Home / Arts & Life / Your Week in Culture: Katy Perry, Agnès Varda, the Guggenheim’s Chinese Art (Minus the Animals)

Your Week in Culture: Katy Perry, Agnès Varda, the Guggenheim’s Chinese Art (Minus the Animals)

The film travels with Ms. Varda and JR, as they drive his photo-booth truck to hamlets, factories and ports in France; take giant images of residents and laborers; and paste them onto buildings, water tanks and any other surface they can beautify — bringing those so often unseen to the fore.

It is, however, the conversations, tender and teasing, between Ms. Varda, who is losing her vision, and JR, who hides behind dark glasses, as they ponder their art, their ages, goats and cats, long-ago loves and lost friends, that will have viewers wiping their eyes. KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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Wenda Gu’s “36 Vanishing Gold Section Pigments.”

Credit
Wenda Gu

Art: Guggenheim’s ‘China After 1989’

Through Jan. 7; guggenheim.org.

In 1987, the Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping ran copies of two art history textbooks through a washing machine, later displaying the resulting pulp as “The History of Chinese Painting and A Concise History of Modern Painting Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes.”

It’s an apt metaphor for the cultural and ideological ferment between the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008, at least as viewed from abroad. This time period is the focus of a new exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum that starts Friday Oct. 6, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.”

The ambitious show features dozens of contemporary Chinese artists, including conceptualists like Mr. Huang and painters like Liu Xiaodong. (After an outcry by animal-rights supporters, though, the museum announced it would withdraw three works, including one of Mr. Huang’s, a hothouse box of insects and lizards.) The exhibition will nevertheless offer an indispensable road map to a scene claiming more and more attention. WILL HEINRICH

The Gifted: Official Trailer | THE GIFTED Video by The Gifted

TV: ‘The Gifted’ on Fox

Oct. 2 at 9 p.m.; fox.com.

Marvel strikes again with “The Gifted,” a special effects-laden Fox series from the “X-Men” universe — teleportation portals! invisible barriers! — and one of fall’s most anticipated entries. It premieres Monday, Oct. 2.

Set in an Atlanta suburb, the show follows Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer), a prosecutor for a federal task force intent on keeping America safe by putting away mutants. But when a bout of bullying at a high school dance forces his teenage son and daughter, Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), to unleash startling powers of their own, Reed has a gut wrenching realization that his children are exactly the type of supposedly dangerous people he has been hunting.

And when some nefarious government agents appear on the Strucker doorstep with the intent of whisking Andy and Lauren away, Reed and his wife, Caitlin (Amy Acker), swoop their offspring to safety with the help of a mutant underground, including Eclipse (Sean Teale), Blink (Jamie Chung), Polaris (Emma Dumont) and Thunderbird (Blair Redford). KATHRYN SHATTUCK

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From left, Brent Arnold, Gelsey Bell and Brittain Ashford in Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet” in 2014.

Credit
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Theater: Dave Malloy’s ‘Ghost Quartet’

Oct. 5-31; nytw.org.

For all the rapturous attention Dave Malloy’s “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” received last season on Broadway — the ecstatic reviews, the dozen Tony nominations — there was an element of surprise to its success, as if a creature native to one habitat had migrated to flourish in another. The secret of Mr. Malloy, one of downtown theater’s most treasured composers, was definitely out.

If, for audiences, there is an upside to that show’s recent closure, it may be his return to a more intimate space with “Ghost Quartet,” a spectral song cycle that will kick off New York Theater Workshop’s inaugural Next Door at NYTW series on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The show features Mr. Malloy, the cellist Brent Arnold and fellow “Great Comet” veterans Brittain Ashford and Gelsey Bell in a collision of musical genres that exudes an infectious conviviality, even as it raises the dead. For performers and spectators alike, the whiskey will flow. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES

A Letter To My Nephew Trailer Video by Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Company

Dance: Bill T. Jones’s ‘A Letter to My Nephew’

Oct. 3-7, bam.org.

In his recent “Analogy Trilogy,” Bill T. Jones used dance as a mode of biographical storytelling, each work in the series tracing the contours of a life.

Part two, “Analogy/Lance: Pretty aka the Escape Artist,” dealt with his nephew, Lance T. Briggs, whose young adulthood as a dancer, model and male escort in the late ’80s and early ’90s found him battling addiction and illness. Drawing on correspondence between Mr. Briggs and his uncle, the work illuminated a gentler struggle, too, of family members trying to grow closer.

In “A Letter to My Nephew,” beginning its run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company will further unpack that relationship, while exploring connections between personal conflicts and larger sociopolitical ones. With a score by Nick Hallett and video projections by Janet Wong, “Letter” folds in references to wherever it’s performed, in this case New York City. SIOBHAN BURKE

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Lucy Dhegrae in Ashley Fure’s “The Force of Things” last year.

Credit
Bradley Rosen

Classical: Ashley Fure’s ‘The Force of Things’

Oct. 6-8, peakperfs.org.

Described as an “opera for objects,” the composer Ashley Fure’s “The Force of Things” will have its American debut on Friday, Oct. 6, at Montclair State University, as part of its Peak Performances season, dedicated to women innovators this year.

Ms. Fure is deeply attuned to the relationship between sound and space, and has crafted a powerfully unsentimental language steeped in the European avant-garde. This latest work — an immersive installation created in collaboration with architect Adam Fure, the composer’s brother — takes ecological anxiety as its subject.

The audience will be encircled by speakers broadcasting sounds below the range of human hearing, manipulated by the musicians of the International Contemporary Ensemble, as singers mutter incomprehensible warnings. In the context of recent natural disasters, the opera’s enigmatic but forceful message should be a potent match for the subtle severity of Fure’s music. WILLIAM ROBIN

Correction: October 2, 2017

An earlier version of the dance entry in this column misspelled the surname of the composer who wrote the score for “A Letter to My Nephew.” It is Nick Hallett, not Hallet.

Correction: October 2, 2017

An earlier version of the dance entry in this column misspelled the surname of the composer who wrote the score for “A Letter to My Nephew.” It is Nick Hallett, not Hallet.

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