Monday, September 17, 2012

This Week's Must-See Art Events and Openings

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Trevor Paglens The Last Pictures
  • Trevor Paglen's The Last Pictures

Tonight: Monday, September 17th

Panel: Why Dance in The Art World?, Judson Memorial Church
6:30 - 8 PM, 55 Washington Square South, free, rsvp at

“Why Dance in The Art World?” is a good question. Though dancers and artists have worked together since forever, there are a lot of disadvantages to dancing in front of gallerygoers: Crowds are smaller, nobody knows to remember the dancers’ names, and half of everything goes right over the audience’s head. Art and dance each have their specialist vocabularies, which gives any crossover both a purpose and a flaw: As an art person, I’m fascinated that dancers take classes in “presentational aesthetics”, and I want to know more; at the same time, I have no idea what good presentational aeshetics looks like (Jeremy Barker, among others, has considered these topics in depth many times). A new word can bring a new idea, or it can just be gobbledegook. There’s plenty of room here for both conflict and synergy. How do we weigh the benefits of such a collaboration?

Jennifer Homans, dance critic for The New Republic , MoMA performance curator Jenny Schlenzka, and renowned dancer and choreographer Ralph Lemon are the right people to ask. We’ve seen Artforum’s David Velasco at Lincoln Center once or twice, so presumably he’s got something to say too. The Kitchen’s Executive Director Tim Griffin recently talked our [single, collective] ear off about how great it is when dancers work with artists, so we’re thinking this topic is in air.

Then again, the press release leads with “Dance and visual art have always had an exhilarating relationship”, so maybe this’ll all be a frothy blowjob to the glories of working together.

Tuesday, September 18th and Wednesday, September 19th

Performance: “The Magic of Spectacular Theater," Abron Arts Center
8 PM, 466 Grand Street. TICKETS: $15 advance, $20 day of performance, $10 student rush

If you don’t know who Gérald Kurdian is, he’s an avant-folk Ben Folds type who’s going to ‘whimsically explore’ different types of magic. None of that sounds good to me, but apparently he “charmed festival audiences in 2011,” so people like it. Avant-folk cute addicts, you know who you are.

Wednesday, September 19th

Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures, Bryant Park Upper Terrace
7:00-8:30 PM, Bryant Park Upper Terrace

This has got to be good. Filmmaker Wener Herzog and Pulitzer prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith will chat with Trevor Paglen about his project “The Last Pictures”. For this piece, Paglen worked with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Carleton College to produce a silicon disc encased in a gold plated shell designed to be shipped into outer space and outlast even the Earth. On it, he’s micro-etched one hundred pictures, each imparting a small part of human history. It took five years of research to come up with these images, so they’re almost certain to be meaningful.

Meanwhile the talk itself is brilliantly cast. Herzog recently completed the “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, a movie in which he examines the oldest cave paintings in existence; Smith, is poet who recently turned to the stars for inspiration; Paglen has a national reputation for the quality of his talks. Between the three of them, the discussion is almost certain to be one of the year’s “Don’t-Miss” events. This talk is presented at the NYPL in conjunction with Creative Time.

Friday, September 21

Opening: Pig Party
7 - 9 PM. 83 Bowery, Second Floor

Gina Beavers goes at it; the artist has curated “Pig Party”, a show named after a scene in the movie Animal House whereby dudes compete to bring the ugliest possible date. All that’s horrible, but the show sounds promising: a long list of painters, all of them fixtures in the emerging scene, will bring their crappiest possible image, to be put to a vote at the opening. Expect to vote on works by the likes of Scott Hug, Joshua Abelow, and Michael Mahalchick, amongst others.

Panel: Art In Your Pocket
7 PM, 235 Bowery (New Museum), $8 GA/$6 Members

Smartphones are an attractive platform for art, for roughly the same reason they’re an attractive platform for games, news, email, porn, and the World of Warcraft auction house: they’re like a computer, only you have one in your pocket. Here’s a panel where you can be told about how problematized that situation is.

Remember that killer art app that blew the art game wide open? Neither do we, but when it comes, it might be from someone in this room. The panel has some baller inclusions: Paul Slocum, a programmer/musician/artist/curator whose Magic Carpet app we told you about last year; Jason Eppink, the curator who put a Something Awful photoshop thread in the Museum of the Moving Image; and Jonathan Vingiano, the other half (with Ryder Ripps) of creative agency OKFocus, a man responsible for various and sundry good things.

Opening: Selections From the Hoggard/Wagner Collection, English Kills
7 - 10 PM, 114 Forrest Street, Bushwick.

Tired of clubby group shows and art fair minimalism? Then check out some of the city’s best under-recognized artists in “Selections from the Hoggard/Wagner Collection” at English Kills.

Those of us in the New York art world know Barry Hoggard and James Wagner as the masterminds behind ArtCat, our favorite art listing service, and Idiom, our favorite art blog. Spend a small amount of time following them on Twitter, and you’ll notice their deep commitment to OWS and other activist causes.

It’s not surprising, then, that the two have spent the last two decades building their collection through modest purchases, often by way of benefits for organizations that support emerging artists. They’re aware of almost everything that’s going on in the emerging New York scene at all times, so curator Chris Harding will be drawing from a deep well.

Opening: Colliding Complexities-New York-New Aesthetic, StorefrontBushwick
7 - 10 PM, 16 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick.

When James Bridle first presented the New Aesthetic at SXSW six months ago, our reaction was “What New Aesthetic?”. Making something look pixelated is cool and all, but artists have been playing with that idea for decades. Besides which, the New Aesthetic didn’t look much like the technology we were actually using; instead, it looked like our retro fantasies of what technology would’ve looked like had mankind never discovered the rounded rectangle.

Critical beatdowns never have much effect in the real world, though, and visual ideas can be slippery things. If the New Aesthetic didn’t exist when Bridle proclaimed his discovery, it does now, and for better or worse it gives us the beginnings of a nomenclature for a certain kind of art. According to curator [dNASAb], this is that art.

So while written arguments failed to convince us, we’re willing to check out the visual evidence, particularly when some of the artists involved (like Marius Watz, LoVid, and Cliff Evans) seem like they’ve been around too long to get swept up on just any old fad. It’s worth a look, particularly since the English Kills opening is just around the corner.

This post was written by Paddy Johnson, Will Brand and Whitney Kimball

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