MONDAY, MARCH 14Talk: Micah White at the Strand
To celebrate the recent release of his book The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, Occupy Wall Street founder Micah White will parse the movement’s manifesto, discussing the theory, protest tactics, and basic principles of social change that are covered in his text as well as the future of activism in America.
The Strand, 828 Broadway, 7–8 p.m. Event attendance requires the purchase of either a copy of The End of Protest or a $15 gift card.TUESDAY, MARCH 15Opening: David Hammons at Mnuchin Gallery
With David Hammons’s work, the recurrent idea might be that you can’t always get what you want. Hammons has, in the past, done all of the following: placed basketball hoops on telephone poles, covered mirrors in tattered shrouds, denied interviews with the press, made art out of elephant dung, and sold snowballs as a performance. And now that idea comes back with this show, a major survey of Hammons’s work, for which the artist, who has made art about the condition of African Americans in the United States, has actually removed some of the more famous loans that appear in the catalogue (a portrait of Jesse Jackson as a white man is among the missing) and replaced them with various photographs from his collection. (Another weird touch: Hammons has traditional Japanese court music playing in the installation.) Because this is one of the few surveys of his work that Hammons has actually authorized, this is one of the season’s must-see shows. —Alex Greenberger
Mnuchin Gallery, 45 East 78th Street, 5:30–7:30 p.m.THURSDAY, MARCH 17
Opening: Lucy Dodd at Whitney Museum
One day, when Lucy Dodd was stretching and priming a canvas, her dog peed on what was to become a new work. Rather than re-prime the canvas, she decided to leave the stain alone. By now, we’ve come to expect this sort of thing from Dodd, who, for her new Whitney show, will rely on materials like fermented walnuts and kombucha in new paintings. The fusion of organic matter and canvases isn’t exactly new—Oscar Murillo launched himself to fame by doing it, and so have many other artists throughout history. But what keeps Dodd’s work fresh is not just its smell (often pungent), but that Dodd refuses to hold painting to some higher standard, as if it were somehow better than or above the dirtiness of life itself. For her Whitney show, which is part of the museum’s “Open Plan” series, Dodd has made shaped canvases in response to the Hudson River and invited musicians to perform to further invite the outside world into the gallery space. —Alex Greenberger
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Long before Cindy Sherman popularized the concept of photographing herself performing various roles, Malian photographer Malick Sidibé was taking pictures of Bamako youths posing for the camera. The young people’s looks—a rock-and-roll wannabee, a woman in traditional dress and hip sunglasses, a boy with a shirt stuffed so that he appears pregnant—can sometimes be ridiculous, but they are never anything less than extraordinarily personal. In private, these people can assume various identities that they never could in public, and it shows in these black-and-white photographs. This exhibition of Sidibé’s recent work includes portraits such as these alongside works from the “Vue de Dos” series, in which women are photographed from behind and posed like odalisques—this time, with their clothes on.
Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Alphachanneling at Jack Hanley
Alphachanneling’s first solo show, titled “Utopian Erotic,” features delicate works in watercolor and colored pencil that depict the simple, yet wholly satisfying pleasure that is sexual union. In these works, women are posed in positions of erotic power, inspired by ancient tantric instructions. Alphachanneling, who “[draws] an image over and over until it becomes muscle memory,” according to a press release, was influenced by teachings of Tantrism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, which describe sexuality as an expression of mortal joy.
Jack Hanley Gallery, 327 Broome Street, 6–8 p.m.
The word “decorative” gets thrown around a lot with respect to art, and it seems obvious what that means—a work of art that’s all aesthetics, with no conceptual value. But how do we know when something isn’t decorative? For Belgian artist Lucy McKenzie, the way we determine what’s a quality work has to do with a complex web of systems surrounding art. That is the reason why, to contextualize her art, which sometimes relies on decorative-arts techniques like trompe l’oeil, McKenzie will often work in the form of installations, asking viewers to consider how the objects in a room relate to one another. For this show, titled “Inspired by Inspired by,” McKenzie reconstructs part of a show held last year at Galerie Buchholz’s Berlin space. Her installation, a series of period rooms that were once site-specific, now travels overseas and operates according to a new architecture—but does that change its meaning?
Galerie Buchholz, 17 East 82nd Street, 6–9 p.m.FRIDAY, MARCH 18Opening: David Claerbout at Sean Kelly
In “LIGHT/WORK,” Belgian artist David Claerbout will present a selection of film works from the iconic Travel to his latest piece, Olympia, along with some of the artist’s rarely seen drawings. Claerbout, who works in a combination of photography, film, and digital technologies, often touches on our flawed perception of time and reality. Of one of the works included in the show, a video work entitled Oil Workers (from the Shell company of Nigeria) (2013), Claerbout says, “Of all the manifestations of time, waiting is one of the most difficult, because it implies being unproductive. The price tag attached to minutes, hours, and days makes time expensive. Yet duration can only be free when it is unproductive.”
Sean Kelly Gallery, 475 10th Avenue, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: “Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History” at the Jewish Museum
This exhibition celebrates the career of fashion designer, artist, and entrepreneur Isaac Mizrahi, who pioneered the now-ubiquitous amalgamation of high and low culture that has become a hallmark of contemporary Western culture. Star of David belts, Adidas sneakers rather than high heels, and handbags as hats are just a few examples of Mizrahi’s penchant for opposites, though the designer’s revolutionary spirit also manifested more subliminally in designs that themselves addressed issues of race, class, religion, and politics. The exhibition will additionally focus on the breadth of Mizrahi’s career, which spanned not only fashion design (via labels including Isaac Mizrahi New York, several semi-couture collections, and his groundbreaking line for Target) but also his contributions to the worlds of acting, directing, set and costume design, writing, and cabaret performance.
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, 11 a.m.–5:45 p.m.
“Relevance” has become a paradoxical quality, an impossible goal that all commodities produced nowadays—including art—strive to achieve and simultaneously strive to maintain. In this context, these three artists present work that examines not only our relationship with time but also our attempts to control time by using it as a tool. As a press release states, “All of the works in this exhibition reflect the realities of how life unfolds: looking forward, but through tinted glass revealing as much about what’s behind as what could lie ahead.” To this end, Paul Heyer’s contradictory paintings appropriate styles throughout art history to conjure images of the future, while Jeanette Mundt’s paintings depict a hodgepodge of historical contexts that represent the present impulse to project one’s self image, and Jesse Wine’s ceramic sculptures eschew narrative entirely in favor of disparate signifiers of timeless meaning.
Andrea Rosen Gallery, 544 West 24th Street, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.