Melike Kara, My Beloved Wild Valley @ Arcadia Missa in London

Artist Melike Kara’s first solo exhibition in London, “My Beloved Wild Valley,” is now on view at Arcadia Missa. For this exhibition, Kara’s figures are encircled with signifiers of place; perhaps locating their identities as connected to the heritage of the artist herself, as well as outside of being read simplistically through the body. These figures are read through their landscapes and histories. Markers of site and culture, such as sunflowers and the setting sun, speak of history as identity, a more complex matrix from which to map a sense of self, one made from ghosts. The presence and characters of Kara’s figures are created through the interaction they have with one another on the canvas and the placing of them within contexts, signifiers, or even areas of negative space.

“My Beloved Wild Valley” is on view through July 31 at Arcadia Missa 14 – 16 Brewer Street, First Floor
Soho, London. photographs by Ollie Hammick. courtesy the artist and Arcadia Missa, London

Lignes de vies – une exposition de légendes @ MAC VAL in Vitry-sur-Seine

Conceiving one’s life as a creative force is the vector shared by the 80 international artists featuring in the new temporary exhibition at MAC VAL. Titled “Lignes de vies – une exposition de légendes” (Lifelines – an Exhibition of Legends), this new highlight in the life of the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne brings together work by several different generations of artists, representing every kind of practice, from photography to video via painting, installation, performance and writing. It continues a programme that, ever since the museum first opened in 2005, has worked to question modalities and instances in the construction of identity – or rather, identities. All the works shown in the extensive exhibition space deconstruct, analyse, critique or interrogate the phenomena and processes that shape and legitimise identity/identities. There are no narcissistic or self-centred gestures here; rather, the artists reconstruct and propose – more than new identities: chosen identities.

Lignes de vies – une exposition de légendes is on view through August 25 at MAC VAL Place de la Libération CS10022 94407 Vitry-sur-Seine, FR. photographs courtesy of MAC VAL

The Skirball Cultural Center Presents Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite in Los Angeles

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite is on view now at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition features over forty photographs of black women and men reclaiming their African roots with natural hair and clothes. This is the first-ever major exhibition dedicated to this key figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. In collaboration with the African Jazz-Art Society and Studios (AJASS) and Grandassa Models, Brathwaite organized fashion shows featuring clothing designed by the models themselves, took stunning portraits of jazz musicians, and captured the black arts community in a series of behind-the-scenes photographs. Brathwaite’s work challenged mainstream beauty standards while celebrating black beauty, instilling a sense of pride throughout the community. On view through September 1 at the Skirball Cultural Center 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles. photos courtesy of the Skirball Cultural Center

Sarah Lucas Presents 'Au Naturel' @ Hammer Museum In Los Angeles

Over the past 30 years, Sarah Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, Lucas has transformed found objects and everyday materials such as furniture, cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into absurd and confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’s works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire. Au Naturel is on view through September 1 at the Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of the Hammer

Mark Verabioff's Poolside Drive-by @ Team (bungalow) In Venice Beach

Long before the current administration’s ascendancy, the wheels had been turning in favor of hostile mechanisms of control. The blatant aggression and fascist broism of the present, however, have thrown into stark relief how identity and the gaze of another can be weaponized and internalized. Mark Verabioff’s practice is borne of the conjoined dynamics of identity and imaging and proposes self-definition as a position of resistance that can challenge cultural and political power structures. Existing at the intersection of autobiography and community, Poolside Drive-by is the mapping of an internal topography that tells us much about the artist’s choices and frames of reference, but also describes the kind of world in which he finds himself. Vulnerable, humorous, both reverent and irreverant, the work is grounded in Verabioff’s appropriative processing of cultural products and pushes against strictures of authorship, authority, and objectification. The show’s title, Poolside Drive-by, juxtaposes positions of blithe passivity and ruthless retaliation; when they go low, kick ‘em while they’re down.

Pooside Drive-by is on view through February 10 @ Team (bungalow) 306 Windward Avenue Venice, CA 90291. Image courtesy of the artist and team (bungalow). Photo: Jeff McLane.

New Museum Presents "Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel" The First American Survey Of The Artist's Oeuvre

Over the past thirty years, Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, she has transformed found objects and everyday materials such as cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into disorienting, confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’s works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire.

Initially associated with a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), who began exhibiting together in London in the late 1980s, Lucas is now one of the UK’s most influential artists. This presentation, which takes place across the three main floors of the New Museum, brings together more than 150 works in photography, sculpture, and installation to reveal the breadth and ingenuity of her practice. The exhibition addresses the ways in which Lucas’s works engage with crucial debates about gender and power, along with the legacy of Surrealism—from her clever transformations of everyday objects to her exploration of sexual ambiguity and the tension between the familiar and the absurd.

“Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel” features some of Lucas’s most important projects, including early sculptures from the 1990s that substitute domestic furniture for body parts and enlarged spreads from tabloid newspapers from the same period, which reflect objectified representations of the female body. Alongside the photographic self-portraits that Lucas has produced throughout her career, the exhibition features biomorphic sculptures including her stuffed-stocking Bunnies (1997–ongoing) and NUDS (2009–ongoing), the Penetralia series (2008–ongoing), and selections from her installations at the Freud Museum in London (2000) and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015). These works, which complicate inscribed codes of sexual and social normativity, have never before been shown together in the US. Lucas has also created new sculptural works for the exhibition, including This Jaguar’s Going to Heaven (2018), a severed 2003 Jaguar X-Type—the car’s back half burned and its front half collaged with cigarettes—and VOX POP DORIS (2018), a pair of eleven-foot-tall thigh-high platform boots cast in concrete.

Au Naturel is on view through January 20, 2019 at the New Museum 235 Bowery New York, 10002. photographs by Adam Lehrer

Made In L.A. 2018 @ The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

Made In L.A., the Hammer Museum's exceedingly comprehensive biennial just celebrated the opening of its fourth installment, and it's decidedly the best one yet. Curated by the Hammer's senior curator, Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale, the newest member of the Hammer's curatorial team, the show features 33 artists from widely diverse backgrounds who employ immensely disparate media and span an age gap of 68 years. While the biennial doesn't proclaim any particular theme, almost all of the work presented is new and was made in response to the predicaments of the present. Much has happened since the last installment of 2016, and our collective experience has been marked by devastating fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and drought, government-mandated religious bigotry, deportations sans due process, countless recorded accounts of police brutality against black and brown citizens, countless school shootings, etc. Heavily steeped in political and social response as it may be, though, there's nothing didactic or sanctimonious about it. Instead the thread that connects all of these works together is one that explores the idea of citizenship in the present moment. In it we see stories of our past, how they led to the present, how they define who we are, and determine what is in store. A collective moment to "count using only your breath" as taisha paggett instructs us to do on a handwritten note taped to a microphone. She is one of several artists who will be performing and activating the space throughout the run of the show. Throughout the summer there will also be numerous lectures and walkthroughs with the curators, so there are plenty of reasons to take your time and come back a few times. Artists featured include: Carmen Argote, James Benning, Diedrick Brackens, Carolina Caycedo, Neha Choksi, Beatriz Cortez, Mercedes Dorame, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Aaron Fowler, Nikita Gale, Jane Gordon & Megan Whitmarsh, Lauren Halsey, EJ Hill, Naotaka Hiro, John Houck, Luchita Hurtado, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Candice Lin, Charles Long, Nancy Lupo, Daniel Joseph Martinez, MPA, Alison O'Daniel, Eamon Ore-Giron, taisha paggett, Christina Quarles, Michael Queenland, Patrick Staff, Linda Stark, Flora Wiegmann, Suné Woods, and Rosha Yaghmai. To learn more about lectures, performances and programming related to Made In L.A., visit the Hammer. The exhibition will be on view through September 2, 2018 at The Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Kupper

Opening Of Metamorphosis, Lightly (Intimacy Of Form) Group Show @ OOF Books

In a quest to challenge our perceptions of materiality, objectivity, gender identity and medium, Alex Rojas has curated a group show that pushes the individual boundaries of self.  Featured artists include Nasim Hantehzadeh, Carolyn Janssen, Larissa Lockshin, Erica Mahinay, Sophia Narrett, and Sarah Ann Weber. These works highlight the perennial and intimate connection with chaos inherent in human existence. Speaking to a desire for reason, these works provide intimate outlets for exploration and clarity through identity and physicality. The exhibition is on through July 1, 2018 at OOF Books 912A Cypress Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90065. photographs by Lani Trock