200 Eastern Parkway at Washington St.
Saturday, June 2, free (“David Bowie is” requires advance tickets, $25), 5:00 - 11:00
Gay pride and diversity are the themes of the Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday program on June 2. There will be a live performance by the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus; a community talk on zines with Shawn(ta) Smith-Cruz and Elvis Bakaitis, moderated by Maya Harder-Montoya; a hands-on art workshop in which participants can make a pride notebook inspired by David Bowie and “Radical Women”’s Virginia Errázuriz; a drink-and-draw event with live models styled by the Phluid Project and Jag & Co. and tunes spun by DJ Illexxandra; a screening of The Revival: Women and the Word (Sekiya Dorsett, 2016), with performances by t’ai freedom ford and Be Steadwell and an introduction by director Dorsett, hosted by SafeWordSociety; a screening of the latest episode of Viceland’s My House, followed by a talkback with cast members Tati 007, Jelani Mizrahi, and Alex Mugler, executive producer Elegance Bratton, showrunner Sean David Johnson, and producers Giselle Bailey and Nneka Onuoraha; Joy, a celebration of queer and trans people of color with music, games, dance-offs, and guest DJs Nappy Nina and Rimarkable, hosted by bklyn boihood; pop-up poetry with Wo Chan and Charles Theonia; pop-up gallery talks on “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985” by teen apprentices; and the community talk “NYC Trans Oral History Project” with Jeanne Vaccaro, activist Bianey Garcia-D la O, poet El Roy Red, and podcast producer Cassie Wagler. In addition, the galleries will be open late so you can check out “William Trost Richards: Experiments in Watercolor,” “David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time,” “Infinite Blue,” “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985,” “Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu,” “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.
The Met Breuer
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
Through May 27, suggested admission $12-$25
The outstanding Met Breuer retrospective “Leon Golub: Raw Nerve” is meant to touch a raw nerve, and it does. In his primarily figurative, often large-scale works, the Chicago-born artist focused on the brutal side of humanity, exploring violence, hatred, bigotry, torture, cruelty, and war. He would even attack the canvases themselves, scratching and scraping at them, at times using a meat cleaver. When visitors get off the elevator, they are suddenly face-to-face with Golub’s “Gigantomachy II,” a ten-foot-by-twenty-four-foot acrylic painting on linen of a group of men fighting, their skin flayed from their bodies; the title evokes the battle between the Greek Gigantes and Olympian gods. Golub, who was married to artist and activist Nancy Spero for nearly fifty years, often used classical and art-historical imagery in his works; he also kept an archive of clippings from newspapers and magazines to use as reference. The riveting show, which is meant to jolt viewers, to shock them into action, features works from such series as “White Squad,” “Interrogation,” “Horsing Around,” “Napalm,” and “Pylons,” with the vast majority of his subjects being male, although he occasionally includes women. In the disturbing “Horsing Around IV,” a white man holding a bottle of alcohol exposes the breast of a black female prostitute. In “Two Black Women and a White Man,” two black women are sitting on a bench while a white man to their left leans against a wall, his hands in his pocket, looking away, trying to avoid them or pretend they’re not there. The wall behind the women is a light color, while the wall behind the man is blue; Golub slyly has the hand of one of the women casually lean over into the blue frame, gently infringing on his fear.
Other works depict skeletons, angry dogs, men with rifles, a woman in an S&M-like mask surrounded by blood, and a quartet of portraits of Brazilian president and general Ernesto Geisel as he ages and loses his power. In a 1996 catalogue statement reprinted in the 1997 book Do Paintings Bite?, Golub, who passed away in 2004 at the age of eighty-two, wrote, “The history of the twentieth century is in large part a record of war, violence, and atrocities. This is not of course the only history which is recorded but nevertheless it is extraordinary in both its virulence and in its widespread extensions. . . . Despite the apparent pessimism of negativity of the subject matter in the very reportage, in the very reporting of all this, there is retained a residual optimism in the very freedom to tell, that is to make and exhibiting these paintings.” The Met Breuer exhibit ably displays that sentiment, revealing an artist who was determined to face the violence in contemporary society head-on through daring works of art that attempt to force viewers out of their complacency and realize what is happening all around them.
The Secret Society of the Sisterhood is making its New York City debut on the night of the full moon, May 29, at historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Dubbed “An Evening of Storytelling for Women and Fierce Allies of Women,” the show is hosted by BanterGirl founder Trish Nelson, a self-identified producer, performer, writer, and waitress who hopes “that other women across the land will be able to see that no matter where you come from, or where you currently are in life, you do not have to wait around for someone else to give you permission to execute your dreams.” The theme of the May 29 event is “Soooo... THAT happened!,” with actress and poet Amber Tamblyn, writer and activist Lorri Davis, bestselling author Dhonielle Clayton, and comedian Ayanna Dookie sharing true tales. There will also be live music by Kaki King and a song by Treya Lam, visual art by Aditi Damle, Rebekah Harris, and Marguerite Dabaie, and a dance party led by DJ Tikka Masala. Proceeds from the festivities will go to Girls Write Now, which provides mentoring programs, college prep courses, reading series, digital exhibitions, workshops, and more to empower young women. So you’re not going to want to miss this opportunity not only to hear and see cool things — it all takes place under candlelight — but also to get to hang out at an amazing cemetery during a full moon. We already can’t wait to tell people, “Soooo... THAT happened!”
The Met Breuer
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
May 22-24, free with museum admission
MetLiveArts artist in residence Andrea Miller concludes her year-long residency with the world premiere of (C)arbon, a multimedia dance piece made in conjunction with the exhibition “Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now).” Miller, the artistic director and choreographer of the Brooklyn-based Gallim company, collaborated with visual artist and filmmaker Ben Stamper on the project, which explores the human body; Will Epstein composed the soundscape, with costumes by fashion designer Jose Solis. “I am fascinated by the phenomenon of the human body and its mostly elusive and invisible engines: its biology, its chemistry, its emotions, its history, its culture, and its inhabiting will and spirits,” Miller explained in a statement. “I hope to both unsettle and relieve our concerns of the human body and its quotidian and epic journey and potential.” The ninety-minute work, performed by a rotating cast of six Gallim dancers (Allysen Hooks, Sean Howe, Gary Reagan, Connor Speetjens, Haley Sung, and Georgia Usbourne), takes place on the fifth floor of the Met Breuer on May 22 at 1:00 and 3:30 and May 23 and 24 at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:30 and is free with museum admission. On the third and fourth floors, “Like Life” consists of more than one hundred lifelike sculptures dating back seven hundred years. “Melding sound and body with Andrea and her gifted dancers is a joyful alchemy,” Epstein said in a social media post. “Their skillful blend of sensitivity and strength immediately casts a spell and is deeply inspiring to work with and simply to be around.” Just to reiterate, the durational work is not being performed within the exhibition; instead, it is performed in three galleries with no art on the walls, so the piece is a work of art unto itself.
Between 1965 and 1974, Memphis native William Eggleston took twenty-two hundred photographs while traveling through Tennessee, the Mississippi Delta, New Orleans, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Southern California, at times accompanied by actor and artist Dennis Hopper and curator Walter Hopps. Eggleston ultimately compiled seventy-five dye-transfer color prints into the large-size portfolio Los Alamos, named after the national laboratory in New Mexico. “This title cloaks with some irony Eggleston’s ostensible subjects, found in a vast American terrain, yet acknowledges his belief in the aesthetic consequences of his private quest,” Hopps later wrote. The quest is so private that there is little information provided about the photographs, which are on display for the first time in New York City as a complete set, continuing through May 28 at the Met Fifth Ave. Most of the pictures are untitled or named for the state or city in which they were taken. There is no wall text or wall labels offering any further information, save for a series of quotes by Eggleston that lend fascinating insight into his creative process. The works, supplemented by a black-and-white series taken around the same time, reveal a mastery of composition and an innate talent for capturing the soul of America, whether it’s an abandoned shack, a bottle of soda on a car hood, a sign by the side of an empty road, an outdoor water fountain and its shadow, or a man making a call from a phone booth. But I’ve already said too much; below is a handful of photos from the show, with some of Eggleston’s quotes that have been stenciled on the walls of the galleries, in between photos.
“A picture is what it is. . . . It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.”
“I do have a personal discipline. . . . I only ever take one picture of one thing. Literally. Never two. So then that picture is taken and then the next one is waiting somewhere else.”
“I think of [the photographs] as parts of a novel I’m doing.”
“I had this notion of what I called a democratic way of looking around: that nothing was more or less important.”
“I don’t spend much time looking at other people’s pictures. It’s never interested me. In color there wasn’t anything to look at that was the kind of photography I wished and wanted to do. I just . . . made it up.”
“I don’t have any favorites. Every picture is equal but different.”
“I don’t have a burning desire to go out and document anything. It just happens when it happens. It’s not a conscious effort, nor is it a struggle. Wouldn’t do it if it was. The idea of the suffering artist has never appealed to me. Being here is suffering enough.”
“Often people ask me what I am photographing. It’s a hard question to answer. And the best I have come up with is I just say ‘life today.’ I don’t know if they believe me or not. Or what that means.”
A POP CULTURE EXTRAVAGANZA
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
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
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.