Art Rx

Congratulations, honeys: you’ve made it through the first month of the new year! The doctor hopes — ahem, assumes — you’re keeping up with all your resolutions, and since she’s sure some of them must go something like, “see more art,” she’s helping you out with her weekly prescription.

This week includes a high dosage of talks and discussions: Eleanor Antin reads from her new memoir Conversations with Stalin at three different art venues around the city; emerging artist Trudy Benson discusses her own work; artist David Diao muses on Barnett Newman; and critic Ken Johnson will break his silence and speak about the controversy his reviews inspired a few months ago. There are also talks going on all weekend at the Outsider Art Fair in Chelsea.

Uptown, meanwhile, two group exhibitions are opening that tackle some big artists and big ideas — a show on conceptual art at Columbia University and one on artistic and architectural innovation at the National Academy, which has a particularly strong lineup. Downtown, Max Warsh, a co-founder of Regina Rex gallery, gets his first own solo show in New York, and DIS magazine goes crazy creating a real-life stock photography studio. Stay warming, and happy arting!

Max Warsh, "Green Island" (2012), photographs and acrylic on wood panel, 24 x 20 inches (image via Toomer Labzda)
Max Warsh, “Green Island” (2012), photographs and acrylic on wood panel, 24 x 20 inches (image via Toomer Labzda)

 Conversations with Stalin

When: Tuesday, January 29, 6 pm; Thursday, January 31, 7 pm; Friday, February 1, 6:30 pm
Where: Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (31 Mercer Street, Soho, Manhattan); Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn); Whitney Museum (945 Madison Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Artist Eleanor Antin’s Conversations with Stalin is a memoir about growing up in Cold War–era New York as the child of first-generation Jewish, Communist immigrants. In the book, which is apparently darkly comical, Antin imagines Stalin (of all people!) as a confidant and father figure. This week she’ll be giving four performative readings — adding up to the entire book — at different locations in New York. The first one took place yesterday morning at the Jewish Museum, but don’t worry if you missed it: there are three more to go, at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney.

 Conceptual Geographies

When: Reception Tuesday, January 29, 6–8 pm
Where: Wallach Art Gallery (Schermerhorn Hall, 8th floor, Columbia University, campus entrance at West 116th Street and Broadway, Upper West Side, Manhattan)

As frustrating and alienating as conceptual art can sometimes feel, it may also provide opportunities to experience life-changing epiphanies.  The mind-boggling exhibit Conceptual Geographies seeks to expose the infinitesimal nuances of conceptual art practice from 1967 to the present day in terms of an artist’s physical location on earth and how it influences his or her art. Included in the show are lesser-known purveyors of the genre as well as heavy hitters Sophie Calle, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Ed Ruscha. —JDS

 Brooklyn Art Talk

When: Tuesday, January 29, 6:30 pm ($5 suggested donation)
Where: Brooklyn Art Space (168 7th Street, 3rd floor, Gowanus, Brooklyn)

It’s always a good idea to seek out and support talented emerging artists since it is they who, in time, will become the next generation’s creative vanguard. To that end, Brooklyn Art Space has slated Trudy Benson to give a talk about her art. A graduate of Pratt Institute’s MFA in Fine Arts program as well as a 2012 NYFA fellow, Benson will likely discuss what kindles her creative process and inspires her brash, urban style of large-scale paintings. —JDS

 Building Pictures

When: Opens Wednesday, January 30, 6–8 pm
Where: Toomer Labzda (100a Forsyth Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Max Warsh’s first solo exhibition in New York, aptly titled BILDER (a German word meaning “pictures”), features photo-based painting and collage work in which he uses familiar architectural facades as source material. Warsh goes for long walks along the streets of New York City, all the while photographing the repetitive architectural elements he encounters; later, he rebuilds them into collages in the studio. The exhibition also features a series of still conveyor belts hung throughout the gallery, another example of Warsh’s relationship to construction, reinterpreted. —KP

Kate Orff / SCAPE, "Oyster-tecture" (detail) (2010), architectural model, 24 x 96 x 114 inches (image via
Kate Orff / SCAPE’s “Oyster-tecture” (detail) (2010), architectural model, part of the National Academy’s “Seismic Shifts” exhibition (image via

 Ken Johnson Speaks

When: Wednesday, January 30, 7 pm
Where: This Red Door at Kunsthalle Galapagos (16 Main Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Remember that whole Ken Johnson kerfuffle? Well, artist collaborative This Red Door is bringing in Johnson for a discussion, presumably about the racism and sexism that he was accused of and the responsibilities of a critic. The panel will feature Johnson talking with artist Lisa Corinne Davis and other “possible special guests.” Should be juicy.

 Artistic Innovation

When: Opens Thursday, January 31, 11 am–6 pm
Where: National Academy Museum (1083 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Seismic Shifts is an exhibition focused on bringing together the work of ten artists and architects who grapple with social, environmental, as well as political issues. The show will feature paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and architectural models by artists Nick Cave, Thornton Dial, Tom Friedman, Vik Muniz, Wagechi Mutu, Betye Saar, and Bill Viola, and architects Greg Lynn of FORM, Kate Orff of SCAPE, and Moshe Safdie. According to the curators, each artist has retained his or her own individual voice while also contributing to a new way of thinking about contemporary culture. —KP

 Outsider Art Fair

When: Thursday, January 31–Sunday, February 3 (price vary; buy tickets here)
Where: Center 548 (548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Whether you’re an outsider art devotee or just a curious novice, the Outsider Art Fair is always a fun, eye-opening event. You’ll likely discover artists you’ve never heard of, and you might even be tempted to buy. This year’s edition — the first in Chelsea — includes a strong lineup of weekend talks, including a Sunday afternoon discussion with curators Daniel Baumann, Massimiliano Gioni, and Ralph Rugoff about bridging the outsider and contemporary art worlds.

 Post-Internet Stock Photography

When: Opens Saturday, February 2
Where: The Suzanne Geiss Company (76 Grand Street, Soho, Manhattan)

This is pretty ingenious: DIS Magazine is planning an issue on stock photography. Not only that, but they’re extending the project beyond the magazine itself to Suzanne Geiss Company, where they’ll transform the space into a photo studio. DIS Image Studio will be “focused on manipulating the codes and trends in stock photography,” and participating artists and photographers will form an “assembly line of image-making.” The results will feed, a soon-to-be fully functioning stock photography website, moving the project in a circle from online to gallery to back online again.

 On Barnett Newman

When: Monday, February 4, 6:30 pm ($6)
Where: Dia: Chelsea (535 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Artist David Diao has made a number of artistic tributes to Abstract Expressionist Barnett Newman; now he’ll address Newman as a subject and influence in words. This the latest in Dia’s mostly monthly Artists on Artists Lecture Series.

*   *   *

With listings by Kyle Petreycik and JD Siazon

comments (0)