Step into spring with an L.A. River listening party; art crawl through Venice or art cruise through Coachella Valley; appreciate the fine art of ramen bowls and the melodrama of war through dance; see exhibitions that give ageism the boot, explore paradise, critique through collage, indict society in proto-memes; commune with butterflies; cultivate community through botany; stream exceptional indie cinema; read more poetry; discover the wonders of vintage hand-painted photographs.
Thursday, March 17
Creative Roundtable: NFT AMA with Anuradha Vikram and Peter Wu at 18th Street (Virtual). Still not sure if NFTs are right for you — or even completely sure what they are? Join tech-forward, cryptoart aficionados Anuradha Vikram, curator, and Peter Wu, curator at EPOCH gallery, in an AMA (ask me anything) around NFTs and their potential for artists and arts organizations. They will discuss some practicalities of NFTs- from contracts and production to distribution; and some of the traps of the virtual and crypto space. Thursday, March 17, noon-1pm; free for members; 18thstreet.org.
Venice Art Crawl, Venice Beach Boardwalk & Local Galleries. The Venice Art Crawl is back in business, and kicks off with a special edition centered on the 2022 Legendary Women Artists of Venice awards benefit. This year’s honorees are: Legendary fine artist and designer Isabelle Lago; film director Megan Raney Aarons; and rising star, nine year-old artist Misty Srichandr. The ticketed benefit event at the Hotel Erwin features snacks, open bar, IG art auction, music and more. Meanwhile, there will be free art and happenings all along on the Boardwalk between Washington Blvd. and Rose Ave. Thursday, March 17; ticketed benefit, 6-8pm; art crawl, 6-10pm; free; veniceartcrawl.com.
Nats Getty and Jack Winthrop at The Art of Elysium. Two years to the day since the Covid-19 pandemic shut down California, artist and philanthropist Nats Getty will join forces with L.A. artist Jack Winthrop, to shine a spotlight on one of America’s most beloved art related charities, The Art of Elysium, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The event will showcase a series of artworks from both Getty and Winthrop, including two collaborative pieces, with a percentage of sales donated to the charity, plus 100 prints for sale with 100% of profits donated to support the organization’s work with artists, schools, and hospitals to develop the healing and nourishing properties of the arts. 3278 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; Thursday, March 17, 7-11pm; rsvp required; theartofelysium.org.
Friday, March 18
The Art of the Ramen Bowl at Japan House Los Angeles. Although this exhibition touches on the history and culture of ramen, its primary goal is to spotlight the donburi — the iconic bowl — as an artform unto itself. In the hands of 30 artists, the bowls serve as blank canvases on which the fun, the deliciousness and the many possibilities of ramen are uniquely expressed. In addition, the exhibition introduces the region of Mino – Japan’s largest producer of porcelain ramen bowls – and its long and important history of ceramic production, from tea bowls to housewares to the jewel-like donburi. Hollywood & Highland, 6801 Hollywood Blvd.; On view March 18 – July 5; free; japanhousela.com.
Pioneers of Queer Cinema screening series at UCLA Film & Television Archive. Andy Warhol’s My Hustler (1965) — a masterpiece of voyeurism, desire, and boredom — screens before short films by José Rodriguez-Soltero, James Broughton, and Curt McDowell. Jerovi (1965, dir. José Rodriguez-Soltero, 16mm, color, 11 min.); Testament (1974, dir. James Broughton, 16mm, color, 20 min.); Confessions (1972, dir. Curt McDowell, 16mm, b&w, 16 min.); My Hustler (1965, dir. 16mm, Andy Warhol, Chuck Wein, black and white, 79 min.). Introduced by Bradford Nordeen, creative director of Dirty Looks. Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood; Friday, March 18, 7:30pm; free; hammer.ucla.edu.
Diavolo & The Veterans Project at the Wallis. S.O.S. Signs Of Strength is the latest iteration of Diavolo’s Veterans Project, which utilizes the company’s unique style as a tool to help restore military veterans’ physical, mental, and emotional strengths through movement workshops and public performances. Performed by a cast of military veterans and civilian dancers, the piece follows a group of soldiers advancing through a landscape of battlegrounds, revealing how they face danger and meet adversity through individual feats of strength and resilience, and find unity and a sense of belonging that gives meaning to their personal sacrifice. 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; Friday-Saturday, March 18-19, 7:30pm, $39-$99; Sunday, March 20, 4pm, pay-what-you-can; thewallis.org.
Saturday, March 19
Delia Brown: Vanitas at Oxford House Projects. An exhibition of self-portrait boudoir paintings by Delia Brown that explore the shelf life of a woman’s desirability in a youth-obsessed culture. Both middle-aged and mid-career, with over twenty solo shows behind her, Vanitas marks Brown’s return to painting herself after a 12-year hiatus. Draped in nothing but sheer peignoirs as she lounges amidst velvet cushions and luxe fabrics, Brown renders herself both vulnerable and defiant. Staring unflinchingly at the viewer, she dares us to tell her what we think. Do we find her seductive and beautiful? Or, perhaps, pathetic and desperate? Does she care? The artist will be painting on the veranda during gallery hours throughout the run of the exhibition. 5426 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Feliz; Opens Saturday, March 19, noon-5pm; On view through March 27; free; oxfordhouseprojects.com.
Deborah Roberts: I’m at Art + Practice. Roberts critiques notions of beauty, race, and identity in contemporary society through the depiction of Black children. The traveling exhibition Deborah Roberts: I’m, presented concurrently at Art + Practice and CAAM, expands on Roberts’s continued work of illustrating Black youth through collage, investigating how societal pressures, projected images of beauty or masculinity, and the violence of American racism conditions their experiences. The exhibition will be on view at both locations, and CAAM will display a large-scale mural by Roberts installed on the lobby walls. 3401 W. 43rd Pl., Leimert Park; Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, noon-6pm; On view through August 20; free; artandpractice.org.
L.A. River Public Art Project presents Stories, Poems & Songs: Listening in Place. An early evening salon with poetry readings, storytelling, songs and a screening of the 2021 Lewis MacAdams Prize video by director Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre. The afternoon noon features Tongva culture bearer Tina Calderon, the Regenerative Collective, and poetry readings by Kelly Caballero, Teresa Mei Chuc, A.K. Toney, Rocío Carlos and Rachel Kaminer; hosted by poet, journalist and professor Mike Sonksen will be our host and moderator for the evening, which is followed by snacks and conversation with LARPAP’s new executive director, artist Jenna Didier. Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Church, 2707 1st St., Boyle Heights; Saturday, March 19, 4-6:30pm; free; lariverpublicartproject.org.
Frank Romero: Return to Paradise at Eastern Projects. Romero first went to Kauai in the early 1980s with his family and old friend, Carlos Almaraz. He got to know the north shore around Hanalei Bay, and Carlos loved it so much that he stayed and ultimately purchased a house with his wife, Elsa. Frank went back occasionally to see Carlos and Elsa and got to know the area even better, particularly the ocean vistas and mountain views. During the last two years, Frank and his wife Sharon ended up in a seaside home at Tunnels Beach and the entry to trails where long hikes could end up close to the Nā Pali Coast, encountering the magnificent plants and flowers, sea and beaches, palm trees, steep mountains, waterfalls, and magical sunsets that inspired this exhibition. 900 N. Broadway, Chinatown; Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, 5-9pm; On view through April 30; free; easternprojectsgallery.com.
Joe Zaldivar: Street Views of Los Angeles at Tierra del Sol. This exhibition shares Zaldivar’s unique universe of Los Angeles cityscapes, giving viewers sophisticated yet playful architectural and cultural perspectives on life in LA. Zaldivar has been an artist with the Tierra Art Studios since 2011. Like his aesthetic vision, his practice inside the studio is unique. He works with an iPad to find images that excite his imagination, then uses architectural pencils and pens to bring that location to the page, without projection and rarely a ruler. Before he used digital technology, he used Thomas Guides to capture space and place. 945 Chung King Road, Chinatown; Opening reception: Saturday, March 19, 6-9pm; On view through May 7; free; tierradelsolgallery.org.
Desert Open Studios in the Coachella Valley. The Coachella Valley is home to hundreds of diverse visual artists, and this free, public tour showcases their unique creative community. Over 100 artists have their studios open, sharing a wide range of artistic practices including painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, ceramics, jewelry, glass and fiber arts. From Indio in the east through La Quinta, Bermuda Dunes, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City, Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs in the west, choose your own route through the art adventures. Saturday, March 19, 10am-4pm & Sunday, March 20, noon-4pm; free; desertopenstudios.com.
Sunday, March 20
Nowruz Celebration at UCLA (Outdoor). Nowruz is the most colorful and lively Iranian event of the year, and Farhang Foundation’s festival — the largest celebration of its kind in the country — is a public, daylong festival welcoming Springtime, including a large-scale Haft Sîn display (a symbolic and traditional Iranian table-scape celebrating the Spring solstice), stilt walkers, traditional dance performances, an Iranian Tea House, children’s activities, puppet shows, and authentic musical performances. 340 Royce Dr./Dickson Court/Royce Hall; Sunday, March 20, noon-5pm; free; farhang.org.
Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum. Wonder takes flight at the museum’s beloved seasonal tradition, the Butterfly Pavilion. This springtime exhibition features hundreds of butterflies, colorful native plants, and plenty of natural light to help you see these creatures shimmer across lots of flight space and a variety of resting spots. From caterpillars to cocoons and the kaleidoscope of mature butterflies from over 30 species, it’s impossible to leave in a bad mood. 900 Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park; March 20 – September 5; $8/free for members; nhm.org.
Barbara Kruger; Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. at LACMA. Devoted to the work of Barbara Kruger spanning four decades, this comprehensive presentation features single-channel videos from the 1980s, digital productions of the last two decades, large-scale room wraps, multichannel video installations, and audio soundscapes installed throughout LACMA’s campus. As an active consumer and vigilant viewer of popular culture, Kruger grapples with the accelerated ways pictures and words flow through media;, informing her most recent video works, which are an exhibition highlight. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile; March 20 – July 17; $10-$25; free after 3pm weekdays; lacma.org.
Malibu Film Festival (Virtual). Dedicated to fostering a community for independent emerging artists, the festival competition lineup boasts premieres, including World, North American, and U.S. debuts. Chosen from over 1000 submissions across Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Short Films and Episodic projects, this year’s competition lineup hails from all corners of the globe. VOD streaming March 20-27; $4.99/all access pass; malibufilmfestival.org.
Monday, March 21
Radical Propagations/Propagaciones Radicales at 18th Street Arts Center Airport Campus. Curated by artist and researcher Maru García, and featuring the work of Alberto Tlatoa, Lucía Monge, Rashonda Bartney, Rebecca Youssef, and Yrneh Gabon, this exhibition explores processes as diverse as guerrilla gardening, human-plant interspecies mobilizations, and the formation and distribution of seed libraries. Just as a plant can be propagated through cuttings that can be replanted and encouraged to root in new soil, this exhibition includes the work of artists and activists whose practices focus on splitting and sharing — building relationships and community from the bottom up. These are artists who compost, who cultivate, who maintain community gardens, living daily as radical propagators of cultures of regeneration. The impulse to share knowledge, food, and ideas, can iterate and grow in unanticipated ways. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; On view March 21 – July 30; free; 18thstreet.org.
Reading Poetry, Engaging America: Joy Harjo and Elizabeth Alexander in Conversation (Virtual). Join two pathbreaking poets, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation and Joy Harjo, the U.S. Poet Laureate, in conversation about the significance of poetry in our current moment, and how the discipline of writing poetry has shaped the lives of both women. Globally renowned as a performer and writer, Harjo is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and the first Native American to serve as the official poet of the United States. A celebration of the start of spring and a look ahead to National Poetry Month in April, this livestream event will feature a reading by Harjo and a discussion about the doorways poetry can open to understanding our shared humanity. Monday, March 21, 1pm PT; free; mellonjoyharjo.splashthat.com.
Wednesday, March 23
PEN presents Writing With Fire at the Skirball. This Oscar-nominated film follows the reporters of India’s Khabar Lahariya, an independent feminist news network covering the country’s inequities with unflinching and intrepid determination. Directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh. (2021, 92 min. No MPAA rating. In Hindi with English subtitles.) 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood; Wednesday, March 23, 7:30pm; free; pen.org.
Ode to Nature: Early American Hand-Painted Landscape Photography at the Gateway to Nature Center. Before digital anything, before color film and really before film at all, a generation of American landscape photographers had their work cut out for them. Travel to remote locations with the often clunky and delicate equipment of, say, glass plate negatives was no small feat, and quite often the black and white images that resulted failed, no matter how perfectly composed and detailed, to capture the vibrant, verdant, romantic and dramatic grandeur of the sites. The solution was, in many cases, to hand-paint the prints.
Once a wildly popular branch of early photography, it also helped fuel the historic National Park Conservation Legislation of the early 1900s, playing an integral role in the nascent environmental movement. Along the way, the genre accidentally tapped into a later contemporary discourse on truth in photography — after all, the addition of color effectively renders the photographs more realistic and true to the actual appearance and poetic splendor of the locations than black and white captures — not to mention adding fuel to the painting vs. photography showdown and anti-pictorialist backlash on the cultural horizon at the turn of the century.
But for collector Fred Havens, it was a classic story of intuitive flea market curiosity leading to an obsession. In the 1970s, he stumbled across a few pieces, fell in love and has since gone on to acquire some 350 examples of the genre — 70 of which are on display (for the first time) at the Gateway to Nature Center in downtown’s El Pueblo de Los Angeles this month. Itself a kind of hidden gem, the gallery is dedicated to exhibitions centering conservation and environmental appreciation, and its permanent installation of photo-based textile sculptures of rare California trees by artist Kim Abeles serves to highlight the context of presence in nature the Havens collection of images seeks to evoke.
Lovingly rendered with miniscule detail, a sense of the dramatic and faithfulness to the light, shadow, reflection, clouds, and colors of the arboreal, geological and botanical array, and yet clearly speaking to an audience of consumers of cultural objects of decor and status, these images strive to communicate both the power of the natural world and the potential of a new art form.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles; 130 Paseo de la Plaza, downtown; Saturday & Sunday, 10am-3pm, through March 27; free; elpueblo.lacity.org.