Art Rx

This week the doctor wants to shake things up a bit, so she’s sending you off in search of the funky, the experimental, and the unexpected. That includes an artist who’s created an idea machine, another artist giving highly conceptual architectural advice, a group show that conceives of the urban landscape theatrically, and a fleeting exhibition of moving-image artwork from Scandinavia. There’s also Brooklyn street photography, the politics of International Art English, and lots else in the mix. Consider them your art vitamins, and the doctor says, the more, the better!

A drawing related to Carly Ptak's "Idea Machine" (image courtesy Carly Ptak, via
A drawing related to Carly Ptak’s “Idea Machine” (image courtesy Carly Ptak, via

 Nordic Outbreak

When: Tuesday, April 2–Saturday, April 6, event and screening times vary
Where: Locations in Manhattan and Dumbo

It began with Björk and her video “Mutual Core,” which played just before midnight on a number of screens in Times Square every day month. That was the prelude to the exhibition Nordic Outbreak, which is bringing moving-image art by more than 30 contemporary Nordic artists to New York this whole week. There are screenings in midtown, Dumbo, and many places in between, as well as one-night exhibitions and a daylong symposium at Scandinavia House. It may all be more than you ever dreamed you wanted to know about moving-image artwork from Scandinavia, but hey, this kind of random, exciting stuff is what living in New York is all about.

 Idea Machine

When: Opens Tuesday, April 2, 6–8 pm
Where: The Clocktower Gallery (108 Leonard Street, 13th floor, Tribeca, Manhattan)

The Clocktower is having an opening reception for Carly Ptak’s “Idea Machine,” in which the artist will sit inside a copper Faraday cage (a structure that blocks all electromagnetic fields) and encourage viewers to join her, one at time, as she “generates ideas” for them. The interior of the “machine” will be decorated with crystals, holograms, and weird lighting to encourage symbiotic thought-creation. The artist is present, and she’s thinking aloud!  It could be New Age-y and aura fluffing, or it could be interesting and thought provoking … ba-dum ching! —AW

 More Art Fairs

When: Affordable Art Fair, Wednesday, April 3–Sunday, April 7 ($15); AIPAD, Thursday, April 4–Sunday, April 7 ($30)
Where: AAF, Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan); AIPAD, Park Avenue Armory (643 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Yes, Armory week just happened, and no, it’s not Frieze week yet. But did you really expect New York to go two whole months without an art fair? We didn’t think so. For the beginning art buyers and browsers, we suggest the Affordable Art Fair, with more than 80 galleries exhibiting — just be forewarned that “affordable” is a relative term. And for the more seasoned veterans, head up to the Park Avenue Armory for the AIPAD Photography Show, a tried-and-true fair 30 years in the running.

 Urban Mise-en-scène

When: Opens Thursday, April 4, 6–8 pm
Where: Bortolami (520 West 20th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Vertical Club is a group show described as a “mise-en-scène” — a French term that originates in the theater, meaning literally, “put in the scene” — of the city. Each artist has contributed a piece that echoes the environment of living in a city, whether it takes shape as a sculptural form, custom-made wallpaper, or a short video. Treating the gallery as a spatially considered scenic component, the show should be very interesting, and includes work by Ariel Pink  in addition to 15 other participating artists. —KP

 What to Do With That BFA

When: Thursday, April 4, 7 pm
Where: SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Just graduated from art school? Lost and lonely and broke, to boot? The School of Visual Art is hosting a discussion on life after the BFA — how to cope with student loans, procure studio spaces, and manage working a job and working on art. The “MFA dilemma” will also be debated by visiting artists who have and have not continued on to graduate programs. It’s free and could be a good practicum on the realities of being a working artist. —AW

Luna Park's "Monster Island Paint Pour" will be included in “The Brooklyn” street art photography show (image via Luna Park’s Flickrstream, © Luna Park)
Luna Park’s “Monster Island Paint Pour” will be included in “The Brooklyn” street art photography show (image via Luna Park’s Flickrstream, © Luna Park)

 Brooklyn Street Photography

When: Opens Friday, April 5, 7–10 pm
Where: 17 Frost Street (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Look, it’s two of our favorite things combined into one: street photography and Brooklyn! This show, simply titled The Brooklyn, was organized by street artist Aakash Nihalani and photographer Jim Kiernan and will probably be awesome. It features a sweet lineup of 12 photographers, including Jake Dobkin, Luna Park, Jamel Shabazz, Sam Horine, and more.

 The Politics of International Art English

When: Saturday, April 6, 4–6 pm
Where: 155 Freeman Street (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

When it first came out, we made it very clear that we adored Alix Rule and David Levine’s brilliant essay on International Art English, aka worldwide art-world press-release-speak. Then, last month, we ran an article by Mostafa Heddaya taking art-worlders to task for using IAE to obfuscate politics and real political commitments, which led to a response from Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong. Now, Triple Canopy is hosting a forum on the “political implications and uses of IAE,” featuring Heddaya, Hyperallergic editor-in-chief Hrag Vartanian, Rule and Levine, and many more. It’s unlikely anything will be resolved, but it should be a fascinating discussion.

 Building Blocks

When: Opens Saturday, April 6, 6–8 pm
Where: Dodge Gallery (15 Rivington Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

Cordy Ryman’s works consist of mainly stacked and painted blocks, which will fill both the walls and floor of Dodge gallery with an almost compulsive arrangement of forms. These pieces effectively blur the lines between painting, sculpture, and installation and immerse the viewer with their subtle differences in form. Working mainly with painted 2x4s, Ryman tends to recycle his works, allowing one installation to influence another. —KP

 Free Architectural Advice

When: Begins Saturday, April 6
Where: Jack Hanley Gallery (327 Broome Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)

In conjunction with the group show Weird Science at Jack Hanley Gallery, performance artist Alex Schweder will spend a week offering free architectural advice to anyone who signs up for a session — except this isn’t what you might expect. From the official description:
Imagine asking an architect to renovate your home, but you have next to no budget, or you have restrictive regulations about which walls, windows, and doors can be changed in your building, with no likely possibility of expanding the physical limits of your space. … [W]hat if the architect you approach doesn’t see these factors as constraints and if that architect suggests a substantial change in your home merely by acting differently in it? … [P]erformance architect Alex Schweder is meeting with people at Jack Hanley Gallery who would like to renovate their home through the addition of a performance to it.
Intrigued? Sign up here.

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

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