What should be a slow Labor Day weekend is instead a full-tilt week of creative engagements—with major gallery (and library, and online) exhibitions across the city from downtown to WeHo to West Adams and Chinatown, plus intriguing live theater, book events, avant-garde performing arts, short films on a Hollywood rooftop, and more.
Thursday, August 31
Jenny Holzer: Ready for You When You Are at Hauser & Wirth West Hollywood. Known for thought-provoking and politically charged works that span mediums including painting, sculpture, light projection and installation, Holzer stands among the most influential artists of our time. Through the use of language, she challenges viewers’ preconceived notions and encourages them to question the systems and structures that shape our society. The exhibition will feature recent paintings and curse tablets, as well as three kinetic displays. 8980 Santa Monica Blvd., WeHo; Opening reception: Thursday, August 31, 6-8pm; On view September 1 – October 21; free; hauserwirth.com.
The Big Lie Podcast Live at the Skirball. The first episode of the audio drama, performed with live shadow play. Inspired by true McCarthy-era events, FBI special agent Jack Bergin (voiced by Jon Hamm), is sent to investigate the Blacklisted filmmakers—writer Michael Wilson (Bradley Whitford), producer Paul Jarrico (Kirk Baltz), and director Herbert J. Biberman (John Getz)—who made Salt of the Earth (1954), a feature film that dramatized their pro-labor, pro-feminist beliefs. A Q&A with John Mankiewicz, director Aaron Lipstadt, and writer Jamie Napoli follows the show. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Thursday, August 31, 8pm; $30; free for WGA & SAG/AFTRA members; skirball.org.
Los Angeles: City of Cars at Central Library. Join Darryl Holter & Stephen Gee, authors of the newly published Driving Force: Automobiles and the New American City, 1900-1930 (Angel City Press), to celebrate the opening of the exhibition Los Angeles: City of Cars. Featuring images from the Los Angeles Public Library’s historic photo collection, the exhibition explores how the legacy of the long-forgotten early pioneers of auto retailing came to define the City of Angels, and how their work continues to impact everyday life in Los Angeles. 630 W. 5th St., downtown; Opening reception: Thursday, August 31, 6-8pm; On view through February 25; free; lapl.org.
NOW Festival: Week 3 at REDCAT. The 20th New Original Works Festival concludes with a program of works by Erica Bitton, Mark Golamco, and Huntrezz Janos & Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou. With a sharp interest in rituals, fantasies and memories, these eclectic works use history and technology to formulate diverse, transformative, and other-worldly futures—possibilities that provide a poignant counterpart to our reality while allowing us to examine the injustices around us and envision radical evolution. 631 W. 2nd. St., downtown; Thursday August 31 – Saturday, September 1, 8:30pm; Saturday’s show is also live-streamed; $25; redcat.org.
Friday, September 1
Micol Hebron: Where Are the Women and What Are They Doing? at Another Year in LA. Artist Micol Hebron has been messing around in Midjourney to create a new series she describes as, “engaging in lengthy explorations of the rhetoric of prompts, investigating how large language models interpret and decipher requests for image generation—specifically to research how AI visualizes gendered language and images, with regard to tropes of the feminine.” In so doing, she has produced a universe of humorous and disturbing images that are plausible as surrealism, queasy in their anatomies, and full of unintentional irony (on the AI’s part, anyway). Questions of imagination, influence, authorship, text-image cognition, and the very things that make us human arise amid the entertaining, unexpected imagery. The exhibition goes live on Friday, September 1; Live through October 31; free; anotheryearinla.com.
Charles Rosenberg: Envelopment at the Institute for Art and Olfaction. Envelopment refers to the effect of fragrances as well as the feeling one has when wrapped in a blanket. The artist has created a series of quilts that are presented in three-dimensional form, rather than as traditional wall hangings, so that the viewer is surrounded by each work. Inventive fragrances created by the artist are inspired by the colors of each of these quilts, and experienced while standing within the space of its folds. Working with a range of colors parallels the creative work of perfumery which combines hues in the form of fragrance notes; the exhibition is dedicated to memory. 932 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; Opening reception: Friday, September 1, 6-8pm; On view through September 28; free; artandolfaction.org.
Saturday, September 2
New Exhibitions at Thinkspace Projects. Yosuke Ueno’s Beautiful Noise is inspired by the reborn aesthetic of the Japanese art of kintsugi, carrying both creation and destruction, life and death, at the same time. Dan Lydersen’s Plasticine Dream imagines an outlandish scenario where plastics have entirely merged with organic matter to become indistinguishable. Floyd Stickland’s Super Rich Kids delves into the rich tapestry of African American culture, history, and pivotal economic contributions. Priscilla S. Flores’ Where the Spirit Meets the Skin is a convergence of reality and fantasy, drawn from memory and personal experiences with sensuality. Paintings in Allison Bamcat’s Fish Fingers elicit feelings about her own neon-hued 90s LA childhood. 4207 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, September 2, 6-10pm; On view through September 23; free; thinkspaceprojects.com.
Rodney McMillian: Landscape in Red at Vielmetter Los Angeles. Throughout his wide-ranging practice, McMillian has formally anchored his work through the use of color by navigating between conceptual and formal explorations of black, white, and red. These three colors have a fundamental and long-standing importance in his work. Highlighting the color red and the multiple complex associations it evokes, his new paintings reference natural phenomena, the body (blood, viscera), and the political and social urgencies of the last few years—calling out the existential crises affecting all of us every day. 1700 S. Santa Fe, downtown; On view September 2-October 21; vielmetter.com.
Evita Tezeno: The Moments We Share Are the Memories We Keep at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. A new series of large-scale mixed-media collage paintings builds on visual narratives depicting soulful everyday scenes of Black life—friends, family in endearing moments from the artist’s life. Tezeno uses a combination of richly patterned hand-painted papers, acrylic paint, vintage buttons inherited from her grandmother, and other media to portray the intimacies and joys of growing up in South Texas. She incorporates her love for seeing people dressed elegantly into figures adorned in stylish clothing to capture a sense of dignity. 1110 Mateo St., downtown; Opening reception: Saturday, September 2, 6-9pm; On view through October 28; free; luisdejesus.com.
The Bluest Eye at A Noise Within. Adapted by Lydia R. Diamond from the Novel By Toni Morrison, the story follows Pecola Breedlove, a young Black girl in 1940’s Ohio, who wants nothing more than to be loved and fervently prays for Shirley Temple’s blue eyes. Enthralling, gorgeously written, and incredibly heartrending, this stunning adaptation of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison’s debut novel centers three young Black girls as they strive to make sense of love, sisterhood, abuse, and hate. 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; Opening night includes a cast reception following the show; Performances through September 24; $39-$89; anoisewithin.org.
California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick at Bart’s Books (Ojai). Lee Herrick fills Bart’s iconic outdoor bookstore courtyard with an evening of readings and reflections on the place of poetry in our lives. “As a teacher, poet, and father, Lee writes movingly about his identity as a Californian and encourages others to reflect on what the state means to them,” said Governor Newsom. He is the 10th California Poet Laureate, and the first Asian American to serve in the role. Herrick writes eloquently on the immigrant experience in a Whitmanesque celebration of the best spirit of our state, the vibrancy of the Central Valley, and ourselves. “In my California, free sounds and free touch / Free questions, free answers / Free songs from parents and poets, those hopeful bodies of light,” it reads in part. Click to Read and Listen to Herrick’s poem My California. 302 W Matilija St.. Ojai; Saturday, September 2, 6:30pm; free; bartsbooksojai.com.
Sunday, September 3
Ardeshir Tabrizi: The Golden Hands of Time at AF Projects. As a Persian artist based in Los Angeles, continued engagement with cultural heritage is an integral part of Tabrizi’s practice, paving the way for an expanded interest in cultural dialogues and narratives. Writes the artist: “By joining historical icons in my paint- and thread-filled landscapes, I create new and expanded meanings for sacred images. Through digital manipulation, painting, and embroidery, I can take this cultural material and create a new object. Additionally, I am looking towards the European painting tradition for inspiration and to serve as an extension of the existing dialogue.” 7503 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; Opening reception: Sunday, September 3, 1-3pm; free; instagram.com/afprojectsla.
Monday, September 4
Rock the Shorts Film Festival at the Montalbán. Rock the Shorts Fourth Annual Film Festival celebrates short films across animation, documentary, drama, comedy, thriller/horror and international categories will be live on The Montalbán’s rooftop in Hollywood. Oscar-nominated editor Dylan Tichenor and content acquisitions executive of ShortsTV International (the first and leading worldwide network dedicated to short films) Florentina Almonte are this year’s jurors. 1615 Vine St., Hollywood; Monday, September 4, 5-11pm; $25; filmfreeway.com.
Wednesday, September 6
The Sound Inside at Pasadena Playhouse. Not everything is as it seems behind the ivy-covered walls of Yale, where an unlikely bond leads to an unthinkable favor. Writing professor Bella Baird (Amy Brenneman) is looking for answers, but a fateful encounter with a mysterious student (Anders Keith) could lead to life-changing consequences for both of them. Nominated for six Tony Awards, including Best Play, Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp’s haunting 90-minute thriller will leave you wondering who you can trust and remind you everyone has a story — the question is how it ends. 39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; Performances September 6 – October 1; $35; pasadenaplayhouse.org.
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