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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

WNYC's Arts Datebook: June 23 - 29

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WNYC

Wry works made of buttons and plastic bags, photos of teens kissing, the blue-skinned protector of mankind, minimalism with a dash of Zen and a light festival turns on in Staten Island. The city is hopping with things to do on the first, swampy week of summer. Here's our guide to what's cooking in the arts world:

B. Wurtz: Works, 1970-2011 at Metro Pictures This idiosyncratic artist takes items from everyday life — buttons, plastic grocery bags, metal take-out tins — and uses them in humorous assemblages meant to celebrate each piece’s color, shape and form. If you think this might sound like simply more trash art, rest assured that it isn’t. Wurtz’s wry arrangements read as inventive, non-ironic tributes to all those little bits of our lives that we’ve come to regard as mundane or disposable. Through August 5.

Ed Templeton, Teenage Kissers, at Half Gallery Just in time for summer: a show about smooching — from a former pro skateboarder who has now settled quite nicely into a career as a photographer. (He figured prominently in the underground arts doc Beautiful Losers.) The show should be heavy on images of attractive alterna-skate types engaged in serious lip-locking. In other words: good adolescent fun. Opens on Thursday, in Manhattan.

Vishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior at the Brooklyn Museum One of Hinduism’s most important, life-affirming deities — he is part of a trinity that includes Brahma the creator and Shiva the Destroyer — Vishnu is getting his due at the Brooklyn Museum. More than 170 objects, some of which date back to the fourth century, explore and explain the stories and legends behind the shape-shifting protector of mankind (along with his many avatars). Opens Friday, in Brooklyn.

Lee Ufan, Marking Infinity, at the Guggenheim Museum This is the first North American museum retrospective for Lee, an artist and philosopher who emerged in the late 1960s, giving minimalist art a distinctly Asian voice. (Lee was born in Korea and currently divides his time between Japan and France.) Rather than create works that were painstakingly crafted to appear minimal (think: Donald Judd), Lee instead focused on raw materials themselves: smooth stones, craggy boulders, sheets of iron, all put together in Zen garden-like arrangements. The show at the Guggenheim will feature more than four decades worth of work, a good opportunity to get caught up on one of contemporary Asian art’s most significant thinkers. Opens Friday, in Manhattan.

Bronx Calling: The First AIM Biennal at the Bronx Museum For more than three decades, the Bronx Museum’s AIM program (Artists in the Marketplace) has helped guide emerging artists through the befuddling, opaque ways of the art industry, providing guidance on everything from curatorial practice to copyright law. Now the 72 participants of the AIM program -- who hail from countries around the world -- will have their work go on view, featuring a wide array of installation, sculpture and painting. Opens Sunday, in the Bronx.

Lumen 2011 at Atlantic Salt, on Staten Island Now in its second year, this one-night arts fest features light displays, video projections and performance art -- all on the sight of an old industrial venue on the north shore waterfront, a few minutes walk from the ferry terminal. Best of all: there is no admission, and the organizers will have plenty of beer on hand. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Saturday night to me. This Saturday at 6 P.M., in Staten Island.

Former skater and artist/photographer Ed Templeton turns his lens to smooching teens at Half Gallery on Lower East Side.
Courtesy the artist
Former skater and artist/photographer Ed Templeton turns his lens to smooching teens at Half Gallery on Lower East Side.
Templeton has long been known for his impromptu snaps -- chronicling friends, family and his misadventures. In the series 'Teenage Kissers,' it's all about some gropey lip-locking.
Courtesy the artist
Templeton has long been known for his impromptu snaps -- chronicling friends, family and his misadventures. In the series 'Teenage Kissers,' it's all about some gropey lip-locking.
In an exhibit that opens this week, the Brooklyn Museum is telling the story of Vishnu, a Hindu deity identified with the preservation of life. Shown here: a sandstone stele from the 7th century.
Private collection. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum.
In an exhibit that opens this week, the Brooklyn Museum is telling the story of Vishnu, a Hindu deity identified with the preservation of life. Shown here: a sandstone stele from the 7th century.
Vishnu is depicted in many guises: as a man, a woman, and one of many avatars, often with four arms. The other side of the 7th century sandstone stele shown previously has Vishnu as a woman.
Private collection. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum.
Vishnu is depicted in many guises: as a man, a woman, and one of many avatars, often with four arms. The other side of the 7th century sandstone stele shown previously has Vishnu as a woman.
Vishnu's skin is often painted blue -- as in this 18th century water color, in which he rescues an elephant -- a cool color associated with water and sky.
Collection of Kenneth and Joyce Robbins. Courtesy the Brooklyn Museum.
Vishnu's skin is often painted blue -- as in this 18th century water color, in which he rescues an elephant -- a cool color associated with water and sky.
The Guggenheim is presenting the first museum retrospective of Lee Ufan, a Korean-born artist and philosopher known for his deliberate pieces. 'From Line,' a work from 1977, is shown above.
Nic Tenwiggenhorn, Düsseldorf/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, courtesy Lee Ufan
The Guggenheim is presenting the first museum retrospective of Lee Ufan, a Korean-born artist and philosopher known for his deliberate pieces. 'From Line,' a work from 1977, is shown above.
'Relatum—a signal,' a work by Lee from 2005. The artist articulates a style of minimalism that draws its power from the materials.
Tadasu Yamamoto, courtesy Lee Ufan Museum
'Relatum—a signal,' a work by Lee from 2005. The artist articulates a style of minimalism that draws its power from the materials.
This Saturday on the Staten Island waterfront: Lumen, an arts festival devoted to video and light projection -- complete with gritty industrial backdrop.
Courtesy LUMEN
This Saturday on the Staten Island waterfront: Lumen, an arts festival devoted to video and light projection -- complete with gritty industrial backdrop.
An image of artists of Arielle and Adina Bier from Lumen's first festival, held last summer. All I want to know is: where the heck can I pick up one of those dresses?
Christopher Bulé Photography
An image of artists of Arielle and Adina Bier from Lumen's first festival, held last summer. All I want to know is: where the heck can I pick up one of those dresses?
In the Bronx Museum's lobby, an installation by Jong-il Ma -- part of the museum's first ever AIM Biennial.
Courtesy Bronx Museum
In the Bronx Museum's lobby, an installation by Jong-il Ma -- part of the museum's first ever AIM Biennial.
Also part of the Bronx Museum's biennial: Priscila De Carvalho's 'Architecture of Exclusion,' a piece that spills out of the wall.
Courtesy Bronx Museum
Also part of the Bronx Museum's biennial: Priscila De Carvalho's 'Architecture of Exclusion,' a piece that spills out of the wall.
A piece by B. Wurtz (on view at Metro Pictures) from 1986, featuring the clevelry arranged bits of random hardware store merch.
Courtesy the artist, Feature Inc., and Metro Pictures
A piece by B. Wurtz (on view at Metro Pictures) from 1986, featuring the clevelry arranged bits of random hardware store merch.
Wurtz is obsessed with things we overlook or discard and chooses to display objects for what they are, rather than what they could be transformed into. Shown here: a shoelace piece from 2001.
Courtesy the artist, Feature Inc., and Metro Pictures
Wurtz is obsessed with things we overlook or discard and chooses to display objects for what they are, rather than what they could be transformed into. Shown here: a shoelace piece from 2001.

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog C-Monster.net, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net

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