From a cumulative serial exhibition about collective memory to a new dance film that left its heart in San Francisco, a street art auction to save indie shops on Melrose, a book launch celebrating the narrative power of the U.S. Mail, a drive-through outdoor art show with its own dashboard playlist, an arts resources fundraiser that’s part mural and part download, and a public art installation of psychedelic big cat paintings, here are the best ways to get your culture this weekend.
Thursday, August 13
ARCHIVE MACHINES: Resisting at LAMAG. For all the reasons, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery’s annual juried exhibition is online this year. For this digital iteration, they’ve reconceptualized and reconfigured the group of 44 jury-selected artists into an ongoing, serialized, cumulative and interactive presentation, ARCHIVE MACHINES. Centered around the idea of telling one’s own story across whatever combination of mediums and communication strategies give the artists the agency they seek, the works are grouped into four consecutive series which themselves address how archives are built and function in history: Revisioning, Resisting, Rewiring, and Relating. Embedded with interactive and talk-back functions, Revisioning has been on view since July 30; Resisting opens today; Rewiring and Relating are coming up, with the whole on view through November 1. lamag.org
Benjamin Millepied: Dance of Dreams at San Francisco Ballet. Dance of Dreams is a new dance film directed by the luminous Benjamin Millepied, starring a small cadre of San Francisco Ballet dancers performing choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor, and Christopher Wheeldon. Set in legendary, romantic, poetic and evocative locations like the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate park, the short is set to the Bernard Hermann song associated with Hitchcock’s Vertigo, also set in San Francisco. Released on all online platforms at Thursday, August 13, noon. sfballet.org.
In Plain Sight: The Los Angeles Orbit at MOCA. This past summer, the ambitious In Plain Sight project saw skywritten messages above carceral sites across the nation, urging action and solidarity with the unjustly imprisoned caught in the twinned systems of criminal justice and immigration policy. Garnering international headlines, the artists behind the project, including its chiefs rafa esparza and Cassils, will moderate a series of panel discussions on the origins of the idea and the choices of sites and texts that made it so powerful. The first talk also includes artists Bamby Salcedo, Beatriz Cortez, Yosimar Reyes, and Ken Gonzalez-Day — who generated the “shared orbit path,” around DTLA over the July 4 weekend. Thursday, August 13, 4pm. moca.org.
Friday, August 14
Justin Bua: DISRUPT the Fowler. DISRUPT is a design-centric student group at UCLA that aims to, “establish inclusive spaces and create opportunities for students of all backgrounds to engage in creative collaborations.” For this afternoon’s Fowler Museum program, the crew hosts interdisciplinary artist Justin Bua, known for his depth with visual street culture, fine art, and hip hop. In paintings, music videos, film, animation, gaming, apparel, education, and more, Bua’s boundary blurring is both a creative practice and a personal imperative. The artist will speak on his life and career, share a drawing technique workshop, and take your questions. Friday, August 14, 4pm; free. fowler.ucla.edu.
Save Melrose Street Art Charity Auction. On August 1st and 2nd, more than 20 street artists painted live along a beloved stretch of Melrose Ave. hit hard with fire damage. The event has passed, but the Save Melrose campaign is still active, with some 25 works created on the avenue now available for a charity auction this weekend. Coordinated by Headline Records and Rebel Rebel Hollywood with help from the musicians and artists of Some Cult, the auction will benefit Pearl’s Nail Salon, Doc Martens, Tony K., and Reloaded. Save Melrose’s eBay account, sale EXTENDED through August 23rd; saveMelrose.com.
Saturday, August 15
Mungo Thomson: Mail at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth LA. This afternoon’s live stream book launch and interview with artist Mungo Thomson and Tosh Berman presents Thomson’s new book, Mail (Inventory Press). In 2018 as part of an exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Thomson asked that all incoming mail — every “letter, package, notice, magazine, flyer, restaurant menu, exhibition postcard, vendor catalog and piece of junk mail that came to the museum” — be collected and forwarded to an off-site location unopened, to be documented at the end of the show.
This book examines that pile, in what was originally an homage to the history of mail art, but has since become a rousing salutation to the vital role of the USPS in a time of pandemic, privatization, and centrality to the function of democracy. Saturday, August 15, 3pm. artbook.com.
Tex Hammond: Splinter, a Drive-Thru Art Show at Titmouse Studios. Titmouse is known for lavish indoor/outdoor art and music events at its Hollywood compound, but with safety guidelines in mind, they too have had to get innovative. This weekend, a new exhibition of large-scale mixed media paintings by 13 year-old phenom Tex Hammond not only moves outside, but ensures that you don’t even have to leave your car. The work is visceral and intuitive, employing recycled materials in both an aesthetic and environmental gesture reflecting our times. The new work installed to be driven around at Titmouse is made with wood panels reclaimed from businesses that had boarded up during the closures and protests, with proceeds from the show heading to the Black Voters Matter organization. Oh and since you’re going to be in the car the whole time (unless, like the artist himself you’re too young to drive), Hammond has made a thoughtfully curated Spotify playlist to enhance the shared experience. Titmouse Animation Studios, 1121 Seward St., Hollywood; Saturday, August 15, 4 – 7pm. Free w/ RSVP; instagram.com/TEXHAMMOND.
Sunday, August 16
Big City Forum: Stories That Move at ICA LA. While physically closed to the public right now, the ICA LA has made its Field Workshop collaborative retail space available for use by artists and progressive community groups. As a result, an eclectic series of Action Projects is currently underway, with a holistic slate of upcoming talks and presentations on pedagogy, social policy, self-care, allyship, and creative practice. The next one is presented by Big City Forum and will explore, “the meaning and role of art organizations and networks in times of upheaval.” BCF’s three-day residency culminates in an open community workshop on Zoom with Leonardo Bravo, Cynthia Vargas, Reina Imagawa, and Jeremy Rosenberg. Sunday, August 16, 2-5pm. theicala.org.
Helmut Koller at Arts Brookfield. Brookfield is known for enlivening its business properties with intriguing visual art, and their current presentation on Hope St. in downtown is no exception. The photographer turned painter Helmut Koller first installed the series of portraits of wildlife in his signature post-Pop Kollerism style — intensely saturated yet harmonious palettes, precise and painstaking rendering, and majestic scale — back in April to celebrate Earth Day, but remains on view daily through the end of October. Both feverishly surreal and seductively confectionary, the work also generates an emotional response that is grounded in an awareness of the danger these animals face in their habitats, and our own compassion and complicity in that dynamic. In the end, these wild paintings of wild creatures are more than anything, a call to action. Bank of America Plaza, 333 S. Hope St., downtown; 8am-6pm through October 30; artsbrookfield.com.
Shepard Fairey for Art of Elysium. The Art of Elysium is celebrating 23 years in the good-works business of offering arts resources to the communities that need them most, and like everyone else was looking for an exciting but socially distant way to mark the anniversary — and raise some money. Their idea is an inventive hybrid of IRL and digital art, in a collaboration with Shepard Fairey that features both a brand new public-facing mural at the Hollywood Palladium, and original downloadable art from Obey Giant with proof of your donation of at least $23. pledgeling.com.