Nathan’s restaurant at Coney Island (c. 1920), host of the annual July 4th hot dog eating contest (via

This week we celebrate American Independence Day with the most gluttonous of all American pastimes: hot dog eating! But is it really performance art?

If you’re feeling less than thrilled about our country at the moment (understandable), don’t worry, you’ve got plenty other options this week. Try a Japanese artisan village, a film about Russian musicians and activists Pussy Riot, or a turn around Isamu Noguchi’s studio-turned-museum. If it’s exhibitions you want to celebrate the long weekend, we’ve got those too: how about a play on paradise in Bushwick or new work by Mickalene Thomas in Chelsea?

 Japanese Artisan Village

When: Opens Tuesday, July 1
Where: Lincoln Center, Josie Robertson Plaza (10 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan, New York)

Lincoln Center is transforming its central plaza into a Japanese artisan village over the next two weeks to bring some of the country’s ancient folk traditions to New York City. Escape the concrete jungle for a while to roam the stalls replicating traditional bungalows set in rows, or nagaya, and browse the crafts for sale, from pottery to hand-painted dolls and hair ornaments. Opening day will also include interactive demonstrations with the artisans, and for those interested in the unearthly, the Heisei Nakamura-za company will present performances of a 19th-century ghost story at the Rose Theater July 7–12. —CV

 Pussy Riot Punk Prayer

When: Wednesday, July 2, sundown
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens)

This Wednesday, Socrates Sculpture Park is hosting a free screening of Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, a documentary that charts the band‘s highly controversial obscenity trial. The screening will be preceded by a 7pm performance by Tessa Makes Love, a New York band fronted by Russian-born singer and pianist Tessa Lena, and followed by a Q&A with film director Maxim Pozdorovkin. And if you get hungry, traditional Russian cuisine will be served throughout the night, courtesy Pomegranate.

 Famous July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest

When: Friday, July 4, 10am–1pm
Where: Coney Island (Brooklyn)

Didn’t qualify for this year’s July 4th hot dog eating contest? Fret not, you can still take in the festivities at Coney Island on Independence Day. Watch as men and women try to shove as many kosher hot dogs as possible down their impeccably trained gullets to celebrate America. The 2013 men’s champ, Joey Chestnut, ingested a record 69, while women’s victor Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas put away a whopping 45 dawgs. Although ESPN2 (which will broadcast the contest at 2pm EST) and Major League Eating (yes, that’s a thing) would have you believe this is an annual sporting event, we’re wondering if it isn’t really performance art … —AT

 Anxious Spaces

When: Saturday, July 5, 2–10pm (suggested donation $7–15)
Where: Knockdown Center (52-19 Flushing Avenue, Flushing, Queens)

As part of the group exhibition Anxious Spaces (on view through Sunday, July 6), Clocktower Productions is hosting a day of performances at the Knockdown Center. Titled “Anxious Spaces: Performance Festival,” the line-up includes Bubbles, VnessWolfChild, Ryan Power, Trabajo, and Brian Chase (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). We don’t really know what to expect, but seeing performance art in a former factory in Queens seems like a great way to spend the day.

 Garden of Eden in Bushwick

Charles Geiger, “Fossil Fruit” (2012), acrylic and inks on canvas, 64 x 64 in (via

When: Saturday, July 5, 6–8pm
Where: Odetta (229 Cook Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

Odetta, a new gallery in Bushwick, presents its second ever exhibition, Eden, which brings together New York City and Hudson River Valley artists who “focus on creating lush worlds that show evidence of humanity’s need to mess with Paradise.” Featured in the show are Charles Geiger, Melinda Hackett, Michael Drury, Lina Puerta, and Sylvia Schwartz. Is Odetta a strong addition to the Bushwick scene? Decide for yourself this weekend.

 Community Day at the Noguchi

When: Sunday, July 6, 11am–6pm
Where: The Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City, Queens)

For three days this summer, the Noguchi Museum will waive its admission fee and host a number of free programs, including exhibition tours and “Center of Attention,” a program that focuses conversation on a single work in the museum’s collection. A staple of the Long Island City arts scene, this museum was sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s studio from the early 1960s until his death in 1988. This Sunday is a perfect time to check it out if you’ve never been.

 Archives as Instigator

When: Monday, July 7, 6pm ($15)
Where: Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

The first of a two part series “exploring the creative use of archives and exhibition data of public cultural institutions,” the Museum of Modern Art’s “Archives as Instigator” discussion is moderated by data artist Jer Thorp and features artist and coder Mario Klingemann in conversation with Emily Spivack, writer and founder of Threaded, the Smithsonian’s historical fashion blog. It should be a fascinating; any event that casts light on the creatives uses of museum archives is a good thing.

 Mickalene Thomas: Tête de Femme

Mickalene Thomas, "Untitled #3" (2014), enamel, acrylic, oil paint, glitter, rhinestones, oil pastel, dry pastel, graphite, and silk screen on wood panel, 96 x 80 inches (via
Mickalene Thomas, “Untitled #3” (2014), enamel, acrylic, oil paint, glitter, rhinestones, oil pastel, dry pastel, graphite, and silk screen on wood panel, 96 x 80 in (via

When: Continues through Friday, August 8
Where: Lehmann Maupin (540 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

For her fourth and recently opened exhibition with Lehmann Maupin, artist Mickalene Thomas presents a new body of work, Tête de Femme, a series of collaged portraits of women’s faces. Inspired by both the practices of Cubism and the aesthetic of Pop, Thomas’s portraits affirm the artist’s ongoing fascination and experimentation with the iconic representation of women by such artists as Édouard Manet, Romare Bearden, Gustave Courbet, and Henri Matisse.


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With listings by Alexandra Taylor and Claire Voon

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