From taking pleasure in the deep present, to casting fresh eyes on history and greeting the future with intentionality — plus science, nature, literature, and some zoomy dance party action — here are the best artsy things to do at home or by appointment this week.
Thursday, February 4
Robert Frank at Peter Fetterman Gallery. A selection of rare prints and rarely seen images from Robert Frank’s American travels from 1955-57 when he was driving around America shooting what was to become his seminal work The Americans. The prints on view, many being shown for the first time, display the improvisational quality that saw the country in a different but more truthful way than the visual clichés of the time. Peter Fetterman Gallery, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica; by appointment February 4 – April 3; free; peterfetterman.com.
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, at CAAM. Editors Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain have assembled an extraordinary chorus of voices that includes 90 writers. Encompassing a range of styles from historical essays and short stories to personal vignettes and fiery polemics, each contributor takes on a five-year period in the 400-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present. Join Kendi and Blain, along with Kyle Mays and Martha Jones, as they discuss this new book and the importance of community history. Thursday, February 4, 5-6:30pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Friday, February 5
Kate Barbee: Feral Flora at Kohn Gallery. Barbee makes forcefully expressive large-scale paintings, whose abundance of colors, gestures, abstract forms, and layers of mixed media converge in dream-like images of figures—mostly women—in domestic tableaux. At once intimately personal and yet evocative of universal experiences of emotion and connection, Barbee’s works are relational, environmental portraits that favor sensation over precision. Kohn Gallery, 1227 N. Highland, Hollywood; by appointment February 5 – March 25; free; kohngallery.com.
First Fridays at Natural History Museum. First Fridays Connected, the virtual series, returns with a new format of discussions, DJ sets, and live music performances. Hosted and Moderated by neuroscientist and science communicator, Dr. Yewande Pearse (February, March) and biomedical scientist and international advocate for STEM inclusion, Dr. Knatokie Ford (April, May, June), each edition follows a fast-paced and eclectic format. Short introductions lead into the concoction of a bespoke cocktail (this month’s “The Santa Monica” involves vodka, Japanese chilis, pineapple juice and lime juice and tajin) followed by a DJ Lounge with Novena Carmel, a panel discussion on Solace in Science, and a music performance by Vagabon. Friday, February 5, 6pm; free; nhm.org.
Saturday, February 6
Johanna Breiding: Playing Submarine at OCHI Projects. In a suite of photographic works and over 50 ceramic sculptures extracting themes of familiarity, intuition, loss and finding, Breiding confronts the intuitive and recognizable forms of sculptural objects as interactive tools to connect the environment to the communal body. The collection of photographs depict various landscapes, geographies of the body, snapshots of lovers, friends, mentors, and animals, in which each image exists and makes meaning in sequential relation to the other. OCHI Projects, 3301 W. Washington Blvd., West Adams; by appointment February 6 – March 20; free; ochigallery.com.
Zach Storm: Somewhere Out There at ODD ARK LA. Storm strikes a balance between carefully considered compositions, natural phenomena and the alchemy of process-driven painting techniques. Starting with thin washes of poured and lightly-sanded water-based paint on aluminum panels, luminescent compositions establish a foreground, horizon line and sky — elements that become the staging for a central event. Loading brushes with multiple colors, Storm then takes a somewhat meditative Sumi-e approach, while building the central compositions with painterly brushstrokes that vary in velocity, landing on the surface through equal parts orchestration and improvisation. ODD ARK LA, 7101 N. Figueroa, Highland Park; by appointment February 6 – March 27; free; oddarkla.com.
All That Spring Promises at Tyler Park Presents. A group exhibition featuring the work of Ross Caliendo, Louis Heilbronn, Daniel Ingroff, Angie Jennings, Anabel Juárez, Christina Mesiti, Paul Pescador and Evan Whale, All That Spring Promises serves as a precursor to the season. Through various mediums and practices, the exhibition includes elements of flora, animals, the body, and mysticism. Tyler Park Presents, 4043 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Feliz; by appointment February 6 – March 20; free; tylerparkpresents.com.
Icons on Inspiration at L.A. Phil. Talented artists and renowned icons will join Gustavo Dudamel and the orchestra to share the music that inspires them in this star-studded online fundraiser. Filled with behind-the-scenes moments, audiences will watch the orchestra perform spectacular works, and get an inside look at the intimate creative conversations between Dudamel and special guests including Julie Andrews, Katy Perry, Common, Natalie Portman and more. Premieres Saturday, February 6, 6pm; available to view on demand through March 6; $25 donation and up; laphil.com.
Benefit: Wine+Art at CASA of Los Angeles. A collaborative offering of wine tasting, culinary delights and over 170 pieces of donated art from prolific and emerging artists, this year’s Wine+Art event promises to be a moving program with an art and wine auction featuring work by Ed Ruscha, Francine Tint, Robert Standish, Shepard Fairey, Wrdsmth and many more. Guests will also enjoy a home delivered Food+Wine Box courtesy of local restaurants, and Il Borro will contribute as the first Italian winery to support the CASA LA event, with the red wine Pian Di Nova 2017 and the white one Lamelle 2019. Proceeds benefit CASA of Los Angeles and the advocacy programs for children in Los Angeles County’s child welfare system. Saturday, February 6, 7pm; livestream free to watch; pick-up & delivery food and wine boxes start at $50; casala.org/wineart.
Monday, February 8
Artists on the Future Webinar: Shirin Neshat and Abbas Miliani at Stanford. Artists on the Future provides renowned artists and cultural thought leaders with a platform to catalyze alternative perspectives on urgent socio-political issues and create dialogue. Tonight’s program pairs iconic visual artist Shirin Neshat with Abbas Miliani, Director of Iranian Studies and Adjunct Professor at the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. The conversation will be moderated by Stanford’s interim Senior Associate Vice President for the Arts, Matthew Tiews. Monday, February 8, 5-6pm; free; arts.stanford.edu.
I Was Becoming: A Reading and Conversation with Four Authors, at MacDowell. MacDowell and The Rona Jaffe Foundation celebrate 14 years of partnership supporting emerging women writers with a virtual reading and Q&A featuring Elif Batuman, Chelsea Bieker, and Monica Sok. The event will begin with readings that will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A. Author, MacDowell Fellow, and MacDowell board member Julie Orringer will moderate. Monday, February 8, 7pm; free; macdowell.org.