With ongoing threats of political turmoil and the most alarming pandemic numbers yet, this weekend seems like a good one to spend mostly tucked away at home. Thankfully, it’s also a weekend abundant in streaming performance art, avant-garde films and music festivals, and salient issues-based cultural conversations.
Thursday, January 14
Performance Art: Come a Little Closer at USC Roski School. A cohort of performance artists explore the concept of online witnessing, questioning what it means to be present with the realities of others through the screen. They employ an amalgamation of disciplines and mediums in their practices including escapology, embodiment, music and virtual reality, coming from their intensive exploration with each other on how audiences view art in the digital age. Thursday, January 14, 5-6:30pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Screening: Crip Camp at LACMA. In the early 1970s, teenagers with disabilities faced a future shaped by isolation, discrimination, and institutionalization. Camp Jened, a ramshackle camp “for the handicapped” in the Catskills, exploded those confines. The documentary is followed by a conversation between co-directors Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht. Wednesday-Thursday, January 13-14, 7-11:30pm; free; lacma.org.
Friday, January 15
The Black Index: Artists in Conversation at the Getty Research Institute. A pair of talks — artist Lava Thomas with professor Leigh Raiford, and artist Whitfield Lovell with curator LeRonn P. Brooks — look at The Black Index: Archiving Black Creativity and Resistance, an online exhibition curated by Bridget R. Cooks at the Contemporary Art Center Gallery, the University of California, Irvine. These conversations explore the significance of the artists’ work featured in the exhibition along with the role of Black artistic practice within our current moment of political and social turmoil. Friday, January 15, 11am; free; getty.edu.
Conversation: Carolina Caycedo at Printed Matter. Multidisciplinary Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo was originally invited to create a mural for the cancelled 2020 LA Art Book Fair. In the unrealized mural, like in much of her work, Caycedo illustrates a system of equity for workers and the environment, inviting us to examine our accountability in the world around us. In this discussion Caycedo will be joined by curator Carla Acevedo Yates, and artists gloria galvez and Lorena Mostajo, to address their respective strategies toward social and environmental justice. Friday, January 15, 5pm; free; printedmatter.org.
Music Festival: Wild Up’s Darkness Sounding. Each winter Wild Up embarks on a new venture, a series set against the darkest days of the year. They ask: what is it about the end of the year? It’s dark already, our clocks have jumped. And even in L.A. nights seem to overtake the days. Pagan and sacred holidays abound: rituals collecting themselves around the darkness. “We’re hungry for something new, for something wrapped and warm, yet we search for a newness unbounded by the trappings of the past. Wild Up’s winter festival Darkness Sounding is our ongoing response to these conditions and questions.” January 15 – February 14; join their Patreon at any level for access; darknesssounding.wildup.org.
Saturday, January 16
Online Exhibition: GARDEN at Ladies Room L.A. Featuring more than 100 women and non-binary artists and artist teams addressing gardens as metaphorical utopias and sites of resilience, but principally as sources of bodily nourishment, GARDEN underscores mutual aid in a moment of institutional atrophy, financial insecurity, and cultural drought. As part of the exhibition’s commitment to the Los Angeles community, 15% of all sales benefit L.A. Food Policy Council, Ron Finley Project, and Summaeverythang Community Center. January 16 – March 31; ladiesroomla.org.
Doug Aitken: Flags and Debris at Regen Projects. A new series of handmade fabric wall hangings and multi-screen installation across interconnected mediums, mixing dance, performance, film, sculpture, and handmade objects, the exhibition reflects the tension collectively felt between our isolation from the physical landscape of the exterior world and newly created spaces for turning inward to explore the subconscious landscape. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; on view by appointment, January 16-March 13; free; regenprojects.com.
John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres: The Bronx Comes to L.A. at Charlie James Gallery. A two-person show celebrating the artistic collaboration of seminal New York artists John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, a partnership spanning over 40 years. The life-casting process that Ahearn and Torres used in the Bronx in 1979 is effectively the same they use today. The show will present pieces dating from Bronx-era work as early as 1990 to new works completed in 2020. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown; on view by appointment, January 16 – March 27; free; cjamesgallery.com.
Monday, January 18
MLK Day Celebration at CAAM. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day immersed in music, culture, and community. This year’s virtual festival highlights MLK’s dedication to labor and workers’ rights, and these movements’ continued importance today. Vibrant programs and activities for all ages feature the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, panels, study programs, and poetry. Monday, January 18, 10am-3:30pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Screenings: Film Maudit 2.0 at Highways Performance Space. The 2nd edition of a festival in Los Angeles of outre work, inspired by legendary artist Jean Cocteau’s festival Le Film Maudit, which celebrated a group of films that were criminally overlooked and neglected at the time. The term film maudit literally means “cursed films,” and this showcase of counter-cinema will blend together both narrative, documentary and experimental films that in their style and/or subject matter, are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, troubling, shocking and/or unusual. The festival is augmented with the digital gallery exhibition In the Realm of the Senses curated by Dakota Noot. Streaming January 12-24; free; watch.filmmaudit.org.
Screenings: Avant-Garde Films by Female Polish Artists of the 1970s at Anthology Film Archives. The 1970s represented a period of revival in Polish art, which manifested itself in artists’ interest in new media. Women were pioneers in the fields of both avant-garde film and video, developing their own, original filmic language. They created both analytical and Conceptual works — structural films and impressionistic pieces devoted to the question of gender, approaching womanhood and its experience from a variety of perspectives. This program embraces films representing both these tendencies and features recently re-discovered films. Streaming January 13-February 2; $8; anthologyfilmarchives.org.