Who: Zoe Leonard, Legacy Russell
What: Virtual book launch
Where: School of Visual Arts Zoom
When: Thursday, October 15, free with RSVP, 11:00 am
Why: In December 2012, curator, writer, and artist Legacy Russell coined the term “Glitch Feminism,” writing in The Society Pages, “In a society that conditions the public to find discomfort or outright fear in the errors and malfunctions of our socio-cultural mechanics — illicitly and implicitly encouraging an ethos of ‘Don’t rock the boat!’ — a ‘glitch’ becomes an apt metonym. Glitch Feminism, however, embraces the causality of ‘error,’ and turns the gloomy implication of glitch on its ear by acknowledging that an error in a social system that has already been disturbed by economic, racial, social, sexual, and cultural stratification and the imperialist wrecking-ball of globalization — processes that continue to enact violence on all bodies — may not, in fact, be an error at all, but rather a much-needed erratum. This glitch is a correction to the ‘machine,’ and, in turn, a positive departure. This glitch I speak of here calls for a breaking from the hegemony of a ‘structured system’ infused with the pomp and circumstance of patriarchy, one that for all too long has marginalized female-identified bodies, and continues to offend our sensibilities by giving us only a piece of the pie and assuming our satisfaction.” Russell, a New York City native who is associate curator of exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, has expanded those ideas into a book, Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto (Verso, September 2020, $14.95), which focuses on online representation, gender, and the body and features such chapters as “Glitch Refuses,” “Glitch Throws Shade,” “Glitch Is Skin,” “Glitch Is Remix,” and “Glitch Survives.” She writes in the introduction, “A body that pushes back at the application of pronouns, or remains indecipherable within binary assignment, is a body that refuses to perform the score. This nonperformance is a glitch. This glitch is a form of refusal.”
On October 15 at 11:00 am, Russell will be joined by artist, activist, and New York native Zoe Leonard for a book launch hosted by the School of Visual Arts, discussing cyberfeminism and systems of oppression. Primarily a photographer and sculptor, Leonard is most well known for her 1992 poem “I want a president,” a large-scale version of which was installed on the High Line in October 2016. The poem was written in support of the independent presidential candidacy of poet Eileen Myles running against George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot and begins, “I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia.” Prepare for a lively and energetic talk; admission is free with advance RSVP.
Who: Sam Moyer, Daniel S. Palmer
What: Public Art Fund livestreamed discussion about Sam Moyer: Doors for Doris
Where: Cooper Union Zoom
When: Wednesday, October 14, free with RSVP, 5:00 (sculpture on view in Doris C. Freedman Plaza through August 28, 2021)
Why: “Contemporary public sculpture presents a new visual and emotional experience, a challenge to our senses and sensibilities,” philanthropist Doris Chanin Freedman said back in the late 1970s. “Sculpture that confronts us on our way to work, or on our daily errands, is no longer the remote object belonging to the world of galleries and museums but a special component of our daily lives.” Freedman, who passed away in November 1981 at the age of fifty-three, was a champion of outdoor art in New York City, having served as the first director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, president of the Municipal Art Society, and president of City Walls as well as being host of WNYC's Artists in the City and founder of the Public Art Fund; since 1977, PAF has installed site-specific commissions on what was christened, after her death, Doris C. Freedman Plaza, which stands at the entrance to Central Park on Fifth Ave. at Sixtieth St. known as Scholar’s Gate. The dedication plaque reads in part, “As a pioneer in the field of public art, Doris Freedman labored tirelessly to enliven and humanize the urban environment. The people of the City of New York are the beneficiaries of her vision.”
Brooklyn-based artist Sam Moyer, who was born in Chicago shortly after Freedman died, has paid tribute to her with the three-part sculpture Doors for Doris, a trio of partially open entryways to the park on the plaza named for her. (You can see our online slideshow of the work here.) Constructed of indigenous New York granite and Bluestone, concrete slabs, and discarded marble from such countries as Brazil, China, India, and Italy that Moyer found around the city, Doors for Doris offers passersby a new way to walk into or out of the park, honoring the woman who fought for artists to be able to live in their SoHo studios and for civic construction projects to include public art in their budgets. The international nature of the material and the not-fully-open doors reference not only New York City as a melting pot but the need for immigration reform; it also outlines such issues as income inequality, combining standard concrete with marble scraps tossed away from kitchen redesigns and fancy building lobbies. Freedman’s father was architect and real estate developer Irwin S. Chanin, the namesake of the Chanin Building across from Grand Central, an Art Deco skyscraper that features a bronze relief of evolution scenes on its facade in addition to a bas-relief by Edward Trumbull and a terracotta frieze. So it’s more than apt that on October 14 at 5:00, PAF is hosting an artist talk in conjunction with the Cooper Union, home to the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Moyer, who also makes abstract hand-painted canvases composed of stone, marble, terrazzo concrete, and travertine on MDF panels in addition to oil on Bristol and works made of fused glass, will be speaking with PAF curator Daniel S. Palmer.
Who: Carrie Sijia Wang, Emily Twines, Theater in Quarantine, Kate Ladenheim + the RAD Lab, Rourou Ye, Sadi Oortmood, Sylvain Souklaye, XUE
What: 3D live experience
Where: New York Live Arts
When: Saturday, October 10, livestream free, interactive experience $7-$20, noon - 5:00
Why: The cutting-edge series EdgeCut is teaming up with New York Live Arts for Captivity, five hours of short performance works, talkbacks, and networking taking place online from noon to 5:00 on October 10. Curated by Heidi Boisvert and Kat Mustatea, the EdgeCut program, which originally convened at the New Museum’s NEW INC incubator for art, tech, and design for in-person presentations, is now seeking to expand and redefine the virtual 3D experience during the pandemic lockdown, exploring the question “How do we create collective experience and transformative gatherings in this moment of ‘a crisis within a crisis’ that speak to transition, change, healing, humanity?” The works, chosen through an open call focusing on captivity, sanity, and humanity, include Kate Ladenheim + the RAD Lab’s Babyface, Rourou Ye’s The Absent Umbra, Theater in Quarantine’s The Neighbor, Carrie Sijia Wang’s The System 2.0, Sadi Oortmood’s Invisible Creativity, Emily Twines’s lookingGlass, Sylvain Souklaye’s Black Breathing, and Xue’s Endless Return Rave. Virtual attendees can roam from room to room and engage with others, but be patient, as there’s a maximum of fifteen at any one time in the Nowhere platform. The full Captivity experience can be accessed with advance tickets of $7 to $20, but they are extremely limited, so act fast; it can also be watched for free via livestream but without the participatory elements.
Who: HERE and LEIMAY Ensemble
What: Sculptural performance art installation
Where: Astor Place Plaza
When: October 1-4, free
Why: In an April 2012 twi-ny talk, multidisciplinary HERE resident artists Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya, the founders of LEIMAY Ensemble, explained, “It seems to us like we all see life and performances and things with our own frame. Through our work we challenge ourselves and our audiences to make these frames as malleable as possible so we can expand our understanding of the body and our experience and understanding of daily life. Consequently, we enlarge the realms of perception and creation and discover the possibilities for interaction therein.” Colombia-born Garnica and Japanese native Moriya reach for a new level with the sculptural performance art installation Correspondences. Part of HERE Arts Center’s #stillHERE: IRL initiative, which takes the innovative downtown institution outdoors during the Covid-19 crisis, presenting works in real life, Correspondences runs October 1-4, providing an intervention in one of Manhattan’s usually busiest locations, Astor Place Plaza, an area that bursts with life and energy in nonpandemic times. Correspondences features LEIMAY’s Masanori Asahara, Krystel Copper, and Garnica, along with Ricardo Bustamante and Brandon Perdomo — in vertical transparent chambers partly filled with sand. The performers, wearing only gas masks, move around the confined space, hampered by the several feet of sand, which occasionally erupts like an extreme weather event; the soundscape was designed by Jeremy D. Slater, with costume fabrication by Irena Romendik. The thirty-five-minute activations — scheduled for October 1 at 8:00, October 2 and 3 at noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00, and October 4 at noon, 2:00, and 4:00 — serve as a beautiful yet harsh reminder of what each of us, and the world as a whole, faces as we deal with isolation, masks, social distancing, the lockdown of theaters, climate change, and interacting with other human bodies.
In conjunction with the installation, HERE and LEIMAY, whose previous work includes Furnace, Trace of Purple Sadness, Becoming, borders, Frantic Beauty, and Floating Point Waves, are also hosting special related programs. For Correspondences — the Audience Files, people are encouraged to participate in online conversations, addressing such questions as “How do you cope with uncertainty?,” “What happens to your body when you encounter the unknown?,” and “Why are existential questions of being, interdependence, and coexistence vital in these times of readjustment of powers and values?” From October 1 to November 30, you can view a twenty-minute film of Correspondences from its summer 2019 iteration at Watermill Center. From October 6 to 10, you can register for “Dancing for the Environment” online LEIMAY encore classes, with one hundred percent of the proceeds benefiting Organización Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonia Colombiana, Green Worker Cooperatives, El Puente, and the Loisaida Center. And on October 29, “Correspondences Talks” will bring together activists, scholars, designers, and scientists to discuss the idea of “decentering the human.”
Update: Even though Correspondences was created before the pandemic, it is a dramatic and timely look at what life has become for every one us. In Astor Place Plaza, there are three vertical booths with two transparent sides. A trio of performers, wearing skintight costumes that cover specific parts of their body and gas masks with purple filter cartridges, are led inside the booths, where, trapped, they move slowly in several feet of sand. Every few minutes, black-and-white blowers connected to the booths — resembling a mix between Star Wars stormtrooper uniforms and Darth Vader’s helmet — suddenly, without warning, pour air in, causing the sand to whip up like a mini-tornado and forcing the dancers to lose their balance and fall. As they get up, sand oozes from them as the blower threatens to knock them down again. But they keep on getting up, because that’s what we do when faced with a crisis, be it global warming, a pandemic, a struggling economy, political shenanigans, or the lockdown of indoor performance spaces. Be sure to wear your mask and respect the white chalk boxes on the ground that are there to maintain social distancing. For a slideshow of the 2:00 performance on October 3, go here.
Who: Judith Bernstein, Kim Jones, Gary Carrion-Murayari
What: New Museum Conversations
Where: New Museum Zoom
When: Wednesday September 30, free with advance RSVP, 8:00
Why: There doesn’t seem to be a lot to laugh about these days, what with the Covid-19 crisis, protests over police brutality, an economy in freefall, the battle over the next Supreme Court justice, and the upcoming contentious presidential election. But artists Judith Bernstein and Kim Jones are going to try to make us smile even given our current state of chaos when they sit down for the New Museum Conversation “Humor and Politics in Art” on Zoom with curator Gary Carrion-Murayari. The provocative seventy-seven-year-old Newark-born, NYC-based Bernstein has been fighting the status quo in her work for more than fifty years, while seventy-six-year-old California-born, NYC-based performance artist Jones has been stoking controversy in his oeuvre since the mid-1970s. The talk will focus on eighty-six-year-old California-born artist Peter Saul’s “Crime and Punishment,” which is on view at the New Museum through January 3. You can see Saul’s February 27 pre-shutdown talk with New Museum director Massimiliano Gioni here.
Bernstein was at the New Museum with her 2012-13 solo exhibition “Hard”; she also participated in the group shows “After Hours: Murals on the Bowery” in 2011 and “The Last Newspaper: Contemporary Art, Curating Histories, Alternative Models” in 2010-11 and such talks as “Who's Afraid of the New Now?” in 2017; Jones’s relationship with the museum includes “Kim Jones as the Mudman” in 1986, “Temporarily Possessed: The Semi-Permanent Collection” in 1995, and “Collage: The Unmonumental Picture” in 2008. Expect a raucous, no-holds-barred discussion with little subtlety.
Who: Cai Guo-Qiang
What: Livestreamed daytime pyrotechnics
Where: Hennessy online
When: Friday, September 25, free, 9:00 am (EDT)
Why: In 2008, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang had a fabulous midcareer retrospective at the Guggenheim that had the sanguine title “I Want to Believe.” I wrote back then of the exhibit, “Cai has filled Frank Lloyd Wright’s twisting space with powerful, politically charged installations that literally and figuratively explode throughout the museum. His highly conceptual art, mixed-media constructions that are born out of destruction (playing off Mao’s famous statement “Progress is born in chaos. And originality comes from destruction.”), explodes from the very floor of the Guggenheim all the way up to the rafters.” On September 25 at 9:00 am (EDT), Cai will be at the Charente River in Cognac, France, joining forces with Hennessy to present a livestreamed three-part multicolor pyrotechnic display to share the ideals of persistence, optimism, and resilience with people around the world during these challenging times. In respect to the environment, he will be using nontoxic, reduced-smoke, CE-certified products, launching the explosions from oak barrels.
“This will be the first time that I direct and narrate my daytime art event to be livestreamed to a global audience,” Cai said in a statement. “I hope the audience will draw inspiration from the aerial art display in order to reconcile with nature and to find the power to heal.” In December, Cai gave the final session speech at the Nobel Week Dialogue in Gothenburg, Sweden; you can read his presentation, “To Explore a ‘Natural’ Attitude in the Midst of Uncertainty and Risks,” here. The free fireworks event is part of Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary World Odyssey program, which also includes Ridley Scott’s Seven Worlds for Seven Notes short ads; since this is all sponsored by an alcohol brand, Hennessy advises: “Not intended to be seen by persons under the legal alcohol drinking age or in countries with restrictions on advertising on alcoholic beverages. Please drink responsibly.”