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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

WNYC's Arts Datebook: November 17 - 23

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 12:00 AM

WNYC

An important exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum examines gay identity, street photography gets its due at Laurence Miller, a contemporary artist showcases geometric wood abstractions and a renowned fine food purveyor displays works by video artists. Plus, it's the final week for Performa, the performance art biennial. There's lots going down in the city. Here are our weekly picks:

Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Brooklyn Museum Late last year, a Smithsonian Institution exhibit that explored issues of sexuality and gay identity generated a full-blown culture battle when anti-gay protestors accused curators of featuring anti-Christian works. (If you need a refresher on that skirmish, see my write-up and read the New York Times review of the show.) Now the Brooklyn Museum will be showcasing this same show, complete with the David Wojnarowicz film that was removed from the original exhibit after the controversy erupted. Featuring approximately 100 works of art — from Thomas Eakins’ masterful 19th century paintings to black-and-white photography from the ‘70s to gripping canvases that chronicle the ravages of AIDS — this is an all-too-rare examination of gay and lesbian sexuality in our culture. Consider it a priority. Opens Friday, in Brooklyn.

Urbantics, The City Seen and Unseen, at Laurence Miller Gallery What are all the things you miss when you’re walking through the city, tethered to the screen of your smartphone? A lot, according to this new exhibit at the Laurence Miller Gallery. Displaying the work of 15 talented street photographers, Urbantics includes pieces by renowned picture-makers Helen Levitt, Burk Uzzle, Andre Kertesz and the many others who have an innate ability to sniff out the hidden corners of our cities. Should be inspiration enough to put down the darn phone. Through December 22, in Midtown.

Videobytes, presented by James Cohan Gallery at Russ & Daughters As far as I’m concerned, the marriage of smoked fish and art is a perfect one. Which is why I’m very excited about this installation by the James Cohan Gallery on the Lower East Side. The gallery has gathered works on video by more than half a dozen established and emerging artists — including bigwigs such as John Baldessari — and will be playing them on a loop at the Russ & Daughters lox emporium on Houston Street. If you get there after closing, no big whoop. The videos will be on view 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the window. You just won’t be able to get any herring. Through December 9, on the Lower East Side.

A Break From Content: Jason Middlebrook at Dodge Gallery Large, thin slices of walnut, redwood and elm tree are transformed into geometric-abstract sculptures that straddle the divide between painting and sculpture. A play on John McCracken’s shining fiberglass planks, Middlebrook’s pieces allow for the organic shape and contours of the wood to shine through, even as he creates hard-edge patterns inspired by the tree’s natural ring lines. Opens Saturday at 6 P.M., on the Lower East Side.

Accumulations: Bruce Conner, Yayoi Kusama and Christina Marclay at Paula Cooper Gallery This is a mixed-bag the-holidays-are-upon-us kind of show, but it provides an opportunity to look at a number of pieces by artists who like to play with perception, repetition and the ability to make a viewer say, Duuuuude. If you haven’t seen it yet, pop into check out Christian Marclay’s “Moebius Loop,” a 20-foot-long piece woven entirely out of cassette tapes. It’s the ultimate fetish object for anyone into retro technology. Through December 17.

PLUS: Performa — it’s not over yet. In case you were wondering, the performance art biennial is still here. So, if you haven’t caught any of the performances, you still have a week in which to marinade yourself in contemporary art weirdness. Good possibilities include: Zhou Xiaohu’s Crazy English at Judson Memorial Church this Saturday, a gig by Christian Marclay and Otomo Yoshihide at the Japan Society (also Saturday), and filmmaker Guy Maddin’s remixes of his own classic Tales From the Gimli Hospital, at Lincoln Center. Performa is on through Monday, in locations around New York.

The James Cohan Gallery has arranged a display of videos in the windows of smoked fish purveyors Russ & Daughters. Seen here: A still from Kate Gilmore's 2011 video 'Built to Burst.'
Courtesy of the artist
The James Cohan Gallery has arranged a display of videos in the windows of smoked fish purveyors Russ & Daughters. Seen here: A still from Kate Gilmore's 2011 video 'Built to Burst.'
The Cohan installation at Russ & Daughters runs 24-7 and includes video by artists such as John Baldessari. A still from his 1977 work 'Six Colorful Inside Jobs' is seen above.
Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Licensed by Electronic Arts Intermix, New York
The Cohan installation at Russ & Daughters runs 24-7 and includes video by artists such as John Baldessari. A still from his 1977 work 'Six Colorful Inside Jobs' is seen above.
Laurence Miller Gallery has gathered the work of various street photographers, including this image by Fred Herzog: 'Hub and Lux, Vancouver,' from 1958.
Courtesy the artist and Laurence Miller Gallery
Laurence Miller Gallery has gathered the work of various street photographers, including this image by Fred Herzog: 'Hub and Lux, Vancouver,' from 1958.
Also on view at Miller is one of street photography's undisputed masters: Helen Levitt. Her photograph 'Girl in Baby Carriage, NYC' was taken in 1939.
Courtesy the artist and Laurence Miller Gallery
Also on view at Miller is one of street photography's undisputed masters: Helen Levitt. Her photograph 'Girl in Baby Carriage, NYC' was taken in 1939.
Dodge Gallery is showing the work of Jason Middlebrook, a contemporary artist who uses wood planks to create geometric abstractions -- such as 'Something Left,' from 2011, crafted from redwood.
Courtesy the artist and DODGEgallery. Photo: Karen Pearson
Dodge Gallery is showing the work of Jason Middlebrook, a contemporary artist who uses wood planks to create geometric abstractions -- such as 'Something Left,' from 2011, crafted from redwood.
Middlebrook is inspired by minimalist artists of the 1970s, but instead of using industrial materials, he uses wood -- as seen in the sculpture 'Once again a version of nature through my eyes.'
Courtesy the artist and DODGEgallery. Photo: Karen Pearson
Middlebrook is inspired by minimalist artists of the 1970s, but instead of using industrial materials, he uses wood -- as seen in the sculpture 'Once again a version of nature through my eyes.'
Paula Cooper Gallery has a mixed-bag group show that features Christian Marclay's 'Moebius Loop,' a cassette tape sculpture from 1994.
Carolina A. Miranda
Paula Cooper Gallery has a mixed-bag group show that features Christian Marclay's 'Moebius Loop,' a cassette tape sculpture from 1994.
'Cuz I Can't Resist Some Self-Reference: Marclay's 'Loop' is made from dozens of old tapes -- including this cassette featuring NPR's 'All Things Considered.'
Carolina A. Miranda
'Cuz I Can't Resist Some Self-Reference: Marclay's 'Loop' is made from dozens of old tapes -- including this cassette featuring NPR's 'All Things Considered.'
The Brooklyn Museum will be showing the Smithsonian Institution's 'HIDE/SEEK,' an exhibit that explores issues of sexuality and gender. Shown here: Peter Hujar's 1975 portrait of critic Susan Sontag.
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. © The Peter Hujar Archive LLC, courtesy Mathew Marks Gallery
The Brooklyn Museum will be showing the Smithsonian Institution's 'HIDE/SEEK,' an exhibit that explores issues of sexuality and gender. Shown here: Peter Hujar's 1975 portrait of critic Susan Sontag.
The Smithsonian exhibit generated controversy because of a single piece by David Wojnarowicz, but it is a rich collection of works from over a century -- such as Thomas Eakins' 'Salutat,' from 1898.
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
The Smithsonian exhibit generated controversy because of a single piece by David Wojnarowicz, but it is a rich collection of works from over a century -- such as Thomas Eakins' 'Salutat,' from 1898.
One of the pieces on display at the Brooklyn Museum will be AA Bronson's wrenching portrait of his collaborator Felix Partz -- shortly after his untimely death from AIDS-related complications.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. ©AA Bronson, courtesy Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin
One of the pieces on display at the Brooklyn Museum will be AA Bronson's wrenching portrait of his collaborator Felix Partz -- shortly after his untimely death from AIDS-related complications.

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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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