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


Maggie Gyllenhaal will be at the Vulture Festival to discuss The Deuce and four other projects

Maggie Gyllenhaal will be at the Vulture Festival to discuss The Deuce and four other projects

Milk Studios (and other venues)
450 West Fifteenth St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, free - $160

New York magazine’s fifth annual Vulture Festival takes place this weekend at Milk Studios and other locations, celebrating pop culture. Below are only some of the nearly three dozen events that encompass film, music, comedy, art, podcasts, books, and more; all tickets include complimentary access to the Vulture Lounge following the event. Among the other participants are Julianna Margulies, Rachel Bloom, Adam Pally, Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, Darren Star, Wendy Williams, Johnny Knoxville, Cameron Esposito, Marti Noxon, Rachael Ray, Adam Platt, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Groff, Liev Schreiber, David Edelstein, Bo Burnham, and Wyatt Cenac.

Saturday, May 19
John Leguizamo: In Conversation, moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz, followed by a book signing, Milk Studios — Penthouse, $30, 11:30 am

One Book, One New York, One Event: Jennifer Egan in conversation with Adam Moss, Milk Studios — Studio 1, free with advance registration, 2:30

Maggie Gyllenhaal in Five Acts, conversation focusing on five of her projects, Milk Studios — Penthouse, $30, 4:00

Roxane Gay and Amber Tamblyn Present Feminist AF, with special guests Jennine Capó Crucet, Sharon Olds, and Morgan Parker, Milk Studios — Studio 1, $30, 6:45

Tracy Morgan in Hilarious Conversation, moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz, Milk Studios — AT&T Studio, $30, 8:00

Claire Danes and Jim Parsons will be at Milk Studios on May 20 to discuss their new film, A Kid Like Jake

Claire Danes and Jim Parsons will be at Milk Studios on May 20 to discuss their new film, A Kid Like Jake

Sunday, May 20
Jerry Saltz’s Masterly Tour of the Met Breuer, tour of the Met exhibit “Like Life” led by Jerry Saltz, Met Breuer, $150, 9:00 am

Boozy Brunch with Your Best Friends Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer, and Phoebe Robinson, conversation with stars of new Netflix film Ibiza, moderated by Michelle Buteau, Milk Studios — Studio 4, $30, 12 noon

Claire Danes and Jim Parsons’s A Kid Like Jake, discussion of new movie with actors Claire Danes and Jim Parsons, director Silas Howard, and writer Daniel Pearle, Milk Studios — Studio 1, $30, 2:15

In Conversation with Samantha Bee, the Full Frontal Team, and Rebecca Traister: discussion with Samantha Bee, Melinda Taub, Ashley Nicole Black, Allana Harkin, Mike Rubens, and Amy Hoggart, moderated by Rebecca Traister, Milk Studios — AT&T Studio, $40, 5:45

Ava DuVernay and the Cast of Queen Sugar, with Ava DuVernay, Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and Kofi Siriboe, Milk Studios — Studio 4, $30, 6:45


Thomas Cole, The Titan's Goblet, Oil on canvas, 1833 (Gift of Samuel P. Avery Jr., 1904)

Thomas Cole, “The Titan’s Goblet,” oil on canvas, 1833 (Gift of Samuel P. Avery Jr., 1904)

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.
Daily through May 13, $12-$25 (New York residents pay-what-you-wish)

Thomas Cole’s five-part masterpiece, “The Course of Empire,” serves as a primer, or maybe more of a warning now, of the fall of a major power. It leads viewers down a dark path, beginning with “The Savage State” and continuing with “The Arcadian or Pastoral State,” “The Consummation of Empire,” “Destruction,” and “Desolation.” But the British-born Cole was more than just a chronicler of doom, as displayed in the Met Fifth Avenue exhibit “Thomas Cole’s Journey: Atlantic Crossings,” which closes Sunday. In 1818, the teenage Cole traveled across the ocean, emigrating to America, later venturing back to England and Italy, honing his craft. Cole was an early leader of the Hudson River School with Thomas Doughty and Asher Brown Durand, painting magnificent landscapes in the Catskills and elsewhere. The Met exhibit, which honors the bicentennial of Cole’s arrival in America, includes dozens of his works and related paraphernalia, along with canvases by J. M. W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, John Martin, John Constable, Frederic Edwin Church, Durand, and others.


Lot 20. Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs , 2013 Mahogany and metal (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Danh Vo, “Lot 20. Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs,” mahogany and metal, 2013 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.
Friday - Wednesday through May 9, $18-$25
danh vo slideshow

In Vietnamese-born Danish conceptual artist Danh Vo’s meticulously created oeuvre, a typewriter is not just a typewriter, a chandelier is no mere chandelier, and a pen is no ordinary pen. Born in Bà Rịa the same month of the fall of Saigon, Vo has been taking appropriation art to new levels since the turn of the century, adding compelling, deeply personal and political elements to existing objects that shed light not only on him and his family but the state of the world at large. Now the Guggenheim, which awarded him the Hugo Boss Prize in 2012 — for which he created “2012 I M U U R 2,” consisting of things collected by Chinese-American artist Martin Wong — is surveying Vo’s career in the superb exhibition “Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away.” In her catalog essay “Little or Nothing but Life,” curator Katherine Brinson writes, “In his reverberant installations, which are manifestations of personal intimacies and fortuitous encounters as much as historical research, Vo has addressed a central paradox: that the self is plural and inexorably fluid, yet decisively shaped by larger power structures. His works evoke the swirl of private desires, devotions, and sorrows that make up interior life at the same time that they enact a stringent examination of the external forces that govern it, whether the incursions of colonialism, the seductions of global capitalism, or the bureaucratic demands of the nation state.” Thus, the typewriter Vo displays is “Theodore Kaczynski’s Smith Corona Portable Typewriter,” the chandeliers previously hung over a conference table in a hotel (once occupied by the Nazis) where the Paris Peace Accords were signed, officially ending the Vietnam War, and the pen tip and ink of “S.E. Asia Resolution / 10 August 1964” were used by US defense secretary Robert S. McNamara to sign the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, allowing LBJ to increase American troops in Vietnam. Throughout the museum are pieces of “Lot 20. Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs,” which have been stripped and repurposed; the chairs were given to Jacqueline Kennedy by McNamara shortly after JFK’s murder.

She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene , 2009 Brass bugle, felt cap with velvet, bayonet sheath, field radio with wood and  leather case, sashes, wooden drumsticks, fife, leather sword belt with gold  and silver details, and 13-star American flag (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Danh Vo, “She was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene,” brass bugle, felt cap with velvet, bayonet sheath, field radio with wood and leather case, sashes, wooden drumsticks, fife, leather sword belt with gold and silver details, and thirteen-star American flag, 2009 (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

As a young boy, Vo’s mother made him watch horror movies with her, so several works involve his fascination with William Friedkin’s 1973 classic, The Exorcist. A series of sculptures that combine ancient Roman marble and French Early Gothic oak are named after quotes from the film, such as “Your mother sucks cocks in Hell,” “Shove it up your ass, you faggot!” and “Dimmy, why you did this to me?,” relating to both his mother and his homosexuality. Exorcist quotes are also engraved in glass and mirrors by Vo’s father, Phung Vo. Meanwhile, an open drawer in a Poul Kjærholm wooden file cabinet reveals the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” etched in graphite on paper by Phung Vo, echoing a key scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film, The Shining. His father is also honored in the exhibit with “If you were to climb the Himalayas tomorrow,” a lit vitrine containing his father’s prized watch, lighter, and military class ring, while “Das Beste oder Nichts” is the actual engine from his father’s Mercedes-Benz. “Oma Totem” consists of a stacked television set, washing machine, and mini-refrigerator (with a wooden crucifix on it), along with his maternal grandmother’s casino entrance card, which were given to her by the Immigrant Relief Program when she fled to Germany. Vo’s paternal grandmother is represented by her temporary grave marker and the photogravure “Portrait of a hand.”

Several late-nineteenth-century chandeliers are infused with personal and political meaning in Danh Vo show at the Guggenheim (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Several late-nineteenth-century chandeliers are infused with personal and political meaning in Danh Vo show at the Guggenheim (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The exhibit also includes documents, menus, letters, bullets, cloth hangings, coins, postcards, tree branches, a saddle, keys, hair, a safe, jewelry, luggage, crates, political paraphernalia, pottery, a birdcage, carvings, and copper sections of “We the People,” Vo’s re-creation of the Statue of Liberty, pieces of which were situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park and City Hall Park in 2014. The title of the Guggenheim show, “Take my breath away,” comes from the romantic theme from Top Gun, performed by the band Berlin, continuing Vo’s fascination with the American military while also referencing one of the two places he lives and works, Berlin, Germany (along with Mexico City). The exhibit demands attention and requires careful reading of the wall text and signage; although many of the objects are visually stirring on their own, their histories are central to understanding their expanded meanings. Vo’s art is really more about possession than appropriation, reclaiming historical and family artifacts and making them his own, taking back what was once taken away, still escaping demons both literal and figurative while continuing his search for personal and public freedom.


Chitra Ganesh (b. 1975, Brooklyn, NY); Dakini Eclipse; 2018; mixed media on paper; 40 x 60 in.; courtesy of the artist

Chitra Ganesh, “Dakini Eclipse,” mixed media on paper, 2018 (courtesy of the artist)

Rubin Museum of Art
West 17th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Friday, May 4, $10-$15, 6:00 - 11:20
Programs continue through June
Exhibitions run through November 4 and January 7

The Rubin Museum is handing over much of its always fascinating programming for May and June to innovative multimedia artist and Brooklyn native Chitra Ganesh, whose “drawing-based practice brings to light narrative representations of femininity, sexuality, and power typically absent from canons of literature and art,” as explained in her artist statement. In February, the Rubin opened Ganesh’s “The Scorpion Gesture,” featuring magical large-scale animated interventions in the “Gateway to Himalayan Art” and “Masterworks” exhibitions, and “Face of the Future,” a fellowship program consisting of new works on paper and collage-based pieces by Ganesh in addition to contributions from emerging artists Maia Cruz Palileo, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Tammy Nguyen, Jagdeep Raina, Sahana Ramakrishnan, Anuj Shrestha, and Tuesday Smillie. On Friday, May 4, Ganesh will be at the museum for “Celebrate Chitra Ganesh: A Night with DJ Rekha, Special Tours, and Performances,” including a dialogue with the art collective BUFU, remarks by Ganesh, docent-led tours of Ganesh’s two shows, a performance by Jacolby Satterwhite (Blessed Avenue), a dance party in the K2 Lounge with DJ Rekha, and a screening of Fred M. Wilcox’s 1956 sci-fi classic, Forbidden Planet, introduced by Ganesh.

Chitra Ganesh will participate in a series of special events at the Rubin Museum (photo courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Chitra Ganesh will participate in a series of special events at the Rubin Museum (photo courtesy Brooklyn Museum)

Ganesh, a Rubin Museum Future Fellow whose “Eyes of Time” was on view at the Brooklyn Museum in 2015, has also selected the films and speakers for the Cabaret Cinema “Face of the Future” series, which continues May 11 with Gojira (Godzilla) (Ishiro Honda, 1954), introduced by Nguyen; May 18 with Ghost in the Shell (Mamoru Oshii, 1995), introduced by Ramakrishnan; June 8 with Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden, 1983), introduced by Smillie; and June 22 with Barbarella (Roger Vadim, 1968), introduced by Palileo. In addition, there will be a series of conversations pairing scientific and legal experts with artists and activists, beginning May 9 with “The Future of Feminism” with Linda Sarsour and Ganesh and continuing May 16 with “The Future of Transformation with Qasim Naqvi,” May 23 with “The Future of Evidence” with Alexis Agathocleous and Elizabeth Phelps, May 30 with “The Future of Science Fiction” with Nisi Shawl and the Otolith Group, June 6 with “The Future of #Mood” with Janelle James and Richard Friedman, June 13 with “The Future of Mythology” with Mimi Mondal and Ganesh, June 20 with “The Future of Responsibility” with the Guerrilla Girls and Ganesh, and June 27 with “The Future of Justice” with sujatha baliga and Robert Yazzie.


(photo by Kiki Papadopoulou)

American premiere of Nikos Karathanos’s The Birds is a highlight of Greek arts festival in New York (photo by Kiki Papadopoulou)

St. Anns Warehouse, Metrograph, New-York Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum
Through June 16

In a classic Odd Couple episode, Oscar and Felix finally get on the same wavelength while on the game show Password when Oscar gives the clue “Aristophanes” and Felix responds, “Ridiculous!” However, there’s nothing particularly ridiculous about “Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes,” more than a month of film screenings, art exhibitions, panel discussions, a theatrical adaptation of Aristophanes’s The Birds, and more, produced by the Onassis Cultural Center New York and taking place at numerous locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. “Democracy was under threat when Aristophanes presented his comedy The Birds as part of the Dionysia festival in Athens in the fifth century BC,” explains festival curator Violaine Huisman in a program note, continuing, “Oligarchy was jeopardizing Athenian democracy, while war and constant legal battles raised havoc among citizens. The festival itself offered a chance for the people of Athens to congregate and revel in equal parts, to address state affairs and be entertained — all together.” Sound familiar? The timing is certainly impeccable. The centerpiece of this third annual Onassis Festival begins tonight with the American premiere of Nikos Karathanos’s inventive adaptation of The Birds, presented by St. Ann’s Warehouse and the Onassis Cultural Centre–Athens. The play runs May 2-13 and is accompanied by the free audio and visual lobby and garden exhibit “Nature of Justice: On the Birds.” There will also be events at the Brooklyn Museum, Metrograph on the Lower East Side, and the New-York Historical Society. Actually, looking at some of the photos from the production of The Birds, it does have a “ridiculous” quality to it, but in a good way. απολαμβάνω!

Wednesday, May 2
Sunday, May 13

The Birds, American premiere of Nikos Karathanos’s adaptation of the Aristophanes comedy, in Greek with English supertitles, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn Bridge Park, $46-$66

Thursday, May 3
Sunday, May 13

“Nature of Justice: On the Birds,” multimedia exhibition, curated by Mari Spirito, with works by Machine Dazzle, Louise Lawler, Sofia Stevi, and Theo Triantafyllidis in conjunction with Nikos Karathanos’s adaptation of The Birds, St. Ann’s Warehouse garden and lobby, Brooklyn Bridge Park, free

Saturday, May 5
Pigeon Toes: Bird Walks, led by Paul Sweet of the American Museum of Natural History, Jane’s Carousel, Empire Fulton Ferry State Park, 1 Water St., free with advance registration, 8:00, 11:30, and 3:30 for adults, 10:00 and 2:00 for children six to twelve with adults

Alfred Hitchcock The Birds is part of Greek festival inspired by Aristophanes

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds is part of Greek festival inspired by Aristophanes

Monday, May 7
“Nature of Justice: A Visual Arts Response to The Birds,” panel discussion and audience Q&A with artist Andreas Angelidakis, independent curator Reem Fadda, and Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak, moderated by Onassis Foundation director of culture Afroditi Panagiotakou, free with advance RSVP, 7:00

Thursday, May 10
“Voices on: Post-Show Artist Talk,” with director Nikos Karathanos and members of the cast, moderated by St. Ann’s Warehouse artistic director Susan Feldman, St. Ann’s Warehouse, free with show ticket, 9:30

Saturday, May 12
Meet the Fledglings, family-friendly programs by the Wild Bird Fund in conjunction with the exhibition “Feathers: Fashion and the Fight for Wildlife,” for ages five and up, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, museum admission plus $5 per child, 2:00 - 4:00

Friday, May 18
Sunday, May 20

“Birds,” screenings of films relating to birds, including Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Jim Jarmusch, 1999), The King and the Mockingbird (Paul Grimault, 1980), Brewster McCloud (Robert Altman, 1970), and The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock, 1963), Metrograph, 7 Ludlow St., $15

Sunday, May 19
Birdheart, by Julian Crouch and Saskia Lane, family-friendly show with puppets, free with museum admission but advance RSVP required, 4:00

Wednesday, May 23
“Talk: David Levine,” performative lecture in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition “David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time,” Brooklyn Museum, free with advance RSVP, 7:00

Saturday, June 16
Cool Culture Family Festival, with arts & crafts, storytelling, scavenger hunts, concert by Shine & the Moonbeams, and more, Brooklyn Museum, free with museum admission, 12 noon - 4:00 pm


Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Passing Through, Sonnabend Gallery, 1977, documentation of performance (photo by Babette Mangolte)

Sylvia Palacios Whitman, “Passing Through,” documentation of performance, Sonnabend Gallery, 1977 (photo © 1977 by Babette Mangolte)

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, May 5, free (“David Bowie is” requires advance tickets, $25), 5:00 - 11:00

Latin art is the centerpiece of the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday program on May 5. There will be live performances by Batalá New York, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (Mujeres Valientes), Combo Chimbita, and Jarina De Marco (with visuals by Screaming Horses); a curator tour of “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” led by Catherine Morris; a community talk about the Sylvia Rivera Law Project; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make a mask honoring their cultural heritage; a candle-decorating collage workshop with feminist collective Colectiva Cósmica, featuring a set by Ecuadorian-Lithuanian producer, DJ, and cultural activist Riobamba; screenings of experimental short films by Latin American women filmmakers, hosted by Jesse Lerner; a book-club talk about Marta Moreno Vega’s When the Spirits Dance Mambo; and pop-up gallery talks on “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” by teen apprentices. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can also check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “Arts of Korea,” “Infinite Blue,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more. However, please note that advance tickets are required to see “David Bowie is,” at the regular admission price.