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Editors’ Picks: 10 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week, From Upstate Art Weekend to Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Bronx Zoo


Each week, we search for the most exciting and thought-provoking shows, screenings, and events, both digitally and in-person in the New York area. See our picks from around the world below. (Times are all ET unless otherwise noted.)

 

Tuesday, August 24

Bethany Collins. Photo by Bob Packert, ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum.

Bethany Collins. Photo by Bob Packert, ©2020 Peabody Essex Museum.

1. “Bethany Collins in Conversation With Mollye Bendell” at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

This Tuesday, Bethany Collins will sit down on Zoom to talk with Mollye Bendell about her practice, her process, and her contribution to the Phillips Collection’s current exhibition, “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle” (on view through September 19).

Price: Free with RSVP
Time: 6 p.m.–7 p.m.

—Taylor Dafoe

 

Yoshitomo Nara, <em>One Foot in the Groove (for Donnie Fritts)</em>, 2010. Photo courtesy of Seoul Auction, ©Yoshitomo Nara.

Yoshitomo Nara, One Foot in the Groove (for Donnie Fritts), 2010. Photo courtesy of Seoul Auction, ©Yoshitomo Nara.

2. “One Foot in the Groove: A Yoshitomo Nara Listening Party” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In celebration of LACMA’s Yoshitomo Nara exhibition (on view through January 2), author, curator, and USC Annenberg professor Josh Kun will host a virtual night of music and storytelling inspired by the artist and his work.

Price: Free with RSVP
Time: 9 p.m.–10 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

 

Wednesday, August 25

Cey Adams in his studio. Photo courtesy of Art in DUMBO.

Cey Adams in his studio. Photo courtesy of Art in DUMBO.

3. “Art in DUMBO Drink and Draw Workshops: Delve into Pop Art Collage with Cey Adams” at DUMBO Archway, Brooklyn

Art in DUMBO’s next outdoor Drink and Draw Workshop is hosted by Creatively Wild Art Studio and will feature a lesson in collage-making from artist Cey Adams. The founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, Adams got his start as a New York City street artist in the late 1970s, appearing in the documentary Style Wars. Today, he is a graphic design legend in the hip hop world, having worked with the likes of the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige.

Location: DUMBO Archway, 155 Water Street, Brooklyn
Price:
Free with registration
Time: 6 p.m.–8 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

 

The "100 Years | 100 Women" project.

The “100 Years | 100 Women” project.

4. “100 Years | 100 Women: A Celebration” at Lincoln Center, New York

Ahead of Women’s Equality Day on Thursday, August 26, artists will gather at Lincoln Center for music, dance, and spoken word. The evening is organized in conjunction with the “100 Years | 100 Women” project, which commissioned more than 100 self-identifying women and nonbinary artists to create new work about the complex history of women’s suffrage. Advance registration for the event is closed, but more than 1,000 free seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis 10 minutes before the event starts.

Location: Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Amsterdam Ave at West 62nd Street, New York
Price:
 Free; also accessible via livestream
Time: 8 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Nan Stewart

Friday, August 27–Sunday, August 29

Hiba Schahbaz during her residency at Stoneleaf Retreat in 2019. Photo courtesy of Stoneleaf Retreat.

Hiba Schahbaz during her residency at Stoneleaf Retreat in 2019. Photo courtesy of Stoneleaf Retreat.

5. “Upstate Art Weekend” in the Hudson Valley, New York

Last summer, with art fairs on indefinite hold and museums shuttered, former art fair director Helen Toomer saw an opportunity to bring together the art community safely in upstate New York’s Hudson Valley, where she and husband Eric Romano run the Stoneleaf Retreat artist residency in Eddyville. Last year, the inaugural Upstate Art Weekend invited visitors to explore 23 art spaces throughout the region. This year, there are 61 participants, ranging from Storm King and Dia Beacon toward the south up to galleries in Hudson and Art Omi in Ghent, furthest from the city. Stoneleaf is presenting solo exhibitions from Hiba Schahbaz and Liz Collins, plus site-specific projects by Lizania Cruz, Macon Reed, and Rebecca Reeve. There will also be a performance organized by Michele Pred as part of her Art of Equal Pay project that aims to close the gender gap in prices paid for men and women’s artwork. Titled Emergency Response for Pay Equity, it will feature artists Ann Lewis, Holly Ballard Martz, Krista Suh, Michelle Hartney, and Yvette Molina, and take place on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., during the weekend’s opening festivities.

Location: Stoneleaf Retreat, Ashokan Road, Eddyville, New York, and other locations
Price:
Prices vary, reservations required at some events
Time: Times vary

—Sarah Cascone

 

Friday, August 27–Sunday, October 24

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their unveiled portraits at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their unveiled portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

6. “The Obama Portraits Tour” at the Brooklyn Museum

Almost certainly the most famous paintings created so far in this century, Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, commissioned by the National Gallery, touch down in New York this week as part of their highly anticipated five-city tour of the nation. Expect long lines—and don’t be surprised to spot artist and satirical Donald Trump impersonator Tootsie Warhol outside the show, where he’ll be clad in his finest Mar-a-lago golf attire, decrying Wiley for having tasked his Chinese studio with completing the painting—a performance that Warhol, a former lawyer, has dubbed The Audacity of Hoping Nobody Notices My Presidential Portrait is Made in China.

Location: The Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York
Price:
 General admission $16
Time: Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

 

Through Sunday, August 29

"Eric Carle's World of Wildlife" at the Bronx Zoo. Photo courtesy of the Bronx Zoo.

“Eric Carle’s World of Wildlife” at the Bronx Zoo. Photo courtesy of the Bronx Zoo.

7. “Eric Carle’s World of Wildlife” at the Bronx Zoo

The beloved illustrator Eric Carle died in May at age 91, but the Bronx Zoo is bringing some of his most iconic animal artworks to life with performances featuring hand-crafted puppets inspired by his books The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; The Very Busy Spider; and more. The rest of the week, blown up caterpillar illustrations will be on view at the giraffe exhibition, and there will be various educational activities themed to the artist’s work.

Location: Bronx Zoo,  2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx
Price:
 General admission $39.95
Time: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (puppet performances on Friday–Sunday)

—Sarah Cascone

Through Sunday, August 29

Exterior of Immersive Van Gogh at Pier 26. Photo by Ben Davis.

Exterior of Immersive Van Gogh at Pier 26. Photo by Ben Davis.

8. “Immersive Van Gogh” at Pier 36, New York City

There have been several competing “immersive” Van Gogh experiences across the country this year but this one seems to stand above the rest. There are nearly 100 projectors splashing colorful and intricate moving images of the artist’s signature images—night skies, stars, wheat fields, crows, and numerous self portraitsacross every possible surface. All of this is enhanced by strategically placed mirrors and an eclectic soundtrack that ranges from soaring classical music by Yo-yo Ma, to Edit Piaf’s classic Non, je ne regrette rien, and a moody but haunting song by Thom Yorke, from his Anima solo album. Sure it’s heavy on Instagram and selfie bait but the experience is truly “immersive” and—to be honest—pretty incredible. It will return to NYC in November but for now is closing on August 29.

Location: Pier 36, 299 South Street, New York City
Price:
Starting at $39.99 and up based on package and timing of visit
Time: 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily via designated time slots

—Eileen Kinsella

 

Through Sunday, September 5

"Christian Boltanski, Animitas" at the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum.

“Christian Boltanski, Animitas” at the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum. Photo by Nicholas Knight, courtesy of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum.

9. “Christian Boltanski, Animitas” at the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, Long Island City

The Noguchi Museum is currently home to two works by French artist Christian Boltanski, who died in July. In the garden, there’s an installation of his sound sculpture, Animitas, first staged in a remote part of South America’s Atacama Desert in 2014 with 800 bronze bells that bob in the breeze on steel stems. The smaller version on view in Queens still produces what the artist called the “music of lost souls” and is paired with a day-long video documenting a similar work, La Forêt des Murmures (2016), that is on permanent view on the island of Teshima in Japan.

Location: Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, 9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard), Long Island City
Price:
General admission $10
Time: Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

 

Through Saturday, September 11

Christina Barrera's work for "Transient Grounds." Image courtesy Transient Grounds.

Christina Barrera’s work for “Transient Grounds.” Image courtesy Transient Grounds.

10. “Transient Grounds” at Governors Island

ACOMPI and NARS Foundation are presenting this fifteen-artist show dedicated to “immigrant, first-generation, and borderland artists whose work counters the gradual forces of cultural erosion,” all of it on display in an old house on Governors Island. One of the more pointed works is Christina Barrera’s new commission featuring bright red flags draped from the house’s exterior. They seem to send a signal, drawing the eye to the show, only to repeat Kamala Harris’s much criticized speech telling the people of Guatemala that the doors are shut for potential immigrants: “Do Not Come/There’s Nothing Here for You.”

Location: House 6B, Nolan Park, Governors Island, New York
Price: Free
Time: Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m.–5 p.m., and by appointment

—Tanner West

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Eric Carle, the Illustrator and Children’s Book Author Whose ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ Sold More Than 55 Million Copies, Is Dead at 91


Writer and illustrator Eric Carle, the author of the classic children’s picture book The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969), died on May 23 at age 91. He was at his summer studio in Northampton, Massachusetts.

The cause of death was kidney failure, with Carle continuing to draw until this month, according to the New York Times.

Over the course of his career, Carle published more than 70 works, selling more than 170 million copies of titles such as The Very Busy Spider (1984) and Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me (1986) in dozens of languages.

But no book was more popular than The Very Hungry Caterpillar—55 million copies sold and counting—in which the increasingly ravenous title character eats its way through the story before spinning itself a cocoon and transforming into a vibrantly colored butterfly.

Some of the illustrations from Eric Carle's children's book <em>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</em>. Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers.

Some of the illustrations from Eric Carle’s children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers.

In an innovative approach, Carle designed the book so that the caterpillar literally eats its way through.

“It all started innocently with a hole puncher. I was punching holes into a stack of paper and I thought of a bookworm, and so I created a story called A Week With Willi the Worm,” Carle told Scholastic on the book’s 45th anniversary.

“Then later, my editor who didn’t like the idea of a worm, suggested a caterpillar, and I said, “Butterfly!,” and the rest is history.”

Eric Carle and his longtime editor, Ann Beneduce, at the 2016 Carle Honors in New York. Photo by Johnny Wolf photography, ©Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Eric Carle and his longtime editor, Ann Beneduce, at the 2016 Carle Honors in New York. Photo by Johnny Wolf photography, ©Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Bringing that vision to life was a challenge due to the high costs of manufacturing such a book. But when U.S. printers rejected the project, Carle’s editor, Ann Beneduce, who died in March at 102, found a printer willing to take on the task in Japan.

Over the years, Carle developed a theory as to what was behind the book’s lasting appeal.

“It’s a book of hope. That you, an insignificant, ugly little caterpillar can grow up and eventually unfold your talent, and fly into the world,” he told Metro in 2009.

“As a child, you can feel small and helpless and wonder if you’ll ever grow up. So that might be part of its success. But those thoughts came afterwards, a kind of psychobabble in retrospect.”

Carle was born June 25, 1929, in Syracuse, New York. His parents were German immigrants, and he was six when they returned to their native Stuttgart, where Carle grew up under the Nazi regime, witnessing the horrors of World War II. He was conscripted to dig trenches at age 15, and spent time living with a foster family when the town’s children were evacuated.

“During the war, there were no colors,” Carle told NPR in 2007. “Everything was gray and brown.… Houses were camouflaged with grays and greens and brown-greens and gray-greens or brown-greens.”

On long walks with his father, who was drafted into the German forces and imprisoned for two years by the Soviets, Carle developed a love for nature that would later infuse his work.

Eric Carle <em>The Very Busy Spider</em>. Courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Eric Carle The Very Busy Spider. Courtesy of Penguin Random House.

“When I was a small child, as far back as I can remember, [my father] would take me by the hand and we would go out in nature,” Carle told the New York Times in 1994. “And he would show me worms and bugs and bees and ants and explain their lives to me. It was a very loving relationship.”

A high school teacher, Herr Kraus, introduced him to Modern art, secretly showing Carle works by the German Expressionists, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, and other artists who had been deemed degenerate by the Nazis.

“At first I was upset. I thought, this man is crazy because I’ve never seen anything like this,” Carle admitted. “He believed in my artistic development… That’s why he felt I should see it. Also he had enormous trust in me that I would not turn him in. That man had an enormous influence on me by showing me that type of work.”

Today, Carle is known for his instantly identifiable style of boldly colored tissue paper collage, made using wallpaper glue on illustration board.

Children's book author Eric Carle photographed in his North Carolina studio in 2015. Photo by Jim Gipe, Pivot Media, ©Eric Carle Studio.

Children’s book author Eric Carle photographed in his North Carolina studio in 2015. Photo by Jim Gipe, Pivot Media, ©Eric Carle Studio.

“I begin with plain tissue paper and paint it with different colors, using acrylic paint,” the artist wrote of his process on his website. “Sometimes I paint with a wide brush, sometimes with a narrow brush. Sometimes my strokes are straight, and sometimes they’re wavy. Sometimes I paint with my fingers. Or I put paint on a piece of carpet, sponge, or burlap and then use that like a stamp on my tissue papers to create different textures.”

“The style was quite revolutionary,” children’s illustrator Jane Ray told the Guardian. “It was part of a whole new movement in children’s illustration and it really set the tone for what was to come.”

Carle studied at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart. Two years after graduating in 1950, he returned to the U.S., making a living as a commercial artist in the advertising business, including as a graphic designer for the New York Times.

His first foray into children’s books came in 1967, when Bill Martin Jr. hired him to illustrate his book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The duo also partnered on three sequels.

Eric Carle's first picture book was <em>Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?</em> by Bill Martin, Jr. Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

Eric Carle’s first picture book was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co.

“While waiting for a dentist appointment, I came across an ad [Carle] had done that featured a Maine lobster,” Martin, who died in 2004, told the Associated Press in 2003. “The art was so striking that I knew instantly that I had found my artist!”

More importantly, Carle had found his calling. He released his first solo publication, 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, a year later, and never looked back.

“I often joke that with a novel you start out with a 35-word idea and you build out to 35,000 words,” Carle told the Guardian. “With a children’s book you have a 35,000-word idea and you reduce it to 35. That’s an exaggeration, but that’s what’s taking place with picture books.”

An illustration from Eric Carle's children's book <em>The Very Hungry Caterpillar</em>. Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers.

An illustration from Eric Carle’s children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Courtesy of Penguin Young Readers.

Carle is survived by two children, Rolf and Cirsten Carle, and sister Christa Bareis.

Together with Barbara “Bobbie” Morrison, his second wife, Carle opened the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, on his 64th birthday in 2002.

It is the nation’s first institution dedicated to picture-book art. A touring exhibition organized by the museum, “Eric Carle’s Picture Books: 50 Years of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’,” celebrated the 50th anniversary of the author’s most famous title in 2019.

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