TUESDAY, MARCH 28
Opening: Christina Forrer at Swiss Institute
Christina Forrer responds to our turbulent political moment with tapestries. That may seem like odd way of going about commenting on political uncertainty and issues that come with it, but Forrer, her use of tapestries is a way of contrasting order and disorder, the neatness of democracy and the chaos of fascism. Here, Forrer will debut allegories for generational struggles, some of which have two figures on top of one another, ready to gnash at each other’s faces with sharp teeth. They’ll be shown alongside an unusual specimen that Forrer selected from the Winterthur Museum’s collection: a 19th-century wooden children’s toy.
Swiss Institute, 102 Franklin Street, 6–8 p.m.
Talk: Gabi Ngcobo and Adrienne Edwards at School of Visual Arts
What role does South African art play in the global art world? That’s a big question, so thankfully on hand to discuss it will be Gabi Ngcobo, one of the country’s foremost curators and scholars. Ahead of curating the 10th Berlin Biennale, which will open in 2018, Ngcobo will talk with Adrienne Edwards, a New York–based curator at Performa and the Walker Art Center, about Johannesburg’s art scene. They’ll also discuss NGO, an initiative that Ngcobo founded, and how Apartheid affected artists, galleries, and curatorial practices.
School of Visual Arts, 132 West 21st Street, 10th Floor, 6:30 p.m.
Talk: Nicole Eisenman at Institute of Fine Arts
After two critically acclaimed shows last year, at the New Museum and Anton Kern Gallery, Nicole Eisenman has been taking it easier this year. That will change soon, however, when her work appears in June in Skulptur Projekte Munster, where she will debut new work. Ahead of that decennial, Eisenman will discuss her paintings and sculptures, which take on art-historical subjects, typically revising them using a queer feminist perspective. Though this event appears to be sold out, the Institute of Fine Arts has promised a live stream for those who cannot attend.
Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78th Street, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29
Opening: Keltie Ferris at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Keltie Ferris may be better known these days for her digital-looking abstractions, but this show will give her body prints a proper showcase. To make them, Ferris—sometimes clothed, sometimes not—covers herself in oil and presses her body against a canvas. The result is a figure whose gender is ambiguous, with an unreadable expression to boot. Drawing on a history of body printing that includes Jasper Johns and David Hammons, Ferris explores the connection between a painter and her canvas. How much Ferris’s identity comes through in the final product is always a point of inquiry.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, 5–7 p.m.
Opening: The Photography Show at Pier 94
The Photography Show, the world’s longest-running photography fair, returns to New York this year for its 37th edition with 115 galleries, among them New York’s Bruce Silverstein Gallery and London’s the Photographers’ Gallery. In addition to the gallery exhibitors and book-seller booths, there will also be some special exhibitions at this year’s fair, which is presented by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers. Among those small shows will be one dedicated to works from the Walther Collection, featuring photographs by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Seydou Keïta, and Zhang Huan.
Pier 94, 711 12th Avenue, 5–9 p.m. Tickets $75
Talk: “The Big Picture” at New York Public Library
To boil down the past few decades of art history to just ten works is a massive undertaking, but it’s what Artsy curator at large Matthew Israel has done with his new book The Big Picture: Contemporary Art in 10 Works by 10 Artists. On the occasion of that book’s release, Israel will discuss the state of contemporary art, stopping along the way to talk about his book’s selections, which include Kara Walker’s A Subtlety. Israel will be in conversation with Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume, Performa/Walker Art Center curator Adrienne Edwards, Cleveland Triennial curator Jens Hoffmann, and artist Arezoo Moseni.
New York Public Library, 476 5th Avenue, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Talk: Melvin Edwards and Dread Scott at National Academy Museum
Based on their work, Melvin Edwards and Dread Scott are an unlikely pairing. Though both make work that could fall into the umbrella of “political art,” they have very different methods. Edwards, who began working during the heyday of Minimalist sculpture, has earned a following for his assemblages of industrial elements, some of which refer to violence; Scott has built a reputation for activist art so extreme that it caused George H. W. Bush to call his work “disgraceful.”It’s not often that the two speak together, so this talk offers a rare chance to see them in conversation.
National Academy Museum, 1083 5th Avenue, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $10/$20
THURSDAY, MARCH 30
Opening: Erwin Wurm at Lehmann Maupin
You don’t have to interact with Erwin Wurm’s “One Minute Sculptures,” but chances are you’ll want to. To bring these works into life, viewers are asked to pose with kitschy furniture—a old-looking chair, a wooden cabinet—that have holes in them. Wurm, who will also be showing new work this summer at the Venice Biennale’s Austria Pavilion, might ask viewers to stand in a table, for example, or lie back down on a modernist recliner. The viewer becomes the art, the art becomes the viewer, and the feedback loop between objects and the people who use them is complete. Wurm’s quirky world is not without its serious underpinnings, however. Aptly, this show comes with a philosophical-sounding name: “Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order.”
Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, MARCH 31
Opening: Yoshitomo Nara at Pace Gallery
A key figure in Japan’s Neo Pop movement, Yoshitomo Nara is widely known for his paintings of somewhat cute, somewhat scary children that draw on the look of manga comics. Since he started in the ’80s, Nara has become a market phenomenon, selling for millions at the auction block. For the artist, who seems mainly unfazed by his success in America, his subjects have a darkness that hides underneath their innocence—something else is always going on in his portraits. At this show, titled “Thinker,” Nara will debut new paintings.
Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, 6–8 p.m.