14. See Liam Scarlett’s New Ballet
By then, it may even have a name.
Not yet 30, this choreographer is artist-in-residence at the Royal Ballet and getting major commissions, like this first piece for City Ballet. Set to Poulenc, it features three very different top ballerinas: Rebecca Krohn, Sara Mearns, and Ashley Bouder. At intermission, step out for a look at the promenade and theater façade, newly swathed in giant, ghostly figures of dancers by the artist JR. —Rebecca Milzoff
David H. Koch Theater, January 31, 8 p.m.
15. See Jackie Nickerson: Terrain
Nickerson’s photos, taken all over Africa, show the basic task of gathering food. Where they diverge from ethnology, though, is in the poses: Bodies support giant sacks, masses of vegetables or leaves, a Terry Gilliam tangle of vines. We simultaneously see people as people, as beasts of burden, and as sculpture.
Jack Shainman Gallery, through February 15.
16. Hear Radu Lupu Play Bartók
Lupu may be the Hagrid of classical music—a piano wizard with a gruff demeanor and a dense beard—but his touch is pixie-light. He joins the Philadelphia Orchestra for Bartók’s incendiary and poetic Third Piano Concerto, plus works by Smetana and Dvorák. —J.D.
Carnegie Hall, February 3.
17. See Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema
There’s just no end to the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s vital retrospectives, and this series lives up to its grandiose title. You get fresh prints of such familiar jewels as Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds, Aleksander Ford’s medieval war epic Black Cross, and several works by the undersung Krzysztof Zanussi, including my favorite, Camouflage, a subtle and deeply resonant generation-gap comedy in which a young linguist squares off against a member of the Old Guard. —D.E.
February 5 through 16; schedule at filmlinc.com.
18. See Lawrence Brownlee
Spirituals with a Central Park view.
The velvet-voiced tenor is better known for his finesse in the bel canto repertoire than for raising the roof with spirituals, but it’s the latter he’ll sing, joined by jazz pianist Damien Sneed, for this “American Songbook” evening.
The Allen Room, January 29, 8:30 p.m.
19. Read Smart Cities
Silicon in the alleys.
Anthony M. Townsend’s manifesto is about the good side of Big Data: the ways in which immense amounts of information about mass transit, resource consumption, and human interaction can be used to make life better. Since its publication in October, it’s become the book of the season among people who care about the wonky details of city life.
20. Hear Steven Schick
Solo percussion music may be only 60 years old (in the West, anyway), but it makes for a minor epic, and the staggering Schick covers virtually all of it in a formidable pair of concerts that perhaps only he could pull off. —J.D.
Miller Theatre, January 30 and February 1.
21. See Frank Langella in King Lear
Flawed production, great center.
The production sags when he’s offstage, but Langella finds the libertine in Lear: the old fascinator whose poetry and posing barely disguise an erotic delight in power, even if it’s thwarted. No one calls down the rain or curses an ingrate better. —J.G.
BAM Harvey Theater, through February 9.
22. Read Self-Portrait As Your Traitor
Debbie Millman’s inner life.
Trained as a graphic artist, Millman has become one of the most prominent branding experts there is. But she continues to create for herself, and the essays and poems in this new collection are presented in eccentric, beautiful ways. It’s also—no surprise—a gorgeously designed book.
23. See 2wice: Dancing From Page to Stage to Screen
Put dancing on a great iPad app, and the performers leap into your lap. The latest iteration of dance-world fairy godmother Patsy Tarr’s 2wice app, “Dot Dot Dot,” follows Tom Gold in a buoyant Chaplinesque solo; Gold and Tarr will discuss the app (joined by Pentagram partner Abbott Miller and videographer Ben Nicholas) at the Guggenheim’s intimate “Works and Process” series. —R.M.
Guggenheim Museum, January 27, 7:30 p.m.
24. Gape at Malls Across America
Everything but the smell of soft pretzels.
Starting in 1989, Michael Galinsky set out to document the texture of life in the American mall in all its acid-washed, muscle-teed weirdness. These photographs will leave you agape (even if you grew up in these places).
25. See The Stettheimer Dollhouse
My wife and I recently made our annual pilgrimage to Carrie Stettheimer’s visionary twelve-room dollhouse, made between 1916 and 1935 and on permanent view at MCNY and furnished with tiny artworks made by the Stettheimer family’s friends: Duchamp, Lachaise, more. It reminds wintered indoor minds how much creative magic is always afoot around us. —J.S.
Museum of the City of New York, second floor.