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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

The otherworldly mobiles of Alexander Calder on 57th St., rare Islamic manuscripts at the Morgan, the art collection of photographer Alfred Stieglitz at the Met, Canadian cartoonists get their due on the Upper East Side and D.I.Y. filmstrips come to Williamsburg. New York has got it going on this week. Here's what we're looking at:

Alexander Calder, Calder: 1941 at the Pace Gallery on 57th Street Colorful amoebic shapes that rotate with the slightest breeze. Abstract arthropods that look straight out of Dr. Seuss. Delicate, leaf-like sculptures that gently spin overhead. Calder was renowned for his ability to turn a simple piece of sheet metal into a work of modernist whimsy. In what promises to be a gem of a show, the Pace Gallery is looking at works from a key year in the artist’s life — 1941 — when he was beginning to truly find his voice as a sculptor and installationist. The show will include a couple of unusual and long-lost surprises. The New York Times has some excellent back story. Opens Friday, in midtown.

Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting at the Morgan Library The library founded by financier J. Pierpont Morgan is widely known for its excellent collection of medieval and Renaissance era books and manuscripts. But this week, it's unveiling its first ever exhibition devoted to the Islamic works housed in its stacks: various Korans (one of which dates back to the late 16th century), an illustrated work depicting the life of the poet Rumi and a rare 13th century treatise on animals — the latter of which is considered one of the greatest Islamic manuscripts in existence. A rare treat. Opens Friday, in Midtown.

Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art In the first decades of the 20th century, Alfred Stieglitz was an indefatigable force in the world of New York art. A renowned photographer, he was well-known for his romantic, Vaseline-lens images of landscapes (including this renowned flick of the Flatiron Building). As the proprietor of various gallery spaces, he was key in introducing avant-garde European painters such as Matisse and Picasso to the New York scene. And, as husband to painter Georgia O’Keeffe (whom he liked to photograph nekkid), he was an important champion of her work within collecting circles. Now the Met is looking at another side of Stieglitz — that of art collector. On view at the museum are more than 200 works amassed over the course of his life, many of which haven’t been seen since the museum acquired them in 1949. This includes pieces by little-known period artists as well as key modernists such as O’Keeffe, Brancusi and Kandinsky. Of note: the works by the Maine-born painter Marsden Hartley. Through January 2, on the Upper East Side.

William Powhida, Derivatives, at Postmasters Gallery Powhida, the artist who has savaged everyone from the New Museum to the Bravo TV show Work of Art in his diagrammatic drawings and sheet-of-notebook paper-style rants, is now going after the 1%. This includes predatory lenders, members of Congress and the media, and guys who thought it was a good idea to slap some math on stacks of debt and then sell it off in fragments. He also looks at how this same 1% underwrites the bastions of our culture. (D’oh!) Looking for a preview? You can read Powhida’s first volley here. Opens Saturday, in Chelsea.

Seth, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, at Adam Baumgold Gallery on 66th Street The (you guessed it) Canadian cartoonist behind titles like George Sprott and the series Palookaville, is having a one-man show of his works at this uptown gallery. The exhibit showcases drawings, panels and other ephemera from the production of his latest book, which features tributes to Canadian artists both real and invented. A good one for the comics geeks. Through November 23, on the Upper East Side.

David Scher, Between the Acts: The Bagnolo Suite, and Brian Dewan, The Tide Waits For No Man, at Pierogi Gallery. This long-time Williamsburg spot has a two-fer going on this month: an exhibition of Scher’s cryptic abstractions, surreal agglomorations of text, images and artfully arranged stains, along with Dewan’s deadpan sketched filmstrips. Expect quirky weirdness. Through November 13, in Williamsburg.

At Adam Baumgold Gallery, the comic artist Seth pays pays tribute to Canadian cartoonists both real and invented. Seen here, an ink and watercolor image titled 'Founding Fathers.'
At Adam Baumgold Gallery, the comic artist Seth pays pays tribute to Canadian cartoonists both real and invented. Seen here, an ink and watercolor image titled 'Founding Fathers.' ( Courtesy the artist and Adam Baumgold Gallery )
Seth's show at Baumgold will include drawings, panels and other ephemera -- such as this piece, 'Members (The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists).'
Seth's show at Baumgold will include drawings, panels and other ephemera -- such as this piece, 'Members (The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists).' ( Courtesy the artist and Adam Baumgold Gallery )
The Met is showing works from the collection of noted early 20th century photographer Alfred Stieglitz, including this 1938 canvas by Georgia O'Keeffe, titled 'From the Faraway.'
The Met is showing works from the collection of noted early 20th century photographer Alfred Stieglitz, including this 1938 canvas by Georgia O'Keeffe, titled 'From the Faraway.' ( Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York )
Also at the Met: An early work by Diego Rivera -- 'Table on a Café Terrace,' from 1915.
Also at the Met: An early work by Diego Rivera -- 'Table on a Café Terrace,' from 1915. ( Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York )
For the early decades of the 20th century, Stieglitz (seen above, in a photograph by Edward Steichen) introduced the European avant-garde to New York.
For the early decades of the 20th century, Stieglitz (seen above, in a photograph by Edward Steichen) introduced the European avant-garde to New York. ( Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York )
Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn is showing works by two contemporary artists -- including a filmstrip by Brian Dewan. The detail shown here is titled 'Rise.'
Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn is showing works by two contemporary artists -- including a filmstrip by Brian Dewan. The detail shown here is titled 'Rise.' ( Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery )
Another still from Dewan's filmstrip. He created all aspects of the work, including narration, music and sound effects.
Another still from Dewan's filmstrip. He created all aspects of the work, including narration, music and sound effects. ( Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery )
Also at Pierogi: the abstract works of David Scher, including this piece, titled 'Bagnolo Suite, W6.
Also at Pierogi: the abstract works of David Scher, including this piece, titled 'Bagnolo Suite, W6. ( Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery )
Scher's delicate works also contain elements of collage. Seen here: another piece from the 'Bagnolo Suite.'
Scher's delicate works also contain elements of collage. Seen here: another piece from the 'Bagnolo Suite.' ( Courtesy the artist and Pierogi Gallery )
A collection of Islamic manuscripts at the Morgan reveals some rare treasures, such as this leaf from an 18th century Mughal album showing 'Ibrahim Adham of Balkh Served by Angels.'
A collection of Islamic manuscripts at the Morgan reveals some rare treasures, such as this leaf from an 18th century Mughal album showing 'Ibrahim Adham of Balkh Served by Angels.' ( Courtesy the Morgan Library. Photo by Graham S. Haber )
The Morgan exhibit also contains a 13th century Persian manuscript on the uses of animals. Seen here: two gazelles sprinting through a forest.
The Morgan exhibit also contains a 13th century Persian manuscript on the uses of animals. Seen here: two gazelles sprinting through a forest. ( Courtesy the Morgan Library. Photo by Graham S. Haber )
This piece, 'A Vision of Muhammad Reading Rumi's Masnavi (Couplets)' was made in Baghdad in the 1590s.
This piece, 'A Vision of Muhammad Reading Rumi's Masnavi (Couplets)' was made in Baghdad in the 1590s. ( Courtesy the Morgan Library. Photo by Graham S. Haber )
This mini Koran from the 17th century is the size of a walnut.
This mini Koran from the 17th century is the size of a walnut. ( Courtesy the Morgan Library. Photo by Graham S. Haber )
At Pace: More than a dozen works by Alexander Calder from the year 1941, including this work, 'Vertical Foliage,' that seems to defy gravity.
At Pace: More than a dozen works by Alexander Calder from the year 1941, including this work, 'Vertical Foliage,' that seems to defy gravity. ( Photo courtesy of the Calder Foundation and The Pace Gallery )
1941 was the year when Calder really developed the mobiles for which he would become so well known -- seen in this fish-like arrangement.
1941 was the year when Calder really developed the mobiles for which he would become so well known -- seen in this fish-like arrangement. ( Photo courtesy of the Calder Foundation and The Pace Gallery )
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