Landmark architecture reopening with a party in the art park, dance fusing styles, textiles acting as narrative, paintings inspired by sports, a temple to Frankensteined metaobjects of digital desire, artists at the observatory, London theater on Pasadena screens, photojournalistic arts behind authoritarian lines, a dive into Los Angeles’ historical bohemian avant-garde, and more art, dance, performance, experimental music for your arts calendar.
Thursday, August 18
New Original Works Festival at REDCAT (In-person & Virtual). NOW Festival returns for its 19th edition with nine new and innovative works in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia performance by Los Angeles-based artists Achinta S. McDaniel, Lindsey Red-tail, X’ene Sky, Jay Carlon with Micaela Tobin, Joe Diebes, Stephanie Zaletel | szalt, Sarahjeen François, Sara Lyons, and The Rock Collection. Performances are staggered over three weekends of triple bill performances, with in-person premieres and subsequent livestreams. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Performances Thursday, August 18 – Saturday, September 3; $15-$40; redcat.org.
(Text)Tiles: Threads of History at the Armory (Virtual). How do Textiles Tell Stories? Textile design, in many ways, is a form of storytelling. It can give insight into the social and physical environment of culture. Explore the storytelling elements of textile design through a conversation with Patricia Turner, quilt historian, and House of Aama, fashion designers, followed by a Q&A from the audience. A fashion brand that explores the folkways of the black experience by designing timeless garments with nostalgic references informed by historical research, archival analysis, and storytelling, they aim to evoke dialogue, social commentary, and conversations around heritage, remembrance and shed light on nuanced histories. Thursday, August 18, 6pm; free; armoryarts.org.
Friday, August 19
Contempo Arts Productions: FUSED at Alex Theater. A celebration of different forms of dance, the theme of the night is fusion — of ballet with hip hop, tango, modern, contemporary, Ghawazi and street styles, and of popular music and vanguard couture. Composed of six original pieces, all very different from one another, this production aims to appeal to an audience of all ages and backgrounds while conveying a message of unity, tolerance and acceptance. Choreography: Marine de Vachon. Music: Moby, Kaleo, Black Violin, Hugo, Soha, DJ T-Rock & Squashy Nice, Hughes de Courson and Noir Desir. Costume Design: Dai Le and Saori Mitome. 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; Friday, August 19, 7:30pm; $29-$99; alextheatre.org.
Kuo Yen Fu: GAME at Seasons LA. The Taiwanese artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. GAME is a show of paintings devoted entirely to sport. From basketball to boxing, and from track and field to rugby, Kuo Yen Fu’s action-packed works capture the thrill, the excitement, and the uncertainties of athletic competition. Expressing the intensity and rhythm of sportsmanship with a bright color palette and an energized fluidity in his approach to the gestural language of each canvas, Kuo Yen Fu’s dynamic and chaotic vision is precisely balanced on the pictorial plane of his paintings. 908 S. Olive St., downtown; Opening reception: Friday, August 19, 6-9pm; On view through September 18; free; seasons.la.
Fragile World at UTA Artist Space. An exhibition featuring new work by Carl Hopgood, Samyar Maleki, Ryan Winnen, Jack Winthrop, and Greg Yagolnitzer, juxtaposing found object and neon sculptures against bold paintings, Fragile World explores themes of identity, masculinity, and our current socio-political climate. Throughout the gallery, Hopgood’s dynamic sculptures bring together word and object, with precariously balanced chairs and other artifacts serving as scaffolding for neon statements of affirmation and hope. Hopgood blurs the lines between digital and physical, past and present, with miniature projections and text bringing life to everyday items. 403 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills; Opening reception: Friday, August 19, 6-8pm; On view through September 10; free; utaartistspace.com.
Saturday, August 20
Hollyhock House Lawn Party at Barnsdall Art Park. Beloved local treasure, Historic Cultural Monument, National Historic Landmark, and L.A.’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s botanical-themed architectural confection was commissioned over a century ago by arts patron Aline Barnsdall. Finished in 1921 and later opened to the public as the centerpiece of hilltop gem Barnsdall Art Park, the site has subsequently been the recipient of a large number of makeovers and renovations — including many enacted during pandemic-related closures — now they’re ready to let everyone back in.
The property’s reopening aligns with its centennial, as well as with the general reopening of all the park’s cultural amenities — Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Gallery Theater, the Barnsdall Arts Center, and the Barnsdall Junior Arts Center. Saturday’s lawn party features performances from Bob Baker Marionette Theater, music, crafts, food, and celebratory speeches. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; Saturday, August 20, 4pm-8pm, free; Hollyhock House tours require advance tickets; $7; hollyhockhouse.org.
Gagosian presents Urs Fischer: Chaos #1-#500 at the Marciano Art Foundation. An exhibition of unique digital sculptures by Urs Fischer which have been compiled into a set of short-form videos on colossal suspended screens, this will be the first time that works from the series — in which MakersPlace is the technical partner — have been exhibited offline. Each sculpture represents a pair of converging objects, selected by Fischer as elements of the human-made to be transformed into their current form by a process of 3-D scanning. A program of activations including “swap meets” and musical performances will be presented throughout the exhibition. 4357 Wilshire Blvd., Central City; August 20 – October 29; free w/ reservation; gagosian.com.
The New Arts Foundation presents High as the Sky at Plummer Park. A group art exhibition that asks big questions like, How can we keep our eye on the past and present, while also believing in the future? Is it possible? Is it useful? By way of answers, the makers in High as the Sky use art as an energy that invites us, provokes us, and creates space for us to grow. High as the Sky presents a radical and sustainable model to supporting the arts. One that embraces community & inclusion, prioritizes ephemerality, and unifies disciplines otherwise treated as distinct. A percentage of reception ticket sales will be donated to The Trevor Project, a West Hollywood-based suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ youth. Great Hall/Long Hall, Plummer Park, 1200 N. Vista St., West Hollywood; Public hours: Saturday-Sunday, August 20-21, 11am-5pm; free; Reception: Saturday, August 20, 5-9pm; afterparty at Las Perlas; $30; new-arts.us.
A Constellation of Concerns with Glenn Kaino at Mt. Wilson Observatory. The evening begins with a lecture by artist and cosmic thinker Glenn Kaino about his inventive, multidisciplinary approach, where he finds inspiration, his collaborative method, and how his art creates engagement with vital issues. With a wide range of projects and mediums, Kaino considers important political, social, and environmental issues, such as equity, social justice, and climate change. After the talk, guests can view the night sky until midnight through the Observatory’s 60-inch or 100-inch telescopes as well as the Los Angeles Astronomical Society’s telescopes set up around the grounds. Saturday, August 20, 5:30pm-midnight; $40; mtwilson.edu/events.
Tom Dunn: LUNULA at Gallery Also. A solo exhibition of work by Australian artist Tom Dunn, LUNULA showcases a range of applications — site specific installation, animation, sculpture, and hundreds of individual paintings — in order to create a truly immersive experience into the interstitial realm of the sublime. 3754 N. Mission Rd., Lincoln Park; Opening reception: Saturday, August 20, 7-10pm; On view through September 18; free; instagram.com/galleryalso.
National Theater: No Man’s Land at Boston Court Theater. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart lead the cast in this glorious revival of Harold Pinter’s comic classic. One summer’s evening, two aging writers, Hirst and Spooner, meet in a Hampstead pub and continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby. As the pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories increasingly unbelievable, the lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power game. Following a hit run on Broadway, the version screening tonight was filmed from the West End in London in 2016. 70 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena; Saturday, August 20, 7:30pm; $20; bostoncourtpasadena.org.
Sunday, August 21
David Stork: Picturing Authoritarianism at the Wende Museum. Authoritarian regimes have always fascinated photographer David Stork, who created a body of work starting in the late 1980s covering Romania, China, Central Asia, Russia, and Cuba. He shows societies in various stages of authoritarianism from a traveler’s point of view, ultimately creating a historical archive of a time and place as a reflection of a personal journey through life. 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sunday, August 21, 2pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
Monday, August 22
The Black Version at Groundlings Theater. A simple premise can, in the hands of the right comedic geniuses, yield profound and profoundly funny results. So it is with Groundlings classics like The Black Version, in which in haute improv tradition, the audience suggests the title of popular films and an all-Black cast of comedy actors improvise, as the name implies, the Black version of it. Unreal fun, real truth. 7307 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Monday, August 22, 8pm; $20; groundlings.com.
Wednesday, August 24
Benno Herz, in conversation with Michaela Ullmann, discusses Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles: Stories from Exile, 1940-1952 at Vroman’s. Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann is not the first creative giant to escape to the dreamworld of Los Angeles — but he is one of the fanciest. When he and his family fled the Nazis, they landed in the Palisades, among an avant-garde expat community that included Bertolt Brecht, Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley, Susan Sontag, Jack Warner, Carl Laemmle and Igor Stravinsky. This new book from Angel City Press details Mann’s immersion in the lifestyle, from the beach to the Bowl, with terrific source material and evocative, sophisticated illustrations. 695 E. Colorado St., Pasadena; Wednesday, August 24, 7pm; free; vromansbookstore.com.
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