This week, a film series teaches you about Native American cinema, a postmodern choreographer mixes his archives live, the Outsider Art Fair opens its doors, and a pioneering cat photographer comes to town to sign books (at a cat cafe).
The Original Cat Photographer
When: Wednesday, January 20, 6–8pm
Where: Koneko Cat Cafe (26 Clinton Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Walter Chandoha was the original cat photographer; he was making cats look silly, smart, stupid, and irresistible long before the internet, lolcats, and the Internet Cat Video Festival. Aperture has just published a new book of Chandoha’s work, and he’ll be signing copies at Koneko, “America’s first Japanese cat cafe.” Get some tips from the master to beef up your Instagram feed, and get in a good snuggle with the kitties while you’re at it.
American Road Trip
When: Opens Wednesday, January 20, 6–9pm
Where: Site:Brooklyn (165 7th Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn)
There is something about America that inspires people to drive — across states, state lines, the country. (I’ve done it; the experience was unforgettable.) Thought Robert Frank may be quintessential American road trip photographer, many others have followed in his wake, and will continue to do so. Let’s hope this group show, juried by artist Erik Hougen, takes the idea of the American road trip photograph as its starting point and drives well beyond it into weirder territory.
Native American Cinema
When: Through Thursday, January 21
Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)
The description of this film series tells you everything you need to know (and why you need to go):
Native Americans first appeared on film in 1895 at the dawn of the medium but were totally excluded from any meaningful role in the production of their own cinematic images for virtually the entire century to follow. And they continue to be marginalized in the entertainment industry today. Over the last 25 years, however, a renaissance in independent Native American filmmaking has occurred. … Indeed, since the 1970s, Native communities, after centuries-old legacies of genocide, displacement, forced assimilation, poverty, alcoholism, and demeaning media images, have worked incrementally to take command of their destinies and their representation. … What we are in fact witnessing is a “national” cinema in formation.
It looks overdue and important.
When: Thursday, January 21, 6pm (free with registration)
Where: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (40 Lincoln Center Plaza, Upper West Side, Manhattan)
Since the 1980s, choreographer David Gordon has had an influential career in postmodern dance, focusing on stripped-down movement in his performances. He’s currently working with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to create his archive and, in a typically unconventional way, is transforming that collaboration into a “live archiveography.” Over two nights this month, starting with the first installment on Thursday, Gordon will mix live performance and selections from video and other media to look at the connections between his personal and professional life. —AM
When: Opens Thursday, January 21, 6–8pm
Where: Martos Gallery (540 West 29th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Martos Gallery’s latest group show, HARD LOVE, promises to “range in tenor from the romantic to the political to the prurient.” The thematic exhibition boasts an impressive lineup of work by artists such as John Ahearn, Jane Dickson, Marilyn Minter, David Wojnarowicz, and Martin Wong. The show is curated by Barry Blinderman, who ran the Semaphore Gallery in Soho between 1980–87. —TM
An Artist Without Hands or Feet
When: Thursday, January 21, 6:30pm ($30)
Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
How did a man without hands or feet make fine, detailed ink drawings? The question is bound to come up in a conversation between illusionist Ricky Jay and New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman about the German artist Matthias Buchinger, who, in addition to missing a few limbs, was also 29 inches high. The event is held in tandem with an exhibit of Buchinger’s delicate drawings and elegant calligraphy at the Met. —EWA
Outsider Art Fair 2016
When: Thursday, January 21–Sunday, January 24 ($20 one-day pass)
Where: Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)
Perhaps the art world’s most peculiar of fairs, the Outsider Art Fair returns this month for its 24th edition. This year, nearly 60 exhibitors — 13 of them newcomers — are setting up at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Some works to look forward to include paintings by Hector Hyppolite, a Haitian Voudou priest; collages of medical studies by Peter Thomashow; and dense mixed-media collages by Russian emigré Henry Khudyakov. Most of the galleries hail from the US (and largely New York), but there will also be a number of Japanese exhibitors to offer a taste of art brut from the East. —CV
A Selfie-Defined Subject
When: Opens Saturday, January 23, 6–10pm
Where: Transfer gallery (1030 Metropolitan Avenue, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
It’s one thing to snap a selfie every week for a year; another to turn every selfie into an elaborate digital drawing. That’s what artist Carla Gannis has been doing, taking the concept of self-expression through digital media and turning it into something far more sophisticated, mysterious, and surreal. For her solo show at Transfer, Gannis has taken the project yet another step further, turning the drawings into a series of looped, heavily produced, GIF-like 4K videos. Gannis’s work forever challenges me to think about what it means to be a woman on the internet today, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.
* * *
With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, and Claire Voon
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that this year was the 25th edition of the Outsider Art Fair, not the 24th. We regret the error.