How can it possibly be October already? Soon enough, we’ll be setting the clocks back once again, which increasingly feels like an effort to recover lost time. For lifelong goths such as myself, however, this season is all about the city’s many thrills and chills, and of course the casual reminders of our own mortality. Our monthly highlights include topographical studies of battlegrounds and cemeteries, ghosts of Manhattan’s geological past, and the terrors of theocratic rule. Happy Halloween, my friends!
A group exhibition and festival dedicated to cooking examines the effects of colonialism and industrialism on global cuisine. Taken from the Arabic word for spirit, which according to resident artist Reem Kassis carries a dual context in cooking, Nafas brings together mixed media by more than 30 contemporary artists. Displayed across the main gallery of Invisible Dog, these works are less of a smorgasbord and more a vivid tableau of cultural resistance. Jude Griebel’s factory farming sculptures, Chang Ya Chin’s paintings of personified dumplings, and Khaled Hourani’s Palestinian watermelon are just a few of the offerings at this table.
Invisible Dog Art Center (theinvisibledog.org)
51 Bergen Street, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn
Through October 15
Tiffany Chung: Terra Rouge & Archaeology for Future Remembrance
Across two floors of Davidson’s 26th Street location, Vietnamese artist Tiffany Chung questions whether displacement is a historical inevitability. The maps and drawings in Archaeology of Future Remembrance, displayed around windows that look out to the Manhattan skyline, explore how US colonialism directly influenced present redevelopment in her hometown of Ho Chi Minh City. Beneath this, the colorful paintings in Terra Rouge hearken to ancient earthworks excavated from a site where both 19th-century French colonialists planted their first rubber trees and the People’s Army of Vietnam launched its 1972 Easter Offensive against the US military. Together, these bodies of work posit that no state structure has an intrinsic right to any land and that colonialism embeds itself deep into culture long after its departure.
Davidson Gallery (davidsongallery.com)
521 West 26th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through October 22
Athena LaTocha: The Remains of Winter
Lakota-Ojibwe artist Athena LaTocha is exhuming what lies beneath the Brooklyn cemetery’s surface in her latest installations, which are displayed atop Battle Hill and in Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel. The Remains of Winter may seem like a bizarre name choice for early autumn, but it is more a poetic allusion to death and decay. LaTocha composed her shapely sculptures with beech trees and lead to resemble earthen developments over millennia. A study of shifting terrains beneath our feet, LaTocha makes this place of eternal rest feel like a small blip in the land’s greater history.
Green-Wood Cemetery (green-wood.com)
500 25th Street, South Slope, Brooklyn
Through December 23
It doesn’t seem controversial to say that American notions of “decency” have caused more harm than good, particularly the invasion of privacy in queer spaces. INDECENCIA goes tit for tat with this paradigm, looking to late theorist Marcella Althaus-Reid’s notion of “lifting the skirts of God” to show the real roots of “indecency.” Contemporary Latinx artists such as Marga Gomez, Arantxa Araujo, and Elizabeth “MACHA” Marrero turn symbols of religious purity into signs of cultural depravity, exposing the naked corruption of theocratic rule.
Leslie-Lohman Museum (leslielohman.org)
26 Wooster Street, Soho, Manhattan
Through January 8, 2023
Enrico Riley: Stand
On the surface, Enrico Riley’s radiant paintings of Black and Brown dancers exude joy and freedom. Looking deeper, though, these monochromatic compositions, which curator Connie H. Choi describes as “deceptively simple,” seem to exist in an in-between space straddling figuration, abstraction, agency, and entrapment. In subtle critiques of the Western canon, Riley positions his subjects in positions of fluidity and fugitivity — their featureless faces and coordinated body language speak for generations of enslaved, indentured, and segregated lives yearning for the simple joy of self-expression.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery (jenkinsjohnsongallery.com)
207 Ocean Avenue, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
Through October 29
Siren (some poetics)
For Amant’s latest group exhibition, guest curator Quinn Latimer sounds a metaphorical alarm. Everything we know about meaning, symbolism, and aesthetics, she claims, is but a portion of an ongoing creative process. To that end, she posits that the “siren,” a female-coded symbol that has shifted significance over centuries, calls us to move past well-worn binaries and borders. From Nour Mobarak’s “Fugue” sculptures to Jenna Sutela’s visual “poetry,” the exhibition commences the decontextualization process.
315 Maujer Street, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Through March 5, 2023
Xaviera Simmons: Crisis Makes a Book Club, Charisse Pearlina Weston: of [a] tomorrow: lighter than air, stronger than whiskey, cheaper than dust
Two concurrent solo exhibitions ruminate on an urgent need for community organizing and the political history of the Queen’s Museum’s surroundings. Weston’s expansive glassworks hint at the transparent nature of liberal identity politics, as well as Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s legacy of Civil Rights and Black Power struggles, while Simmons’s large-scale billboards on the building facade call on the public to engage with art history beyond pure aesthetics. Together, the artists work across disciplines to uplift the disappeared labor and resistance that defines the borough.
Queens Museum (queensmuseum.org)
Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway, Queens
Through March 5, 2023
Lisa Oppenheim: Spolia
The Third Reich imposed incalculable damage on the legacy of Jewish modernism. Many Nazi-looted artworks have been recovered over the years, but a significant amount remains in secret locations or otherwise expired. Spolia, named after the Latin word for “spoils,” focuses on the latter, recreating spectral versions of artworks that were never recovered. Oppenheim’s cold, gray photographic works draw from the records of the Nazi Party’s Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg task force, which museums and European governments still consult through the ERR Project, to portray the grave and bitter nostalgia of restitution.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (tanyabonakdargallery.com)
521 West 21st Street #1, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through October 22
Tropical Is Political: Caribbean Art Under the Visitor Economy Regime
Americas Society is exploring the different meanings of “paradise” for Caribbean islanders and Euro-American tourists. Tropical Is Political, which brings together the work of 19 contemporary artists, conceptualizes how the “visitor economy” has torn away layers of stability in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere. From Yiyo Tirado’s overly patronizing neon signs to Sofía Gallisá Muriente’s nostalgic ocean photographs, the show dispels all notions of friendly accommodation, positioning diaspora consciousness as oppositional to capitalist luxury.
Americas Society (as-coa.org)
680 Park Avenue, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Through December 17
Mire Lee: Carriers
The centerpiece of Mire Lee’s latest exhibition appears behind a wall of concrete molds, wherein hanging silicone tendrils spew and circulate liquid through a hose pump. This dark, dank setting for such an apparatus feels biological and industrial, bringing to mind how humanity develops systems in its own bodily image. Lee’s “carriers,” which take on digestive elements, can thus stand in for the subsuming of the oppressed by the oppressor, the hunted by the hunter, or the mind by the machine. In this way, Lee presents a keen allegory for the artist’s relationship to their labor. (Read John Yau’s review of this exhibtion for Hyperallergic).
Tina Kim Gallery (tinakimgallery.com)
525 West 21st Street, Chelsea, Manhattan
Through October 22
Cristina Iglesias: Landscape and Memory
For her latest public installation, Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias dug deep into the soil of Madison Square Park to unearth a piece of history. The bronze sculptural pools of Landscape and Memory revive the image of Cedar Creek, which once ran through the north end of the Manhattan park to the East River. Long buried underground, this natural formation functions for Iglesias as evidence of human intervention, resulting in a clever critique of the built environment. Her subtle designs will no doubt make an impression on all visitors — just be sure to watch your step.
Madison Square Park (madisonsquarepark.org)
11 Madison Avenue, Flatiron, Manhattan
Through December 4
Staten Island doesn’t get enough art world representation despite its rich cultural history. As such, its museum is highlighting 36 local artists who document the abundance of communities on the small island. Photos by Arlette Cepeda and Nathan Kensinger bring out the dynamics of immigration and displacement, while Kay Healy’s acrylic paintings exhume the discarded familial belongings that composed the former landfill project. Celebrating the borough’s diversity, Yes, And posits there is much more to Staten Island than meets the eye.
Staten Island Museum (statenislandmuseum.org)
1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island
Through March 26, 2023
If there is an object you have ever desired in your life, rest assured that someone in the advertising industry made money convincing you of exactly that.
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