And just like that… the arts calendar has pivoted (the pandemic has really ruined that word) to being fully half virtual again. The museums and galleries that are moving forward with in-person exhibitions are limiting capacity, asking for reserved-time visiting, and requiring proof of vaccination. This all sounds way too familiar, but at least the art, film, poetry, conversations, performances, dance, book releases and video work that the city’s creatives have planned for you are fresh.
Thursday, January 13
Jeff Wall at Gagosian. Recent works by Jeff Wall in his first L.A. exhibition in nearly 20 years, including several photographs made in L.A. — a group of the “near documentary” realist portraits and situational tableaux for which he is best known. Men confront each other in tense situations, young people are absorbed in solitary moments, a man reads something written on a hotel room mirror, an ambiguous “incident” unfolds between a father and daughter, and other frozen, eccentrically detailed, banal yet somehow iconic moments spin off from reality. 456 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; On view January 13 – March 5; free; gagosian.com.
Talk: Lunch & Learn: The First Internet Message, at the Fowler (Virtual). Few cultural revolutions can trace their origins as precisely as the one that took place in 3420 Boelter Hall at UCLA on October 29, 1969 — the day the internet came into existence. Professor Leonard Kleinrock developed the mathematical theory of packet networks, the first node of the ARPANET was established, and a new era of connectivity was born. Join Kleinrock, who will share the events surrounding that seminal moment. Thursday, January 13, noon-12:30pm; free; fowler.ucla.edu.
Talk: Of Time and Memory with Ruth Weisberg at Bridge Projects (Virtual). The beloved and acclaimed painter and educator Ruth Wesiberg presents an online conversation. “One thing that is very clear to me is that my life and my work are very intertwined,” she writes. “So I will be sharing my thoughts on the influence of one’s life journey as well as the more formal development of one’s Art. For me the creation of my art, be it painting, drawing or printmaking, integrates my life experiences, my beliefs and my heritage. I hope that my viewers and listeners will also bring their own lens created by their identity, their family history and their experiences. I look forward to this opportunity for dialogue and exchange.” Thursday, January 13, 6pm; free; bridgeprojects.com.
Film: Ailey at CAAM (Virtual). See the new documentary Ailey, a portrait of the legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey. The film traces the contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience. Told through the choreographer’s own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those close to him, Ailey connects Ailey’s past to our present with an intimate glimpse into the Ailey studios today. Thursday, January 13, 7pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Friday, January 14
Care and Repair at REDCAT (Virtual). Join the MA Aesthetics and Politics program (School of Critical Studies, CalArts) for an all-day line-up of reflections and performances experimenting with different forms of presentation, attention, and debate under pandemic conditions, and with topics ranging from land acknowledgment to architecture and the ethics of care, climate change, neoliberalism and the imperative to self-care. Friday, January 14, 10am-6:30pm; free; redcat.org.
Saturday, January 15
Burton Kopelow: Squaring the Circle at Philosophical Research Society. An exhibition of paintings by visionary California colorist, Burton Kopelow, as well as a book launch for a new full-color publication about his life and work. Kopelow’s catalog ranges from abstract, mystical mandalas reflecting his interest in Jung, alchemy, consciousness, and personal transformation, to figurative works with mythological and Dionysian themes. The opening reception includes presentations by curator David Orr and Nancy Blumstein, author of Burton Kopelow: Paths of Discovery and a discussion with Kopelow’s contemporaries and Sandra del Castillo, PhD., a ritual artist with a doctorate in Depth Psychology. 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Feliz; Opening reception and events: Saturday, January 15, 1-5pm; free; prs.org.
Ed Templeton: 87 Drawings at Arcana Books. The brand new, beautifully produced survey from Nazraeli Press of the noted Huntington Beach-based artist, photographer, and skate legend’s colorful works on paper from the past 15 years. Eschewing his trusty Leica in favor of pen, ink, and acrylic paints, the Tempster renders here in detail eighty-seven psychologically-charged portraits of family, friends, archetypical strangers, and his late cat Ptah. These are accompanied by handwritten titles, and a thought-provoking essay by Kim Hastreiter. 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Saturday, January 15, 3-5pm; free/books $65; arcanabooks.com.
Yuri Yuan: The Great Swimmer at Make Room. In the past year, Yuri Yuan has often dreamed about water. Sometimes she sees a sinking ship, sometimes in a quiet ocean. Often, she finds herself on a diving board, perched over a blue swimming pool. Her limpid canvases explore different aquatic landscapes, but they most often return to the landscape of the swimming pool, with its diving boards, tiles, and changing rooms. Yuan’s images evoke childhood memories, and with her signature dreamlike touch warp them into more existential reflections of the self. 5119 Melrose Ave., E. Hollywood; Opening reception: Saturday, January 15, 5046pm; on view through February 12; free; makeroom.la.
Rachel Harrison: Caution Kneeling Bus at Regen Projects. Over the last thirty years, Harrison has pioneered an approach to art making that combines formal invention with the artifacts of popular culture. Wryly assimilating readymade objects into otherwise handmade, abstract forms, her citational impulse draws freely on both the history of art and the dregs of our political landscape. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Opening reception: Saturday, January 15, 6-8pm; on view through February 26; free; regenprojects.com.
Sunday, January 16
Rooted in Voyage at Band of Vices (Artists Talk). A group exhibition featuring 11 artists from Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, curated by Thomas James. The artworks on display portray meaningful objects, encapsulating their significance to our existence. By creating original relics that document Black experiences, the artists in this exhibition serve as archivists. Their work showcases how objects can serve as a tool to teach us about the nuances within our past. This knowledge helps to inform our present, which allows us to imagine an unfamiliar future. 5376 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, January 15, 5-8pm; Artists talk: Sunday, January 16, 11am-1pm; Curators walkthrough: Thursday, January 20, 6pm; Community object exchange and storyshare: Saturday, January 27, 6pm; free; bandofvices.com.
Monday, January 17
King Day at CAAM (Virtual). Special programs offered throughout the morning include a King speech study group around 1967’s A Christmas Sermon on Peace, and an uplifting performance by members of the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA), the largest majority African American orchestra in America. Monday, January 17, 11am-1pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Tuesday, January 18
Film: John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus at the Nuart. Newly restored in 4K, Shortbus explores the lives of several emotionally challenged characters as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections between love and sex in and around a modern-day underground salon. A sex therapist who has never had an orgasm, a dominatrix who is unable to connect, a gay couple who are deciding whether to open up their relationship, and the people who weave in and out of their lives, all converge on a weekly gathering called Shortbus: a mad nexus of art, music, politics and polysexual carnality set in a post-9/11 New York City. Writer/director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) will appear in person for Q&As following both screenings. 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West LA; Tuesday – Wednesday, January 18-19, 8pm; landmarktheatres.com.
Wednesday, January 19
Reading: Three Margerys: New Visions of a Medieval Mystic at Beyond Baroque (Virtual). An online reading with Robert Glück, Daniel Tiffany, and Pattie McCarthy re-envisioning the works and life of medieval mystic, Margery Kempe — an illiterate, fourteenth-century mystic notorious for her lengthy crying bouts, who penned the first autobiography written in English and holds a special fascination for contemporary authors. In this unique reading event, moderated by scholar Julie Orlemanski, hear from three authors whose recent books hover around Kemp’s text and legacy. Wednesday, January 19; 6pm; free; beyondbaroque.org.
Tracey Emin: Video Works 1995-2017 at Xavier Hufkens (Virtual). With 15 titles spanning a period of three decades, this is the first exhibition to survey Emin’s video art. Though they have received less visibility than the artist’s work in installation and painting, Emin’s films are a vital component of her oeuvre. Key works such as Why I never became a dancer (1995) and How it Feels (1996) are shown alongside rarely screened videos including Niagra (1997) and Love is a Strange Thing (2000). The works in this exhibition offer a window into Emin’s infamous world: from her earliest traumas and personal struggles, to her poetic, witty and often self-deprecating views on love and loneliness. On view thru January 23; free; xavierhufkens.com.