Crowd watching cat videos at the Walker Art Center’s 2012 Internet Cat Video Festival (image courtesy the Walker Art Center)

The weather is heating up in NYC, and so are the art events. This week, visit shows devoted to “neo-craftivism” and geometric abstraction, imagine the city’s unrealized urban plans — or just kick back with cat videos.

 Money Talks

When: Tuesday, May 19, 12:30pm (free)
Where: The City College of New York (160 Convent Avenue, Harlem, Manhattan)

The Armory Show Executive Director Noah Horowitz and writer and professor Suhail Malik discuss the art market’s creation and manipulation of prices. The jargon-heavy quote by Malik on the event’s website is off-putting (“speculative sur-valuation paves the way for untrammeled speculative marketization” 😵), but with Horowitz on board, this should be a lively and straightforward debate on the mechanics of the art world — especially given that the audience is “invited to participate.” —Tiernan Morgan

 Unrealized Possibilities of the NYC Skyline

When: Wednesday, May 20, 6–7:15pm
Where: Meeting location disclosed upon RSVP (it’s free!)

Imagine a highway running across lower Manhattan, through Soho and the Lower East Side … it seems pretty inconceivable, right? In the mid 20th century, a Lower Manhattan Expressway was planned but never came to fruition because activists aggressively campaigned against it. From the vantage point of the High Line, social history educator Emily Gallagher and urban cartographer Charles Chawalko will lead a walking tour discussing some of these failed urban plans and sharing a vision of what New York could have looked like if history had run a different course. —Kemy Lin

 Internet Cat Video Festival Screening Party

When: Wednesday, May 20, 7:30pm ($20 ticket includes alcoholic beverage and snacks; participants must be 21+)
Where: Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, Midtown East, Manhattan)

If BuzzFeed’s cat GIF listicles aren’t enough to satiate your fervor for felines, Japan Society is hosting the Manhattan premiere of last year’s Internet Cat Video Festival, in conjunction with the current Life of Cats exhibition of felines in Japanese woodcuts. Attendees will be able to lap up 70 minutes worth of curated cat clips, ranging from Vines to short films. Curated by the Walker Art Center, the festival has featured internet stars like Theo the Talking Cat, Grumpy Cat, and Henri le Chat in previous iterations. —KL

Left: Emmet Gowin, “Edith and Elijah, Danville, Virginia” (1968), gelatin silver print; right: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, “Woman with a Child Descending a Staircase” (c. 1636), pen and brown ink, brown wash (images courtesy Morgan Library & Museum)

 Emmet Gowin: Hidden Likenesses

When: Opens Friday, May 22
Where: The Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)

For this exhibition, photographer Emmet Gowin combed through his 50 years of his work and delved into the archives of the Morgan to find “hidden likenesses” between the two. In one juxtaposition, Gowin places a photograph of his wife, Edith, holding their son Elijah alongside a 15th-century drawing by Rembrandt. Gowin’s pairings point to formal and conceptual similarities between the images, and he draws from the Morgan’s rarities, including illuminated manuscripts and historical documents. —KL


When: Opens Friday, May 22, 6–9pm
Where: The Parlour Bushwick (791 Bushwick Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

There are two current trends in contemporary art that I love: craft-based work and activism. This exhibition combines them both. The starting point is the term “Craftivism,” coined by Betsy Greer in 2003 to define people and practices that use craft in a subversive way. Neo-Craftivism (a moniker I suspect the curators are using half seriously, half jokingly) carries the idea forward with a new generation of artists working in that vein. The line-up is fantastic: Sarah Bednarek, Rachael Gorchov, Roxanne Jackson, Robin Kang, Katerina Lanfranco, Heidi Lau, Rebecca Morgan, Courtney Puckett, and Nichole Van Beek. Get excited.

Jason Karolak, “Untitled (P-1512)” (2015), oil on canvas, 57 x 50 inches (image courtesy Trestle Gallery)

 Breathing Room

When: Friday, May 22, 7–9pm
Where: Trestle Gallery (168 7th Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn)

How do artists create temporal and physical space within their paintings? Breathing Room, Trestle’s upcoming exhibition, features Elizabeth Gilfilen, Rachael Wren, and Jason Karolak, three artists who explore geometry, layering, and abstraction in their work. A passage by Thomas Micchelli in Hyperallergic Weekend about Karolak’s work illustrates the possibilities: “The visual riddles posed by Karolak’s paintings — their refusal to settle into a single perspective and their devilishly complex accumulation of elements — tether their freewheeling abstraction and neon color to an unknowable reality.” —KL

 It’s Showtime, NYC

When: Saturday, May 23, 12–4pm
Where: Battery Park (Lower Manhattan)

Last year the New York Times published a shocking investigation into the NYPD’s crackdown on subway performers, noting that arrests on NYC subways had tripled under Police Commissioner Bratton. The report found that teenage black males were mostly the target of a new policy that criminalizes buskers, charging them with misdemeanors and sometimes landing them in jail. So, it’s exciting to see a group of organizations attempting to help buskers by giving them a legitimate stage. This joint venture between Dancing in the Streets and Mark Morris Dance Group brings subway and street dancers to Battery Park every Saturday afternoon through June. It’s showtime, y’all!

Hans Haacke, “Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 (detail)” (1971), on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art (photo by Tiernan Morgan for Hyperallergic)

 Rachel Churner on Hans Haacke

When: Saturday, May 23, 3pm (free with museum admission)
Where: The Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District, Manhattan)

Compiled from public records, Hans Haacke’s “Shapolsky et al” (1971) documents the business transactions and properties of New York City slumlord Harry Shapolsky. Haacke sought to include the work in a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim slated to open in spring 1971, but, fearful of a potential lawsuit, the museum cancelled Haacke’s show — a move that led to protests by the Art Workers’ Coalition and the later dismissal of museum curator Edward Fry. Currently on display as part of the new Whitney’s inaugural installation, scholar Rachel Churner will discusses the legacy of this seminal work of institutional critique. —TM

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With contributions by Kemy Lin and Tiernan Morgan

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