Over the weekend, acclaimed and provocative Lebanese artist Rabih Mroué launched his first North American tour, giving the United States premiere of Looking for a Missing Employee as part of Performance Space 122’s annual COIL festival.
Something about Tibet has always seemed very mysterious to the West. Maybe it’s the terrain of the towering Himalayas possibly inhabited by savage yetis, the legends of the heavenly Shangri-La, or the ancient traditions of Tibetan Buddhism embodied by the reincarnated Dalai Lama. All of these impressions, founded on fact or not, have naturally made for great comic book fodder, where the exotic and mystical image of Tibet fits in perfectly with superheroes and mad villains. The Rubin Museum of Art’s Hero, Villain, Yeti: Tibet in Comics is now presenting over 50 comics related to Tibet dating back to the 1940s.
If you have not yet bought a small gift for the tasteless millionaire in your life, I recommend visiting H. Maxwell Fisher’s Underground Toy Emporium & Spaceship Parking at Jim Kempner Fine Art. The “emporium” imagined by Randy Regier is an exhibit of the type of cheap toys in flattened colors from the mid-20th century that projected a robot-infested future in breakable plastic.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma — Curious what the Flaming Lips, the psychedelic rock band, would do with their own gallery? Then get to Oklahoma City, but be sure to catch an opening, because otherwise their Womb gallery is available for viewing by appointment. Over my holiday weekend visit to my (and the Flaming Lips’) home-state, I tried to see the Womb and a couple other downtown Oklahoma City art spaces, including [Artspace] at Untitled and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed joined last night’s Occupy Museums demonstration at Lincoln Center, held to coincide with the final performance of Glass’s Satyagraha at the Metropolitan Opera.
The Carl Beam retrospective now at the National Museum of the American Indian Heye Center in Lower Manhattan could be a response to the museum itself. Located in the imposing Alexander Hamilton US Custom House, a monolithic reminder that New York City was originally built on European immigration, the museum presents artifacts and art by North America’s first people. Beam’s work likewise was always aimed at juxtaposing the modern culture of North America, a transformation of the country that he marked with the arrival of Columbus, with the traditional imagery of the American Indians. Neither the museum nor the influential Canadian artist’s work offers much harmony between these two clashing worlds, but in the resulting collage of Beam’s work is an engaging sort of turbulence.
If ever there was an argument for me to get over my fear of biking in Brooklyn, it was Saturday’s Brooklyn Open Studios, held in conjunction with the 2011 Celeste Prize exhibitions at the Invisible Dog. The 35 participating artists were sprawled across the borough, from Sunset Park to Bushwick and from Brooklyn Heights to Crown Heights, and I was trying to navigate it all by rail and foot, with some MTA weekend service changes thrown in to add some mental exercise to the physical.
The alien remoteness of Antarctica has probably never been better depicted on stage than in 69°S., a marionette theatre experience presented at the BAM 2011 Next Wave Festival by performance ensemble Phantom Limb. I write “experience” because I’m not really sure what else to call this.
My weekday exploration of Art in Odd Places had required a careful eye for small acts of ritual, the theme of the 2011 edition of the annual art event that takes place along 14th Street and in Union Square. Two Saturdays ago the art was impossible to miss, even if it was still in unexpected places.
When Woodlawn Cemetery was established in the Bronx in 1863, the art of funerary commemoration was in its height. That era of memorial sculpture ended, and most of us are laid to rest under somber slabs of dark granite with only the barest of ornamentation. Patricia Cronin saw the revival of this tradition as a way to not only create a lasting tribute to her and her wife’s love on their burial plot in Woodlawn, but to build a memorial to a marriage she thought they would never be able to have.
Art in Odd Places relies on a lot of serendipity, but when it happens it’s wonderful. The annual art event is bringing small and large acts of ceremony with over 60 artists performing, installing, exhibiting and interacting all along 14th Street from October 1 to 10. Following this year’s theme of Ritual, I set out this week to pace 14th street and the paths of Union Square each day to discover what artistic offerings would unexpectedly appear.
Just before 24th Street slopes onto Third Avenue with its rumbling noise of the Gowanus Expressway is a something unexpected for this part of South Brooklyn: a white walls, contemporary art gallery. 210 Gallery is quietly nestled between the green spires Our Lady of Czenstochowa church and the Gowanus inlet industry that rises its smoke stacks before an almost clear view of the Statue of Liberty. Despite the gallery being just around the corner from my apartment, I’d never stepped inside, always being drawn away by the comforting siren song of my coffee machine and potential rest after finally making it home after working all day in Manhattan. But I’d glimpsed its small, yet intriguing, shows through the large windows, and finally paid the gallery a visit last Sunday.