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Experimental Comics, A Munchkin Saga, and More Art This Week

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(image via Artists Alliance Inc)

Sweety’s Radio: Edición Especial
Opening Tuesday, June 27 at Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space. On view through July 30.

Sweety’s, a curatorial initiative “dedicated to the labor of black and brown artists,” will be taking over the Lower East Side’s Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space until the end of July, using their time to stage live talk show interviews with artists and “Spanish-speaking cultural producers.” They’ve partnered with four unique artists, who will be interviewed by Sweety’s and given space for a week to show their work. Once those weeks have concluded, the four members of Sweety’s will be creating a collaborative installation.

The residency begins with Cecilia Gentili, a performer, storyteller, and advocate for trans women of color, and continues with illustrator Raul Gonzalez III, poet and AIDS activist Emanuel Xavier, and visual artist Elia Alba. As the Manhattan art world continues to largely fulfill its reputation of being upper-class, cis, and white, ventures like Sweety’s are a breath of fresh air.

Works by Signe Pierce, Fahren Feingold, and Brittany Maldonado (image courtesy of The Untitled Space)

Secret Garden: The Female Gaze On Erotica
Opening Tuesday, June 27 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through July 30.

Tribeca art gallery The Untitled Space has been up to quite a bit lately. They’ve put on two politically-charged feminist group shows recently: Angry Women and She Inspires. About a year ago, they presented In The Raw: The Female Gaze On the Nude, and now a follow-up show of sorts is soon to open, focusing on women-identifying artists who “fearlessly address sexual themes in their art and celebrate freedom of expression.”

The long list of participating artists includes Betty Tompkins, an art world veteran with a long list of sordid painted works from bright green phalluses to photorealistic depictions of couples mid-coitus. Other familiar faces are Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, member of Go! Pushpops and participant in the gallery’s prior nude-centric show, and illustrator Rebecca Leveille, among many others.

(poster by George Wylesol, via Facebook)

Something Unusual Is Happening: A Show of Experimental Comics
Opening Friday, June 30 at Printed Matter, Inc., 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through July 31.

Though they’ve frequently served as source material for a slew of cinematic mega-franchises, comics have never been a particularly mainstream medium. The 15 artists and illustrators showing work in this group exhibition take this nerdiness a notch further, as they all create comics that veer into even more unconventional territory.

In these comics, narrative techniques are twisted and molded to fit each creator’s unique imagination, rather than adhering to traditional linear storytelling so commonly found in comics. Style, too, varies wildly, from traditional hand-drawn graphic art to manipulated vector linework. Full-length comics won’t be the only thing on view (and for sale), there will also be zines, sketches, mock-ups, and other renderings that showcase a comics in its various stages of life.

Amy Ruhl, “Between Tin Men: Gifts and Souvenirs” (detail), 2016-2017. Single-channel video, hanging mirror, electronics, display glass vitrine, repurposed antique ceramics. Dimensions variable.

Between Tin Men: Gifts and Souvenirs
Opening Sunday, July 2 at Lubov, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 13.

This show caught my eye by way of a brief description: “Amy Ruhl’s Between Tin Men reanimates the fairy tale with the narratives of radical feminism, Marxism, and modern love.” (I must admit I have been reading heaps of leftist essays lately.) Though this description could make for a fine piece of analytical writing itself, the actual exhibition seems much more accessible to the everyday person. It zeroes in on a minor Munchkin character from the beloved L. Frank Baum novels, one I don’t even remember existing myself. She goes by the name of Nimmie Amee and falls in love with the Tin Man, only to discover he has fallen in love with another figure constructed from metal. Still, her feelings persist.

Artist Amy Ruhl uses this story as a framework for her multidisciplinary exhibition, extrapolating it to encompass how the consumer desires products sold in stores regardless of the products’s thought on the matter. She portrays figures stuck in a commercial space, staring at images of their faces being offered for purchase. Perhaps characterizing items for sale as figures with fleshed-out personalities will dissuade the buyer from materialism, or perhaps this will only make the item seem more valuable and worthy of consumption.



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