This week the language of art feels physical, as creatives use the body as the site and medium of expression. From the return of a beloved festival of dance on film, to an online show of art around the Woman. Life. Freedom movement, an interactive installation of social systems sculpture, a new play about empathy gone awry, psychologically charged portraits of women, a look at art’s role in politics, a benefit for a foundation helping artists in need, an obsessive collection of interesting bar napkins, a massive group show of new contemporary art opens with a bang, and abstract paintings quietly contemplate the body’s place in nature.
Thursday, January 19
Dance Camera West at Barnsdall Theater. The Dance Camera West film festival, now on its 21st edition, fosters ground-breaking talent in the dance film genre. The 2023 festival screens more than 60 works of cinema; highlights include the L.A. premiere of Bella by Bridget Murnane, celebrating L.A. dance icon and activist Bella Lewitsky, DCW’s signature Visibility program to support underrepresented artists, the premiere of Sheila and other films by guest artist Gabri Christa, a filmmaker lunch and discussion at Cara Hotel followed by a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, and the Dance Film Lab all-levels workshop. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; Thursday-Saturday, January 19-21; various tickets & passes available; all outdoor screenings are free; dancecamerawest.org.
Patrick Quinn: Bar Keeps: A Collection Of California’s Best Cocktail Napkins at Village Well Books. Angel City Press author Patrick Quinn’s book (Angel City Press) is a fun and fabulous tour of cocktail culture in the Golden State. Whether you’re the type to visit roadside diners, chic hotels, hidden dives, fancy restaurants, tiki bars, or, ahem, the neighborhood exotic dancer’s nightclub, napkin collector Patrick Quinn probably beat you there. Quinn guides a rollicking napkin-gathering road trip with stops from Trader Vic’s in Oakland, to the Chinese Sky Room in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Joe DiMaggio’s Grotto on Fisherman’s Wharf, Fred Harvey’s in Union Station, and Little Shrimp in Laguna — with fuzzy memories of fuzzy navels in between. 9900 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Thursday, January 19, 7pm; free; shop.villagewell.com.
Friday, January 20
Future Art Awards: WOMAN. LIFE. FREEDOM. at Mozaik Philanthropy (Virtual). An arts-based expression of solidarity with the people of Iran and their intersectional movement for freedom and human rights. Since 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini died in police custody on September 16, thousands have been imprisoned and hundreds have lost their lives in an escalating humanitarian crisis. MOZAIK Philanthropy launched an open call to creatives wishing to express support for the movement; artists all across the globe responded to the call, including hundreds from inside Iran. The virtual exhibition features over 50 contemporary artworks, and serves as a dedication to their bravery. All artworks will be shown anonymously for security purposes and in solidarity with all those who risk their lives for freedom. From January 20; free; mozaikphilanthropy.org.
Saturday, January 21
Nexus IV: RAIZ at The Brand. With a focus on local Los Angeles based artists, the lineup for the latest iteration of this Thinkspace-curated explosion of new contemporary art is centered in an exhibition but is opening with a veritable carnival. The scores of artists included in the root-themed group show is an impressive and varied snapshot of the genre; and its five satellite solo shows feature innovative and genre-blending pieces across mediums. Anthony Clarkson’s Enigmatic Dreams is a portal into childlike innocence, mixed with troubled spirits, and broken hearts. Matthew Grabelsky’s Riders deepens the artist’s recurring dreams of human-animal hybrids riding on the Metro.
Ken Flewellyn’s Remix is like a mixtape of favorite songs with a new twist. Verified from Anthony Hurd explores the “golden age of the death of social media.” Cody Jimenez presents Efferverence, exploring a world where emotions are embodied in physical form. Plus the hallways and courtyard of the Brand host site-specific murals from Brek, Love Yo Dreams, and Mr. B Baby. The surrounding grounds will also be activated with food trucks, parking lot gatherings with Cabrones Car Club, Ghetto Car Club, and Bikes On The Blvd., video projections, a cash bar, music by Venice Beats, and live painting curated by GoopMassta. 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale; Opening reception: Saturday, January 21, 4-10pm; On view through March 17; free; brandlibrary.art.
Trade Fare Social at Angels Gate Cultural Center. Artists kelli rae adams, Melissa Bouwman, Mark Rumsey, and the Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms engage the audience as participants — not mere viewers — in art as social practice. Works address present-day challenges of the Student Debt Crisis, Bodily Autonomy, Sustainability, and Economic Systems, offering a reflection on the viewer/maker relationship, and privileging the collaborative processes. The modes of physical production and materials also deepens existing subtexts about the worldwide web, the handmade vs. mass produced, and toxic consumerism, positioning the artist as a change agent. 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro; Opening reception: Saturday, January 21, 3-5pm; On view through March 25; free; angelsgateart.org.
Dani Tull: Splitting Fog, Flowering Stone at The Landing. Developing a method Tull describes as “narrative abstraction,” his paintings probe the enduring flow of personal and collective memory through an exacting formal repertoire. The paintings’ bold, laborious linework backgrounded by dynamic swaths of color stained on raw linen canvas congeal into what the artist calls streams. These multi-colored streams swirl across his surfaces, at times leading viewers back to the surface of the painting, and at others, conjuring voids or opaque portals to interminably deep space. 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, January 21, 6-9pm; On view through March 4; free; thelandinggallery.com.
Do You Feel Anger? at Circle X Theatre Co. The #MeToo movement meets cancel culture in Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s outrageous new comedy. When Sofia is hired as an empathy coach at a debt collection agency, she finds she has her work cut out for her. These employees can barely identify what an emotion is, much less practice deep, radical compassion for others. As they painstakingly stumble towards enlightenment, someone keeps mugging Eva in the kitchen, and the unspoken dynamics of their seemingly blithe workplace culture become increasingly unsettling. What is the absurdity — and danger — of a world where the feelings of some people matter more than those of others? Atwater Village Theater, 3269 Casitas Ave.; Performances: January 21 – February 25; $30; circlextheatre.org.
Janet Werner: Call Me When You Start Wearing Red at Anat Ebgi. Known for painting psychological portraits of women, Werner examines ideas of being divided, dualities of human nature, and inner multiplicity — externalizing these psychological splits within her ‘broken pictures.’ Side-stepping narrative, her subjects present more as ideas — vessels for viewers to pour themselves into. We relate to them through their disruptions: shrinking heads, contorting bodies, flipping figures upside-down, or partial obscuration. Nonetheless the works possess a seductive openness, a vulnerability manifested through the figures’ gazes that allows viewers to project onto them. 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Opening reception: Saturday, January 21, 5-8pm; On view through February 25; anatebgi.com.
Simone Gad Foundation Fundraiser at bG Gallery. In honor of the dearly missed painter and performance artist Simone Gad, the foundation exists to support artists who, like Gad, have an abundance of talent yet have experienced societal challenges, inherited legacies of generational trauma, or unexpected personal or financial crises. Dena Novak is the inaugural recipient, and tonight’s fundraiser and celebration is happening inside her current show at bG Gallery. Fearlessly Weighted expresses a found freedom that is both harmonious and unleashed. This series manifests as an intuitive, ritualistic process of layering paint onto panels in thick strata that symbolically counteract the thinning of her body’s connective tissue — a visceral and engaging series which Gad would certainly appreciate. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Saturday, January 21, 6-9pm; $40 donation; simonegadfoundation.org.
Sunday, January 22
Rethinking the West: Promise and Crisis of a Concept at the Wende Museum. A transatlantic program series to explore changing definitions of common ideas of the West, taking into consideration the global developments amplified by the war in Ukraine. By focusing on cultural, political and artistic themes, the program invites scholars, artists and intellectuals from different backgrounds and fields, to discuss these changing cultural concepts. As part of this series, the Thomas Mann House and the Wende Museum have co-organized a panel discussion about shifting perspectives of the West through the lens of the visual arts. 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sunday, January 22, 2pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
Monday, January 23
The Super 8 Years at Laemmle. Annie Ernaux, the French autofiction celebrity, narrates footage of her own young family’s life from 1972-81 in paradigmatic Super 8 home movies now edited together by Ernaux’s son, David, and presented more or less straight as discovered. They travel all over Europe and as far away as Chile, and Annie’s husband Phillippe’s footage focuses on local sights and the three-quarters of the family in front of the camera semi-comfortably performing as themselves. But, as Ernaux’s prosy narration tells us in tense detail, we’re not seeing what really happened, what went on beneath the surface of the family and the marriage. How could we? Laemmle Santa Monica, Claremont, Glendale; Monday-Tuesday, January 23-24; $15; laemmle.com.
Wednesday, January 25
The Political Mandate of the Arts with David Horvitz at the Wende Museum (Virtual). A new monthly program series on art and politics in times of crises asks, Does art have a role in addressing social issues, promoting social justice, or in defending democracy when it comes under pressure? In conversation with visual artists, musicians, dancers, writers, theater and filmmakers, cultural critics, curators and others, the series will explore how the arts can make a difference in times of social and political crisis. The guest speaker for the opening program is artist David Horvitz, who uses art books, photography, performance art, and mail art as media for his work, and is part of the Wende Museum’s current exhibition For Ruth, The Sky in Los Angeles: Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz. Wednesday, January 25, 4:15pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
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