Greek tragedy, cross dressing, cooking shows, needlework, rowdy teens, storytelling, nighttime walks, and a few mystery plays in this week’s roundup:
- Virtuoso Illusion: Cross Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde at the MIT List Visual Arts Center explores how experimental art has been enlivened and advanced by artists who cross dress as part of their conceptual process. “The show is not intended,” according to MIT, “as an exploration of identity issues specifically, but more as an in depth look at current and historical strategies of cross dressing as an art of the irrational, the unexpected.” Artists include Charles Atlas, Matthew Barney (both Season 2), Claude Cahun, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Marcel Duchamp, Michelle Handelman, John Kelly, Katarzyna Kozyra, Kalup Linzy, Ma Liuming, Manon, Pierre Molinier, Yasumasa Morimura, Brian O’Doherty, Ryan Trecartin, and Andy Warhol. Atlas created video mock documentaries about the evolving twentieth-century performance avant-garde during the years he collaborated with Merce Cunningham. In Son of Sam and Delilah (1991), Atlas provides “a transporting view of a flock of gender indiscriminate performers.” Virtuoso Illusion, organized by guest curator Michael Rush, former director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, is on view through April 4.
- The highly anticipated exhibition Kiki Smith: Sojourn opens at the Brooklyn Museum this Friday. Smith (Season 2) draws on a variety of experiences in the cycle of life, from the milestones of birth and death to the daily chores of domestic life, with particular attention to the lives of women artists. An eighteenth-century silk needlework by a woman named Prudence Punderson that inspired Smith’s installation is on loan to the museum from the Connecticut Historical Society and included in the exhibition. Via the museum website: “Punderson’s stark depiction of a woman’s journey from childhood to death in the years leading up to and immediately after the United States gained its independence intrigued Smith because rather than following the stereotypical rites of passage in a woman’s life of the period…this young woman chose to depict a life of the mind for her subject, presenting a woman engaged in creative work.” Smith will install her work in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art as well as in two of the museum’s eighteenth-century period rooms. Sojourn closes September 12.
- Works by Laylah Ali (Season 3), Kara Walker (Season 2), Ghada Amer, Shary Boyle, Amy Cutler, Chitra Ganesh, Wangechi Mutu, Annie Pootoogook, Leesa Streifler, and Su-en Wong are on view at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in Ontario, Canada. The exhibition, titled Pandora’s Box, offers a new twist on the myth of Pandora in which it is no longer about what is hidden inside of the box, but what is metaphorically reflected on the outside. Pandora’s Box continues through March 21.
- Through February 28, Tank.tv is showing two works by Season 5 artist Paul McCarthy: Family Tyranny and Cultural Soup. Both works — cut from two days of taped performance at a community television studio in 1987 — feature Season 1 artist Mike Kelley. Tank.tv calls the videos a “disturbing tableaux of familial horror, steeped in the stomach turning abjection” of McCarthy’s practice. Performed within a “barely credible domestic set,” the format and characters in the videos enact several tropes of television entertainment: the unruly teenager (Kelley), and the how-to format of cooking and DIY programs.
- Fifty photographs of nocturnal landscapes by Robert Adams (Season 4) are on view at Matthew Marks Gallery in the exhibition Summer Nights, Walking. These images of trees and houses, mountains and streets, fields and sidewalks captured between dusk and approaching dark were made between 1976-1982 near Adams’ home in Longmont, Colorado. Adams first showed photographs from this series in 1985. He recently said of editing his night pictures: “When I have looked again at the photographs that I might have chosen but did not, it has seemed to me that if I had included a wider variety, the result would have been, though less harmonious, more convincing, closer to our actual experience of wonder, anxiety and stillness.” This exhibition celebrates the publication of Summer Nights, Walking, co-published by Aperture and the Yale University Art Gallery, a revised and updated version of an earlier book. The exhibition continues through April 17.
- Delusion, a new work by Laurie Anderson (Season 1) will premiere at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company, February 16-21. The piece is described as “a series of short mystery plays” populated by “nuns, elves, golems, rotting forests, ghost ships, archaeologists, dead relatives and unmanned tankers.” Delusion was commissioned by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and The Barbican Centre in London. Tickets can be purchased here.
- The lecture series Critical Conversations at the Roski School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles features talks by visiting artists, curators, theorists, writers, and other cultural producers, who engage in open conversations with graduate students and attending members of the public. Season 4 artists Mark Dion and Mark Bradford will speak on February 23 and March 2, respectively.
- Season 5 artist William Kentridge will lecture at The Cooper Union in New York City tomorrow, February 9. The event begins at 8pm and is free and open to the public.