arts calendar los angelesA new gallery space for cryptoart, a new book from everyone’s favorite young poet, a new generation of visual artists introduce themselves, a poet and a dancer walk into a theater, a pair of Baltimore painters hold court in L.A., a new digital theater experience, gallery shows open, museum shows close, performance art, rainbow flag stories, prayer boards, folk medicine, healing arts and an animated docu-homage and more goodies for your live and virtual arts calendar this week.

crypto arts calendar

Casco Viejo by IX Shells (Vellum LA)

Thursday, December 9

Color :: Field at Vellum LA. The inaugural exhibition and online NFT auction at the city’s newest gallery, and one with an entirely new media and digital program, is presented in partnership with SuperRare and features the work of eight influential artists whose works in the digital/virtual/crypto space draw a thread between contemporary digital art and the iconic Color Field movement of the 20th century. The artworks included in this exhibition reveal the parallels between this abstract painting and digital abstraction, and pose new arguments about the interplay of color, gesture, and form in reality suffused in the virtual. 7673 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Opening reception: Thursday, December 9, 7-9pm; on view through January 16; free;

Amanda Gorman with Elizabeth Alexander at the Skirball (Writers Bloc)

Amanda Gorman with Elizabeth Alexander at the Skirball (Virtual). Writers Bloc presents a livestream conversation with bestselling author, poet, and activist Amanda Gorman in discussion of her latest book of poetry, Call Us What We Carry, with decorated poet and scholar Dr. Elizabeth Alexander. In Call Us What We Carry Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. This luminous poetry collection explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, and a major voice for the future. Thursday, December 9, 6pm; $32/ticket and book; $5/ticket only;

UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios

UCLA Fall Graduate Open Studios. A unique opportunity to see work in-person by nearly 30 MFA students, and to see how the next generation of artists is shaping the future. “We are excited for the public to see the incredible work that our students have produced,” said UCLA Department of Art chair Catherine Opie. “Our students have demonstrated enormous creativity and resilience amidst significant challenges. To witness this new work in the studios in which it was created, and in the presence of these emerging artists, is an invitation for the public to be surprised, enlightened, and inspired.” UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, 3600 Hayden Ave., Culver City; Thursday, December 9, 6-9pm; free;

Claudia Rankine and Will Douglass at REDCAT (Photo by Ian Douglas)

Claudia Rankine and Will Rawls at REDCAT. What Remains is a collaboration between world-renowned poet and MacArthur Fellow Claudia Rankine and choreographer and Guggenheim Fellow Will Rawls. Through movement and voice, four performers invite us across the threshold of a historical void produced by anti-Blackness and respond to violence and disappearance with a resonant, ghostly chorus. Inspired by Rankine’s texts on racial violence—Citizen (2014) and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (2004)—the result is a performance at the edge of dance and poetry that meets and challenges the erasure of Black citizens with its own immersive disturbances. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thursday – Saturday, December 9-11, 8:30pm; $25;

A virtual environment from WITNESS, scenography by Anna Fedorova, virtual design by Daniel Cormino (Arlekin Players Theatre)

Friday, December 10

Witness at Arlekin Players Theatre (Virtual). The latest project from Arlekin’s Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab, Witness a new documentary theater piece about Jewish immigration in the face of antisemitism. The interactive streaming piece brings actors and audiences together from around the world for a shared immersive experience set on a boat in digital space. The piece is inspired by the journey of the MS St. Louis, which left Hamburg in 1939 with over 900 Jewish people on board and headed to Cuba only to be turned away, leaving the passengers stranded with nowhere to go — an experience explored here at the aesthetic and technological nexus of film, theater and video games. Performances December 10 – January 23; $25;

Monica Ikegwu: Justin, 2021 (Band of Vices)

Saturday, December 11

Monika Ikegwu and Tommy Mitchell artist talk at Band of Vices. The gallery’s current exhibition, Gaze, brings together the works of painters Monica Ikegwu and Tommy Mitchell, two artists whose subjects radiate a quiet, defiant state of being. Both artists explore the fundamental energetic and physical existence of their subjects, expressing and demanding their right to basic humanity, while unapologetically exerting their Blackness — all contained within warm, visually striking, poetic mixed media portraits. 5351 W. Adams Blvd., West Adams; the artists will be in conversation with Thomas James on Saturday December 11 at 2pm; the exhibition is on view through January 8; free;

Todd Hido at Arcana

Todd Hido and Marina Luz book-signings at Arcana. A newly remastered edition of Todd Hido’s iconic and long-out-of-print second monograph, Outskirts, created in close collaboration with the artist, and an important addition to libraries and collections lacking access to the elusive 2002 edition. Artist Marina Luz creates quirky paintings of books based on the descriptions we use when we can’t remember their titles. A Library of Mis-Remembered Books collects dozens of these imaginary books into a library all their own, with titles like “Cat, Possibly Named Henry,” or “Something-Something, Beverly Hills,” in a celebration of book love unlike any other. 8675 Washington Blvd., Culver City; Saturday, December 11, 4-6pm; free;

(L) Installation view of Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College (Photo by Fredrik Nilsen Studio). (R) Installation view of Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe at the Armory (Photo by Ian Byers-Gamber)

Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe closing receptions at  the Armory & the Benton Museum of Art. The Armory and the Benton Museum of Art have partnered to present the largest survey to date of Saar’s works. One exhibition installed across two venues, Alison Saar: Of Aether and Earthe includes 29 works of painting, sculpture, mixed media and installation all connected to ideas of myths, archetypes, race, invisible bodies, hidden histories, and timeless paradigms of grounding and transformation. Both venues host public closing celebration(s) with the artist this weekend. Saturday, December 11; The Benton Museum of Art, Pomona; 4-6pm; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, 5-7pm; free; &

Narsiso Martinez: Too Cool, Gouache, acrylic, and charcoal on produce plasticboard boxes, 2021 (Charlie James Gallery)

Narsiso Martinez: Tender Leaves at Charlie James Gallery. The gallery inaugurates its second space on the block with a solo show by Narsiso Martinez. The artist’s work originates from his lived experience as an immigrant and a farmworker, and exists in dialogue with European Realist painters like and 1930s-era Social Realism, in particular the Mexican muralist movement. Martinez uses drawing, painting and sculpture to depict portraits and scenes of American farmworkers at work in the fields; frequently executed on discarded produce boxes that Martinez retrieves from various markets around Long Beach and Los Angeles. 961 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; Opening reception: Saturday, December 11, 6-9pm; on view through January 22; free;

Punk Rock & Paint Brushes Holiday Art Show. Celebrating the fine art and photography of creatives who share a passion for both music and art, their 6th annual holiday art show returns to Los Angeles after a 2-year hiatus, and features works by dozens of your favorite crazytown mixed media artists and punks — from Natalia Fabia to Christian Hosoi, Chali2NA, Matt Hensley, Mike Gallo and so many more — plus the release of the series coffee table book, epic DJ sets and live performances (Aquadolls!), an art auction and plenty of attitude. The Lazarus Experience, 224 E. 11th St. #501, downtown; Saturday, December 11, 6-11pm; Sunday, December 12, noon-5pm; free-$50;

Subliminal Projects

Folk Medic II: Panacea at Subliminal Projects. A site-specific collaborative exhibition by the Los Angeles-based Folk Medic collective (Ako Castuera, Hellen Jo, and Kris Chau), together with a group exhibition curated by independent curator and arts writer Essence Harden. Panacea is a group exhibition on care, extending from the ethos of Folk Medic’s work. Panacea asks how medicine is an alchemic act of communal practice and how a physical site might become a salve. Medicine here is harbored in artworks of light, sound, landscape, hue, fibers, flora and proclamation, shifting the reduction of care from its institutionalized and privatized positioning and throttles it towards a cosmology of attributes, attitudes, and generative impulses of the collective. 1331 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Opening reception: Saturday, December 11, 7-10pm; on view through January 8; free;

Michele Asselin, Exposure 65, 2020 (Louise Alexander/AF Projects)

Sunday, December 12

Michele Asselin: Exposure at Louise Alexander/AF Projects. Asselin’s new series begins with two near-universal experiences: noticing sunlight on a wall, and staring, against all better judgment, straight into the sun. “The series draws on my past practice of seeking out the social meaning of built environments and revealing how spaces absorb traces of their occupants’ lives over time,” writes Asselin. “With Exposure, however, I turned the lens on my own environment. Using natural light as technique and subject, the first set of images depict my own home…capturing the moment when direct sunbeams breach windows and doorways. The series moved outdoors when wildfires erupted nearby. Thick, dense air blocked any sense of an expansive sky, so that being outside felt uncannily like being inside. The imagery created was both real and unreal…” 7503 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; Opening reception: Sunday, December 12, 2-4pm; on view through January 21; free;

Getty Research Institute: Allegory of Catherine de ‘Medici as Juno, Léonard Limosin, 1573 (The J. Paul Getty Museum)

Rainbow Power at the Getty Research Institute (Live & Virtual). In the summer of 2021, the Union of European Football Associations rejected a request to light up Munich’s Allianz Arena in the colors of the rainbow during a match between Germany and Hungary. UEFA asserted that the gesture was seen as a deliberate critique of Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ legislation. Their decision, they concluded, was based on their belief that “the rainbow is not a political symbol.” Focusing on an early seventeenth-century emblem designed for a Stuart king and prince, this presentation will demonstrate how, to the contrary, rainbows have always been political. They were and remain signs of hope, justice, mercy, and political power. 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood; also livestreaming on Zoom; Sunday, December 12, 4pm; free;

Las Nietas de Nonó: No More Tears (Hammer Museum)

Las Nietas de Nonó: No More Tears at the Hammer. Artist collective Las Nietas de Nonó presents three in-gallery performances in conjunction with their installation in the powerful and innovative exhibition No Humans Involved. Based on their ongoing correspondence with their cousins the Salgado brothers, who were recently released after serving several years in federal prison, the work is a meditation on the emotional and mental paradigm one grapples with during incarceration and how loss of physical and spatial freedom heightens the interior, invoking the realms of memory and dreams as a survival mechanism. The piece also functions as a restorative space of healing and closure. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Sunday, December 12; Thursday, December 16; Saturday, December 18, 5pm; free;

Artist unknown (Sufi tradition, Senegal); Qur’anic boards, 20th century; wood and ink, copper and paint (Fowler Museum at UCLA; Gift of Dr. Allen Roberts and Dr. Mary (Polly) Roberts)

Monday, December 13

Stories of Belief: Muslim Prayer Boards of West Africa at the Fowler Museum (Virtual). Muslim prayer boards combine divine arts with practical purposes. Made of wood and inscribed with a reed pen, they help young Muslims commit important texts to memory. When the boards are washed for reuse, the water bears blessings that — if imbibed or applied to afflicted bodies — can console, heal, and bring hope. Amira Hassnaoui will share her ongoing doctoral research involving people of West African descent in southern Tunisia; and Allen F. Roberts, who will discuss religious practices he and Polly Nooter Roberts (d. 2018) studied for their 2003 Fowler Museum exhibition, A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal. Monday, December 13, noon; free;

vanessa german at Transformative Arts

Tuesday, December 14

Artist Talk: vanessa german at Transformative Arts (Virtual). In conjunction with her current exhibition of vibrant, performative and ritually operational mixed media sculptures, The Artist Channels 33 Intimate Technologies of Soul, vanessa german and Transformative Arts founder jill moniz pursue a conversation on intimate technologies and other emancipatory instruments of the empowered spirit. Tuesday, December 14, 3pm; the exhibition is on view at 410 S. Spring St., downtown;

Still from Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People

Wednesday, December 15

Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People, at Laemmle’s. A stop-motion animation that mixes documentary, comedy and road-movie to tell the story of Bob Spit, an old punk trying to escape from a post-apocalyptic desert that is actually a purgatory inside the mind of his creator, Angeli — a cartoonist going through a creative crisis, and one of the most celebrated Brazilian cartoonists of all times. Angeli became famous in the ‘70s by releasing political cartoons in the midst of Brazil’s military dictatorship. In the 80s, he moved to daily strips, showing an acid sense of humor to represent Brazil’s society, day-to-day life and customs. Some of his most famous characters include the bohemian diva Rê Bordosa, the hippie pair Wood & Stock — and the punk Bob Spit, who inspired this homage. Opens Wednesday, December 15;


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