Edvard Munch, “Madonna” (1895/1912–13), colored lithograph in black, red and light olive green, and sawn woodblock or stencil in blue on light golden Japan paper, 23 5/8 x 17 3/8 inches, Collection of Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz, Jr. (© 2016 Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York)
This week, look at Munch in the context of Expressionism, listen to Hal Foster lecture on sculpture, learn about a forgotten guide book for black travelers, enlist in a conference on GIFs, and more.

 Propaganda News Machine

When: Opens Wednesday, February 17, 7–9pm
Where: Flux Factory (39-31 29th Street, Long Island City, Queens)

We all know, even if we don’t readily admit it, that the news is far from an objective enterprise — different organizations have their own agendas, and even ones that don’t are often influenced by politicians and others in power. This exhibition, organized by the curatorial collective TOK, will look at the intersection between the media and propaganda, using the Cold War and lingering US–Russia resentment as its primary lens. I’m particularly curious to see Yevgeniy Fiks’s work on the connections between Communism and homophobia as well as Emily Newman’s project on spies.

 Munch and Expressionism

When: Opens Thursday, February 18
Where: Neue Galerie (1048 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

For those of us who missed the 150th birthday celebrations for Edvard Munch in Oslo in 2013, this exhibition offers a great chance to catch up with the angsty artist. Curator and Expressionist scholar Dr. Jill Lloyd will hang Munch’s paintings and drawings alongside works by the likes of Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde, and Egon Schiele, examining how the Norwegian influenced the Austrians and Germans, and vice versa, in an international exchange of emotions (and, OK, artistic approaches). Bonus: the show will include several pieces that have never been seen in the US before.

 Hal Foster on Sculpture

(image via Facebook)

When: Thursday, February 18, 6:30pm
Where: Memorial Hall, Pratt Brooklyn Campus (200 Willoughby Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

The Princeton prof and preeminent art historian of postmodernism pays a visit to Pratt to talk sculpture. This lecture, titled “Sculpture, Space, Tradition, and Time,” will presumably take up his favored subjects — the evolution of Pop art, the role of avant-garde movements in pushing art history forward, and the role of installation and architecture in the way artworks function and are understood — as they apply to three-dimensional objects. And don’t forget to bring your favorite Foster tome to get signed (bonus points if you turn up with a first edition of his 1982 children’s book The Mink’s Cry). —BS

 Tales of the Forgotten Green Book

When: Thursday, February 18, 6:30–9pm (free with registration)
Where: Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)

“Carry your Greek Book with you… you may need it,” read the cover of the 1947 edition of the travel guide launched by postal worker Victor H. Green in the 1930s. As car travel increased in the United States, more people were hitting the roads, but many parts of the country weren’t safe for black tourists, and businesses often weren’t welcoming. Green used the resources of his position to design a guide for black travelers to move safely through the US, and it was published right up to the Civil Rights Act in 1964 — after which it was mostly forgotten. Now, author Calvin Alexander Ramsey is working on a documentary about the Green Book, and at this event at the Brooklyn Historical Society he’ll share raw footage from the upcoming film, which features interviews with people who relied on the Green Book in their journeys. —AM

 Polish Avant-Garde Cinema

When: Thursday, February 18, 7:30pm
Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)

Brush up on your knowledge of experimental Polish films from 1937 through 1997 at this evening screening, which will feature eight short videos, each about 10 minutes long and all shown in their 35mm format glory. Some of these original versions are pretty rare; the Polish Cultural Institute has shipped five from the National Film Archive in Warsaw just for the program, and they’ll return to their home country “immediately after the screening.” —CV

 What We Talk About When We Talk About GIFs

(GIF via

When: Friday, February 19, 1–6pm (free with registration)
Where: NYU Center for the Humanities (20 Cooper Square, East Village, Manhattan)

NYU’s Center for the Humanities is hosting an afternoon conference on the use of GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) in contemporary art and culture. Speakers include Art F City’s Paddy Johnson; curator Jason Eppink, who organized the Museum of the Moving Image’s GIF exhibition in 2014; and artists Elektra KB and Lorna Mills. The symposium promises to “unpack the history, popular culture, and social impact of GIFs, and their place in history of the humanities.” Oh, and there will almost certainly be cat GIFs too. —TM

 An Art Conversation

When: Opens Friday, February 19, 6–9pm
Where: Tiger Strikes Asteroid (1329 Willoughby Avenue #2A, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

Jen Schwarting makes arresting collages in which she inserts found photos of drunk girls into carefully handmade, geometric compositions. Carolina Santa uses chance to pull together remnants of the handmade — scraps of paintings, cuts from drawings — in a much looser, more playful geometry. I’m excited to see their work side by side in what sounds like it will be a productive pairing, curated by artist Rachael Gorchov.

Work by Jen Schwarting, left, and Caroline Santa, right (image via Facebook)
Work by Jen Schwarting, left, and Caroline Santa, right (image via Facebook)

 Last Chance: Catherine Opie

When: Ends Saturday, February 20
Where: Lehmann Maupin (201 Chrystie Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

It’s rare to see the house of a famous dead person as it was truly lived in. Catherine Opie took most of her photographs of Elizabeth Taylor’s home at 700 Nimes Road while the actress was still alive, meaning that objects are generally pictured as Taylor left them. The photos have the kind of intimacy one can only achieve when alone with one’s possessions. The gaze here is quiet and amazed — a little surreptitious (in a number of images, we see Opie’s reflection), but ultimately bold enough to get very close, as Opie opened up boxes, closets, and drawers. We notice the fine hairs and colors of Taylor’s soft robes, with a level of detail that recalls a Vermeer painting. The jewels, which Opie took out of their cases, are randomly arranged, as though she were privately playing with them. I recommend catching this exhibit — a surprising, poetic portrait of the actress — before it closes. —EWA

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

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