Artsy Gift Guide
Despite its recent condo-fication, Williamsburg is still an artistic bastion at heart. Below, some of the neighborhood’s holiday gift offerings for the aesthete in your life.
SHAG 108 Robeling Street
Dutch artist Riekje Jongsma ceramic sculptures at SHAG are, in fact, fully functional butt plugs and dildos ($180–$333). The term “sex toy” doesn’t apply here. Each white or cream phallus has artfully applied glazes in black, gold, and blue. Some depict famous heroines from myth and history: Rapunzel swinging from her hair, Indira Gandhi pantless and squatting, Cleopatra as a cat beneath ribbons of gold and royal blue. For those looking for unique ornaments, Yuliya Lanina puts baby-doll noggins onto bird bodies to form her creepy, kitschy decorations ($40 and up), and Dani Sigler fills clear Christmas bulbs ($18–$32) with pink feathers, locks of hair, tinsel, and condoms.
About Glamour and AG Gallery 107A North 3rd Street
Victor-John Villanueva’s necklaces ($68–$108) aren’t for the timid—or the weak of neck. Dangling from each silvery chain is a gargantuan mosaic medallion made of colorful beads coated in resin. These bulky pendants feature portraits of icons from the worlds of fashion, photography, and entertainment. There’s Anna Wintour in a bob and sunglasses, Nicki Minaj in a blond wig and green eye shadow, Bill Cunningham aiming a camera, and Miss Piggy smiling with glee. The pixilated effect of the beads gives these pieces the look of an eight-bit video game. Villanueva’s wearable artworks are part of About Glamour and AG Gallery’s “Art in Boxes” holiday art gift show, through January 29.
Art 101 101 Grand Street
Behind a hidden door inArt 101 lies a magical space called the Miniatures Gallery, filled with tiny art ($60–$750). Styles and mediums run the gamut in this cozy closet. Rose McShane renders animal faces and tiny landscapes on antique ceramic poker chips, Stephen White carves pencils into zany characters, Jenny Roberts paints pictures of gesturing hands before plain backgrounds, and Jean-Denis Cruchet sculpts tricycle-beast hybrids out of painted bronze. The main gallery currently spotlights the (full-size) work of local art-scene stalwart Ernest Marciano, whose stencil paintings, embossed paper, and cardboard constructions dance with weightless abstract shapes reminiscent of Miró, Calder, and ancient Chinese reliefs, on view until December 18.
Figureworks 168 North 6th Street
Speaking of teensy artwork, Figureworks is showing Balinese miniatures ($150 framed) made by artists from the Ubud region of Bali, through December 18. The stylized ink-and-watercolor paintings are crammed with Hindu gods, naked babies, dancing women, shirtless drummers, and mustachioed swordsmen. In the pieces, Rangda the demon queen tries to make a meal out of children, who are fiercely guarded by warriors and Barong, a protector spirit that can take the shape of a lion or dragon. These mini masterpieces are a delight, especially the one with a boy eating a banana amid all the chaos.
Brooklyn Art Library
The Sketchbook Project allows anyone to fill a sketchbook with any imagery they choose to create and have it be publicly displayed. The book is archived, library style, on the open shelves of the Brooklyn Art Library, meaning thousands of nosy New Yorkers can rifle through its pages. While you’re at the Art Library, grab some professional and vintage supplies: Prismacolor Art Stix, Staedtler pencils, Faber-Castell erasers, M. Graham gouache paints, Grumbacher brushes, J. Herbin fountain pen ink, and a set of 28 sign language alphabet stamps by Chronicle Books. The $25 entry fee for the project includes a blank sketchbook. (103A N. 3rd St.)
Choplet 238 Grand Street
Muddy hands are good when it comes to crafting clay. Participants inChoplet’s ceramics classes can build vessels, tiles, busts of friends, figurines of imaginary creatures, and perhaps, after much practice, custom dildos. Single classes cost $52, and eight-week courses are $290, clay included.
New York Creative Arts Therapists 190 N. 10th Street, Suite 301
For the creative type who’s blocked, for the kid still learning to express herself, for the office drone yearning to make something tangible,art therapy can crack open under-used parts of the brain.
Sessions at New York Creative Arts Therapists are $150 for 50 minutes but can be lower with insurance, student discounts, and sliding-scale rates. In the words of the illustrious En Vogue, “Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”