MONDAY, MAY 15
Screening: Tokyo Story at Metrograph
Few films are as unanimously lauded as Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (1953), which topped Sight and Sound‘s list of the greatest movies of all time in 2012. The film follows a Japanese family that must reevaluate its values after two grandparents come to visit. As with many of Ozu’s films, the small-scale story may be simple, but its comes to feel larger than life. Shot with few camera movements, Ozu’s minimalist style speaks to how some continued to hold true to traditional ways of life as Japan modernized in the mid-20th century. Here, the film will introduced by Alan Yang, who created the Netflix series Master of None with Aziz Ansari.
Metrograph, 13 Ludlow Street, 9 p.m. Tickets $15
TUESDAY, MAY 16
Opening: Darren Bader at Greenspon
In 2012, for an exhibition at MoMA PS1, Darren Bader displayed two burritos—one chicken, one beef—on a windowsill. Every day, the burritos would be replaced, the old ones would be tossed, and that was the piece. Bader is something of an art-world prankster, and this piece, drolly titled chicken burrito, beef burrito, was a typical one for him. His method is simple: take a ready-made object that doesn’t seem like art (his aunt’s car or a sneaker, for example), and exhibit it as if it were. For his latest show, Bader combed music-streaming services for songs that fit certain themes, and then sampled them and mixed them together. In addition to these sound works, there will also be a piece “for your nose,” per a release written by Bader.
Greenspon, 71 Morton Street, 6–8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17
Screening: Andrew Norman Wilson at E-Flux
This screening program is a teaser for a larger project Andrew Norman Wilson has been working on: a film venue of sorts called This Light. Wilson intends This Light as a free cinema that will continue changing locations throughout Los Angeles; it will first be staged in “an informal, parasitic structure” by a pool in Southern California. At this event, Wilson will announce This Light by hosting a screening program that includes works by Anthony Discenza, Emily Wardill, James N. Kienitz Wilkins, Mary Helena Clark, and Darren Bader. After the screening, This Light’s credo will be read.
E-Flux, 311 East Broadway, 7–9 p.m.
Performance: Maya Stovall at Whitney Museum
Some of the most beguiling works in the Whitney Biennial are Maya Stovall’s “Liquor Store Theatre” videos, in which the artist’s Detroit neighbors reflect on their city’s future while she and other dancers perform experimental ballet movements in parking lots and near liquor stores. Stovall, a self-described “radical ballerina,” considers these works a form of research and a way of exploring the downfall of a city. As part of the biennial, Stovall will debut MANIFESTO, a new performance that expands “Liquor Store Theatre” beyond her videos. The artist will be among the piece’s crew of performers, which also includes Biba Bell, Mohamed Soumah, and Todd Stovall.
Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street, 6:30 p.m. Tickets $12/$15
THURSDAY, MAY 18
Opening: Markus Lüpertz at Michael Werner Gallery
With not one but two major Markus Lüpertz shows happening this year in Washington, D.C.—at the Phillips Collection and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden—it’s time to catch up on the Neo-Expressionist painter. This solo show features new work by the German artist, much of it set in what appears to be either the Garden of Eden or somewhere in Renaissance-era Italy. For Lüpertz, the paintings are ways of returning to—and revising—art-historical subjects, questioning whether they are still relevant to our current state. With their brushy, blurry figures and their patches of unpainted canvas, these works explore the instability of ages-old mythological images.
Michael Werner Gallery, 4 East 77th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Shirin Neshat at Gladstone Gallery
For two decades, critics have associated Shirin Neshat’s films and photographs with incisive commentaries on gender relations and violence in Iran, where the artist was born. That makes her latest show, which focuses its attention primarily on America, something of a surprise. The exhibition’s centerpiece is Roja (2016), a film about a woman who tries to find where she stands in a world that seems at odds with her identity. Relying on the disorienting techniques of experimental filmmakers like Maya Deren, Neshat portrays her character’s alienation through stark black and white cinematography. Alongside Roja will be a series of photographs in which the face of the film’s title character is blurred, to make her seem like a stranger in a strange land.
Gladstone Gallery, 515 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, MAY 19
Opening: Michael Bell-Smith at Foxy Production
At first glance, Michael Bell-Smith’s work may not seem entirely different from banal GIFs that circulate around the internet. Past subjects for his moving-image works (one hesitates to call them films or even videos) have included sunsets, ticking clocks, waves, and the Photoshop color wheel—images that appear online so often that they can seem like stock photography. After being reproduced over and over, these pictures may look the same, but because their files are changing constantly, they are no longer stable. This show will feature new works from the New York–based artist.
Foxy Production, 2 East Broadway, #200, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Opening: “Cheap Suitcase” at Invisible-Exports
Can biography be understood by looking at the body? This group show looks at how scars, moles, beauty marks, and more can give away personal histories, often in unexpected ways. Among the artists in the show is Byron Kim, whose abstract canvases are typically based on skin tones and have recently begun to look like bruises and lesions. Alongside works by Kim will be pieces by Ron Athey, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, COUM Transmissions, Bob Flanagan, Clarity Haynes, Byron Kim, June Yong Lee, Bob Mizer, Ariana Page Russell, Hannah Wilke, Rona Yefman, and more.
Invisible-Exports, 89 Eldridge Street, 6–8 p.m.
SUNDAY, MAY 21
Opening: Robert Rauschenberg at Museum of Modern Art
Robert Rauschenberg was a master collaborator, so it’s fitting that this retrospective, the first since the artist’s death in 2008, is subtitled “Among Friends.” With his five decades of paintings, sculptures, and actions, Rauschenberg expanded the idea of what an artist can be. He showed that artists often borrow from their colleagues and past masters, and influences from both end up in their work. First by appropriating photographs and objects, and then later by creating technology-based experiments that involved chance, Rauschenberg radically took the artist’s hand out of the art-making process and brought painting into the third dimension. This show features his work along with that of others in and around his sphere.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.