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Looking ahead at December in New York, Something Curated highlights a selection of the most promising exhibitions, performances and events not to be missed in the city this month.



Swingers, at Greene Naftali | Chantal Akerman, Marie Angeletti, Lutz Bacher, Barbara Kruger, Josephine Pryde, Heji Shin & Akram Zaatari (Until 15 December 2018)

Presented at Greene Naftali, Swingers is a group show featuring seven artists who explore structures of desire within the context of the culture industry. The overarching focus of the exhibition is on artists who use photography and video to scrutinise how desire has been calculated, monetised, and leveraged by consumer culture. Some works in the show aim to target the modern subject’s participation in a neoliberal paradigm where individuality and desire are expressed as forms of capital, while other artists pursue more personal approaches to mine the ways one’s subjectivity can merge with its own objectification.


SportCult, at Team Gallery | Jes Fan, Ross Knight, L & Maison Anonyme (6 December 2018 – 19 January 2019)

SportCult, a group exhibition at Team Gallery, exists somewhere at the intersection of the medical and entertainment fields. The show focuses on the body, both in its aptitude and its inherent vice. The ethos of the exhibition follows the fictions of sports as they participate in the construction of our ideals of our nation, race, and class. It is believed that sports narratives also traffic in non-sexual love and the adoration of the human body, while mapping out tales of character-building and myth making. Relatedly, sports and their associated imagery contribute to the conception of gender, sexuality, and personal appearance.


Tempo, at The Kitchen | Jibade-Khalil Huffman (Until 15 December 2018)

In this new video and sound installation by artist Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Tempo unfolds across surfaces and screens, revealing and obscuring objects in the gallery space over the course of an hour. Huffman’s work aims to examine our affinities for Black music, and our knowledge and assumptions for its potential to be used as a tool of resistance. The characters created in Tempo are interrupted by a contemporary condition that demands a performance of identity, even while those identities are undermined by systems of oppression, and as a result, they seek to enact an intricate kind of utopia.


School Of Pain, at Art In General | Than Hussein Clark, Anna Daučíková, Chiara Fumai, Mark Ther & BRUD (Until 26 January 2019)

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Join us at Art in General for a film screening by Mark Ther and musical performance, Locus Operandi, by UMMO (Aditya Mandayam) on Saturday, November 17, 4–6PM. While Ther experiments with narrative and absurdist humor to explore the topics of sexuality, gender and taboo historical moments, Ummo makes rich musical references including West-Coast modular synthesis, Indian classical singing, and Carnatic vocals to create layers of ambisonic feedback, resonance and xenharmonic noise. This public event accompanies Art in General’s current exhibition, School of Pain, and will be introduced by the curator, Michal Novotný. Image: Aditya Mandayam, Ear (Mandrill), 2018. #pflaumen #locusoperandi #schoolofpain

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This group show takes inspiration from the work of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch and Marquis de Sade, whose pioneering writings explore the economies of desire. As the participating artists and curators noticed, the originally subversive imagery of Sade’s mechanised notions of desire, turn out to be a plausibly representative image of our time. This exhibition aims to explore, among other points, the question of whether the related but oppositional position of Sacher-Masoch, based on suspension and humour, could be the answer to a return of contemporary art from theory to the sensual.


61, at Pace Gallery | Robert Whitman (Until 21 December 2018)

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"Robert Whitman: 61" opens tonight at 510 West 25th Street! Encompassing works on paper, early films, sculptures, laser projections, and mixed-media and video installations, the exhibition spans over six decades of Whitman’s innovative career, which has consistently pushed the boundaries of contemporary art. We hope you'll join us this evening, Thursday, October 25, for an opening reception from 6–8 PM. – Whitman created some of the first, and most significant, mixed-media performance works of the late 1950s and early 1960s. This exhibition features three of the artist’s first four Cinema Pieces made in 1963-64, including "Dressing Table," which the artist first performed in 1964. Earlier this year, Whitman revisited "Dressing Table" to create a new version specifically for this exhibition, remarkably using the same performer over five decades after he created the original work. – The 1964 "Dressing Table" includes a table cluttered with cosmetics and a mirror, which works as a secondary projection device for the film that pictures a woman, Susanna Wilson (de Maria), carefully applying brightly colored makeup and skin creams. In the new work, Whitman has added a second, identical table and mirror, and created a second film that again shows Wilson applying various makeups and face-creams. The two tables face one another at an angle, fostering the sense of a conversation or exchange taking place over 54 years. Throughout the nearly 40-minute-films, there are moments of striking similarities in mannerism and expression, juxtaposed with the stark distinctions of time. – Image: Robert Whitman, "Dressing Table," c. 1964 and 2018, 16mm, color, silent, running time: 38:50, 46-1/2" x 109" x 38" © Robert Whitman

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Since Whitman’s debut in the New York Downtown art scene in the late 1950’s, the artist has continually experimented with new technologies. This new exhibition, presented at Pace Gallery, comprises a major survey of his work, as he challenges traditional genre conventions. 61 will highlight a range of pivotal moments in his career, beginning with his first sculptural installation, Untitled (1957), and continuing through with selections until his most recent series, Soundies (2015) – audio-visual works that feature a sonically evocative still image, such as a burning match or a diving board, complemented with an audio recording of the associative sounds.



26th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, at Cinema Village (Until 9 December)

As the first international film festival focusing exclusively on the human experience of people of colour, The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) is making its way into its 26th year until 9 December. The festival presents, interprets, and educates about films made throughout the world that depicts the lives of people of colour. This year’s festival features world and US premieres, recent popular titles, classic movies, and foreign and independent releases, including well-known Tazzeka and No Shade.


Shoplifters, at Film Society Lincoln Center | Manbiki Kazoku (Until 6 December 2018)

In this two-hour film, viewers experience a glimpse into what life is like for those struggling to stay afloat in the face of crushing poverty, an often undocumented segment of Japanese society. On the outskirts of Tokyo, we see a collection of societal castoffs united by their fierce loyalty to one another and shared alienation, coming together as a sort of “modern family.” They survive through petty stealing and grifting, and when they welcome into the fold a young girl who has been abused by her parents, the group risks exposing themselves to the authorities and upending their almost anonymous existence.


Capernaum, at The Museum of Modern Art | Nadine Labaki (9 December 2018)

Playing at the Museum of Modern Art on 9 December, Capernaum follows Zain, a young Lebanese boy who is left to fend for himself on the dangerous streets of Beirut. Born to distant and abusive parents, Zain finds respite in the home of Yahil, an Ethiopian refugee and her infant son, Yonas. Director Nadine Labaki’s film focuses our attention on Zain’s moving narrative, as he is forced to mature at an extremely young age, living in a world where all systems and structures have deteriorated.



Renegade Craft, at The Brooklyn Expo Center (22-23 December 2018)

Taking place over the course of a weekend, the Renegade Craft fair is a curated gathering of diverse makers. Those interested can shop wares from a selection of emerging and established artists and crafts people, eat from exceptional food trucks, and listen to the sounds of local DJ’s. The fair features the country’s foremost voices in craft and design, held at the Brooklyn Expo Center and is free to attend.


Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis: Architect Peter Marino, at The 92Y | Fern Mallis & Peter Marino (13 December 2018)

Peter Marino is the go-to architect for the highest echelons of luxury design around the world, celebrated for his work on using contemporary art to help shape Postmodern architecture in spaces he’s built for top designers including Chanel, Dior, and Bulgari. On 13 December, he will join Fern Mallis at the 92nd Street Y for an open discussion, talking about his experiences in the field as well as his collaborative process with artists including Jean-Michel Othoniel and Richard Deacon.


Visiting Artist Talk: Bianca Beck at The Barney Building, New York University | Bianca Beck (6 December 2018)

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#biancabeck @racheluffner

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On 6 December, artist Bianca Beck will be speaking at New York University as a part of their guest lecture series. Beck makes a variety of intricate works from papier-mâché to oil on canvas to wood sculptures, featuring bright colours and striking designs. Beck earned an MFA from Yale University, and has participated in exhibitions at the V1 Gallery in Copenhagen, The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, and The Opelvillen Rüsselsheim in Germany, among others.



Mitski, at Brooklyn Steel | Mitski (3 December 2018)

Japanese-American singer-songwriter and musician Mitski will be performing at Brooklyn Steel on 3 December. Previously, she has self-released two of her own albums, and played a number of live DIY gigs. Her latest offering, Be The Cowboy, has garnered her a burgeoning new audience, adding layers of multifaceted synths to her idiosyncratic, unique art pop.


Zapatografia/Shoegraphy, at Abrons Art Center | Larissa Velez-Jackson (Until 8 December 2018)

Experimental performance artist Larrisa Velez-Jackson values humour, absurdity, and vulnerability in her work, as seen in her latest piece, Zapatografia/Shoegraphy. This performance is a collaboration with members of the Henry Street Settlement Senior Center, culminating in a minimalist solo dance piece that touches on the complex questions of language, gentrification, cultural diversity, and footwear.


The Russian & the Jew, at The Tank | Liba Vaynberg & Emily Louise Perkins (4-20 December 2018)

Liba Vaynberg and Emily Louise Perkins are both the co-stars and writers of what they label as a, “political fairytale.” The piece takes a look at anti-Semitism, misogyny, and citizenship through the lense of a female friendship during the time of the Soviet Union in 1968. Underlining the eternal question of fidelity to one’s self, one’s partner, and one’s country, Ines Braun directs the production, created as a part of the COJECO BluePrint Fellowship, an organisation that provides grants for Russian-speaking Jewish people to create their own community projects.


Feature image: Still from Shoplifters, Directed by Manbiki Kazoku.

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