MONDAY, MAY 8
Screening: AMBOY at the Kitchen
AMBOY, a film originally produced by Frances Scholz and Mark von Schlegell for an exhibition at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, is described by the artists behind it as a horror-documentary hybrid. This version, curated specifically for the Kitchen, will include live music and performance elements . Set mainly in Los Angeles, it follows an artist who is trying to shoot a documentary about Amboy, who, the film tells us, was also an artist. (Amboy is also the name of a ghost town in the Mojave Desert.) Combining the look of B-movies, science fiction, and home videos, AMBOY features appearances from Andrea Fraser, Paul Giamatti, Chris Kraus, and Colm Tóibín, among others, and it includes a soundtrack composed by Stephen Malkmus, Holy Shit, and Kath Bloom, who will be among the live performers at the Kitchen event.
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 7 p.m. Tickets $12/$15
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10
Book Launch: The Avant-garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy at Printed Matter
Despite a recent exhibition about it in 2015 at New York’s Blum & Poe gallery,the short-lived Cobra movement remains one of the most underrated and mysterious avant-garde happenings of the 20th century. Hopefully that will change with the release of this book, which accompanies the Blum & Poe exhibition. Featuring essays by curator Alison M. Gingeras, scholar Karen Kurczynski, and artist Bjarne Melgaard, The Avant-garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy zeroes in on the movement and its artists, who looked at kitsch art and tried to reconcile it with more high-minded tastes. The book’s essayists will be on hand to discuss Cobra at this launch.
Printed Matter, 231 11th Avenue, 5–7 p.m.
Screening: A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture at Museum of Modern Art
As part of its Louise Lawler survey, the Museum of Modern Art will screen—or rather, not screen—the artist’s piece A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture. First staged in 1979, this piece involves projecting a film without its image, so that all that’s left is the soundtrack. Which film will be shown remains a mystery—MoMA has only noted that it will be a different movie from any of the work’s other iterations, per Lawler’s projection instructions. Last week, the film of Lawler’s choice was A Face in the Crowd, the 1957 Elia Kazan movie about a sexist radio personality who uses his power to promote one man’s presidential run.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, 7 p.m. Tickets $8/$10/$12
FRIDAY, MAY 12
Opening: Sam Contis at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery
In an age when America’s president is obsessed with his own masculinity—in one instance even publicly defending the size of his penis—it’s easy to say that Sam Contis’s photographs of men in remote regions of California feel contemporary. Working in the tradition of artists like Catherine Opie, the young Oakland, California–based photographer explores a time when traditional forms of maleness are falling out of fashion. This series finds her traveling to Deep Springs Valley, where one of the few all-male colleges in America remains open. Working in both black-and-white and color, Contis shot men as they worked on a cattle farms and lounged in the Californian landscape. In the process, she zeroed in on specific details—for Embrace (2015), she photographed two people, both of whom appear genderless, hugging.
Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 54 Ludlow Street, 6–8 p.m.
Screening: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at Brooklyn Academy of Music
In the words of Twin Peaks‘s Giant, “It is happening again.” Finally, after more than 25 years, the David Lynch television show will be returning to Showtime this month, and to celebrate, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will dedicate an entire series to films starring the show’s actors. Kicking off will be Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Lynch’s polarizing feature-length prequel to the show. The majority of the film traces the days leading up to Laura Palmer’s murder, though its first few reels also include an investigation of a similar killing and a bizarre cameo from David Bowie. With its lurid violence and sexuality, the film shocked critics when it came out; it continues to elude many die-hard fans of the TV show today.
Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, screenings at 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Tickets $7/$10/$14
SATURDAY, MAY 13
Opening: Daniel Buren at Bortolami
Since 1965, Daniel Buren has rigorously obeyed a formula for his site-specific painting-sculptures: alternate between white and color strips of canvas, with each piece measuring exactly 8.7 centimeters wide, no more, no less. What Buren then does with that canvas often changes in response to where they’re being shown, however. One of the first internationally recognized institutional-critique artists, Buren has, for the past half century, explored not just how works are defined by the spaces that show them but also how exhibitions shape art itself. For this show, the first at Bortolami’s new Tribeca space (the gallery was formerly located in Chelsea), Buren will construct new site-specific works that makes use of colored filters.
Bortolami, 39 Walker Street, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Screening: Films by Robert Beavers at Whitney Museum
Presented as part of the Whitney Biennial, this screening program showcases three new and recent works by Robert Beavers. Since the ’60s, the American experimental filmmaker has created works that ponder whether an object can truly live forever. Using 16mm film, a medium that today presents difficulties for filmmakers, Beavers turns his eye to to everyday things and the people who use them. Screening in this program will be Pitcher of Colored Light (2007), Among the Eucalyptuses (2017), The Suppliant (2010), and Listening to the Space in My Room (2013). After the 3 p.m. screening, Beavers will discuss his work with essayist Rebekah Rutkoff.
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, screenings at 2, 5, and 8 p.m. Tickets $12
Talk: Loie Hollowell at Brooklyn Museum
This talk with Loie Hollowell, the young New York–based abstract painter, focuses on George O’Keeffe. Held in connection with the Brooklyn Museum’s show focused on how O’Keeffe defined her image through clothing, photographs, and social connections, the event should shed some light on the modernist painter’s use of color and geometry. Hollowell herself often paints in an O’Keeffe-like mode, relying occasionally on concentric abstract patterns that circle around a central shape. (For some, these will likely recall O’Keeffe’s close-up paintings of flower blooms, which break petals, pistols, and stamens into geometric abstractions.) By working in this mode, Hollowell, like O’Keeffe before her, looks at how abstraction can be used to portray the female body.
Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, 2 p.m.
Screening: Gohatto at Quad Cinema
Though he had already shocked audiences with his 1976 film In the Realm of the Senses, which included un-simulated sex—and lots of it—Japanese director Nagisa Oshima was hardly done pushing the boundaries with his explicit stories. His final film, 1999’s Gohatto (or Taboo, as it’s sometimes called), follows a young man in 19th-century Japan who, in addition to being a skilled warrior, is attractive—mainly to men. This provocative film, which was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, was lauded for its strangeness when it was released in America. It plays at the Quad Cinema this week as part of a series devoted to Ryuichi Sakamoto, the Japanese musician who supplied the score and who will be on hand to introduce the screening.
Quad Cinema, 34 West 13th Street, 8:15 p.m. Tickets $12/$15