This week we welcome the distractions of an events-packed virtual art book fair, a progressive beekeeping culture series, theater crafted from brain science, Black History Month arts programs, a book chronicling the origins of NSFW, video projection, art of the wild west, nature writing, and a ghost opera based on Elvis.
Thursday, February 25
Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair. Since 2005, Printed Matter’s Art Book Fairs have hosted international exhibitors featuring a wide variety of works—from zines and artists’ books to rare and out of print publications, and contemporary art editions. This new Fair includes over 400 exhibitors from 43 countries, with online programs, performances, games, and more. Each PMVABF exhibitor will present a dedicated website to feature their projects. On these sites you will encounter artists’ books for purchase, book trailers and artist-made videos, performances, panels and talks, music, as well as the chance to interact with exhibitors. Wednesday-Sunday, February 24-28; free; pmvabf.org.
Speakers Series: Bees, Dreams & Medicine. Inspired by the scholarship and leadership of the Melissae (ancient bee priestesses and oracles), we invite you to meet select luminaries and international thought leaders, who share insights, visions, and dreams for a new tomorrow. During this yearlong online series, we meander through a labyrinth of Science, Sacred, His-/Herstory, Mystery, Art/Medicine, and Activism. The series begins on Thursday, February 25 with beekeeper Les Crowder’s talk “The Nature of Bees: How Not to Step on Their Toes While You Dance.” Individual and bespoke packages available at various prices; collegeofthemelissae.com.
Art from the Heart: A Virtual Round Table on Black Artists Honoring Black Icons. Celebrate Black History Month through the voices of artists Taj and Tiffanie Anderson with a virtual round table honoring Black Icons, moderated by Art Curator Nausicaa from The Cool HeART Gallery. Their artworks showcased on the walls of the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills lobby are an homage to the city of Los Angeles, its colors, its inhabitants, its lifestyle, its strengths and weaknesses, its virtues and its vices. Inspired by the current pandemic and social context, they pay tribute to famous black figures, past and present, who have done so much for the community. Thursday, February 25, 4pm; free; eventbrite.com.
Theater: UnRavelled. Based on the fascinating real life connection between the modern day scientist Dr. Anne Adams and world famous composer Maurice Ravel, UnRavelled is an essential new play by Jake Broder about love, art, science and who we are on the most profound level. Screenings followed by live conversations will be held on Thursday, February 25 at 4pm and Wednesday, March 3 at 9am; the play is available on demand through March 31; UnRavelledPlay.com.
Conversation: Dina Abdulkarim and Hugo Hopping, Moderated by Harry Gamboa Jr., at the Armory. The inspiration for this talk came from some of the key themes of the 2019 exhibition by The Winter Office at the Armory, including the production of “non-perfect” models of adaptation to ever-shifting, always contested environmental conditions. Using the exhibition as a point of departure, this dynamic conversation looks at the evolving Los Angeles urban landscape against the dissolution of public space, the exclusive architecture of privacy, and housing inequities. Thursday, February 25, 6pm; free; armoryarts.org.
Friday, February 26
Streaming: Concerto for Having Fun with Elvis on Stage. In 1973, an album entitled “Having Fun with Elvis on Stage” was released — an album collaged entirely from Elvis speaking on stage between songs at live concerts — no music. One reviewer wrote: “hearing it is like witnessing a car wreck, leaving onlookers too horrified and too baffled to turn away.” This surreal reimagines this vilified recording as the libretto for a sort of “ghost opera” — creating a memetic hologram of the endless purgatory of celebrity afterlife. Directed and performed by Alexander Gedeon, composed by Daniel Corral, Video Director Allen Cordell, this LA-based team enjoys their UK debut. Friday, February 26, noon Pacific Time; tickets start at 6GBP; eventbrite.co.uk.
Book Launch: Ana Valens: Tumblr Porn. Journalist Ana Valens introduces us to the erotic gifs, hashtag fetish fan art, and sex worker resource blogs that combined to transform Tumblr into the vanguard of a user-generated sexual revolution. Valens’ book tells the story of the Tumblr NSFW ban, which had a dramatic impact on the lives of online sex workers and erotic artists — and how Twitter may be next. Please join Ana Valens, Dreadful, and Gretchen Felker-Martin for a panel discussion on eroticism on social media, the risks facing sex workers going forward, and what you can do to help give support. Friday, February 26, 4pm PT at Babycastles on Twitch.
Discussion: Black is Borderless. Milllion Watts & Black@Facebook come together to shine light on individuals of the Black community who add the brilliance of Black thought and creativity to the top tech and digital companies around the world. While these individuals may all work at different companies, they remain unified through our rich cultural experiences as Black creatives and bring that energy with them everywhere they go. Friday, February 26, 6pm; free; blackisborderless.splashthat.com.
Saturday, February 27
Art Show & Sale: 24th Annual Masters of the American West at the Autry. A beloved yearly tradition for everyone who loves the iconic visual art of the American West. The show will be available online this year for the first time. From classic frontier stories to contemporary Native visions, the show embraces a widening array of artists that together celebrate both the history and contemporary beauty of the West. The awards presentation and Miniatures sale kicks off Saturday, February 27 at noon, and the exhibition and events programming continues online through April 11; free; masters.theautry.org.
Art Pick: LAZZARO_art doesn’t sleep presents Art Heals. A video projection exhibition, Art Heals showcases work made by selected international visual artists during their Covid-19 lockdown isolation. The curated artworks will be projected onto buildings in cities including Rome, Milan, Naples, Madrid, Los Angeles, New York, Lima, and Mexico City on Saturday, February 27 at 7.30pm in local time zones. The Los Angeles edition features work by Daniel Gerwin, Mark Steven Greenfield, and Rema Ghuloum. Follow along at instagram.com/lazzaro_artdoesntsleep.
Art Pick: Holly Elander: Our Home and Vonn Sumner: Burning Down the House at KP Projects. In Elander’s charmingly surreal and whimsical scenes, she explored the juxtaposition of animals interacting with the design of the house in a playful tension between man and nature, posting ways in which we might share this world (and sometimes our homes) with one another. For Sumner, the subjects in his paintings — trash cans, dumpsters, empty industrial buildings, the way that fire dances and licks the air — refer to memories accumulated over years spent walking or driving around downtown city centers, back alleys, side streets, and bonfires. Begun in 2019, by the time he completed the series the world around us had shifted so much that he now sees these paintings in a totally different way. KP Projects, 633 N. La Brea, Hollywood; opening reception: Saturday, February 27, noon-5pm; on view through March 20; free; kpprojects.net.
Sunday, February 28
Online Workshop: Soil Writing with Nicelle Davis. This two-hour workshop is part craft talk, part generative, and part revision. Aspects include a close reading of successful Eco and Nature poetry, a discussion on how to use the natural world to enrich your writing and/or bring attention to ecological issues, and a writing prompt and share. The workshop expands on themes from Davis’ YouTube Channel Plants, Painting, and Poetry. Sunday, February 28, 7-9pm; free; eventbrite.com.
Art Pick: Hend Samir: Running in a Skewed Daydream at Real Pain Gallery. Egyptian painter Hend Samir’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. presents a visceral, gloopy, oil slick world in which figures and their settings, ornaments and architectures, and actions from the domestic to the intimate, transgressive, ceremonial and absolutely ordinary are all blended together in a fever dream of manipulated memory and heavy pigment. While the narratives in her tableaux remain accessible, the undeniable, contagious energy of the work resides in its intensely abstract physicality, in which dream logic and other impossibilities are somehow enacted and embodied within the cocoon of the familiar. In small and mural-scale works, Samir conjures the past as though from an inscrutable primordial mist that both tells and obscures her stories, depositing a geology of formative and aspirational experiences in their wake. Real Pain, 1819 Third Ave, Arlington Heights; on view online and by appointment through March 6; free; realpain.com.