Artspace: 5 Shows by Emerging Artists to See in NYC Before Mercury Is Out of Retrograde

Jake Sillen, Artspace, March 23, 2019

Bubble. Image courtesy of Marvin Gardens.


Convincing people to come all the way out to the Halsey L stop in Ridgewood, Queens before 5pm is a feat unto itself, but this show at the refreshingly understated Marvin Gardens is more than worth it. Situated underneath a labyrinth of artist studios and maker spaces, this hidden gem of a gallery shines a light on emerging painters, sculptures, and multimedia artists in the area each month at an impressive pace; it boasts over 20 shows since opening just three years ago. This time, Mika Agari and Zack Rafuls each present a body of new work, as well as a collaboration. Agari’s multimedia sculptures are full of surprises, like crocheted covers over foam landscapes and embedded flip phones as video players—the perfect companions to Raful’s Tondo works, a succession of frying pan-resin pools filled with pairings of objects that look like they’ve jumped off of the pages of an I-Spy book. Where other shows in this list skirt fables, anime, and dystopian narratives, "Old Music" looks to science fiction for its escape hatch. Agari and Rafuls both hold BFAs from Watkins College of Art and Design. Rafuls, (along with artists Jessica Clay, David Onri Anderson, and Tristan Higginbotham) runs the curatorial collective Mild Climate in Nashville, TN.