A magazine in forum form, a memoir in performance form, dance and music performances in a garden, high-art video games, art to remember, paintings about AI-inflected mathematical esoterica, text-based abstraction, a gazillion portraits, art and music of ancient Colombia, Afrofuturist mixed media installation, storytelling through food, paintings you should definitely not eat, post-Soviet monuments, murals at the Getty Center, basketball on stage, basketball behind the Iron Curtain.
Thursday, May 26
PopUp Magazine at the Theater at the Ace Hotel. The Spring 2022 issue of PopUp Magazine is on newsstands — or, rather on tour — now. Its acclaimed live multimedia storytelling show performed at historic venues across North America features original and unforgettable true stories, art, music, and performance from diverse storytellers and journalists, accompanied by illustration, animation, film, photography, and an original live score. Imagine a comedy show, play, concert, podcast, and film — all wrapped into one night. 929 S. Broadway, downtown; Thursday, May 26, 7:30pm; $39-$59; popupmagazine.com.
We Rise Garden Concert at Self Help Graphics (Outdoor). A night of visual art, spoken word, live music and dance performances in an urban garden oasis, celebrating the closing celebration for the We Rise mental health initiative. On view in the gallery is Phung Huynh’s solo exhibition, Donut (W)hole — suite of serigraphic portraits in homage to the Cambodian stories told through the lens of 1st and 2nd generation Khmericans who grew up in their family’s donut shop — a cultural space where refugees and immigrants reshape their lives in the process of negotiating, assimilating, and becoming American. 1300 E. 1st st., Boyle Heights; Thursday, May 26, 6-8:30pm; free; selfhelpgraphics.com.
Friday, May 27
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley: GET HOME SAFE, at David Kordansky Gallery. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is an artist working predominantly in animation, sound, performance, and video game development. Her practice focuses on intertwining lived experience with fiction to imaginatively retell the stories of Black Trans people. GET HOME SAFE is an immersive, interactive installation, and part of an ongoing archival project where the artist endeavors to remedy the state of erasure in which Black Trans lives have been removed from records of the past, accounts of the present, and visions of the future. 5130 W. Edgewood Pl., Mid-City; Opening: Friday, May 27, 6-8pm; On view through July 1; free; davidkordanskygallery.com.
Lanise Howard: And then they heard the wind, at Seasons LA. Howard’s figures — her chameleons—stand proudly in their surreal landscapes, a realm located in a future past. These individuals command their ethereal lands, a place free from the dark historical realities of our own world. But in her new works, a sense of unease begins to show on their faces as a tempest rises in the distance. They can hear whisperings of change, some unfamiliar transmutation imposed from afar. On their horizon is a story of migration, this is all but a preface to the deluge to come. 908 S. Olive St., downtown; May 27, 6pm; On view through July 3; free; seasons.la.
Saturday, May 28
Senon Williams: Holy County Line & Nathan Redwood: Portraits: Invented Subjects and Divergent Styles at prjctla. Willams presents a mixture of paintings, works on paper and sculptures in his signature style of blending text with delicately rendered landscapes and abstractions in paintings on canvas, works on paper, and 3-D works made from found wood. Redwood amasses some 100 paintings, ten on canvas and 90 framed works paper — all portraits depicting every possible idiosyncrasy of his oeuvre to conjure a broad view of portraiture. 1452 E. 6th St., downtown; Opening: Saturday May 38, 3-6pm; On view through July 2; free; prjctla.com.
Fruits and Veggies: Art You Should Almost Eat, at Giant Robot. One of Giant Robot’s signatures is the wide-ranging thematic group show; and one of the most popular motifs (right after cats, probably) is food. This iteration is as eclectic and offbeat as ever, with dozens of big and brand new names contributing conceptual, surrealist, sentient, anthropomorphic, badly behaved produce that’s fresh and getting fresher. 2015 Sawtelle Blvd., West LA; Opens Saturday, May 28; Online and live tour 11am; Reception 1-3pm; On view through June19; free; giantrobot.com.
American Artist: Shaper of God, at REDCAT. Featuring newly commissioned work in video, installation, sculpture, and drawing, Shaper of God takes inspiration from science fiction author Octavia E. Butler’s novels and life, and the lives of other African-diasporic people who formed, and were formed by, the adjoining communities of Altadena and Pasadena. The exhibition layers the landscapes in which Butler lived with those she imagined, in order to consider history’s cycles, and how these patterns can unpack the present as well as grow visions of a new future. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; On view in the lobby gallery, May 28 – October 2; free; redcat.org.
Anja Salonen: Unknot, at in lieu. A new series of figurative acrylic and oil paintings that propose permeable thresholds between the body and world, human and nonhuman, primordial and forthcoming. Referencing the mathematical theory of knots, unknots are closed loops without ends, circles and openings that are also boundaries between interior and exterior. Likewise, Salonen’s scenes of scientific experiments with A.I. alongside imagined architectures of fences, water, and other more mysterious transparent layers question the membrane between subject and object, what is open and what is closed. Bendix Building, 1206 Maple; downtown; Opening: Saturday, May 28, 6-9pm; On view through July 2; free; inlieu.online. NOTE: Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 515, and Durden & Ray also have opening receptions at the Bendix tonight.
Sunday, May 29
Matthew Moore: Post-Socialist Landscapes at the Wende Museum. An explorer of places both real and imagined, Moore’s photographic process blends research and cartography to investigate the way history and collective memory is influenced through interventions in the landscape. Moore will discuss his recent photographic project Post-Socialist Landscapes, an eight-year exploration of monument removal and relocation in countries that were once occupied by the Soviet Union. 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City; Sunday, May 29; 3pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
Art & Music: The Portable Universe, at LACMA. Colombian musician Luis Fernando Franco Duque will play music with ancient Colombian ocarinas in the galleries of The Portable Universe, a groundbreaking exhibition showcasing the materiality and knowledge of ancient Colombian cultures from an Indigenous point of view, reframing how we approach ancient Colombian art. This program is bilingual in Spanish and English. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Sunday, May 29, 2-3pm; free w/ museum admission, ; lacma.org.
Tuesday, May 31
Judy Baca: Hitting the Wall, at the Getty Center. To underline the ongoing vulnerability of mural art, this focused display highlights the design, painting, destruction, and renewal of artist Judy Baca’s famous 1984 Hitting the Wall mural on a freeway underpass in downtown Los Angeles. The presentation will include preliminary sketches, colorations, and an actual-size reproduction of a part of the mural. This exhibition complements The Lost Murals of Renaissance Rome, which also opens today. 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood; On view May 31 – September 4; free; getty.edu.
In Conversation: Kwame Onwuachi and Nyesha Arrington at CAAM. James Beard Award-winning chef and recurring judge on Top Chef Kwame Onwuachi discusses his debut cookbook, My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef, with celebrity chef and Top Chef winner Nyesha Arrington. In the book Onwuachi shares the dishes of his America that show the true diversity of American food — a celebration of the food of the African diaspora, as handed down through Onwuachi’s own family history, spanning Nigeria to the Caribbean, the South to the Bronx, and beyond. Interwoven throughout the book are stories of Onwuachi’s travels, illuminating the connections between food and place, and food and culture. 600 State Dr., Exposition Park; Tuesday, May 31, 7pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Wednesday, June 1
Kent Washington: A Black Basketball Player in Communist Poland, at the Wende Museum (Virtual). Nicknamed “The Wizard of Harlem,” Kent Washington made history by becoming the first American to play professional basketball behind the Iron Curtain. In his recently published memoir Kentomania: A Black Basketball Virtuoso in Communist Poland Washington recounts how a basketball tour with his college to Poland in 1976 provided a unique opportunity; in the end he played there for four and a half seasons, enduring the communist lifestyle while assimilating into Polish society. Wednesday, June 1, 4pm; free; wendemuseum.org.
King James at Mark Taper Forum. Basketball great LeBron James’s reign in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city in desperate need of all three. It also brings together two friends who communicate best when they are talking and arguing about sports. King James is an intimate exploration of the place that sports and athletes occupy in our emotional lives and relationships. It explores the star player’s impact on Cleveland, from his rookie season to the city’s historic championship, and the lives of these two unlikely friends whose turbulent relationship is best navigated through their shared love of the sport in a verbal game of one-on-one. 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown; Performances June 1 – July 3; $35-$110; centertheatregroup.org.
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