After a whirlwind of parties, events and an overwhelming amount of art at Art Basel Miami, we have just what you need to settle back into the New York swing of things. This week’s Art Rx is a mixed bag of shows and events around the city that include some of the last performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at BAM, a discussion about the legality of appropriation art and documentary photographs of old Manhattan by a group of young radicals.

Left to right: Installation view of Cory Arcangel v. Pierre Bismuth (Courtesy of Team Gallery), Sid Grossman, “Coney Island” (1947), New York Photo League (via the, Merce Cunningham dancers (via

So Long to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company

When: December 7 – 10
Where: BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

December is the month to bid adieu to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which will finish up its final performances of the Legacy Tour in New York City.

The company will be performing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music until Saturday before they move to the Park Avenue Armory at the end of the month. Each night of the Merce Cunningham: Legacy Tour at BAM offers a different selection of Cunningham’s lauded oeuvre. In addition to Cunningham’s stunning choreography and dancers, several of the pieces include costume design and set decor by Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol’s installation Silver Clouds takes center stage in the 1968 dance RainForest. Grab tickets before they sell out!

 Copyright Battleground

When: Tuesday December 13, 2pm – 4pm
Where: Great Hall of the New York City Bar Association (42 West 44th st between 5th & 6th Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan)

This is a question that has continuously plagued the art world, and with the complexities of copyright laws, it’s not always easy to know the answer. The New York City Bar Association takes a crack at the issue of appropriation art in their “frank” discussion of fair use and artistic practice.

The lecture is entitled “What We Talk About When We Talk About Appropriation, Contemporary Art After Cariou v. Prince,” which refers to the copyright battle between photographer Patrick Cariou and the appropriation artist Richard Prince who adapted a photograph by Cariou in one of his works. Among the lecture panelists are curator Dan Cameron, Walter Robinson from Artnet and artist Hank Willis Thomas.

Two Artists Go Head to Head

When: November 3 – December 23
Where: Team Gallery (83 Grand Street, SoHo, Manhattan)

Team Gallery lets two of their artists, Cory Arcangel and Pierre Bismuth, play curator for a change in this two-person show. Cory Arcangel vs. Pierre Bismuth includes three of Arcangel’s pieces chosen by Bismuth and three of Bismuth’s works selected by Arcangel. The artists are a natural fit as both of their practices involve distorting and remixing contemporary mass media.

Art that Provides an Escape From Reality

When: November 15 – January 22, 2012
Where: Zurcher Studio (33 Bleecker Street, Noho, Manhattan)

Everyone needs an escape sometimes, or the opportunity to envision worlds outside our own. Underemployed now up at Zurcher Studio, takes inspiration from the man most known for his devotion to fantasy and pleasure, Oscar Wilde.

The show speaks to Wilde’s argument that the more art resists the pull of realism, the better off it is, exhibiting works that “transform the familiar and rote into something remarkable and fantastic.” Yet, as the title of the exhibition suggests, the political urgency of art can’t always be ignored and reality usually finds a way to slip in. The show is curated by Josh Blackwell and includes artists Brian Belott, Rochelle Feinstein, Viktor Kopp, Miranda Lichtenstein, Mary Lum, Keiko Narahashi, Lizzie Scott and B Wurtz.

Radical Photography of Old New York

When: November 4 – March 25, 2012
Where: The Jewish Museum (1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

I don’t make it to the Jewish Museum as often as I’d like, but their exhibitions always seem unique. Their current show, Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League, 1936 – 1951 showcases the work of a group of young, idealistic photographers who gathered in Manhattan to challenge modernism and engage with the gritty realities of urban life.

The League took to the streets with their cameras, closely documenting every day life through the tumultuous periods of the Great Depression, World War II and the Cold War.

For anyone with a passion for old photographs of New York and the history of the city, this show is sure to please.

Liza Eliano is Hyperallergic’s editorial assistant by day, and bad TV fanatic by night. She recently graduated from Barnard College with a BA in art history and a newfound love for girl power. She was...