Your exact New York art guide for October 2021

With October upon us (how ?!), New York City’s art organizations of all stripes are offering a true cornucopia of compelling exhibits and performances. From MoMA PS1’s quinquennial survey of 47 artists and the intergenerational collective to a presentation of the late Winfred Rembert’s intricate leather paintings, here’s a selection of what we’ve excited about this month.


Baseera Khan, “I Arrive Somewhere in a High Level of Mental Distress (Orange)” (2021), chromogenic photography and laser-cut acrylic, 62 × 37 inches (image courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York, © Baseera Khan , photo by Stephen Takacs)

When: October 1, 2021 – July 10, 2022
Where: Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

In their first museum show, Brooklyn-based artist Baseera Khan shows off their bodily subjectivity as a femme muslim American living in a racist and xenophobic state of surveillance running on extractive capitalism and insane otherness. Across new and recent works of sculpture, installation, textile, collage, video and more, Khan explores the often traumatic archives that bodies can hold, often using well-placed parody and hyperbole to drive the point home. Eleven new works by the artist will debut on the show, which can be seen at the museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

Yvonne Shortt, Jenna Boldebuck and Kelly Li, “African American Marbleization – An Act of Civil Disobedience: Hair Sanctuary” (2021), image based on installation by Mayuko Fujino (image courtesy of the artists and Socrates)

When: October 2, 2021 – March 6, 2022
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens)

This year, the sculpture park’s annual open call in Long Island City is centered around the “sanctuary” theme, appropriate for a place that spent the summer hosting a series of healing outdoor sound baths led by the Guadalupe Maravilla. Made by 13 participating artists, the 11 sculptural projects seen depict new shrines as they pay homage to those we have already built, building on queer dance parties, plant care rituals, dreams, inherited spiritual practices, hair care, engagement with nature and more.

Ahmed Morsi, “Green Horse I” (2001), acrylic on canvas (image courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York, © Ahmed Morsi)

When: October 7, 2021 – April 18, 2022
Where: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens)

Every five years, MoMA PS1 conducts a survey of artists’ work on a relationship with New York City. This issue, which was postponed by a year due to the pandemic, features art across media by a fascinating array of artists and collectives ranging from young up-and-comers like photographer and video artist Diane Severin Nguyen, who currently has a show at SculptureCenter to Paulina Peavy, a 20th-century West Coast spiritualist whose work has seen growing interest in recent years.

Winfred Rembert, “Sunshine II” (2012), dye on carved and processed leather (image courtesy of Fort Gansevoort, New York, © 2021 Winfred Rembert / ARS NEW)

When: October 7 – December 18
Where: Fort Gansevoort New York (5 Ninth Avenue, Meatpacking, Manhattan)

Artist Winfred Rembert, who died in March this year at the age of 75, learned to process leather during the seven years he spent in prison in Georgia. Decades after his release and subsequent relocation to Connecticut, Rembert began cutting narrative scenes from his traumatic experience in Jim Crow South on tanned leather, producing intricate low-relief images that he painted with colorful dyes. The exhibition coincides with the posthumous publication of the deceased artist’s memoir, Chasing me to my grave.

Installation display of Cosmologies at AIR Gallery, New York (courtesy AIR Gallery, photo by Matthew Sherman)

When: through October 10th
Where: AIR Gallery (155 Plymouth Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Three solo shows with overlapping interests in the environment and textiles are currently on display at the AIR Gallery. Daria Dorosh, one of the 20 female artists who co-founded the Historical Gallery in 1972, considers people’s place in ecological and technological networks in Cosmologies, a display of digital prints, textile sculptures and necklaces. Meanwhile, painter Mimi Oritsky presents bold, evocative landscapes in Over and under, while 2020-2021 AIR Fellow Destiny Belgrave shows new textile works that pay homage to sleep and dreams in where they go and what they leave behind.

Betsy Damon, “7,000 Year Old Woman”, Performance at Cayman Gallery, New York (March 21, 1977) (Archive Print © Betsy Damon 1977/2021, courtesy of the artist)

When: October 15 – November 21
Where: LaMaMa Galleria (47 Great Jones Street, East Village, Manhattan)

American artist and activist Betsy Damon’s 250-foot pulp cast from Utah was among the prominent works in ecofeminism (s) at the Thomas Erben Gallery last year. Curator of the show, Monika Fabijanska, is now resetting the 81-year-old lesbian eco-artist’s oeuvre with an exhibition of photographs, videos, ephemerals and documents. The show focuses on Damon’s outdoor performance performances of the 1970s and 80s, often guerrilla affairs that claimed public space, struggled with themes of violence perpetuated against women and the environment, and asked how we could seize healing an.

Installation display of Paul Thek: Relativity ur at Alexander and Bonin, New York (photo courtesy Alexander and Bonin, photo by Joerg Lohse)

When: through October 16th
Where: Alexander and Bonin (47 Walker Street, Tribeca, Manhattan)

The weird, slick material of the day runs through the work of Paul Thek, an interdisciplinary artist who died of AIDS-related complications in 1988 at the age of 54. Loosely centered around this theme, Relativity ur presents pieces made by Thek from the mid-1960s into the 1980s, including newspaper paintings, meat cable sculptures, and picture paintings. Theks sketchbooks and magazines from that period and Polaroids by him at work taken by Peter Hujar are also in sight. “Untitled (piece of meat with chair) from 1966”, a piece of wax “meat” with blue skin encased in a clear display case, is an exhibition highlight.

Rodrigo Pimenta, “Broken Whisper” (2021) acrylic painting on paper (image courtesy of the artist and Uncool Artist)

When: until 23 October
Where: Uncool Artist (227 West 29th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan)

In response to the legacy of Latin American postal art in the 60s and 70s, this exhibition brings together work by 20 artists interested in questions about how we connect and communicate across space – focusing on the cities where artists thrive seen live, New York, Miami and São Paulo. Visitors are invited to write their fears on index cards and deposit them in a dropbox, fill in a crossword puzzle based on the artist’s wishes and send postcards to both anonymous strangers and officials.

Lyndon Barrois Jr., “Start Spreadin ‘the News” (2017), collage and solvent transfers on canvas and chipboard, chalk pencil, oak frame (image allowed by artist and Miriam Gallery)

When: through November 7th
Where: Miriam Gallery (319 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

How do opacity and editorial, rejection and obscuration work as representation tools? Miriam Gallery, a new artist-run space (and bookstore) to see, presents a group of works that leverage these strategies in their engagement with Blackness. Among the media-wide pieces that can be seen are Patrice Renee Washington’s knobby handles, which are made to provide support to people who recoil; Keli Safia Maksud’s formalist response to social media phenomena such as “Blackout Tuesday”; and Uwa Iduozee’s photographs of persons from the African diaspora population in Finland.

Installation display of Robert Swain: Immersive Color, Minus Space (Photo courtesy of the artist and Minus Space, Photo by Yao Zu Lu)

When: through November 20th
Where: Minus Space (16 Main Street, Suite A, Dumbo, Brooklyn)

Three monumental, carved paintings in a rainbow of shades overtake the walls of the gallery Elaborate color, a show dedicated to the work of Hunter Color School painter Robert Swain. Swain, who first started on his carefully calibrated color system of nearly 5,000 shades in 1969, takes its distinctive modular approach here and arranges carefully painted squares of color to compose new perceptual and emotional experiences.

Daisy Youngblood is a portrait sculptor whose themes include embracing one’s mortality.

The project required 269,000 square feet of silver-blue polypropylene fabric, 32,300 square feet of red rope and the total effort of 1,200 workers.

Your list of must-see, fun, insightful and very Los Angeles art events this month.

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