Artists of all disciplines retell and remix ideas from classics of Cali literature to iconic animal spirits, underappreciated history and lore, journalism and memoir, the nature of consciousness, the stylistic pageant of art history, what it means to be healed in community, the politics of craft, music and sculpture, fashion and surrealism, photography and performance, decades of the library, landscape conservation, narrative and abstraction in painting, and sculpture and scale.
Thursday, May 18
Elizabeth Waggett: I am Woman Hear Me Roar, at Art Angels. Each piece in Waggett’s latest exhibition bridges to the artist’s new direction—the Big Cats series and her previously developed gilded works. The psychologically charged Big Cats carry a certain tenacity and force; feared and admired in equal measure for their predatory skill, power and beauty. “There is something poetic about how the work unintentionally parallels my life, but of course the artwork is the artist’s autobiography; influenced by both one’s history and evolution,” writes Waggett. “The mystery that lies within each piece is not only visual but physical too—they beg for you to reach out and touch them.” 9020 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Hills; Opening reception: Thursday, May 18, 7-9pm; free; instagram.com/artangels.
Steinbeck Remixed: Inventing the Californias in Classic Hollywood, at The Cheech. A three-part event exploring representations of California history in John Steinbeck film adaptations. The indoor afternoon panel includes trailers and features screenings and discussions with leading film scholars. Following the panel is a gallery tour with curators of the 2022-23 MexiCali Biennial: Land of Milk & Honey, a traveling multidisciplinary arts and culture program featuring works by over 40 artists whose works focus on concepts of agriculture in the regions of California and Mexico. The day culminates in an outdoor screening of artist Emmanuel Ramos-Baraja’s video installation of Steinbeck films remixed to a live DJ set by Chulita Vinyl Club. 3581 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; Thursday, May 18, 2-8pm; free w/registration; riversideartmuseum.org.
Friday, May 19
Penda Diakité: Mansa Musso (She is King) at UTA Artist Space. Malian-American Artist Penda Diakité grew up between Mali, West Africa and Portland, Oregon. Her artwork meshes the vibrant colors and patterns of her Malian heritage with influences of her American upbringing, and is a reflection of her experiences as a bicultural black woman. Mansa Musso is a celebration of the women who played integral roles in the creation of the Mali Empire. Through her uniquely developed mixed media process of collage, painting, and hand-engraved surfaces, the artist depicts life-size portraits inspired by the words of griots and storytellers, translating the magic realism of these narratives into evocative works on canvas. 403 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills; Opening reception: Friday, May 19, 6-8pm; On view through June 17; free; utaartistspace.com.
Liv Little in Conversation with John Legend, Mike Jackson, & Ty Stiklorius at Second Home Hollywood. Liv Little is a writer of Jamaican and Guyanese descent via South London. She tells stories with heart about the people and places that matter to her. Her work spans journalism, audio, TV, and curatorial projects, for which she’s received various accolades, including LGBTQI+ Broadcaster of the Year and Rising Star at WOW. The evening is hosted by Reparations Club with Little discussing her debut, queer, coming-of-self novel Rosewater, moderated by Get Lifted cofounders John Legend, Mike Jackson, & Ty Stiklorius. 1370 N. St. Andrews Pl., Hollywood; Friday, May 19, 7pm; free with guaranteed entry for signed book pre-purchase, $27.95; secondhome.io.
Moll Brau: Sweet Dreams, at Rusha & Co. Brau’s paintings capture the stages of a recent performance wherein the artist, as dreamer, attempted to gain a deeper sense of self through the process of spiritual alchemy, sleeping on a bed of nails. The canvases are built up through acrylic, oil, volcanic rock, powdered Psilocybin, beef tallow, decaying flowers, Frankincense, gold, and even Brau’s own tears. In this sequential series of transformational self-portraiture, Brau’s awakenings and spiritual growth are channeled through the real and the imagined, documented and immortalized. The divine secrets of the alchemical process, the art of transformation, inner liberation, and change. 244 W. Florence Ave., South LA; Opening reception: Friday, May 19, 6-9pm; On view May 20-June 24; free; rusha.co.
Tex Hammond: The Absence of… Popup Exhibition. The 16-year old art sensation, Tex Hammond returns with a new body of work in his fifth solo exhibition, featuring a captivating mix of oil on canvas, works on paper, and paint on found materials, and curated by Carmen Acosta. Hammond is constantly exploring new techniques and expanding the horizons of figurative art. His ability to infuse contemporary elements into classic techniques sets him apart and allows him to create a style that is uniquely his own. The exhibition showcases many works on paper that are fully realized studies produced from Hammond’s almost obsessive sketching, imbuing the pieces with a raw and intuitive energy. 5225 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood; Friday, May 19, 7-9pm; free; eventbrite.com/tex-hammond.
Saturday, May 20
LA Freewaves presents Heal Hear Here at LA State Historic Park. A reparative afternoon of collective care in nature, offering healing art practices to begin to recover from years of isolation, fatigue, injustice, and hardship. With 30 artist groups selected by 30 organizations across music, processions, movement, sound, and workshops, the event explores healing art modes devised by a broad community of arts organizations in a multi-sensory, multicultural environment of artistic practices that navigate attendees’ different journeys through music, processions, movement, sound, sculpture, and interactive works1245 N. Spring St., Chinatown; Saturday, May 20, 3-7pm; free; freewaves.org.
Faith Ringgold: A Survey at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery. The celebrated artist’s first survey in Los Angeles surveys artwork from the 1960s to the present, demonstrating her career-spanning commitment to social justice and equity through a variety of media including oil paintings, tankas, soft sculptures, prints, and of course her iconic story quilts. The artworks in the exhibition weave together autobiographical details, fictional accounts, and historic events into ambitious narratives that speak to universal truths of the human condition. 925 N. Orange Dr., Hollywood; Opening reception: Saturday, May 20, 6-8pm; On view through August 12; free; deitch.com.
Agnieszka Nienartowicz: Sweet Burden, at Nicodim Gallery. Nienartowicz’s hyper-realistic oil paintings recontextualize Old Master, Renaissance, and Catholic interpretations of bible scenes and religious tales, in many instances layering them directly onto female bodies and faces. Raised in the Catholic church, Nienartowicz acutely understands the emotional impact of religion and how belief systems and spiritual practices can leave a lasting impression on one’s psyche. 1700 S. Santa Fe., downtown; Opening reception: Saturday, May 20, 5-8pm; On view through July 1; free; nicodimgallery.com.
Jon Pylypchuk: I’ve Got Love for You at ArtCenter. With a site-specific installation and new bronzes and paintings by musician and multimedia artist Jon Pylypchuk, the exhibition is the first to feature the artist’s songwriting. Talking ghosts and other friendly, surreal creatures guide gallery visitors through an otherworldly landscape as Pylypchuk’s original songs play throughout the exhibition, as testaments to the emotional complexity of his career-long exploration of selfhood, community, and estrangement. 1111 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena; Opening reception: Saturday, May 20, 5-7pm; On view through August 19; free; artcenter.edu.
Sunday, May 21
Rodney Smith: A Leap of Faith, at the Getty Center (Live & Virtual). Known for his stunning, whimsical, and surreal images, Rodney Smith (1947–2016) started out as a photo-essayist, turned to portrait photography, and found his greatest success in the world of fashion. Inspired by W. Eugene Smith, taught by Walker Evans, and devoted to the techniques of Ansel Adams, he was driven by the dual ideals of technical mastery and pure beauty. Celebrating the new Getty publication Rodney Smith: A Leap of Faith, this conversation features a distinguished panel and some of Smith’s most iconic images, as well as never-before-seen photographs that illustrate his creative process and evolution. 1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood, and online; Sunday, May 21, 2pm; free; getty.edu.
LA Made Presents: LAPL at 150—Our Story is Yours at Central Library. LAPL150: Our Story is Yours is an exhibition of images and objects of LAPL history from its earliest days until now, spanning the history of the Library’s first 150 years, and is a central event in their Sesquicentennial Celebration. Join curators Jim Sherman, Librarian in the Literature & Fiction Department, and Christina Rice, Senior Librarian of the Photo Collection, as they tell the story of how the Library and city grew up together. Some of the Library’s special and institutional collections, as used in the exhibition, will be highlighted to celebrate how the Los Angeles Public Library has adapted to serve the communities of our dynamic city. The exhibition is currently on view in the Getty Gallery at Central Library. 630 W. 5th St., downtown; Sunday, May 21, 2pm; free; lapl.org.
Monday, May 22
American Cinematheque and NatGeo present: Wild Life at Aero Theater. From Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the film follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in mid-life, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur Doug Tompkins left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer—Patagonia, The North Face, and Esprit—and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina. 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; Monday, May 22, 7:30pm; americancinematheque.com.
Tuesday, May 23
Njideka Akunyili Crosby: Coming Back to See Through, Again, at David Zwirner Los Angeles. An exhibition of new and recent work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby will inaugurate the gallery’s anticipated Los Angeles location. Her richly patterned, resolutely humanistic scenic portraits combine universal experiences of community and family with the artist’s rich memories of her own Nigerian cultural touchstones. Her dexterity merging narrative figuration with appealing abstraction and fidelity to meaningful and evocative motifs is acclaimed, and the works on view in Los Angeles, where the artist works and lives, bring multiple places and temporalities together within single compositions. In them, Akunyili Crosby uses doorways, screens, posters, and windows as devices that open to other worlds, such as private interior spaces, lush external gardens, and bustling Nigerian markets. 616 N. Western Ave., Melrose Hill; Opens May 23; free; davidzwirner.com.
Wednesday, May 24
Thomas J Price: Beyond Measure, at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles. Price’s multidisciplinary practice amplifies the visibility of marginalized bodies and challenges our preconceived attitudes towards power and value. Featuring an entirely new series of sculptures in bronze and marble, the exhibition expands on Price’s intrinsic understanding of materiality and scale to respond to traditional art canons and social structures. Whether encountered in a gallery or in public spaces, Price’s works draw the viewer’s attention to the nuances of conditioned behaviors and psychological frameworks, interrogating how we collectively occupy space. 901 E. 3rd St., downtown; On view May 24 – August 20; free; hauserwirth.com.
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