The doctor has a very specific prescription for you this week: openings! Celebrate new beginnings, seek out some new art, and take yourself to some new places with this wide-ranging list, drawn up for you by the doctor and her assistants. There’s post-hip-hop art and music at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and a celebration of the year 1993 at the New Museum. There’s a group show exploring the body at Greenpoint’s Fowler Arts Collective and an innovative Armory Show centennial exhibition at the Lower East Side’s Abron Arts Center. Chelsea has solo outings by Jered Sprecher, Yevgeniy Fiks, James White, and Federico Solmi.

If you want romance, even just a touch of it, for Valentine’s Day, the doctor recommends you head to Times Square. Yes, she knows Times Square is for tourists, but Tracey Emin’s neon expressions of love will be lighting up the billboards just before midnight every night this week (and month). Or, if you and your partner are gaming geeks, spend the weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image, which will transform into a video-game-lover’s paradise for IndieCade East. Even better: head to the museum if you’re single! What better place and way to meet someone after your own arty heart?

Kudzanai Chiurai, still from "Iyeza" (2012) (image via, courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery)

Kudzanai Chiurai, still from “Iyeza” (2012) (image via, courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery)

 Valentine’s Midnight Moment

When: Every night this month, 11:57 pm–midnight
Where: Various screens around Times Square

If you’re looking for something arty to do with your valentine, head to Times Square a few minutes before midnight to see Tracy Emin’s neon love notes light up the billboards for three minutes. The show will continued throughout the month of February, at the same time every night, as part of Times Square’s “Midnight Moment” program. Emin is one of the UK’s famed and oft-debated YBAs (Young British Artists). Known for her lewd, sex-centric installations like “My Bed,” Emin’s art often attempts to embody all of the anxiety associated with relationships. What better way to celebrate the Hallmark holiday? —AW

 Post-Hip-Hop Art & Music

When: Opens Thursday, February 14, 6–9 pm
Where: Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (80 Hanson Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn)

The transdisciplinary exhibit eMERGING: Visual Art & Music in a Post-Hip-Hop Era seeks to determine how various highly distinct black world cultures have been processed and utilized by black artists with a self-examining yet appreciative third eye. Curated by James Bartlett, the show will feature many visual artists and musicians whose art will work in conjunction to offer the public an all new black experience. —JDS

 The Artist Always Lies

When: Opens Friday, February 15, 6–8 pm
Where: Jeff Bailey Gallery (625 West 27th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Jered Sprecher’s paintings seem to be in a constant state of flux, and his fragmented and conflicting imagery is influenced by both high and low culture: Sprecher’s diverse sources of inspiration range from gemstones to naive children’s drawings. The title of this exhibition, I Always Lie, provides an insight into Sprecher’s contradictory views on the poetics of painting itself. The pieces can be interpreted as abstractions, but also as dense clusters of ideas. Through the process of working on several paintings at once, Sprecher attempts to generate a casual yet unexpected conversation among the works. —KP

 Stalin’s Atom Bomb

When: Opens Friday, February 15, 6–8 pm
Where: Winkleman Gallery (621 West 27th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

OK, we’ll admit: the title of this show — Homosexuality Is Stalin’s Atom Bomb to Destroy America — is what first caught our attention, but the work is what kept it. Moscow-born, New York–based artist Yevgeniy Fiks returns to Winkleman after Hurricane Sandy shut down this show, and the gallery, just one day after it opened. The photographs, prints, and installations on view explore the connections between anti-communism and homophobia in the US, including one particularly fascinating example in the life of Harry Hay, a communist activist forced out of the US’s Party during the McCarthy era who went on to became a pioneer of the gay rights movement.

 Daily Life at a Distance

When: Opens Friday, February 15, 6–8 pm
Where: Sean Kelly Gallery (475 Tenth Ave, Chelsea, Manhattan)

The quiet and seemingly banal paintings presented in James White’s exhibition The Black Mirror are based on the artist’s own photographs taken at home, in the studio, or inside dreary hotel rooms. From these images, White uses a monochromatic approach to develop distant, mysterious works on wood or aluminum that contain little visible sign of brushstrokes, and which are then encased in Plexiglas. The canvases are completely absent of figures, only alluding to a human presence through small clues — a slightly opened door or a glass of water in the background. White’s works present an elegant yet strangely removed view of daily life. —KP

Lavar Munroe, "Hitmen: Tale of Twin Gods" (2012), mixed media, on view in the Fowler Arts Collective's "Morph" exhibition (image via the Morph Tumblr)

Lavar Munroe, “Hitmen: Tale of Twin Gods” (2012), mixed media, on view in the Fowler Arts Collective’s “Morph” exhibition (image via the Morph Tumblr)


When: Friday, February 15–Sunday, February 17 (prices vary; see website for details)
Where: Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, Queens)

IndieCade is an independent video game festival that started in California in 2010. Now it’s happening on the East Coast for the first time, at the Museum of the Moving Image, and we’re super excited! There will be indie games to play, presentations by designers and academics, a weekend-long game jam, game-making workshops, an arcade tournament, and more. This is an event that the LA Times called “the video game industry’s Sundance,” so you probably don’t want to miss it.


When: Opens Saturday, February 16
Where: New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Everyone loves (or hates) the ’90s. Jean jackets and scrunchies, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Cardigans, Saved By the Bell and Bill Clinton, gay rights and AIDS awareness. The decade produced the generation now coming of age, so what better time to showcase its expletives and exploits? The New Museum presents what it is calling a “time capsule” of 1993 — a nodal point in art, politics, and popular culture, collecting the collective (un)conscious in its most angsty, plaid-skirt-wearing ensemble. And while you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out Nari Ward’s “Amazing Grace” at the museum’s Studio 231 space, a moving representation of New York in 1993 that captures the complexities of living in an urban landscape as well as the indelible, inevitable changes that happen to communities everywhere. —AW

 Chinese Democracy

When: Opens Saturday, February 16, 6–8 pm
Where: Postmasters (459 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

What is “Chinese democracy” supposed to be — a pun?  If you want to find out, then be sure to check out New York–based Italian artist Federico Solmi’s exhibition at Postmasters Gallery, mysteriously titled Chinese Democracy and the Last Day on Earth. Replete with crazy videos, crazy paintings, and crazy drawings, this outlandish show comically explores the decline of all Western civilizations through a buffet of symbolic characters and apocalyptic scenarios. —JDS

 Body Morph

When: Opens Saturday, February 16, 7–9 pm
Where: Fowler Arts Collective (67 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

We’ve been thinking a lot about the role of the body these days, what with all this disembodied interaction over the internet, and so have curators Alicia DeBrincat and Jade Yumang, as well as the 11 artists featured in this Fowler Arts Collective show. Morph presents artwork that uses the body “as raw material” and examines the way our bodies shape our sense of self, and the way we in turn shape our bodies. It sounds like such a basic concept, but it’s still so fundamental and never more pertinent.

 Armory Show Centennial

When: Sunday, February 17, 4–8 pm
Where: Abron Arts Center (466 Grand Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

This Sunday, it will be 100 years since the Armory Show first opened its doors, bringing Cubism to New York and inspiring some freakouts about the direction art was headed. A handful of events and exhibitions will celebrate the centennial, but Decenter, at the Henry Street Settlement’s Abron Arts Center, sounds the most promising. For the show, curators Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer have chosen artists whose work tackles perception in the digital age and “who closely parallel the Cubist vernacular of fragmentation, nonlinearity, simultaneity, and decenteredness.” Those artists include Cory Arcangel, Douglas Coupland, Franklin Evans, Andrea Geyer, Liz Magic Laser, and Rafaël Rozendaal. Abron will host two panel discussions on Sunday, on the legacy of the Armory Show and perception and art in the digital age, followed by the opening reception for the exhibition.

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

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...

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