MONDAY, MAY 16
Opening: “Dream States: Contemporary Photography and Video” at Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dreams remain one of the least-understood facets of human life, scientifically and psychologically speaking. Historically, dreams have provided a font of inspiration for artists—most notably in the case of the Surrealists, who found dreams to be a trove of psychic wealth, not to mention prime subject matter. But, as a press release notes, “Whereas modernist explorations were often bound to psychoanalytic theories, more recently contemporary photographers have pursued the world of sleep and dreams through increasingly open-ended works that succeed through evocation rather than description.” As such, the show comprises about 30 photographic and video works (mostly dated from the 1970s to the present day) from the museum’s permanent collection. Included are works depicting a night sky made of pills, a splintered rainbow, a sleeping princess, and an extraterrestrial seascape.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, MAY 17
Book Launch: Liam Gillick at E-Flux
British artist Liam Gillick will debut his new book, Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820, described as “a holistic geneology of contemporary art that addresses arts engagement with history, even when it seems apathetic or blind to current events,” according to a press release. Gillick traces the history of art in relation to phenomena such as liberalism, psychology, mass manufacturing, nuclear physics, automobiles, and a number of other modern advancements.
E-Flux, 311 East Broadway, 7:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 18
Opening: Anton van Dalen at Sargent’s Daughters
As it turns out, Duke Riley isn’t the only artist using live pigeons in their work this month. Anton van Dalen is doing that, too, for High Flyers, an installation at the center of this show at Sargent’s Daughters. Van Dalen’s pigeons aren’t free like Riley’s, however—they’ll be cooped up in a cage shaped like a car, a vehicle that can never go anywhere. This show looks at how van Dalen captured a changing East Village in the ’70s and ’80s, and how the neighborhood was affected by gentrification, technology, and politics. Also on view will be an animated film from the ’60s that looks at how humans have evolved, from the beginning of time to now, and new collages that turn art-historical human subjects into birds.
Sargent’s Daughters, 179 East Broadway, 6–8 p.m.
THURSDAY, MAY 19
Opening: Nicole Eisenman at Anton Kern Gallery
As a complement to her survey show currently on view at the New Museum, Nicole Eisenman will be showing new paintings, drawings, and a single plaster sculpture for her debut exhibition at Anton Kern. Though Eisenman is known for her images of open-air crowd scenes, these works notably portray more intimate subject matter, such as lovers embracing or long distance relationships maintained over video chat. According to a press release, however, “This theme of intimacy is abruptly broken by the intrusion of [Eisenman’s] ‘Shooter’ paintings, which crash through the serenity and jolt the viewer back to ever-present reality.”
Anton Kern Gallery, 532 West 20th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Talk: Louise Fishman and David Salle at 192 Books
Artist and activist Louise Fishman will converse with David Salle about her 50-year career and her body of work, in honor of the release of her monograph. Fishman, a feminist active during the ’60s and ’70s civil rights movement, temporarily transitioned from painting to more sculptural mediums in an effort to create more overtly feminine art. When she returned to painting, it was a “gestural abstraction that unapologetically confronted the male-dominated history of artistic discourse,” according to a press release. The catalogue, simply titled Louise Fishman, will be published concurrent to Fishman’s major retrospective currently on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art.
192 Books, 192 10th Avenue, 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, MAY 20
Opening: Sean Scully at Cheim & Read
This show marks a break from the Sean Scully we know, in more ways than one. For starters, these works won’t be on view at Cheim & Read’s white-cube Chelsea space—they’re being shown instead in a temporary, industrial annex in Ridgewood, Queens. They’re also not works you may be familiar with, since Scully made them in an experimental phase, before he committed to making gridded paintings later in the ’70s. This show, titled “Circa ’70s,” highlights a lesser-known body of work in which Scully shifted from academic figural painting to full-on abstraction, marking a move from discipline to what Scully considers emotional work. In these works, Scully overlays wavy, ribbon-like forms with grids, creating what he calls “AbEx incarcerated”—abstraction pushed to its limit, until any sense of the artist’s hand and emotions is lost. —Alex Greenberger
Cheim & Read, 16-13 Stephen Street, Ridgewood, Queens, 6–9 p.m.
Talk: Christopher Y. Lew at Museum of Chinese in America
We’re still one year away from the upcoming Whitney Biennial, but the hype is already beginning, and you can expect to start hearing a lot more about Christopher Y. Lew, one half of the biennial’s curatorial team, in the coming few months. (He’s working on the biennial with Mia Locks.) Lew has already gained a reputation for his hip shows that showcase emerging artists. In his relatively short time so far as an associate curator at the Whitney Museum, Lew has already overseen the critically acclaimed Rachel Rose show, and when he was an associate curator at MoMA PS1, he worked on exhibitions that included work by Trisha Baga, Josh Kline, and Nancy Lupo before their names were better known in the art world. At this talk, Lew will discuss his commitment to young artists and his time at the Whitney so far. —Alex Greenberger
Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Tickets $12/8
SATURDAY, MAY 21
Screening: Mommy at the Whitney Museum
Maggie Lee explores one of the most traumatic parts of the human experience with Mommy, a 2015 film that tackles the sudden death of her mother in 2012. After returning to her suburban New Jersey hometown, Lee compiled a film exploring her grief using a combination of photos, drawings, cellphone footage, and animation. The screening will follow with a Q&A with Maggie Lee, curator Chrissie Iles, and Jane Panetta, an associate curator and one of the organizers of the museum’s ongoing group show “Mirror Cells.”
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater, 7–8:30 p.m. Tickets $10/8
Opening: Terence Koh at Andrew Edlin Gallery
Earlier this year, art-world weirdo Terence Koh returned to the New York scene after a two-year respite in the Catskills, where he lived in seclusion with his boyfriend and tried to get back in touch with nature. In his time in Upstate New York, he built what he called a “bee chapel,” or a sanctuary of sorts for both bees and humans. This show, Koh’s first in New York City since 2011, will feature a bee chapel in a larger installation that will resemble something of a “Living Garden of Eden,” according to the press release, featuring such other materials as solar panels, soil, collages, beeswax, and “a sound recording of two black holes colliding a billion light years.” Yes, Koh is still very strange, and something like a press release acts as proof—he explains, in very abstract terms, that the installation is based around the days of the week. An example: “fridae: god is light/light is love/love is god.” On opening day, there will be a procession to the gallery at 2 p.m.; attendees are asked to bring signs that say “NOW.” A performance and reading will follow at 3:30 p.m. —Alex Greenberger
Andrew Edlin Gallery, 212 Bowery, 12–6 p.m.