This week’s cover story is a bit of a look ahead, with some must-see shows to catch throughout the coming art season. But in the meantime, that season is already well underway. In addition to gallery and museum exhibitions abounding, live and virtual book events, theater and performance art and new film are also plentiful. Gallery openings are lovely and if you’re so inclined there are plenty to choose from — but remember that most exhibitions remain on view for weeks or months after their opening receptions, and can be a real pleasure to view in peace. So check those dates and take care of yourself when (if) you re-enter the fray!
Thursday, September 9
Lizastrata at the Getty Villa. In this comedic musical retelling of one of history’s greatest theatrical offerings, Lizastrata takes on the establishment, storms the Acropolis, and holds the treasury hostage until the long-warring men of Athens and Sparta commit to declaring peace. Her strategy? All the women go on a sex strike. Set to a mash-up of Liza Minnelli’s greatest hits. 17985 PCH, Pacific Palisades; Thursday – Saturday, September 9 – October 2, 8pm; $40; getty.edu.
Friday, September 10
Mark Grotjahn: Backcountry at Blum & Poe. Mark Grotjahn’s first exhibition in L.A. in six years, presenting large-scale paintings that represent the culmination of his Capri series. These works were made in response to the artist’s recent journeys in ski touring — skiing in backcountry territories on unmarked or unpatrolled areas — and the ecstatic potentialism that is channeled from those experiences at high heights, in pure nature, in total isolation. 2727 S. La Cienega, Culver City; On view by appointment September 10 – October 23; free; blumandpoe.com.
Amanda Antunes: Ithaca at Luna Anais Gallery. Across her multimedia practice, Amanda Maciel Antunes takes literature and mythology as the basis for an exploration of identity, ancestry, and migration. Working across disciplines including painting, sculpture, performance, and costuming, Antunes reinvents found materials and rejuvenates crafting traditions from her home country of Brazil, creating works inscribed with cultural inheritance and the artist’s self-made rituals. Tin Flats, 1989 Blake Ave., Frogtown; Opening reception: Friday, September 10, 6-10pm; on view through October 23; free; lunaanais.com.
Katharina Grosse: Repetitions without Origin, at Gagosian. Grosse has expanded the scope and potential of painting beyond the frame to approach the scale and awe of nature and architecture in relation to site. Using a spray gun, she blasts pure liquid color over canvases, objects, buildings, and entire landscapes in audacious yet nuanced explorations of gesture and physicality. While Grosse’s bold formal innovations possess an undeniable liveness and freedom, they are also grounded in keen analysis; her chosen medium of spray paint is a tool for conducted improvisation and a catalyst for surprising reactions between material, support, mind, eye, and hand. 456 N. Camden Dr., Beverly Hills; September 11 – October 23; free; gagosian.com.
Achy Obejas in conversation with Luis Rodriguez at Book Soup (Virtual). A bilingual poetry collection from a Cuban-American writer-activist that explores themes of identity, sexuality, and belonging. A unique and inspiring bilingual collection of lyrical poetry written in bold, mostly gender-free English and Spanish that address immigration, displacement, love and activism. Friday, September 10, 6pm; free w/ registration; booksoup.com.
Saturday, September 11
Camille Rose Garcia: Obsidian Butterfly at KP Projects. Garcia’s new exhibition is a collection of radiant, almost sunny (for her) paintings that are equally inspired by the poetry of Octavio Paz and her up-close experiences with wildfires and smoky ocean horizons. They are displayed in painted frames built of driftwood collected by her mother for a decade, and they are some of Garcia’s most personal works in a long while. A series of caves, isles, volcanoes, broad sea views, prismatic sunsets, protective bird and snake spirits, sea-witches and evocative yonic shells lend a generally meditative, gothic Georgia O’Keeffe energy to the works, which are rendered in a refreshed palette of radiant chartreuse, saturated fuschia, deep buttercup and choppy turquoise with just a hint of dark glitter. “Yes I, mother of flint and star, bearer of the ray, am now but a blue feather that a bird loses in the brambles,” wrote Paz in the poem from which the show takes its name. “Wait for me on the other side of the year: you will meet me like a lightning flash stretched to the edge of autumn.” 633 N. La Brea, Hollywood; Opening Reception: Saturday, September 11, 3-7pm, masks and rsvp required (firstname.lastname@example.org); on view through October 9; free; kpprojectsgallery.net.
Other Places Art Fair at Angels Gate Cultural Center (Outdoors). Fluid in definition, bonded by an intention to operate in other places outside the traditional art gallery systems, OPaf features dozens of participants presenting site-specific projects, installations, happenings and performance-based programming. Representing the growing movement of hard-to-define art spaces, OPaf provides an alternative art fair structure designed specifically for these unconventional projects. 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro; September 11-12, noon-6pm; free/$5 donation; opaf.info.
Three Structures Touching: An Immersive One-Day Sound Installation at 18th Street’s Santa Monica Airport campus. In this one-day immersive sound installation as part of Danish artist Maj Hasager’s solo exhibition Three Structures Touching, the composition by Ask Kaereby unfolds as an investigation of space, sound, and place—where community engagement is the starting point. The composition consists of sounds from the local surroundings in the 90404 area of Santa Monica, and some of the sound material was collected by ‘local ears’: members of the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra (SMYO) who recorded sounds in their neighborhood and later interpreted them through their acoustic instruments. These sounds will undergo severe processing so that new expressions and moods emerge, expanding our notions of time and space. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Saturday, September 11, 1-5pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Knowledge Bennett: Less is More and YoYo Lander: Onto Something, at The KNOW Contemporary. New monumental shaped canvases in Bennett’s minimalist style, in which surfaces are enveloped in all-black diamond dust punctuated by lines that form two-dimensional geometric shapes, creating depth and spatiality. Lander’s process references the multiplicity of narratives within her community; she painstakingly assembles hand-blended pieces of stained watercolor paper to create human forms. To assemble these vibrant portraits, she individually stains several pieces of paper—honoring her love of tie-dye—and subsequently cuts and organizes them into a portrait. In so doing, she infuses her subjects’ skin with a range of stunning brown hues. 422 S. Alameda St., downtown; opening reception: Saturday, September 11, 7-9pm; on view through October 24; free; theknowcontemporary.com.
Barry Anderson: Fragments of Space and The Influence of Hung Liu, at Walter Maciel Gallery. Shaped, large-format digital prints and a video installation with sound, Anderson’s new works stem from various meditations and interactions with the built environment during the pandemic — fleeting moments of both confinement and liberation. A concurrent group show presents work by several of the late artist Hung Liu’s work in conjunction with gallery artists Freddy Chandra, Robb Putnam and Lisa Solomon who were students at Mills College where Liu taught for nearly 25 years. The show celebrates Liu’s guidance and influence as a mentor and art instructor following her untimely death in August of this year. 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; Opening reception: Saturday, September 11, 2-7pm; on view through October 30; free; waltermacielgallery.com.
Marlena Arthur: Rainbow Girls, at Tierra del Sol Gallery. The 26 year-old artist who came to Tierra’s art studio program in 2016 is focused on sharing her vision of a community of powerful female characters who join together to save the world. Choosing seven color tones that Arthur considers beautiful, she combines colored pencils, markers and acrylic paint to create a world where magic happens when her seven characters and the dog Mikey work together for the greater good. 945 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; free; Opening reception: Saturday, September 11, 6-9pm; on view through October 30; free; tierradelsolgallery.org.
Sunday, September 12
Susan Feldman: MOC (My Own City) at The Rendon Gallery. An installation of 50 unique sculptures — buildings that represent an idyllic bohemian neighborhood in a utopian city. (Think Inception meets Burning Man.) Created as a site-specific installation, these miniature structures (houses and various community buildings like a hotel, bookstore, coffee shop, firehouse, garden, dispensary, treehouse, graffiti wall, and theater) are created out of reclaimed wood, found materials and pun-tastic embellishments to further define and embody what they represent. Viewers are encouraged to stroll through a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as this will be the first time this epic project is on view in its entirety. Pop-up location with rsvp; downtown; opening reception: Sunday, September 12, 1-5pm; on view by appointment through October 7; free; therendongallery.com.
Synthetic Wilderness at Honor Fraser Gallery. Our new wilderness is not tethered to the physical, its terrain is not charted by map, but it is vaster than any we have encountered as a species—one pregnant with danger and possibility, violence and awe in equal measure. This new wilderness is not forested with trees but with us, its root structures the underlying algorithms that connect and partition. To be synthetic is to be hybrid, highly constructed, manipulable, networked. But this synthetic wilderness shares something of the opportunity found in natural wildernesses, the possibility of exploration and new natures. Artists Nancy Baker Cahill, LaJuné McMillian and Xin Liu offer us paths into this future using both digital media and traditional art making. Curated by Jesse Damiani. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City; reception: Sunday, September 12, 2-6pm; on view through December 18; free; honorfraser.com.
An Iliad at A Noise Within. The lone witness of an ancient and ravaged Trojan battlefield weaves a tale of tragedy and triumph, with an enduring love for every victim of war. The Poet, an eternal being tasked with a passionate examination of deadly conflict, grapples with grief and dualities of victory and loss, power and fragility, heroism and hubris in an unforgettable modern take on Homer’s classic. 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; Performances September 12 – October 3; $25-49; anoisewithin.org.
Monday, September 13
Films.Dance (Virtual). Championing global creativity and collaboration through a groundbreaking free film series produced by and under the creative direction of Los Angeles-based Jacob Jonas The Company. Launching its second round of 15 original films, the work features more than 250 artists from over 25 countries all shot during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through non-traditional collaborations across cultures and continents, and led by the vision of Jacob Jonas, the series connects the perspectives of diverse artists from a range of disciplines, dance genres, abilities, and experiences. Filmed in locations ranging from Moscow, Amsterdam, Canada, Tokyo, Hawaii, and London, to Los Angeles, New York, Nigeria, and Mexico—Films.Dance exists at the intersection of dance, music, fashion, and film. Round 2 begins Monday, September 13; new films weekly; free; films.dance.
Tuesday, September 14
Michael C. McMillen: A Theory of Smoke, Yvette Gellis: Verdure, and No Mask is Wholly A Mask at L.A. Louver. Michael C. McMillen: A Theory of Smoke includes Observatory, 2021, a film installation; Cinema Futura, 1990-2021, a time-based multimedia wall installation; and a selection of sculptural constructions created over the last three decades with shared thematic reference to architecture. In Verdure, the vital energy of Gellis’ lush canvases manifests both in form and material. Fluid boundaries between figure and leaf, form and space encourage a dreamlike atmosphere, emphasized by hinted-at architecture. No Mask is Wholly a Mask is a group exhibition of over 20 artists that explores identity, and the role of the mask as a tool of both concealment and revelation. 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice; on view by appointment September 14 – October 16; free; lalouver.com.
ACM SIGGRAPH and the EZTV Online Museum at 18th Street (Virtual). Starting in September 2021 and continuing for the next four years, an annual event focusing on new work by current digital artists as well as retrospective recollections and re-presentations of classic work from the last 40 years is being inaugurated. This event coincides with a research project on early EZTV’s history, being conducted by Gaspard Nectoux who will be visiting L.A. from Paris in residency at 18th Street Arts Center. Tuesday, September 14, 6:30-9pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Wednesday, September 15
Fake Authors: An Evening with the Authors* at the Yard Theater. Literary satire meets sketch comedy as every month, a rotating cast of comedians pose as accomplished writers sharing their most recent works- You might see a barbarian reading young adult fiction, a martial arts instructor defending himself in open challenge, or the great Robosaurus helping you find inner peace. 4319 Melrose Ave., WeHo; Wednesday, September 15, 7pm; $10; instagram.com/fakeauthorsla.