Sausage and socks come into uncomfortable contact in Venice, and people in Pasadena question whether artists need art school.
It’s been nearly 50 years since L.A. started to become the nation's art school capital. And, as Nancy Popp and Janet Owen Dribbs point out in their new article “The Future” for Artillery Magazine, tuition has jumped more than 30 percent at CalArts since then while, nationwide, more than 76 percent of arts faculty work on a “contingent” basis, not full-time or salaried. In response to Artillery, the Armory Center for the Arts hosts a conversation called “Do artists need schools?” this weekend. Meanwhile, SoCal has become home to a number of unofficial schools these past few years: the heady Mountain School, the populist Public School and the art-meets-spirituality Golden Dome. Such alt schools will certainly be among the topics. Panelists include the founders of the community justice-oriented School of Echoes. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; Sat., Oct. 10, 2-4 p.m. (626) 792-5101, armoryarts.org.
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For Marco Palmieri’s exhibition “Orlando,” Nicodim Gallery painted all the walls. Some are yellow-orange, some muted blue, and one is covered in a pattern made up of paintings of snapshots. All the paintings that hang on the colored walls are minimal and highly stylized. The best might be the series of paintings with waves like water ripples running along the background behind color swatches and renderings of snapshots of a preppy-looking man. The man is sometimes wearing a candy-striped speedo and sometimes a candy-striped t-shirt. Together these paintings, with their perfectly calculated lines, are neurotically cute. 571 S. Anderson St., Unit B, downtown; through Oct. 10. (323) 262-0260, nicodimgallery.com.
Painter Robert Ryman was born in Nashville in 1930. Giorgio Morandi, also a painter, was born in 1890 in Bologna, Italy (he died there in 1964). Ryman paints abstractly, Morandi representationally, but the two share an attraction to a muted palette. Hung side by side in Kohn Gallery, their works fit together so nicely that, with a quick glance, you can imagine they were made by a minimal father and his more minimal son. But if you’ve read artist William Pope.L’s memorable meditation on the obsession of Ryman, a white artist, with the color white, it’s hard to look at his monochromes without thinking of these lines: “Robert Ryman is the great white painter ... he has no time for anything that intrudes or distracts from his greatness. He’s too busy being great.” 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; through Oct. 31. (323) 461 3311, kohngallery.com.
Team Gallery’s backyard Venice exhibition space is small and shed-like, the playhouse version of a gallery. It's a good place for Tobjorn Rodland’s images, which often look like they were shot in out-of-the-way places: backyards, basements, bathrooms. His show at Team includes a strangely clean-looking photograph of a foot in a perfectly white sock that hangs partly off of a foot wrapped in sausages. Since the sock has a cross on it, the image manages to seem sacrilegious. There are only three images in that shed—a few more hang inside Team’s bungalow, including an uncomfortably hairy one, and one of fortune cookies on carefully composed sand. Throughout the show, it’s like a love of weirdness and intimacy keeps butting up against a desire for control. 306 Windward Ave., Venice; through Nov. 8. (310) 339-1945, teamgal.com.
Ricky Swallow made five posters for his current show at David Kordansky Gallery. They’re all lined up on the shelf along the front desk, so you’ll see them when you walk in. One shows a brick wall with a messily organic, odd red shape embedded in it, another an unkept front lawn with alligator figurines lining the walkway. The sculptures in the show that work best have the same unexpectedly compelling awkwardness as these images. A black patinated bronze shape that waves like a flag hangs unusually close to the ground. A small sculpture called Bulb (open), also made of bronze, emulates the shape of a lightbulb and leans on its side. 5130 W. Edgewood Pl., Mid-Wilshire; through Oct. 31. (323) 935-3030, davidkordanskygallery.com.