Repent, All Ye Sinners: An Abridged Atheist’s Guide to This Week’s Round-Up

It’s Maundy Thursday. Don’t worry; I had to look it up, too. I’ve exhausted my pool of matzoh jokes for the week (“Why does everyone complain about it tasting like cardboard? ‘TIS THE BREAD OF AFFLICTION,” etc.), and so it’s come to this. Lent is almost over; you can start eyeing that humiliating heap of Marshmallow Peeps/Cadbury Eggs you’ve been hoarding since last year’s post-Easter candy aisle blowout and pray for deliverance from insulin resistance. In other news, by some act of divine providence we’ve managed to finally break 50°F, meaning that I expect to wake up every morning like this, god damn it, until it’s barely hot enough to start complaining again.

I never went to Sunday school, but I hear that damnation starts in the Garden of Eden. Shall we?

Louise Dudis at Robert Henry Contemporary

Louise Dudis: Eye Level with the Smallest Leaf at Robert Henry Contemporary

This series of large-scale, multi-panel photographs started, Dudis says, on a night with a “low, full, and brilliant moon.” Into it. The immaculate fragility of nature encompasses both mammoth trunks and rotting leaves—a nice reminder of our own subtle and delicate decay, no? Having represented the majesty of morality during the time of American Transcendentalism, consider that these trees have fallen. Through April 28.

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This Week’s Art Crawl: Skin, Spock, Sounds, Suburbs

First, a compulsory “Oh right, it’s Armory Week” note: Oh right, it’s Armory Week. Keep it local this Saturday, March 9th, ’cause it’s Brooklyn Armory Night and the 11th anniversary of Williamsburg Afterhours. Galleries in Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg will be open until 10pm with participating bars/restaurants; thanks to WAGMAG and Pernod, there’s an app to make you a well-informed lushexcursionist.

Second: Here’s a list of some other picks, much shorter and sweeter than a 12-hour filibuster.

Yours truly,

Rachel de Joode at Interstate Projects

Rachel de Joode: “The Hole and the Lump” at Interstate Projects

I know nothing about clay except for the fact that it makes me think of Patrick Swayze, shirtless, in Ghost. Uncouth? Maybe. Rachel de Joode, a Berlin-based artist and founder of META Magazine, has thought about it differently after talking to a Mexican shaman about the Mayan belief that human bodies came from clay. With this in mind, “The Hole and the Lump” is corporeal in more ways than one. Through March 17.

Interstate Projects
66 Knickerbocker Ave
Brooklyn NY 11237

More after the jump.

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Opening Tonight: Nature is Ancient at The Yard

Meg Wachter

Inspired by the sounds of Björk, Meg Wachter brings the Icelandic landscape to photographic life in Nature is Ancient, a hyperballad of big time sensuality in hidden places, somewhere between human behavior and pagan poetry. Did you get all those greatest hit references? Did you? When she’s not trekking along mountains and volcanoes, Wachter has one hand in Brooklyn Skillshare and the other in Got a Girl Crush. Don’t miss tonight’s vespertine (!) reception at The Yard, from 6-9pm; if you can’t make it, take a peek at photos from her visit here.


Looking Up: Skyward at The Boiler

Kevin Cooley: Skyward at The Boiler

When my alarm goes off, I immediately think: “Still winter. What would Louis CK do?” I figure I can order a pizza at 7:00am, Hour of Darkness that it is, and swim in a combination of shame/disgust, but I stick to a milder routine: mumble some made-up obscenity, wave a middle finger in the general direction of my window, and stare at my economy-sized container of Vitamin D supplements, all while mopping up an endless stream of poisonous, pitch-black tears. What I’m getting at is this: Stop crying and pack up your sun lamp, ‘cause this seasonal affective garbage is almost over.

Before we push the clocks forward, though, there’s Kevin Cooley’s Skyward at The Boiler and its blue stretch of surreal Los Angeles sky. The video installation—a single tracking shot that starts downtown and takes us to Palos Verdes—plays 40 feet above a plot of artificial turf, where you can sprawl out like a stargazer—like you’re kicking back in a convertible—and make the misanthropic monstrosity of MTA rush hour take a backseat. And that’s nice, isn’t it?—trading out underground asphyxiation for something kinder to human maladjustment? Something that doesn’t involve a subterranean stranger shaking down your idea of personal space and breathing so hard on you that he must think you’ll cut him a check with a dollar amount that matches MPH? Yeah, that’s nice.

What’s also nice is a prescription of airplanes, palm trees, freeways, and feathered creatures.  Here’s to temporary teleportation—to daydreams of Malibu Barbie and Ryan Gosling, ca. 2011. Through March 17.

Tips and/or blisteringly cruel insults to: [email protected] / @kaleidofox

Life Beyond Death (We Hope) in the Age of Dystopia

Fisher Body 21, Detroit, MI (2008)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”—shit, there, I did it. How does that sound? Too cliché?  Are you going to tell me that Dickens is rolling in his grave? Drama.

Point is, Sean Hemmerle’s Rust Belt has the pulse of A Tale of Two Cities, except it’s about ten, twenty cities—more. It’s the Motor City, the Magic City of Steel; it’s Waterville, Ohio and Braddock, Pennsylvania. And while it’s at The Front Room, it’s about looking in from our city, and about figuring out what that means and where that’s going. It escapes dilution—this is not “just” about Detroit; this is not “just” about abandoned automobile factories—but also risks perpetuating the fly-over state fable of economic undoing, of irreversible urban decay, of industrial architecture forever suspended in animation. Are you ready to have the ol’ ruin porn (ooh, cringe) debate? Don’t play dumb; you saw that coming. You can condemn the bleak memorialization of “lost” grandeur, but there are plenty of tents pitched in that camp and it’s starting to feel a little hot in here, AMIRIGHT? Use this as an opportunity to move the conversation forward. C’mon, New Yawwwk; make like Linda Richman and discuss. Through March 10th.

Samantha Wolner of My Social List

In Praise of Other Worlds: Your Curated Art Crawl

Janet Biggs

I could pull a cheap trick here and talk about V-Day, but I think we’ve exhausted ourselves whining over PDA and the unoriginality of expensive flowers paired with shitty chocolate. For those of you who want to step back because the coming stockpile of engagement announcements on Facebook is like the end of the world, ease up—we still have the ends of the earth. See what I did there?

In celebration of invented, alternate universes in which we can find solace in solitude, here’s what you should check out in the coming weeks. I’ve never taken an art history class. Trust me?

Janet Biggs: Somewhere Beyond Nowhere at Smack Mellon

Selected for the Arctic Circle residency program in 2009, Biggs was brought to Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, where there’s midnight sun, polar winter, and a population just short of 3,000. Somewhere Beyond Nowhere, befittingly installed in a darkened room, pours forth the extremity of isolation with a two-channel video installation. Referencing the failed (and tragic) expeditions of nineteenth century polar explorers, in addition to notes from her own journal, Biggs accompanies the visual magnitude of place/space with wistful narration, underlining the “destabilizing” force of nature and solitude. This one’s for wanderers. Part of the Brooklyn/Montreal Exchange; through February 24.

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Tonight: Jumpstart NYC Fashion Week at Le Baron

Surface to Air x Aaron Young

Tonight: Jumpstart NYC Fashion Week at Le Baron

Based in Paris, Surface to Air made itself at home on Mercer Street when it opened the doors to its New York flagship store less than two years ago. The brand doubles as a studio at the helm of creative projects for clients ranging from Kavinsky to Kid Cudi (check out their short film for “Mr. Rager” here). With an impressive list of past collaborators, they’re still going strong; just in time for Fashion Week, they’ve released the new Aaron Young x S2A collection, which features graphic tees for men and dresses for women that might as well say “Wish You Were Here.” If you missed yesterday’s invite-only launch party, catch up tonight at Le Baron on Mulberry Street. Dave 1 of Chromeo will be DJing, and if you weren’t already aware, the man knows how to dress. Take a peek at the video after the cut if you need proof, inspiration, or eye candy. I’m looking at you, too, gentlemen.

Locals Only! Surface to Air x Aaron Young
Le Baron
32 Mulberry Street
Thursday, February 7th, 11pm-4am

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Totally Into: Tar Pit

Because it’s been beaten to death, because it’s used for everything and tells us nothing—because a 24-hour and/or certified artisanal and/or kitschy-weird anything does not a precious blood diamond make—let’s boycott “hidden gem.”

Tar Pit

Tucked away on an otherwise gray stretch of Woodpoint Road, particularly in the thick of legitimate (see: Code Narnia) winter weather, Tar Pit is more like a cabin in the woods—think Mr. Tumnus, not Joss Whedon. Owners Lauren Kidder (a furniture fabricator) and Kerry Sano (a motorcycle mechanic) have made it so, building up most of the space from reclaimed wood and lucky estate sale finds. Boasting espresso-based drinks (Plowshares), baked goods (Ceci-Cela, Pie Corps), and tea packaged on-site, it feels like an intimate hideaway in an alternate universe where brusque baristas and laptop lurkers simply don’t exist. Since opening a few blocks away from the main Graham Avenue strip in July 2011, Tar Pit has made it clear that it is more than just another coffee shop. “We wanted to build community without being pretentious,” says Lauren, “and that kind of started when the building owner approached us and said, ‘Hey, you should paint those garage doors down the block’—so we got a bunch of people together and did.”

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