Open Sesame: Art Events in New York

9 Art Events to Attend in New York City This Week

Alec Soth's Crazy Legs Saloon. Watertown, New York, from his Songbook series. COURTESY LONDON'S SCIENCE MUSEUM/© ALEC SOTH

Alec Soth’s Crazy Legs Saloon. Watertown, New York, from his “Songbook” series.



Lecture: Basel Abbas and Rouanne Abou-Rahme at Cooper Union
After winning the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Ramallah-based artists Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas will make a stop in New York to lecture about their work. In a seminar titled “In some lost fold of the past we wanted to be lions but we were no more than castrated cats,” Abou-Rahme and Abbas will discuss the process behind their research-based videos and installations, which tread the line between fiction and reality and involve local politics. In particular, they’ll discuss The Incidental Insurgents, a project in which the artists borrowed text written by Robert Bolaño and Victor Serge, pieced it together to create a new narrative, and combined it with screenshots and video.
Cooper Union, 41 Cooper Square, 7–8:30 p.m.

The cover image of John Ashbery's famous book of poetry, "Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror." The title was taken from that of the painting itself, a self-portrait by Parmigianino. VIA YOUTUBE.COM

The cover image of John Ashbery’s famous book of poetry, Self-Portrait In A Convex Mirror. The title is taken from that of a self-portrait by Parmigianino.


Reading: John Ashbery at Pioneer Works 
Pulitzer Prize–winning poet John Ashbery will host a reading at Pioneer Works, along with fellow luminaries such as Ben Lerner, Geoffrey G. O’Brien, Mónica de la Torre, and John Yau.
Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, 7 p.m. The event is free, but RSVP is required.


Opening: Robert Ryman at Dia:Chelsea
This show marks Robert Ryman’s first solo museum exhibition in New York in 20 years, and will showcase 60 years of Ryman’s career, dating from the 1950s through the 2000s. In addition to Ryman’s signature achromatic paintings, the show will display his rarely seen three-dimensional works, including one of the first in which in integrated fasteners into the composition, an aluminum painting, and a 1970s painting in baked porcelain on copper panels.
Dia:Chelsea, 535 West 22nd Street, 9:30 a.m.—5 p.m.

Image promo for Caitlin Cherry's lecture. COURTESY RECESS

Image promo for Caitlin Cherry’s lecture.



Performance: Caitlin Cherry at Recess Activities, Inc.
Search two unrelated terms in Google Images and you can find things you never meant to see. This is exactly the kind of phenomenon that interests the young, Brooklyn-based artist Caitlin Cherry, who has already earned the attention of art-world figures like Eugenie Joo and Kara Walker. In a performative lecture titled FB Google IMG Search Matrix, Cherry will dive deep into Google Images by going to the last few pages of her searches and finding niche sites. By doing so, Cherry will show how free association can work on the Internet, a digital place that is assumed to have a strict internal logic.
Recess Activities, Inc., 41 Grand Street, 6–8 p.m.

Opening: Jane Freilicher at Tibor de Nagy
In the first New York solo show since her death last year, at age 90, Tibor de Nagy’s “Theme and Variations” will look at how Jane Freilicher’s paintings changed over the course of her career. While this may sound like a pretty average topic for a gallery show, it isn’t for a show of Freilicher’s work, most of which is paintings of what she saw from her window. Where Freilicher sat to do her work never changed much, but the New York cityscape all around her kept shifting, and her still lifes and landscapes act as records of that.
Tibor de Nagy, 724 5th Avenue, 6–8 p.m.

Book launch: Alec Soth at Sean Kelly Gallery
Alec Soth will be signing copies of his photography book, Gathered Leaves, which were also shown in his first U.K. exhibition at London’s Science Museum. The book encompasses photos from his past four series of Americana, Sleeping by the Mississippi, Niagara, Broken Manual, and Songbook, which includes portraiture, interior, and landscape shots, of subjects ranging from soap fights to naked neo-Nazis.
Sean Kelly Gallery, 475 Tenth Avenue, 5:30—7:30 p.m.

Josephine Halvorson Detail of Night Window, May 20-21, 2015. COURTESY SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO

Josephine Halvorson, Detail of Night Window, May 20-21, 2015.


Opening: Jennie C. Jones, Josephine Halvorson, and Leslie Hewitt at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
This three-woman show is loosely themed around the passage of time, history, and space. Jennie C. Jones’s paintings approach those themes from the concept of sound, using industrial sound-absorbing panels to recall how seeing and hearing are often connected. Then there’s Josephine Halvorson, who gives herself a limited amount of time to complete her paintings and, for this show, offers views of Rome. And then there’s Leslie Hewitt, who is known for her still-life photographs that refer to art history and engage with space. Though the connections between the three artists’ work are loose, all have a style that asks viewers to quietly observe their work.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., 530 West 22nd Street, 6–8 p.m.


Opening: Yoko Ono at Galerie Lelong and Andrea Rosen Gallery
Yoko Ono’s double exhibition, entitled “THE RIVERBED,” will be on view concurrently at Galerie Lelong and Andrea Rosen Gallery. At both locations, visitors will see enormous piles of river stones chosen by Ono, upon which she will write words like “remember,” “dream,” and “wish.” Visitors will then be encouraged to hold the stones in their laps, “concentrating on the word and letting go of their anger or fear, transforming the stone into an emotional object to be placed upon the pile of stones in the center of the room,” according to a press release. Instructions on paper will then ask the visitor to “draw a line to take me to the farthest place in our planet.” As in the “Wish Trees,” Ono will create a temporary village of sorts that allows the visitor to experience hikari, which means light in Japanese.
Galerie Lelong, 528 West 26th Street, 6—8 p.m. and Andrea Rosen Gallery, 525 West 24th Street, 6—8 p.m. 

Performance: Wynne Greenwood at the New Museum
As part of the museum’s “Temporary Arrangements” concert series, in which artists are invited to create their own bands for one night, Wynne Greenwood curates a performance based on her iconic all-girl feminist band Tracy + the Plastics, which toured America from 1999 to 2006. In the band, Greenwood performed the roles of frontwoman, drummer, and keyboardist, and for this show, she will likewise perform with her hands, a keyboard, and a sampler, deconstructing songs from fifteen years of her musical career. According to a press release, “‘Temporary Arrangements’ proposes a collaborative model that is makeshift and provisional from the outset, asking what can happen when a group is formed without future expectations in mind.”
New Museum, 235 Bowery, 9 p.m. Tickets $12/10

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