Opening: “Barbarian in the Garden” at 83 Pitt Street
In a cryptic press release for this show, titled “Barbarian in the Garden,” artist Mary Simpson writes, “If the problem is borders, we’re in a posture of folding inwards. Nature doesn’t see objects or cruelty (animals can’t be snobs!) but me, me the human—I fashion color to another country. If the problem is the frame—sight, form, beauty—time for a breather. A ruin is always embedded in a garden. Take the lid off your head and you become animal.” No clue what that means, but the small artist list sounds promising: Jimmy DeSana, David Maljkovic, Shahryar Nashat, and Simpson herself. The release also comes with a playlist that includes Beyoncé and Ginuwine—perfect for listening while walking from the subway.
83 Pitt Street, 5–9 p.m.
Screening: The African Queen at Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park kicks off its excellent outdoor-cinema series this summer with a screening of John Huston’s classic 1951 film The African Queen. Starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, the film is about a missionary in East Africa who, after her brother is killed in World War I, must seek help from an alcoholic captain in going down a river. Bogart won an Oscar for his performance in the film, and Jack Cardiff’s Technicolor cinematography has been revered since the film came out. The Sykes will perform before the film begins.
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Queens, performance begins at 7 p.m., film begins at dusk
THURSDAY, JULY 7
Opening: “Pride Goes Before a Fall / Beware of a Holy Whore / Mise en Abyme” at Artists Space Books & Talks
Having been at its Greene Street space since 1972, Artists Space developed quite a history before it announced that it was relocating last month. Until the nonprofit finds its new location, Artists Space will reflect on its history with a series of homages to its best shows. Think of it as a greatest-hits playlist for one of New York’s most important cultural institutions. This show is a semi-remake of a 2013 exhibition that featured a number of performances in a faux bar. Stewart Uoo and Raul De Nieves are among the artists set to return, and there will be some exciting new players, Topical Cream among them. A release also promises that Cuba Libre cocktails will be served, which sounds like a good enough reason to go. —Alex Greenberger
Artists Space Books & Talks, 55 Walker Street, 6 p.m.
In a season dominated by group shows, here’s a nice solo show of Hans Hofmann’s work. Hofmann, the German-born and and later New York–based artist, is best known for his abstract paintings that feature layered geometrical forms against non-figurative backgrounds. Having been one of Harold Rosenberg’s favorites, he quickly achieved fame in New York among the Abstract Expressionists and went on to inspire many more. This show should be a nice, light survey of a big-name artist at a time when many other galleries have turned over their spaces to lesser-known artists.
Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, 525 West 22nd Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: Keegan Monaghan at On Stellar Rays
Between Jamian Juliano-Villani, Matthew Cerletty, Orion Martin, and many others, it’s become a crowded market for semi-surreal, loopy figural painting. Add to that mix Keegan Monaghan, whose tongue-in-cheek images of everyday life are similarly funny. This show, titled “You decide to take a walk,” will feature a number of Monaghan’s absurdist images, which tend to be populated by men whose eyes pop out of their face, as if they’ve had one too many coffees. The image that comes with the release for Monaghan’s latest show is a play on the idea of a painting as a window onto the world—a view of a building with a metal grate over a square hole with a spartan living room inside, or a voyeuristic look at a universe that just barely makes sense. —Alex Greenberger
On Stellar Rays, 1 Rivington Street, 6–8 p.m.
With Pia Camil’s latest work, what you see isn’t quite what you see. Her “Slats” series are wall works that appear at first to be Frank Stella’s “Copper Paintings,” but are actually slat paneling that Camil found in dollar stores in Mexico City, where she is based. No longer blue-chip objects, Camil adorns them with fabrics that can be worn like cloaks. As in her New Museum show from earlier this year, a makeshift gift exchange in which gallery visitors could give and take objects in an installation, Camil looks at the division between art and life. For Camil, it seems that there isn’t even a difference between the two—commerce guides both.
Blum & Poe, 19 East 66th Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: “Tarantallegra” at Hester
“Tarantallegra” comes with an eight-page press release that makes references to the occult, witchcraft, and feminism, and it gives little idea of what this show is actually about. Nevertheless, its artist list is strong: Lea Cetera, Beth Collar, Natalie Dray, Mary Hurrell, Sophie Jung, Dorota Jurczak, Allison Katz, Melanie Lewiston, Maria Loboda, Liz Magic Laser, Francesca Martinez Tagliavia, Emily Pope, Natalie Price Hafslund. At the show’s opening, Jung, Pope, and Hafslund will perform.
Hester, 55-59 Chrystie Street, Suite 203, 6–9 p.m.
Opening: “X” at Lyles & King
This all-women group show might as well be called “X-Rated.” It looks at erotics in its all its various forms, and considers sex and sexuality as it appears in current events today, from the ongoing debate surrounding marriage equality, to images of torture released by ISIS, to the Stanford rape case. The artist list includes old-school feminists Betty Tompkins, Mira Schor, Mimi Smith as well as younger emerging artists, like Adrianne Rubenstein and Al Freeman.
Lyles & King, 106 Forsyth Street, 6–8 p.m.
Opening: “Puff Pieces” at Rachel Uffner
Although you probably won’t be able to touch the works in “Puff Pieces,” this show is all about artists whose work has pronounced tactile qualities. Curated rather appropriately by Feelings, an experimental venture by the publishing house Rizzoli, this show features work in multiple media, all with an emphasis on what a release, for lack of better phrasing, calls “puffy forms.” On view will by Jayson Musson’s bulbous glass works, Samara Golden’s topsy-turvy sculptures, Justin Adian’s gym-mat–like paintings, and Lynda Benglis’s drippy oozes, among other things.
Rachel Uffner, 170 Suffolk Street, 6–8 p.m.