Lu Zhang, "Leonard Liao" (2016) (courtesy the artist and the Museum of Chinese in America)
Lu Zhang, “Leonard Liao” (2016) (courtesy the artist and the Museum of Chinese in America)

This week, whet your appetite with sculptures inspired by some of the world’s most famous Asian American chefs, check out 47 tinkering musicians’ modular synthesizers, and peer into a giant sculptural fishbowl. And then on the 10th, observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day by taking an anti-Columbus Day tour of the American Museum of Natural History.

 The US’s Best American Comics for 2016

(via Amazon)
The cover of ‘The Best American Comics 2016’ (via Amazon)

When: Wednesday, October 5, 7–8pm
Where: The Strand (828 Broadway, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

In case you hadn’t noticed, we are living in a time of AMAZING COMICS. There’s so much work, and so much of it is good, and we don’t even know how lucky we are. Bill Kartalopoulos does. As the series editor of Best American Comics, he does the work of sorting through the year’s best new comics, along with an annual guest editor, who in 2016 was the brilliant cartoonist Roz Chast. The two will launch this year’s volume at the Strand on Wednesday, along with contributors Anne Esmond, Char Esme, and Liana Finck, whose comic “All the Paintings Here Agree” sums up the blend of heartfelt and funny that characterized the dearly departed Toast. —JS

 Secrets of the Crocodile Mummies

When: Wednesday, October 5, 7pm
Where: American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan)

Centuries-old mummies in museums could unravel some of the current scientific conundrums about crocodiles, such as their origins in the Nile River and their existence as exotic treatments in medieval medicine cabinets. Thanks to the widespread practice of animal mummification in ancient Egypt, biological material is preserved from these ancient creatures. This free talk, part of the SciCafe series at the American Museum of Natural History that offers informal science talks, features Evon Hekkala, a Fordham University professor and research associate in the Museum’s Department of Herpetology, discussing recent research. —AM

 Philippe Parreno: My Room is Another Fish Bowl

When: Opens Wednesday, October 5
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

Through November 20, the Brooklyn Museum’s pavilion and lobby space will be flooded with 150 fish-shaped Mylar balloons, courtesy of artist Philippe Parreno. According to the installation’s press release, visitors will be encouraged to “contemplate the passage of time and shifting patterns of light and atmospheric conditions” within the museum/architectural fishbowl. Is My Room is Another Fish Bowl (2016) a light-hearted aesthetic joke, or a withering critique of museum-goers? After all, the average museum-goer is said to look at any given object for about 7 seconds, whereas a gold fish is said to have a 3 second memory. Check it out and decide for yourself. —TM

Philippe Parreno, “My Room Is Another Fish Bowl” (2016), Mylar and helium, overall dimensions vary. Installation view of “IF THIS THEN ELSE” at Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2016 (© Philippe Parreno, courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, photo by David Regen)

 Ceramics with a Kick

When: Opens Thursday, October 6 (continues through March 26, 2017)
Where: Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street, Soho, Manhattan)

For the Museum of Chinese in America’s new show, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy, artists Heidi Lau and Lu Zhang have created ceramic sculptures responding to the unique stories and style of  30 Chinese and Asian American chefs — among the muses are Mission Chinese Food co-founder Danny Bowien and legendary San Francisco restauranteur Cecilia Chiang. The sculptures will all be presented on a large communal table, and if you come on an empty stomach, you’ll probably be drooling for dim sum by the time you leave.

 First Frickin’ Friday

When: Friday, October 7, 6–9pm
Where: The Frick Collection (1 East 70th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

It took the Frick Collection a little while to catch on, but starting today the Upper East Side institution will be open late and for free the first Friday evening of every month (except January). So seize the opportunity to catch the ongoing Arlene Shechet exhibition, or grab some (complimentary) drawing supplies provided by the museum and seat yourself in the Garden Court, get inspired, and draw your heart out.

The Garden Court at the Frick Collection (photo by cubby_t_bear/Flickr)
The Garden Court at the Frick Collection (photo by cubby_t_bear/Flickr)

 Musical Machines

When: Saturday, October 8–Sunday, October 9
Where: Knockdown Center (52–19 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth, Queens)

Remember when Jerry Saltz discovered the Knockdown Center this year and gasped at the possibilities the massive space presents for art happenings? This weekend’s Machines in Music is one of those events that is sure to fit the warehouse perfectly: all kinds of strange sounds from modular synthesizer hardware will fill its walls for two days, with 47 exhibitors from North America and Europe packed in to show off their knob-filled goods. Aside from learning about emerging music technologies, enjoy a number of sonic presentations including Jorge Chikiar’s performative installation of AM and FM radios and Caselden Studios intriguing “magnetic soundbath,” which promises a meditative experience. —CV

 Anti-Columbus Day Tour

A flyer for the #DecolonizeThisPlace tour of the American Museum of Natural History (via
A flyer for the #DecolonizeThisPlace tour of the American Museum of Natural History (via (click to enlarge)

When: Monday, October 10, 4pm
Where: American Museum of Natural History (enter at street on Central Park West and 79th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan)

Museums are battlegrounds. Who gets the right and power to tell history is political, so museums by their nature are as well, and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise. This Columbus Day — or Indigenous Peoples’ Day to many of us — the people at the #DecolonizeThisPlace residency at Artists Space are offering a radical retelling of a museum whose collection is, how do you say, problematic. Join the team and meet in the main hall, and don’t worry about entry, because tickets will be provided by the tour guides. —HV

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With contributions by Allison Meier, Tiernan Morgan, Hrag Vartanian, and Claire Voon

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