By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
"People won't confuse my spaghetti for a crucifix," said this pop artist, whose work never had Warhol's deadpan perversity or Lichtenstein's brittle wit. Its oversize spliced images always seemed a bit ponderous, and rarely repaid interpretation. And he surely never aimed to be the last salon painter or first photo-realist. But if his later, shredded, warp-speed paintings still confound, his early workwith cinematic cuts and fadesseems prescient. And F-111 is powerfully political. LEVIN
Through January 25, Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 212.423.3500
PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER+'CAMP SONGS: URI CAINE & BEN PEROWSKY'
World music has splintered into so many categories that it's no longer fresh when bands crossbreed genres and call it eclectic, but Pharaoh's Daughter stitches Torah to Indo to jazz to pop and calls it eclectic by balancing spirituality with cultural pluralism. Totally beautiful. The group operates tabla-guitar switchboards, quickened by interplay, nourished by syncopation, sweetened by airy exoticism. "Camp Songs" is keyboardist Uri Caine (toughest jazz Fender around) and junk-yard percussionist Ben Perowsky, who chat it up to raise funds for Downtown Synagogue during this Oy Fest '03. KING
At 6, Knitting Factory Main Space, 74 Leonard Street, 212.219.3006
Although Spencer's "American Documents" are pitched a little too obviously to the market for nationalist nostalgia, their iconic effect is hard to resist. Reserved, handsome, and meticulously crafted, these large-scale, soft-focus prints have been scorched, toned, and tattered at the edges so they look like relics. Spencer's visions of classic Americanagalloping horses, Main Street, a plantation house by a riveremerge as if out of a dream, or maybe just a fantasy of the way we were. ALETTI
Through January 3, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, 52 East 76th Street, 212.517.3766
'IT'S A DANCE THING!!!'
Celebrate the end of carol season with Nicky Paraiso's eclectic roster of young downtown choreographers, plus La MaMa resident choreographer Potri Ranka Manis. Divided between two programs will be dances by Ayo Janeen Jackson, Shaneeka Harrell, and Daniel Kubert (all members of Bill T. Jones's troupe), Julian Barnett (a man-about-downtown with wonderful technical chops), Manis, John Peruzzi, Jenny Seastone Stern, DJ Mendel, Christopher Williams, Pedro Jimenez, Kindra Windish, Karinne Keithley, and Luis Lara Malvacias. Go twice. ZIMMER
At 7:30, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30, La MaMa E.T.C., 74A East 4th Street, 212.475.7710
Digitally scrubbed and newly remastered, Charlie Chaplin's most elaborate feature (first released in 1936) is part Metropolis, part Mickey Mouse. The artist's conscious, if sentimental, attempt to locate his Little Tramp in the context of class struggle was a political statement; the movie's greatest gag is the feeding machine, demonstrating a situation where one eats to work, rather than vice versa. HOBERMAN
Opens today, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, 212.727.8110
'VICTOR SJOSTROM: A PIONEERING INNOVATOR RESTORED'
The first Nordic master all but invented Swedish cinema but made some of his greatest movies in Hollywood: The Scarlet Letter and especially The Wind, both with Lillian Gish, are two classic late silents. Many of the 20 films showing are newly restored, and there's a recently rediscovered fragment from a lost Greta Garbo film, The Divine Woman. (The title is apt; she glows.) HOBERMAN
Through January 18, MOMA at the Gramercy, 127 East 23rd Street, 212.777.4900
The clown-prince-human-beatbox-extraordinaire has enough old-school clout to get P. Diddy on his most recent album, Weekend Warrior, and not enough new-school clout to get anyone to listen to it. Never mind the wallops, though. Biz Markie can be an enchanting stage performernovelty songs "Just a Friend," "Pickin' Boogers," and "Vapors" elevate to high humor in front of an enthusiastic crowd. CARAMANICA
At 10:30, the Roxy, 515 West 18th Street, 212.645.5156
A decade ago, when this quartet jumped into existence, the inclusion of backbeats and electric guitar signaled the fragrance of fusion, an ostensibly dirty word. But saxophonist David Binney and guitarist Adam Rogers have always come at the norm with revitalizing perspectives, and when they reunite with drummer Ben Perowsky and bassist Fima Ephron, they'll have 10 years of new tricks up their sleeve. That means electro-acoustic textures, freebop riddims, unk-fay attitudes, and much deeper chops. Experience counts. MACNIE
At 10, 55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street, 212.929.9883
Conner, known primarily for sublime panoramic landscapes, turns to the female figure for her terrific new show. The twist: All her subjects are quite visibly pregnant, and most of them are nude. Photographed at home or outdoors in especially crisp black-and-white, the women are fiercely alive and individual. Their vivid, creaturely presence is all the more stunning in the large-scale vertical panoramas here; they occupy the frame like fertility goddesses, serene and sculptural. ALETTI
Through January 21, Laurence Miller Gallery, 20 West 57th Street, 212.397.3930
'UNREPENTANT EGO: THE SELF PORTRAITS OF LUCAS SAMARAS'
Samaras gets the old-master treatment in a sober array of nearly 400 pastels, drawings, boxes, and Polaroids (transformed, recycled, spliced) thatfilling a dozen galleriesis nearly as compartmentalized as his boxes and just as dazzling. This focused slice of his multifaceted work reveals, finally, his subtle influence on nearly everyone who has photographically explored issues of identity, transformation, and gender over the past decades. LEVIN