TUESDAY, MAY 23
Opening: Pope.L at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Pope.L’s smelly Whitney Biennial installation, which includes 2,755 slices of bologna, may be nearing the end of its run, but thankfully, there will still be work by the Chicago-based artist in New York this summer. On view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash will be Pope.L’s “Proto-Skin Sets,” made between 1979 and 1994 and never before publicly exhibited. Combining text and odd materials like semen, peanut butter, and hair, these works reflect on black history and how identity gets constructed. Also in this exhibition will be “Communications Devices,” a set of works form the 1970s in which Pope.L wrote on postcards from SoHo gallery shows, copied these promotional materials, and then left stacks of them in galleries.
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, 5–7 p.m.
Opening: “That I am reading backwards and into for a purpose, to go on:” at The Kitchen
This group show, curated by Whitney Independent Study Program fellows Magdalyn Asimakis, Jared Quinton, and Alexandra Symons Sutcliffe, takes its name from a citation in an essay by Ian White, whose writing often dealt with the experience of viewing artworks. But what can White’s writings mean today? The curators write in a statement addressing the title: “It is the privilege and duty of art to address both what is seen and the mechanisms of viewership—the keys to which, as White’s quote suggests, lie in reading backward and into while looking toward the future.” This exhibition will feature works by Kevin Beasley, Babette Mangolte, Martine Syms, and more.
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 5–8 p.m.
Talk: “James Welling: Metamorphosis” at New York Public Library
With a major survey recently on view at the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent, Belgium, James Welling will discuss his photography. For the past four decades, Welling has been experimenting with what makes a photograph a photograph. Typically grouped with the Pictures Generation, Welling has, over the years, done series about Philip Johnson’s Glass House and Andrew Wyeth’s studio, in the process exploring how cameras reproduce lighting effects and movement. At this panel, Welling will talk about his work with Museum of Modern Art photography curator Quentin Bajac and NYU art history professor Robert Slifkin.
New York Public Library—Main Branch, Celeste Auditorium, 476 5th Avenue, 6:30–8:30 p.m.
Screening: El Otro Lado at Light Industry
By the time the photographer Danny Lyon made El Otro Lado (1978), he had already been an official photographer for SNCC, documented the Civil Rights Movement, and shot the demolition of old buildings in Lower Manhattan. He had spent his career so far observing a radically changing America, and in the late ’60s, he turned his attention to the country’s outsiders. El Otro Lado focuses on a group of undocumented workers who had immigrated from Mexico to work in Arizona. Occupying some space between a documentary and an essay film, El Otro Lado is about the danger these migrants put themselves in constantly and why they continued to persevere. Max Nelson, a writer for the New York Review of Books, will introduce this screening.
Light Industry, 155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $8
THURSDAY, MAY 25
Opening: Betty Parsons at Alexander Gray Associates
In addition to running a gallery that elevated the Abstract Expressionists to fame in the 1940s, Betty Parsons was a painter. Having studied art in Paris with the sculptors Antoine Bourdelle and Ossip Zadkine, Parsons went on to take up abstract painting. In doing so, she believed she was able to capture not what something “looked like, but what it made [her] feel,” she once said. Parsons would go on to paint images of sunsets and landscapes using a language that the Abstract Expressionists had pioneered, but with a lighter touch, and with even sunnier hues. This show, Parsons’s first at Alexander Gray Associates, which now represents her estate, will offer a sampler of the artist’s underrated work.
Alexander Gray Associates, 510 West 26th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Chantal Joffe at Cheim & Read
Chantal Joffe’s honest portraits of young women aren’t at all idealized. Her sitters often seem a little uncomfortable, their bodies appearing smushed or contorted to fit the relatively small format of Joffe’s canvases. In their own strange way, they are also deeply psychological—it’s not difficult to get a sense for each woman’s mental state. With this show, the American-born British painter once again turns her eye almost entirely to young women (one new work depicts a man). Among the works in this exhibition is Bella on Red (2016), which depicts a pudgy, shirtless girl whose eyes, in typical Joffe fashion, awkwardly meet our own.
Cheim & Read, 547 West 25th Street, 6–8 p.m.
FRIDAY, MAY 26
Opening: “Magnum Manifesto” at International Center of Photography
With Magnum Photos celebrating its 70th anniversary, the International Center of Photography is staging a survey of the agency’s work. Since it was founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, and Chim (a.k.a. David Seymour), Magnum has revolutionized documentary photography with its stylized images of conflict, celebrities, and events around the world. This exhibition will feature archival materials, books, magazines, videos, and, of course, photographs related to Magnum and its history. Among the works in this show is Marc Riboud’s famed 1967 photograph of a Vietnam War protester placing a flower in the barrel of a policeman’s gun.
International Center of Photography, 250 Bowery, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
SATURDAY, MAY 27
Opening: Martine Syms at Museum of Modern Art
For her first solo museum show in America, Martine Syms, the young artist known for her reflections on performance and film history, will debut a new immersive installation centered around Incense, Sweaters, and Ice (2017), a feature-length film. In it, three characters named Mrs. Queen Esther Bernetta White, Girl, and WB (short for “white boy”) are constantly seen by others as they move around Los Angeles, Chicago, and Clarksdale, Mississippi. For Syms, theirs is a condition that has been around for centuries, and to bring the film in dialogue with the past, Syms will also show a sculpture about the Great Migration and a series of photographs.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Screening: 8 1/2 at Film Society of Lincoln Center
Federico Fellini won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for this 1963 drama, a semi-autobiographical meditation on the boundary—or lack thereof—between art and life. Playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of a retrospective for the film’s star, Marcello Mastroianni, 8 1/2 follows Guido Anselmi, an Italian director who can’t seem to finish his latest film. With a bad case of writer’s block, Guido remembers the women who shaped him, from his mother to past romantic flings, and in the process comes closer to returning to work. Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, and Sandra Milo play supporting roles.
Film Society of Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th Street, 6:45 p.m. Tickets $11/$14