Datebook: June 10, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010 - 06:00 AM


Vintage photographs of New York in the '50s, art all along the 7 train, and a Puerto Rican-born artist gets a long overdue retrospective. Your guide to what's happening now.

Hipsters, Hustlers and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein's New York Photographs, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For several decades in the middle of the 20th century, this unheralded West Virginia-born photographer turned his unsentimental lens on New York City, his adopted home. The result: a black and white chronicle of daily life in all its gritty toughness. The Met has a wonderful audio report on the show, which features a rare interview with Levinstein, who passed away in 1988. "A good photograph," he tells his interviewer, "will prove to the viewer how little our eyes permit us to see." Through October 17, in Manhattan.

Queens Art Express, in various locations in Queens. Brooklyn may get the lion's share of the attention when it comes to art, but this weekend, 38 different cultural venues in Queens will be showing what they can do. For four days, the seven-mile path along the 7 train will be studded with photography exhibits, performances, dance and site-specific installation. In addition to seeing plenty of work by locals, it's also a good opportunity to pop into the Queens Museum of Art or the Socrates Sculpture Park, just a couple of the institutions that are part of the festival. Begins today, in Queens.

Reel Injun, a documentary screening, at MoMA. This charming, meandering documentary by Cree director Neil Diamond doesn't just chronicle the history of Indians on celluloid, it also looks at how Hollywood's depiction of Indians has been internalized by the culture at large—including Indians themselves. (Interesting fact: Many Indians will root for the cowboys when watching old Westerns.) The film veers into sentimentality on a few occasions, but it's nonetheless a fascinating gathering of historic footage—including a hilarious scene from the 1964 flick A Distant Trumpet, in which Navajo extras trash talk the white actors, with the latter being none the wiser. Screenings begin Monday, June 14th, in Manhattan.

The Sixth Borough, at Governor's Island. Organized by No Longer Empty, a not-for-profit that works with unused real estate and other sites, this exhibit gathers together roughly two dozen artists, who have created works specifically for the Governor's Island landscape. Among the artists included are trippy installationist Teresa Diehl and "artoonist" Pablo Helguera. As part of the happenings, a film series kicks off in early July. Through Sept. 25 on Governor's Island.

Retro/Active: The Works of Rafael Ferrer, at El Museo del Barrio. Throughout a career that has stretched almost five decades, the Puerto Rican-born Rafael Ferrer has touched on a variety of different art movements: from his ephemeral actions in the 1960s to the bright, large-scale figurative canvases he has produced since the 1980s. But until this comprehensive retrospective, organized by Museo curator Deborah Cullen, his body of work had been largely underrecognized and undocumented. Through Aug. 22, in Manhattan.


Reel Injun/flickr
A still from the documentary 'Reel Injun,' which examines the role of American Indians in Hollywood, screening next week at MoMA.
Photo by Kathy Zeiger. Courtesy of No Longer Empty.
On Governor's Island: The organiziation No Longer Empty has put together a series of site-specific installations. Above, Vadis Turner's 'Best in Show.'
Photo by Kathy Zeiger. Courtesy of No Longer Empty.
Also on Governor's Island, a piece by Teresa Diehl called 'The Return of Pleasure' (2005-2010)
Queens Council on the Arts
Queens Art Express, a four day festival that runs through weekend, will showcase art all along the 7 train. Above, an image from 'State Fair,' at the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City.
Queens Council on the Arts
Hector Canonge (center) and Chin Chih Yang (back), put together their sculpture '100 Degrees'—at the 33rd Street stop of the 7—as part of Queens Art Express
Courtesy of Rafael Ferrer
Rafael Ferrer is the subject of a retrospective at El Museo del Barrio. Above, the artist with his installation 'Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials,' at the Whitney in 1969.
Photo by Anthony Holmes
Ferrer's practice spanned the range of figurative, abstract and conceptual art. Shown here: one of his 97 chalkboard paintings from 2005.
Howard Greenberg Gallery
'Untitled,' 1960s-70s, a street photograph by Leon Levinstein at the Met.
Howard Greenberg Gallery
Levinstein was achingly candid in his view of New York: This shot is from Coney Island in the 1960s.


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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, 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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