What started out as a way to help navigate the sudden tidal wave of online culture in response to pandemic isolation has been slowly broadened to include the tentative return of IRL art experiences — first, and still, from cars and sidewalks, and gradually moving to a few inside the box gallery events and viewings by appointment. It feels good to see those green shoots of optimism for the return of the normal, even with social distancing and mask-wearing rules, though it’s still far from clear just how good an idea it actually is to attend. So for those who are ready, drive by, keep your distance and don the face coverings; for those who are not, a menu of truly exceptional streaming video, dance and avant-crafting awaits from the safe space of home.
Thursday, June 18
Impending Actions: Streaming Video Art at OCMA: This round of video works selected from OCMA’s collection speak to “living in a condition of uncertainty, chaos and reform.” The curators have chosen works which they describe as featuring “bodies engaged in improvised or choreographed movements wrought with tension and striving for empowerment,” including instances of both specified and abstracted contexts of social unrest and times of sweeping political change. Organized by Ziying Duan, this series features works ranging from five minutes to 60, by Douglas Gordon, Robin Rhode, Koki Tanaka and The Speculative Archive (Julia Meltzer, David Thorne). Thursday, June 18, noon-Saturday, June 20, midnight. ocmaexpand.org.
Friday, June 19
MASTERPIECE at Band of Vices: Curated by Melvin A. Marshall and set to open in celebration of Juneteenth, this first in a planned series of annual invitationals takes a look at art history through a specific lens of intergenerational engagement and discourse. Artists have always cast an eye toward the past for inspiration and context in tackling the pressing issues of their own time. This interdisciplinary exhibition brings together a stylistically diverse array of modern voices whose art assertively confronts not only the politics, pandemics and quests for justice in racial, gender, economic and environmental arenas which define this moment, but also seeks for connectivity with the way masters from the past have done the same in their own eras. 5376 W. Adams Blvd. Friday, June 19, noon-8 p.m.; on view through August 7 by appointment; bandofvices.com.
Marcus Kuiland-Nazario: Puppet Friends at 18th Street. “During this time of social distancing we can’t see our friends and playmates,” laments the artist. “So it is time to make some new ones.” An omnivorous creative with a flair for performance and educational interactivity, Kuliand-Nazario will lead a virtual craft workshop teaching you how to make puppets using everyday household items like scissors, tape, markers, crayons, cardboard tubes and cartons, fabric scraps, newspapers, magazines, buttons, construction paper, envelopes, paper, string, sponges, and basically anything lying around that could be MacGyvered into a new bestie or not at all creepy mini-twin. Friday, June 19, 11am-noon, 18thstreet.org.
Martha Graham Dance Company and Wild Up: Deep Song and Immediate Tragedy at the Soraya: In 1937, Martha Graham performed a pair of moving, deeply personal and political works in direct response to the horrors and injustices of the Spanish Civil War, and especially the assassination of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca that galvanized the international arts community. While Graham’s solo dance Deep Song is known and has been produced, the companion dance Intimate Tragedy was all but lost to audiences — until now. In this world premiere commissioned by The Soraya, the work is reimagined for a company of 14 dancers and set to new music composed by Wild Up’s Christopher Rountree, all based on Graham’s own notes and sketches from the original. Tonight’s streaming program also includes video of a recent performance of Deep Song. Friday, June 19, 4 p.m. thesoraya.org.
Saturday, June 20
RAW National Arts Drive:. An ambitious international arts experience across multiple time zones and in your neighborhood, RAW Artists has organized a wide network of local self-guided tours featuring visual artists, performers, musicians and makers on front lawns, driveways, balconies, windows sills, and storefronts. Organizers were inspired by the challenges facing independent creatives during the pandemic isolation to raise both awareness and financial support, as well as offer a much-needed IRL experience for both audiences and the artists themselves. During the driving experience, besides actually finding the art, viewers will be able to use the interactive map to donate directly to artists as they approach installations and performances in 10 U.S. cities plus spots in Mexico and Canada. Saturday, June 20, 1-4 p.m. Pacific. nationalartsdrive.com.
Michael Waugh: Flow My Tears, the Mueller Report Said at Von Lintel Gallery: Using an arcane calligraphic technique known as micrography, the artist constructs his impossibly complex and superbly illusionistic images not from simply fine strokes of his pens, but in fact from volumes of laboriously hand-copied text. Generating multiple levels of cognitive resonance and dissonance, Waugh often chooses pastoral scenes of landscapes and familiar country animals like hounds and horses, deliberately offset by the politically and socially biting documents used for the raw materials of his form. For example, the show’s title is based on a Philip K. Dick novel in which the right-wing has won a second U.S. civil war while also pegged to the disappointing federal investigation, and lodged within an infuriatingly idyllic scene; and another image based on Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring shows a parable of nature healing after some minimal destruction to symbolic civilization, in perhaps a reference to some dynamic aspects of the global pandemic pause. Bendix Building, 1206 Maple Ave., 2nd floor, downtown; Saturday, June 20, 3-8 p.m., and by appointment through August 8. vonlintel.com.
Sunday, June 21
Channel Flip, Meet Me at the Edge of the Sun at LAND. This original streaming program commissioned by Los Angeles Nomadic Division features a roster of performance-based video works organized by Guadalupe Rosales, featuring pieces from Nao Bustamante, Zackary Drucker, rafa esparza, MPA, and Rosales herself around the theme of “bodies as archives.” The idea that the physical body itself over time becomes a site of memory, experience, politics, activism, and rebellion presents an expansive field for these artists to engage, looking at performance-based actions in service of giving form the forces that shape our existence. Rosales has said that she is interested in “how violence and micro-politics are embedded in our bodies in contemporary society and how artists channel this social energy in their artwork,” a particularly salient prompt in this time of pandemics, protests, and great change. For further emphasis, the screening happens on the amplified occasion of a solar eclipse (visible in Asia and Africa) and at the summer solstice. Sunday, June 21, 7 p.m.; followed by a conversation with the artists on Monday, June 22, at 2 p.m. nomadicdivision.org.