Art Rx

by Hrag Vartanian on December 3, 2013

TK, "Wikistalker," on view in "Mixed Messages"

Wikipedia visualization for ‘Kafka,’ from Sepand Ansari’s “Wikistalker” project, on view in “Mixed Messages” (via

The holidays are over — for now — and the art world has shifted back into gear. Sure, everyone might be talking about the Miami art fairs, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere. This week in New York, look out for discussions of social media during Hurricane Sandy, gentrification in the Bronx, the philosophies of free museum admission, and much more.

 Social Media and #Sandy


Cover of #Sandy (via

When: Wednesday, December 4, 6:30 pm ($16)
Where: Museum of the City of New York (1220 Fifth Avenue, East Harlem, Manhattan)

Photographers Benjamin Lowry and Stephen Wilkes join Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, for a conversation on the role of camera phones and social media during Hurricane Sandy. The event will largely focus on the publication #Sandy (Daylight Books, 2013), a collection of iPhone photography documenting the storm. All of the the book’s royalties will be donated to Occupy Sandy to support ongoing rebuilding efforts.

 Singing to Pictures

When: Thursday, December 5, 6 pm ($35)
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

It’s a bit on the pricey side, but this wonderfully bizarre event sounds worth shelling out for:

A Prairie Home Companion‘s Garrison Keillor, singer Christine DiGiallonardo, and Broadway music director Rob Fisher (Chicago, Anything Goes) lead art lovers in a serenade to works by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Walker Evans, and others, with hymns, blues, and pop tunes from the 1930s.

We can’t figure out if the group will actually be singing in the galleries or just serenading reproductions in one of MoMA’s theaters; either way, this should get you out of your comfort zone. —JS

 Multimedia Mixed Messages

When: Opens Friday, December 6, 6–9 pm
Where: IMC Lab + Gallery (56 West 22nd Street, 6th floor, Flatiron District, Manhattan)

Mixed Messages is an annual showcase of multimedia work made by graduate students at the New School’s School of Media Studies. This year’s show, the 17th edition, features a tight selection of just seven works, ranging in medium from film to sound to web to installation. These types of shows are a good opportunity to get away from the art world you know and see something new. —JS

 Lesbian Herstory Benefit

When: Friday, December 6, 6:30–10:30 pm ($140 for raffle + benefit, $40 suggested donation for benefit only)
Where: Johannes Vogt Gallery (508 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Founded in 1974, the Lesbian Herstory Archives aims to gather and preserve records of lesbian lives and activities for future generations. Its collection now houses over 1,600 periodical titles, 12,000 photographs, and some 20,000 books. To celebrate the archives’ 40th anniversary, the Johannes Vogt Gallery is hosting a benefit — a good way to spend your money. The exhibition accompanying the event features work by 140 lesbian artists.

 Got Guts?

When: Opens Friday, December 6, 6–8 pm
Where: Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

The language for this show is a little hyperbolic — “GUTS are the slippery viscera of courage, nerve, and audacity. … The artists in this exhibition embrace the irreversibility of pushing themselves through the most narrow of passageways.” — but we like the premise. We also like the artists featured, among them Abigail Deville, Nate Hill, William Powhida, and Letha Wilson. Plus, Friday night’s opening will feature performances of new work by Hill, Amanda Alfieri, and Brent Birnbaum. Hill’s been known to throw cheeseburgers at people, so get ready. —JS


Poster for the 1st Annual Bronx Gentrification Conference (image via

 Gentrification in the Bronx

When: Saturday, December 7, 3–9pm ($12suggested donation)
Where: Bronx Documentary Center (614 Courtlandt Avenue, South Bronx, Bronx)

The Bronx Documentary Center, a relatively new nonprofit space devoted to documentary film and photography, is hosting the 1st Annual Bronx Gentrification Conference. The conference kicks off at 3 pm with a slideshow and panel discussion and winds down with a screening of Whose Barrio?, a documentary film by Ed Morales and Laura Rivera. The film follows two East Harlem residents: José Rivera, a long-time tenant who fears being priced out, and James Garcia, a condominium owner frustrated by the opposition to development and change.

 The Met and Free Admission

When: Saturday, December 7, 4 pm
Where: Fridman Gallery (287 Spring Street, Soho, Manhattan)

This promises to be compelling. Hot on the heels of two lawsuits regarding the Metropolitan Museum’s admission policy, Dr. Paul Werner will deliver a lecture focusing on the history of America’s free admissions policies, including an examination of the role of figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, P.T. Barnum, William Cullen Bryant, and William (“Boss”) Tweed. The lecture is based on his upcoming publication, Jump Jim Corot: Cash, Class and Culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jim Herbert's "Toes" and Karen Schwartz's "Shadow of his Former Self" in "Painting Impossible" (via

Jim Herbert’s “Toes” and Karen Schwartz’s “Shadow of his Former Self” in “Painting Impossible” (via

 Possibly Painting

When: Sunday, December 8, 3 pm
Where: Life on Mars Gallery (56 Bogart Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

As part of the exhibition Painting Impossible, Life on Mars Gallery is hosting “Possibly Painting,” a symposium addressing the validity of various labels affixed to contemporary modes of painting. The impressive line-up of speakers include Hyperallergic Weekend’s own Thomas Micchelli, Sharon Butler, author of Two Coats of Paint, as well as critic James Panero, artists Loren Munk and Rico Gatson, and the National Arts Club’s Michael Gormley.

*   *   *

With listings by Jillian Steinhauer

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  • Francis Thiebaud Winters

    That “Life on Mars” symposium sounds like a real sausage-fest. WWJS*** (***”What would Jerry Saltz Say?”). Seriously, 5 dudes and Sharon Butler….oh the “possibilities”!!!!

    • Francis Thiebaud Winters

      ….could only find 1 “brilliant” female artist/critic to talk painting, ca. 2013…..REALLY??? *REALLY*???

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