TUESDAY, JUNE 21
Opening: Bas Jan Ader at Metro Pictures
Before he left the art world through a literal disappearing act in 1975, Bas Jan Ader had briefly been known as an adventurous, pioneering artist. Known best for his video I’m too sad to tell you, in which he’s shown weeping in extreme close up, Ader focused on failure, surrender, and man’s inferiority to nature in his poetic work. (It became unfortunately fitting that he got lost at sea during a performance and died, perhaps in the name of art.) This show surveys photographs associated with works Ader made during the late ’60s and early ’70s, as he moved from Amsterdam to Los Angeles, where he participated the beginnings of Conceptualism. A cult figure and an artist’s artist, Ader remains underrated in America—this is his first New York solo show since 2005, and hopefully it will help to position him as an essential figure of the ’70s scene. —Alex Greenberger
Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Jay Miriam at Half Gallery
Jay Miriam will present a show of new works for her first solo exhibition of paintings in New York. “Catch the Heavenly Bodies” will feature portraits executed in her particular neo-expressionist style, introducing the viewer to a liminal space in which figuration meets abstraction. According to a press release, “Each figure shares its secret past only with Miriam, eventually breaching the imaginative and entering into the physical world. A Rorschach inquisition begins to take shape while lines stretch and recompose. Limbs grow from arms to legs; faces turn from holy to siren.”
Half Gallery, 43 East 78th Street, 6–8 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22
Opening: “Simone Leigh: The Waiting Room” at the New Museum
In 2014 Simone Leigh set up the Free People’s Medical Clinic in Baltimore. The project, a real and functioning health center, was run by African-American women, and it drew attention to how, throughout history, black women have helped in community-building efforts. Now, at the New Museum, Leigh will build on that project with The Waiting Room, which will also look at the role of wellness practitioners in communities. Referencing meditation rooms and South African medicine markets, this project will similarly tease out often-ignored strands of history—it takes its inspiration from the United Order of Tents, a secret society of black female nurses that has existed since the Underground Railroad, in the 19th century. Ultimately, The Waiting Room suggests that black pain is unfortunately still a reality, and that African-American women are essential to healing it. —Alex Greenberger
New Museum, 235 Bowery, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Opening: Xaviera Simmons at the Kitchen
In Xaviera Simmons’s work, archives are sources of information—not just about visual culture, but about how images structure our lives and our viewpoints. For her latest project at the Kitchen, titled CODED, Simmons looks at how documents and archival images led to how gender and queer history are viewed today. Jamaican dancehall gestures will be involved, and the piece will combine performance, photographs, and curated art-historical images, among other things. It sounds ambitious, but, knowing Simmons’s smart work, she’s up to the challenge.
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Talk: “Moholy-Nagy: Art for a New Century” at Guggenheim Museum
This panel discussion celebrates the legacy of László Moholy-Nagy’s artistic ideas. As someone who saw in art the potential for profound social change, Moholy-Nagy enacted his beliefs through a multifaceted practice which incorporated fine art, technology, and education. In celebration of this body of work, a group consisting of Oliver Botar from the University of Manitoba, the artist Barbara Kasten, and LACMA’s Carol S. Eliel, who co-curated the accompanying exhibition, will present several perspectives on how Moholy-Nagy’s thoughts continue to resonate today and continue to function as a means for upliftment.
Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, JUNE 23
Opening: “Public, Private, Secret” at International Center of Photography
In an era profligate in imagery, privacy forms a logical entry point for the inaugural exhibit at ICP’s new space on Bowery. Since opening in 1974, the ICP has continually challenged concepts around the impact of photography on society, bringing this conversation into its present exhibition by asking how contemporary self-identity is tied to public visibility. Exploring how we communicate using images, the exhibit will attempt to explore this fertile territory by incorporating an exhibition of historical and contemporary photos—including work by Zach Blas, Martine Syms, Natalie Bookchin, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Andy Warhol—alongside a stream of real-time images and videos gathered from social media documenting the event. The ICP will be free for the entire first day of the show.
International Center of Photography, 250 Bowery, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Opening: “The Female Gaze, Part Two: Women Look at Men” at Cheim & Read
As a torrent of summer group shows falls upon us, here’s one that definitely doesn’t sound boring. Curated by John Cheim, “The Female Gaze, Part Two: Women Look at Men” is about artists whose work explicitly turns the male gaze back on itself, viewing men as objects, rather than the other way around. On view will be work by some of the usual suspects—Sylvia Sleigh, whose portraits place men in positions typically held by women (and sometimes in the nude), and Sarah Lucas, whose sculptures objectify penises, among others. But this stacked artist list also includes some interesting additions, like Ghada Amer, Gina Beavers, Huma Bhabha, Jenny Holzer, and Dana Schutz. Together, these women’s perspectives will create a show in which the notion of “he” becomes undone. —Alex Greenberger
Cheim & Read, 547 West 25th Street, 5–8 p.m.
Opening: “A Modest Proposal” at Hauser & Wirth
This group show takes its name from a Jonathan Swift essay in which he posits that the solution to poverty and famine in Ireland is basically to start eating children. It’s unclear just how much that has to do with this show’s theme—artists who have a tongue-in-cheek approach to all things abject—but we’ll roll with it anyway because it has such a strong artist list. It’s also a fascinatingly young, emerging troupe of artists, and so unlike the blue-chip work typically shown at Hauser & Wirth. Lucas Blalock, Naotaka Hiro, Sanya Kantarovsky, Nicola L, Tala Madani, and Jakub Julian Ziolkowski will all have work in this show.
Hauser & Wirth, 511 West 18th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: “Blackness in Abstraction” at Pace
Curated by Adrienne Edwards, a curator at Peforma, this show looks at the use of the color black in abstraction. For some artists, this can be a formal device—Louise Nevelson is quoted in the release as saying, “For me, the black contains the silhouette, the essence of the universe.” But for other artists, the color black can also take on metaphorical meaning. Glenn Ligon, Jack Whitten, and Rashid Johnson are among the painters in the show who use black in their work to refer to the African-American condition. Also on view in this show will be new work by some of the 29 artists included, notably a site-specific wall painting by Wangechi Mutu made of pulped black magazine pages.
Pace, 510 West 25th Street, 6-8 p.m.
Opening: John Akomfrah at Lisson Gallery
John Akomfrah is hardly a household name, but he’s subtly been one of the most important voices in experimental film over the past three decades. A founding member of the underrated yet influential Black Audio Film Collective, Akomfrah’s work typically deals with the fallout from colonialism in a way that’s lyrical, mournful, and quietly angry all at once. On view at this show—somehow the first major one Akomfrah has ever had in America—will be two film installations. In The Airport (2016), Akomfrah works in a Kubrickian mode, looking at Greek history, ruins, and how the past can call to mind the present economic crisis. Meanwhile, in Auto Da Fé (2016), Akomfrah ponders how various crisscrossing narratives of religious persecution combine to create prejudice.
Lisson Gallery, 504 West 24th Street, 6–8 p.m.