Good Art I Saw in November

I was a combination of incredibly busy and too lazy to write about these individually, so here is a summary of the amazing art I saw this month:

Yale Art Museum (New Haven, CT)
This (completely free!) gallery has room after room filled with Picassos, Pollocks, DeKoonings, Kandinskys, Rothkos…the list goes on and on.  I got art brain fatigue after the modern gallery alone and couldn’t even make it to the other floors. (A return trip is definitely in order).  They also had an impressive ceramic exhibit tastefully worked into their regular collection and I enjoyed some of the pieces.

Favorites:

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These gorgeous paintings by (clockwise from top left): Joseph Stella, Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso and Willem De Kooning
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Ceramic pieces by Robert Arneson and Viola Frey.

Of Gentle Birth at Repair the World through Dec 20
A collaborative show of 11 Brooklyn artists responding to the ongoing gentrification of Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and Lefferts Gardens.  Sooooo good!

Favorites:

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A stiking and poignant collection of photos by Hidemi Takagi entitled simply “The Barbershops”
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I know I’m biased because he’s one of my favorite people ever, but getting to see Zachary Fabri activating one of his pieces was truly amazing. (Photo credit @miguelluciano_ny)

Juan Sanchez: What’s the Meaning of This? at BRIC through Dec 27
A phenomenal solo exhibit showcasing the work of an important artist and activists. I also got to hear him speak, which was a phenomenal experience.

Favorites:

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Evocative doesn’t even begin to describe this piece about a fallen activist and personal friend of the artist, entitled “Para Filiberto Ojeda Rios”
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In another tribute to the tragic death of a young activist, entitled “Para Neda Agha-Soltan,” Sanchez chose to depict the victim pre-death (detailed above). This was a departure from most of the other pieces, which drive home the horror and brutality of activists’ ultimate sacrifice.

Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) at Brooklyn Museum through March 13
Towers of typography, gorgeous handlettering, and a sea of words words words — all inspired by the idea of Brooklyn’s iconic playground. The work is simultaneously brash and intimate, inundating and isolating (much like the place that inspired the work). You could stand and stare for hours and not begin to take it in.

Favorites:

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While the tower pieces were impressive, the weekday panels were my absolute favorite. At times defeatist, depressed, defiant and hopeful (but always manic), I kept finding myself thinking “What are you doing inside my head?”
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Detail of “Sadderday” — I love the shot glass with the text “just me and my regrets making a day of it”

Performance: HARD WORK #2 at Skowhegan NYC Space
I feel deeply underqualified to write about performance art, so let me try to paint you a picture: it started with a man wearing a giant fake horse head walking up to a drum set and beginning to play. I kind of don’t know how to write about the rest. (I’m new at this.)

The first piece (by Becky Sellinger) was kind of what I picture when I think of performance art; multiple performers moving around the space, some briefly interacting with the audience, others seemingly oblivious of us — all while the drummer tapped away under his towering horse head. Some of the performers chomped on apples into their mics from time to time in between the singel verse of poetry being recited over and over (with nuanced changes).

The second performance (by Zachary Fabri) seemed to push the boundaries of traditional performance; the audience was not forced to interact, but rather compelled to do so as the action moved through (and in and out of) the physical space. Performance was almost immediately transcended as participation (and, by extension, interaction) became a necessity.

(Sorry–I didn’t get any pics, which I deeply regret.  I wish I could show you the horse-headed hipster playing jazz drums). 



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