The Center for Book Arts
28 West 27th St., third floor
Friday, November 17, suggested admission $10, 6:30
“I work with the book. It is my chosen medium for the simple fact that it can contain and embrace all artistic media and expressions. Within the book, an infinitely complex array of materials and techniques come together and combine with a history as rich and diverse as we who create and use it. I often refer to the book in its totality as Alchemy.” So declares Mark Cockram, a faculty fellow at the Center for Book Arts, where on November 17 he will participate in an artist talk and reception in conjunction with his exhibition, “Beyond the Rules.” The show features several of his unique, multidimensional books and bindings, including The Lysistrata of Aristophanes, Wine from My Garden, Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay Eterniday, and Iskandar Jalil: Kembara Tanah Liat (Clay Travels). The exhibit continues through December 16; also currently on view at the center are “Felicia Rice: Collaboration and Metamorphosis” and the interactive “The Internal Machine,” consisting of pieces, many of which visitors can touch and activate, by Doug Beube, Ranjit Bhatnagar, András Böröcz, Caroline Bouissou, Gillian Brown, Brian Dettmer, Juan Fontanive, Arnaldo Morales, Bruno Munari, Alexander Rosenberg, Claudia Schmitz, Ward Shelley and Douglas Paulson, Kaethe Wenzel, Benjamin Wright, Nick Yulman, and Mary Ziegler.
In conjunction with the excellent exhibition “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” which equates primarily black-and-white etchings, drawings, and films by Spanish painter Francisco Goya, Russian auteur Sergei Eisenstein, and American visual artist Robert Longo as they relate to the socioeconomic and -political issues of their times, the Brooklyn Museum is hosting an artist talk with Longo and American art critic and historian Hal Foster, author of such books as Compulsive Beauty, The Return of the Real: The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century, and The Art-Architecture Complex. The exhibition features stunning large-scale, multipanel charcoal drawings by the Brooklyn-born Longo that resemble photographs, including “Untitled (Black Pussy Hat in Women’s March),” “Untitled (Bullet Hole in Window),” and “Untitled (Mecca).” Longo and Foster will discuss how art and activism, and particularly photography, can have an impact in times of emergency, like what is happening right now in the United States and around the world.
MetLiveArts / Performa 17
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Performance: Monday, November 13, and Tuesday, November 14, free with advance registration, 7:00
Talk: Wednesday, November 15, Performa Hub, 427 Broadway at Canal St., free, 1:00
Kenyan-born artist and activist Wangechi Mutu, who is based in New York and Nairobi, will be at the Met Fifth Ave. on November 13 and 14 presenting the Performa 17 commission and MetLiveArts program Banana Stroke. The sculptor, collage painter, and multidisciplinary, multimedia artist is the founder of AFRICA’SOUT!, an organization that seeks to raise awareness and “advance radical change” regarding freedom of creative expression in Africa and the diaspora, with a particular focus on gender equality and gay rights. Banana Stroke is an immersive environment constructed from collages made with dyed, fermented, or saturated paper, a live performance, and a site-specific action painting. “A lot of my work reflects the incredible influence that America has had on contemporary African culture. Some of it’s insidious, some of it’s innocuous, some of it’s invisible. It’s there,” Mutu told Mother Jones in 2013. On November 15 at 1:00, she will be at the Performa 17 Biennial Hub at 427 Broadway for a free talk with writer and scholar Adrienne Edwards, concentrating on Mutu’s use of abstraction and performance over the last two years. The conversation is being held in conjunction with Performa’s AFROGLOSSIA program, curated by Edwards and featuring work by Mutu, Teju Cole, Tracey Rose, Julie Mehretu and Jason Moran, Yto Barrada, and others.
Update: Wangechi Mutu’s Banana Stroke is an intimate, immersive experience reminiscent of the Happenings of the 1960s and ’70s. A small, extremely lucky crowd is ushered into the Met’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium and onto the stage, where they take seats on white benches of various heights and lengths, placed to the right and left. In between is an empty space with large white canvas boards at the front and back. Sounds of nature seep in and two related videos produced, edited, and photographed by Andrew Dru Mungai are projected onto the boards, in which the Kenyan-born Mutu rises from the ground wearing long banana branches on both hands. The videos switch from color to black-and-white while Mutu gently recites Nobel Prize–winning St. Lucian writer Derek Walcott’s “A Far Cry from Africa,” including: “Again brutish necessity wipes its hands / Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again / A waste of our compassion, as with Spain, / The gorilla wrestles with the superman. / I who am poisoned with the blood of both, / Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? / I who have cursed / The drunken officer of British rule, how choose / Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?” In addition, such words as “Wail,” “Cry,” “Promise,” “Profane,” and “Stroke” appear on one of the walls and are spoken. The lights go out, and Mutu walks into the center, two long banana branches shackled to her arms. She moves slowly while going back and forth between the two canvases, dipping the banana leaves in metal containers of black ink and banging, dotting, and swirling them onto the stark whiteness and dragging them over the floor, the ink at times threatening to touch the audience as Mutu dances and throws her arms in the air.
Satisfied with her stark creations, she leaves the stage in darkness, and soon two more videos are projected over the artwork, similar to the earlier films but not exactly the same. The action paintings are essentially abstract, but Mutu carefully crafted some very specific patterns that now make sense with what’s happening onscreen. The images and words clash with the black strokes on the white screens, calling into question the effects of the artistic intervention as well as that of the colonialists. And about sixty minutes before it all started, it’s over; the audience leaves in silence, Mutu not coming out to take a bow. Banana Stroke is a powerful, provocative experience layered with meaning that will take time and effort to decipher, but it’s well worth further investigation; perhaps Mutu will shed more light on it during her November 15 talk with curator Adrienne Edwards.
Multiple Barnes & Noble locations
Saturday, November 11, and Sunday, November 12, 12 noon, free
B&N is hosting its third annual all-ages Mini Maker Faire around the country on November 11 and 12, featuring inventors, innovators, 3D printers, hobbyists, hackers, robots, virtual reality, coding, and other cutting-edge technology and creators. On Saturday at 12:30 at the Eighty-Sixth St. store, Max Bogue will give a talk, “From Concept to a Million Pens Sold,” about the 3Doodler Pen, followed at 2:00 by Danny Sigler and Ruben Dax of ROLI discussing the Lightpad Block and the Seaboard Block and Frank Dautant showing off the Lomo’Instant Camera White. At 3:00, Samantha Razook Murphy of Curious Jane magazine will give a presentation. (Curious Jane will also be at the Park Slope B&N Saturday afternoon.) On Sunday at the Union Square B&N, Cyant CEO Barbara Hanna will discuss art and tech at 2:00, followed at 3:00 by multimedia sculptor Taezoo Park, who will talk about his very cool TV Being 009 project. And over at the Tribeca B&N, Pixel Academy will be on hand Saturday afternoon from 12 noon to 4:00, while Stuyvesant Pulse Robotics Team will give a battle-bots demonstration on Sunday at noon.
MetLiveArts / Performa ’17
Sunday, November 5, the Met Cloisters, 10:30 am to 4:45 pm
Sunday, November 12, the Met Breuer, 10:30 am to 5:15 pm
Sunday, November 19, the Met Fifth Avenue, 10:30 am to 5:15 pm
Free with museum admission
Eiko Otake began her “Body in Places” solo project shortly after her longtime partner, Takashi Koma, injured himself; the couple has performed as Eiko & Koma since the mid-1970s. The project has taken the Japan-born, New York City–based Eiko all around the world, where she moves in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors, wearing thick, heavy, ghostly makeup, dressed in a sackcloth-and-ashes-style kimono. She moves agonizingly slowly, a human intervention into the mass of humanity that swirls by such New York City locations as Wall Street, MoMA, St. John the Divine, the Fulton Center, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, and Governors Island. The piece was inspired by the tragic events at Fukushima, Japan, where she has performed as well, but only for cameraman William Johnston. MetLiveArts and Performa ’17 have now teamed up to present the forty-third, forty-fourth, and forty-fifth iterations of this “living installation,” as Eiko makes her way through the Main Hall of the Met Cloisters on November 5, the fifth floor of the Met Breuer on November 12, and Galleries 963–965 (Robert Lehman Wing, court level) of the Met Fifth Avenue on November 19. “Each of the buildings in the Met is its own place, each with different opportunities and limitations on how I can carry Fukushima into the museum,” she explains in a statement. “Because of this, I use a different approach in projecting images, a different choreography, and a different gaze in each place. At the Cloisters, I can project the video onto the stone walls and can move the image negotiating with the architecture, art works, and a sense of history. At the Met Breuer, I work in a nearly empty space on the fifth floor that allows me to move the projector fracturing the images. It is the least museum-like space. At the Met Fifth Avenue, the projection must remain stationary. So, the structure will be more meditative. I hope my insistent gaze will make my witnessing palpable and invite others to linger in the space.” The piece has also been performed at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, the Wesleyan library, Hong Kong, Chile, the Chicago Art Institute, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Tokyo. And don’t hesitate to see Eiko at the Met, even if you’ve seen her before; not only is each performance different, but she also notes, “I was invited to perform at the Met, but like any other engagement, I don’t want to make my performance about just accepting an invitation. I have been working in such a way to make it necessary and urgent for me. Please come if you can, and if you cannot, please imagine me doing this marathon.”
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, November 4, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates the world’s preeminent borough in its monthly free First Saturday program in November with “Best of the Borough.” There will be live music by Alsarah & the Nubatones, Phony Ppl, and DJ Ian Friday; a curator tour of “Arts of Korea” with Joan Cummins; a hands-on art workshop inspired by Mickalene Thomas’s extraordinary “A Little Taste Outside of Love”; a scholar talk and book signing with Chip Colwell, author of Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture; a Brooklyn Dance Festival showcase with by the D.R.E.A.M. Ring, FLEXN, Kristin Sudeikis Dance, SynthesisDANCE, Concepts in Choreography, and the Francesca Harper Project; a pop-up gallery talk on Ancient Egyptian art; a book club reading with poet Tommy Pico from his latest book, Nature Poem; and a special screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 classic, Strike! with a live score conducted by Hisham Akira Bharoocha and featuring Angel Deradoorian, Jeremy Hyman, Nicos Kennedy, and Joe Williams. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Roots of ‘The Dinner Party’: History in the Making,” “Soulful Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt,” “Robert Longo: Untitled (Raft at Sea),” “Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo,” “Arts of Asia and the Middle East, “Infinite Blue,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.