The Agenda (April 6-12): See Art's Indie Supergroup, Tarantino vs. Coens, Tony Kushner's Take on Brooklyn Real Estate, and More

The Agenda (April 6-12): See Art's Indie Supergroup, Tarantino vs. Coens, Tony Kushner's Take on Brooklyn Real Estate, and More


Sarah Braman, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Michael Mahalchick, Johannes Vanderbeek "Memories Are Made of This" at Museum 52, 4 East 2nd Street, opening April 7, 6-8 p.m., through May 12,


Museum 52, the doughty Bowery branch of the London gallery, is debuting a new show called "Memories Are Made of This" that features a raft of artists who, if they banded together, would be the art equivalent of an indie supergroup. Heck, let's pretend they are one. On drums is Sarah Braman, the Canada Gallery co-owner whose tough-but-pretty floor pieces often meld paintings and sculpture (think Rachel Harrison) with what resemble windshields. Also on drums is Jessica Jackson Hutchins, whose furniture-involving sculptures burst into the critical consciousness last year in the Whitney Biennial and in shows at both Derek Eller Gallery and Laurel Gitlen. On guitar is Michael Mahalchick, he of colorful mixed-media assemblages and the actual band Turducken. On lead vocals, of course, is one of Johannes Vanderbeek's semitransparent wire "Hippie Ghost" sculptures. Their tunes may not be exactly danceable, but they're guaranteed to stick in your head.


Phoebe Joel & Joy Tomasko "Be Meat & Drink" a test kitchen for Knish Konnection, at Allegra LaViola Gallery, 179 East Broadway, kitchen open Saturdays, April 2, 9, 16, you must bring one potato (preferably organic),


For those who think the whole art and food trend is about easy indulgence, consider "Be Meat & Drink," the new show by Phoebe Joel and Joe Tomasko at Allegra LaViola Gallery (the now-infamous site of the Lower East Side's Hasid vs. porn battle). Joel, a culinary historian who is working on an "esoteric take on French food and culture in the 19th century," has worked with a team of allergists at Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on a project that requires some explaining: beginning six weeks before the show's opening, she has subjected herself to a diet stripped bare of salicylates, amino acids, and other naturally occurring, marginally toxic food chemicals in plants and meats that most people have built up immunities to over time — as a result, making herself extra-sensitive to these chemicals. As part of the show, Joel then consumes the pure chemicals in pill form, monitoring their effect on her body in different combinations. One day hives broke out on her face, another day nothing happened. The process is meant to replicate a "very 19th-century 'painter of modern life' mindset," she says. The price of entry to the show is a potato, one of the few foods that she can consume under her diet, and only when peeled. Tomasko's component of the show, meanwhile, involves a play that revolves around a knish. Chew on that.

Ben Davis

"Quentin vs. Coen" at Bold Hype Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, opening April 7, 6-11 p.m., through April 9,

Spoke Art — a "transient art gallery based in the San Francisco Bay Area" — and Hi-Fructose mag's online editor, Ken Harman, are making the trek to New York to organize this show at Chelsea's Bold Hype space: a broad and bustling roundup of about 100 artists who make work inspired by either the films of Quentin Tarantino or the films of the Coen Brothers. Which auteur makes for better fan art? Find out! Should be fun. And crowded.

"SORTA-RICAN: Daniel Bejar, Charles Beronio, Leenda Bonilla & Melissa A. Calderon" at Taller Boricua/ Puerto Rican Workshop at the Julia De Burgos Latino Cultural Center, 1680 Lexington Avenue, opening April 8, 6-9 p.m.,

Examine the issue of "Sorta-Ricanism" (look it up in Urban Dictionary, here) at the multicultural Taller Boricua space, via work from Daniel Bejar, Charles Beronio, Leenda Bonill, and Melissa A. Calderon, all New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent with something to say about it.


Tony Kushner "The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures" at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, directed by Michael Greif, through June 12,

When a play has a title as long as this one, it kind of steals the thunder of the person trying to thunderously summarize said play in a few sentences. So yes, this new theatrical offering from Tony Kushner touches on homosexuality, capitalism, socialism, Catholicism, and lots of other stuff that probably got cut from the title but not (at least yet — it's still in previews) from the epically long drama itself. I am a devoted early fan, especially because "IHo" is a tale that intricately interweaves the most perilously tense of familial dilemmas with a dispute about Brooklyn real estate. As a Brooklyn home-owner, with 23 years of observing even the most sane of interpersonal relationships destroyed by the absurdities of New York housing, this play has a lot of ring-true appeal. Also, it's Kushner, so, you know.... It's really good. As I was leaving the Public I turned to my stepfather and said, "Long play's journey into thought, right?", which I believed to be very clever, given certain elements of the play, but which probably isn't. Why don't you go see "IHo" and then tell me (if) I'm right?

"Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, through July 4,

Exhibition themes that seem absurdly random provide me with no small dose of pleasure. So when I was cruising past the Met in a cab and saw a banner, flapping in the wind, on which was printed, "Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century" I almost swooned in a lady-overwhelmed-abroad kind of way of which E.M. Forster would have thoroughly approved. This show brings together German, Danish, French, and Russian art from the first two decades of the 1800s. And, of course, even though it sounds silly, as a Romantic motif the open window isn't all that random. Freud would definitely have had something to say about it. Obviously the window needs to be open so you can see the wolves in the tree, for one.


David Foster Wallace "The Pale King," published by Little, Brown and Company,

Forget any hype or advance reviews or the infinite comparisons to "Infinite Jest." (Well, forget almost all of them; the heartfelt examination in New York magazine is worth a look.) Just buy and read this messy, weird, unfinished novel about the IRS which — as promised — is really sort of about taxes and boredom. "True heroism is you, alone, in a designated work space," preaches a fervent accounting professor. "True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care — with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world. Just you and the job, at your desk."

"Liza Lou," text by Eleanor Heartney, Lawrence Weschler, Arthur Lubow, and Peter Schjeldahl, published by Skira Rizzoli,

Alternately Pop (glass bead sculptures of Windex, Brillo pad boxes, Budweiser six packs) and sinister (steel-and-bead structures referencing barbed wire or holding cells), Liza Lou has navigated an eccentric and fascinating career. This well-made monograph from Rizzoli focuses on the artist's obsessively detailed craftsmanship, and also includes lesser known works on paper.

Sebadoh at the Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, April 9 and 10, 9 p.m.,

Sebadoh are on a reunion tour for one of their classic albums: Bakesale, recently re-issued with a ton of bonus tracks. Come hear "License to Confuse" and "Not a Friend" and feel mid-90s nostalgic, skuzzy and emo all at the same time. The incomparable Richard Buckner, who sort of does alt-country as if alt-country weren't a lame categorical term, opens the show.

Folkert de Jong "Operation Harmony" at James Cohan Gallery, 533 West 26th Street, through May 7,

"Operation Harmony" is exactly the sort of name our government would apply to some backasswards mission in the Middle East, designed to spread democracy while accidentally wiping out half of the population. Here, it's applied to this Dutch artist's dystopian vision, a hellish carnival in which apes balance atop an oil barrel and decapitated figures are skewered in a cotton candy-colored stockade. Also on view are comparatively lighthearted works on paper in bright oil pigment or marker, though the subject matter still tends toward deranged chain-gang orgies and double crucifixions.


"Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now" at MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street, through August 14,

At times heartrending, at others joyous, this show of works on paper by South African artists will likely introduce you to some artists you don't know but will want to. Check out the wonderfully evocative piece by Sue Williamson as well as sketches by Claudette Schreuders, whose sculptures are on view now at Jack Shainman Gallery.


Tom Burckhardt "Louder Milk" at Pierogi, 177 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, opening reception April 8, 7-9 p.m., through May 8,

The name alone would be enough to get me to this show, and Burckhardt's intriguing small-scale paintings are worthy of its strangeness. Painted on cast plastic instead of canvas, their organic and geometrical shapes push the boundaries between abstraction and representation. Colors show up differently on plastic, and there is also a tension between these hand-made objects and the industrial material used to make them.

Grace and Spiritus Chorale of Brooklyn, spring concert with the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn, April 8, 8 p.m. and April 10, 3 p.m.,

Call me a philistine, but I love the greatest-hits approach to opera. This concert offers arias such as "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Seviglia" and "Ah, mes amis!" from Donizetti's "La Fille du Régiment," performed by tenor Matthew Garrett and bass baritone Christopher Herbert. The Grace and Spiritus Chorale also sings Puccini's "Messa di Gloria." Tickets are a suggested $15 donation, so this really is opera for the masses.