The week’s arts calendar is filled with soulful abstraction, heartfelt storytelling, legends of photography, performance activating museum spaces, NFTs critiquing the metaverse and changing the world, zines from space and sculptures that might be, and an erotic art festival that keeps making history.
Thursday, December 2
Mary Ellen Mark: Remarkable Women & Ralph Gibson: Sacred Land, at Leica Gallery. Mary Ellen Mark (1940-2015) has been a leading documentary photographer for over 30 years. Remarkable Women features some of Mark’s most memorable images from her lifelong study on women‘s issues. Ralph Gibson reveals a fascination for geometric elements found in everyday life, with a particular interest in light, shadow, and form. 8783 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; Opening reception: Thursday, December 2, 6-8pm; On view through January 30; free; leicagalleryla.com.
Fabrizio Moretti: KUBE at Sotheby’s. An immersive art and curatorial collaboration with musician Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes), KUBE is a one-of-one installation and sculpture, inspired by the more exuberant spirits in the California Light and Space movement, which will be exhibited alongside important works by historical and contemporary artists working in the same vein. Moretti’s installation centers on an immersive, geometric mirrored 9-foot room, inside of which mirrors and infinite reflections immerse the viewer in a series of repeating and illusory patterns. The full exhibition includes work by Lita Albuquerque, Peter Alexander, Larry Bell, Gisela Colón, Anish Kapoor, Mary Corse, Tony Delap, Laddie John Dill, Robert Irwin and Dewain Valentine. 350 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; On view December 2-January 29; free; sothebys.com.
Zip Code Plays Season 3 at Antaeus Theatre Company (Audio). What began as an enchanting and original response to the early and extended pandemic era’s lack of live, in-theater experiences, the Antaeus Theater created The Zip Code Plays. Now set to release its third suite of six new radio pieces, each set in a different L.A. neighborhood, these short (10-25 minutes each) works are written with audio-only performances in mind by members of the outfit’s Playwrights Lab, and while the stories do not all take place in the present day, each in its own way speaks directly to the current cultural moment. Season Three spotlights 91201: Glendale, 91505: Burbank, 90262: Lynwood, 90027: Griffith Park, 90039: Frogtown, and 90028: Hollywood. Begins December 2; free; antaeus.org.
Friday, December 3
Heradel: New Earth at Bridge Projects. A live performance debuting reimagined excerpts from her Pilgrim’s Progress-inspired musical work, Heradel will also share pieces from her new album based on the pull and transition between physicality and divinity, loosely rooted in the Kabbalah Tree of Life. In this way, she is addressing the concept of pilgrimage in both its literal and abstract forms. The performance will be accompanied by readings of excerpts from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and related poetry. 6820 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood; Friday, December 3, 7pm; free; bridgeprojects.com.
Megan Frances: Canopy of Dreams at Gallery 825. In her exhibition of new paintings, Frances pays homage to the beauty of the natural world — especially the lush and verdant tropics where she lived much of her life — while alluding to humanity’s destructive impact on it. By both lavishing color and detail on depicting evocative botanical foliage and patterns, while at the same time interrupting, obscuring and distorting those forms with abstract interventions, Frances creates simultaneous beauty and discomfort. Being painted on found textile, the surfaces are both warm and textured with a nostalgic energy of a disappearing or elusive lifestyle, reinforcing the paradoxes within her biomorphic hard-edge style. That very state of liminal contradiction speaks to this moment in our cognition of the climate crisis, when ironically appreciation for great natural beauty is heightened by the threat of its loss. 825 N. La Cienega, West Hollywood; closes Friday, December 3; free; laaa.org.
Saturday, December 4
MPA at the Hammer. Los Angeles–based artist MPA activates the work of artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz in conjunction with the exhibition Witch Hunt. In this series of in-gallery performances, MPA engages with her compelling recorded performance featured the pair’s video installation Telepathic Improvisation and with the live audience. The performances serve as a moment of celebration and reflection on Telepathic Improvisation and highlight the work’s new soundscape, which the artists created in collaboration with composer Rashad Becker for its presentation at the Hammer Museum. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Saturdays, December 4 & 11; January 8 & 9; 1-5pm; free (limited capacity); hammer.ucla.edu.
Uncannysfvalley: Volume 1 at NFT Oasis (Virtual). Curated by Keaton Shyler, Uncannysfvalley: Volume 1 is an NFT collection of 40 collages and new video works called Technofetishism. Its creator Casey Kauffmann works in the realm of supersaturated simultaneous surrealism in unsettling and vivacious digital video collages that challenge notions of beauty, propriety, consumption, fame and identity. The exhibition features a screening series curated by Kauffmann titled Everyone’s Doing the Emails (Saturday, 2pm) and an artist talk with curator Wade Wallerstein (Sunday at 10am, Twitter Spaces). NFT Oasis; Saturday – Sunday, December 4 – 5, 2-4pm; free. The works will be minted through scorpio.world as of Monday, December 6, 9am. linktr.ee/CaseyKauffmann.
The Normal Heart at ONE Archives Foundation (Virtual). In honor of World AIDS Day, ONE Archives Foundation and Invisible Histories Project present an encore presentation of a virtual reading of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking autobiographical play. Directed by Emmy Award-winning director Paris Barclay, this presentation, the first after Kramer’s death, features a predominantly BIPOC and LGBTQ cast, including powerhouse performers like Sterling K. Brown and Laverne Cox. Saturday, December 4, noon & 5pm; $20; onearchives.org.
Bodily Here: Patrick Angus, Michael Hosser, James Huber & Blake Little at the Tom of Finland Foundation. Presented by Edward Cella Gallery, Bodily Here presents works made over a 40-year timeframe by four significant GLBTQ artists who explore the physical and emotional state of the male body. A pop-up exhibition for the Tom of Finland Foundation Art & Culture Festival — a space for artists to exhibit their work and a unique opportunity to view and purchase erotic art from all over the world — the exhibition encompasses photography, painting, drawing, and printmaking. Second Home, 1370 N. St. Andrew’s Place, Hollywood; Saturday-Sunday, December 4-5, 11am-5pm; $20 and up; edwardcella.com.
Meaningless Work, Get To Work: Fluxus Scores with Tashi Wada, Simone Forti, Phoebe Berglund Dance Troupe and More at the Getty Center (Outdoor). Contemporary experimental musicians, dancers, and artists gather for an afternoon-long exploration of Fluxus scores drawn from the landmark 1963 publication An Anthology of Chance Operations. In areas throughout the Getty Center, artists bring new interpretations to open-ended and poetic instructions by George Brecht, Simone Forti, Walter de Maria, Earle Brown, and others. From parked cars played like musical instruments, to rocks mysteriously and methodically moved along a beach, to a graphic music score radically reimagined, these unexpected happenings upend our daily experience of the world. 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood; Saturday, December 4, 2-5pm; free; getty.edu.
Debra Broz: Creature Comfort at Track 16. A new installation featuring reconstructed ceramic figurines and found-object sculpture. Broz collects, compiles and alters discarded furniture, unloved stuffed animals, and unwanted ceramic tchotchkes to create an abnormal world where misfits are held in high regard. With humor and tenderness, Broz twists the world of consumer trash, speaking to the psychology of object attachment, science fiction, kitsch, and the malleability of identity and truth. The Bendix Building, 1206 Maple Ave., #1005; downtown; Opening reception: Saturday, December 4, 6-10pm; on view through January 15; free; track16.com.
Sunday, December 5
Zine Release Party at Winslow Garage. Launching the limited edition catalogue zine of the 2019 Yesterday’s TomorrowLand Today art show at Winslow Garage — celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Hosted by curators Ann Magnuson and Alexa Hunter as well as artist Kenny Scharf, who encourage all to dress in space clothes, with prizes for best outfit and best Covid mask! A Moonscape art installation inside the gallery features artwork by Ann Magnuson, plus special appearances by Robert Dayton as The Mayor of Moonville and Zachary Street as H.G. Wells, and Intergalactic Soviet Singing Sensation KЇББLЭS И ЪЇҐS. BYOB (Tang provided). 3540 Winslow Dr., Los Feliz; Sunday, December 5, 2-5pm; free; winslowgarage.com.
Monday, December 6
Reading: Janet Sternburg at Villa Aurora. Author and photographer Janet Sternburg will present her newest publication I’ve Been Walking (Distanz 2021), a collection of photographs taken as she walked through L.A. in 2020, when the city was on lockdown. Sternburg donned a mask and gloves and ventured out to explore the city streets, taking photographs to capture her journey through the altered landscape. “For a while I walked through Los Angeles’ empty streets, seeing mostly what was desolate,” Sternburg writes. “Then I started to see a poetry that I hadn’t always seen in more populated times.” 520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades; Monday, December 6, 7:30pm; free; vatmh.org.
Tuesday, December 7
Screening of I.K.U. at the Hammer. Envisioned as a sequel to Blade Runner, director Shu Lea Cheang’s 2000 cyberpunk sci-fi tells the story of an internet porn enterprise that dispatches I.K.U. coders to collect orgasm data and introduces massively profitable orgasms on-the-go. I.K.U. is a phenomenon that wants to refuse definition…As much trans-genre as it is trans-gender, I.K.U. also wants to merge video and film into a fresh digital universe large-scale enough to overwhelm the viewer. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Tuesday, December 7; noon, 2pm, 4pm; free; hammer.ucla.edu.
Wednesday, December 8
Drue Kataoka: Will Your Heart Pass the Test? at ILMxLAB. Created in response to the growing number of racist and sexist imagery within the NFT ecosystem, a new charitable NFT initiative in collaboration with ILMxLAB — Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment studio — serves as a reminder that while the internet, social media, and mobile technologies have served as a democratizing force in communications and content creation, there have been missed opportunities to institute real change in the expanding field. Inspired in part by a 3,500-year-old myth from the Egyptian Book of the Dead — a ceremony that determines whether a person’s soul is fit to move on to the afterlife involving weighing one’s heart against a feather — Kataoka’s audio-visual NFT depicts the rite as a call for introspection among technologists, politicians, business leaders, influencers, opinion-makers, and everybody who cares. The NFT will be auctioned by Phillips with 100% of the auction proceeds benefiting The King Center and #StopAAPIHate. Wednesday, December 8, 9am; through December 15; drue.net/passthetest.