Art Rx

It’s time for the doctor again! She’s in the office help with all of your August art ailments. This is largely the week of the solo exhibition, and the doctor’s got both emerging and established artists lined up for you. For the former, check out a creepy showing of heads by Zack Bout or the debut of a new work about memories of World War II by Sonya Schönberger. For the latter, visit Jean-Michel Othoniel’s retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum or catch an exhibition of street photographs by Helen Levitt before it closes.

And if you want to get away from all the galleries and museums and soak up some Vitamin D for a change, don’t worry, you don’t need to trek all the way to the Hamptons. Just ride the train out to Rockaway Beach, where Creative Time is hosting its inaugural Artistic Sandcastle Competition, which is exactly what it sounds like: artists building sandcastles. Ephemeral, indeed. Enjoy the fun while it lasts!

Zack Bout, "Lil Kurdzeey II"
Zack Bout, “Lil Kurdzeey II” (image via

 Death of Swag

When: Opened Wednesday, August 15
Where: Fuse Gallery (93 Second Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)

For his latest show, artist Zack Bout has combined his obsession Bossons heads — a series of kitschy, hand-painted, high-relief, gypsum plaster portraits from the 1960s through ’80s — with an interest in Italian death masks and rap swag. Bout’s additions of custom-fitted sunglasses and grills turn the already strange and racist Bossons into even weirder caricatures, which are far more interesting than the originals and definitely more provocative.

 The Dirty Dozen

When: Opens Thursday, August 16, 6–9 pm
Where: Freight+Volume (530 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Freight+Volume is closing out summer with a group exhibition centered around everyone’s favorite topic: sex. Gallery owner Nick Lawrence says he was inspired by the landmark film The Dirty Dozen, although how he got from a group of convicts fighting in World War II to sex, we’re not entirely sure. Oh yes, something about “the quest for freedom of expression” and “salvation through making art,” as well as a “suicide mission, in the face of art world establishment.” We’ll leave it to you to decide if it holds up to all that, but even if not, at least you know it’ll be exciting.

 Artistic Sandcastles

When: Friday, August 17, 3–9 pm
Where: 86th Street boardwalk at Rockaway Beach (Far Rockaway, Queens)

If you haven’t been to the beach yet this summer (or maybe that’s just us), you’re running out of time! If you have been, did you build a sandcastle while you were there? What about watching a bunch of artists — among them Dustin Yellin, Jen DeNike and Ryan McNamara — compete to build the best (or most artistic?) sandcastle? You can do that this Friday, when Creative Time hosts its first ever Artist’s Sandcastle Competition. The event kicks off at 3 pm, with judging around 5 and an afterparty at Rippers on the boardwalk starting at 6.

 Closing the Open Lab

When: Opens Friday, August 17, 7–10 pm
Where: Reverse Space (28 Frost Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

In the middle of June, six emerging artists set up work stations in the Reverse gallery and turned the space into an Open Lab. They’ve been working there since, talking with anyone who stops in and opening up the mysterious “process” of making art for general viewing. The culminating artworks made during the project will be on view at Reverse all weekend, starting with an opening party on Friday night.

 Jean-Michel Othoniel’s Way

When: Opens Friday, August 17
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel is internationally known, but there haven’t been many chances to see his work in New York in recent years. The Brooklyn Museum is making up for that with a retrospective, My Way, which comes from the Centre Pompidou. It includes early sculptures made from sulfur and wax, better-known works incorporating Murano glass and more in between.

Helen Levitt, "NYC (Boy Bending by Car)"
Helen Levitt, “NYC (Boy Bending by Car)” (c. 1940, image via

Last Chance: Helen Levitt

When: Closes Friday, August 17
Where: Laurence Miller Gallery (20 West 57th Street, midtown, Manhattan)

Laurence Miller Gallery opened Just Kids, an exhibition of the work of Helen Levitt, to mark the third anniversary of her death. The show comprises all photographs of children on the street — with hula hoops, bending over cars, wearing masks and just generally being kids. A good chance to be reminded of why Levitt was one of the most beloved street photographers New York City had.

 German Memories

When: Tuesday, August 21, 6:30 pm
Where: Residency Unlimited (360 Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)

Artist Sonya Schönberger has spent two years interviewing Germans about World War II and their experiences of life during the Third Reich. At Residency Unlimited (where she is indeed a resident), she debuts a new performance based on those interviews (the piece will be performed by two actors), followed by a conversation about her work. If you can’t make it, you can see more of Schönberger’s work at Cuchifritos, where her first solo New York show opens this week, too.

 All-Night Bookstore

When: Opening party Tuesday, August 21, 7–9 pm
Where: Peanut Underground (215 East 5th Street, East Village, Manhattan)

We don’t know much about this exhibition, other than the fact that it’s got a great name — The All-Night Bookstore — and is taking place at a space with an equally great name, Peanut Underground. Participating artists include Stewart Home, Anthony Haden-Guest, Duke 9, Jazz-Minh Moore (I know, I know Work of Art was so last season, now that we have Gallery Girls) and many, many more. Here’s hoping for some inspired, underground fun.

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