Art Rx

by Jillian Steinhauer on December 24, 2013

Chris Burden Submarines

Chris Burden’s “All the Submarines of the United States of America” (1987), part of the New Museum’s exhibition “Chris Burden: Extreme Measures” (via

The holidays — well, the big one, Christmas — are here, and many galleries have closed their doors for an end-of-the-year break. But that just means it’s a good time to visit museums, especially those with exhibitions closing early in the new year. (Visit their websites to double check open days and hours.) And of course, late December is always a good time for seeing movies, whether it’s an early Jim Henson puppet romp or an early Peter Jackson zombie romp. Whatever you do, enjoy!

 Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas

When: Thursday, December 26–Wednesday, January 1, 1pm daily (free with museum admission)
Where: Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, Queens)

Before The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), there was Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1978), a tale of a struggling mother otter and her son, who enter a talent contest in the hopes of providing one another with a Christmas present. An hourlong television special, the film premiered on HBO and was subsequently shown on ABC and Nickelodeon, garnering a cult following along the way.

 The New Rijksmuseum

When: Through Wednesday, January 1, times vary ($12.50)
Where: Film Forum (209 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan)

A film in two parts, directed by Oeke Hoogendijk, The New Rijksmuseum documents the arduous 10-year, $500 million renovation of Amsterdam’s most popular attraction, and one of the world’s preeminent art museums. Witness the politics, bureaucracy, and internal squabbles that are all just a small part of life in the museum world. Film Forum is screening the two parts back to back, but patrons who retain their tickets can also return to conclude the film on another day (it is four hours).

 Iran Modern

When: Through Sunday, January 5
Where: Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Coordinated with major loans from Europe, the Middle East, and the US, and comprised of over 100 works, Iran Modern focuses on the thriving artistic culture of Iran during the three decades prior to the 1979 revolution. The exhibition highlights Iran’s unique blend of homegrown media (including calligraphy, sculpture, and painting) with international formal strategies.

 18th-Century Venetian Drawings


Giambattista Tiepolo, “Psyche Transported to Olympus” (c. 1740) (The Morgan Library & Museum) (via

When: Through Sunday, January 5
Where: The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan)

The Morgan Library’s exhibitions, often culled from their own collections, tend to be highly concentrated and hugely informative. Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World comprises over 100 drawings from Venice’s Second Golden Age, with the predominant focus on Giambattista Tiepolo (championed as “the greatest decorative painter of eighteenth-century Europe” by art historian Micheal Levey) and his son Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo. Be sure to catch these wonderful, highly sumptuous works while you can.

 Chris Burden

When: Through Sunday, January 12
Where: New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Chris Burden’s New Museum retrospective, which focuses predominantly on his newer, sculptural work, has met with mixed reviews. Videos of his early performances (such as the infamous Shoot, for which Burden is best known) have been awkwardly relegated to a small, top-floor corridor. Despite the odd curatorial treatment, the show excels where it highlights Burden’s examination of power structures. Spectacular and disquieting pieces such as “All the Submarines of the United States of America” (1987) and “LAPD Uniforms” (1993) are worth the admission price alone.

 René Magritte

When: Through Sunday, January 12
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

The Mystery of the Ordinary focuses on the early work of Surrealist painter René Magritte, chronicling his endeavors up to the outbreak of World War II. If you need a break from the humdrum of holiday imagery, this is, needless to say, your perfect remedy. (Read Hyperallergic Weekend Editor Thomas Micchelli’s review of it here.)


Mariko Mori, “Transcircle 1.1″ (2004) (photo by Allison Meier for Hyperallergic)

 Mariko Mori

When: Through Sunday, January 12
Where: Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, Midtown East, Manhattan)

Rebirth is the first solo exhibition of Mariko Mori’s art in New York in over 10 years. Renowned for her pop-inspired pieces (typified by 1994′s “Play With Me,” in which Mori dressed as a highly sexualized cyborg), Rebirth presents a body of work attuned to Buddhism and Eastern philosophies. The exhibition rewards prolonged contemplation, a highlight being “Transcircle 1.1” (2004), in which a pastel lit circle of stones change color in accordance with planetary alignments.

 Dead Alive



When: Friday, December 27, & Saturday, December 28
Where: IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

If all this holiday cheer and goodwill are really getting on your nerves, may we suggest IFC’s midnight weekend screening of Dead Alive? Made by Peter Jackson long before his Lord of the Rings days, Dead Alive is a bloody zombie comedy, or “a slapstick comedy with blood and guts instead of custard pies.” Rotten Tomatoes has coined a wonderful term for it: “tastelessly sublime.” But it’s not all laughs, as Time Out London called the final scene “probably the goriest scene ever.” Careful with the popcorn.

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