Art Rx

Michael Smith as Baby Ikki at the Sculpture Center, 2009 (via
Michael Smith as Baby Ikki at the Sculpture Center, 2009 (via

It’s time, once again, for the annual performance takeover of New York City. With the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in town come a host of other festivals and events, including two of our favorites, American Realness and COIL. This week is also one of highs and lows: celebrate five years of #ArtsTech but bid farewell to Recession Art after roughly the same amount of time. Nothing lasts forever in New York City, so catch as much of it as and while you can.

 Unknown Chaplin

When: Tuesday, January 7, 8:15 pm ($13)
Where: Film Forum (209 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan)

Narrated by renowned actor James Mason, Unknown Chaplin (1983) presents a rich medley of rare Charlie Chaplin footage, shedding light on the actor’s working process. For instance, it turns out that Chaplin goofing around with a globe at Douglas Fairbanks’s home later became the basis of this celebrated sequence in The Great Dictator (1940). A must-see for Chaplin, and cinema, aficionados.

 Five Years of #ArtsTech

When: Wednesday, January 8, 6:30 pm ($5)
Where: Postmasters Gallery (54 Franklin Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)

Founded to explore the ways in which social media and technology can “can help bring arts and culture to the masses,” #ArtsTech has become known, in its brief history, for stellar meet-ups and events. In celebration of its five-year anniversary, Postmasters Gallery is hosting a celebratory cocktail reception. Visitors will be able to see two digital art exhibitions on view: Rafael Rozendaal’s Everything You See Is in the Past and the group show Casting a Wide Net, featuring JODI, Olia Lialina, Petra Cortright, and others.

 Harry Callahan’s City

Harry Callahan, “Chicago” (1961) (© The Estate of Harry Callahan, via
Harry Callahan, “Chicago” (1961) (© The Estate of Harry Callahan, via

When: Opens Thursday, January 9, 5:30–7:30pm
Where: Pace/MacGill (32 East 57th Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

The oeuvre of photographer Harry Callahan (1912–99) is dominated by three subjects: his family (his wife, Eleanor Knapp, and his daughter, Barbara, appear constantly), nature, and the city. Pace/MacGill’s latest exhibition will feature close to 50 silver gelatin prints, examining in depth the photographer’s fervid fascination with the urban landscape and its inhabitants. Callahan’s images of the metropolis are among the most striking of the 20th century.

 Goodbye to Recession Art

When: Thursday, January 9, 6–9 pm
Where: Recession Art (47 Bergen Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)

Last week, we reported that Recession Art would close its gallery space and stop mounting exhibitions, after a solid five years. Focused on supporting emerging artists with affordable prices, Recession Art will now be an online-only venture. As a “last hurrah,” visitors are invited to attend the deinstallation of the gallery’s final exhibition, SALONUKAH; everything in the space will be on sale.

 American Realness

When: Thursday, January 9–Sunday, January 19 (prices vary)
Where: Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) and other venues

This time of always year brings a plethora of performance to the city, with events popping up around the long-running APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) NYC conference. One of the stars is American Realness, a festival of genre-bending performance that features a wide range of events and artists. This year’s line-up includes a four-and-a-half-hour performance that explores the effect of capitalism and social media on dance; a life-changing art fair; a tribute of sorts to Michael Jackson; and an evening of legendary New York. Go try something new.

 New Performance: Michael Smith

When: Friday, January 10, 7 pm
Where: Whitney Museum (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

As part of the Whitney Museum’s current exhibition Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama—Manhattan, 1970–1980, artist Michael Smith will perform a new piece, “Avuncular Quest,” using props and gestures from his early works. Smith, who was once called the “quirky Ed Sullivan of the eighties,” has a handful of alter egos, including Mike, a hapless everyman, and Baby Ikki, a poorly behaved overgrown baby.

 War Documentary

Restrepo Poster

When: Saturday, January 11, 2 pm ($12)
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

Nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary, Restrepo, directed by journalist Sebastian Junger and the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington, follows the 2nd Platoon of Bravo Company on deployment in Northeast Afghanistan. The Brooklyn Museum’s screening comes in conjunction with their exhibition WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY, and will feature a panel discussion between Junger; Stephen Mayes, executive director of the Tim Hetherington Trust; platoon member Sergeant Brendan O’Byrne; and photojournalist Michael Kamber.

 COIL Festival

When: Through Saturday, February 1 (prices vary)
Where: Performance Space 122 (150 First Avenue, East Village, Manhattan) and other venues

Also part of the winter performance takeover in the city, COIL is Performance Space 122’s annual festival. This year’s edition focuses on New York City artists “working on very intimate, personal stories of who and why we are.” Those include a creative interpretation of Tyson v. Ali, a kaleidoscopic ballet, and an intense solo performance in the style of Bronx Gothic.

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