Hello art partiers! We took a week off along with the rest of America last weekend, because we figured you had our own explosive, grilled, sunny or sandy plans. But we are back with a full week of special projects, surreal sunsets, outdoor performances — and of course, all the street, skate, and surf culture you can handle. Poposition Press turns contemporary urban and pop-surrealist art into pop-up books for adult design aficionados. Everywhere in Between turns Bergamot into an open-air performance and video venue. Judy Gelles turns seaside cabanas into meditative architectural studies at De Soto Gallery. David Hockney turns photographs into paintings and back again at L.A. Louver. And an only slightly cynical group show at Gagosian Gallery just tries to forget it all.
Thursday, July 9: “Theories on Forgetting” at Gagosian
It’s something of an art world tradition that in July and August, most galleries give themselves over to the trope of the “big summer group show.” Often organized thematically, one tends to see eclectic surveys with loose-fitting topics like sex or the nude, surf or car culture, fashion, beauty or etc. It’s usually breezy, cheeky, and, well, fun. It’s summer after all. In that sense, Gagosian’s contribution, “Theories on Forgetting,” is a bit on the dark side. Assembling major works by some 18 contemporary artists, the forgetting to which the title refers is not of the lazy, sunswept, margarita variety. Instead is about our society’s collective, and slightly unsettling, practice of dismissing the origins of our symbols and assumptions, what the description calls “source amnesia: strange relics and personal figments.” Artists like Piero Golia, Douglas Gordon, the late Ana Mendieta, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon and Jonas Wood are known for harvesting, mulching and Frankensteining iconography of the past into deliberately not-quite-new paintings, sculptures, videos, and photography that proudly display the scars of this conceptual surgery. Piero Golia's On Record (Three days conversation on general matters) — a 16-hour recorded conversation whose transcripts are collected in a unique artist book — will be shown for the first time and read at the opening.
Gagosian Gallery, 456 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills. Thur., July 9, 6-9 p.m.; exhibition continues Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through August 21; free. (310) 271-9400, gagosian.com.
Saturday, July 11: Everywhere in Between at Bergamot Station
Bergamot Station has been through a lot of changes in the 20 years since its quasi-abandoned train depot was transformed into a gallery hub. With the new Metro rail station coming, now is the perfect time to remind everyone that Bergamot is alive and well. With a crew of collaborators including the Pennington Dance Group, Greg Christy, Lili Haydn, Victoria Looseleaf, Kate Crash and Michael Maio, Kate Johnson: Everywhere in Between is the third in a series of “artist interventions” using video projections, dance, live music and further high-minded, cross-platform hijinks to enfold the sprawling entirety of the property into a singular, site-specific environmental experience, starting at sunset.
Bergamot Station Art Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Sat., July 11, 8-10:30 p.m.; free. 310-829-5854, 18thstreet.org.
Sunday, July 12: Judy Gelles: Beach Huts: Sunrise to Sunset at De Soto Gallery
Photographer Judy Gelles' Beach Huts and Beach Boxes series seem to promise a bit of vacationland, as they're expansive collections documenting the brightly painted beach-side micro-cabins common along the coastal resort towns of England and Australia. In fact, there is very little recreation on view — unless you count the fun the designers clearly had inventing the charming and elaborate color palettes and sophisticated patterns with which the structures are decorated. Gelles notes that the colors and shapes, which resemble advanced fine-art abstractions, are actually derived from nuances of the local weather, daylight, and landscape — making those responsible sound more like public artists than civil servants. Maybe our boring life-guard towers can get a fancy makeover, too.
De Soto Gallery, 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Sun., July 12, 3-6 p.m.; exhibition continues Thur.-Sun., 12-5 p.m., through Aug. 23; free. (323) 253-2255, desotogallery.com.
Wednesday, July 15: David Hockney at L.A. Louver
Art icon David Hockney not only blends painting and photography but also Britain and California. The compressed acrobatics of his saturated palette, ambient light, architectural space, unfurling landscapes and multipoint perspective have captured acclaim and instigated vigorous debate for decades already, but Hockney himself feels no need to slow his roll, remaining as prolific and pointed as ever. L.A. Louver and London’s Annely Juda Fine Art are thus able to jointly offer “David Hockney: Painting and Photography,” an exhibition of bright, bold, brand-new works, all made in the last two years, signaling a fresh examination of the evolving relationship between his two great loves. Oh who are we kidding, it doesn’t matter whether this new work is his worst or best (though it seems likely to be the latter). Just the word Hockney is sufficient to create a fashionable fuss and draw a well-heeled crowd. Go early.
L.A. Louver, 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. Wed., July 15, 6-8 p.m.; exhibition continues through Sept. 19, with variable summer hours until Sept. 4; free. (310) 822-4955, lalouver.com.
Thursday, July 16: The Pop Up Art Book release party at Soho Design House
Remember pop-up books? Of course you do. They were the coolest. The way their creaky, thick, shiny pages yielded sculptural vignettes that unfolded before your eyes was like augmented reality for analog childhoods. Poposition Press Founder Rosston Meyer remembers too — and his company is dedicated to recreating that experience of simple magic, except in the grown-up playroom of contemporary art. “The Pop Up Art Book” features spreads by some of the most exciting and adventurous street artists, pop surrealist painters and avant-garde illustrators working today: Junko Mizuno, Skinner, Tara McPherson, Jim Mahfood, kozyndan, and Aaron “Angry Woebots” Martin — the latter three of whom will be on hand for tonight’s book-signing and release party. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved pop-up books about monsters and dinosaurs,” says Skinner. “It's crazy what they have done with our art in this bad boy book. I get that old feeling of anticipation as I’m about to turn each page.” Woes concurs, saying “This book has lifted me up to a whole new level — literally.” He’s not kidding, his Howling Panda rises to stand some 15 inches off the page. Take that, Dr. Seuss!
Soho Design House, 6912 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. Thurs., July 16, 6-9 p.m.; free. (917) 708-1007. popupartbook.com.
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