This week in New York 2010: Whitney Biennial opens, Gigantic holds a launch party for Issue 2: Gigantic America, Anderbo Reading at KGB, Mary Karr talks with Philip Gourevitch, MOMA premieres documentary about Mikhail Khodorkovsky–Russia’s wealthiest man and one if its most controversial figures, Ted Conover reads, André Aciman talks to Paul Leclerc, and Sam Mendes directs The Tempest at BAM.
MONDAY 2/22: Author Mary Karr talks with Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch about her process as part of the magazine’s Art of Memoir interview series. Mary Karr is the author of several books, including The Liars’ Club, Cherry and, most recently, Lit, which made The New York Times best books of 2009. Joe’s Pub. 425 Lafayette St. $20. 7:00pm.
Ted Conover reads from The Routes of Man, a spirited, urgent book that reveals the costs and benefits of being connected—how, from ancient Rome to the present, roads have played a crucial role in human life, advancing civilization even as they set it back. The Half King. 505 W. 23rd. 7:00pm.
Documentary Fortnight, 2010 MOMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film continues with Vlast (Power), 2010. USA. Directed by Cathryn Collins. In 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia’s wealthiest man, was arrested at gunpoint on a Siberian runway. Having openly challenged President Vladimir Putin, Khodorkovsky was convicted, his oil company, YUKOS, seized, and his pro-democracy efforts curtailed. He remains defiantly imprisoned. In unprecedented interviews with Khodorkovsky’s family, his associates, and prominent politicians and journalists, director Cathryn Collins reveals how liberty and the rule of law have become casualties in modern Russia. Vlast (Power) takes an unvarnished look at the consolidation of power in an oil-dependent Russia, revealing a frightening picture of repression and retribution reminiscent of Stalin’s regime. In Russian, English; English subtitles. 88 min. MOMA. 11 W. 53rd St. 8:30pm.
The Tenth Muse with John Ashbery. Living legend John Ashbery carries on a long-standing Poetry Center tradition by curating and introducing an evening of readings by three less-established poets. Readings by Marcella Durand, Robert Elstein and John Gallaher. 92Y. Lexington Ave. @92nd St. 8:15pm.
TUESDAY 2/23: André Aciman and Paul Leclerc in Conversation. André Aciman discusses his new novel Eight White Nights with Paul Leclerc, President and CEO of the New York Public Library. André Aciman is the author of Call Me by Your Name, Out of Egypt, and False Papers, and is the editor of The Proust Project. South Court Auditorium of the New York Public Library (Enter on Fifth Ave. bet. 40th and 42nd Sts.). $25 ($15 students). 7:00pm (doors at 6:15).
The Films of Robert Gardner at Light Industry. In twenty-nine completed works, surveying the daily life and rituals of societies from every inhabited continent, Robert Gardner probes acutely at the delicate borders that have always defined documentary film—the porous and slippery boundaries between objective facts and their subjective telling. 177 Livingston Street. 7:30pm.
Craft Work with Colson Whitehead. Have an idea kicking around in your head for a story, but not sure where to start? Join the Center for Fiction for an intimate talk by best-selling author Colson Whitehead as he discusses his creative process and the art of fiction. Colson Whitehead is an award winning author of numerous books including John Henry Days and most recently, Sag Harbor. The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction. 17 E. 47th St. 7:00pm.
WEDNESDAY 2/24: Anderbo Reading at KGB. For one night online literary journal Anderbo descends on KGB to present six outstanding readers, poet Kathleen Kraft, Anderbo Fiction writers Kristen O’Toole and Erika Swyler, and Anderbo “fact” contributors Tove Danovich, Paul Vigna and Anne Fiero. Anderbo (http://anderbo.com) was founded by author Rick Rofihe. KBG. 85 E. 4 (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.). 7:00pm.
Filmmakers present films made in collaboration with their subjects using various techniques of participation, performance, and observation. Followed by a discussion with Patty Chang, Liza Johnson and participants in In the Air; Sharon Lockhart, Jeannie Simms. Organized and moderated by Sally Berger.
Selected Shorts: The Sixties. Take a trip to that swinging decade of questioning, experimentation, and change as actors Cynthia Nixon, Michael O’Keefe, Jill Eikenberry, host Isaiah Sheffer and Def Jam Poetry artist Staceyann Chin perform stories, poetry and nonfiction by James Baldwin, Joyce Johnson, Norman Mailer, Robert Lowell and an excerpt from Joan Didion’s classic essay “The White Album.” Symphony Space.
THURSDAY 2/25: 2010: Whitney Biennial opens. This year marks the seventy-fifth edition of the Whitney’s signature exhibition. While Biennials are always affected by the cultural, political, and social moment, this exhibition “simply titled 2010” embodies a cross section of contemporary art production rather than a specific theme. To underscore the idea of time as an element of the Biennial and to demonstrate the influence of the past on 2010, familiar and less well-known artists from previous exhibitions are brought together in Collecting Biennials, an accompanying installation. Through May 30, 2010. Whitney Museum of American Art. 75th and Madison Ave.
Bulge, Glaze, Pause, Shock: Wayne Koestenbaum Lecture. Wayne Koestenbaum has published five books of poetry, a novel, and five books of nonfiction including The Queen’s Throat (a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist). His newest book, Hotel Theory, a hybrid of fiction and nonfiction, was published in 2007. 2960 Broadway, Dodge Hall, Room 501. Columbia University (@116th St.). 7:00pm.
FRIDAY 2/26: The Tempest directed by Sam Mendes. Back with its second season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, this spring season, the Bridge Project presents two Shakespeare classics, The Tempest and As You Like It, both directed by Sam Mendes, acclaimed director of the films American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Revolutionary Road. See Saturday for an artist’s talk with Mendes. Brooklyn Academy of Music. 30 Lafayette Ave. 7:30pm.
SATURDAY 2/27: Gigantic Issue 2 Launch Party. Come celebrate the launch of Gigantic Issue 2, Gigantic America. Issue 2 features interviews with Lydia Millet, Adrian Tomine and Sam Lipsyte; new fiction from Robert Coover and Leni Zumas; art by Thomas Doyle and Thomas Allen; along with collectible biographies of famous Americans as written by, among others, Deb Olin Unferth, Michael Kimball, Clancy Martin and Stephen O’Connor. The release party will include short readings from Gigantic #2 contributors Deb Olin Unferth, Stephen O’Connor and Sasha Fletcher; a dance performance by artist Lydia Bell; an installation by Dinh Q. Lê; a special “surrogate” reading by Mike Topp in place of Brian Beatty; cheap drinks and all the fun and miscellaneous delights you’ve come to expect from things Gigantic. PPOW Gallery. 511 W. 25th St. #301. 6:30-11:00pm.
Artist talk with Sam Mendes and The Bridge Project cast. In a unique public conversation between director and actors, Sam Mendes and members of The Bridge Project cast will discuss the exceptional adventure that they embarked on, bringing audiences into their creative process. Brooklyn Academy of Music. 5:00pm.
SUNDAY 2/28: Metal Mad. An army of artists pay tribute to Heavy Metal. Giant Robot. 437 E. 9th St. Through March 3.
ART: Image of work by Michael Asher at the 2010 Whitney Biennial.
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Original Notable New York Illustration © André da Loba
Other images in order of appearance: Ecstatic Resistance (schema), 2009, by Emily Roysdon at the Whitney Biennial; still from Aki Sasamoto’s Secrets of My Mother’s Child, 2009 (detail) Performance and Installation at the Whitney Biennial; section from”Until I Find It,” a segment from an illustrated book based on the full-length animated film DIECI TESTE, with words by Leni Zumas and art by Luca Dipierro (the full segment will appear on Gigantic online on Monday 3/1).