THURS 2/2 Jon Kessler's "The Blue Period" at Salon 94, 243 Bowery, 6-8 p.m.
John Kessler takes surveillance seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he has created a faux panopticon within Salon 94’s Bowery location for viewers to see and be seen within his own version of a hall of mirrors. Guests may feel similar to Charlie in Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory, as they encounter whirling kinetic machinery, cameras, monitors, and life-like cardboard guests. Kessler plays on Guy Debord’s "Society as Spectacle" (1967) by creating an impenetrable fabricated environment. [See listing]
THUS 2/2 Zimoun’s "Volume" at bitforms gallery, 529 West 20th St., 2nd floor, 6-8:30 p.m.
At the technology-oriented bitforms gallery, Zimoun shows a series of pieces that "sculpt with sound." Check out the artist’s composition of cardboard boxes being hit by swinging cotton balls or his tree trunk — complete with 25 woodworms — amplified by a microphone. Can you hear the chewing? [See listing]
THURS 2/2 Aneta Bartos and Nick Weber’s "Jack & Jill" at AMH Industries, 144 Tenth Ave, 6-9 p.m.
Modern Painters senior editor Scott Indrisek recommends this dual erotic vision from Bartos, a photographer, and Weber, a realist painter. Expect the former's moody, cinematic images to elicit the most titillation (and discomfort); Bartos has solicited local men to masturbate for her camera, and the resulting photos are as unnerving as they are salacious. Bring an open-minded date to the opening. [See listing]
THURS 2/2 Alec Soth’s "Broken Manual" at Sean Kelly Gallery, 528 West 29th St., 6-8 p.m.
"Broken Manual" is an immersive investigation of allusive male figures and their desire to live "off-the-grid." Soth specifically follows Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk from Kentucky, and Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph into their disenfranchised and socially frustrated psyches. [See listing]
FRI 2/3 Terry Winters’s "Cricket Music, Tessellation Figures & Notebook" at Matthew Marks Gallery, 522 West 22nd St., 6-8 p.m.
Enigmatic late-modernist painter Terry Winters debuts fourteen kaleidoscopic all-over paintings dictated by mathematical models and knot theory. Simultaneously nerdy and narcotic, these swirling abstractions look like what may have happened if M.C. Escher had forgotten his protractor at Woodstock. Even more striking are Winters’s collages, which juxtapose found photographs with psychedelic spectral colors. [See listing]
ONE NIGHT ONLY
THURS 2/2 Neal Medlyn’s "Wicked Clown Love" at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th St., $15, 8 p.m.
Neal Medlyn’s newest subject is Juggalo culture. The artist, Riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna, Carmine Covelli, and Farris Craddock plan to take the audience on a wild ride. "Fuckin all out buck wild behavior is to be expected," said Medlyn on the Kitchen's Web site. "This will be the freshest presentation of all time. This will be the Wicked Shit. Wicked Clown Love. The most chaotic fucking phenomenon of the year." Indeed. [See listing]
FRI 2/3 Reading: John Giorno at Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, 3rd floor, 7:30 p.m.
Iconic poet and champion of queer sexuality John Giorno, who founded the AIDS Treatment Project in 1984, will be reading poetry in SoHo Friday. Giorno is fabled for his high-energy live performances, so this is not one to miss. [See listing]
FRI 2/3 Curators’ Tour of "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine" at Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 81st St.,$25, 4 p.m.
As early as Da Vinci and his cohorts sought anatomical perfection with the golden ratio, the quest for truth and beauty has been met by an attendant impulse to adulterate and deform the human body for the purposes of satire, insult, and cheap laughs. Curators Nadine M. Orenstein and Constance C. McPhee walk through the history of caricature from Leonardo’s grotesque heads and Daumier’s acerbic political cartoons to recent caricatures of a beleaguered Barack Obama. [See listing]
FRI 2/3 Bela Taar’s "Werckmeister Harmonies" at Film Society of Lincoln Center, 165 West 65th St., 1 p.m.
A cult sensation, this Hungarian classic gets a matinee showing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center this Friday. The film took three years to complete and follows, languidly, a traveling circus and iconic stuffed whale on their journey through a small village. [See listing]
ON THE RADAR
"Read My Lips: A Survey of Gran Fury" at NYU 80 Washington Square East Galleries, 80 Washington Square East, through 3/17
"Read My Lips" is the first comprehensive survey of the activist art collective Gran Fury, documenting the group's activities from 1987-1995 during the crucible of the AIDS crises. Gran Fury deployed queer activism, advertising strategies, guerrilla art, and postmodern appropriation strategies à la Barbara Kruger to decry political negligence towards the AIDS pandemic. Some of their most provocative public artworks such as "Kissing Doesn't Kill," "Men Use Condoms" and "Women Don't Get AIDS" will be on view at this important and topical show. [See listing]
Taylor Mead at Churner and Churner, 205 10th Ave., through 2/18
Artist, poet, octogenarian, and "magister ludi of the American underground" Taylor Mead shows no signs of slowing down. The one-time Factory fixture and star of the eponymous "Taylor Mead’s Ass" will be showing drawings from his ongoing "Fairy Tale Poem," an absurdist epic whose cast of characters includes Warhol, Ellen Barkin, and Donald Trump. On view in the back are a resilient group of Mead’s 1980s Neo-expressionist paintings, which — according to the press release — have "survived cockroach infestation, subsequent fumigation, and a collapsed ceiling" in Mead’s derelict Lower East Side apartment. [See listing]