Art Rx

Happy February! To start off the new month right, the doctor wants to shake things up; her prescription this week should have you questioning hierarchies and norms and thinking about alternative narratives.

Get going with an exhibition at Parsons, where among the works on view is one for which the artists stole a million Facebook profiles and repurposed them for a fake dating website. Later that same night, if you can make it, artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, the one and only artist in residence at New York City’s Sanitation Department, will give a talk about public art and urban sustainability. The next night, Lower East Side gallery P! starts digging into the question of when copying is bad and when it’s good, while artist Christopher K. Ho gives a reading and talk as part of his exhibition about the art world’s favorite actors, privileged white people. Cap off the week with a symposium and a film screening devoted to recognizing long-underrecognized African-American artists and communities.

And those are just the highlight — there’s even more in between.

Paolo Cirio, "Street Ghosts," part of the exhibition "The Public Private" (image via Google+)
Paolo Cirio, “Street Ghosts,” part of the exhibition “The Public Private” (image via Google+)

 The Public Private

When: Opens Wednesday, February 6, 6–8 pm
Where:  Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Parsons The New School for Design (2 West 13th Street, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

The latest exhibition of contemporary artwork about social media, The Public Private will focus solely on social media’s boundary-bending prerogative. Artists exhibited address the psychological, emotional, and legal challenges of sites like Facebook and OkCupid mostly by stealing people’s profiles and hacking personal computer files (through a software bug that created remote access to private PC’s). One of the more interesting-sounding pieces is “Face to Facebook,” a faux dating site (exhibited through multimedia installation) created with one million stolen Facebook profiles, all of them sorted based on facial expressions. What a gas it would be to see your own face — or maybe that’s just creepy. —AW

 Doubles and Dopplegängers

When: Wednesday, February 6, 6–8 pm
Where: Sean Kelly Gallery (475 Tenth Avenue, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Marcia E. Vertrocq, an art historian and former writer for Art in America, will talk with Belgian artist Johan Grimonprez, whose work is on view in the current exhibition at Sean Kelly Gallery. The discussion will center on Looking for Alfreda film concerned with the search for the perfect Alfred Hitchcock dopplegänger, as Germonprez makes use of several vintage screen tests and cameos featuring these look-alikes. The conversation will analyze the connections between Looking for Alfred and Double Take, its full-length feature counterpart. The latter is a film that Grimonprez made based on a monologue by Tom McCarty, in which Alfred Hitchcock meets an identical twin on the 1962 set of The Birds. —KP

 Sanitation Artist

When: Wednesday, February 6, 7 pm
Where: Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (66 Fifth Ave, Greenwich Village, Manhattan)

Mierle Laderman Ukeles is the longstanding artist-in-residence of New York City’s Sanitation Department (that job exists!) and will be speaking about public art and urban sustainability. Considered a feminist and environmentalist artist and well-known for her Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!, Ukeles’s work ranges from performances of cleaning galleries to shaking hands with 8,500 sanitation workers, to her transformation of Fresh Kills in Staten Island, once the biggest urban landfill in the world. —AW

 Copying or Appropriation?

When: Opens Thursday, February 7, 6–8 pm
Where: P! (334 Broome Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

On Thursday one of our favorite newcomers from last year, P!, kicks off six months of “an extended inquiry into the nature and means of copying.” The series will consider what the act means and when it’s considered positive or negative, and why, through rotating exhibitions and discussions. This month entails the transformation of the gallery into a reading room, where a series of reading group discussions (open to all) will take place on certain texts. Excerpts will be available online and in the gallery, starting, presumably, this Thursday night.

 A Big Show of Basquiat

When: Opens Thursday, February 7, 6–8 pm
Where: Gagosian Gallery (55 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

With over 50 works on view, taken from both private and public collections, Jean-Michel Basquiat at Gagosian Gallery should definitely give onlookers a healthy dose of the iconic artist’s wide range of creative powers. For fans as well as those not as familiar with Basquiat’s contribution to the arts, this show in Gagosian’s spacious gallery will no doubt marvel as well as educate. —JDS

Installation view, Christopher K. Ho, "Privileged White People" at Forever & Today, Inc.(courtesy the artist and Forever & Today, Inc.; photo by Mike Garten; via
Installation view, Christopher K. Ho, “Privileged White People” at Forever & Today, Inc.(courtesy the artist and Forever & Today, Inc.; photo by Mike Garten; via

 The Last Pictures (or Some of Them)

When: Opens Thursday, February 7, 6–8 pm
Where:  Metro Pictures (519 West 24th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

For Trevor Paglen’s exhibition at Metro Pictures, he will be showing work related to The Last Picturesa project commissioned by Creative Time that launched into space last fall. Selected images from the series of 100 will be on view, as well as some of Paglen’s “skyscapes,” images depicting undocumented government satellites. These satellites, currently hovering around Earth, are very similar to the one that currently holds a small disc containing The Last Pictures, and all of them will inevitably outlast mankind. —KP

 Privileged White People

When: Thursday, February 7, 6:30–8:30 pm (RSVP: [email protected])
Where: Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street, Chinatown, Manhattan)

Christopher H. Ko’s current exhibition at Forever & Today, Inc., is called Privileged White People. (“Privileged white people are so dominant in the art world that they are invisible,” he said in a recent interview in Modern Painters.) It includes, among other things, hilariously oversize photographs of Bill Clinton and James Van Der Beek, aka Dawson from Dawson’s Creek, and an enormous stack of drafts of Ho’s two-hour TV pilot, “Trout College.” On Thursday night, Ho will read from the “Trout College” script, which he summarizes in the same interview thusly: “A revolution in El Salvador concludes Act I, and a school shooting starts Act III. Throughout, the interpersonal accompanies and contours the ideological.” Enticing.

 Now Dig This!

When: Friday, February 8, 10 am–5 pm ($12)
Where: Theater 2, the Museum of Modern Art (11 West 53rd Street, Midtown, Manhattan)

We know most people probably have to work on Friday, but this one may be worth playing hooky for: MoMA will host a daylong symposium on the 1970s African-American artistic communities in Los Angeles and New York, in conjunction with the fantastic MoMA PS1 exhibition Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980. Participants include curators Franklin Sirmans and Kalia Brooks as well as artists Lorraine O’Grady, Senga Nengudi, Sanford Biggers, and Hank Willis Thomas. And if you really can’t sneak away, MoMA PS1’s Sunday Session on the 10th will also celebrate Now Dig This! with performances, dances, and a conversation between Kellie Jones and her father, who just happens to be iconic poet/activist Amiri Baraka.

 Art After Sandy

When: Opens Friday, February 8
Where: 303 10th Avenue (Chelsea, Manhattan)

For the many artists in New York whose art and materials were either damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the path to recovery —emotional, financial, or otherwise — may be a long and uphill trudge. To help them on their way, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has been giving out grants from its Emergency Relief Fund. On Friday, the organization will open a show of work by first-round grantees (including Nancy Goldring, whom Hyperallergic spoke to in the aftermath of the storm) — all work that has been maimed, restored, reworked, or inspired by the disaster. —JDS

 Black Arts, Black Artists

When: Saturday, February 9, 3 pm (free with museum admission, $12)
Where: Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, Queens)

The Museum of the Moving Image has two current series that sound both refreshing and eye-opening: L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, which focuses on a group of artists of color enrolled at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in the late 1960s, and Changing the Picture, which presents the work of film and television artists of color. As part of both of these, the museum will screen a set of short films by black artists on Saturday afternoon, ranging from a documentary and a dance film to an experimental meditation on ethnic female identity.

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With listings by Kyle Petreycik, JD Siazon, and Arianne Wack

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