The first weekend of the new year is always a big one for art lovers, with a panoply of gallery shows and creative projects vying to set the tone for a new season, and this January is no exception — even with an uptick in covid-related postponements. Exhibitions of painting, sculpture, mixed media, digital art, photography, performance art and more are set to open this week all over the city — often with longer and/or afternoon receptions for comfort and safety — along with an array of documentary and experimental art- and literature-centric cinema both live and online.
Wednesday, January 5
Sharon Lockhart: Eventide at REDCAT. In what is both a culmination and a departure, Sharon Lockhart’s latest film is a meditative, non-narrative long shot that uses choreography to explore landscape, communal relations, solitary searching, psychic endurance, and the play of light moving through darkness. Locating drama in the real-time shift of evening fading into night, this is perhaps Lockhart’s most optical and painterly moving image to date, composing figures, scenes, and soundscape into allegory and abstraction. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Wednesday, January 5, 8:30pm; $12; redcat.org.
Thursday, January 6
Quaranta at BG Gallery. The quarantine allowed for some artists to delve more deeply into a continuous body or work, such as the human impact upon our ecological environment, while some artists experienced shifts in formal expressions or content in a desire to find hope amidst daily unease. Additional artists found their mode of work in the public sphere completely disrupted, and had to find alternative ways of working. Curated by Susan Lizotte and Jenny Hager, Quaranta presents works created during the pandemic; the artists included reflect a cultural mosaic of how the experience is manifested in the collective experience of a continually changing world. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, 5-8pm; on view January 6 – 27; free; santamonica.bgartdealings.com.
Out of the Blue at Aero & Los Feliz 3 Theatres. American Cinematheque presents the 40th Anniversary 4K restoration and re-release of Dennis Hopper’s controversial masterpiece of adolescent rebellion. Out of the Blue chronicles the devolution of ‘60s idealism into the hazy nihilism of the 1980’s, through the story of Don Barnes (Dennis Hopper), a truck driver in prison for drunkenly smashing his rig into a school bus. His daughter is a teen rebel obsessed with Elvis and The Sex Pistols, who runs away to Vancouver’s punk scene and ends up in the care of a psychiatrist mysteriously played by Raymond Burr. After Don’s release from prison, the family struggles to re-connect before the revelation of dark secrets leads to a harrowing conclusion. Aero Theatre, Santa Monica & Los Feliz 3; January 6 – 28; $13; americancinematheque.com.
Saturday, January 8
Shade Théret: Throwaway Line at Odyssey Theatre. With music by Alexander lezzi, Berlin-based dancer and choreographer Shade Théret’s Throwaway Line is a tragic-romantic-thrill-comedy dance solo composed for a deadbeat actress. The story develops as an open diary. Fragmented narratives from the actress’s past reveal both her lust and her disgust, manifesting as a stream of consciousness in which she draws on complex emotions and makes physical the desires of various personas and social relations from these memories. 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West L.A.; Saturday, January 8, 8pm; $20; odysseytheatre.com.
Erin Trefry: Box of Rain at Lowell Ryan Projects. Exploring a means of surrealist automatism, in Trefry’s works fabric and paint mimic an aerial view of a landscape or map, creating multi-faceted abstract paintings. Oil paint is applied in a range of hues including greens, blues, pinks, reds and black — colors informed by memories from the artist’s childhood home. The paintings are accompanied by four sculptures: hand-thrown ceramic slabs collaborate with inherited and found objects, such as bookends, brass drawer knobs, indigo textiles and purse handles. Alluding further to the cyclical nature of life, these works explore the importance of connectivity and balance. 4619 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, noon-6pm; on view through February 12; free; lowellryanprojects.com.
Miles Regis: Better Days Ahead, at Von Lintel Gallery. Miles Regis is known for his intricate mixed media paintings which often fuse image with text, making astute social and cultural commentary. With a visual narrative firmly based in the rich tradition and evolution of masquerades in his native Trinidad, Regis’ work is an emotional response to his life as a Black immigrant in America of 31 years. He has been painting commentary on race relations with a positive and unifying message his entire career, and his relentless optimism is the perfect way to set a tone for a more blessed new year. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, noon-7pm; on view through March 5; free; vonlintel.com.
Incarnated Ghosts at Lee & Lee Gallery. The pandemic has pushed the trend of digital art and its platforms further than ever. Like ever-floating ghosts, such images of artworks seem to virtually exist online, but for this exhibition, five artists bring these ethereal works back into the physical world. Addressing issues about the body and nature in video projections and installations, digital paintings, and interactive kinetic sculptures, they invite the audience to be extra present in the real. Featuring artists Ke jyun Wu, Kuan-ju Wu, Mikhail Mansion, Sungjae Lee, and Ibuki Kuramochi. 3130 Wilshire Blvd #502, Koreatown; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, 2-4pm; On view through January 28; free; leenleegallery.com.
Dust & Wisps: Drawings by Michelle Seo and Paintings by Daniel Porras at Cornelius Projects. Porras and Seo share a world of color and characters that reflect their respective cultures and experience: Porras elusive and ghostly, Seo maximal and detailed. Seo’s work balances societal class rage against the happiness and love of the nuclear family, turning her personal reality into a universal fiction inspired by her Korean heritage. Porras’ work presents anthropomorphic creatures that are engaged in both mundane routines and magical rituals, inspired by ancient Peruvian art. In his latest series, Porras imagines a world melting into itself. 1417 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, 2-5pm; on view through February 26; free; corneliusprojects.com.
Rodrigo Valenzuela, Ken Gonzales-Day, Michael Kindred Knight at Luis De Jesus. Three concurrent solo exhibitions. Rodrigo Valenzuela’s New Works for a Post-Worker World speaks to the elimination not only of individual laborers but of the idea itself of the workforce. In Another Land, Ken Gonzales-Day presents a new series of drawings started in 2020 as part of a commission project for the Smithsonian’s Journal of the Archives of American Art. Michael Kindred Knight’s newest body of work, Guide Meridian, represents a progression in his approach to abstraction as complex pictorial events that are developed over time. 1110 Mateo St., downtown; Opening receptions: Saturday, January 8, 3-7pm; On view through February 19; free; luisdejesus.com.
Imon Boy: No Regrets and Stom500: CORTEZ at Thinkspace. Imon Boy explores the crossover between graffiti work and studio practice, placing characters within universally popular memes drawing on street art, video games, internet, cinema, music, travel and pop culture. Stom500 pays tribute to the U.S., as the artist — who is based in France — traveled throughout the country, on a road trip designed to take him through as many states as possible, playing with the dynamics of what it means for people to live together. 4217 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams; Opening reception: Saturday, January 8, 5-8pm; on view through January 29; free; thinkspaceprojects.com.
Tuesday, January 11
Algren comes to VOD (Streaming). The feature documentary Algren is a journey through the gritty world, brilliant mind, and noble heart of acclaimed author Nelson Algren. Exploding onto the national scene in 1950 after winning the first-ever National Book Award for The Man with the Golden Arm, Algren defined post-war American urban fiction with his gritty, brilliant depiction of working class Chicago. Including never-before-seen archival footage, newly uncovered audio recordings and his own rarely seen, personal photo collages, the film charts the rise and fall of a man whose transgressions, compassion and thirst for justice pushed him to dedicate his life and career to giving a voice to the voiceless. Now streaming; algrenthemovie.com.
Wednesday, January 12
Film Maudit 2.0 (Live & Streaming). A showcase and celebration of new (and some old) outré, unusual and startling films featuring over 100 works of cinema from 23 countries including works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subject matter challenging conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores. The hybrid festival will present both live & virtual screenings of 12 features, 10 shorts programs, special commissions, and a collection of new scores for iconic Lon Chaney silent films by contemporary Los Angeles artists. Film Maudit 2.0 is inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (literally “cursed films”) in 1949 aiming to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental cinema. Live at Highways, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica, and streaming online, January 12-23; Individual tickets $5; performances $10; all-access pass $65; watch.filmmaudit.org.