MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Opening: Aurel Schmidt at Half Gallery
Aurel Schmidt’s creepy-beautiful drawings are populated with bananas that unpeel to become penises, sleeping buddhas that morph into saggy old-lady faces, and beer-bottle still lifes. Everything is always unstable in Schmidt’s work, and the New York–based artist believes globalism and capitalism have caused all this. Schmidt’s new show at Half Gallery, titled “Blast Furnace of Civilization,” is a continuation of that, this time with a renewed interest in the way that objects carry with them the terror of past history. Colonialism comes back with a vengeance in a drawing of Shiva riding a flamingo—things which are sacred become disturbing and gross in their new, culturally disrespectful contexts.
Half Gallery, 43 East 78th Street, 6–8 p.m.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Screening: The Dark Side at AMC Loews Kips Bay 15
Written and directed by Richard Ledes, The Dark Side (2015) is a “docufiction” film that takes place during Hurricane Sandy under the plot constraints of a romantic comedy. However, the film also includes real interviews with fire fighters from neighborhoods such as Breezy Point and Far Rockaway who lost their homes during the storm.
AMC Loews Kips Bay 15, 570 2nd Avenue, 8:30 p.m. Tickets $10
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18
Opening: James Welling at David Zwirner
In the past couple of years, between shows of Christopher Williams and Wolfgang Tillmans, David Zwirner has proven itself a go-to gallery for conceptual photography. When it comes to a type of art that few people understand, the gallery continually takes risks by lending its mammoth 19th Street spaces to artists like Williams, whose work is oblique and in many ways the opposite of the big, shiny objects that would normally be shown in megagalleries. This week, Zwirner continues to tout conceptual photographers with a show of work by James Welling. Titled “Choreograph,” the show will feature manipulated photographs from a new series in which Welling transposes images of dancers and landscapes, and then edits them in Photoshop. “By choosing to use ‘choreograph,’ drawing with space, as a noun, I am noting its similarity to ‘photograph,’ drawing with light,” Welling says in a release.
David Zwirner, 519 19th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Party: ICI Benefit After Party with Martha Wilson and DISBAND at ArtBeam
After Independent Curators International hosts a benefit and auction, feminist artist and iconic downtown figure Martha Wilson will perform a rare reunion show with her 1970s performance group DISBAND. Not to be missed!
ArtBeam, 540 West 21st Street, 9–11 p.m. Tickets available here
Performance: Agathe Gothe-Snape at the New York Society for Ethical Culture
For this Performa 15 event, Australian artist Agathe Gothe-Snape has constructed an approximately one-hour performance inspired by a random meeting with Lawrence Weiner. Rhetorical Chorus is “a visual and aural collage of images, texts, and sounds that engulf the audience,” according to a press release, using a DIY lexicon based on Weiner’s hand movements and vocabulary sourced from his writings. Using an antiquated hand-notated musical system called cheironomia and a corollary digital PowerPoint presentation, Gothe-Snape analyzes the similar impacts that modernism and conceptual art has had on both of their practices.
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, 8 p.m. Tickets $20 or $25
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19
Opening: Nikolai Ishchuk at Denny Gallery
Nikolai Ishchuk’s work could be considered photography, but it looks like anything but that. The London-based artist’s work is largely about destroying or distorting photographic images, twisting and turning his prints until they seem closer to sculptures or paintings. The joy of Ishchuk’s work is trying to figure out what the artist sees as being similar between photography and the other mediums he’s in dialogue with. Here, for his new show at Denny gallery, titled “Penumbra,” he’s mostly concerned with sculpture. What happens when a photography leaps off the wall and becomes another object entirely? The answers, though decidedly cryptic and abstract, are fascinating.
Denny Gallery, 261 Broome Street, 6–8 p.m.
Panel: “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, 25 Years Later” at the New Museum
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the obscenity trial spurred by Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition, “The Perfect Moment,” FotoFocus and the New Museum are hosting a panel discussion featuring curators from the Guggenheim, the Getty Museum, and LACMA, as well as a legal expert in the field. Together, the group will talk about the importance of the controversial 1989 Cincinnati show as well as the evolving effect it has had on photography as a whole and on curatorial approaches to Mapplethorpe’s work.
New Museum, New Museum theater, 235 Bowery, 7 p.m.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20
Screening: Paisan at the Guggenheim
For film geeks who are also art lovers, comparing Alberto Burri’s work to Italian Neorealist cinema seems like a no-brainer, and yet the Guggenheim’s retrospective of the Italian painter is one of the few places to have actually noticed some affinities. Like Neorealist film, Burri’s paintings have what could be called an “aesthetics of poverty”—it looks like they were made with materials that cost little money, and, in that way, they also eschew Italian art’s emphasis on middle-class styles. The Guggenheim has smartly curated a short series of four Italian films to go with the Burri show that kicks off this week with Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (1946), in which six vignettes explore World War II’s effect on Italians. The series wraps up in December with Michelangelo Antonioni’s Red Desert.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 1 p.m., free with admission
Opening: Phillip Birch at Lyles & King
Phillip Birch’s first show at Lyles & King, an exhibition of video and sculpture titled “Master Dynamic: Frontier,” assumes the perspective of a scientific group called Master Dynamic which has developed an mysterious unit called Frontier. From an intriguing press release:
“Frontier is your own personal symbiont. It has a morphological matrix that targets your DNA and adapts itself to any environment. It is a quantum leap in biotechnology. It is biopower at your fingertips.
Here at Master Dynamic we are designing novel molecular structures to redefine what biology can accomplish. Frontier pinpoints your needs and transforms you accordingly. The two of you become one holistic being, eventually being unable to distinguish between host and symbiont. This is what evolution looks like.”
Lyles & King, 106 Forsyth Street, 5–8 p.m.