This week, two rarely screened videos by Adrian Piper, a show of artist-made pins, a retrospective for László Moholy-Nagy, an artistic celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day, and more.
Make Your Own Electronic Music
When: Tuesday, May 24, 7–9pm
Where: Eyebeam (34 35th Street, 5th floor, #26, Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
On Tuesday evening, meet Theseus, a new electronic musical interface by artist Brendan Byrne. Byrne will be at Eyebeam to present his instrument, which is entirely digital but based on analogue synthesizers. After a brief performance by Byrne, you’ll also have the opportunity to fiddle around with Theseus yourself, in addition to its previous iterations and an installation of the immersive musical experience Panoramical. —CV
Two Videos by Adrian Piper
When: Tuesday, May 24, 7:30pm ($8)
Where: Light Industry (155 Freeman Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
This is a rare opportunity to see two video works by the brilliant Adrian Piper. The first, “Funk Lessons” (1983), captures a performance in which the artist simultaneously lectured about the titular musical form and taught funk dance moves to a mostly white audience at UC Berkeley. The second, “My Calling (Card) #1 Double Meta-Performance” (1987–88), edits together footage from two meta-performances based on Piper’s use of calling cards that alert recipients to the fact that she’s black. Spend the night relishing Piper’s unique ability to make work about race by using humor to probe discomfort.
When: Opens Wednesday, May 25, 7–11pm
Where: Con Artist Collective & Gallery (119 Ludlow Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
I have to credit Hyperallergic staff writer Claire Voon — a pigeon aficionado and pin enthusiast— for reinvigorating my interest in enamel collectibles. My most recent purchase was this miniature version of Jan van Eyck’s “Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?)” (1433), which I’ve now added to my burgeoning art historical pin collection. Both durable and inexpensive, pins are addictive: it can be pretty hard to stop acquiring them once you’ve started. Opening this Friday night, Pinned Up will feature collectibles designed by over 50 artists. Check it out and buy a little something for someone … or yourself. —TM
Moholy-Nagy’s Tech Utopia
When: Opens Friday, May 27 ($25)
Where: Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
Hard to believe it’s been more than half a century since the pioneering Hungarian Modernist, Bauhaus professor, and polydactyl artist László Moholy-Nagy has had a retrospective at a US museum, and yet, here we are, gearing up for this spiral-filling showcase that will feature some 250 objects including paintings, sculptures, collages, photographs, films, design objects, and more. A firm believer in the revolutionary and beneficent potential of technology, he was a tireless experimenter with new media, materials, and processes, from cameraless photography to kinetic sculpture. —BS
Last Chance: David Hammons
When: Ends Friday, May 27
Where: Mnuchin Gallery (45 East 78th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)
If you see one show this week before it closes, make it David Hammons’s five-decade retrospective at Mnuchin Gallery. You won’t find a clearly chronological setup or any didactic texts here; instead, you’ll find a highly conceptual, alternately cryptic and coy installation that’s charged with energy. Hammons makes work that takes work to understand, and his refusal to help the viewer along in that process — beyond his often hilarious titles — is stubbornly refreshing. He literally makes you think. In an age of identity politics and celebrity, Hammons has chosen, very consciously, to give us his and just his art. Or, as John Yau wrote in his review of the exhibition:
Hammons isn’t interested in turning himself into a commodity, a series of sound bytes about himself or his art. It is one thing to be a shape-shifting trickster and another to be a well-dressed clown.
Dancing Textures and Topographies
When: Through Friday, May 27 ($10 suggested donation)
Where: Pioneer Works (159 Pioneer Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn)
For this eight-night project, begun on May 20, artist Kim Brandt has conceived and choreographed a series of movements (some very short, others lasting for hours) featuring anywhere from one to 35 dancers that will evoke various textures and topographies. The pieces respond to the unique space of Pioneer Works’ main gallery, invoking the ages-old struggle between architecture and gravity. —BS
When: Saturday, May 28, 7:30pm
Where: Dixon Place (161A Chrystie Street, Bowery, Manhattan)
Did you know that Saturday is Menstrual Hygiene Day? Neither did I, but it is, and what better way to celebrate it than with period art??! Back by popular demand, artist Christen Clifford has once again organized a night of period pieces, which range from menstrual prints and demonstrations to “relics.” And take note, this is a participatory event: bring your own period blood (BYOPB, in a sealed container) in order to contribute to No Wave Performance Task Force’s upcoming “Menstrual Symphony (after Yves Klein).” Bleed on, ladies. Bleed on.
When: Through Sunday, May 29 ($40)
Where: St. Ann’s Warehouse (tent under the Brooklyn Bridge, Dumbo, Brooklyn)
Directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in a cavernous tent, the Wales-based NoFit State Circus is making its American debut with Bianco, a visually and technically impressive two-act performance of aerial feats. Unlike Cirque du Soleil, which is making its Broadway premiere across the river, Bianco feels more like an underground concert than a sleek spectacle, with a live band, standing-only room, and one of the more seductive tightrope-walking acts to take the New York stage. —AM
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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon