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This Week: Must-See Arts in the City

Rethinking architecture during a time of recession, the myriad ways in which artists create prints, drawings that chart unusual histories, a feminist examination of war and abstract paintings that brood. There is some heady stuff going on in the city this week. Here's what we've got in the hopper:

Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream at the Museum of Modern Art If the economic crisis has a bright side, it's that it has slowed down construction of the unsustainable sort: sprawling mega-developments that eat up land and require massive investments in municipal infrastructure (roads, roads and more roads!!). With new building at a stand-still, the architecture and design department at MoMA has taken the opportunity to study ways in which urban planners might think differently about the way they build cities. Five teams visited five depressed areas around the country and brainstormed what could be done: from changing zoning codes, to building mixed-use developments to creating more intimate communities that could be navigated on foot. All around, excellent food for thought. Opens Wednesday, in Midtown.

Print/Out at the Museum of Modern Art From one-off artist books to commercial signage to photogravures and paperback books, this large-scale show explores the ways in which artists have utilized different methods of printing in their work. This includes early books by Ai Weiwei, key to disseminating information about art in China, as well as an installation by Ellen Gallagher, an artist who embeds other objects in her work. More than 70 projects will be featured, making this a must-see for the ink-and-paper set. Opens Sunday, in Midtown.

Ward Shelley, Unreliable Narrator, at Pierogi An artist known for his fantastical diagrammatic drawings, which have charted everything from Brooklyn happenings to the history of science fiction, is having his latest solo outing at this longtime Williamsburg space. On view will be works produced over the last few years — including the monstrous, tendril-filled piece that attempts to chart all things sci-fi. Opens Friday at 7 P.M., in Williamsburg.

Mary Kelly at Postmasters Gallery A feminist-conceptual artist who has been producing work since the early ‘70s, Kelly is best known for a six-year project titled ‘Post-Partum Document, 1973-79,’ which chronicled the mother-child relationship — and, to the delight of the tabloid press, included a display of stained diaper liners. In her first show in New York since 2005, the artist is displaying a 2010 work titled ‘Habitus’ that explores the issue of war, crafted from a mass-produced bomb shelter that was used during World War II. Other pieces touch on the politics of the nuclear age. Opens Saturday, in Chelsea.

Whiting Tennis at Derek Eller Gallery. This Seattle-based artist is known for his moody assemblages, made with wood and cardboard, with forms that resemble bits of nature rendered as brutalist sculpture. Yep, it’s severe — in a Moscow winter kind of way. But the works (which include lots of painting) pack a visceral punch. Opens Friday at 6 P.M.

PLUS: The Case For Appropriation: A Panel Moderated by Joy Garnett at the School of Visual Arts When is it okay to borrow? When is it not? With Richard Prince getting sued and SOPA in the news, this is a perfect time to discuss. This Thursday at 7 P.M., at the SVA Theatre on West 23rd Street.

At Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg, artist Ward Shelley displays his diagrammatic drawings -- this one on the history of science fiction.
At Pierogi Gallery in Williamsburg, artist Ward Shelley displays his diagrammatic drawings -- this one on the history of science fiction. ( Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi )
Another work by Shelley, this one charting various aspects of the Fluxus art movement. It is titled 'Extra Large Fluxus Diagram, Ver.1,' and was made in 2011.
Another work by Shelley, this one charting various aspects of the Fluxus art movement. It is titled 'Extra Large Fluxus Diagram, Ver.1,' and was made in 2011. ( Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi )
Feminist-conceptualist Mary Kelly will be having her first solo show in New York in five years at Postmasters. A detail from the installation 'Habitus' is seen above.
Feminist-conceptualist Mary Kelly will be having her first solo show in New York in five years at Postmasters. A detail from the installation 'Habitus' is seen above. ( Courtesy the artist and Postmasters Gallery )
A detail of Kelly's piece, 'Mimus,' which is made with lint -- and explores the politics of the nuclear age.
A detail of Kelly's piece, 'Mimus,' which is made with lint -- and explores the politics of the nuclear age. ( Courtesy the artist and Postmasters Gallery )
Part of 'Print/Out' at MoMA: A view of Ellen Gallagher's 'Deluxe,' from 2004-05, in which the artist mixes prints with a variety of unusual materials.
Part of 'Print/Out' at MoMA: A view of Ellen Gallagher's 'Deluxe,' from 2004-05, in which the artist mixes prints with a variety of unusual materials. ( The Museum of Modern Art, New York )
Also in the MoMA prints show: This screenprint by L.A.-based artist Daniel Joseph Martinez, from 2004.
Also in the MoMA prints show: This screenprint by L.A.-based artist Daniel Joseph Martinez, from 2004. ( The Museum of Modern Art, New York )
A screen print by artist Pae White, from 1999, titled 'My Melody from Untitled.'
A screen print by artist Pae White, from 1999, titled 'My Melody from Untitled.' ( The Museum of Modern Art, New York )
At Derek Eller Gallery, the muted forms of Whiting Tennis go on view, including 'Blue Cactus,' from 2011, a collaged painting on canvas.
At Derek Eller Gallery, the muted forms of Whiting Tennis go on view, including 'Blue Cactus,' from 2011, a collaged painting on canvas. ( Courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery )
Tennis both builds and paints dense, boxy forms. Seen here: 'Aardvark,' 2011.
Tennis both builds and paints dense, boxy forms. Seen here: 'Aardvark,' 2011. ( Courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery )
'Droopy,' from 2011, another recent piece by Tennis.
'Droopy,' from 2011, another recent piece by Tennis. ( Courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery )
The architecture exhibition at MoMA had teams examining planning and design issues in cities around the country -- including in Orange, N.J., seen above.
The architecture exhibition at MoMA had teams examining planning and design issues in cities around the country -- including in Orange, N.J., seen above. ( Photograph courtesy of MOS Architects. )
Zoning laws that separate live and work spaces have been a factor in the country's sprawl. Zago Architecture’s model for a developmentment in California mixes the two kinds of uses into a single site.
Zoning laws that separate live and work spaces have been a factor in the country's sprawl. Zago Architecture’s model for a developmentment in California mixes the two kinds of uses into a single site.

By integrating live and work, communities become less car dependent and more walkable.

( Photograph courtesy of James Ewing. © 2011 James Ewing )
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