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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

Optical delusions at the Museum of Arts & Design, the serene fabric works of a grand dame in Chelsea, artist therapy courtesy of the Guggenheim in Brooklyn, and an exhibit honoring the memory of a social-realist who channeled the anxieties of the machine age. Plus: art you can eat on the Upper East Side. Here's our round-up for what's hot in the arts world this very steamy week:

Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities at the Museum of Arts and Design Taking up two whole floors at the museum’s Columbus Circle headquarters, this intriguingly bizarre exhibit takes the idea of the diorama and brings it right into the 21st century. Depicted in miniature scale, you’ll find slums, bombed out cityscapes, a cross-section of Canal Street and even an imaginary underground bunker complete with olive oil storage and a hydro room. Also included: the soul-deadening corporate office space at left, which brings back memories of all those years I spent toiling inside the Time & Life Building. The Lilliputian scale of the pieces (a medical office maquette by Amy Bennett could fit in the palm of a hand) gives the viewer a godlike view on the world -- one that ultimately reveals how fragile and disposable we all are. Set aside plenty of time for this one, you’ll want to study the details. Through September 18, in Manhattan.

Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works at Cheim & Read This is an absolutely stunning array of fabric works produced by the artist in her last decade of life. Though generally known for her somewhat sinister, rage-filled pieces, many of the works on view here display a serene, pastoral sensibility -- utilizing found scraps of fabric (including her own clothing) to create kaleidoscopic geometric patterns and abstract landscapes. Do not miss. Through June 25, in Manhattan.

Friends With You at The Hole Gallery The bubbly Miami balloon installationists known as Friends With You will be the debut act at The Hole’s new gallery space on the Bowery -- run by Deitch protégées Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman. Also, keep an eye out for the group’s works in the vicinity of the High Line at 30th street, where the collective’s cutesy, candy-colored sculptures will go on view as part of a pop-up recreation area. Opens on Thursday at 7 P.M., in downtown Manhattan.

George Tooker, Memorial Exhibition at DC Moore Gallery Known for his austere paintings of angst-ridden figures in cold, machine-like environments, Tooker, who passed away in March, is now being honored with a memorial exhibition at DC Moore. Though his best-known works were painted in the 1950s, the pieces on view nonetheless convey an anxiety about industry, bureaucracy and technology that resonates to this day. If you happen to be cruising through the Whitney Museum, you can find his painting "The Subway" on view in the lobby. Opens on Thursday, in Chelsea.

Guggenheim Museum, stillspotting NYC: Pedro Reyes, Sanatorium, in Brooklyn In a new series that takes art out of the museum and into the neighborhood, the Guggenheim is organizing art events that utilize the city’s many empty nooks and crannies. Currently occupying an unutilized storefront in downtown Brooklyn is the Mexican-born artist Pedro Reyes, who has turned the space into an artsy sanatorium where viewers can de-stress through a variety of methods inspired by everything from Fluxus art of the ‘60s to German Gestalt psychology. Through this Sunday, at 345 Jay Street in downtown Brooklyn. Buy tickets online in advance.

PLUS: If you’re one of those artsy fartsies who likes to eat the art as well as look at it, the public arts organization Creative Time is unveiling the latest in their artist/chef collaborations at Park Avenue Restaurant. On the menu are treats concocted by chef Kevin Lasko and artist Janine Antoni, the sculptor best known for gnawing 600 lbs. of chocolate (a piece that is in MoMA’s permanent collection). Delicious.

At Cheim & Read: A beguiling exhibit of Louise Bourgeois's fabric works. She would use a textile's existing pattern to create abstractions that resembled drawings, such as 'The Waiting Hours,' above.
At Cheim & Read: A beguiling exhibit of Louise Bourgeois's fabric works. She would use a textile's existing pattern to create abstractions that resembled drawings, such as 'The Waiting Hours,' above. ( Courtesy Cheim & Read )
'Untitled,' 2006, also by Bourgeois. The artist frequently used her own dresses, napkins and tablecloths in these beautifully-crafted geometric pieces.
'Untitled,' 2006, also by Bourgeois. The artist frequently used her own dresses, napkins and tablecloths in these beautifully-crafted geometric pieces. ( Courtesy Cheim & Read )
From a distance, the works look like watercolors or paintings. Only on closer inspection do they reveal their material. Shown here: an installation view of the exhibit.
From a distance, the works look like watercolors or paintings. Only on closer inspection do they reveal their material. Shown here: an installation view of the exhibit. ( Courtesy Cheim & Read )
The Guggenheim goes off-site with a series called 'stillspotting' in which artists create works in locations around NYC. First up: Mexican artist Pedro Reyes' therapy sessions in downtown Brooklyn.
The Guggenheim goes off-site with a series called 'stillspotting' in which artists create works in locations around NYC. First up: Mexican artist Pedro Reyes' therapy sessions in downtown Brooklyn. ( Photo: Kristopher McKay. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York )
Reyes' piece has transformed an unoccupied storefront into a 'Sanatorium' that offers therapies intended to release stress. Expect total weirdness.
Reyes' piece has transformed an unoccupied storefront into a 'Sanatorium' that offers therapies intended to release stress. Expect total weirdness. ( Photo: Kristopher McKay. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York )
Amid Reyes's healing techniques: 'Goodoo,' which encourages an exchange of healing energies between visitor and a mound of dolls. Seriously.
Amid Reyes's healing techniques: 'Goodoo,' which encourages an exchange of healing energies between visitor and a mound of dolls. Seriously. ( Photo: Kristopher McKay. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York )
At MAD: Contemporary miniatures and dioramas, including pieces that incorporate video and projections, such as Tracey Snelling's 'Foot and Ass, KFC,' from 2010.
At MAD: Contemporary miniatures and dioramas, including pieces that incorporate video and projections, such as Tracey Snelling's 'Foot and Ass, KFC,' from 2010. ( Courtesy of the artist; Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco )
Other works in MAD's show deconstruct the idea of the diorama, while channeling themes related to decay. Above, Mariele Neudecker's 'Everything is Important and Nothing Really Matters At All.'
Other works in MAD's show deconstruct the idea of the diorama, while channeling themes related to decay. Above, Mariele Neudecker's 'Everything is Important and Nothing Really Matters At All.' ( Courtesy of Galerie Barbara Thumm, Germany )
Lori Nix is an artist who uses her dioramas for the purpose of photography. Shown here, an image of her piece 'Beauty Shop' in progress.
Lori Nix is an artist who uses her dioramas for the purpose of photography. Shown here, an image of her piece 'Beauty Shop' in progress. ( Courtesy of the artist; ClampArt Gallery, New York )
Alan Wolfson's cross-section of Canal Street shows a view of graffiti-covered subway station -- harkening back to the New York of the 1970s.
Alan Wolfson's cross-section of Canal Street shows a view of graffiti-covered subway station -- harkening back to the New York of the 1970s. ( Courtesy of the artist; Private collection, England. )
A view of the Friends With You piece 'Rainbow City,' created to celebrate the opening of the latest stretch of the High Line, near 30th Street.
A view of the Friends With You piece 'Rainbow City,' created to celebrate the opening of the latest stretch of the High Line, near 30th Street. ( Photo by Erika Velazquez, courtesy of AOL )
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