As far as the art world is concerned, we’re in a bit of a holding pattern, which in the absence of a proper reinstatement of blanket stay at home orders will likely last the summer. That is, more and more galleries have found their groove with the private appointment structure and have opened new shows or re-opened/extended installations; but at the same time, arts groups have also consistently upped their online game for those who might not be excited for IRL just yet. In addition to an assortment of shows worth the going-out effort, this week features talks, readings, dance films, and canonical video art you can happily experience from the nest.
Wednesday, July 22
Contested Space: Communist and Confederate Monuments at the Wende Museum. Today’s Cold War Spaces lunchtime talk features a discussion on the fate of communist monuments once they were “rendered obsolete” by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The speakers and Wende curators will explicate the obvious resonances with today’s conversation around not only Confederate monuments but more seemingly insidious dedications to, for example, slave-owning, colonialist, racist, misogynistic or genocidal institutional founders and historical figures in the U.S. Wednesday, July 22, noon-1pm; wendemuseum.org.
Readings from the Summer Issue of The Paris Review. The Paris Review’s editor, Emily Nemens, flips through the Summer issue, featuring readings from several contributors and a heartfelt conversation about the pleasures and terrors of the art of literary translation. Wednesday, July 22, 6pm; free. theparisreview.org.
Martín Nuñez: Lost Paradise at The Landing. Curated by Michael Slenske, this will be the debut solo show from this fascinating Mexico City-based artist. The exhibition’s paintings manifest a folkloric take on contemporary surrealism, presenting a series of layered time lines and spatial economies akin to dream logic, with anthropomorphic characters and interplanetary communion. The Landing, 5118 Jefferson Blvd.; open by appointment, July 22 – August 29; thelandinggallery.com.
Materia Medica at Francois Ghebaly. Curated by artist Kelly Akashi, who has her own material relationship to esoteric forces and arcane ancestral wisdom, this group show imagines a family of artists who navigate issues of evolution, naturalist magic, and the conflicting impulses that lead humanity both toward the pursuit of wisdom and the entropy of appetites for control. Ghebaly, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown; open by appointment July 22 – September 4; ghebaly.com.
Time Lapse Dance: Single Use. Time Lapse Dance continues its 20th anniversary season with the debut of choreographer Jody Sperling’s new short film, Single Use, in which she dances on city streets in a costume made from reclaimed plastic bags. The piece is described as “a meditation on the nature of disposability and resuscitation.” A conversation with choreographer Jody Sperling and Beyond Plastics Founder Judith Enck on the urgent problem of plastic pollution follows the screening. Wednesday, July 22, 4pm; timelapsedance.com.
Doyle Lane: Weed Pots and Ricky Swallow: Borrowed Sculptures at David Kordansky Gallery. Sculptor Ricky Swallow recreates ordinary objects such as rope and furniture in trompe l’oeil bronze sculptures that defy function and material expectations, even as their strangeness highlights the relationship of commonplace objects to the body and memory. Concurrently, Swallow curates an exhibition of charming, luminous, tactile, and equally strange ceramic vessels by Doyle Lane (1925-2002), a beloved pioneer in the early emergence of the stellar West Coast pottery scene and especially the vibrant Black art world of galleries like Brockman. Kordansky Gallery, 5130 Edgewood Place; open by appointment July 22 – August 29; davidkordanskygallery.com.
Thursday, July 23:
Katharina Fritsch at Matthew Marks. Remember when there was a giant sculpture of a rooster on a pedestal in London’s Trafalgar Square in 2013? Not everyone loved it, but no one was indifferent. That brilliant bit of subversive post-pop was the work of sculptor Katharina Fritsch, who revisits the vaunted cock motif in her current exhibition in Los Angeles. The bird is witnessed by a pair of equally painstakingly rendered audience members; all three are a shocking, luminous blue that Yves Klein would appreciate. The handiwork of five years in the studio, the work still has a punchy, fresh energy that is as funny as a good joke, but as impactful and imposing as a monument. Matthew Marks, 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., WeHo; open by appointment through August 1; matthewmarks.com.
Gagosian Broadcasts Chapter Four. The gallery’s four-part summer video art series concludes with a program of works by Richard Serra (1973), Hannah Wilke (1974), Walter de Maria (1969), and Chris Burden (1980). Each of these artists was equally or even primarily known as sculptors with deep connectivity to their materials — Serra’s steel, de Maria’s lightning rods, Wilke’s ceramics and bronze, Burden’s vessels and later lampposts. Yet in these videos they each take the opportunity to explore their capacity for performative focus and more ethereal conceptualism. Gagosian online through August 3; gagosian.com.
Friday, July 24
E.E. Kono: California Mythos, Mark Gleason: Wilderness, and Amanda Adomaitis: California Mythos at La Luz de Jesus. E. E. Kono’s prismatic egg tempera paintings are inspired by 16th-century portraits, and “local maritime history.” In Mark Gleason’s new work, the concept of the wilderness is treated as a literary metaphor for darkness, danger, and the unknown. Amanda Adomaitis creates ceramic creatures to life in a hybrid of abstraction and personality. La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd.; open by appointment through August 2; laluzdejesus.com.
sense n’ react to the drop at OCHI Projects. In collaboration with Visitor Welcome Center and curated by David L Bell, this group exhibition features the work of Sonia Louise Davis & Ivan Forde, Joeun Kim Aatchim, iris yirei hu and Paula Wilson. As the statement explains, “Through touch and smell, ants are able to sense the changes in their immediate vicinity, and have developed abilities to pivot, prepare, and improvise to reorient themselves towards survival.” Works in the show explore the cultivation of the collective consciousness as a potential strategy for our own survival. OCHI Projects online through August 2; ochigallery.com.
Saturday, July 25
Refik Anadol at the Fowler Museum. Refik Anadol, one of the world’s most exciting AI and new media artists as well UCLA’s Department of Design Media Arts’ Visiting Researcher, offers a live virtual tour of his studio lab in Frogtown. Highlights of the program are a behind the scenes look at his Artificial Intelligence data paintings and a walkthrough of his Infinity Room, an immersive space created through quantum computing. Q&A will follow. Fowler Museum, Saturday, July 25, noon-1pm; fowler.ucla.edu.
Forrest Kirk: 9 Fists at Parrasch Heijnen. In October 1968 at the Mexico City Olympics medal ceremony, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists and sparked a symbol of empowerment that has endured and evolved through generations. Referencing this symbol within the context of the very recent and still ongoing demonstrations in the movement for Black Lives, Kirk’s recent series of richly toned, viscerally rendered, emotionally charged paintings treat this symbol as a template for a kind of abstract portraiture as well as a gesture of solidarity understood the world over. Parrasch Heijnen, 1326 S. Boyle Ave., Boyle Heights; open by appointment through August 7; parraschheijnen.com.
Vivan Maier at KP Projects. Vivian Maier’s mysterious life story and the seemingly endless treasure trove of moving, innovative photographs she left behind have never ceased to captivate viewers since her posthumous discovery. A new curation features freshly selected works that illuminate a mid-century summer vibe in her jaunty, empathetic style. KP Projects, 633 N. La Brea, Hollywood; Saturday, July 25, 12:30-6pm; open by appointment through August 15; kpprojects.net.