The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Russian KGB agents posing as suburban Americans living in Washington D.C., has been filming many scenes right here in New York City. In the video clip below, the show’s production designer John Mott explains that they had to find locations that would look like Soviet Russia during the 1980s. Though he does not disclose the filming location, we happen to know that the scenes set inside the Soviet Embassy (where one of the main actors, double agent Nina, works) were actually filmed at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. The crew brought in some incredible set pieces and props to outfit the ground floor galleries and the library, like this huge map of the Soviet Union, portraits and busts of Lenin and other artifacts. (more…)
Our curated events picks for this week: Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers at MCNY, The Listening fundraiser for the Rockaways, 16mm cartoon screening with The Obscura Society.
MONDAY, JANUARY 21: When World War II broke out, New York was a cosmopolitan, heavily immigrant city, whose people had real stakes in the war and strongly held opinions. Join curator Marci Reaven for a tour of the new exhibition WWII & NYC as she explains the impact of the war on the city, which played a critical role in the national war effort, and how the city was forever changed. 11am at the New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West (between 76th & 77th). $18 members; $30 general public. Buy tickets here.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22:The Kitchen L.A.B. with Jacob Kassay, Ralph Lemon, Tristan Perich, Lynne Tillman, Eric Dyer and Maggie Hoffman. The Kitchen L.A.B. is a new program devoted to presenting, discussing, and developing interdisciplinary works revolving around themes of common interest to artists in different fields””and, more specifically, considering the meaning and uses of specific words in contemporary art. 7pm at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street. FREE. RSVP on Facebook.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23:Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers showcases innovative design solutions to better accommodate New York City’s changing, and sometimes surprising, demographics, including a rising number of single people, and will feature a full-sized, flexibly furnished micro-studio apartment of just 325 square feet — a size prohibited in most areas of the city. Visitors to the exhibition will see models and drawings of housing designs by architectural teams commissioned in 2011 by Citizens Housing & Planning Council, in partnership with the Architectural League of New York. The exhibition also presents winning designs from the Bloomberg administration’s recently launched pilot competition to test new housing models, as well as examples set by other cities in the United States and around the world, including Seattle, Providence, Montreal, San Diego, and Tokyo. Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Ave. Suggested admission: $10 adults; $6 students/seniors.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24:The Vanderbilt Republic and Untapped New York proudly present THE LISTENING: Vol. II. A Listening Session & Fundraiser for the Far Rockaway Redevelopment Fund. Arin Maya 8pm, Artist Talk 8.30pm, Helioscope 9pm, Batala NYC 9.30pm. Featuring an installation by Athena Azevedo, Vanessa Gonzalez-Bunster & TJ Volonis, Curated by George Del Barrio. Doors 7pm at Gowanus Loft, 61 9th Street, Brooklyn. $20 advance / pay as you can at the door. Buy tickets here.
Also on Thursday:Paolo Ventura’s luminous and haunting photographs function as architectural relics of the imagination, portraying characters and scenarios that are magical, poignant and strangely familiar. Referencing history, art and the subconscious, Ventura’s “invented worlds,” as he calls them, tell stories — some of which he was told as a child by his father, an author of children’s books, and others imagined by the artist himself. Ventura creates his otherworldly photographs by constructing intricate miniature sets and then photographing them, first with a Polaroid for reference and finally with a Pentax 6 x 7 camera. 6-8pm at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue. FREE. RSVP here.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 25: Join archivist and projectionist, Tom Stathes, for a special screening celebrating the seasons with The Obscura Society. As Winter 2013 draws on, Tom Stathes has curated animated cartoons from the 1920s-1930s for every season of the year. Searching his vast stacks of 16mm animation rarities and Tom has hand-selected a wide array of gems: frolicking Springtime fun and hot Summer calamities for those with a warmer temperament, and breezy, cool Autumn shenanigans as well as snowy Winter escapades for those who relish the cold months. For a glimpse into past visions of the seasons as depicted by the merry-makers of early film animation, come enjoy the latest screening—shown in real 16mm film, with a real projector—a unique experience you’ll be sure to enjoy! 7:30pm at The Observatory, 543 Union Street, Brooklyn. $12. Buy tickets here.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 26: 100 years ago, in 1913, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors to the public and on August 2, 1967, NYC’s recently established Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Terminal as an official NYC landmark. Join LANDMARK WEST! and The Museum of the City of New York as we celebrate the centennial and discover why this impressive structure is so very worthy of that designation. A Landmark designation is not to be taken for granted: if it was not for fierce and unwavering preservation advocacy, NYers and citizens of the world would be deprived of this building’s splendor today. 1-3pm inside the Atrium of 120 Park Avenue (opposite Grand Central). $20 members; $25 non-members. RSVP to email@example.com, or call 212-496-8110.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27: During its six-month run, Frej was an unlikely phenomenon: a seventeen-seat New Nordic pop-up serving a $45 tasting menu Monday through Wednesday in a Williamsburg design studio. Aska, its newly expanded replacement, has gained two extra nights of service (Sunday and Thursday), an additional twelve-seat dining room, and a new partner, general manager Eamon Rockey, whose cocktails share a Scandinavian-inspired, herbal sensibility with chef Fredrik Berselius’s cuisine. The prix fixe menu, now $65 for six to eight small-plate courses, integrates plants like yarrow, lichen, and seaweed, focusing on vegetables and often treating protein as a garnish. 6-10pm at Kinfolk Studios, 90 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn. $65. RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
A figure with a bunch of colorful balloons covering his face floats up over a gray cityscape. A lone man wearing a fedora and a black coat with a fur collar stands on a street corner in front of a cafe holding a sparrow. In an old studio with dirty skylights, the torso of an automaton is perched on a stool surrounded by books, clocks and mechanical tools. These are some of the scenes that Paolo Ventura invents, constructs, and then photographs. I’ve been lucky enough to see a preview of his exhibition opening on January 24 at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, and I can tell you that it’s worth seeing. (more…)
Our curated events picks for this week: Latke sizzle at 92Y, ‘How Much Do I Owe You?’ opening by No Longer Empty, Building to Impress: NY skyscrapers lecture at NYPL, MAS Chinatown tour and more.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10:Menorah Lighting in Gramercy Park. Celebrate Hanukkah with the Brotherhood Synagogue with traditional songs. Refreshments will follow in the Community Room. 5:30pm at Gramercy Park. FREE.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11: 92Y presents Latke Sizzle. Celebrate the fourth night of Hanukkah with culinary expert and “Top Chef” judge, Gail Simmons, as she shares her personal connection with Jewish cooking through a conversation with James Beard Foundation’s Mitchell Davis and a cooking demonstration of our favorite sizzling holiday treat. Then, indulge your inner foodie with international samplings of latkes paired with tasty vodkas. Gail will be signing copies of her new memoir Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater. 8:15pm at Buttenweiser Hall, Lexington Ave. at 92nd Street. $29. Buy tickets here.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13:Building to Impress: New York Skyscrapers and the People who Commissioned Them – Seth Gopin at NYPL. The development of the skyscraper is an American story. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centures, these great edifices have defined both New York City and American architecture. Less often discussed are the patrons and architects of these great buildings. This lecture explores the story of the fascinating people who were the forces behind nine iconic New York buildings – Flatiron, Metropolitan Life, Woolworth, Chrysler, Empire State, Seagram’s, AT&T, Conde Nast, and Hearst buildings. It is a fascinating tale of corporate America and people with great egos and immense power and wealth, as well as architects concerned with beauty and cutting-edge technology. 1:15-2:30pm at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium, 42nd Street & 5th Ave. FREE.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14: The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America presents CosÃ¬ Faran Tutti (or They’ll All Do It), the world premier of a new opera by Jonathan Dawe. Seductive sisters, brazen soldiers, a meddling maid, and a self-proclaimed master of the science of love provide the power play of COSÃŒ FARAN TUTTI ~ or They’ll All Do It! What really happened in the days leading up to Mozart’s and da Ponte’s CosÃ¬ fan tutte? What yearnings, what disguises, and what passions? With hilarious twists and sexy turns, Jonathan Dawe’s new opera premieres at The Italian Academy, December 2012 and celebrates multiple permutations of love by pulling the covers off the seemingly random combinations of desire to which all are subject. Dec. 13, 14 & 15. 8pm at The Italian Academy, 1161 Amsterdam Ave. (at 118th Street). $40 / $20 for students. Buy tickets here.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15:The Skint Presents: The Winterland Romp. Call it Christmas in a New Orleans cathouse, circa 1932. Because you’ve been very, very good this year, we’re stuffing your stockings to bursting at the Winterland Romp at Littlefield on December 15th at 8pm. Dance to sweaty old jazz from cult favorites The Hot Sardines, coo at the sugarplums of burlesque performers, and pay into your last truly epic hangover of 2012 with our holiday punch drink special. Then pop by the Winterland photo booth to capture your twinkling eyes, merry dimples, rosy cheeks and cherry nose that would make Saint Nick proud. 8pm-1am at Littlefield, 622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn. $15 in advance / $18 day of. Buy tickets here.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16: DEC. 15th and 16th the top pastry chefs of NYC will show their support for DUMBO’s Almondine Bakery by offering their delicious goodies during a two-day pop-up at the bakery’s location! The neighborhood’s favorite bakery has not re-opened since Hurricane Sandy. All the funds from the pop-up will go straight to rebuilding Almondine. So come out and do your part – eat some treats! All day at Almondine Bakery, 85 Water Street, Brooklyn. Prices range.
Also on Sunday:MAS tour of Chinatown: Culture & Change. Uncover the history of one of New York City’s oldest, most bustling neighborhoods with educator and guide Michael Robison of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). Visit sites like Heinrich Doyer’s brewery from the 1700’s, the once hip locale of Collect Park Pond, a Chinese eatery that catered to the needs of Chinatown’s turn-of-the-century “bachelor society,” the oldest existing row house in Manhattan, and much more. See for your own eyes how Chinatown has transformed from its origins as the Native American village of Werpoes Hill in 1600 to one of the fastest growing immigrant communities in New York City. 1pm. Meeting location provided at tickets are purchased. $20 / $15 members. Buy tickets here.
The Silent Strength of Liu Xia opened on February 9 at the Italian Academy at Columbia University to a crowd of over two hundred people. It it is the first and only exhibition of Chinese artist Liu Xia’s work in the United States. A poet and photographer, Liu was placed under house arrest after her husband Liu Xiabo won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. At the opening reception, curator Guy Sorman, who smuggled the photos out of China and organized their first exhibition in Boulogne-Billancourt, France before bringing them to New York, spoke about the difficulties and dangers involved in organizing the exhibit. Addressing the crowd, he told everyone that they were there to honor Liu Xia, who agreed to have her work exhibited on the condition that she not find out where and when her work was being displayed. That way, if representatives of the Chinese government come to interrogate her about the exhibits, she can say she doesn’t know anything.
As Sorman explains in a video commenting on the exhibit, there are two different art scenes in China today. There are the government sanctioned artists whose work gets exported and there are the underground artists whose work we never hear about, often for political reasons. Liu Xia’s haunting photographs show dolls that she calls her “ugly babies” set in chiaroscuro tableaux symbolic of confinement and repression. Liu’s work focuses on the struggle for freedom of expression, sending an important message about contemporary China.
The exhibition was co-sponsored by The Alliance Program, Columbia University and the Ville de Boulogne-Billancourt, France. It continues until March 1, and will then travel to Madrid. Gallery hours are weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Saturdays from 12:00 to 6:00 pm.