Art Rx

This week, the fall openings continue, and the doctor is prescribing African photography, Japanese avant-garde, contemporary political art, and net and new-media art that contemplate the possibilities of Armageddon. It’s also a week for massive installations: one artist built a suburban house in a gallery in Williamsburg, while two others are taking over a Chelsea space for a labyrinth of remixed period rooms.

Plus what would the start of art season be without some public talks? The doctor’s got you covered, with two artists speaking on public space and a whole panel of thinkers contemplating the art world’s newfound love of dance.

Sadamasa Motonaga, "Work"
From “A Visual Essay on Gutai”: Sadamasa Motonaga, “Work” (1963), acrylic on canvas mounted on plywood, 63 3/4 x 51 5/8 in (image via Hauser & Wirth)

Every Public Has a Form

When: Tuesday, September 11, 6:30–8 pm
Where: The New School, Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (66 Fifth Avenue, West Village, Manhattan)

The New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics brings Paul Ramírez Jonas to present “Every Public Has a Form.” Jonas will deliver what’s sure to be a fascinating talk (and manifesto) on the relationships between public monuments, memory, space, and protest in the hybrid form of a part lecture and part performance.

Distance and Desire

When: Opens Wednesday, September 12, 6–8 pm
Where: The Walther Collection Project Space (526 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

The Walther Collection Project Space mounted a series of fascinating exhibitions last year, and this fall they’re continuing the trend. On Wednesday the gallery kicks off a 9-month, 3-part series on photography from Southern Africa called Distance and Desire: Encounters with the African Archive. Part I pairs A.M. Duggan-Cronin’s ethnographic pictures from the early 20th century with Santu Mofokeng’s more contemporary and subversive ones.


When: Opens Wednesday, September 12, 6–8 pm
Where: Huaser & Wirth (32 East 69th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

The Gutai Art Association was the name of a group of avant-garde artists who emerged in Japan after the devastation of their country in World War II. They worked between and through the poles of Japanese artistic tradition and more radical experimentation, producing profoundly influential work in the process. Hauser & Wirth shows A Visual Essay on Gutai, comprising more than 30 works by 12 members of the group.

Artistic Unrest

When: Opens Wednesday, September 12, 6–8 pm
Where: Apexart (291 Church Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)

There have been countless exhibitions exploring the relationship between art and political activism. There will continue to be, because we can never really resolve these questions, only chip away at them. Just after the anniversary of 9/11 and just before the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, Apexart opens Unrest: Revolt against Reason, a show featuring eight international artists dealing with recent political upheaval and change.

Artists Formerly Known as Sculptors

When: Opens Wednesday, September 12, 7–9 pm
Where: BRIC Rotunda Gallery (33 Clinton Street, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)

BRIC presents its fifth annual exhibition of emerging Brooklyn artists. This edition highlights eight — not sculptors, mind you, but “artists making sculpture.” We can’t wait to see what makes the difference.

Stray Light Grey

When: Opens Thursday, September 13, 6–10 pm
Where: Marlborough Chelsea (545 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe got a lot of attention when they built junky meth labs inside various art spaces and galleries. Now they’re coming to Chelsea, not to build a meth lab but Stray Light Grey, a large, chaotic installation of mashed-up period rooms. The press release promises an Off Track Betting parlor, an archive/library of an eccentric aristocrat, a cake shop, and a plastic surgery clinic.

Bright Lights After Armaggedon

When: Opens Thursday, September 13, 7–9 pm
Where: Pablo’s Birthday (25 Cleveland Place, Nolita, Manhattan)

“What if we are living in the end times, but as Joseph Campbell wrote, ‘Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon but to the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end’? What if rather than an all-consuming fire, Armageddon is a scintillating brightness, illuminating the first stirrings of a much better future?” So begins the exhibition text for this show, which features work by net and new-media artists Anne de Vries, Michael Bell Smith, Rafaël Rozendaal, and Travess Smalley.

Christine Hill's Volksboutique
Christine Hill’s Volksboutique (photo by Felix Oberhage, via

Occupy Your BFF

When: Opens Friday, September 14, 6–9 pm
Where: Momenta Art (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

Occupy Museums is teaming up with Momenta Art to launch its latest residency/open space/program, a 6-week stay that aims to perpetuate discussions about art and the market. As with many Occupy events and actions, the details are still in the works, but events, talks, and more are planned, and Occupy Your BFF is one of the best titles we’ve heard in a long time.

House Party

When: Opens Friday, September 14, 7–10 pm
Where: The Boiler (191 North 14th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Speaking of building things, artist Andrew Ohanesian built a house — an entire one, a “spatially accurate, quintessentially American suburban home” in the repurposed industrial space of the Boiler. To welcome everyone, he’s throwing a house party on Friday,  for which he encourages you to go a little crazy and contribute to the art making by leaving your own “scar” on the house, whatever that may be.

Discussions in Contemporary Culture

When: Saturday, September 15, 6:30 pm
Where: Dia:Chelsea (541 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

From 1983 to 1995, Dia hosted a Discussions in Contemporary Culture series. On Saturday, the program returns with a conversation between artist Thomas Hirschhorn and art historian Hal Foster. A new work by Hirschhorn chronicling all of his public-space interventions will also be unveiled that day.

The Joy of Work

When: Opens Sunday, September 16, 6–8 pm
Where: P! (334 Broome Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Process 01: Joy is the inaugural exhibition at gallery P!, and it brings together an eclectic trio of artists to explore the topics of labor, alienation, and love of work. Chauncey Hare was an extremely successful and talented social photographer who abandoned the art world to become an occupational therapist; Christine Hill is the founder of Volksboutique, an ever-changing installation and social space that will be used in its current iteration as a site for researching local small businesses; and Karel Martens is a pioneering graphic designer who also designed P!’s first logo (see it here).

Why Dance?

When: Monday, September 17, 6:30–8 pm
Where: Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

Two weeks ago, Hyperallergic Weekend editor Claudia La Rocco wrote in the New York Times about the art world’s increasing embrace of dance. Her fellow weekend editor Tom Micchelli responded with a piece here. So Performa’s  panel discussion on the topic — why dance in the art world? — couldn’t be more timely. Choreographer and artist Ralph Lemon, curator Jenny Schlenzka, and critic David Velasco are the featured panelists, with Performa founder RoseLee Goldberg moderating.

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