with Duo Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC), where Confessions takes place. I’m specifically interested in your connection to Andy Warhol and his previous occupation of Duo Theatre. As you continue your work in the space, Duo seems to be taking on a modern “Factory-eque” atmosphere. What do you envision for DMAC after Confessions?

MA: In 1969, I went to 62 East 4th Street and saw Andy Warhols Boys To Adore Galore series of gay porn film screenings. It is amazing to me that 40 years later a company that I run, DMAC, is co-owner of the very building where I first met Andy. DMAC, is like an artistic “complex” where I provide free space to dancers, film makers, theater and visual artists in which they can create. These works sometimes are presented at DMAC and other times they are premiered at other venues. Although Andy continues to have a profound influence on me, other mentors have also influenced what I do, e.g. Cocteau, Chanel, Picasso, Arthur Janov and, of course, Gertrude Stein whose Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas I stole from the local library (it was a first edition). This opened a new world to me, leading me to Diaghilev and The Ballet Russe and the expatriate world of Paris at the turn of the century. I myself am an expatriate of sorts, as I was born in Havana Cuba mid-last century. I have plans to next explore the pre-Aids NYC and the golden age of unprotected free-for-all world that I experienced in the early 1970’s, in particular the Continental Baths. I plan to open that work for Pride 2014.

HK: Why do you believe it is important to tell this story in the way that you do?

MA: I tell my story for myself every Friday evening. I bring into being and I inhabit fully my own world for that hour. People come and witness. It is served raw and freshly as a plate of oyster nightly, as I am still making breakthroughs during each “performance.”  I use the word performance as I don’t know what else to call it. At the end when audiences applaud, I am very uncomfortable, but I understand their need to applaud, and I accept it.

Duo Multicultural Arts Center (DMAC), 62 East 4th St., NYC.
Duotheatre.org

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