TUESDAY, APRIL 19
Talk: “On Ellsworth Kelly” at the Whitney Museum
Ellsworth Kelly, who died in December, won’t easily be forgotten—his color-field paintings show how far simple gestures can go. But before there was a master of painting, there was a little-known American artist getting his start in Europe, and this talk will shed light on Kelly’s early years. After being in the army during World War II, Kelly lived just outside of Paris. He was inspired by the Seine’s shimmering colors, which he then incorporated into his paintings. Kelly’s early work remains less well known than the paintings he made in New York, where he moved in the mid-1950s, and Yve-Alain Bois, who edited Kelly’s catalogue raisonné, will discuss them. He’ll be talking with Scott Rothkopf, a chief curator at the Whitney.
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $10/$8
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20
Panel: “Sign/De/Sign” at Totah
To tie in with Totah’s show of work by Alighiero e Boetti and Mel Bochner, the Lower East Side gallery will be hosting “Sign/De/Sign,” a panel about “signs, symbols, and abstraction in the time of emojis,” as an email invite states. Bochner himself, who is known for making work based on numbers and repeated phrases, will be in attendance. He’ll be in good company, too—Brian Boucher, a senior writer for Artnet; Prem Krishnamurthy, a designer and curator at P!; and Martha Schwendener, the New York Times critic, will be talking with him. Jason Stopa, an adjunct faculty member at Pratt and SVA, will moderate.
Totah, 183 Stanton Street, 6:30 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY, APRIL 21
Opening: “Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999–2016” at the Brooklyn Museum
For this show, Tom Sachs will be setting up the museum’s glass entryway, the Rubin Pavilion, as a “living sound system that hovers between art and science, the functional and the mythological,” according to a press release. Expounding upon the idea of the boom box as an iconic symbol of street culture, Sachs’s show will feature 18 boom-box sculptures that play music and transform the typically silent gallery space into an immersive sound environment. The works, which are made of plywood, foamcore, batteries, duct tape, wires, hot glue, and solder, will be accompanied by playlists created for public hours.
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Suggested contribution: $16/10. The show is free for those 19 and younger.
Opening: Haim Steinbach at Tanya Bonakdar
Haim Steinbach has spent his career examining the power of the object—what it means in relation to various social and cultural contexts, and why presentation and display are so important. In his new show, Steinbach will carry on his investigations, using recontextualized found objects (including handmade shelves, wood and glass boxes, architectural installations, and text-based works) to impose his analysis of the objects’ psychological resonance.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, 521 West 21st Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Adriana Varejão at Lehmann Maupin
Adriana Varejão’s jarring abstractions look at the ugliness that lies underneath our everyday lives—the colonialist implications of everyday objects and the way identity is coded into them. In the past, the Brazilian artist has made sculptural works in which tiles from the Baroque period are blown open, revealing blood and guts underneath them; the beauty of colonialist structures is quite literally built on violence. But tiles, for Varejão, refer to the structures that guide life, and so, in her new works, Varejão will combine allusions to Minimalism, a style based on constructions, with Native American motifs. In new paintings, these visual motifs are laid over her face, making her image a toss-up of symbols that create identity. Meanwhile, in new works from her “Mimbres” series, Varejão continues making art about a New Mexican people that make pottery using a crackled technique. The picture plane quite literally bursts open, in reference to how forms are unstable when cultures come together. —Alex Greenberger
Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22
Screening: Hockney at Metrograph
Director Randall Wright has pieced together a documentary of David Hockney’s life, based on the artist’s personal archive of photos and home movies. The movie takes a dynamic approach to its portrayal of Hockney, using both never-before-seen footage and candid interviews with close friends and associates. The film spans the breadth of Hockney’s career—from the days of his early success in the 1960s to private ensuing torments concerning his art, his relationships, and the AIDS crisis—while never losing its humorous, optimistic take on the artist’s life.
Metrograph, 7 Ludlow Street, 6:45 p.m. Tickets $15
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Opening: “It Takes Two” at the Guggenheim Museum
In honor of the Guggenheim’s current exhibition, “Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better,” the museum has organized a response on the topic of artist duos. A press release asks, “Why do creative minds gravitate toward one another? What is the unique result of creating in pairs? Why is the trope of the comic/tragic duo so prevalent in film and literature?” Participants in this all-night event will include artists Matthew Barney, Nate Lowman, Fischerspooner, Elmgreen and Dragset, Gerard & Kelly, photographer duo Inez and Vinoodh, filmmakers and producers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, and songwriters Kristen and Bobby Lopez.
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 8 p.m.–4 a.m. Tickets $30/20/15
Screening: Afterword Via Fantasia at 83 Pitt Street
Afterword Via Fantasia is based on musicologist George Lewis’s 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, which provides a history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a collective formed on Chicago’s South Side half a century ago. Shot in both high-definition color and black-and-white 16mm film, the movie, which also premiered in opera form in 2015, involves several different possibilities for the staging of an opera about the AACM that are either similar or different to AACM’s own storyline—“Porgy and Bess,” “Two Trains Running,” “Waiting for Godot,” and “stop. reset.” According to a press release, “The settings provide speculative atmospheres for a discursive film about creative mobility, the AACM’s contribution to musical form, genre and political expression, and the contested histories of the avant-garde, especially in terms of class and race.” Actors include AACM members Douglas Ewart, Ann Ward, Coco Elysses, and Khari B., in addition to the artist William Pope.L.
83 Pitt Street, 2–6 p.m.
SUNDAY, APRIL 24
Screening: Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back at Tribeca Film Festival
Just who does Maurizio Cattelan think he is? The art-world prankster has done all of the following: sculpted a plaintive little Adolf Hitler, drowned a sculpture of Pinocchio, buried a work under the new Whitney (maybe—this one might be Cattelan messing with us), and made a sculpture of himself in which he appears to be peeking out of a hole in a museum floor. The Italian artist has never been one to take the art world seriously, and he’s known to be elusive. Now comes a feature-length documentary about Cattelan, directed by Maura Alexrod, which will likely do nothing to demystify him, and yet will be worth seeing all the same. At this time of writing, only rush tickets are available.
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Avenue, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $23.50