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

Richard Prince, "New Portraits"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Mercifully avoiding the temptation to present paintings, Prince does his photo-appropriation thing, this time plunging into the fever swamp of social media by grabbing selfies from Instagram and enlarging them as ink-jet prints on canvas. If nothing else, the images are less likely to get him sued

  1. Gagosian Gallery 976 Madison Ave , between 76th and 77th Sts , 10075
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Oct 25
More info
2

"Rite of Passage: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism, 1960–1966"

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

People familiar with the 1960s Vienna Actionism movement are aware of its notoriety for trangressive works—or more succinctly, acts—of art. For everyone else, this survey of paintings, collages, drawings and performance photographs curated by Hubert Klocker should provide an eye-opening

  1. Hauser & Wirth New York 32 E 69th St, between Madison and Park Aves, 10021
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Oct 25
More info
3

"Mike Kelley: Reconstructed History"

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

Originally presented as a limited-edition artist book, Mike Kelley’s 1989 series, “Reconstructed History,” consists of 50 works on paper depicting defaced images of historical figures taken from old U.S.-history textbooks. As seen here, the suite of scrawled-over illustrations mock

  1. Skarstedt Gallery 550 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Oct 25
More info
4

Marcel Dzama, "Une Danse des Bouffons (A Jester's Dance)"

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

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Marcel Dzama is known for imaginative drawings, sculptures, dioramas and films. All of those mediums come together for his most complex show since joining the gallery in 1998. The cornerstone is the eponymous black-and-white film that centers on the story of

  1. David Zwirner 525 W 19th St , 10011
  2. Tue Oct 21 - 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. Tue Oct 21 - Fri May 29
More info
6

Jim Shaw, “I Only Wanted You to Love Me”

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shaw, who was part of the legendary CalArts class that included Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler and John Miller, is something of a polymath of pop-cultural styles and sources (often obscure), which he mixes with references to art history. The paintings in his latest show have been rendered on old

  1. Metro Pictures 519 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Oct 25
More info
7

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. Tue Oct 21 - Sat Oct 25
More info
8

“Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic”

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

By now, it’s hardly surprising that the work of a freshly discovered outsider artist is usually astonishing. While Willem van Genk isn’t unknown, exactly—he’s been celebrated in Europe for years—he’s new to these shores, and so his work arrives here as if it had just been uncovered. And

  1. American Folk Art Museum 2 Lincoln Sq, Columbus Ave, at 66th St
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Mon Dec 1
More info
9

“Move the world back from the abyss of destruction”

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

This reliably interesting small gallery brings together artworks that arise out of, or draw from, non-fine-art traditions. The exhibition title (a quote from JFK) suggests an art world in crisis. While the show includes a couple of market favorites, it makes a strong case for more sustainable modes

  1. JTT 170A Suffolk St, between E Houston and Stanton Sts, 10002
  2. Wed Oct 22 - Sun Oct 26
More info
10

Danh Vo, We the People

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In this remarkable project, Vo—a Danish artist living in Berlin whose family fled his native Vietnam for Denmark after the fall of Saigon—has created a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, in 250 unassembled pieces. Each segment has been constructed using the original material and

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Tue Oct 21 - Fri Dec 5
More info
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