Abbas Kowsari's Untitled (2006), from the series Police Women Academy, on view at LACMA
Abbas Kowsari's Untitled (2006), from the series Police Women Academy, on view at LACMA
Courtesy of LACMA

The Best Free L.A. Art Parties This Week

Happy spring, art-party people! With the weather heating up and the annual cluster of trans-denominational celebrations underway, our latest edition of mostly-free events you’ll love is as exciting as it is poetic. We recommend a pair of downtown events in which independent women transform quirky public spaces, and a crosstown slate of celestial parties celebrating the worship of art, as well as Jewish, Christian, and Persian affirmations of life’s beauty and the cycle of the seasons.

Kimberly Brooks: I Was There and It Was Divine, on view at Cooper Design Space
Kimberly Brooks: I Was There and It Was Divine, on view at Cooper Design Space
Courtesy of the Artist

Thursday, March 19 — Kimberly Brooks at Cooper Design Space

Painter and author Kimberly Brooks creates a site-specific installation at the Cooper Design Space Gateway Gallery — integrating fashion and architecture into a multimedia extension of the vision that animates her painting practice. Brooks is best known for blending gestural abstraction and couture-based content into haunting, mysterious paintings. For "Thread & Bone" — which is presented by Sage Projects and the Do Art Foundation for public works — she was inspired to activate the space’s twin history of architectural design and high fashion by not only showing paintings but also by incorporating sculpture both on the floor and suspended from the ceiling, a brand-new video projection, and a choreographed performance work during the opening reception.

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To say Brooks is feeling inspired would an understatement. “The lobby where the white marble-walled gallery resides is long and narrow with a high ceiling and gigantic pillars flanking doorways leading to the some of the most major fashion headquarters in Los Angeles,” she remarks. “I wanted to incorporate ideas about the structures of fashion and form within a public architectural space. Goethe once said, ‘Architecture is liquid music, and music is frozen architecture.’ To paraphrase, I’d say ‘Architecture and painting are frozen fashion.’”

Cooper Design Space, 860 S. Los Angeles St., downtown; Thu., March 19, 5-7 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues daily through April 30. (213) 627-3754, sage-projects.com.

Friday, March 20 — Songs of Skid Row: fundraising party for the Game Girls Project in Indian Alley

Game Girls is a unique and powerfully poetic documentary currently in production, chronicling stories of women living in Skid Row. Its creators have been working with the subjects through an innovative workshop process for more than a year, and they’ve just launched an IndieGoGo campaign to push toward the finish line. Tonight’s party in the mural-coated alley off Winston St. celebrates the launch of this phase with an evening of live and dj music, screenings, art exhibitions, neighboring design boutique sales with proceeds supporting the project, beer by Pabst Blue Ribbon and appetizers by neighboring bistros Blossom and the Must.

118 Winston St., downtown; Fri., March 20, 7-11 p.m.; $20 suggested donation. facebook.com/gamegirlsproject.

Stephanie Inagaki: Futakuchi Doppelganger, for Temple of ArtEXPAND
Stephanie Inagaki: Futakuchi Doppelganger, for Temple of Art
Courtesy of the Artist

Saturday, March 21 — Temple of Art book release party at La Luz de Jesus

As if the current kaleidoscope of the annual Laluzapalooza art show weren’t enough, the gallery welcomes the 50+ artists who contributed to the Temple of Art book and film project to celebrate the release of the printed volume. For the past two years, this unique collaboration with photographer/director Allan Amato explored the personal and public lives of an eclectic group of contemporary artists, many of whom will be present tonight and ready to sign your copy.

La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Sat., March 21, 7-10 p.m.; free. (323) 666-7667, laluzdejesus.com.

Carol Es: Drum Lab, 2015EXPAND
Carol Es: Drum Lab, 2015
Courtesy of Shulamit Gallery

Saturday, March 21 — Carol Es at Shulamit Gallery

"Exodus" is a solo exhibition by multi-media artist Carol Es, presenting new work based on the artist’s experience on a sojourn in Joshua Tree National Park, “in deep meditation and study, keeping a journal, photographing her surroundings, generating countless sketches, capturing DVD footage, and blogging about her process,” as part of a crowd-funded project in 2014. Exploring her evolving relationship to her Jewish heritage in terms of identity and art history, the resulting work is a colorful, exuberant, and deeply personal epic visual poem that touches on the dynamic of the individual within the community, and perfectly encapsulates the cross-boundary and interfaith cultural dialog that motivates the gallery’s program.

Shulamit Gallery, 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; Sat., March 21, 7-9 p.m.; free. Exhibition continues Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through May 9. (310) 281-0961, shulamitgallery.com.

Sunday, March 22 — Nowruz Festival at LACMA

Iranian New Year is a time of celebration that is less about religion and more about the universal time of renewal and rebirth represented by the advent of spring. As the only American museum that both collects and actively exhibits Iranian art from the fourth millennium B.C. to the present, it’s only fitting that LACMA hosts the Farhang Foundation's daylong festival of performances, films, food, fashion, dance, and music. All the outdoor programs are free, but it’s well worth the price of museum admission to see the impressive exhibition of contemporary art from the Middle East, Islamic Art Now, installed inside.

LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd; Sun., March 22, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; free, museum admission $15, Bing Theatre programs $20. (323) 857-6010, lacma.org.

Osceola Refetoff: Bellflower Bunny, 2005, on view in Bunnymania!
Osceola Refetoff: Bellflower Bunny, 2005, on view in Bunnymania!
Courtesy of the Artist

Friday, March 27 — BunnyMania! starts tonight in Chinatown

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, there’s no getting around one central fact — bunnies are freaking adorable! Bunnymania! is a two-part, two-venue art exhibition and bunny adoption, with sales benefiting the National Museum of Animals in Society and its planned move to fancy new digs over by LACMA. The first weekend it’s in Chinatown and the following weekend (in time for Easter Sunday if you’re keeping track) it moves to the Arts District, where it culminates in a closing reception on April 18. Curated by Peter Frank and Delia Cabral, the art certainly embraces the cuteness — but also “the grotesque, the beautiful, and everything in between. The exhibit will explore our view of rabbits as individual beings, muses, companions, and as dynamic cultural symbols.” Hop on over, why don’t you?

Chungking Studio, 975 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; Fri., March 27-Sat., March 28, 6-9 p.m., Sun., March 29, 1-4 p.m.; free. Wilding Cran, 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown; Thur.-Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., 12-7 p.m., April 4-18; free. (310) 467-1822, bunnymania.org.

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