Via Aug. 25. CUE Art Basis, 137 West 25th Avenue, Manhattan. 212-206-3583 cueartfoundation.org
“¡Se buscan testigos!” Final 12 months, Lizania Cruz painted this announcement — “looking for witnesses!” — on indications built of rice sacks, and posted them in urban outskirts in the Dominican Republic. Each posed a concern about Dominican background and id — Do you think what you had been taught about Christopher Columbus? Did you know that the plantain dish mangú was originated by enslaved Black people today? — and provided a WhatsApp quantity for the public to mail replies. Afterwards, Cruz, who grew up there and now life in New York City, introduced the work out to Washington Heights, exactly where she pasted her enchantment in bodegas, ran it in neighborhood newspapers and took to the street herself, with a prim coat and a briefcase, inquiring Dominican-Americans how they see their identification in just about every place.
The exchanges, pleasant but probing, are captured on video in “Gathering Evidence: Santo Domingo and New York Town,” Cruz’s engaging discipline-report exhibition at CUE Art Basis, curated by the artist Guadalupe Maravilla. The exhibit also compiles objects that illuminate how the Dominican nationhood narrative was created, from sugarcane to file-album handles to a bewildering chart of racial subcategories.
In the room’s centre, an set up of tall paper stacks — in a far more abstract, sculptural language — addresses the bureaucratic violence of La Sentencia, in which some 200,000 folks ended up stripped of Dominican citizenship mainly because of their Haitian origins. This function was latest — 2013 — indicating how uncooked are the social wounds that problem Cruz, and how essential the work of fix.
Cruz’s social apply is 1 of the most interesting heading these times. “The general public is normally at the heart,” she notes in the catalog (offered free at the gallery and on the net, where you can also look through her testimonies). And you needn’t be Dominican — or American — to adhere to the QR codes in the display that invite you to utilize to be a “civilian reviewer” of her investigation and acquire a printout that tells you if you qualify.
By Aug. 27. Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Road, Manhattan. 212-255-2923 lehmannmaupin.com.
The figures in Arcmanoro Niles’s paintings propose some thing radioactive emanating from in just. Their pores and skin, rendered in cadmium-licked bronze, pulsates. Irrespective of whether that’s a source of energy or roiling malignancy, they really don’t seem to discover. Nor do they feel alarmed that all neutral coloration is bled from their globe. Niles’s subjects go about their everyday organization — lounging at dwelling, waiting around for the bus, getting into a automobile beneath an irradiated sky — with a sense of placid resignation.
They’re also Black, and the preference to render their skin tones in an unnaturally jarring palette and crown them with electric-pink glitter-encrusted hair provides them the exalted air of religious icons by way of a Lisa Frank fever desire, or a Kehinde Wiley building the place the aspiration has died a very little. Niles’s subjects (frequently himself) stare through the aircraft with a combine of stolidness and delicate annoyance, male figures frequently shirtless and amply paunched. They’re portraits of pals and family where by trauma and regret have hardened into a callus.
Interior scenes, absent of their inhabitants, are nevertheless psychically dense: a urine sample glinting in a blue-washed public lavatory a night time stand piled with liquor bottles and sport beverages. “Don’t Assume I Won’t Acquire a Good Factor Much too Much (It’s possible I’m Seeking for One thing I Cannot Have),” a continue to life of takeout containers, expended liquor minis, a revenue counter and a 50 %-eaten pie is nearly unbearably sad.
In that composition, there’s the faint whisper of a female determine, a person of Niles’s “seekers,” as he calls them: puckish imps that creep in the corners of his paintings, brandishing shivs, rutting or equally or are extra rawly outlined, skeletal variations that haunt the edges of the frame, small-circuiting the classical formality. These creatures are both imperceptible to the human topics or merely tolerated — manifestations of pure id, harmful tendencies hardly suppressed, and ghosts that cling in the air.
Through Aug. 22. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Avenue, Manhattan. 212-598-0400 abronsartscenter.org.
Flags have a background as a contentious matter in artwork, most likely mainly because of their lasting grip on our political imaginations. In 1970, for occasion, 3 artists were being convicted of flag desecration in New York, and in 1988, Dread Scott sparked controversy by laying a U.S. flag on the ground. I believed of these incidents when viewing “Counter Flags,” curated by Natalia Viera Salgado, a co-founder of the artwork place Pública in Puerto Rico and a resident at Abrons Arts Center.
The exhibition is a mini philosophical inquiry into flags as symbols of nationalism, with attendant pride and critique. Edra Soto and the duo Melissa Raymond and René Sandín contribute eye-catching celebrations of Puerto Rican culture, whilst a edition of Soto’s perform, “Tropicalamerican 21” (2021), was lately and a lot more evocatively exhibited on Governors Island, in which it blew in a sunroom, accompanied by tunes. In Jason Mena’s picture series “Failed States” (2011), a particular person sporting T-shirts printed with the flags of the G 7 nations around the world buries his head — not in the sand — but in sidewalks, rubble, or a toilet, an amusing metaphor for the self-interest of rich democracies. Esvin Alarcón Lam’s “América Invertida (bandera plurinacional)” (2021) symbolically dissolves borders by combining the flags of countries in the Americas into a thought-provoking pink-and-white mash-up.
Kahlil Robert Irving’s “The Sentinel — (Combined realities — defund the law enforcement)” (2021) is a sober trio of banners that serve as racial commentary: a black-and-a white a single sandwiching a third for Blue Lives Subject. The perform was lacking when I first visited the display and later on reinstalled in a different location — a mysterious transfer that I simply cannot enable assume implies the electricity flags nevertheless have to transgress.