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Your Concise New York Art Guide for September 2020

Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month.

Joiri Minaya, “Container #4” (2020), 60 x 40 inches (image courtesy Baxter Street Camera Club of New York)

Needless to say, this fall is going to be very different from the last. While museums are slowly beginning to reopen, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom large, as does the (thankfully) growing movement against anti-Black racism and police brutality.

So, as you continue to practice your best safety precautions and contribute to critical mutual aid efforts (it’s never too late to start, unless, of course, you don’t), here are our recommendations for art exhibitions and programs not to miss this month — many of which are outside, available online, or  appointment only, because well, you know, safety first.

— Dessane Lopez Cassell

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Ina Archer, “Hattie McDaniel: or A Credit to the Motion Picture Industry” (2003), 4-channel video, handkerchief, framed photograph, dimensions variable (image courtesy the artist and Microscope Gallery)

Ina Archer, Osmundine (Orchid Slap)

When: August 21–October 4 
Where: Microscope Gallery (1329 Willoughby Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn) (open by appointment only)

In this modest but incisive show, the multi-hyphenate Ina Archer offers a one-two punch on several uniquely American forms of racism. From the legacy of the one-drop rule, to the portrayal of power dynamics in popular film, her video installations and collages weave some particularly razor-sharp critiques.

Installation view of I’m here to entertain you, but only during my shift at Baxter Street Camera Club of New York (image courtesy Baxter Street Camera Club of New York)

I’m here to entertain you, but only during my shift

When: August 25–September 30
Where: Baxter Street Camera Club of New York (126 Baxter Street, Chinatown, Manhattan)

In her performances, installations, and films, Joiri Minaya often examines the gendered nature of fantasies mapped onto both her home country of the Dominican Republic and other tropical contexts. Her latest exhibition presents recent works from her Containers series, which both nods to and pushes back against the tendency to exoticize difference and femmes of color.

Visitors viewing Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” in 1851-1910 and 2019 (image courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right photo by Roderick Aichinger)

Making the Met, 1870–2020

When: August 29, 2020–January 3, 2021
Where: The Met (1000 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

On the occasion of its 150th anniversary, the Metropolitan Museum of Art reflects upon its own history — from the museum’s founding in 1870 to its position as a cultural powerhouse in the present day. Organized into 10 distinct “episodes” in the museum’s lifetime, the exhibition presents over 250 collection highlights — wide-ranging works that constituted important acquisitions or marked significant changes in the institution. 

Installation view of In Your Absence the Skies Are All the Same in Times Square, New York (image courtesy Times Square Arts, photo by Tatyana Tenenbaum for Times Square Arts)

In Your Absence the Skies Are All the Same

When: September 1–30, midnight
Where: Times Square (Midtown, Manhattan) and online

Since 2012, Midnight Moment has regularly held three-minute-long exhibitions across Times Square’s electronic billboards and kiosks at night. This month, Kambui Olujimi combines over 40 images of skies all over the world into a kaleidoscopic, collective sky that constantly shifts — offering viewers a meditative moment amid these uniquely precarious times. The work will also stream online with audio, featuring a version of Dee Dee Warwick’s song “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.”

Kei Ito, “Afterimage Requiem, Selected Prints” (2018), (image courtesy apexart)

Elongated Shadows

When: September 5–October 24
Where: Online via apexart (291 Church Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)

A winning proposal for apexart’s 2020–2021 NYC Open Call, Elongated Shadows explores US and Japanese perspectives on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Two of the artists are the descendants of hibakusha, or bombing survivors, while three are heirs to Americans involved in building or deploying the bombs. The show will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the cataclysmic event.

Luchita Hurtado, “Birth” (2019), ccrylic on linen, 30 1/8 x 22 x 1 5/8 inches (© Luchita Hurtado, image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, photo by Thomas Barratt)

Luchita Hurtado: Together Forever

When: September 10–October 31
Where: Hauser & Wirth (22nd street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Luchita Hurtado spent nearly 80 years of her long life creating vibrant, deeply personal canvases that turned the conventions of self-portraiture and depicting the environment on their head. Yet for decades, evidence of her practice remained private, obscured by the careers of her male contemporaries or otherwise only occasionally exhibited until 2015. When she passed away last month, at 99 years old, much of the art world mourned a star they had only been able to get to know in her later years. This exhibition will present a number of never-before-seen works.

From Lovers Rock (2020), dir. Steve McQueen (image courtesy Amazon Studios)

New York Film Festival

When: September 17–October 11
Where: Virtual and various drive-in screenings

With public health concerns in mind, the 58th edition of the revered film festival will take place virtually, as well as outside at drive-in screenings in Brooklyn and Queens. This year, the festival’s diverse offerings are split into five redesigned sections: the central “Main Slate” of features, alongside “Currents,” “Spotlight,” “Revivals,” and a slate of conversations with filmmakers. Steve McQueen’s latest film, Lovers Rock (2020), is among the most anticipated on the docket.

In-progress installation view of the Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations at Luhring Augustine Bushwick, New York (image courtesy Luhring Augustine; photo by Matthew Schenning)

The Pleasure Pavilion: A Series of Installations

When: September 17, 2020–February 20, 2021
Where: Luhring Augustine (25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Bushwick, Brooklyn), online

From the 17th to 19th centuries, Indian royalty built intimate Mughal-Style pleasure pavilions to entertain company, watch performances, or take in the views. In successive three-week installations, seven artists — Pipilotti Rist, Philip Taaffe, Jason Moran, Zarina, Salman Toor, Tomm El-Saieh, and Ragnar Kjartansson — will individually activate the front façade of one such pavilion. A virtual viewing room will be regularly updated as the installation progresses.

Tameca Cole, “Locked in a Dark Calm” (2016), collage and graphite on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches (image courtesy the Museum of Modern Art)

Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration 

When: September 17, 2020–April 4, 2021
Where: MoMA PS1 (22–25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City)

Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration presents an array of work by over 35 artists, some of whom are incarcerated, and many of whom are exploring themes related to state repression, the disproportionately large scale of the US prison industrial complex, and the discrimination that runs rampant in the legal system. Guest curator Dr. Nicole R. Fleetwood has updated the show to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons across the country, following the exhibition’s delayed opening due to quarantine measures put in place across New York City in March. 

Installation view of Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit at the Hammer Museum (image courtesy SculptureCenter)

Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit

When: September 24, 2020–January 25, 2021
Where: SculptureCenter (44-19 Purves St, Long Island City, Queens)

Liquid Circuit, which was on view earlier this year at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, is multidisciplinary artist Tishan Hsu’s first US museum survey show. The multi-media exhibition spans work made from 1980 to 2005 and highlights Hsu’s technological prescience, understanding, and engagement.

With contributions by Cassie Packard and Dessane Lopez Cassell

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