Karl Haendel's Prithvi #1EXPAND
Karl Haendel's Prithvi #1
Courtesy of the artist, Susanne Vielmetter, and Night Gallery.

The Best Free L.A. Art Parties This Week

This new edition of L.A.'s excellent free art parties has an unexpected pattern: new modes of portraiture. That's okay, though — L.A. loves to look at itself.

This lineup ranges from the high-minded and civilized to the post-punk and mysterious, from the oversexed to the nostalgic and abstract, from the marquee to the totally undiscovered. It’s up to you to decide which is which.

Thursday, February 19 — John Currin at Gagosian Gallery
One of the most confounding and influential painters of his generation, Currin is known for his unique combination of hard-core Old Master techniques and images of unsettling, exaggerated sexuality. His fetching maidens in Renaissance garb and/or trashy lingerie rendered in smooth, high-gloss, mannerist style have attracted a fan-base from the upper echelons and indie gutters of the art world alike. All of the above will no doubt make the pilgrimage to Beverly Hills to get their first look at his much anticipated new work. Gagosian Gallery, 456 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; Thur., Feb. 19, 6-8 p.m.; exhibition continues, Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through April 11; free. (310) 271-9400, gagosian.com.

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A work by John Currin
A work by John Currin
Gagosian Gallery

Friday, February 20 — Tim & Mike Biskup at Slow Culture
Big Butter is a cross-platform collaboration between the Biskup brothers, who have been practicing indie art and music alone and together since they were kids in the family garage. Their new album, A Step Felt in Full, features not only their sonic stylings but also hefty visual component of album art and limited editions. (It’s a 12" LP on colored vinyl with signed & numbered serigraph by Tim Biskup.) To celebrate its release, the brothers are offering a series of events around town — notably this release party/opening reception for Slow Culture’s exhibition of artwork from and related to the LP. Slow Culture, 5906 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park; Fri., Feb. 20, 7-10 p.m.; exhibition continues, Wed.-Sat., 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 12 p.m.-4 p.m., through March 20; free. slowculture.com.

A work by Amir H. Fallah at Charlie James Gallery
A work by Amir H. Fallah at Charlie James Gallery

Saturday, February 21 — Amir Fallah and Alice Wang at 18th Street Arts Center
Tonight’s public receptions celebrate two simultaneous installations on the 18th Street Arts Center campus. Alice Wang offers a mysterious cross-platform sculptural experience in the Atrium Gallery. And Amir Fallah unveils the results of a months-long project in which he worked with area students to create an evolving architectural environment housing painting, photography, sound and found-object works. These installations at 18th Street will be complemented by a related body of work drawn from local estate sales, on view across town at Chinatown’s Charlie James Gallery beginning on Saturday, Feb. 28. Fallah has said that “although these shows are very different, both deal with the deconstruction of portraiture as a genre. At 18th Street, I collaborated with a series of kids and young adults who are at the beginning of their lives and are projecting into the future to describe who they are and want to be. The show at Charlie James goes back in time to create a portrait of a family whose lives have already been lived.” 18th Street Arts Center, 1639 18th St., SM.; Sat., Feb. 21, 6-9 p.m.; exhibitions continue, Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Wang through Feb., 27 and Fallah through March 27; free. (310) 453-3711, 18thstreet.org.

Sunday, February 22 — "Sampled" at Offramp Gallery
Afternoon receptions at this gem of a gallery space — housed inside a lovingly restored Craftsman home in a charming garden setting — are their own reward for visually curious, civilized wine-sippers. Curated by Anita Bunn, "Sampled" is an exhibition of sculpture, drawing, collage, photography and painting made by ten artists who incorporate non-traditional materials like cloth, bark, rope, thread, yarn, paper, and found objects — all of whom use sewing, embroidery and/or knitting to create their work. Offramp Gallery, 1702 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena; Sun., Feb 22, 2-5 p.m.; exhibition continues Fri.-Sun., 1-5 p.m., through March 29; free. (626) 298-6931. offrampgallery.com.

Saturday, February 28 — Karl Haendel and Jacob Yanes at Night Gallery
A pioneer of the current wave of warehouse galleries in the ever-expanding Arts District, Night Gallery regularly encourages artists to push the boundaries on their own practices, resulting in unexpected offerings from even the best known names. It’s a busy evening in gallery circles tonight, with Chinatown and Culver City and Hollywood and Bergamot all having openings — but if you’re looking for the cool kids, they’re hanging out in Night Gallery’s parking lot. Night Gallery, 2276 E. 16th St., dwntwn; Sat., Feb. 28, 7-10 p.m.; exhibitions continue Tue.-Sat., 12-7 p.m., through April 4; free. (323) 589-1135. nightgallery.ca.

Orien Lowell Greenough's Buried in Uniform (1966)EXPAND
Orien Lowell Greenough's Buried in Uniform (1966)
Courtesy of Tam Warner and 2A Gallery.

Sunday, March 1 — Orien Lowell Greenough at 2A Gallery
The life of Orien Lowell Greenough (1921–2008) is both shrouded in mystery and rich with influence and action. Greenough filed as a conscientious objector during World War II and was an outspoken critic of McCarthyism and a participant in anti-Vietnam protests like Mark di Suvero’s iconic Artists’ Tower of Protest. His artistic career and personal style underwent an increasingly radical transformation throughout the 1950s and 60s, as he developed an increasingly surreal, abstract, almost psychedelic style, while never losing sight of his calling to social justice concerns. Nevertheless, there has been a shocking dearth of available information on the artist’s powerful legacy — until now. 2A Gallery owner Calvin Phelps has become slightly obsessed with researching and contextualizing Greenough’s estate, including that time he called the FBI for a Freedom of Information Act request on the revolutionary artist’s file. To discover more on this history-in-the-making moment in L.A. art, come to this afternoon’s closing reception and all-day extended viewing and ask Phelps all about it. Plus, if you time it right, there’s brunch. 2A Gallery, 400 S. Main St. #2A, dwntwn; Sun., March 1, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. (213) 924-3472. 2agallery.com.

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