This week sees the presentation of so many new gallery exhibitions that it almost feels like the Before Times. Almost. Of course, it isn’t, so respect the rules, make appointments, and wear the masks if you do choose to check out some of this very fine painting and photography IRL. For those who remain more comfortable with nesting, the virtual realm has a load of quality art & craft shopping, plus indie documentary, literary, and dance streams as well as the first digital edition of our favorite international hometown pop-up Pop emporium.
Thursday, November 12
ART: Andy Goldsworthy: Recent Works 2020 at Matthew Brown Los Angeles. Such is the disruptive power of the past few years/months that it even has the reigning king of art-world zen shook. Of the works in this exhibition Goldsworthy explains, “Like everyone else I am trying to work my way through the events of this year. I cannot try to understand or to make sense of what’s happening. This is a time and place I don’t want to be. It’s a time and place I don’t want the world to be. It is however important to keep making art. To stop would be for me also to stop thinking or feeling. The urge to create no matter what is not just a way of getting through but also fighting back.” Matthew Brown Los Angeles, 633 N. La Brea Ave, Hollywood; open by appointment from Thursday, November 12; matthewbrowngallery.com.
ART: Marc Horowitz: Diagrams for Living at No Gallery. Juxtaposing new paintings completed in Los Angeles during quarantine with a selection of collage works on paper and video culled from the artist’s vast archive, the installation surveys Horowitz’s sprawling practice. The optical push-pull of his canvases create a tension that every so often gives way to little rest stops for the eye. The action of the paintings floats in the middle of the picture plane like a cloud that emerges from two cartoons fighting — only here the fight is between reason and doubt, chance versus strategy. No Gallery, 261 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; social distancing reception, Thursday, November 12, 3-8pm; nogalleryla.com.
DANCE: Ronald K. Brown: Grace@20 at CAP UCLA. Brown’s choreography blends African dance traditions with contemporary dance vocabulary to create an aesthetic style that is earthy, powerful and surprisingly intimate. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the premiere of one of his signature pieces, Grace, dedicated to the legacy of Alvin Ailey. The dance weaves the story of a Goddess’ journey to Earth to spread grace among humans, ultimately welcoming them to heaven, set to a score that includes works of Duke Ellington, Roy Davis Jr. and Fela Anikulapo Kuti. CAP UCLA’s three-day celebration of this seminal work includes performance screenings, conversations, and a dance workshop. Thursday, November 12, 7pm; Friday, November 13, 3pm; Saturday, November 14, 3pm; cap.ucla.edu.
Friday, November 13
DESIGNER-CON. Since its founding in 2005, DesignerCon has grown into the largest designer toy and art convention in the United States. For its 2020 — aka Covid pandemic edition — DCon will broadcast and host sales on Popshop Live, a groundbreaking platform at the forefront of streaming commerce. Secret Walls will return with their signature live illustration battles. Over 30 artists are participating in a DKE Toys curated limited-edition hand made action figure drop. Japan’s MEDICOM has DesignerCon as their only U.S. convention. The expo’s featured art show celebrates the 35th anniversary of Back to the Future — a franchise more timely than ever — honoring the iconic film with a fan art show curated by the radiant Carmen “Jane Dope” Acosta. The exhibition will be held at Art Share LA, a non-profit arts organization in DTLA, and livestreamed to DCon attendees. VIP Tickets include: a gift box, preview Friday, November 13, 5-9pm, early access on Saturday, November 14, 9am-6pm, and Sunday, November 15, 10am-5pm; $65. General Admission: Saturday, November 14, 10am-6pm and Sunday, November 15, 10am-5pm; $10; popshop.live/dcon2020.
FILM: Audrey Flack: Queen of Hearts. The documentary genre has been bursting into bloom with life of the artist films renovating the histories of the famous and infamous, as well as the often more compelling narratives finally giving the criminally overlooked their place in the sun. This is especially satisfying when, as is the case here, the subject is a pioneering woman. At 88 years-old, Audrey Flack holds a unique place in American art history. Feminist, mother, painter, sculptor and teacher, Audrey’s often controversial 40-year career evolved from abstract expressionism in the 1950s to photorealism in the 1970s — and at every point she was very often the only woman in the room. The woman-helmed production crew does an expert job intertwining the threads of her personal and professional lives, evoking the dissonance of her experience as she was experiencing serious success in her career and struggling with parenting a special needs child at home. And there’s a love story in there, too.
One of the most dramatic segments of the film’s narrative arc is that it first takes us through a period in which Flack stopped painting at the height of her success, shuttered the studio for two years, and re-emerged as a sculptor. Her long second act includes the prolific production of often monumental sculptural works — but we meet her just at the point at which she returns to large-scale painting after some 30 years. Through it all, we meet in the same woman a hard-core student of art history with a tireless mind for visual problem solving, technical innovation, and ambition, who is also a charming, down to earth and feisty story-teller that makes us feel like she’s speaking just to us. Opens Friday, November 13 at Laemmle virtual cinema; audreyflackfilm.com.
ART: Caroline Kent: A Sudden Appearance of the Sun and Sophia Narrett: Soul Kiss at Kohn Gallery. Interested in a reevaluation of abstract painting, Kent’s practice is founded on notions of language and textual translation. Much inspired by her Mexican heritage, Kent’s artistry is influenced by the bold spontaneity and structuralist dynamics of Mexican sculptors and painters like Pedro Coronel, and the emotional architecture of Luis Barragán during the Twentieth Century. In parallel to Coronel and Barragán, Kent’s large-scale works are sumptuous in color and texture, where experimentation and improvisation direct the process — an interaction with nature. Known for her elaborately embroidered shaped canvases, exploring topics of role play, the emotional results of escapism and the evolving nature of identity, Narrett’s process of embroidery is both slow and careful. Each stitch is a painstaking practice of self-reflection that emphasizes the power of the human touch. Kohn Gallery,1227 N. Highland, Hollywood; opening weekend, Friday – Saturday, extended hours, November 13-14, open by appointment through January 15; kohngallery.com.
POETRY: Mimi Tempestt: The Monumental Misrememberings Book Launch at Women’s Center for Creative Work. Tempestt’s debut book of poetry from Co-Conspirator Press is a curious insight on the creative and violent ways in which Black girls, women, trans women and femmes often experience displacement, death, and subjugation at the hands of patriarchal systems in America. Hosted by Miss Barbie-Q and featuring live music from Ohmi, readings from the publication and a conversation between the author and our host, this event will ground us in community and celebrate the launch of Tempestt’s poetry collection, which operates not to romanticize the pain of Black femme bodies, but to bring light to this sadistic truth. Friday, November 13, 7-8:30pm; womenscenterforcreativework.com.
Saturday, November 14
ART: Wendell Gladstone: Safe Haven at Shulamit Nazarian. The new paintings in Safe Haven continue the artist’s interest in surreal and psychologically charged spaces, often populated with a cast of humans, animals, and hybrid forms. Expanding upon the idea of a haven, or a place of refuge, this exhibition conjures the varying degrees in which tenderness and precariousness overlap. Binaries blur between intermingled bodies — what is understood as interior and exterior, bound and liberated, giving and receiving, fluidly shift within a single work. This series examines an unfolding relationship between human connection, power, and safety through notions of gazing and physical contact. Shulamit Nazarian, 616 N. La Brea, Hollywood, open November 14 – December 19, by appointment; shulamitnazarian.com.
ART: Mohammad Barrangi The Conference of the Birds at Advocartsy. An exhibition of modern printmaking techniques on handmade paper by Iranian U.K. based artist Mohammad Barrangi, the exhibition explores the epic Iranian mythical poem, Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr, or Conference of the Birds, by Attar of Nishapur. In this, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States, Barrangi’s successful merger of contemporary and ancient attributes transport the viewer to a timeless state, combining elements of the past, present, and future seamlessly in his masterful yet whimsical compositions. This exhibition is timed in conjunction with the publication of Simorgh, a book illustrated by Barrangi and published in Iran by Madreseh Publications, many works of which are included in the exhibition. Advocartsy, 924 S. San Pedro, downtown; opening weekend: Saturday, November 14 – Sunday, November 15, noon-5pm; open through January 9, by appointment; advocartsy.com.
ART: Cleon Peterson: Hysteria at Over the Influence. Presenting a new body of work made over the past year, Hysteria constitutes something of a departure for Peterson, who is widely recognized for his depictions of monstrous, brutish authoritarian figures dispensing cruelty and violence on one another. The new work in Hysteria reflects the evolution that has taken place both in Peterson’s thinking over the recent turbulent months and also throughout the nation at large. In the lead up to the Presidential Election, with political propaganda proliferating and ideologues drowning out nuance and reason, Peterson moved beyond the formal and conceptual binaries of his earlier work to create pictures that embody the confusion, anger, repulsion, and horror in our present moment. “I feel like we’re living in a new medieval period,” Peterson says. “We have a plague, and folklore and mythology are influencing us more than rational thought.” OTI, 833 E. 3rd Street, downtown; November 14 – December 27, by appointment; overtheinfluence.com.
ART: Matthew Grabelsky: Animal at Thinkspace. Grabelsky’s works depict his subjects traveling on subways, often nonchalantly reading magazines or newspapers, while the protagonists in these dyads are strange, quasi-mythological human hybrids with animal heads. Deer, bears, elephants, tigers, and everything in between, make a suited appearance in rush hour. By contrasting the platitudes of the day-to-day with the presence of the extraordinary and unlikely, Grabelsky stages the unexpected within the most unassuming of circumstances. In Animal, the artist’s subjects find themselves coming above ground and exploring city centers and expanding their world view. Thinkspace, 6009 Washington Blvd, Culver City; opening: Saturday, November 14, noon-6pm; on view by appointment through December 5; thinkspaceprojects.com.
MUSIC: Daniel Corral and Alexander Gedeon: Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage and Count In! at REDCAT. Having Fun with Elvis on Stage is a 1973 album collaged entirely from Elvis speaking on stage between songs at live concerts — no music. Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage reimagines this vilified recording as the libretto for a sort of ghost opera — creating a memetic hologram of the endless purgatory of celebrity afterlife. Concerto for Elvis is the first in a series of collaborations between Corral and Gedeon. Members of the Now Hear Ensemble perform composer Corral’s original live musical score along with the original LP as if they were the pit orchestra for opera or musical theater. Meanwhile, Alexander Gedeon’s Elvis persona becomes a vehicle to explore all things banal and absurd in pop idolatry. Concerto… will be preceded by a screening of Count In!, Corral’s video piece combining the voice of Poly Styrene from 1970’s British punk band X-Ray Spex with musical minimalism and hypnotic color. Saturday, November 14, 8:30pm, $15; redcat.org.
Sunday, November 15
DIALOG: Claudia Rankine and Terrance Hayes in conversation with Dawn Lundy Martin at Aloud. How do we talk about race in America? Two of our country’s most award-winning poets and unflinching voices on racism join ALOUD for their first public event together — promising a powerful exchange about how we might open pathways, bridge silences, share truths, and progress through this divisive and stuck moment in American history. Sunday, November 15, 5pm; lfla.org.
SHOPPING: Barnsdall Virtual Art & Craft Fair. In lieu of this beloved annual hilltop holiday shopping tradition, this year’s virtual version is doing its best to support local artists — making the fair free and ensuring all sales will be made directly with the artists. Catering to a range of budgets, the fair will showcase diverse work from students and faculty including handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, prints, tableware, paintings, sculpture, drawings and photography. The kick off event presents art viewings, music and demonstrations. Online November 15 – December 31; virtual opening reception: Sunday, November 15, 3-5pm; barnsdallartcenter.org.
Monday, November 16
FILM: Some Serious Business and We Can Listen present Tipping Point. Because our voices must be heard. Because we are actively involved in the history of resistance and our horizons for the future depend upon it. Because Black Lives Matter, Some Serious Business and We Can Listen offer a special, free, online screening of a documentary film about the largest civil rights protest in U.S. history and how Portland, Oregon emerged as its epicenter. Told through the individual stories of Portlanders on the ground, the film humanizes the struggle while allowing Portland’s story to serve as a mirror for all of America — the past that brought us here and the future we choose. Screening online November 16 – 17; theoldchurch.org/tippingpoint.
ART: Ernie Barnes: Liberating Humanity from Within at UTA Artist Space. Liberating Humanity From Within combines never-before-seen paintings directly from the late, beloved artist and sportsman’s estate, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and private collections. The majority of the paintings were created in the last decade of Barnes’ life and look directly and unflinchingly at issues such as racism, climate change and female empowerment. The works in this exhibition have prescient meaning, addressing many of the issues we are facing today. Barnes is best known for creating some of the twentieth century’s most iconic images of African American life. His unique approach to depicting the human form was informed by his years as a professional athlete, representing an intimate and generous view of life through his lens. The exhibition was curated by Ernie Barnes himself prior to his death in 2009, and was never formally presented as an exhibition until now. UTA Artist Space, 403 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills; open by appointment through December 5; utaartistspace.com.