The Best Free L.A. Art Parties This Week

Corey Smith with Welcome to HellEXPAND
Corey Smith with Welcome to Hell
Courtesy of the Artist and Paul Loya Gallery

It’s the Here Comes Summer edition of our art parties list. True, it’s always more or less summertime here in Los Angeles, but whether it’s due to the warmer weather and longer days, the blooming of the greenery and florals, the psychological habit of thinking of Memorial Day as the real start of the season, or something more spiritual operating on our consciousnesses, this week’s art-friendly parties are all about staying out later, tapping into something larger and wearing as little as possible.

Friday, May 15: Bike Night/Dark Nights

Tonight at the far corners of downtown, a pair of free public events each in their own way encourage intrepid Angelenos to ditch the driving and take to the streets (and the subways, and the plazas) on our city’s warm evenings. Bike Night at Union Station celebrates the culmination of this year’s Bike Week L.A. with live music, cycling-themed crafts, contests, helpful patchers and an after party with menu specials at nearby Arts District hub Angel City Brewery. Meanwhile, a bit down and to the left, the South Park area sees the L.A. Live complex lit up with the return of the Dark Nights series — free evenings of music, art, vending, drink specials, food, performances, and people-watching — which is easy to access by train or bicycle.

Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., downtown. Fri., May 15, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; free. (213)683-6729, facebook.com/bikemetro
L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., downtown. Fri., May 15, 6-10 p.m.; free. (866-548-3452), lalive.com/events-calendar

Saturday May 16: Quantum Zodiac Alchemy

I’m telling you — there’s something in the air tonight and it’s starting this afternoon. There’s a special artists’ reception for the ongoing “Zodiac” exhibition at the Gabba Gallery, showcasing an eclectic range of visual, symbolic, and subversive responses to the mystical science of star-gazing. After that you should be ready for the opening of artist Corey Smith’s new exhibition “Church of Quantum Interconnectedness” at Culver City’s Paul Loya Gallery, showcasing a fake religion with a fresh cheeky take on the interwoven cults of celebrity and art-star.

Speaking of stars, meet the men of the brand new Danish invasion. “Mikael B and Thomas Fryd: Emerging Alchemy” is the second exhibition in Project Gallery’s new Westside space, and the first showing of a multimedia collaboration between Danes-turning-locals, the street and studio painter Mikael B. and fashion and fine art photographer Thomas Fryd. Thomas creates surreal, elaborately transformed photos of expressive human anatomy, then Mikael gives them a dynamic digital dimension, prints them on canvas and finally treats them with all the eclectic tools in a modern painter’s repertoire. The results are abstract and narrative, sexy and scary, strange and familiar — and, now, thanks to toy designers and fabricators Pretty in Plastic, two images skip the canvas and become seductive, playful sculptures, rebooting the sensual mayhem that inspired the whole idea. (Exhibition continues by appointment through June 11, with a mimosas-fueled artists talk on Sunday, May 31 at 11:30a.m.)

The Gabba Gallery, 3126 Beverly Blvd., East Hollywood, Sat., May 16, 12-4 p.m.; free. (310) 498-2697, thegabbagallery.com
Paul Loya Gallery, 2677 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; Sat., May 16, 6-9 p.m.; free. (310) 876-1410, paulloyagallery.com
Project Gallery L.A., 16275 17th St., Santa Monica; Sat. May 16, 7-10 p.m.; free. (213) 453-9214, projectgallery.com

Emerging Alchemy: MIIST by Thomas Fryd and Mikael B.
Emerging Alchemy: MIIST by Thomas Fryd and Mikael B.
Project Gallery

Saturday May 16: Naked Poetry

Now take all that post-pop peace and love and a healthy dose of dark humor and head over to Mid-Wilshire, where Temporary Space hosts Naked Poetry Night, coinciding with the opening of Richard Shelton’s “War Show,” the second installment of "50 Years of Painting." Featured in this installation are works responding to the second Iraq war. Naked Poetry is a collaborative word, image, and music performance piece with about a half dozen reader/performers enacting this most classic of art-world fantasies. Naked Poetry Night, according to Temporary Space’s founder, the iconoclastic Richard Shelton, is a throwback to the insouciance of the Beatnik era, “when poetry really mattered, and people — especially poets and artists — pretty much did whatever the hell they wanted — and dared the keepers of the status quo to get mad about it.” Don't worry, neither the actual writers nor the audiences will be nude per se — just the performers, unless of course you are so inspired as to volunteer.

Temporary Space LA, 5522 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sat., May 16, 6-10 p.m.; free. (323) 937-5488, temporaryspacela.com

Upcoming Events

Sunday, May 17: Fellowship of the C.O.L.A.

Like the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery hosting it, and its historic Barnsdall hilltop surroundings, the annual City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowships (C.O.L.A.) exhibition is a perennial jewel in the Department of Cultural Affairs’ crown. Each year a small group of midcareer L.A. artists gets funds to support new work. This simple premise consistently yields surprising results — and this year features Kelly Barrie, Jeff Colson, Alexandra Grant, Harold Greene, Sherin Guirguis and Elizabeth Leister, who executes a performed drawing at this afternoon’s opening reception.

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Sun., May 17, 2-5p.m.; free. (323) 644-6269, lamag.org.


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