Free arts and culture this week in New York City

Think you have to be a swell to soak up cultural life in the big city? Our weekly rundown of free arts events in NYC proves otherwise.

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1

Circus Amok

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The fantastically queer, unapologetically political and surprisingly kid-friendly Circus Amok invades NYC's parks throughout September with acrobats, stilt walkers, clowns and other delights. Circus founder Jennifer Miller serves as ringleader.

  1. Tompkins Square Park Ave A, between 7th and 10th Sts
  2. Sun Sep 21 - Sun Sep 28
More info
2

"That Obscure Object of Desire"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Titled after Luis Buñuel’s 1977 film about sexual obsession, this group show includes pieces from the 1940s to the present, and teases out formal and thematic connections among a nicely considered selection of Surrealist, Pop and contemporary artworks. The leitmotif here is the body reduced to

  1. Luxembourg & Dayan 64 E 77th St, between Madison and Park Aves, 10075
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 4
More info
3

Nick Cave, "Made for Whites by Whites"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Both parts of this two-space show involve the use of found ceramic objects incorporated into larger sculptural settings, but the nature of the items and their tone differ significantly from one gallery to the next: "Rescue" features the form of a dog, with all of its attendant connotations of

  1. Jack Shainman Gallery 513 W 20th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 11
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4

Jenny Holzer, "Dust Paintings"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For the past several years, Holzer has been creating a series of paintings sourced from redacted government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. She bases her latest show on accounts related to the use of "enhanced interrogation" (i.e., torture) by the U.S. military and the

  1. Cheim & Read 547 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 25
More info
5

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by

  1. Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons MetroTech Center Commons, Myrtle Ave, between Flatbush Ave and Jay St
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Fri May 29
More info
6

Cory Arcangel, "tl;dr"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Over the past decade, media artist Cory Arcangel has explored the odd nexus of nostalgia and planned obsolescence with videos and large-format photos that reference 8-bit video games and other signifiers of the early digital age. The main series in his latest show comprises a group of flatscreens,

  1. Team Gallery 47 Wooster St, between Broome and Grand Sts
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sun Oct 26
More info
7

Lily van der Stokker, "Huh"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This Dutch artist sends up stereotypes about femininity and feminism embraced by the male powers that be. The sculptural objects and wall paintings here—all pink—are rendered in a cartoonish mix of abstract and pop-cultural referents that are, according to the artist, "girly, sweet, decorative,

  1. Koenig & Clinton 459 W 19th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 18
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8

Dubuffet | Barceló

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This shows juxtaposes paintings by renowned Frenchman Jean Dubuffet (1901–85) with those by the Spanish contemporary artist Miquel Barcelo, whose work is influenced by Dubuffet's figurative style and use of pronounced surface textures.

  1. Acquavella Galleries 18 E 79th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10075
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Fri Sep 19
More info
9

Roxy Paine, "Denuded Lens"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The centerpiece of Paine's gallery debut features a wood-carved sculpture of a TSA airport security checkpoint, complete with X-ray machine and conveyor belt. Not quite true to scale, the piece captures the odd combination of banality and anxiety associated with such places.

  1. Marianne Boesky Gallery 509 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 4
More info
10

Morris Louis, "Veils"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This series of paintings done in the late 1950s represent the artist's breakthrough to what would become his signature style: layers of color poured in cascades of thinned paint onto raw canvas.

  1. Mnuchin Gallery 45 E 78th St, between Madison and Park Aves, 10075
  2. Wed Sep 17 - Sat Oct 18
More info
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