Cao Fei (SL avatar: China Tracy), "Mirror" (2007), Machinima, 28’ (image courtesy artist and Vitamin Creative Space)
Cao Fei (SL avatar: China Tracy), “Mirror” (2007), Machinima, 28’ (image courtesy artist and Vitamin Creative Space)

This week, a film screening fights back against the violence of ethnography, an exhibition shows off the artists who run South Florida’s alternative art spaces, the Morgan reunites a Hans Memling triptych, and more.

 Last Chance (and Artist Talk): Cao Fei

When: Exhibition ends Tuesday, August 30; talk on Tuesday, August 30, 7:30–9:30pm
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens); Pratt Institute (Higgins Hall, 200 Willoughby Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn)

Beijing-based artist Cao Fei uses fantasy to explore the dark realities of living in contemporary China. In her moody, minimally worded videos, real estate agents lead prospective buyers into an apartment filled with zombies, and real-life factory workers who spend their days piecing together lightbulbs fantasize about pursuing their passions. The work is mixed — at times it feels like Cao is still figuring out and growing into her style — but the standouts more than hold their own: harrowingly detailed dioramas of a post-apocalyptic town and a romantic video that whirls through Second Life, made by Cao’s avatar in the virtual world, China Tracy. Catch the show on its last day and then bring your questions for the artist to her talk at Pratt.

 Against Ethnography

When: Tuesday, August 30, 7:30pm
Where: Light Industry (155 Freeman Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

In what promises to be one of the best events this week, the Brooklyn-based Ojibway brothers Adam and Zack Khalil — artists and filmmakers, both — have organized a screening to examine the idea of ethnography as violence. As they explain it, “By relegating our identities to the past, and forcing us to authenticate ourselves through this past, our existence as contemporary individuals living in a colonized land is denied. It is in this sense that ethnography confines indigenous agency.” The Khalils will help reclaim some of that agency through this program of 14 short films by nine indigenous artists.

Loriel Beltran, “Medieval Woman” (2015), oil on magazine page, 9 x 11 inches (via

The Artists of South Florida’s Alternative Galleries

When: Opens Thursday, September 1, 7–9pm
Where: Open Source Gallery (306 17th Street, South Slope, Brooklyn)

“Florida man survives lightning strike, spider, snake bites,” says the latest ripped-from-the-headlines ridiculousness dispatched by Twitter true crime comedian @_FloridaMan. But, you surely are left asking, what’s the latest from the men and women of Florida’s artist-run galleries? Multidisciplinary features a selection of works by artists who are involved in the operation of art spaces in South Florida, from Naomi Fisher of Miami’s Bas Fisher International to the three artists (Michelle Weinberg, Francie Bishop Good, and Sarah Michelle Rupert) who run Ft. Lauderdale’s Girls’ Club. Curated by the members of another South Florida alternative space, Dimensions Variable, this show aims to shed light on the practices of artists who spend a fair share of their time giving exposure to other artists. —BS

 Creative People’s Pet Projects

When: Thursday, September 1, 7:30pm ($16)
Where: Brooklyn Art Library (28 Frost Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Expand your horizons at this night of presentations organized by PechaKucha, which invites people to share their latest creative projects through 20 images, each shown on a screen for 20 seconds. Held in over 900 cities, the event lands this week in New York, where nine speakers will open up about their passions. The lineup includes architect Kris Moreau, artist Eric LoPresti, and Hyperallergic’s Allison Meier, who will be giving a talk on cemeteries. —CV

 The Dreamers

When: Friday, September 2, & Saturday, September 3, 12:10am ($12)
Where: Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers (2004) is a story of youth, sex, and obsession set against the backdrop of May 1968. The film follows Matthew (Michael Pitt), an American exchange student who befriends twins Théo (Louis Garrel) and Isabelle (Eva Green) at a protest. The three bond over their love of cinema, enacting scenes from films such as Bande à part (1964) and Scarface (1932). Having moved into their parent’s apartment, Matthew is gradually drawn into a sexual and psychological ménage à trois with the twins. The film follows the characters as they create (and perhaps retreat into) their own fantasy world set apart from the revolution on the streets. —TM

 A Hans Memling Triptych, Reunited

When: Opens Friday, September 2
Where: Morgan Library & Museum (225 Madison Avenue, Midtown East, Manhattan)

Any painting by Hans Memling is bound to mesmerize, with its painstaking attention to the texture of fabric and facial expression. As is the case with a number of triptychs from this time, the Flemish painter’s rendering of the crucifixion in “Triptych of Jan Crabbe” (completed c. 1470) was dismembered in the 18th century, its parts scattered to different collections. The Morgan, which owns the two outer panels, is reuniting all of the triptych’s parts and will consider them, for the first time, within the context of manuscript painting in 15th-century Flemish art as well as early Netherlandish drawing. —EWA

Maps by Rachel Rose for navigating Governors Island (photo by Allison Meier/Hyperallergic)

 9th Annual Governors Island Art Fair

When: Opens Saturday, September 3
Where: Governors Island (Upper New York Bay, Manhattan)

With annual installations by some 100 artists, the Governors Island Art Fair has in the past shown creative installations in the stately, decaying homes on Colonels Row. This year, the fair will feature work in the atmospheric, underground rooms of Fort Jay and other sites on the New York Harbor island. The themes are appropriately brooding: police violence, the conflict between progress and nature, personal phobias, and feelings of alienation. —AM

Theodore Earl Butler, “Place de Rome at Night” (1905), oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 28 3/4 inches (courtesy Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection)

 Last Chance: Electric Paris

When: Ends Sunday, September 4
Where: Bruce Museum (1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, Connecticut)

Just a short jaunt from the Metro-North station in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Bruce Museum is worth a day trip to catch the last week of Electric Paris. The around 50 works demonstrate how photographers, Impressionists, and Modernists responded to the changes in the quality of illumination in the famed City of Light. John Singer Sargent contrasted a gleaming full moon with gaslight over promenaders in a garden, Sonia Delaunay-Terk’s abstractions transformed electric lights into bursts of geometric color, and Charles Marville methodically photographed the new gas lamp posts that glowed throughout the French capital. —AM

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

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