Tamuna Sirbiladze's Pomegranate and L Vase at Half Gallery

August in New York can feel barren and dry with nothing but tumbleweeds (or tumble-weaves) blowing through. But luckily this week, in the throes of what is usually a dead, dry month in the art world, three shows swept us off our feet, quenching our thirst for good art.

Uptown at Half Gallery, a breezy townhouse-turned-gallery set back in a overgrown alleyway, Tamuna Sirbiladze's first solo show felt like a transportation back in time to a mid-century Vienna. Large figurative oil slick paintings on unstretched canvas hung loosely next to the house's ornate crown moulding, on walls that have been painted deep green by the artist in a similar gestural style as her work. Sirbiladze, who was married to the late Viennese artist Franz West, paints pomegranates, sailboats or "Picasso's Pigeon" with an unconstrained energy that trickled its way into the vibes of the opening itself.

Figure 8 at Clifton Benevento

On the other side of town and a jump into the contemporary, eight artists showed eight pieces  in Figure 8, a group show curated by Silke Lindner at Clifton Benevento gallery. Exploring the ability of materials to translate language, the works ranged in substance and form -- from a canvas sent through the mail by Karin Sanders, to Joshua Citarella's color-gradient columns made using a Photoshop program assigning color to specific architecture, to a video by Siebren Versteeg that live streams random Google images on an boxy old television. The collection of works are a look into a future of image making where the technology or methods are masked by the artwork's surface aesthetics, like a Western filmed in an LA studio.

Film still from Sam Cooke's Every Good Boy Does Fine

The night ended in Brooklyn in the cool of the Nitehawk movie theater for a collection of short art films curated by Andrea McGinty under the title The Future is Whatever. In participation with Frieze and to raise funds for Bruce High Quality Foundation University, artists like Jayson Musson, Nate Hill, Nadi Loaf and more gathered to suspend disbelief in the comfort of the cinema. But the films, even in their humorous, ironic and irreverent tones, were an enticing dose of reality. Video artist Sam Cooke's juxtaposition of classical art images, pop songs, YouTube fails, CGI porn, and a very horny animation of Bugs Bunny poignantly collided genres and generations. Fan girl realness was reached in Allison Brainard's documentary style ode to D'Angelo, splicing footage from his unforgettable "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" video and her journey to his recent concert in New Jersey. Even the compilation of Sean Patrick Carney's videos from 2002, the epitome of Jackass-style teen boy stunts of the era, was didactic and outside the realm of an expected "art film."

After the credits rolled we emerged into a cooler evening, jittery from the sudden plot twist of culture in an otherwise artless August.