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


mlk day 2020

Multiple venues
January 17-20

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned ninety-one years old on January 15; he was only thirty-nine when he was assassinated. In 1983, the third Monday in January was officially recognized as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the birthday of the civil rights leader who was shot and killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968. You can celebrate his legacy on Monday by participating in the twenty-fifth annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service or attending one of numerous special events taking place around the city all weekend long. Below are some of the highlights.

Friday, January 17
BAMcafé Live 2020: BAMcafé Live Featuring Blak Emoji and Starchild & the New Romantic, curated by Black Rock Coalition, BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., free, 9:00

Saturday, January 18
BAMcafé Live 2020: The 1865 w/ Major Taylor, curated by Black Rock Coalition, BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., free, 9:00

Saturday, January 18
Monday, January 20

BCM Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with Volunteer Projects with Repair the World, Create a Peace Box workshop in ColorLab, Storytelling in the Sensory Room, and the Heart of a King Shadow Puppetry Workshop, $13, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sunday, January 19
Martin Luther King Day Choral Eucharist, with the Cathedral Choir, volunteer Chorale and Boy and Girl Choristers, and poet in residence emerita Marilyn Nelson, 11:00 am followed by a Spirituals SING led by Alice Parker, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Ave. at 2:00, free

Soul to Soul, with IMPACT Repertory Theatre, Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James, and Tony Perry, conceived and directed by Zalmen Mlotek, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl., $35-$65, 2:00

Monday, January 20
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative March: “Equity Now: Today’s Youth Speak Out for Social Change,” Harriet Tubman Memorial Triangle on 122nd St. at 10:00 am to Manhattan Country School at 150 West 85th St. at 2:00, free

Thirty-Fourth Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with keynote speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones, performances by Son Little and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, the art exhibition “Picture the Dream,” and a screening of Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace (Alan Elliott & Sydney Pollack, 2018), BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., free, 10:30 am

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., including a scavenger hunt in the “Activist New York” exhibit, storytelling, and art workshops, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St., free with museum admission of $14-$20 (under twenty free), 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Fuminori Nousaku Architects’ “Holes in the House” is focus of Japan Society discussion (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Who: Fuminori Nousaku, Mio Tsuneyama, Jing Liu
What: Architectural talk
Where: Japan Society, 333 East 47th St. at First Ave., 212-715-1258
When: Friday, January 17, $15, 5:00
Why: In conjunction with the exhibition “Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020,” Japan Society is hosting the talk “Architectural New Wave: From Ruins to the Future of Housing,” featuring Tokyo architects Fuminori Nousaku and Mio Tsuneyama and moderated by SO–IL founder Jing Liu. The discussion will focus on sustainability and adaptive reuse, centering on Fuminori Nousaku Architects’ ongoing project “Holes in the House,” the renovation of a 1980s steel frame warehouse in Nishi, Shinagawa Ward. “Made in Tokyo,” which is curated and designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, continues through January 26, featuring drawings, plans, photography, video, and sculpture that depict the changing urban landscape between the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and the upcoming 2020 Games. Among the highlights are Nobuaki Takekawa’s “Cat Olympics: Soccer Field,” Tomoyuki Tanaka’s “Dismantling of Shinjuku Station,” and akihisa hirata’s “nine hours Akasuka, Capsule Hotel.” At 6:00 Friday night, the popular mixer “Escape East @ 333” includes free admission to the galleries with RSVP, a docent-led tour, complimentary snacks, drink specials, and a site-specific installation by Zai Nomura.


(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Hans Haacke’s 2014 Gift Horse is starting point for New Museum panel discussion (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery at Prince St.
Thursday, January 16, $10, 7:00
Exhibition continues through January 26

Debate has raged across the country over public statues honoring figures who are now considered by many to be controversial, from Civil War leaders to doctors and presidents. Here in New York, there have been calls to take down James Earle Fraser’s statue of Theodore Roosevelt because of claims that Roosevelt was a white supremacist, and She Built NYC, organized to erect statues of pioneering women, refused to include Mother Frances Cabrini in their final list of subjects even though she garnered the most nominations in a public vote. (Governor Cuomo intervened; a statue of the saint will go up in Battery Park’s South Cove.) On January 16, the New Museum is hosting the panel discussion “The Plinth and Monumentality,” which will examine monument-making from multiple angles. The conversation, featuring artist and curator Kendal Henry of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, artist and Hunter College associate professor Paul Ramírez Jonas (whose “Half-Truths” ran at the museum last year), architect, designer, and educator J. Meejin Yoon, and moderator Andrew An Westover of the New Museum, is being held in conjunction with the museum’s current exhibition “Hans Haacke: All Connected,” a retrospective of the eighty-three-year-old German-born, New York-based artist who has been exploring the sociopolitical links between art and commerce, class, corporations, and the environment through photography, sculpture, and installation for more than half a century.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is Haacke’s 2014 Gift Horse, a large-scale sculpture of the skeleton of a horse mounted on a platform, taking up much of the fourth floor gallery space. An electronic bow around its frontal thighbone transmits a live digital printout of the FTSE 100 ticker of the New York Stock Exchange. Also on view is DER BEVÖLKERUNG [TO THE POPULATION], a provocative public project Haacke proposed for the Bundestag. In a catalog interview, Haacke notes, “I consider how the public might understand a work and whether it would, indeed, promote openness and democratic values or — to put it in French revolutionary terms — liberté, égalité, fraternité.


(photo by S.J Norman, Cicatrix I, 2019)

S.J Norman’s Cicatrix I is the symbol for “Knowledge of Wounds” weekend festival

Performance Space New York
150 First Ave. at Ninth St.
January 11-12, day pass $35, weekend pass $55

The second annual “Knowledge of Wounds,” celebrating indigenous cultures through readings, discussions, performances, and ritual gatherings, takes place January 11-12 at Performance Space New York in the East Village. Organized by S. J Norman (Koori, Wiradjuri descent) and Joseph M. Pierce (Cherokee Nation), the event explores ideas of threshold spaces, displacement, settler colonialism, borders, and community. Below is the full schedule; tickets are $35 for one day and $55 for both days.

Saturday, January 11
Morning physical session with devynn emory and Joshua.P, noon

Opening Blessing & Group Prayers with the Fire, 1:00

Kinstillatory Action, with Emily Johnson, 2:30

Bodies in Resistance, 4:00

Active rest with devynn emory and Joshua.P, 5:30

Story time with Joe Cross and Donna Couteau, 6:00

Shadow Songs and Root Mirrors, with Laura Ortman, Demian DinéYazhi’ and Kevin Holden, and Elisa Harkins, 8:30

Ixkin: Kaxb’ichil, Xamal, Ootzaqib’al / ThreeStones: Wound, Fire, Knowledge — Tohil Fidel Brito, in collaboration with María Regina Firmino-Castillo and with the participation of Amaru Márquez Ambía, 10:30

Sunday, January 12
Morning physical session with devynn emory and Joshua.P, noon

Opening blessing and fire ritual blessing with Javier Stell-Frésquez, 1:00

Making Love to the Land, 2:30

La utopía de la mariposa, María Regina Firmino-Castillo, 4:30

Ancestral Skin, with Holly Mitiquq Nordlum, 6:00

Sustenance with Chef Quentin Glabus of I-Collective, 8:00

Night offering and fire ritual with devynn emory and Joshua.P, 9:30


the shed

The Shed, the Bloomberg Building
545 West 30th St. at Eleventh Ave.
Saturday, January 11, free with RSVP, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

If you haven’t been to the Shed yet, the entertainment hub at Hudson Yards, this Saturday offers you a pretty good reason to finally head over. From 11:00 am to 8:00 pm, admission to the two current art exhibits, “Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates” and “Manual Override,” which usually require $10 tickets each, is free. There will also be several special programs as well as food trucks in the McCourt, a photo booth on level six, and music and dance. There will be tours of the wide-ranging Agnes Denes retrospective, which consists of more than 150 works from throughout the career of the eighty-eight-year-old Budapest-born American artist (including newly commissioned pieces), at 2:30 with artists Bahar Behbahani, Tattfoo Tan, Avram Finkelstein, Moko Fukuyama, and Janani Balasubramanian and astrophysicist Dr. Natalie Gosnell, at 3:15 with curatorial assistant Adeze Wilford, at 3:45 with senior curator Emma Enderby, and at 5:00 with John Hatfield and artist Torkwase Dyson. “Manual Override” brings together the work of Morehshin Allahyari, Simon Fujiwara, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sondra Perry, and Martine Syms, which combines social and ethical issues with cutting-edge technology. In addition, DJ Synchro will be spinning in the lobby from 2:00 to 4:00, DJ April Hunt from 4:00 to 6:00, and DJ Bembona from 6:00 to 8:00; Dance Battle: It’s Showtime NYC! vs. the D.R.E.A.M. Ring will get under way in the lobby at 2:15 and 4:30; the two dance teams will be hosting workshops around the building at 3:00 and in the Tisch Skylights at 5:00 and 5:15; and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter J Hoard will perform in the Tisch Skylights at 5:30.


Karen Elson and Anna Sui will talk about music and muses at MADMuseum (photo courtesy Museum of Arts & Design)

Karen Elson and Anna Sui will talk about music and muses at MAD (photo courtesy Museum of Arts & Design)

Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle at 58th St. & Eighth Ave.
Saturday, January 11, $30, 4:00

In conjunction with its current exhibition “The World of Anna Sui,” the Museum of Arts & Design is hosting a series of related events. Next up is “Anna’s Music and Muses,” in which the Detroit-born fashion icon will sit down on January 11 with British musician and supermodel Karen Elson to discuss inspiration and collaboration. Sui, who won the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 at the age of forty-five, following in the footsteps of Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Yves Saint Laurent among other fashion legends, told CBS that year, “I think whenever people talk about the ‘Anna Sui woman,’ they’re talking about someone that’s probably kind of more downtown, and there’s always like this ambiguity: Is she a good girl, or a bad girl?” Forty-year-old Elson, who hails from Greater Manchester, has released two albums, The Ghost Who Walks and Double Roses, is an ambassador for Save the Children, and has two children with former husband Jack White. “The World of Anna Sui” continues through February 23; on January 9, the series “Sui Screens,” featuring films that influenced Sui collections, will present 2006’s Marie Antoinette, followed by a Q&A with director Sofia Coppola, and will conclude February 20 with Ken Russell’s 1971 The Boy Friend, starring Twiggy.


El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St.
Monday, January 6, free, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

El Museo del Barrio’s celebration of the Epiphany will make its way through East Harlem on Monday, paying tribute to the three kings who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the manger. The forty-third annual event, titled “Nuestros Barrios Unidos: Celebrating Our Collective Strength,” will feature live music and dance by BombaYo, Los Pleneros de la 21, Annette Aguilar & the Stringbeans, Wabafu Garifuna Dance Theater, and others, large-size puppets, parrandas, floats, and live camels and more animals beginning at 11:00 at 106th St. near Park Ave., then heads north to 115th. At 1:00, the festivities move indoors at the museum, where there will be workshops for children beginning at 1:00, along with live performances by Teatro 220 and Annette Aguilar & the Stringbeans in El Museo’s El Teatro. This year’s king emeritus is poet and author Jesus “Papoleto” Melendez, and the kings are artist and photographer Hiram Maristany, former Telemundo senior anchor Jorge Ramos, and Board of Regents chancellor Dr. Betty A. Rosa, with madrinas Blanka Amezkua, Eileen Reyes-Arias, Nancy Mercado, Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, and Alicia Grullon and padrinos Marcel Agueros, Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio, Gonzalo Mercado, Henry Obispo, and Luis Reyes. Admission to the galleries is free, so be sure to check out “An Emphasis on Resistance: 2019 CIFO Grants & Commissions Program Exhibition” and “Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I Am an Island).”