This week, we say goodbye to one of the city’s cultural gems: the Clocktower Gallery, which has been an alternative mainstay in New York for 40 years. We’re also trying to reconcile ourselves to what seems like a probable sad fate for 5 Pointz, and we recommend everyone go NOW, while you still can. Two stellar shows are closing at Postmasters, too.
Beyond that, this is, as always tons to see and do — including political puppet theater, one more week of Performa, a performing art congress, and Wu-Tang Clan art. And lest we forget, this week marks the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Oliver Stone’s talk on the subject at the International Center of Photography should be well worth the live stream and more.
Political Puppet Theater
When: Tuesday, November 19, 7:30pm ($10 general admission)
Where: Anthology Film Archives (32 Secnd Avenue, East Village, Manhattan)
Founded in the Lower East Side in 1963, the political puppet troupe Bread and Puppet Theater celebrates its 50th anniversary this Tuesday at the Anthology Film Archives (a former headquarters of the company) with a spate of films, some never before seen. There will also be live performances and a Q&A with founder and director Peter Schumann. Proceeds from the event will go to support preservation efforts at the theater’s archives in Vermont. —JP
When: Tuesday, November 19, 7.30pm
Where: Spectacle (124 South 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
OK, we’ll admit it: we’re fascinated by the stories of forgotten women — women who were thrown into institutions for not fitting in. Actress Frances Farmer was one of those, and her life amounts to movie fodder of its own. Filmmaker and actress Sheila McLaughlin and writer Lynne Tillman recognized that when they made Committed, which tells Farmer’s story, in 1984. The 16mm film will screen in a one-night-only showing at Spectacle, with both directors in attendance for a Q&A.
When: Wednesday, November 20, 7 pm (sold out, but live stream available)
Where: School at the International Center of Photography (1114 Avenue of the Americas, Midtown, Manhattan)
November 22 will mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza, the death that launched a thousand conspiracies — and the first of two Dallas whodunits: Who Shot JFK? Who shot JR? On the former, the ICP has scheduled a conversation with film director Oliver Stone, whose JFK was recently re-released. The event is sold out, but you can still catch the conspiracy-spanning lecture for free as a live stream here. —JP
When: Thursday, November 21–Sunday, November 24 ($15)
Where: Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
Super-Sargasso Sea (phantom play #1), Gabriel Lester’s Performa 13 “theater play,” refers to a paranormal domain, a dimension, according to Wikipedia, “into which lost things go.” Exploring the ephemeral, transporting qualities of light, sound, and performance, Lester’s work aspires to conjure a similarly astral plane. Super-Sargasso Sea continues this endeavor, incorporating “cinematic and photographic techniques” into the artist’s pursuit of a performative dreamscape. —JP
Performing Arts Congress
When: Friday, November 22–Sunday, November 24
Where: The Invisible Dog Art Center (51 Bergen Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn)
The Brooklyn Commune has been working for eight months now, trying to understand the plight of performing artists in New York City, or, in their words, “the corrosive impact of ongoing systemic dysfunction on the ability of artists to maintain viable creative lives in the city.” At the Global Congress this weekend, the group will present their findings and talk about ways in which artists can become part of the cultural conversation they’re too often left out of. It looks like a jam-packed weekend, and will hopefully leave attendees feeling inspired and fired up (rather than depressed).
Last Chance: Postmasters Shows
When: Closes Saturday, November 23
Where: Postmasters (54 Franklin Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
For Postmasters’ reopening in its new Tribeca location, the gallery really threw down: solo shows by two incredibly talented and seemingly incredibly different artists, Monica Cook and Steve Mumford. Cook is a sculptor whose creepy, otherworldly creatures seem to be both alive and dead, their environs both futuristic and apocalyptic. They’ll make your skin crawl, even as you crane in for a look at the remarkable detail. Mumford, on the other hand, is known for drawing and painting war zones, and on view at Postmasters are watercolors from a commissioned trip to Guantanamo. They’re darkly funny and wickedly smart. The two shows may at first seem disconnected, but on further thought, they’re a provocative pair: Cook’s sculptures are hallucinations of a mad world we’d prefer not exist; Mumford’s paintings offer us a window onto a nightmarish one that already does.
When: Saturday, November 23, 6–8pm (online RSVP required)
Where: The Clocktower Gallery & Radio (108 Leonard Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)
After 40 years, the Clocktower Gallery is losing its home. Founded in 1972 by Alanna Heiss, the gallery has long been a landmark alternative art space in New York City. We’re sad to see it go, but there’s no better way to say goodbye than with a party. The gallery has gathered musicians and visual artists to help send it off in style. Go. It’s now or never.
Wu-Tang: Show & Prove
When: Ongoing through December 9
Where: Wallplay (118 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan)
The Wu-Tang Clan, that seemingly polymathic rap collective-cum-cultural force, commemorates their 20th anniversary with Wu Ha, a group exhibition of ‘W’-themed work. Organized by Wallplay and co-curated by Wu producer Oliver “Power” Grant and Laura O’Reilly, the show includes Tom Sachs’s playful Ladurée homage (on loan from Gagosian) and one of Mark Drew’s Peanuts appropriations (not for sale) among other, more derivative riffs on the totemic ‘W’ that is the show’s locus. Though only the most die-hard of Wu-Tang completists may find the pilgrimage to 118 Orchard redeeming, Wu Ha is nonetheless a pleasing aberration, proof of Wu-Tang’s continued creative vitality and curiosity. As Inspectah Deck posits in “Show & Prove,” the penultimate track of his underrated debut album Uncontrolled Substance: “I learned it as a child, that knowledge be the key / to unlock your brain and set your mindstate free.”—MH
See 5 Pointz Before It’s Gone
When: Ongoing (until demolition)
Where: 5 Pointz (45-46 Davis Street, Long Island City, Queens)
Now that a federal court in Brooklyn has ruled against an injunction preventing demolition, 5 Pointz could be gone within a matter of days or weeks. 5 Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen, aka Meres One, is still accepting signatures toward an application for landmark preservation status. For those who have yet to view the stunning array of work onsite, you’re advised to visit sooner rather than later.
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With listings by Mostafa Heddaya and Jeremy Polacek
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