This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Cover Image: Left: Melanie Crean. Photo: Jordan Parnass; right: Jess Saldaña. Photo: Jess Saldaña

Melanie Crean and Jess Saldaña will team up for the latest “A Possibility that Exists Alongside” at the New Museum (photos by Jordan Parnass, Jess Saldaña)

Who: Melanie Crean, Jess Saldaña
What: Free gallery tour and poetry reading
Where: New Museum of Contemporary Art, 235 Bowery at Prince St., 212-219-1222
When: Thursday, August 22, free with advance RSVP, 6:00
Why: On August 22, artist, educator and filmmaker Melanie Crean will lead a special tour of the New Museum exhibition “Mirror/Echo/Tilt,” a multichannel video installation by Crean, Shaun Leonardo, and Sable Elyse Smith that examines arrest and incarceration, made in conjunction with participants with firsthand experience. The tour will be followed by a poetry reading by Chicanx muralist, poet, performer, and analogue film photographer Jess Saldaña, the founder and curator of the Brooklyn performance space Affections. The event, free with advance RSVP, is part of the New Museum program “A Possibility that Exists Alongside,” which last month featured a gallery tour by Leonardo and a poetry reading by Nicole Sealey and continues September 12 with a tour and reading by Smith; the exhibit runs through October 6.


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Tim Conlon’s freight train is a highlight of “Beyond the Streets” (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

25 Kent Ave., Brooklyn
Thursday - Sunday through September 29, $25

“Beyond the Streets” is an aptly titled exhibition, a wide-ranging show, continuing in a multilevel space in Williamsburg through September 29 that features more than 150 artists who made their names tagging and writing on trains, buildings, water towers, and the like. Displaying rebellious art that originally arose from a disaffected community — pieces meant to be freely viewed outdoors by all — in a gallery setup can be problematic. Curator Roger Gastman includes ample documentation of earlier spray-can art and graffiti but mainly concentrates on artists’ more recent work, including paintings on canvas, sculptures, and installations. The centerpiece is “Facing the Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” Shepard Fairey’s thirtieth anniversary show, consisting of more than thirty framed pieces that follow his transition from a street artist posting stickers of Andre the Giant to making larger murals and posters that have entered the political zeitgeist, taking on such issues as racism, gender inequality, and the military industrial complex. “Beyond the Streets” began in Los Angeles, and the New York iteration is significantly different, focusing on a more local appeal, though the LA artists get their due as well.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Graffiti goes off the streets and onto gallery walls in “Beyond the Streets” (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Among the artists represented are Barry McGee, BAST, BLADE, Charlie Ahearn, CRASH, Dash Snow, DAZE, Dennis Hopper, Fab 5 Freddy, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, INVADER, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, LADY PINK, Mark Mothersbaugh, Ron English, SWOON, TAKI 183, and TATS CRU, the first major graffiti collective to create commercial work. Street art is, by nature, temporary, so photographs by Martha Cooper, Glen E. Friedman, Maripol, Henry Chalfant, and Jane Dickson depict classic tags. LEE Quiñones re-creates his “Soul-Train” wall piece, adding such quotes on a pizza box as “Running out of paint just as I did back in ’75.” Takashi Murakami and MADSAKI collaborate with snipe1 and TENGAone on a room that includes a text-laden, colorful sculpture that declares, “Hollow.” Craig Costello takes over a corner with two canvases and a pair of mailboxes dripping in white paint.

Takashi Murakami makes a hollow declaration in Brooklyn (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Takashi Murakami makes a “hollow” declaration in Brooklyn (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

C. R. Stecyk III repurposes old, rusted spray cans. Bill Barminski invites visitors into an interactive world made out of paper. DABSMYLA offers a respite with a panorama bouquet. A special section is dedicated to the Beastie Boys’ street sense. Tim Conlon paints a large-scale model freight train. John Ahearn’s “Smith vs. the Vandal Squad” depicts an incognito graffiti artist giving the finger. Jenny Holzer’s “Truisms” posters are filled with thousands of statements, such as “Any surplus is immoral” and “Awful punishment awaits really bad people.” The visual theme of the presentation is Kilroy Was Here’s half-hidden man peeking out from various places. Overall, it’s a celebration of a revolutionary art form and its immense cultural influence, showing how so many of these artists continue to create today.


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

“Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986” includes a listening room where visitors can play their favorite old vinyl (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle at 58th St. & Eighth Ave.
Tuesday- Sunday through August 18, $12-$16 (eighteen and under free)

The whole punk aesthetic is a tough one to capture in a museum setting. The Met’s 2013 Costume Institute exhibit “Punk: Chaos to Couture” was roundly booed — despite huge crowds — for its haute approach to punk culture, the antithesis of DIY. Currently, the Museum of Sex’s “Punk Lust: Raw Provocation 1971-1985” immerses attendees in the in-your-face sexuality and desire of punk music, language, and clothing, but it’s the Museum of Sex, which instantly scares away many art lovers. The Museum of Arts & Design gets things right with the superb “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986,” which continues at the Columbus Circle institution through August 18 (although some sections close August 11). Spread across two floors, the exhibit focuses on the DIY look and style of punk promotion, through album covers, advertisements, posters, zines, pins, flyers, and other ephemera. The show is divided into eight thematic sections, looking at typography, specific artists (such as Mark Mothersbaugh, Barney Bubbles, Neville Brody, Vaughan Oliver, Malcolm Garrett, and Peter Saville), political statements, sexual orientation, the influence of comic books and science fiction, and the New York scene.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The unique graphic-design approach of the Sex Pistols is a highlight of MAD museum show (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Beginning with punk and extending into protopunk and New Wave, “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die” highlights the graphic presentation and messaging of such seminal figures as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello, Black Flag, Blondie, Buzzcocks, the Smiths, Kraftwerk, Devo, Patti Smith, the Cramps, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Talking Heads, Joy Division, the Slits, and the Dead Kennedys. Rare archival photographs by Fred W. McDarrah, Danny Fields, Bob Gruen, David Godlis, and others accompany Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s audiovisual installation Please Kill Me: Voices from the Archive, featuring fab interviews with and/or about Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Nico and the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Debbie Harry, Jim Carroll, and many others; in an adjoining room, a black-and-white film boasts live performances (with dubbed-in audio). Jamie Reid’s brash work with the Sex Pistols stands out, challenging the status quo and resulting in lawsuits for its appropriation of corporate logos. You can also create your own private playlist the old-fashioned way, picking through a few boxes of vinyl records and spinning them on one of two turntables, listening on bulky headphones. The majority of objects are on loan from collector and archivist Andrew Krivine; the exhibition, originally presented at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, is lovingly curated by Andrew Blauvelt and has been tweaked for the New York iteration. On August 8, MAD is hosting a pair of workshops, “Button Design with MAD Fellow Tamara Santibañez” (pay-what-you-wish, 6:00) and “Let's Draw with Mark Mothersbaugh!” ($15, 6:30).


Josephine, Peckham, 1995

Liz Johnson Artur, Josephine, Peckham, chromogenic photograph, 1995 (courtesy of the artist / © Liz Johnson Artur)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, August 3, free (some events require advance tickets), 5:00 - 11:00

The Brooklyn Museum gets ready for the West Indian American Day Carnival on Labor Day in the August edition of its free First Saturday program. There will be live performances by Los Habaneros, DJ I.M., DJ TYGAPAW, and Noise Cans; a hands-on workshop in which participants can make Caribbean carnival masks; a Flag Fête workshop and performance with Haitian choreographer and dance instructor Charnice Charmant and Afrobeat dancers; teen pop-up gallery talks on “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha”; a screening of Khalik Allah’s Black Mother, followed by a talkback with Allah and curator Drew Sawyer; Likkle Bites with food from Caribbean-owned Brooklyn businesses Greedi Vegan and Island Pops; an artist talk with Liz Johnson Artur; and the discussion “Yoruba in Pop Culture” with Grammy winner Chief Ayanda Clarke, presented by the Fadara Group. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Garry Winogrand: Color,” “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall,” “Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room,” “Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha,” “One: Egúngún,” “Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion,” “Infinite Blue,” “Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper,” and more.


Ann Toebbe Friend: Jana, 2018 gouache, paper collage and pencil on panel

Ann Toebbe, Friend: Jana, gouache, paper collage and pencil on panel, 2018

Tibor de Nagy
11 Rivington St.
Tuesday - Saturday through July 27, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

At first glance, you might think that Ann Toebbe’s “Friends and Rentals” exhibit at Tibor de Nagy on the Lower East Side consists of flat architectural renderings of real home layouts. But up close you’ll see they’re delightfully detailed three-dimensional collages of the interiors of houses, it turns out, owned by Toebbe’s friends and members of her extended family in Ohio and Kentucky. The Cincinnati-born, Chicago-based artist creates the works based on social media postings and actual visits to these houses, but she uses only her memory, not photographs or on-site sketches. Toebbe incorporates flocking, cut paper, yarn, glitter, pencil, gouache, and other materials on panels in constructing these birds’-eye views that serve as unique biographical portraits even though most of them contain no people in them. The rooms are divided to resemble how a brain is compartmentalized into different thought processes and, in these crazy days, how so many of us must multitask, but the works have a calming effect, not a frantic pace. Friend: Jana features a muted brown palette, while Friends: Lisa and Tim is much more colorful, and the only one seen from a horizontal perspective of the standing house. Not surprisingly, LA Air BnB is more standard and folksy than Friend: Becky, which includes children’s toys and a flatscreen TV showing a football game.

Ann Toebbe Friend: Susan, 2019 gouache, paper collage, flocking and pencil on panel

Ann Toebbe, Friend: Susan, gouache, paper collage, flocking and pencil on panel, 2019

You’ll find family photos, religious icons, the American flag, carpets, knickknacks, backyards, Christmas decorations, pets, plants, clocks, birthday presents, and a few lurking human figures, all helping describe people that we are likely never to meet but now somehow know. In the catalog essay “Ann Toebbe Wants to Organize Your Life,” Ryan Steadman writes that Toebbe “empathically [relates] to her subjects’ desire to reinvent themselves in their living spaces by making paintings that are themselves appealing coping strategies. . . . with a fortitude that usually belongs to a librarian or a paleontologist.” Each work is not to scale and is not architecturally sound, as Toebbe, who counts Venezuelan artist Arturo Herrera as her mentor, puts a little fantasy into each life. As you walk around the gallery, you’ll wonder what your home might look like if Toebbe re-created it on panel, but you’ll only be able to imagine it, or perhaps go home and reorganize your own clutter.


Ligia Lewis, minor matter, 2016. Photo by Martha Glenn.

Ligia Lewis, whose minor matter is seen above, translates Sensation 1 for the High Line this week (photo by Martha Glenn)

The High Line, Fourteenth Street Passage
July 23-25, free with advance RSVP, 7:30

Dancer and choreographer Ligia Lewis presents the next iteration of her Sensation series July 23-25 with Sensation 1 / This Interior, the first to be performed outside, taking place at 7:30 each night at the Fourteenth Street Passage on the High Line. Sensation 1 premiered as an indoor solo in 2011, followed the next year by Sensation 2; both pieces involved very slow movement that viewed the body as a sculptural object. Now the Dominican-born, Berlin-based Lewis, who has recently completed a trilogy consisting of Sorrow Swag (2014), minor matter (2016), and Water Will (in Melody) (2018), revisits Sensation with dancers Trinity Bobo, Emma Cohen, Rebecca Gual, Miguel Ángel Guzmán, Stephanie Peña, and Jumatatu M. Poe and music by Lewis’s brother, George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, focusing on the last note of a song on multiple bodies as a shared experience. Admission is free with advance RSVP.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Lubaina Himid’s Five Conversations is part of High Line group show “En Plein Air” (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Be sure to show up early or stay late and take a walk along the High Line to see its current art commissions. The group show “En Plein Air” comprises works by Ei Arakawa, Firelei Báez, Daniel Buren, Sam Falls, Lubaina Himid, Lara Schnitger, Ryan Sullivan, and Vivian Suter that, like Sensation 1 / This Interior, take advantage of the outdoor location. Also be on the lookout for Simone Leigh’s giant Brick House, a sixteen-foot-high bronze figure of a black woman with long cornrow braids and a skirt that doubles as her body and a dwelling; Ruth Ewan’s Silent Agitator, which demands that it’s “time to organize”; Dorothy Iannone’s I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door, depicting three colorful versions of the Statue of Liberty; and Autumn Knight’s Complete Total Pleasure, a new video about anhedonia, power, race, and control.

And on August 6 at 5:00, the High Line will host “In Conversation: On Top of All This,” a free (with advance RSVP) three-hour gathering on the Spur at Thirtieth St. and Tenth Ave., with poetry, fiction, prompts, and predictions from poet and scholar Lucas Crawford, poet, curator, and artist Anaïs Duplan, and dancer, writer, curator, and choreographer Emily Johnson, including prerecorded audio reflections, readings, and a panel discussion.


power play

Rubin Museum of Art
West 17th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Sunday, July 21, free (including free museum admission all day), 1:00 - 4:00

The Rubin Museum’s yearlong exploration of “Power: Within and Between Us” is at the center of its sixth annual block party, taking place July 21. From 1:00 to 4:00, there will be live performances by Building Beats, Fogo Azul Brazilian Women’s Drumline, and Power Painting Jam, food from Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, People’s Pops, Yanni’s Coffee, Cafe Serai, Sweetface Snoballs, and the Commons Chelsea, and activities led by Grassroots Movement in Nepal, Siddhartha School, Tibetan Community of NY/NJ, YindaYin Coaching, Nepal Hip Hop Foundation, and others. “Power begins within us and flows between us. How can we tap into this potential?” the museum asks. The block party also features the art workshops Power Down (in which you can create their own stress balls), Power On (make a portable lamp), and Power Objects (inspired by the Tibetan Namkha). In addition, you can participate in Flower Power (a collaborative floral feast), Power Couple (tracing hands), Power Nap (a guided meditation), Power Poles (scientific experiments with magnets and metallic sand), Power Trip (learn about Himalayan constellations), Net Walk (study movement in unison with artist Milcah Bassel), Playgami (an AR experience with origami artist Uttam Grandhi), and Power Forward (create wind-powered messages with artist Kyung-Jin Kim). As an extra bonus, there will be free admission to the museum all day (11:00 am – 6:00 pm), so you can check out the exhibits “Charged with Buddha’s Blessings: Relics from an Ancient Stupa,” “Masterworks of Himalayan Art,” “The Power of Intention,” “Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel,” “The Wheel of Intentions,” “Shrine Room Projects: Wishes and Offerings,” and “The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room.”