WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
Opening: “A Feast of Astonishments: Charlotte Moorman and the Avant-Garde, 1960s–1980s” at Grey Art Gallery
This show, one of the most long-overdue exhibitions in New York this fall, focuses on Charlotte Moorman, the experimental musician who was central to the New York avant-garde scene in the ’60s. Some may know Moorman for her work with Nam June Paik, most notably their collaboration TV Cello (1971), in which Moorman, performing topless, played a cello that had several TVs attached to it. But more than simply being an expert collaborator, Moorman was an original, and this show rightfully gives her the spotlight she deserves. On view here will be sculptures, videos, documentation, and scores related to Moorman’s performances.
Grey Art Gallery, 100 Washington Square East, 6–8 p.m.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Opening: Matthew Barney at Gladstone Gallery
In 1991, before he made any of the “Cremaster Cycle” films, Matthew Barney stripped and climbed the ceiling of Gladstone Gallery using ice picks for a performance called Blind Perineum. (The title refers to the gynecological speculum that Barney had in his anus, which stimulated the muscle around his perineum.) It’s been 25 years since that piece, but it apparently hasn’t gotten any less interesting (or gross), as Gladstone Gallery is now staging this show, a celebration of Barney’s first exhibition with the gallery. On view here will be the 87-minute videotape of Barney performing Blind Perineum as well as various works related to it, among the 44 petroleum-jelly-coated dumbbells the artist used to scale the gallery.
Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Victor Burgin at Cristin Tierney
Space is the place in Victor Burgin’s work, which looks at how prairies and landscapes get embedded in our memory. In fact, Burgin’s name might be somewhere deep in people’s minds—his work, like that of many British Conceptualists fell out of favor until a recent Tate survey of the movement. Now, however, Burgin will have two shows running simultaneously in New York. In his Cristin Tierney show, recent digital projects that reconstruct arid landscapes will look at how the American Midwest gets mythologized. Meanwhile, downtown, at Bridget Donahue, older works from Burgin’s “UK76” series, in which advertisement-like images of British society are pasted directly onto the gallery wall, will be on view. (There is no opening reception for the Bridget Donahue show.)
Cristin Tierney, 540 West 28th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Rashid Johnson at Hauser & Wirth
This show is rather fittingly titled “Fly Away,” in reference to how Rashid Johnson’s new work deals with escaping. Borrowing its name from a 1929 gospel song, Johnson’s latest show will feature tiled works with black soap and wax on them. The gelatinous-looking forms on these works refer to the concept of blackness itself—here, it appears abject, like something unwanted. Alongside these large-scale paintings will be new sculptures by the artist, as well as a table that has blocks of shea butter on it. And, to top all this off, Antoine Baldwin, who sometimes performs under the moniker Audio BLK, will play music on an upright piano. You’ll have to come back for repeat viewings at this show, as Baldwin’s performances may be unannounced.
Hauser & Wirth, 511 18th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Meleko Mokgosi at Jack Shainman Gallery
It’s tempting to call Meleko Mokgosi’s multi-canvas allegories “sprawling,” but that’s not quite the right word for them. There’s something bare, removed, piecemeal, even sad about his naturalistically painted scenes, which often involve groups of humans and animals depicted against starkly blank backgrounds. With these paintings, the skeleton of the stories the Bostwana-born, New York–based artist presents are more important than his characters—Mokgosi is getting at something deeper than just tales about history. In two new bodies of work (one shown at each Jack Shainman space), Mokgosi will look at the concept of democracy in southern Africa and the concept of “lerato,” or the Setswanan word for “love.”
Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Lorna Simpson at Salon 94
Lorna Simpson is probably still known mainly for her photographs of black women’s hair and clothes, typically with some short text accompanying them. But don’t expect to see photographs—or at least freestanding ones, anyway—in this show, which will instead be recent paintings by the Brooklyn-based artist. (You may have seen them last year at the Venice Biennale—they showed in “All the World’s Futures.”) In these works, images of black women are distressed, collaged, painted over, and pinned together. They’re not as clean as Simpson’s past work, and they mark a more obvious attempt to get at the politics that lie beneath them. A highlight of this show will be Enumerated (2016), a 12-foot-tall painting in which nails are driven into the canvas in groups—an even further departure from what Simpson is normally known for.
Salon 94, 243 Bowery, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
Opening: “Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually Explicit Art by Women” at Maccarone
This NSFW show marks the 23rd anniversary of Ellen Cantor’s similarly named exhibition at David Zwirner in 1993. The artist line-up for this show is already pretty solid: it includes Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Nicole Eisenman, Zoe Leonard, Marilyn Minter, Lorraine O’Grady, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, and Hannah Wilke, among others. To top it off, Pati Hertling and Julie Tolentino are curating a performance program that showcases younger female artists, such as FlucT and Kia Labeija.
Maccarone, 630 Greenwich Street and 98 Morton Street, 6–8 p.m.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
Opening: Ajay Kurian at 47 Canal
For the past year, Ajay Kurian has been particularly busy. He’s had not one, but four solo shows, at venues that include Rowhouse Projects in Baltimore and Art Basel Statements, and his work was also included in MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York.” To top it all off, Kurian opens another solo show this week. Like Kurian’s other shows, this one, titled “The Dreamers,” will be about the minds of children and their ability to imagine. Though there’s little information about how the work will look, it will probably include found objects and discarded scraps, and make them seem futuristic, allowing us to envision something beyond this world.
47 Canal, 291 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
Opening: Ellen Cantor at Foxy Production
One of several Ellen Cantor shows around New York this fall, this exhibition will focus on videos and photographs by the artist. Cantor’s work is distinguished by its blend of eroticism and violence, typically through juxtaposed images lifted from films. That’s particularly the case in Be My Baby, a 1999 video installation that includes appropriated footage from American movies and space photography. Alongside Be My Baby will be photo-collages that Cantor arranged in grids, even in some cases like a cross. For Cantor, these images were a way to get beyond the everyday, and to transcend ourselves.
Foxy Production, 2 East Broadway, 200, 6–8 p.m.