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


come together

22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46th Ave.
Saturday, March 24, each session $10, both $15, 12 noon - 6:00, 6:00 - 9:00

The second annual Come Together: Music Festival and Label Market takes place March 24 at MoMA PS1, a joint venture between the museum and the late, lamented Other Music record shop. More than seventy-five labels will be in Long Island City, selling and sharing awesome music. There will be live performances by Laetitia Tamko’s Vagabon, Hailu Mergia, and Dead Moon, which will also be the subject of an archival exhibition; the New York premiere of The Potential of Noise (Reto Caduff & Stephan Plank, 2017), about sound designer and producer Conny Plank; “The Creative Independent,” a workshop with Brandon Stosuy, Katie Alice Greer, and Jenn Pelly; a sound design experimental workshop with Marco Gomez (False Witness); DJ sets by Yo La Tengo, phoneg1rl b2b NK Badtz Maru, Sal P, and Duane Harriott; a multisensory listening experience with Suzi Analogue’s Never Normal Soundsystem and wearable audio technology company SUBPAC; the multimedia lecture “A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records” with Eric Isaacson; clips of live music performed at Other Music between 1995 and 2016; loops of prank calls by Longmont Potion Castle in the elevator; an interactive reading and listening room in honor of Mexican Summer’s tenth anniversary; the performative, interactive thrift-store installation “Jimmy’s Thrift of New Davonhaime” by Azikiwe Mohammed; and a zine-making workshop with Suffragette City. Among the other participating labels are 4AD, Cantaloupe Music, Captured Tracks, Daptone, Glassnote, Goner, Luaka Bop, Matador, New Amsterdam, New World, Ninja Tune, Nonesuch, Northern Spy, Rough Trade, Sacred Bones, Sub Pop, Third Man, and XL Recordings. Tickets to the fair are $10 for the 12 noon to 6:00 session and $10 for the 6:00 to 9:00 extended programming; you can get into both for $15.


Anonymous. (Detail) Chinese New Year Pantheon. Qing dynasty (1644–1911), late 18th–early 19th century. Ink and colors on paper. Private Collection. Photography by John Bigelow Taylor 2017

Anonymous, “Chinese New Year Pantheon,” detail, ink and colors on paper, Qing dynasty (1644–1911), late eighteenth–early nineteenth century (private collection / photography by John Bigelow Taylor 2017)

Asia Society Museum
725 Park Ave. at 70th St.
Tuesday - Sunday through March 25, $12 (free Fridays from 6:00 to 9:00)

Asia Society’s “In Focus” series, which takes in-depth looks at individual works of art, is currently exploring a magnificent “Chinese New Year Pantheon” painting from the late Qing dynasty. The exhibition, “An Assembly of Gods,” identifies eighty-two of the deities in the seven-foot-high work on paper, less than half the total, from the Buddhist, Daoist, Confucian, and other religions. The show, which continues through March 25, delves into the hierarchical structure of the deities, a bureaucratic arrangement placing such figures as Shakyamuni Buddha, the Jade Emperor, and Confucius at the top center; examines how the work, which is traditionally displayed on New Year’s Day, records the passage of time, represented by the Four Daoist Meritorious Officers, who guard the days, months, seasons, and years; and analyzes the fine techniques used by the anonymous artist while wondering why it was never completed. Among other deities in the painting, which occupies its own room at Asia Society, are the Peacock King, the Buddha of Exalted Virtue, the Black Tortoise, the Five Sacred Peaks, the Stellar God of Immortality, the Five Commissioners of Pestilence, the Gods of the Five Paths to Wealth, the Horse King, and the Earth Goddess. Also on view now at Asia Society is “Unknown Tibet: The Tucci Expeditions and Buddhist Painting” and “Masterpieces from the Asia Society Museum Collection.”


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Erwin Redl’s “Whiteout” lights up the night in Madison Square Park (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Mad. Sq. Art
Madison Square Park Oval Lawn
Through March 25, free

Austrian native and SVA grad Erwin Redl writes in his artist statement, “Since 1997, I have investigated the process of ‘reverse engineering’ by (re-)translating the abstract aesthetic language of virtual reality and 3‑D computer modeling back into architectural environments by means of large-scale light installations. In this body of work, space is experienced as a second skin, our social skin, which is transformed through my artistic intervention. Due to the very nature of its architectural dimension, participating by simply being ‘present’ is an integral part of the installations. Visual perception works in conjunction with corporeal motion, and the subsequent passage of time.” Which is a rather complex way of saying he makes really cool things with light. Redl, who lives and works in New York City and Bowling Green, Ohio, is responsible for “Whiteout,” a dazzling kinetic light display continuing in Madison Square Park through March 25.

The site-specific commissioned piece features nine hundred programmed white LED spheres that dangle in long rows from a grid of steel poles. Redl, whose other public art projects include “Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light” in South Carolina and “Saw Mill River Suspension” under the Van der Donck Park Bridge in Yonkers, is inspired by such artists as Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Doug Wheeler, and Fred Sandback. “I am intrigued by the park’s option of a large-scale installation that blurs the border between the virtual and the real,” he said in a statement. “The physicality of the swaying orbs in conjunction with the abstract animations of their embedded white lights allows the public to explore a new, hybrid reality in this urban setting.” The transparent white orbs hover just above the grass of the Oval Lawn, turning on and off in complex algorithms, moving with the wind like a silent dance in ever-shifting wave patterns. Redl has documented the development and installation of “Whiteout” and followed it through the fall and winter; you can see photos and videos here.


Zoe Leonard (b. 1961), detail of You see I am here after all, 2008. 3,851 vintage postcards, 11 × 10 1/2 × 147 ft. (3.35 × 3.2 × 44.8 m) overall. Installation view, Dia: Beacon, Beacon, New York, 2008. Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photograph by Bill Jacobson, New York

Zoe Leonard, detail, You see I am here after all, 3,851 vintage postcards, 2008 (installation view, Dia: Beacon, Beacon, New York, 2008. Collection of the artist; courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photograph by Bill Jacobson, New York)

Who: Zoe Leonard, Rebecca Solnit
What: Zoe Leonard in Conversation with Rebecca Solnit
Where: Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St., 212-570-3600
When: Friday, March 16, 6:30
Why: In conjunction with the large-scale retrospective “Zoe Leonard: Survey,” which opened March 2 and continues at the Whitney through June 10, New York native Zoe Leonard will sit down with writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit to talk about art, feminism, politics, photography, and landscapes. Don’t worry if the event is already sold out; the Whitney will be live-streaming it on Facebook.


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Spencer Finch and the Public Art Fund will give away thousands of small trees from Lost Man Creek installation on March 11 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

MetroTech Commons
Civic Center/Borough Hall area, Downtown Brooklyn
Daily through March 11, free
Closing event: Sunday, March 11, free, 12 noon - 2:00 pm
lost man creek slideshow

In October 2017, environmental artist Spencer Finch planted approximately four thousand tiny dawn redwoods in a wooden barrier in MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn, a 1:100 replica of a section of Redwood National Park in California. The New Haven-born, Brooklyn-based Finch will be at the closing of the installation, Lost Man Creek, on March 11 at noon, when the one-to-four-feet-high local deciduous conifers will be potted and given away for free. Trees will also be donated to such New York State organizations as NYC Parks, the Trust for Governors Island, Prospect Park Alliance, and Kids Escaping Drugs, among others. The redwood was reintroduced in California in the late 1940s after they were thought to be extinct; the largest dawn redwood in the California park can reach up to 380 feet, 55 feet higher than the biggest building in the Commons. Be sure to get up close to the installation, which was created in conjunction with the Save the Redwoods League and the Public Art Fund, to enjoy the lovely details of this miniature forest, which is a world unto itself. Finch has previously made such works as A Certain Slant of Light at the Morgan Library, Sunset (Central Park), a truck that made soft-serve ice cream that changed colors based on solar heat and was part of Drifting in Daylight, and The River That Flows Both Ways on the High Line, a wall of windows whose colors were generated from pixelated photographs of the Hudson.


Performance artist John Kelly uses dance, music, drawing, film, photography, and more in Time No Line (photo by Theo Cote)

Performance artist John Kelly uses dance, music, drawing, film, photography, and more in Time No Line (photo by Theo Cote)

Ellen Stewart Theatre, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club
66 East Fourth St.
Thursday - Sunday through March 11, $21-$26

John Kelly’s latest performance piece, the autobiographical, multimedia, multidisciplinary Time No Line, not only looks back at his long, varied, and highly influential career but also honors those he’s lost along the way; his breakout era of work coincided with the AIDS epidemic, and any artistic biography today must reckon with that immense tragedy. “There are so few of my generation left to tell their stories,” Kelly reads from his journals, which he’s been keeping since 1976. So Kelly shares his own story, citing his heroes, including Egon Schiele, Maria Callas, and Gustav Mahler, while referencing such other downtown fixtures as Karen Finley, David Wojnarowicz, Nan Goldin, Charles Atlas, Ethyl Eichelberger, Tere O’Connor, the Cockettes, John Fleck, Joey Arias, and others. The New Jersey native relates episodes of his life through interpretive dance, video projections, visual text, drawing, photographs, songs, and reading from his journal at a small desk. Pages from his journal in neatly arranged rows cover a screen in back. The narrative goes back and forth through the years; “the past is not linear,” he reads. “In retrospect, it’s a patchwork of emotional triggers — how hard has it been to go back into these journals. I see my missteps — and I see my experience, whether I like it or not.” Fortunately, we get to see his experience as well, and there is a lot to like. Kelly traces his career from the ballet and the opera to creating the drag character Dagmar Onassis, the fictional daughter of Callas and Aristotle Onassis, transforming himself into Joni Mitchell, and dealing with the AIDS crisis as it swept through New York City. Third-person text projected on the screen explains, “He sees the possibility of performing ‘in drag’ as a way to be socially annoying (this is 1979) and to process a lot of youthful rage.”

John Kelly looks back at his life and art in autobiographical one-man show (photo by Theo Cote)

John Kelly looks back at his life and art in autobiographical one-man show (photo by Theo Cote)

Bullied as a child, Kelly found solace onstage, but he ultimately opted for alternative venues, such as the Pyramid Club, the Kitchen, DTW, and La MaMa. Cultural touchstones play a central part in his work; his previous shows include Diary of a Somnambulist, about Lady Macbeth and Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the Obie-winning Love of a Poet, an adaptation of Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe song cycle, The Escape Artist, based on the life of Caravaggio, and Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte, in which he portrays Schiele. He steps to the side when changing costumes as more text, family photos, and archival footage is shown on the screen; there are also two higher screens where ghostly images occasionally appear. He steps to a center microphone and sings relevant songs by Mitchell, Henry Purcell, and Charles Aznavour. He snakes along the floor and makes chalk drawings that recall Keith Haring’s style and Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. The pacing can be uneven, Kelly is sometimes a little too casual, and he occasionally teeters on the edge of self-indulgence, but when he gets back in the groove, he displays why he has been such a beloved figure for decades. He often talks about mirrors and self-portraits; he calls the former “the stand-in for eventual public scrutiny” and “a tool for establishing a sense of self.” Of course, Time No Line is really a complex, nonlinear self-portrait, a visual diary of the making of a man in which Kelly holds up a mirror and allows us to see the tragedy and comedy that has resulted in his unique brand of art.

In conjunction with Time No Line, which continues at La MaMa through March 11, Kelly’s Sideways into the Shadows exhibition is being held at Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project at 6 East First St. through March 25, featuring hand-rendered transcriptions of journal entries and a memorial wall of portraits. “From this vantage point, it was a challenging time,” Kelly says as a survivor of the AIDS generation. “It’s still hard to get my head around it. This exhibition and Time No Line are my way to process the entire range of how my personal experiences and the arc of my artistic career intertwined into a coherent whole during a time that was both exhilarating and tragic.”


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Robert Indiana’s Love Wall stands tall at Paul Kasmin Gallery in Chelsea (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Paul Kasmin Gallery
515 West 27th St.
Through March 3, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Letters, numbers, shapes — there is something very basic, very primal, about Robert Indiana’s most popular works, such as the red-and-blue Love sculpture at Sixth Ave. and Fifty-Fifth St. and the similar Hope at Fifty-Third and Seventh. “People don’t stop to think about how beautiful numbers are. Perhaps for the same reason that they don’t stop to think about how beautiful words are,” Indiana has said. “It’s the role of the artist — my particular role, if you will — to make words and numbers very, very special.” In honor of his ninetieth birthday year, the Paul Kasmin Gallery is showing two pieces by the Indiana-born visual artist, who lives and works in Maine and was the subject of a major Whitney retrospective, “Beyond Love,” in 2014. Love Wall, which was originally planned as a painting, sits by itself in a large, open white space, a twelve-foot-high, four-foot deep stacking of the word “Love” in unpainted Cor-ten steel, arranged so that the four tilted “O”s come together diagonally at the center. In 2007, the work was installed on the Park Avenue meridian at Fifty-Seventh St., part of the exhibition “Art in the Parks: Celebrating 40 Years”; it is much more peaceful here, away from the traffic and the noise, just relaxing by itself, giving viewers private moments to contemplate its message. It’s also more abstract when looked at with the naked eye; seeing it through the lens of a camera gives the words and letters more definition.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Robert Indiana’s ONE through ZERO counts up and down at Paul Kasmin (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Meanwhile, in a room at the back is ONE through ZERO, a wall sculpture of the numbers zero through nine, each on its own small base, the first row featuring 1, 2, and 3, the second row 7, 6, 5, and 4, and the third row 8, 9, and 0. “Our very lives are structured around numbers,” Indiana has noted. “Everything we do is reckoned on numbers.” ONE through ZERO has a hypnotic quality as you scan the numbers, follow their order, and consider the different color pairings for each numeral (which were inspired by the work of his friend and colleague Ellsworth Kelly). The numbers and letters go beyond mere Pop art and instead conjure up cultural symbols and language and reference life and death in a world Indiana would “like to cover with Hope,” as he said on the Today show in 2010.