Kirsten Leenaars, visual artist, is finding meaning in:

I Dozed, I Napped, I Writhed, I Dreamed What could be a better title for an art show during these languid summer days? Art programming tends to be on the lighter side during this season, yet visitors to Judith Brotman’s ongoing show at the Bike Room should not expect anything familiar or vanilla. I’ve been a fan of Brotman’s work long enough to know that it always comes with a pleasantly peppery bite.

Her stitched sculptures and drawings are a reminder of how we construct language as a place for finding meaning. Her language is one of play, of persistence and probing. Of the needle piercing through plastic, paper, or Mylar to connect, to reinstate or rupture. Her stitching is a visceral reminder of how it seems a particularly human quest to look for meaning. Fully aware of the uncertain nature of this pursuit, Brotman seems to say, slyly smiling, “Fuck it, I am going to find it anyway.”

Richard Giraldi, editor in chief, is shedding layers for:

Naked July: Art Stripped Down For most, July means fireworks and hot dogs, but for the National Pastime Theater, it means literally stripping down. The theater company, now located in Uptown, continues its summer tradition with the fourth installment of Naked July. The series, which runs through July into the first weeks of August, features plays, performance art, and films that celebrate the human body in its most natural and clothingless form. But don’t worry—all of the nudity here is done in a classy and tasteful manner that won’t leave you with that awkward showering-at-summer-camp feeling.

Those with a thing for Spanish surrealism may want to check out Jose Rivera’s References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, which melds arty psychedelia with erotica themes. Or there’s The Living Canvas Eureka!, an entertaining exhibit of performance art that uses the human body as a living canvas. And as always, audience participation in the nakedness is optional.

Joanna Szupinska, MCA curatorial fellow, is taking inspiration from:

A Short Life of Trouble If you were to start a contemporary art museum from scratch, how would you do it? Which artists would you show, and what kind of building would you want to inhabit? Would you start a collection or focus solely on temporary exhibitions? What would the organizational structure look like, and how would you empower your employees? How could you, as the director, cope with your own authority in that hierarchy?

Earlier this year I read—or rather, devoured—Marcia Tucker’s A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World. In it, we discover how Tucker mulled over and addressed these issues in 1977 after being fired from her curatorial position at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Tucker responded by starting the New Museum, today a cardinal institution in New York and the world. A Short Life of Trouble recounts Tucker’s life as a curator, museum director, feminist, friend, lover, mother, and amateur actor, drawing the reader in with her charismatic and occasionally self-effacing writing. Tucker is an inspiring role model for curators and women everywhere.

[Editor’s note: Szupinska cocurated the skyscraper show that’s the subject of this week’s art review.]