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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

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Andy Warhol's very long movies at MoMA, rammed earth pillars at the Whitney, a parading Viking ship in Chelsea and some serious girl power in Williamsburg. The holidays may be upon us, but that doesn't mean there aren't good things to see. Here's our guide to the most compelling arts events in NYC in the coming week.

Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures, at the Museum of Modern Art. The 20th century’s most famous filmic portraits (a.k.a. the ‘Screen Tests’), along with some of Warhol’s zenfully long 16mm films (eight hours worth of Empire State Building anyone?) will go on view this weekend at MoMA’s sixth floor gallery. It may seem silly to stare at someone staring into a camera. But behind all the scenester posing and the liquid liner, it’s interesting to see who can stay composed before the withering gaze of the camera. Most compelling are actor Dennis Hopper (a charming devil) and ‘60s nymph-muse Edie Sedgwick (who starts off confident, but ends up looking girlishly vulnerable). A back room showcases a wall-sized 54-minute loop of Warhol’s ‘Kiss’ videos, which are hilarious and grotesque all at the same time. (Seriously, there’s something about a wall-sized tongue that is all kinds of grody.) Opens Sunday, in Manhattan.

Karthik Pandian: Unearth, at the Whitney Museum of Art. Just outside the city of St. Louis, the Cahokia temple mounds—which date back roughly a millennium—remain as evidence of one of the largest pre-Columbian urban centers north of Mexico. In his new installation at the Whitney, artist Pandian, who spent a couple of years exploring the mounds at Cahokia, explores the idea of civilization and its ruined aftermath in a series of rammed earth pillars dotted with an array of detritus. A looped 16-mm film completes the piece. For the archeology buffs, sounds like a good show to put on the to-do list. In Manhattan, through March 13.

Dennis McNett: Reaping Waves and Vital Vessels, at Joshua Liner Gallery in Chelsea. This long-time Brooklyn printmaker is known for his elaborate images of snarling dogs, wolves and a variety of skull-snake combos reminiscent of tattoo designs. In recent years, he has explored three-dimensional objects as well, producing masks of invented mythological figures and other carved-wood animals and figures. His show at Joshua Liner Gallery will represent this work at a grander scale, including an oversized Viking ship that the artist will lead on a parade around the streets of Chelsea at the show’s opening on Thursday night. Bring the mittens and a camera; this promises to offer some fantastic photo ops. Opens Thursday at 6 P.M., in Manhattan. The parade will get rolling sometime after 7 P.M.

Basic Instinct, at Black & White Project Space in Williamsburg. For Basic Instinct, guest curator Sasha Okshteyn has gathered a five-pack of compelling lady artistes to tear apart notions of gender identity. Included in the show are Colette, an artist known for her dreamy immersive environments, the Guatemalan video-performance artist Jessica Lagunas, Japanese installationist Natsu, plucky stitcher Alicia Ross and the highly acerbic Vadis Turner (check out her tampon cake sculpture). It’s enough to make a girl want to pump the Helen Reddy and sing into a hairbrush. In other words: Sign. Me. Up. Opens Friday at 6 P.M., in Williamsburg.

Black & White Project Space in Williamsburg will be showcasing the works of five women artists. Above, an image of Natsu's courtyard installation, 'Cradle - Island Universe.'
Black & White Project Space in Williamsburg will be showcasing the works of five women artists. Above, an image of Natsu's courtyard installation, 'Cradle - Island Universe.' ( Image courtesy of Black & White Gallery / Project Space, Brooklyn, NY )
Also at Black & White, a detail of a cross-stitch by Alicia Ross, from 2008: 'Sacred_Profane.'
Also at Black & White, a detail of a cross-stitch by Alicia Ross, from 2008: 'Sacred_Profane.' ( Image courtesy of Black & White Gallery / Project Space, Brooklyn, NY )
In a new show at the Whitney Museum, artist Karthik Pandian investigates the ruins of civilizations past, specifically, the temple mounds at Cahokia, near St. Louis. Above, a research image from 2009.
In a new show at the Whitney Museum, artist Karthik Pandian investigates the ruins of civilizations past, specifically, the temple mounds at Cahokia, near St. Louis. Above, a research image from 2009. ( Courtesy the Artist and the Whitney Museum of Art. )
Dennis McNett has created a Viking ship that he will display at the Joshua Liner Gallery and then parade around Chelsea this evening.
Dennis McNett has created a Viking ship that he will display at the Joshua Liner Gallery and then parade around Chelsea this evening. ( Courtesy of the artist and Joshua Liner Gallery. )
An installation view of McNett's 'Tom Little Vital Vessel' at Joshua Liner.
An installation view of McNett's 'Tom Little Vital Vessel' at Joshua Liner. ( Courtesy of the artist and Joshua Liner Gallery. )
'Reaping Sun,' a hand-colored wood carving, also by McNett — an artist known for his intricate prints (some of which have ended up as street art in the past).
'Reaping Sun,' a hand-colored wood carving, also by McNett — an artist known for his intricate prints (some of which have ended up as street art in the past). ( Courtesy of the artist and Joshua Liner Gallery. )
Factory Girl: At MoMA, a gallery filled with Andy Warhol's Screen Tests features video of '60s it girl Edie Sedgwick.
Factory Girl: At MoMA, a gallery filled with Andy Warhol's Screen Tests features video of '60s it girl Edie Sedgwick. ( The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. )
An installation view of Warhol's Screen Tests at MoMA, featuring (from left to right): Susan Sontag, Dennis Hopper and Kathe Dees. Sontag doesn't break; Hopper is a ham.
An installation view of Warhol's Screen Tests at MoMA, featuring (from left to right): Susan Sontag, Dennis Hopper and Kathe Dees. Sontag doesn't break; Hopper is a ham. ( The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. )
Another install shot of the 'Screen Tests' — featuring Velvet Underground crooner Nico (left) and Beat poet Allen Ginsburg.
Another install shot of the 'Screen Tests' — featuring Velvet Underground crooner Nico (left) and Beat poet Allen Ginsburg. ( Photo by Carolina A. Miranda/Courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. )
And last, but not least, a still from the Warhol film 'Blow Job,' in which an actor is allegedly getting a you-know-what.
And last, but not least, a still from the Warhol film 'Blow Job,' in which an actor is allegedly getting a you-know-what. ( Photo by Carolina A. Miranda/Courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. )
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