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5 Art Exhibits to See This Month in NYC

When politics are a shit storm, it’s easy to write off the art world as a simple, non-urgent luxury. And if that’s your first instinct this month (or this year), fair enough—but hear us out for a minute. Sure, some art-making is totally ambiguous, but there is a middle road, where art that’s not explicitly tied up with political tactics can still help us see and feel power (to steal a phrase from art God Nato Thompson’s playbook). This month NYC has some seriously topical exhibits: shows that navigate today’s distribution of power while simultaneously providing a space for contemplation and amnesty from the outside world. Don’t sleep on these; take yourself on an informative AF date this V-Day and check ’em out while you still can. 

Gay Gotham

Museum of the City of New York brings you Gay Gotham, an exhibit that showcases an archive of queer art and ephemera that traces the evolution of New York’s LGBTQ creative networks and cultural havens. With a focus on 1910-1995, the exhibit brings together the work of a diverse group of queer icons, among them Richard Bruce Nugent, Harmony Hammond, and Robert Mapplethorpe. There’s also a rolling slideshow of photos contributed by Gay Gotham visitors, drawing a link between the historical fabric of New York’s queer culture and its breathing present-day form. Sold? Us too. Peep the exhibition before it closes on February 26.Gay-Gotham-Event-HeroCindy Hinant’s Exercise Videos

On view at MuseumofAmericabooks beginning January 30, Exercise Videos is a presentation of recent works by Cindy Hinant that explores the construction of gender identities through celebrity culture. The video installation addresses the consumption and internalization of reality television and star power, with material appropriated from Kim Kardashian’s exercise DVD series Fit in Your Jeans By Friday. It’s an exhibition that works through IRL consequences of the images we consume, and proposes an eerie post-reality reality. On view until February 13.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.43.39 AMBlack Fashion Designers

The Museum at FIT presents Black Fashion Designers, an exhibit thats aims to respond to the underrepresentation of black designers in the fashion world, while also acknowledging that the nomenclature of being called a “black designer” can be limiting. To that end, the exhibit emphasizes the diversity of the work it features, which ranges from the 1950s to the present, and includes designs by dozens of influential black designers. Iconic and under-celebrated names from the seventies like Ann Lowe, Eric Gaskins, and Patrick Kelly are featured alongside contemporary designers like Hood By Air and Grace Wales Bonner. The museum will host a one-day symposium on February 6 (today!); the full exhibit runs through May 16.Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 11.45.14 AMBetween 0 and 1: Remixing Gender, Technology and Music

 Coming to NYC as a three part series, Between 0 and 1 dives headfirst into the mirky waters of gender and identity and works to further the conversation about their intersection and influence in today’s society. An exploration on why “the dissolution of established gender constructs has bridged generations and continues to be a focus for emerging artists today,” this one is a must-see. Plus, you have three Sunday opportunities to pay a visit: February 12, 19, and 26 (each portion is unique and connected—experience all three if you can). GENESIS-BREYER-P-ORRIDGE_JAN-2017Politicizing Space

On view at the Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery since last Thursday, Politicizing Space features 11 artists with works that critique and reinterpret mechanisms of spatial control. The exhibit explores the ways in which architecture, public infrastructure, and urban space multiply and naturalize power. It recognizes that we’re “witnessing the return of architectural and urban strategies that reinforce class-structures and inequality.” Read: extremely relevant work. Catch this show before it closes on March 31.LanTuazon_ParkingLotLandscapes_4Images via Museum of the City of New York, The MuseumofAmericabooks, The Museum at FIT, MOMA PS1, and Hyde Park Art Center

Stay tuned to Milk for more NYC art happenings.

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