Live theater returning to REDCAT, the Broad Stage and ICT, a new international gallery and cultural center in Echo Park, online art conversations and short-story readings, a 500-artist mutual appreciation extravaganza, modern immersive digital art, Ron Athey two ways, and Marilyn checks into the Hotel Bel Air.
Thursday, August 26
Ron Athey: Acephalous Monster at REDCAT. For more than three decades performance artist and provocateur Ron Athey’s work has created new rituals through mortification of his body as an artistic practice toward the divine, the ecstatic, and celebration of queerness and community. This new performance utilizes projections, readings, lectures, sound and appropriated text, as Athey turns to the Acéphale, the figure of the headless man, which inspired philosopher George Bataille’s secret society of the same name to combat nihilism and fascism before the Second World War in France. The headless or beheaded man is a powerful symbol of radical transformation, the driving force of all of Athey’s performances pushing towards the merging of humans and gods. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown; Thursday, August 26 – Saturday, August 28, 8:30; Sunday, August 29, 7pm; $25; redcat.org.
Lindsay Dawn: Lawless Reflections at Arushi. The city’s newest gallery, Arushi, from art dealer, consultant and author Arushi Kapoor, plans a unique “cultural center” presenting Indian progressive masters, as well as aboriginal Southeast Asian and African diaspora artists. The space’s marketplace will feature products from local businesses with a special emphasis on those that are female owned and operated.The space’s inaugural show is Lindsay Dawn’s Lawless Reflections — a journey through the artist’s process of deep self-reflection from an unrestricted, ego-less perspective. The intention behind this collection is for the viewer to emphasize the importance of observing the relationship between their innermost self and how deeply rooted aspects and experiences translate into the innumerable layers of one’s personality. 1243 W. Temple St., Echo Park; Grand Opening reception: Thursday, August 26, 6-10pm; free; instagram.com/arushikapoor1.
Friday, August 27
Fourth Fridays at The Broad. Enjoy extended summer evening hours at The Broad. DJs will be spinning outdoors at the East West Bank Plaza and dancers will be activating the artworks and architecture inside the galleries. Otium will offer a limited drink menu of batch cocktails, beer, and wine. On view in the galleries: Invisible Sun, plus in-depth installations of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. 221 S. Grand Ave., downtown; Friday, August 27, 5-8pm; free; thebroad.org.
Derek Fordjour in conversation with Ava DuVernay: Bookmaker’s Dozen at David Kordansky Gallery (Virtual). An online exhibition featuring a new dozen-frame painting that is one of the definitive statements of Fordjour’s career. In a wide-ranging conversation, Fordjour and award-winning director Ava DuVernay approach his cinematic painting, Bookmaker’s Dozen (2021), as a springboard for meditations on process and labor, framing in painting and film, the historical patterns at play in the making and reception of art, and the Black body. Online August 27 – September 17 at davidkordanskygallery.com.
Closely Related Keys at International City Theater. Living in New York a few months prior to the 10th anniversary of September 11, Julia Dolan is an up-and-coming corporate attorney whose carefully constructed life begins to crumble when she learns she has a half-sister — a Muslim who has fled Iraq. Neyla plays the violin and wants to audition for Julliard, but Julia is wary. Is there more to Neyla’s story? Written by Wendy Graf, directed by Saundra McClain. International City Theatre, Long Beach Performing Arts Center, 330 E. Seaside Way, Long Beach; Previews: August 25-26, 8pm; Performances: August 27 – September 12; $37-55; InternationalCityTheatre.org.
Saturday, August 28
NOMAD. The Torrance Art Museum (TAM) presents Nomad — a pop-up of SoCal contemporary art featuring 500 artists in a one-weekend only pop-up event created for artists, by artists, to reforge our connections to each other in real life. It is for our audiences to once again commune with us through our practices. It is for curators and gallerists to catch up with what we have been doing in our studios over this isolating past year. We will come together to witness the power and value of engaging with art in person. Medical Building, Del Amo Crossing, 21535 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance; Saturday-Sunday, August 28-29, noon-5pm; free; nomadartshow.com.
Sunday, August 29
Maggie West: Eternal Garden presented by VellumLA and StandardVision. Eternal Garden is a surreal digital landscape created by remixing colorful time-lapse photography. Throughout the pandemic, West photographed flowers from her garden under a spectrum of colored lights, capturing the growth process while altering the visual properties of each plant. The footage was then combined into surreal floral landscapes; blooming and evolving before the viewer’s eyes. The artist’s groundbreaking animation process extends beyond the boundaries of traditional photography and allows her to create complex, surreal ecosystems inside an immersive video experience. The exhibition will include sound design by Things You Say; NFTs from Eternal Garden will be sold on Nifty Gateway starting September 4. 3424 N. San Fernando Rd., Atwater; Sunday, August 29, 1-6pm; free; vellumla.com.
Tuesday, August 31
Queer Survivance at ICA LA. An intergenerational discussion with individuals who have created and/or participated in communities of queer joy and creativity in order to survive the precarities of late 20th and early 21st century capitalist life in the US. Queer Survivance is thematically linked to the current ICA exhibition Queer Communion: Ron Athey, wherein the photographs, drawings, props, diaries, and other objects connected to the life and work of LA-based performance artist Athey are organized according to the communities the artist has participated in and helped to form. Athey’s savagely joyous practice and capacity to live creatively in spite of the crushing weight of capitalist regimes epitomize queer survivance, and he is joined on the panel by others have developed equally powerful strategies to live queerly and creatively. 1717 E. 7th St., downtown; Tuesday, August 31, 6-8pm; free; theicala.org.
Wednesday, September 1
Birds in the Moon at the Broad Stage (Outdoors). In the new chamber opera by Mark Grey and Júlia Canosa i Serra set in a traveling magic box theater, a fable unfolds that captures the urgency of lives lived seeking a better world, the quest for a utopia, an escape to a far-off moon where it is believed abundance and harmony might be found. Birds in the Moon is a fantastical story with live music, soundscapes and video projections that conveys the urgency and hope that the Bird-Mother experiences as she protects her young daughter from menacing forces that threaten to derail their journey – one that embodies themes of freedom, migration and borders. This is a new, mobile chamber opera performed inside and on top of a specially designed shipping container. Santa Monica’s Lot 27, located at the corner of Arizona and 5th Street, Santa Monica; Wednesday-Saturday, September 1-4; 7pm; $25-75; thebroadstage.org.
Bert Stern: The Last Sitting at the Hotel Bel Air. On a late June afternoon in 1962, Marilyn Monroe arrived at Hotel Bel-Air — alone, five hours late, ready to discard her inhibitions for the camera of legendary photographer Bert Stern. The 12-hour photoshoot that ensued, and the following two sessions, yielded nothing short of magic: the 2,571 portraits revealed a Marilyn completely unreserved yet utterly glamorous in wispy scarves, pink silk, birdcage veils, and an iconic black velour gown by Christian Dior. Collectively called The Last Sitting, the intimate portraits would be the public’s final glimpse into the life of the Hollywood icon before her untimely death six weeks later. The series will be displayed in the Hotel Bel Air lobby from September 1 – October 31; free; dorchestercollection.com.
PEN Best Debut Fiction Launch (Virtual). Readings from the essential annual guide to the newest voices in short fiction, selected this year by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Beth Piatote. Who are the most promising short story writers working today? Where do we look to discover the future stars of literary fiction? This book will offer a dozen compelling answers to these questions. The stories collected showcase the vital work they do to nurture literature’s newest voices. Wednesday, September 1, 4pm Pacific; free; mcnallyjackson.com.