“The Future”! (image via Facebook)

This week there’s even more good stuff to do in NYC than usual, if that’s possible. Learn about some histories of “the future,” think about taking buildings down, explore the relationship between the occult and art, visit the Black Comic Book Festival, and more.

 A History of “The Future”!

When: Tuesday, January 12, 7pm
Where: The Bedford (110 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Once a month, the Society for the Advancement of Social Studies (SASS) hosts a themed lecture at the Bedford bar. Tonight’s subject, histories of “The Future,” will include talks by Brandon Zwagerman, Rose Eveleth, and Becky Sandler. Zwagerman’s presentation will focus on visions of the World’s Fairs, Eveleth will examine the “failure” of the future kitchen, and Sandler will ask what the future of work might be (will working conditions improve, or will we all be replaced by robots?). As always, SASS’s lectures are free for all to attend. —TM

 Taking Buildings Down

(image via

When: Tuesday, January 12, 7pm
Where: Storefront for Art and Architecture (97 Kenmare Street, Nolita, Manhattan)

Traditionally we think of architecture as the creation of buildings, but what if it also encompassed the removal of them? This fascinating proposition is the idea behind the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s latest Competition of Competitions:

In a design culture focused on the superlative (the tallest, the newest, the priciest), in which destruction is often perceived of or produced by an act of violence, the processes of removal appear as secondary concerns or collateral damage. However, if we are to better understand the life cycles of our built environment, we must explore the possibilities and implications of Taking Buildings Down.

Tonight the curators of the competition — Keller Easterling, Kelsey Keith, Richard Plunz, Jorge Otero Pailos, Nicolai Ouroussoff, and INCA — will discuss its intriguing premise. Today’s also the registration deadline for the competition, so get yourself signed up and then go to the panel to learn and think more.

(image via Facebook)

 Quadraphonic Cello

When: Tuesday, January 12, 7pm
Where: Harvestworks (596 Broadway, Soho, Manhattan)

Sound artist Lea Bertucci will discuss and demonstrate for the first time her Quadraphonic Cello, an instrument she’s developed for her 2015 residency at Harvestworks. Created in collaboration with artists M.V. Carbon and Thomas Martinez, the new instrument features, rather than conventional strings, piezoelectric wire, which generates electricity when stretched. The produced signals are routed to a multichannel series of speakers, emitting what I expect to be very peculiar sounds. —CV

Paul Laffoley, “Astrological Ouroboros” (1965), oil, acrylic, and vinyl press type on canvas, 48.5 x 48.5 inches (image courtesy Kent Fine Art, New York)

 The Occult and Art

When: Opens Wednesday, January 13, 6–8pm
Where: 80WSE Gallery (80 Washington Sq East, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

The past century of art has a thread of magic winding through its visuals, whether the trance portraiture of occultist Aleister Crowley or the film rituals of Kenneth Anger. Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery examines the influence of the esoteric on the work of over 60 artists, ranging from the overtly metaphysical paintings of the recently departed Paul Laffoley to the more subdued mysticism of Kiki Smith. Curated by Pam Grossman of Phantasmaphile, the exhibition coincides with February’s Occult Humanities Conference at NYU, which will further explore alchemy, spiritualism, witchcraft, and other occult influences on art. —AM

 Reading for Freedom for Ashraf Fayadh

Ashraf Fayadh in May 2013 (photo by @ashraffayadh/Instagram)

When: Thursday, January 14, 7–9pm
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

In November, a Saudi Arabian court sentenced Palestinian poet and curator Ashraf Fayadh to death for apostasy and anti-Islamic sentiment. Fueled in part by the large amounts of international attention his case has gotten, Fayadh is appealing the ruling, but he remains imprisoned and in danger. To keep the pressure on, the Brooklyn Museum and PEN American Center are hosting a night of readings in support of Fayadh. Participants include artist Dread Scott and poet Natalie Diaz.

 The Next Wave of Feminist Art

When: Friday, January 15, 7pm
Where: SVA Theatre (333 W 23rd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Though the phrase “feminist performance art” tends to evoke works from the 1960s–80s, a new generation of performance artists is employing a very different arsenal of weapons to fight some new — and some very, very old — forms of gender-based oppression. The new documentary The F Word, directed by Robert Adanto and screening tonight, focuses on 13 artists and collectives — including Narcissister, Rebecca Goyette, and Faith Holland —  who use sexuality, sexiness, and knowing self-objectification in their performances. The screening will be followed by a discussion about the use of women’s bodies in feminist performance art. —BS

 Black Comic Book Festival

When: Saturday, January 16, 10–7pm (free with registration)
Where: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Boulevard, Harlem, Manhattan)

If you need another reminder that all heroes and superheroes are not — and should not be — white, take yourself to the Schomburg Center for the Black Comic Book Festival. This fourth edition of the annual event promises tables of exhibitors, film screenings, panel discussions, and more. And while you’re there, trying not to buy everything in sight, stop by Unveiling Visions, an exhibition that features a cornucopia of sci-fi, fantasy, and Afrofuturist material from the center’s collections.

 New Work by Glenn Ligon

When: Opens Saturday, January 16
Where: Luhring Augustine Bushwick (25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

One usually associates a comedian with his or her jokes. But in Glenn Ligon’s “Live” (2014), the featured piece in We Need To Wake Up Cause That’s What Time It Is at Luhring Augustine, we watch Richard Pryor’s stand-up acts through his silent gestures. Inspired by the 1982 movie Life on the Sunset Strip, Ligon uses six video channels to zoom in on the comedian’s energetic body parts, such as his hands and mouth, and asks us to listen to and read the body in new, surprising ways. —EWA

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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon

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