This week, BAM kicks off a retrospective of Robert Frank’s films, octogenarian artist Lorraine O’Grady talks openly about aging at the New Museum, a new space-inspired cantata — which comes with virtual reality — touches down in Prospect Park, and more.
The Films of Robert Frank
When: Begins Thursday, August 4 ($14 per screening)
Where: BAM (30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)
Since publishing what may have been the most influential photography book of the 20th century, The Americans (1958), Robert Frank has devoted much of his life to experimental and documentary filmmaking. On the slate for this BAM retrospective are his films documenting various countercultural movements of the 1960s and ’70s — including Frank’s first film, “Pull My Daisy,” about a Beat party gone awry, narrated by Jack Kerouac (on August 4) — and rare gems like 1990’s C’est Vrai (September 8), an hour-long, single-take trip through Lower Manhattan. —BS
New Space for the Swiss Institute
When: Opens Thursday, August 4
Where: Swiss In situ (102 Franklin Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
This week, the recently displaced Swiss Institute will reopen temporarily at 102 Franklin Street, until it moves to a new long-term site next year. Dubbed “Swiss In situ” (how droll), the new Tribeca iteration of the gallery will be entirely dedicated to “temporary structures.” The first project brings together Swiss publishing houses Nieves and Innen to present a display of artist-made zines commissioned over the last 15 years. —TM
Sounds from Unexpected Instruments
When: Thursday, August 4, 6:30pm
Where: Drawing Center (35 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan)
Radio speaker screens currently fill the Drawing Center’s main gallery for Gabriel de la Mora’s exhibition, but the space is very, very quiet. Filling that silence this Thursday are artists Thessia Machado and Ranjit Bhatnager, who will use an assortment of nontraditional instruments (such as repurposed toys) to bring sound back to the old speakers de la Mora has amassed. Expect, of course, experimental noisemaking, rather than the pop songs and operas that once broadcasted from these remnants of vintage radios. —CV
Lorraine O’Grady on Aging
When: Thursday, August 4, 7pm ($15)
Where: New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
I would pay money to listen to Lorraine O’Grady talk about pretty much anything, but this conversation sells itself. The octogenarian artist will hold forth on aging, answering questions submitted in advance (via email). O’Grady is, as a general rule, supremely intelligent and unafraid of candor. Don’t hold back; I’m sure she won’t either.
When: Opens Friday, August 5, 7–10pm
Where: Outlet (253 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn)
Meet Postprint Magazine, a new project dedicated to sharing poetry IRL. Its first issue, Expensive Poetry, comes in the form an exhibition at Outlet and seeks to break free from the bonds of the page. By interpreting the colorful, pricey aesthetic of periodicals and presenting poetry that the viewer (or reader?) must physically move through, the exhibition promises to be as much a literary as a visual experience. —EWA
Art About the Female Body
When: Opens Friday, August 5, 7–10pm
Where: American Medium (424 Gates Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn)
I’ll be honest: I don’t know much about Kristin Smallwood’s work. But I appreciate a show titled after a form of birth control, and one that uses satire and allegory at that.
“This is an intercourse of ideas around inherent misogyny in our society,” says Smallwood. It’s not a new topic, but one that, sadly, never seems to get old.
Wassaic Summer Festival
When: Friday, August 5–Sunday, August 7
Where: The Wassaic Project (37 Furnace Bank Road, Wassaic, New York)
It’s already August: time to take a break, run away with MetroNorth, and go upstate. For the ninth year, the Wassaic Project is hosting a weekend-long festival to celebrate its current exhibition, Appetite for Destruction, featuring work by 56 artists in its seven-story Maxon Mills building. The former grain elevator is the centerpiece of film screenings, dance, music, and other experiences, and if you want to truly make an escape of it, there’s camping available in the surrounding field. —AM
A Multimedia Journey Through Space
When: Saturday, August 6, 7:30pm (gates at 6:30)
Where: Prospect Park Bandshell (9th Street & Prospect Park West, Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
What happens when you bring together a composer, a librettist, a filmmaker, and an astrophysicist? This isn’t the start of a bad joke (though it might be that, too) but the premise for the Hubble Cantata, a multimedia journey through space. The Cantata consists of a new classical music piece— performed live by a 20-piece ensemble, a 100-person choir, and two stars from the Metropolitan Opera — as well as 360-degree sound installation and a virtual reality experience that draws on imagery from the Hubble telescope. Amazingly, this thing is free, so you’ll probably want to get to the bandshell early. And if you end up loving it so much you want to give them your money, you can donate to their Kickstarter.
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With contributions by Elisa Wouk Almino, Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Benjamin Sutton, and Claire Voon