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
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
 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
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
 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
 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
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
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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Artist Nick Cave’s Controversial Upstate New York Artwork Has Found a New Home at the Brooklyn Museum

A public art installation by artist Nick Cave that fomented a months-long political battle in a small New York town has found a new, bigger home: the Brooklyn Museum. 

The artwork, installed last fall across the facade of the School, gallerist Jack Shainman’s outpost in the village of Kinderhook, reads “Truth Be Told” in 25-foot-tall black vinyl letters.

According to a statement from the gallery, it was conceived as a “pointed antidote to a presidency known for propaganda that disguises truth and history to present racist and nativist ideology as patriotism.”

But as the installation went up in late October as part of the Shainman’s “States of Being” art and social justice initiative, it faced local critics, including Kinderhook mayor Dale R. Leiser, who argued that the text constituted a sign, not an artwork, and thus did not fall under the gallery’s special use permit.

Backed by the town board, he threatened to fine the dealer $200 every day the artwork remained on view.

Shainman didn’t balk, and the artwork is still on display. The town’s leaders haven’t changed their tune either; they are still demanding its removal. But no fines have yet been issued.

“It is ironic that a work promoting truth-telling has been met with distrust and deceit,” Cave wrote in an open letter this month, denouncing the town’s actions as censorship.

“They are censoring the words of a Black man in a moment when our country, more so than ever, is divided on the basic principles of fact and fiction,” the artist added.

Cave says the town of Kinderhook will hold a meeting on January 25 to determine the fate of the work. Leiser’s office did not immediately return Midnight Publishing Group News’s request for more information.

Among the signatories to Cave’s letter are philanthropist Agnes Gund, MoMA director Glenn Lowry, curator Helen Molesworth, and Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak.

The latter took her support even further, offering to mount the artwork on the Brooklyn Museum’s outdoor plaza this spring, according to the New York Times. It will go on view in conjunction with an as-yet-unannounced exhibition. The museum declined to share additional information on the show.

“Museums are being called on to tell the truth, from the painful to the celebratory,” Pasternak told the Times. “We can invite a constructive conversation.”

Next week, Cave and the work’s co-designer, Bob Faust, will amend its text to simply read “Truth”—a message that needs little additional context against the backdrop of President Trump’s escalating campaign of disseminating incendiary disinformation. 

“The individuals opposed to this work are calling for its removal because they are inferring from it a meaning that stands in opposition with their own values,” Shainman told Midnight Publishing Group News. “The fact of the matter is that ‘Truth Be Told’ can be read in many different ways and when taken at face value, it simply speaks to the importance of truth telling. In my opinion, great art challenges and confronts, and the fact that these three words have caused such an uproar alone speaks to its significance.”

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