With the coming of spring, it’s time to get out and not only enjoy the city but celebrate it. The doctor recommends two great ways to do that this week: the New Museum’s Ideas City festival, which gathers hundreds of people and organizations to think creatively about urban challenges, and Jane’s Walk, a weekend of guided walks throughout New York in honor of writer and urbanist Jane Jacobs.

It’s also a good week for women, with artist Senga Nengudi giving the first annual Norma Marshall Memorial Lecture at the Brooklyn Museum and Dirty Looks celebrating ’90s riot grrrl culture with a night of short films. There’s much more on tap, too, including two durational music events: a gesamtkunstwerk/”mass media orgy” (their words, not ours) by John Cage and indie band the National playing at MoMA PS1 for six hours straight — because New York is not a city where we rest much. Stay active and healthy, art darlings!

Senga Nengudi, "Inside/Outside" (1977), nylon, mesh, rubber , approx.: 60 x 24 in. (152.4 x 61 cm), currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum (© Senga Nengudi, via blackartistnews.blogspot.com)

Senga Nengudi, “Inside/Outside” (1977), nylon, mesh, rubber , approx.: 60 x 24 in. (152.4 x 61 cm), currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum (© Senga Nengudi, via blackartistnews.blogspot.com)

 Riot Grrrls

When: Tuesdays, April 30, 7 pm
Where: The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

Roving champions of queer experimental film, Dirty Looks sets up shop at the Kitchen tonight with a screening dedicated to 1990s riot grrrl culture. Five short films by five artists, including Sadie Benning and Jennifer Reeves, will be shown, and four out of the five directors (including Benning and Reeves) will be there, too.

Lots and Lots of Ideas

When: Wednesday, May 1–Saturday, May 4
Where: In front of and around the New Museum (235 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan), including nearby Sara D. Roosevelt Park (Chrystie and East Houston Streets)

Imagine if you gathered together hundreds of artists, technologists, urban planners, politicians, educators, and many more for a series of panels, events, workshops, and a street festival. Ideas City would be it. Put on by the New Museum every two years, the festival looks at the future of cities and urban centers with a creative eye; this year’s specific theme is Untapped Capital, focusing on underutilized resources. There’s a mayoral panelButoh and wifi hacking workshops, murals on the Bowery, a tower of waste, a chance to talk to prisoners, tons of food, and so, so much more, with much of the activity taking place at the StreetFest that runs all day Saturday.

Senga Nengudi, aka Go Women!

When: Thursday, May 2, 7 pm
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn)

African-American artist Senga Nengudi has spent decades exploring movement and the body through sculpture and performance. She may be best known for her biomorphic, abstract pieces made of stretched and reshaped pantyhose, which are particularly playful and provocative. At the Brooklyn Museum — where two of her pieces are currently on view in the exhibition Unfolding Tales: Selections from the Contemporary Collection — Nengudi will deliver the the first annual Norma Marshall Memorial Lecture, a new series celebrating women artists featured at the museum.

 John Cage’s Gesamtkunstwerk

When: Friday, May 3, 5–10 pm & Saturday, May 4, 1–6 pm ($15)
Where: Eyebeam (540 West 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

According to the event description, “HPSCHD, John Cage’s legendary Gesamtkunstwerk is a mass media orgy, considered by many as the wildest, largest, and loudest musical composition of the 20th century.” This is your chance to experience it, with the added bonus (as if you needed one) of a film and video light circus of works made by dozens of artists responding to the piece. And if you’re worried about testing your patience on what’s likely to be a heady, or at least loud, if incredibly entertaining, piece of art, don’t worry: it’s so avant-garde that you can come and go as you please.

 Yet Another MFA Show

When: Opens Friday, May 3, 6–9 pm
Where: Gary Snyder Project Space (250 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

If you’re not already MFA’ed out, here’s another show for you: Free School, the 2013 Cornell University MFA exhibition. In the absence of press materials, we don’t really know what the work will look like, but we like Cornell and we like the idea of free school (though it should be noted that the two are pretty much hilariously incompatible).

A satelloon (image via greg.org)

A satelloon (image via greg.org)


When: Saturday, May 4, 2 pm
Where: Apex Art (291 Church Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)

If “satelloon” sounds to you like a silly word, you are correct. If it sounds like a portmanteau of “satellite” and “balloon,” you are also correct. Back in the 1960s, NASA launched two balloon satellites, aka satelloons, as part of Project Echo, one of the agency’s earliest projects. As part of the current Apex show Exhibition Space, artist John Powers will lecture about the satelloon and its connection to the Minimalist art of its time. Nerdy fun!

 City Walks

When: Saturday, May 4–Sunday, May 5
Where: All around New York City

More nerdy fun: this weekend is the Municipal Art Society’s Jane’s Walk, which celebrates pioneering writer and urbanist Jane Jacobs with a series of free guided walks around the city. There are over 100 events (and bike rides) to choose from, including a tour of Red Hook, a walk down “Death Avenue,” history and art in downtown Jamaica, Queens, and a ramble in Staten Island.

 The National, on Repeat

When: Sunday, May 5, 12–6 pm ($15)
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens)

It’s normally not our policy to list the same event — in this case, MoMA PS1’s Sunday Sessions — two weeks in a row. But it was impossible to leave out this performance, just announced earlier this week, of indie rock band the National playing for six hours straight, thanks to the most high-profile durationally motivated artist around, Ragnar Kjartansson. The band will play their song “Sorrow,” which clocks in at 3:25, which means they’ll play it more than 100 times, and hence the performance title (which is a bit understated), “A Lot of Sorrow.” We recommend taking trips to M. Wells Dinette across the courtyard at strategic intervals for reinforcements.

Linda Ganjian, "7 Train Panoramas" (2012), clay, paint, varnish, archival board, glue, wood, 36" x 36" x 12" (image via bhsutton.tumblr.com)

Linda Ganjian, “7 Train Panoramas” (2012), clay, paint, varnish, archival board, glue, wood, 36″ x 36″ x 12″ (image via bhsutton.tumblr.com)

 Closing Croissant Party

When: Sunday, May 5, 3 pm
Where: Auxiliary Projects (2 St. Nicholas Avenue, #25, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

When the doctor reads the phrase “closing croissant party,” her eyes perk up. Add to that the fact that this one celebrates Linda Ganjian’s excellent current exhibition, Overview, at Auxiliary Projects, for which she turned scenes and images from her daily commute into fanciful miniature square models and tiles. According to the gallery, the space will open at 1, drinking will begin at 3, and Ganjian will speak at 4. It’s quite small, so get there early.

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...