This week’s new pandemic numbers have been a little daunting, so much so that the state is weighing reinstating restrictions and delaying its already tentative reopening. As for the art world, it’s still mostly focused on virtual events, even though some venues are trying ways to be smart about opening. Among the intriguing digital experiences is the first all-online platform for L.A.’s favorite photography fair, as well as some particularly great streaming video content, sited AR dance, and conceptual art released in music form. For IRL, try an elegantly low key painting show preview or a boisterous punk rock art show in a parking lot. Masks on and six feet apart, please and thank you!
Thursday, June 25
Virtual Talk & Tour with David Judson of Judson Studios presented by The Glendale Historical Society. In continuous family-owned operation since 1897, L.A.’s Judson Studios is a globally acclaimed and tirelessly innovative stained glass studio. Their work with churches, private homes, public monuments, star architects and contemporary artists has recently been chronicled in the new book, JUDSON: Innovation in Stained Glass, written by David Judson and Steffie Nelson. Tonight the current leader of the craftsman dynasty, David Judson, leads a virtual tour of their historic location. Thursday, June 25, 7-8:15 p.m.; free. eventbrite.com.
Tova Mozard: The Theater Awaits at Ladies Room. Sometimes it takes the perspective of a visitor to see even an iconic city’s sights in a fresh new way. For Swedish photographer Tova Mozard, the dynamic collision between the Hollywood dream factory and the grittier reality of life in the town of Hollywood have yielded a portfolio of emotionally rich, empathetic images of the failures and fringes of the legend. “Psychic storefronts after dark, empty stages, off-duty street performers,” and all manner of faded glamorous animate her vision. Online June 25 through August 15; ladiesroomla.org.
BEHIND THE MASK: Psychics, Cops and Comedians is a conversation between Tova Mozard and Chris Kraus, the full text of which accompanies the online exhibition.
Chris Kraus: The photographs and videos in this exhibition are grouped into three discrete categories: comedians, cops and psychics. Thinking about them, it seems like this work seeks to record a bracket of time in L.A. The city’s so vast one could take almost any approach, but by limiting yourself to these categories you ultimately show a lot more. How did you choose these three categories? Can you describe your first encounters with L.A.?
Tova Mozard: I came to L.A. for the first time in 2002 as a very young student. I remember buying a car, driving around … I was living in Echo Park. And I was struck by the LAPD everywhere … being Swedish, I’ve grown up with all the cop TV shows and movies, but seeing them in real life, how they moved, how they drove, was pretty intriguing…It was a whole film noir clash with reality.
Friday, June 26
Kite Symphony, Four Variations by Roberto Carlos Lange & Kristi Sword at Ballroom Marfa / Bandcamp. Kite Symphony is a multimedia collaboration between musician Roberto Carlos Lange, also known as Helado Negro, and visual artist Kristi Sword. The pair has been collaborating on an episodic, though non-linear, film with a live score, along with a series of sculptures that respond to the elemental landscape of Marfa’s West Texas site. With a combination of field recordings and atmospheric phenomenology, the project seeks to envision and give form to ephemeral forces. This weekend, Lange will release four newly commissioned pieces of music as an extension of Kite Symphony, via Bandcamp, with 25 percent percent of proceeds to benefit Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services to low-income residents. ballroommarfa.org.
Saturday, June 27
Photo L.A.: Collect + Connect. After dozens of spectacular IRL editions, this will be the photography institution’s first-ever virtual photo fair. Like many fairs, they’ve reimagined the traditional fair space for the digital world. Their special iteration is a partnership with the Whova app platform, which combines presentation scheduling and 3D booth presentations with a community networking function and interactivity in the discussions.
The roster of some 70 international and local exhibitors is both more focused in its online modality and more global in its reach, and includes museum partners from the Getty to the Wilson Centre and the Cleveland and Philadelphia Museums of Art, as well as a roster of the salient talks and panels for which Photo L.A. is known, including topics from Ansel Adams to skate, rock & roll, and fashion photography to independent publishing and conservatorship. Saturday, June 27-Sunday, June 28, $20 all access pass; photola.com.
Kenny Harris: Ireland at George Billis Gallery. The paintings in this body of work explore the interiors and landscapes of Ireland, encountered in the artist’s recent trip across the Emerald Isle. “Ireland has always captured my imagination,” says Harris. “A green land full of history, and maybe just a little magic. My paintings are about light and space, and I am compelled to create spaces where the viewer is invited in, to create their own narrative.” As such his paintings are almost always devoid of people, a fact which has inevitably taken on new resonance as the pandemic has enforced interiority, isolation and a sense of longing for the time before. A special limited preview before the show heads off to a full exhibition at the gallery’s New York City location. George Billis Gallery, 2716 S. La Cienega, Culver City; opening reception: Saturday, June 27, 1-6 p.m., on view through July 2; free; georgebillis.com.
Marcel ‘SEL’ Blanco: Punk Rock Zen | Harmony In Chaos at FATHOM. Renowned graffiti writer and street artist SEL (aka Marcel Blanco), presents all new work, created for this, his first solo show, which is described as a “composite of opposites from punk rock to zen, from the energy of the street to the discipline of martial arts.” The artist reception will be in the gallery parking lot, with face masks required and a free gift bag with RSVP. FATHOM, 12227 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; Saturday, June 27, 6-7 p.m.; free; eventbrite.com.
Heidi Duckler Dance: Ebb & Flow Festival: Chinatown. HDD’s 4th Ebb & Flow will proceed, but with a big difference. Instead of live performances and gatherings, this year they have turned to AR to give audiences a sort of hybrid experience that is both site-specific and socially distant, self-guided and experiential. In the one part of the State Historic Park, audiences discover a suite of sculptural artworks, which are “activated” using the AR app that places dance performances within the viewfinder landscape. In another, an immersive installation designed by Snezana Petrovic is very much IRL and exists as an urgent mediation on our problematic relationship to the natural world. Los Angeles State Historic Park, 1245 N. Spring St., Chinatown; Saturday, June 27 – Tuesday, June 30, 8 a.m.-sunset daily; free; heididuckler.org.
Sunday, June 28
Bruce Conner: Looking for Mushrooms streaming at Paula Cooper Gallery. Conner’s fourteen-and-a-half-minute film, Looking for Mushrooms (1959–67/1996), combines street views of San Francisco that Conner and Bob Branaman shot in the late 1950s with scenes of rural Mexico that Conner shot during a series of “mushroom-hunting” excursions between 1961 and 1962. The weeklong screening coincides with an online exhibition organized by the Camden Art Centre in London, The Botanical Mind: Art, Mysticism and The Cosmic Tree, which features Conner among some 50 other artists to investigate the “significance of the plant kingdom to human life, consciousness and spirituality.” Paula Cooper Gallery website, June 22-29; free; paulacoopergallery-studio.com.
Films for Escapism at Women’s Center for Creative Work. Featuring avant-garde film and video by Sarah Nicole Francois, summer fucking mason, Rhea Dillon and Jerome AB — four black queer filmmakers who take a closer look into “themes of digital intimacy, hyper surveillance, dismantling the gaze and healing of the community.” A new one drops every week and each then screens for 7 days. WCCW online, now through July 2; free; films-for-escapism.