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Agnes Denes, “Wheatfield — A Confrontation” (1982), two acres of wheat planted and harvested in Battery Park landfill, Manhattan, New York (© Agnes Denes, via

It’s officially insufferably hot in New York, so the doctor recommends a whole bunch of indoor activities to keep you cool. (Although she can’t confirm air-conditioning in all of these spaces.) If the weather has you thinking about the environment, you’ll enjoy a talk about skylights and spaces at the Guggenheim Museum or a lecture by artist Agnes Denes about her ecological work at MoMA PS1.

If the heat is making you gloomy, you can learn about artist Bas Jan Ader, who died while sailing the Atlantic Ocean for a performance, with Triple Canopy, or contemplate the Baader-Meinhof group in a show at Gasser & Grunert gallery.

If it’s just making you batty and you want to crawl out of your skin, better attend a long-table discussion about body-based performance art and then go see some the next night, including pioneering artist Ron Athey, at the Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival. As we’ve said before: performance art hasn’t died; it’s just taken up residence in Brooklyn.

 Mad Library

When: Tuesday, July 16, 7–9 pm
Where: ICI Curatorial Hub (401 Broadway, Suite 1620, Tribeca, Manhattan)

This is the third installment of curatorial trio Limited Time Only’s MAD LIB[rary] event, which can basically be described as a Mad Libs/choose your own adventure/zine/art book mash-up. The group invites artists and writers to contribute limited-edition material, and then attendees get a chance to put the pieces together however they want. For free! Space is limited, so email to reserve a spot.

 A History of Sky Light

When: Wednesday, July 17, 6:30 pm ($8, we think)
Where: Guggenheim Museum (1071 Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan)

Move over, James Turrell. Millenia before the celebrated contemporary artist was making skyspaces and skylightspaces, our ancient ancestors were manipulating the light of the sky in places like Ireland, Egypt, Yucatán, and Peru. Astronomer and Griffith Observatory Director Dr. E.C. Krupp will discuss parallels between these historic engagements and Turrell’s. The talk is already sold out, but the museum will be offering stand-by tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.

The prehistoric Newgrange monument in Ireland, one of the sky-light spaces that Dr. E.C. Krupp will discuss, built around 3200 B.C.E. (photo by Stefan Jürgensen, via Flickr)

 Doomed to Be Free

When: Wednesday, July 17, 7 pm ($5 suggested donation)
Where: 155 Freeman Street (Greenpoint, Brooklyn)

An evening of readings, screenings, and conversation to celebrate the publication of Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere, a biography by art historian Alexander Dumbadze. Dutch-born artist Bas Jan Ader set sail from Massachusetts in 1975 on a 13-foot sailboat, bound for England in performance of a piece titled “In Search of the Miraculous.” The damaged boat was found south of the western tip of Ireland nearly a year later. Since his death, Ader has achieved mythic status as a figure who died for his art. Dumbadze situates Ader’s life and work within the conceptual art world of early ’70s Los Angeles. He’ll be joined by artists Matthew Day Jackson and Xaviera Simmons, who will present their own works exploring Ader’s preoccupations — the force of gravity, gradual disappearances, searches for the miraculous, and the artist’s agency. —ML

 In Search of a Longitude

When: Thursday, July 18, 6 pm–sunset
Where: Recess Art (41 Grand Street, ground floor, Soho, Manhattan)

Artist David Horvitz is currently in session at Recess, which means he’s pretty much free to do what he pleases with the space. The project in progress, which seems to include artist Penelope Umbrico, is titled “David Horvitz: In Search of a Longitude, Penelope Umbrico: In Search of a Latitude,” and for the press release, he offers us his contract. For a description elsewhere, all we could find is this: “David Horvitz will use Recess’s Soho space to explore notions of standardized time, synchronicity and particularities of place through a series of projects, presentations, performances and experiments.” One of those will take place this Thursday, at the session’s “middling reception.” We’re intrigued.

 Body Art in the Americas

When: Thursday, July 18, 6–7 pm
Where: Glasshouse (246 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

This could have just been another round-table discussion about performance art, but then it wouldn’t be part of the Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival. So instead it’s a long table, a format conceived Lois Weaver that attempts to “reappropriat[e] a dinner table atmosphere as a public forum.” The discussion will address the specifics and the politics of body-based performance art, and will be a nice lead-in to …

 Extreme Body Art

Ron Athey performing “Self Obliteration I & II” in 2011 (photo by Miha Fras, via

When: Friday, July 19, 9–11 pm
Where: Grace Exhibition Space (840 Broadway, 2nd floor, Bushwick, Brooklyn)

This performance will be a rare opportunity to see pioneering performance artist Ron Athey in such a small space. A veteran of extreme performance and body art, Athey, whose work is often associated with S&M imagery, will be performing with Rocío Boliver, Peter Dobill, and others. I’m guessing this event is not for the squeamish, but it is for the intellectually curious. —HV

 Last Chance: October 18, 1977

When: Closes Friday, July 19
Where: Gasser & Grunert, Inc. (524 West 19th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

October 18, 1977 is a meditation on the infamous night when the members of the imprisoned Baader-Meinhof group were found dead or wounded in their prison cells. Imagery that emerged directly from the event is incorporated into the exhibition, and the works by 20 artists on display grapple with questions of what happened that night, as well as the event’s aftermath and legacy. —ML

Birgit Rathsmann, “Death Mask Recognition System 3” (2013), digitally printed drop cloth, iron pipe, 54 x 24 in, included in the show at Gasser & Grunert (via

 Agnes Denes and Ecological Art

When: Sunday, July 21, 3:30 pm
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens)

Agnes Denes is a pioneering conceptual artist who’s been interested in ecology for way longer than it’s been fashionable. Documentation of her project “Wheatfield — A Confrontation” (1982), for which she planted and grew two acres of wheat in a landfill in lower Manhattan, is on view in the galleries at MoMA PS1 as part of Expo 1. She’ll also lecture at the exhibition’s school on Sunday, speaking about her ongoing project to design mega-dunes and barrier islands to protect the Rockaway shores and New York Harbor from future storms.

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With contributions by Marina Lorenzini and Hrag Vartanian

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Jillian Steinhauer

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...