200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, April 7, free (“David Bowie is” requires advance tickets of $25), 5:00 - 11:00
The late, great David Bowie is the subject of the Brooklyn Museum’s free April First Saturday program, celebrating the major exhibition “David Bowie is.” There will be live performances by Bowie pianist Mike Garson and Bowie favorite Tamar-kali; a book club talk and signing with Simon Critchley, author of the 2014 book Bowie; a screening of D. A. Pennebaker’s concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make Bowie-inspired watercolors; a photo booth where everyone is encouraged to pose as a Bowie persona; Drink and Draw sketching of live models dressed as Bowie; a Bowie-themed showcase by Bushwig, hosted by Horrorchata, Untitled Queen, and Tyler Ashley; and pop-up gallery talks by teen apprentices in the “American Art” galleries. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “Arts of Korea,” “Infinite Blue,” “Ahmed Mater: Mecca Journeys,” “Rodin at the Brooklyn Museum: The Body in Bronze,” “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.
LECTURES AND SYMPOSIA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.
Friday, April 6, 6:30, and Saturday, April 7, 2:30
This weekend the Guggenheim is hosting a two-day seminar focusing on the growing ideological divide across the United States, particularly looking at the protests held online and in person against certain art shows in museums amid fake news and digital swarming. “Culture and Its Discontents” begins April 6 at 6:30 with a keynote conversation featuring progressive political commentator Sally Kohn, former Obama White House deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, and artist Hank Willis Thomas. The symposium continues April 7 at 2:30 with two panel discussions moderated by Brian Lehrer, “Contemporary Culture Wars” with Kurt Bardella, Jehmu Greene, Angela Nagle, and Suzanne Nossel, followed by “Outrage Activism,” with Danielle Citron, Molly Crockett, and Melissa Ryan. On view currently at the museum are the politically charged “Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away,” “Josef Albers in Mexico,” and “Guggenheim Collection: Brancusi.”
It’s not exactly clear when Joanna Kotze’s What will we be like when we get there begins and ends — at a talkback moderated by Okwui Okpokwasili following the March 29 performance, one audience member said she wasn’t sure if the show was still going on. Such is the mystery, magic, madness, and mayhem of this world premiere, taking place at New York Live Arts through March 31. South Africa-born, Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer, and teacher Kotze kicks off the evening by pointing out the exits, telling the audience to turn off their cell phones, and describing the origins of this collaboration with visual artist Jonathan Allen, sound designer, composer, and musician Ryan Seaton, and dancer and choreographer Netta Yerushalmy. However, Kotze’s speech starts hesitating as she drifts toward the floor, holding the microphone stand in awkward positions. Yerushalmy comes out and lies down on her side at the front of the stage, facing the back. Seaton pushes a heavy piano back and forth, perhaps a reference to Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s Un Chien Andalou. Allen lays orange gaffer’s tape from a ladder onto other objects as well as on the floor, creating new physical spaces in the air and on the ground. Seaton (Callers) plays electronic music from a laptop, then runs to a saxophone or grabs a clarinet and plays it. Allen (whose related paintings, “Knowing That Your House Is on Fire,” are on view in the lobby) gets continually knocked over by Yerushalmy (Paramodernities), who, after a long period hiding her face, finally reveals herself to the crowd but later teases it with potential nudity. Kotze jumps onto an empty chair in the audience and takes a breather on the steps. Allen collects nearly everything not bolted down — folding chairs, a cart, monitors, mechanical equipment — and moves it to the middle of the stage, as if a Wizard of Oz-like cyclone is scooping up whatever is in its path. For seventy-five minutes, with the house lights on, the four friends engage in a series of set pieces exploring connection and communication in a stormy world, incorporating large doses of absurdity and humor. Bessie winner Kotze (FIND YOURSELF HERE; It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen) takes advantage of every part of the New York Live Arts Theater, immersing the audience in the vast unpredictability of life in the twenty-first century through an exhilarating controlled chaos. The quartet eventually stands together and bows, but a day later I’m still not sure it’s over, as Kotze alludes to in the title of this thrilling work.
In conjunction with Danh Vo’s revelatory Guggenheim exhibition, “Take My Breath Away,” the Vietnamese-born Danish artist has curated “Danh Vo Selects,” consisting of screenings of films that have meaning to him. When he was a child, his mother made him watch horror movies because she was too scared to watch them alone. The series concludes on March 31 at 2:30 with Jean Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s 1999 Rosetta — “I confess my brain was gang-raped by the films of Jean-Pierre Dardenne and his brother, Luc. Rosetta and her phallic drive to secure a job (and therefore a place in society) is burned into my mind,” Vo says about the film — followed at 5:00 by William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, which plays an important role in the exhibit. Vo has titled several works, in which he combines sculptural fragments from different time periods into a new piece (inspired by Regan’s ability to spin her head all the way around), after lines spoken by Regan when she is possessed by the demon. The film “was shown to Vo by his horror-film-obsessed mother at the age of seven, when it no doubt made a terrifyingly indelible impression,” exhibition curator Katherine Brinson notes. “The film’s interrogation of religious faith and doubt, its depiction of the appropriated and dislocated body, and its themes of parental nurture and neglect can all be similarly traced in the artist’s work.” He also gave them unusual titles just so curators and critics would have to mention them. Thus, Your mother sucks cocks in Hell; Dimmy, why you did this to me?; and Shove it up your ass, you faggot! combine Roman marble from the first to second century with French Early Gothic oak. In addition, Lick me, lick me consists of part of a Greek-marble Apollo in a wooden crate, and another work features a wall of mirrors engraved with more quotes, as if they’re being spoken directly to the viewer. I’ve seen The Exorcist three times; twice it scared the hell out of me, but the middle time the audience and I laughed our heads off, as if it were a comedy. Which of course it’s not. As a bonus, on May 8 at 7:00 and 9:30, the experimental California band Xiu Xiu will present “Deforms the Unborn,” a new, extended song inspired by demonic possession in general and Vo’s use of The Exorcist specifically.
Joanna Kotze has been dancing in New York since 1998 and creating her own works since 2009, collaborating with a wide range of artists and performing virtually nonstop. The South Africa-born, Brooklyn-based dancer, choreographer, and teacher will be at New York Live Arts this week with her latest commission, the interdisciplinary What will we be like when we get there, running March 28-31. The piece, part of the New York Live Arts Live Feed residency program, has been developed at the Sedona Arts Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council on Governors Island, Bennington College, Jacob’s Pillow, the 92nd Street Y, the Milvus Artistic Research Center, and other locations around the world and now will make its world premiere in Manhattan. The interdisciplinary work, inspired by the 2016 presidential election and exploring personal connections impacted in the wake of that, was conceived and directed by Kotze (FIND YOURSELF HERE; It Happened It Had Happened It Is Happening It Will Happen) and choreographed and performed by Bessie Award winner Kotze, visual artist Jonathan Allen, sound designer, composer, and musician Ryan Seaton, and dancer and choreographer Netta Yerushalmy; the lighting is by Kathy Kaufmann. The March 28 performance will be followed by a discussion with Allen about his lobby exhibition of related paintings, “Knowing That Your House Is on Fire,” on view March 26 through April 13; the March 29 performance will feature a Stay Late Conversation moderated by Okwui Okpokwasili; and the March 31 show will be followed by live music curated by Seaton.
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.
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.”