Art about wolves, flowers and dinosaurs, a classical music animal carnival, a program devoted to how we live in and with nature now, poetry, paintings elevating the magic of daily life, paintings asking questions about how we treat one another and ourselves, an audio tour of the region’s oldest sacred sites, a documentary on a titan of American design, a film exploring the life-saving powers of fantasy, and the best reason ever to stay home and read a book.
Friday, March 5
Liz Markus: T-Rex at The Pit. Markus’ enigmatic paintings stem from the ubiquitous Halloween costume more than from actual interpretations of the dinosaur in illustrations or films. As the artist has continued to investigate this subject and push the methods in which the imagery is constructed, the paintings have become more abstracted in their appearance, more psychedelic in their aesthetic, and have taken on more of a conversation with fluid color field painting as well as gestural Ab-Ex works. Join Markus in conversation with critic and curator Terry R. Myers this Friday. The Pit, 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale; open by appointment through March 13; Zoom talk: Friday, March 5, noon; free; the-pit.la.
First Fridays: Home X Habitats at Natural History Museum. Lively discussions, DJ sets, and live music performances and topical DIY cocktails. Hosted and moderated by neuroscientist and science communicator, Dr. Yewande Pearse, this month’s edition focuses on how habitats and environments have changed for humans and animals — adapting and changing to make home, home again. What is home in a work-from-home world? Nature has been a source of calm and connection, and an opportunity for social justice for nature groups that focus on intersectionality and inclusion, but how can we continue to cultivate culture around environmental responsibility? Musical guests are DJ Anthony Valadez and duo Neil Frances. Friday, March 5, 6pm; free; nhm.org.
Sound/Stage at LA Phil. Season Two of this popular performance and conversation series begins this week, and their first presentation is Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals. Pianists Yuja Wang and David Fung join Gustavo Dudamel, his son Martín, and the entire Los Angeles Philharmonic to explore a world of colorful creatures, featuring animations, stories from around the globe. Streaming beginning Friday, March 5; free; soundstage.laphil.com.
Film: Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman. The rise, fall and resurrection of the father of the American Arts and Crafts movement is chronicled in Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman, which offers an unprecedented look at the life and works of Stickley as told through interviews, archival materials, and a close examination of his most iconic works. A discussion happens on Tuesday, March 9, which is Stickley’s birthday, with Vonda Givens, Executive Director of the Stickley Museum, and director Kristi Zea. On demand beginning Friday, March 5; conversation Tuesday, March 9, 4pm Pacific; rivertownfilm.org.
Saturday, March 6
Poetry: Melinda Kweskin. Poetry Promise will host a Zoom-based reading from a new book by Melinda Kweskin, Introspections in Flight. Melinda Kweskin is the poet avatar of freedom and belief. She lived fully, wrote assiduously, and passed away in 2015. Her literary legacy is in this book. Saturday, March 6, 2pm; free; email email@example.com to get the link to join the reading; zeitgeist-press.com.
Evita Tezeno: Better Days at Luis De Jesus. Employing richly patterned hand-painted papers and found objects in a contemporary folk-art style, Evita Tezeno’s colorful collage paintings on canvas and rag board depict a cast of characters in harmonious everyday scenes. Inspired by her family and friends, childhood memories in South Texas, personal dreams and moments from her adult life—and influenced by the great 20th century modernists Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, and William H. Johnson—scenes of joy animate her vision of a Black America filled with humanity. Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, 2685 S. La Cienega, Culver City; opening: Saturday, March 6, noon-6pm; on view by appointment March 6 – April 17; luisdejesus.com.
Hayv Kahraman: The touch of Otherness at Vielmetter. Kahraman’s new paintings reflect her recent interrogation of the intersecting vocabularies of war and of immunology and epidemiology. “In my new work,” she says, “I want to ask if we can lean towards a new language about the body and the state that does not see self and non-self as enemies.” With a poetic visual language that oscillates between confrontation, humor, and tenderness, Kahraman’s recent work demands that we consider the long-term effects of militaristic metaphors in the discourse of health. Vielmetter Los Angeles, 1700 S. Santa Fe, downtown; on view by appointment March 6 – April 17; vielmetter.com.
Ken Nwadiogbu and Fumi Nakamura at Thinkspace. By recreating his own realities as a young Nigerian, Nwadiogbu invokes a humanist connection to the ongoing issues of police brutality, racism, xenophobia, culture conflict and shock. Working with charcoal and acrylic he creates a hyperrealist narrative that demands socio-political thought and discourse, bringing the ideology full circle by emphasizing an understanding that we are more alike than different. Nakamura pulls from the subconscious, using metaphor and imagery. Each flower has different meanings and colors play a huge role as each work becomes full of phrases and meanings. Thinkspace, 4217 W. Jefferson, West Adams; Opening Saturday, March 6, noon-6pm; on view by appointment March 6 – 27; thinkspaceprojects.com.
Audio Theater: Sacred Sites, at 18th Street Arts Center. Join artist in residence Susan Suntree for an online launch party for an audio production of her award winning book Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California (Univ. of Nebraska Press). A history that is equal parts science and mythology, Sacred Sites offers a rare and poetic vision of a world composed of dynamic natural forces and mythic characters. The result is a singular and memorable account of the evolution of the Southern California landscape, reflecting the riches of both Native knowledge and Western scientific thought. Saturday, March 6, 5pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Sunday, March 7
5th Anniversary Exhibition at Open Mind Art Space. Each year, Open Mind Art Space maintains a tradition of hosting an Annual Anniversary Exhibition to honor its artists who contributed to the gallery’s programming from 2016 to the present. For its 5th Annual Anniversary Exhibition, popular and new works by Open Mind artists will be featured, and works by newly selected artists will be introduced. Participating artists will include Matt Allison, Carl Baratta, Alexandra Chiou, Gioj DeMarco, Cathy Ellis, Margaret Griffith, Theresa Knopf, Alison Limtavemongkol, Vida Liu, Brian Mallman, Aline Mare, Chris Riggs, Bianca Turner, Matthew Usinowicz, Aurora Valentine, Andre Yi, Jody Zellen and more. Open Mind Art Space, 11631 Santa Monica Blvd, West LA; Outdoor opening reception: Sunday, March 7, 4-6pm; on view by appointment through March 20; openmindartspace.com.
The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball. Join 2021 Chair, poet Claudia Rankine and Honorary Chairs Misty Copeland, Valeria Luiselli, Michelle Tea and Charles Yu for the coziest fundraiser of the year. Stay safe and read in the comfort of your home, bed, or even in the bathtub, or mask up and go for a walk with an audiobook from the Library. Choose a book (or many!) and “have a ball” while reading at home, and show your support for the Los Angeles Public Library by donating what you would have spent at an annual gala or a night out. Share photos of your literary festivities on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and especially what you’ll be reading – tag #StayHomeAndRead to let others know how you are celebrating. All day and night, Sunday, March 7; lfla.org.
Film: The Orphanage. The diaries of Anwar Hashimi, which together with director Shahrbanoo Sadat’s own memories formed the basis for her feature debut, Wolf and Sheep, also supply the raw material for her second film, The Orphanage. Rawness and nostalgia fold into one another in this bittersweet coming-of-age drama, with Hashimi himself in the likeable role of class mentor. When fifteen-year-old street kid Qodrat is arrested for illegally reselling cinema tickets, he’s put in an orphanage on the outskirts of Kabul. Here, for the first time in his life, he receives some education, goes on a school trip to Moscow, makes friends, falls in love and in the meantime tries to avoid two older boys who terrorize the dormitories. Qodrat’s love of film colors his most lively memories, in which he and his friends sing to one another like Bollywood stars. Now streaming on demand on Prime Video; amazon.com.