This Autumn’s art season is set to rival anything that came in the Before Times, as an urgent desire to get back in the swing of things, a backlog of major planned exhibitions, and a spate of high-profile new gallery inaugurations combine for a September that will wreak havoc on every art-lover’s calendar. For some guidance on the absurdly massive September 10 (and only slightly less ridiculous September 17) gallery opening slates, refer to our regular Arts Calendar lineup, where we will do our best to give form to the chaos. In the meantime here’s a look ahead at the rest of the season, with a baker’s dozen of selected highlights from area institutions, plus a few notable independent outliers.
Last April, the South Park neighborhood of DTLA became a futuristic outdoor after-dark public art gallery, with stunning, monumental projected works of video, animation, and digital media on walls around the Pico/Hope/Olive/Broadway enclave. Thousands of people took advantage of the free one-night adventure which activated the urban edifices using state of the art equipment to project imagery from the bucolic to the psychedelic, and the minute it ended everyone wanted to know when the next one was. Well, it’s the 17th. LUMINEX 2.0: Projected Realities explores the deeper, even esoteric meaning embedded in these forward-looking technology-enhanced mediums themselves. Across 12 sites, the spectacular screening settings will further incorporate AR installations, immersive moments, digital drone activation, live performances, holograms(!), sound and video feeds, and more dimension-blurring works of art and app-based interactive mapping. Downtown, September 17, 7:30-11:30pm; free; luminexla.com.
Other Places art fair
OPaf returns to San Pedro’s Angel’s Gate and Leary-Merriam Battery hilltop grounds to celebrate five iterations of this cheeky, hard-to-define collective contemporary art project. OPaf grew out of its original organizers’ habit of staging artistic interventions in bizarre and unlikely locations outside of the gallery realm. A few years ago, this practice went public, and a rhizomatic network of like-minded interdisciplinary creative instigators — individuals, collectives, teams, curators — banded together to create this inside-out, performance- and programming-rich installation array. This year, OPaf5 welcomes dozens of such participants, along with a KCHING Radio stage hosting live and broadcast happenings, a closing event on Sunday starring Bitter Party, and all weekend, the special participatory installation Kite Show, organized by A History of Frogs and Harborview and Pole, with 20 artist-designed kites available for guests to fly on the site’s scenic overlook. San Pedro, September 17-18, noon-6pm; $5; OPaf.info.
Chloë Bass, Justen LeRoy, Thaddeus Mosley at Art + Practice
Chloë Bass | #sky #nofilter: Hindsight for a Future America is a photography, text-based, performance art, and public sculpture project by conceptual artist Chloë Bass, the crossplatform result of a series documenting perfect blue skies during the anxious 2016 election cycle and painting them with her own and discourse texts as a form of critique and meditation. There’s a book component, a gallery exhibition, and the imminent unveiling of a newly commissioned public sculpture in South Los Angeles in the form of a participatory sundial. Bass will also open a unique outdoor project at the Skirball in November (see below).
Justen LeRoy’s Lay Me Down in Praise presents a three-channel film installation layering of Black performers and geological footage in order to consider the links between liberation and ecology. Like the Bass exhibition, it is co-presented by CAAM. Thaddeus Mosley: Forest (which arrives from the Baltimore Museum of Art) highlights the artist’s remarkable skill in abstract wood sculptures infused with the diasporic spirit. Leimert Park, September 17 – January 21; free; artandpractice.org.
Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers’ Collective at the Huntington
Alabama’s Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers’ Collective has leaped to international attention in recent years, but the history of the community and its unique quilting tradition began in the 19th century; deeply tied to slavery, liberation, migration, and reconstruction, this group gives voice to an indispensable path through history. At the same time, the collective’s unmistakable aesthetic merges abstract color patchwork and the legacy of reclaimed materials and communicative functions in ways that continue to appeal to the modernist eye. This two-part exhibition displays quilts and prints recently acquired by The Huntington, including prints made by Gee’s Bend quiltmakers Mary Lee Bendolph, Louisiana Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, and Loretta Pettway at residency in Berkeley, where they devised a unique wax-based process that captures all the textural details of the original. In November, an exhibition of the group’s influence on new generations of artists exploring quilting as a socially-engaged medium opens at Hauser & Wirth (see below). San Marino, September 17 – September 4, 2023, $25; huntington.org.
Petra Cortright at Palm Springs Art Museum
Petra Cortright: sapphire cinnamon viper fairy takes a look at Cortright’s post-digital approach to traditional art genres — especially the Impressionist-adjacent plein air landscape — in an exhibition of evocative, unsettling digital paintings printed on aluminum, linen, and paper. Combining her enduring affection for the physical artifacts of the painting studio with her boundless curiosity about new technological tools and platforms and their relationship to creativity and perception, Cortright sources her imagery online, using the internet as a “stand-in for nature,” before reinstating their physical presence. Palm Springs, September 29 – March 26, $14; psmuseum.org.
My Barbarian at ICA LA
In a wide-ranging enterprise spanning more than twenty years, My Barbarian — artists Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade — have enacted interdisciplinary work in video, performance, sculpture, painting, drawing, mask-making, and even puppetry to highlight the violent absurdities of toxic capitalism and its attendant social ills. This exhibition centers around a 3-channel video installation chronicling and contextualizing the group’s extensive oeuvre, presented with a selection of props, costumes, and artworks. Downtown, October 1 – January 15; free; theicala.org.
California Biennial, Fred Eversley at Orange County Museum of Art
OCMA is celebrating its long-awaited emergence from construction on its new home by revisiting its best-known exhibition — the California Biennial, produced not quite every two years since 1984. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, Essence Harden, and Gilbert Vicario with an eye to correcting historical underrepresentation and foregrounding California’s unique art history, with special attention to figures and movements that infused this history with elevated craft and engaged social critique. Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World) surveys some 50 years of game-changing work by this legend of Light and Space sculpture whose alchemical magic in working with polyester resin has inspired and provoked audiences since at least his 1978 exhibition at OCMA itself (then known as the Newport Harbor Art Museum. Intriguingly, the shows open with a 24-hour reception from October 8, 5pm – October 9, 5pm. Costa Mesa, October 8 – January 2; free; ocma.art.
Martin Creed, The New Bend, Cindy Sherman at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles
While technically not a museum, Hauser & WIrth is nothing if not institutional. Its three fall shows feature a new project by eccentric genius Martin Creed, a Turner prize-winning artist, performer, composer, sometime poet and reliable provocateur. Cindy Sherman: 1977-82 takes a deeper look at a particular period of Sherman’s early career centered around her revolutionary mediated self-portraiture series, with some 100 works — including the complete set of 70 Untitled Film Stills, Rear Screen Projections, Centerfolds and Color Studies. Curated by Legacy Russell, The New Bend, like the Sherman, travels from the gallery’s New York location, in a lively group show exploring how contemporary artists work in the “raced, classed, and gendered traditions of quilting and textile practice.” Russell is particularly interested in the multifaceted dialog with the accomplishments of the Gee’s Bend Alabama quilters, who are also the subject of a Fall show at the Huntington (see above). Downtown, October 27 – December 30/January 8, free; hauserwirth.com
Nancy Holt at Sprueth Magers
Again, while not technically a museum, Sprueth Magers is in the habit of presenting museological exhibitions, and as this is the first solo show of work by sculptor, installation, and land artist Nancy Holt (1938-2014) in Los Angeles since 1985, Locating Perception is on point. While often working in the shadow of her celebrated husband, land art pioneer Robert Smithson, Holt’s ideas on methods for navigating and articulating how we fit into the scheme of the world encompassed not only her famous Sun Tunnels land art installation in Utah (for which, tired of asking permission, she finally just bought her own parcel of land and did it herself) but also sculptural objects and installations that brought that conversation inside into art world territory. Miracle Mile, October 28 – January 14, free; spruethmagers.com.
The Brewery Artwalk is a twice annual open studio weekend at the city’s favorite art studio complex. The former PBR site’s 16 acres are almost entirely dedicated to live-work spaces for contemporary artists, and with more than 100 participating residents working across mediums from painting and drawing to printmaking, fashion, photography, design, architecture, performance, sculpture, and more, visitors get a look at the creative spaces where the magic happens, talk to the artists, and, ideally, purchase artwork directly from them. Downtown, November 5-6, 11am-6pm, free; breweryartwalk.com.
William Kentridge at the Broad
There seem to be two kinds of people in the art world: those who are obsessed with South African artist William Kentridge and those who are about to be. The first major show of his work in Los Angeles in twenty years, In Praise of Shadows gathers 130 works, covering 35 years. Curated by The Broad’s Ed Schad, the exhibition highlights the museum’s hefty Kentridge holdings which touch on his considerable and frequently collaborative projects in drawing, filmmaking, printmaking, sculpture, theater, opera, and installation, frequently locating the artist and his studio within the narrative and symbolism, and a significant amount of which have never been shown in the United States. The exhibition ultimately touches on the artist’s own twinned passions, for learning and for justice. Coinciding with the exhibition’s first week, REDCAT stages the theatrical premiere of the performance Houseboy, directed by Kentridge and adding live staging to the dimensions of his ongoing inquiries. Downtown, November 12 – April 9, $18; thebroad.org.
Fabric of a Nation, Chloë Bass at the Skirball
In case it’s not yet been made clear, American quilting is having a moment. Is it the comfort that attracts us amid a perilous time, speaking to individual and collective nostalgia? The fascinating history of the genre’s social origins in the parabellum South? A gravitation toward the tactile and exceptionally analog materiality as a resistance to the flatness of the digital age? The poetry of rescuing scraps and transforming them into something greater? Probably yes, it’s all of that and more. Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories features works by more than 40 artists, including Harriet Powers, Bisa Butler, and Sanford Biggers, exploring the narrative, storytelling power of quilts and quiltmakers. Originally organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Skirball version adds work by Los Angeles artists Sabrina Gschwandtner, Ramsess, and Sula Bermúdez-Silverman.
Artist Chloë Bass is also having a moment, with a show at Art + Practice and an ambitious public commission for South LA (see above), and Wayfinding is kind of a big deal too. It’s the first time in the Skirball’s history they’ve exported their curation to the whole of the 15-acre outdoor campus. In each of its five sections, a large, mirrored billboard sculpture surrounded by dozens of small- and medium-sized sculptures and a site-specific audio element asks deceptively simple questions, and the viewer’s psyche does the rest. Brentwood, November 17 – March 12, $12; skirball.org.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby at David Zwirner Los Angeles
An exhibition of new work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby will inaugurate the mega-dealer’s first gallery spaces (yes, spaces plural) in Los Angeles in January. What will be a string of two massive renovations and one new ground-up edifice opens along Western between Melrose and Clinton, totalling almost 30,000 square feet of interior and exterior spaces. Although they’ve worked with Akunyili Crosby since 2018, this is their first solo presentation of her exceptional, richly patterned, resolutely humanistic scenic portraits combining universal experiences of community and family with the artist’s rich memories of her own Nigerian cultural touchstones. Hollywood, January 2023, free; davidzwirner.com.
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