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Video Art

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Walt Disney Concert Hall transformed for Refik Anadol's video to Ameriques by Edgard Varese - REFIK ANADOL
  • Refik Anadol
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall transformed for Refik Anadol's video to Ameriques by Edgard Varese

Plenty of great composers moved to the United States, but does anyone have a more striking story of immigration than the French-born Edgard Varese?

Hailed by his elders — including Debussy and Strauss — as Europe’s greatest young composer, with most of his life’s work stuck behind enemy lines in a German warehouse, Varese landed in New York on December 29, 1915. Rather than attempt to duplicate the music which had given Varese so much success in Paris and Berlin, the honorably discharged World War I veteran chose to look forward and “fight for the liberation of sound.”

The first piece that Varese finished in the U.S. was Ameriques, a 25-minute modernist masterpiece cramming a record number of percussion instruments into an orchestra, including sounds never before considered as musical: a siren, a steamboat whistle, a crow call. Ameriques elevated percussion instruments as equal musical partners to the string, wind, or brass sections, and dished up some of the most hair-raising dissonances ever heard in an orchestral work at the time.

Nearly a century later, Ameriques still has the power to shock and awe listeners. This weekend, a young Turkish immigrant artist, Refik Anadol, hopes to blow the minds of concertgoers with computer software that creates and projects videos on the interior surface of Walt Disney Concert Hall as the L.A. Philharmonic performs Varese’s rarely-heard score. Anadol’s video-creating software follows and responds precisely to Varese’s music.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin's still from an untitled work in progress - COURTESY REGEN PROJECTS
  • Courtesy Regen Projects
  • Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin's still from an untitled work in progress

This week, karaoke gets a close examination at USC, and an animated cat appears repeatedly in an immersive Hollywood installation.

5. Playing with food
Robert Heinecken’s TV dinners, gritty, dimensional photographs of dinners from the frozen-food aisle, look as if they actually went through the microwave themselves. The dinners alone make a trip to Heinecken’s Hammer Museum survey worth it. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Wstwd.; through Jan. 18. (310) 443-7000,

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014


There are multiple rooms-as-artworks this week, from an arcadelike space downtown to a gated chamber in Westwood.

5. Alone with the flashiness
Cayetano Ferrer’s Endless Columns, part of his show “Composite Arcade” at Chateau Shatto, is a mirrored room with a column at the center. The column, lit with flashing neon lights, reflects all around you and, if you go in alone, gives you the eerie feeling of being at an arcade or casino before anyone else has arrived. 406 W. Pico Blvd., dwntwn; through Nov. 1. (213) 973-5327,

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cyril Kuhn's Following Madonna through a cosmic portal (2013) - COURTESY JANCAR GALLERY
  • Courtesy Jancar Gallery
  • Cyril Kuhn's Following Madonna through a cosmic portal (2013)
Three male painters revel in idiosyncrasy and messiness, and two artists revive an old ballet. 

5. Dark art with popcorn
For the second year in a row, video artists Harry Dodge and Aimee Goguen curated their Afterglow series of summer screenings. The last program of the season is this weekend at performance space Pieter, and it includes work by both organizers as well as Nayland Blake and Peggy Ahwesh. All four have a tendency toward dark, discomforting comedy. They also use the awkward home-video aesthetic to their advantage. Chairs and popcorn are provided, but BYOB. 420 W. Avenue 33, Unit 10, Lincoln Heights; Friday, Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m. (646) 750-5375,

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Photo by Ben Westoby, courtesy White Cube - MARK BRADFORD'S SHOOT THE COIN (2013)
  • Mark Bradford's Shoot the Coin (2013)
  • Photo by Ben Westoby, courtesy White Cube

5. Trying to recall

In German artist Julia Weissenberg's film Snowstorm, a memory athlete — someone who competes in mental sports — concentrates on memorizing binary code. In Spanish artist Ana Rodríguez León's Memorais, a woman loses her grip on reality while recalling a past relationship. Both screen as part of a memory-themed program that host M.I.A. (Moving Image Art) has titled Peak-End. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Saturday, Sept. 13, 8 p.m. (626) 792-5101,

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

  • Courtesy Last Projects
This week, one artist dresses as a clown and another shows that sloppiness can happily coexist with polish. 

5. Outsiders
Twice each year, the MAK Center hosts young artists from outside the United States, giving them an apartment they can stay in for three months while working on a project based on Los Angeles. The spring-summer residency just ended and Copenhagen-based Maria von Hausswolff is showing the four-minute film noir she made. It delves into suicide, scandal, murder and romance. Vienna-based Björn Kämmerer made a 16mm film inspired by the "bad guy" targets used for shooting practice. 1137 S. Cochran Ave., Mid-Wilshire; Opening Thurs., Sept. 4, 7-9 p.m.; on view through Sept. 7. (323) 651-1510,

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This week, an obelisk gets covered in handmade bricks, and an artist looks closely at whether Neil Young did or did not have a coke flake on his nose.

5. Family labor
This past spring, artist Michael Parker dug out a trench in the shape of an obelisk along the L.A. River. His obelisk, 137 feet long, replicates an ancient Egyptian archeological site. This weekend, performance artist Rafa Esparza will cover the whole thing with bricks he handmade with his seven family members and he and dancer-choreographer Rebeca Hernandez will perform on top of the bricks at sunset. 2800 Casitas Ave., Cypress Park; Sunday, Aug. 24, 6:45 p.m. (323) 522-6014,

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Emilie Halpern's Emu (2012-2014) - COURTESY SAMUEL FREEMAN
  • Courtesy Samuel Freeman
  • Emilie Halpern's Emu (2012-2014)

An art festival rivals a music festival, and an alien from who-knows-where learns to navigate life and Los Angeles.

5. Avocado season
While the Echo Park Rising music festival plays out in and around Echo Park, artist-curator Jonathon Hornedo’s three-day festival, called Avocados, will play out in that vicinity as well. His festival includes artists' bands, such as Joel Kyack’s Street Buddy, and performances by artists including Jennifer Juniper Stratford, who makes pseudo-spiritual TV programs. Ideally, it will be high-energy and a little unruly all the way through. 1952 Clinton St., Echo Park; Friday, Aug. 15-Sunday, Aug. 17.,

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Patrick Nagel, Piedmont Graphics (CN03) AKA: Sushi Girl (1985) - © DUMAS, PUBLISHED BY MIRAGE EDITIONS
  • © Dumas, Published by Mirage Editions
  • Patrick Nagel, Piedmont Graphics (CN03) AKA: Sushi Girl (1985)

An '80s icon has an intimate show, two artists double as rappers, and dancers try to make the Hammer home.

5. Tastefully kinky
Everything in the CB1 show curated by artist Tucker Neel is in questionable taste but tastefully made. Nancy Baker Cahill’s hairy graphite drawings are smartly crafted, as are John Weston’s psychedelically colored paintings of cartoonishly shaped, colorful genitalia. Kiki Seror’s montages of stills from porn are hung on the wall in organized, respectable-seeming grids. The awkward in-between moments are the highlights, such as an inscrutable altercation between a fully clothed man and woman in a video store aisle. 207 Fifth St., dwntwn.; through Sept. 7. (213) 806-7889,

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

From Aaron Garber-Maikovska's Costco with Corner (2014) - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy the artist
  • From Aaron Garber-Maikovska's Costco with Corner (2014)

This week, a high-energy artist digs into social-media power relations, and another artist gets clean. 

5. Ahead of his time
James Ensor was a perfectly respectable painter — until suddenly he wasn't. Halfway through the 1880s, the Belgian artist who had been depicting well-dressed ladies in muted parlors started painting politicians pooping on their people and mobs in grotesque masks. The irreverent work, on view now in a fantastic show at the Getty, looks as if it could have been made now, and two contemporary artists — Tom Knechtel, whose art is sexual and theatrical, and Laurie Lipton, who riffs on historic greats — will talk about his influence. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood; Thursday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m. (310) 440-7300,

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