Tuesday - Sunday through December 30, $30-$50
The front cover of Michael Leigh’s 1963 paperback, The Velvet Underground, declares, “Here is an incredible book. It will shock and amaze you. But as a documentary on the sexual corruption of our age, it is a must for every thinking adult.” Fittingly, one of the most influential bands in music history took its name from that tome, one of many facts one can learn at “The Velvet Underground Experience,” a pop-up exhibit continuing in Greenwich Village through December 30. From 1964 to 1970, the Velvet Underground released four studio albums that ultimately helped change the face of rock and roll and thoroughly situated music amid the avant-garde art world. The exhibition consists of hundreds of photographs (by Fred W. McDarrah, Stephen Shore, Nat Finkelstein, Billy Name, and others), archival footage, six new short nonfiction films, and biographical stations dedicated to each band member — Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker, Angus MacLise, Nico, Doug Yule, and Walter Powers — in addition to others who played a role in the band’s development, including Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Danny Williams, Gerard Malanga, Candy Darling, Piero Heliczer, Jonas Mekas, Barbara Rubin, La Monte Young, and Allen Ginsberg. Allan Rothschild’s twelve-minute film goes back and forth between the childhoods of Reed and Cale, revealing fascinating similarities and differences (for example, they were born merely a week apart in March 1942), and Reed’s younger sister, Merrill Reed Weiner, shares intimate details about her brother’s psychological issues. Véronique Jacquinet’s ten-minute work traces the rise of Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico.
Curated by Christian Fevret, and Carole Mirabello and designed by Matali Crasset, the exhibition is centered by a tentlike structure where visitors can lie down on silver mattresses and watch projections of rare, short films surrounding the band’s debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, aka the Banana Album, and the live show known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Warhol’s screen tests of the band run continuously on one wall. Tony C. Janelli and Robert Pietri’s animated short, The Velvet Underground Played at My High School, is a fun film about the band’s first gig at Summit High School in New Jersey in December 1965 (opening for the Myddle Class), which did not exactly go over so well, save for its impact on one fifteen-year-old student. Downstairs is a look at what Greenwich Village was like in the 1960s and 1970s, with clips of Nico, Cale, and Reed’s acoustic reunion show in 1972 in Le Bataclan, a split-screen tribute to Rubin by Mekas, and experimental works from the Film-Makers’ Cooperative, including Rubin’s X-rated art-porn favorite, Christmas on Earth. (There is also a lower level where talks are held on Tuesday nights and concerts on Thursday evenings.) And of course, there’s the music, with multiple versions of such songs as “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Venus in Furs,” “Femme Fatale,” “Heroin,” and “Sweet Jane” (from the group’s four main albums, The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded) echoing through the space. “The Velvet Underground Experience” is not an exhaustive study of the band, and it does have a lot of peripheral material in the New York City section, probably because the show was originally presented in Paris, but it is still a treat for VU devotees and those curious about a seminal moment in the history of music.
Hanukkah is about to start and Christmas is only a few weeks away, so the city is filling up with holiday-themed comedy shows, concerts, and special events. They range from classical performances at the Met and Carnegie Hall to hip-hop, soul, and rock extravaganzas at smaller clubs to Jewish takes on the season. Below is a sampling of some of the cooler events; keep watching this space for more additions.
Sunday, December 2
Hanukkah Family Day, art, music, and more for children ages three and up, with Josh & the Jamtones, Jeff Hopkins, Jewish Museum, free with museum admission (children eighteen and under free), 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday, December 2
Sunday, December 9
The 8 Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo, Bowery Ballroom, $40, 7:30
Monday, December 3
Tenth Annual Latke Festival, benefiting the Sylvia Center, Brooklyn Museum, $75-$120, 6:00
Holiday Cheer for FUV, with John Prine, the Lone Bellow, and Shannon Shaw, Beacon Theatre, $90.50 - $301, 8:00
Elon Gold and Modi: A Hanukkah Miracle, with Sherrod Small and Talia Reese, Stand Up NY, $20-$40, 8:00 & 9:45
Thursday, December 6
Festival of Light w/ Matisyahu and special guests the Soul Rebels and GRiZ plus friends, Brooklyn Steel, $30-$35, 8:00
Saturday, December 8
The Cecilia Chorus of New York with Orchestra: HANDEL Messiah, with soprano Shakèd Bar, tenor Michael St. Peter, bass William Guanbo Su, and countertenor Nicholas Tamagna, Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, $25-$85, 8:00
Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays, benefit for True Colors Fund, with Amanda Palmer, Angie Stone, A$AP Rocky, Bebe Rexha, Bishop Briggs, Charlie Musselwhite, Dr. Elmo, Gina Yashere, Natalie Merchant, Regina Spektor, Robert Glasper, Sara Ramirez, Shea Diamond, and the Knocks, hosted by Carson Kressley, Beacon Theatre, $50-$150, 8:00
Sunday, December 9
For the Miracles: A Holiday Celebration, with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City performing Samuel Adler’s The Flames of Freedom and Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, conducted by Elizabeth Núñez, Met Fifth Ave., Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, $65 (bring a child for $1), 3:00
Holiday Concert, featuring Scandinavian and American holiday favorites and Saint Lucia procession with traditional gowns and glowing candles, with members of the Swedish Church Choir in New York, Scandinavia House, $25, 5:00
The 12th Annual Menorah Horah Hanukkah Burlesque Show, with the Schlep Sisters (Minnie Tonka and Darlinda Just Darlinda), Sapphire Jones, Zoe Ziegfeld, the Great Dubini, Allegra, host Bastard Keith, DJ Momotaro, Rara Darling, and Madame Brassiere, Highline Ballroom, $25-$50, 8:00
Friday, December 14
Yule Dogs: A Very Mercury Christmas, with Wormburner, Christopher John Campion with Mad Staggers, and special guests Lifeguard Nights, Mercury Lounge, $12-$15, 7:00
Sunday, December 16
Unsilent Night, participatory boombox concert with Phil Kline, Washington Square Park, free, 6:00
Monday, December 17
Ingrid Michaelson’s Twelfth Annual Holiday Hop, Beacon Theatre, $44.50 - $64.50, 8:00
Oratorio Society of New York: HANDEL Messiah, conducted by Kent Tritle, with soprano Leslie Fagan, countertenor Daniel Moody, tenor Isaiah Bell, bass-baritone Joseph Beutel, and the Chorus and Orchestra of the Society, Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, $28-$100, 8:00
Tuesday, December 18
KTU Holiday House Party w/ Why Don’t We, Highline Ballroom, $10 (proceeds benefit Cookies for Kids Cancer), 6:00
Saturday, December 22
Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes: Best Christmas Party Ever!, City Winery, $55-$75, 8:00
Sunday, December 23
Christmas Ball — A Merry Evening of Opera, Operetta, and Christmas Songs: Talents of the World Festival at Carnegie Hall, with bass William Meinert, baritone David Gvinianidze, baritone Oleksandr Kyreiev, tenor Arsen Soghomonyan, soprano Ruslana Koval, soprano Tamar Iveri, soprano Olga Lisovskaya, and the winner of the Talents of the World International Competition, Zankel Hall, $65-$95, 7:00
Monday, December 24
A Very Jewish Christmas, with Marion Grodin, James Goff, Sam Morril, Jared Freid, and others, Gotham Comedy Club, $25, 7:00 & 9:00
Tuesday, January 1
Ninth Annual New Year’s Day w/ Joseph Arthur & Lee Ranaldo, City Winery, $20-$28, 8:00
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, December 1, free, 5:00 - 11:00
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates the world’s preeminent borough again in its monthly free First Saturday program in December with the second part of “Best of the Borough.” There will be live music by Deva Mahal, Roze Royze of Set It Off, the Soul Summit Music Festival, and Jimi Tents; a curator tour of Egyptian art with senior curator Ed Bleiberg; Cave Canem pop-up poetry readings by Hafizah Geter, Cynthia Manick, and Nicholas Nichols; the artist talk “Something to Say” with Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine; a screening of Brooklyn Film Festival “Best Brooklyn Project” winner Catch One Bedroom (Darien Sills-Evans, 2018), followed by a Q&A with members of the cast and crew; a tour of the museum’s history during the Black Power era with archivist Molly Seegers; a screening of Digging for Black Pride (Philip Burton Jr., 1971) sponsored by the Weeksville Heritage Center and followed by a discussion with Zenzele Cooper and Obden Mondesir; pop-up gallery talks with teen apprentices on “Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection”; a hands-on art workshop with figure drawing of live models inspired by Kehinde Wiley; and two Day With(out) Art screenings of Alternate Endings, Activist Risings, featuring short films from ACT UP NY, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, the SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective, and VOCAL NY, presented by Visual AIDS. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” “Kwang Young Chun: Aggregations,” “Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart,” “Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection,” “Rob Wynne: FLOAT,” “Infinite Blue,” “A Woman’s Afterlife: Gender Transformation in Ancient Egypt,” and more.
Who: Maira Kalman
What: Book signing and exhibition
Where: Julie Saul Gallery, 535 West 22nd St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves., sixth floor, 212-627-2410
When: Saturday, December 1, free, 3:00 -6:00
Why: Artist Maira Kalman will be at Chelsea’s Julie Saul Gallery on Saturday for the opening of her latest exhibit, “Bold & Brave,” in the project gallery, consisting of twenty-nine gouache paintings made in association with the book Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote (Knopf, November 13, $18.99), written by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and illustrated by Kalman. Kalman will be signing books from 3:00 to 6:00. (She will also be signing copies of Sara Berman’s Closet, which she wrote with her son, Alex Kalman.) Among the heroes depicted in the book are Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Jovita Idar, and Lucy Burns. “They fought so women could be heard,” writes Gillibrand, who also pays tribute to her grandmother Dorothea “Polly” Noonan, who was recently portrayed by Edie Falco in the New Group world premiere of The True. Also on view at the gallery is Sarah Anne Johnson’s “The Cave.”
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St.
Through November 25, $18-$25
“Your perception creates the painting,” Mary Corse says in a video about her first museum survey, “Mary Corse: A Survey in Light,” continuing at the Whitney through November 25. Since the mid-1960s, the California native has been addressing unique aspects of light, time, and space in her paintings and sculptures, the vast majority of which are shades of white. Many of the works change as you approach them, appearing different when seen from different angles and distances, forming an ever-changing relationship between viewer, surface, and light. “Corse’s White Light paintings are not works that depict movement but rather works that embody, and require, movement. To truly see Corse’s art we must move: there is no ideal vantage point,” Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg writes in the foreword to the catalog. “As much as we might try, we cannot ever find the perfect viewing position; experiencing a Corse painting is in and of itself a process.” The exhibition consists of two dozen works ranging from shaped monochrome paintings, screenprints, and acrylic on wood and plexiglass to her White Light, Black Light, and Black Earth series, documenting her changing use of materials as she began incorporating glass microspheres (the material used to reflect light in road markings), hidden Tesla coils to transmit electricity, and argon gas into her work. “I try to bring reality into the painting,” she says in the video. “I try to bring the reality of our moment here on this ball of mud; it’s not that the painting relates to nature but it is nature.”
The work demands, and rewards, viewer engagement in a way that is distinct from that of other artists from the Light and Space movement, which includes James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, and Doug Wheeler. Divided into “Beginnings,” “Painting with Light,” “Black Earth, Black Light,” and “New Forms in White Light,” the Whitney show traces Corse’s career and experimental process primarily chronologically as she followed her own path. In 1970, the Berkeley-born artist moved away from Los Angeles to live and work in remote Topanga Canyon, building her own kiln and enjoying a more private life. “Untitled (Two Triangular Columns),” a pair of eight-plus-feet-high white columns with a space between them, echoes such paintings as “Untitled (Hexagonal White)” and “Untitled (White Diamond, Negative Stripe),” which feature a strip running down their centers. An entrancing glowing light emanates from “Untitled (White Light Series)” and “Untitled (Space + Electric Light).” Shapes and colors shift as you make your way around “Untitled (White Grid, Vertical Strokes)” and “Untitled (Horizontal Strokes).” Such 1970s pieces as “Untitled (Black Light Painting)” and “Untitled (Black Earth Series)” offer a stark counterpoint to the white light works. The more recent Inner Band paintings are like optical illusions in subtle motion. Exhibition curator Kim Conaty writes in the catalog, “For Corse, the subjectivity of perception — the acknowledgment that everyone experiences visual phenomena differently — has been a consistent driving force in her artistic practice for more than fifty years.” This survey ably represents Corse’s career, a long overdue exhibition that is, dare we say, illuminating. (In addition, Dia:Beacon has a new gallery of Corse’s work on view through 2021.)
Art During the Occupation Gallery, Bushwick
119 Ingraham St., Buzzer 05
Ground Floor Main Gallery, Brooklyn Fire Proof Building
Tuesday, November 13, and Wednesday, November 14, $15, 7:30
Art During the Occupation Gallery in Bushwick is temporarily deinstalling its current exhibition, David B. Frye’s “Return of the Mack,” in order to present the two-night experiential art performance Rupture. The thirty-five-minute piece features dance and choreography by Lexie Thrash and Kelsey Kramer, featuring performance artist Eric Gottshall, sound artist Adriana Norat, and musical artist Sonpekiza, exploring ideas of fear, pessimism, displacement, and death through music, movement and wearable sculpture. Tickets are $15; the shows begin at 7:30 and will be followed by a reception with the artists.