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This week is all about openings: of an unexpected David Hammons retrospective, an exhibition of socially engaged artists, a show of male nudes by female artists, and, after much anticipation, the Met Breuer.
Five Decades of David Hammons
When: Opens Tuesday, March 15, 5:30–7:30pm
Where: Mnuchin Gallery (45 E 78th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
In this retrospective that perhaps not even the gallery expected David Hammons to accede to, visitors will be able to trace five decades of this largely private artist’s work. From body prints to sculpture to installation, Hammons’s works incorporate materials like chicken bones, tarp, and hair. Someone who once said, “I can’t stand art,” Hammons is sarcastic and unapologetic in his commentary on class and race. —EWA
A Forgotten Film About Racism
When: Wednesday, March 16–Tuesday, March 22 (showtimes vary)
Where: BAM (30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)
Directed by Leo Hurwitz, Strange Victory was made in 1948 and draws parallels between Hitler’s Nazism and hatred in the US, especially racism. But few people seem to know much about the film, screening as part of a series devoted to midcentury lit mag Evergreen Review. In a blurb in the Village Voice, J. Hoberman called it “the most ambitious leftist film made in the US between Native Land and Salt of the Earth,” while Richard Brody pegged it in The New Yorker as an “extraordinary documentary essay” and “far more radical and harrowing than anything Hollywood could produce.” The little-seen work sounds not only powerful, but in the days of Donal Trump, more relevant than ever.
Artists in the Social Sphere
When: Opens Wednesday, March 16, 7–9pm
Where: BRIC House (647 Fulton Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)
Last year the Brooklyn Museum attempted to put together a very loosely defined social practice exhibition featuring artists and projects that engaged with real world (as opposed to art world) issues, but their Crossing Brooklyn came up short. Now it’s BRIC’s turn, and this nine-artist show, with its extremely multidisciplinary array of works — including photographs, performances, protests, posters, music, computer languages, apps, and more — and direct engagement with issues including police brutality, gentrification, and homelessness is very promising. —BS
When: Wednesday, March 16, 6:30pm ($25/$20 concession)
Where: 97 Orchard Street (Lower East Side, Manhattan)
In addition to listening to music from around the world by country and decade, you can now sound travel to a very specific place and year: 97 Orchard Street in 1869. Through live music and recordings, the Tenement Museum offers a chance to hear and learn about the sounds of the New York tenements, from what was played at beer saloons to what women sang while doing house chores. —EWA
Tosca in a Truck Repair Shop
When: Thursday, March 17–Saturday, March 19, 8pm ($30)
Where: 198 Randolph Street (East Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
I’ve seen two LoftOpera productions, a candlelit La Bohème in a Bushwick warehouse and a frenzied Lucrezia Borgia in a Williamsburg photo studio, and both were among the most enjoyable opera experiences I’ve had in NYC. There’s a contagious energy in LoftOpera’s casting of young leads (in large companies they’re usually the old divas), unusual settings (the orchestra is often pushed against the audience), and the clink of the crowd’s beer bottles on the concrete floors. Their staging this month of Puccini’s Tosca in a former semi-truck repair center in East Williamsburg promises another enlivened take on a classic, where you can appreciate the murder and melodrama belted up close. —AM
The Met Breuer
When: Opens Friday, March 18
Where: The Met Breuer (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
Admit it: even though you complained endlessly about its oppressive exterior and gloomy galleries, you’ve missed going to Marcel Breuer’s inverted concrete ziggurat at Madison Avenue and E 75th Street, vacated last year by the Whitney Museum. Well now the Metropolitan Museum is in charge, and they’re breaking in the space with a huge historical survey of unfinished artworks spanning the Renaissance to the 21st century and the first US retrospective devoted to Indian Modernist Nasreen Mohamedi, who put her distinctive stamp on Minimalism with her spare and elegant drawings, paintings, and photographs. —BS
Male Nudes by Female Painters
When: Opens Friday, March 18, 7–10pm
Where: Outlet Fine Art (253 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
Everyone knows that women basically have to be naked to get into the Met Museum. The canon of art history rests on the nude, namely the female one. So it’s always refreshing to see a show, no matter how small, attempt to flip the gaze. At Outlet, Julian A. Jimarez Howard has curated the great-sounding (and looking) NSFW, which features paintings of male nudes by six female artists, plus a “choreographed artwork” by a seventh. Incidentally, Garis & Hahn’s Beyond the Gaze: Women Painting Women should make for a nice pairing.
A Participatory Performance with Personal Devices
When: Monday, March 21, 8pm ($20/$15 concession)
Where: Roulette (509 Atlantic Ave, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)
Sound artist Haeyoung Kim, also known as Bubblyfish, presents an interactive night of experimental works for her first Roulette residency performance. Through her engineered system, which is christened “Moori,” audience members will engage with and respond to her creations via their personal devices, mainly through text messaging and finger sketches. —CV
* * *
With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon
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