Still from Jennifer Montgomery’s ‘Home Avenue’ (via

This week, learn about the Quechan cultures of South America or the creative underground spaces of Brooklyn, consider the images of surveillance or the connections between urbanism and global warming … or start your holiday shopping with art.

 A Night of Andean Culture

When: Tuesday, December 1, 6pm
Where: Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (New York University, 53 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

As the world increasingly globalizes, the question of whether indigenous languages will survive — and whether or not they need to be saved — has become especially pertinent. One argument in favor of preserving such languages is that they offer windows into other worlds. This week, the Runasimi Outreach Committee at New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) presents an evening of poetry, dance, and song from the Quechua cultures of South America. And if before the event you’re interested in learning some Quechua — a language that predates the Inca Empire and is today spoken by approximately 8–10 million people — check out CLACS’ online lessons—EWA

 Films About Sexual Violence

When: Tuesday, December 1, 7:30pm ($8)
Where: Light Industry (155 Freeman Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

In an evening dedicated to reflecting on feminism and sexual violence, Light Industry will screen two films by women, JoAnn Elam’s Rape (1975) and Jennifer Montgomery’s Home Avenue (1989). Elam presents an interview with empowered rape survivors, avoiding the exploitative cliche of victimhood; Montgomery’s work recounts her own rape, plumbing the depths of the memory in hand-processed Super 8 film. Following the screenings, musician and writer Johanna Fateman will discuss how discourse surrounding rape and feminist filmmaking has changed since 1975. In an effort to create a safe space, this event is only open to women, trans, and gender nonconforming individuals, including staff. —GSV

 Discover Brooklyn Spaces

Brooklyn SpacesWhen: Wednesday, December 2, 8pm ($10)
Where: Unnameable Books (600 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

If you’ve ever dreamed of knowing all there is to know about underground creative culture in Brooklyn — or at least more than you currently know — then this talk is for you. Oriana Leckert, a Hyperallergic contributor and “cultural hipstorian,” as she calls herself, will share the stories of some of the creative groups and places profiled in her recent book, Brooklyn Spaces.

 Embroidered Stories

When: Thursday, December 3, 7:30
Where: The Owl’s Head (479 74th Street, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)

How have Italian migrants been maintaining their heritage by embroidering, sewing, knitting, and crocheting? Well, if you didn’t have time to read last year’s Embroidered Stories: Interpreting Women’s Domestic Needlework from the Italian Diaspora, seven of the book’s contributors will present the fruits of their research on Italian needlework traditions as they’ve been dispersed to Argentina, Australia, the US, Thailand, and points in between since the late 19th century. Pair all that brain nourishment with one of Owl’s Head’s maravilloso paninis. —BS


 Surveillance Images

When: Friday, December 4–Sunday, December 6
Where: Goethe-Institut New York (30 Irving Place, Union Square, Manhattan)

Images of Surveillance: The Politics, Economics, and Aesthetics of Surveillance Societies” is a free, three-day interdisciplinary symposium featuring presentations by artists, scholars, activists, and authors. Billed as a reflective discussion on mass surveillance, the event will also incorporate artist presentations and performances. Participants include Trevor Paglen, Simon Denny, and Andree Korpys & Markus Löffler. —TM

 A Cornucopia of Small Works

When: Opens Friday, December 4, 7–10pm
Where: Calico (67 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

This time of year is all about consuming things, and while I can’t — and won’t try to — convince you to abstain from shopping altogether, I will say this: think local and artsy when you buy your gifts. Calico is a good place to look: the gallery is holding its annual exhibition of small works priced at $300 or less. A Calicornucopia, indeed.

 Global Cities, Global Warming

When: Friday, December 4, 10am
Where: Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, Preservation (1172 Amsterdam Avenue, Morningside Heights, Manhattan)

It’s not often that descriptions of daylong symposia have me shouting “amen,” but there are exceptions. Consider this:

Buildings are responsible for nearly half of all energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the United States today. This startling link between climate change and urbanization should spur architects and scholars of the built environment to rethink everything about the way they practice and teach. And yet, it hasn’t.

Bringing together scholars, historians, scientists, architects and designers, “Climate Change and the Scales of the Environment” will hopefully make a start in reexamining the urban environment in light of global warming.

Zanele Muholi, “Zanele Muholi, Vredehoek, Cape Town, 2011” (2011), gelatin silver photograph, 34 x 24 in (86.5 x 60.5 cm) (© Zanele Muholi, courtesy Stevenson Cape Town / Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York) (click to enlarge)
A self-portrait by Zanele Muholi on view earlier this year at the Brooklyn Museum: “Zanele Muholi, Vredehoek, Cape Town, 2011” (2011), gelatin silver photograph, 34 x 24 in (86.5 x 60.5 cm) (© Zanele Muholi, courtesy Stevenson Cape Town/ Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York)

 Last Chance: Zanele Muholi

When: Ends Saturday, December 5
Where: Yancey Richardson Gallery (525 W 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Known mostly for her activist portrait photography documenting the LGBTI communities in South Africa, Zanele Muholi has made a departure from her prior work with this exhibition, which is titled Somnayama Ngonyama, or “Hail, the Dark Lioness,” and takes herself as subject. Many of these self-portraits exaggerate the darkness of Muholi’s skin tone, a way of addressing and reclaiming her lived experience of blackness. In simple, stunning black-and-white images, Muholi explores and subverts archetypes and hegemonic cultural representations of black women. —GSV

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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Tiernan Morgan, Gabriella Santiago-Vancak, and Benjamin Sutton

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