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Justin Amrhein’s “Replacement Tree (Yew)” (2012), graphite and collage on graph paper, 22 x 33.25 in, is part of “Idiom II,” opening at Pierogi (via

This week, New York keeps things interesting. Try out a couple of artist talks, a one-night-only exhibition, documentary films, and high school horror.

  James Siena on His Work

When: Tuesday, February 11, 6:30pm
Where: New York Studio School (8 West 8th Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

Kicking off the first of the New York Studio School’s spring lecture series, artist James Siena will discuss his work and practice. Siena adheres to self-imposed rules (or, to use his phrase, “visual algorithms”), across a variety of media, including lithography, etching, engraving, painting, and drawing. He’s also a pretty wonderful artist.

 Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors

When: Opens Wednesday, February 12
Where: The New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Paweł Althamer is renowned for his sculptural work, much of which is inspired by his family and friends. For his New Museum exhibition, Althamer will be restaging “Draftsmen’s Congress” (2012), which debuted at the 7th Berlin Biennial. As part of the piece, drawings, and paintings produced by New Museum visitors will gradually transform one of the gallery spaces, both physically and psychologically. Althamer will also be hosting a sculptural workshop inside the museum, continually producing work throughout the show’s run. My guess is there will be social commentary galore since that’s something he’s known for.

Paweł Althamer, “Venetians” (2013), exhibition view at the 2013 Venice Biennale (photo by Jens Ziehe, via

 Elmgreen & Dragset Talk

When: Thursday, February 13, 6:30pm ($10)
Where: The New School (66 West 12th Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

Diverse, witty, and regularly unnerving, artists Elmgreen & Dragset have been collaborating on installations since 1995. Their talk, part of series on public spaces by the Public Art Fund, will likely center on their exhibition series in Munich, “A Place Called Public” (2013), which featured work by such artists as David Shrigley, Ed Ruscha, and Martin Kippenberger. And I’m going to admit it … I think Elmgreen & Dragset is one of the most interesting artist pairs around.

 Charts, Diagrams, & Idioms

When: Opens Friday, February 14, 7–9pm
Where: Pierogi (177 North 9th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Featuring work by Justin Amrhein, Beth Campbell, Jonathan Herder, Mark Lombardi, William Powhida, and Ward Shelley, Idiom II is an exhibition of work concerned with visual language and graphic epistemology — maps, charts, diagrams, schemes. Six strong artists and a tight conceptual premise should make for a particularly good show.

 High School Horror

When: Saturday, February 15, 2pm & 7pm ($13)
Where: BAM, Peter Jay Sharp Building (30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

A great post–Valentine’s Day double billCarrie (1976) has fallen prey to the Hollywood remake complex of late, so do yourself a favor and watch the original on the big screen. The film that launched Sissy Spacek’s career is the oft-parodied tale of a telekinetic high school student who wreaks revenge on her tormentors. Expect flying objects, crucifixes, and animal blood. BAM’s screening of Carrie is followed by “High School Reunion” (2003), a short in which filmmaker Sarah Jacobson confronts her own high school tormentors on camera.

 Benglis Ceramics

When: Closes Saturday, February 15
Where: Cheim & Read (547 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

This is your last chance to see the new ceramic works by Lynda Benglis. Quite different from the pour works she’s best known for, she continues to evoke sexuality in her forms while exploring a more conventional art material that has a deep and rich history. Are these new works any good? That’s something you’ll have to decide — though I have to say that I don’t think the installation does the work any favors.

 Networking Tips for Shy People

Flyer for “Networking Tips For Shy People” (via Facebook).

When: Saturday, February 15, 5–10pm
Where: 200 Livingston Street (Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

Networking Tips for Shy People is a one-night-only exhibition featuring work by more than 50 Columbia University MFA students. Who knows what you’ll see? Graduate group shows of this size always make for good, slightly chaotic fun. The show opens at 5pm, with an open bar (take note) from 7pm.

 Documentary Fortnight 2014

When: February 14–28 (times vary)
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight is a good choice for finding far-flung documentaries you might not get a chance to see big otherwise. This year’s festival includes 20 feature films, 10 shorts, and an installation from over 20 countries. As MoMA tells it, the theme is films that “seek to move beyond the search for ’empirical truth,’ and delve into the inner realities of their subjects, focusing on states of being, memories, dreams, ideas, desires, and utopias lost and found.” We’re there.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.