Avant-garde fashion designer and artist Valerj Pobega presented her “Kabuki in Berlin” -Fall/Winter 2019 collection with a site-specific performance in collaboration with dancers, acrobats and a music performance by Lawrence Rothman. Dressed in the designer’s hand-painted silk creations from “Kabuki in Berlin” her collection was inspired by the hybrid identities and androgynous stylings as seen in the Liza Minnelli’s turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and the epicene performances of Lindsey Kemp and David Bowie in their 1970 mimed numbers which had hints of Kabuki theatre. photographs by Mekael Dawson
Wallace Berman carves a mysterious, counter-cultural figure in the cave wall of Los Angeles folklore. His legend is enhanced by a tragically early death on his fiftieth birthday as a result of an automobile crash with a drunk driver in Topanga Canyon, further cementing his myth as the beatnik of the Southern California chaparrals.
In a new memoir, entitled Tosh, Berman’s son opens the opaque curtain on the enigmatic artist through a bildungsroman of the Beat Generation and hippie counterculture, a childhood on the frontlines of 1960s Los Angeles and San Francisco freakdom. Tosh Berman and Jason Schwartzman got together for a public conversation at Skylight Books to discuss his memoir and growing up in Wallace Berman’s world. Click here to read more.
Rick Castro is a legend in the queer underground scene of 1980s and 1990s Los Angeles. It was a time when Santa Monica Boulevard was rich with male hustlers, shirtless in the California sun, and the nightclubs were liminal landscapes of desire and liberation. To those who know him, he is "The Fetish King." Alongside artists like Ron Athey, Catherine Opie, Sheree Rose and Bob Flanagan, Vaginal Davis, Kembra Pfahler, and Bruce LaBruce, Castro utilizes queer identity and the physicality of the body to express themes of marginalization and oppression. Click here to read more.
Peel is a group show featuring works by Farah Al Qasimi, Meriem Bennani, Dora Budor, Oto Gillen, Win McCarthy, Troy Michie, Elle Pérez, Em Rooney and Heji Shin. “All the odd things people pick up for food. Out of shells, periwinkles with a pin, off trees, snails out of the ground the French eat, out of the sea with bait on a hook. Silly fish learn nothing in a thousand years. If you didn’t know risky putting anything into your mouth. Poisonous berries. Johnny Magories. Roundness you think good. Gaudy colour warns you off. One fellow told another and so on. Try it on the dog first. Led on by the smell or the look. Tempting fruit.” Ulysses, James Joyce Chapter 8: Lestrygonians. Peel will be on view through April 28 at Ghebaly Gallery 2245 E. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
”The works were re-created in oil paint on canvas from images I constructed on my iPhone. I usually took these photographs around my home in Florida, and then painted over them with different characters. These light creatures hang out with the dogs, or dance on the abandoned boat dock. I would sit outside alone by the water and create alien-like friends on a low-key cosmic tropical playground.” —Harmony Korine. Young Twitchy is on view through April 20 at Gagosian 980 Madison Avenue, New York. photographs courtesy of Gagosian
A prolific painter, printmaker, muralist, draftsman, and photographer whose career spanned more than half a century, Charles White’s artistic portrayals of black subjects, life, and history were extensive and far-reaching. Plumb Line features contemporary artists whose work in the realm of black individual and collective life resonates with White’s profound and continuing influence. The exhibition is on view through August 25 at the California African American Museum 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles. photographs courtesy of CAAM
Fred Wilson’s Afro Kismet lays bare questions of visibility: where are Africans in historical accounts of early Europe? How have the narratives institutionalized by museums erased the presence of black individuals of the past and present. Over seven trips to Istanbul, Fred Wilson researched these questions, continuing the project he started in Re: Claiming Egypt and Speak of Me as I Am, his shows at the 1992 Cairo Biennale and 2003 Venice Biennale. In those works, Wilson revealed the black diasporas of each region — histories made obsolete in the Western collective imagination. He continues to interrogate the peripheral treatment of such histories in Afro Kismet, this time mining the history of Istanbul. Afro Kismet is on view through April 27 at Maccarone 300 South Mission Rd, Los Angeles. photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Defining a culture that comprises 7100 islands, centuries of colonization, and an overwhelming desire to assimilate is profound and Sisyphean. Unlike a migration that takes place over land, the ocean seems to wash away all evidence of the traveled path. The historical narrative that has framed Filipino-American immigration is fraught with this eternal question of identity and belonging. Being part Filipino myself, I learned very little about my grandmother’s life story while she was alive. It wasn’t until after she passed away and my grandfather published her memoirs that I learned just how harrowing her journey had been.
After attending the world premiere of FLEX, a dance theater piece that explores primarily the story of choreographer, Jay Carlon’s father and his immigration from the Philippines to the States, I realized that the erasure of these stories is rather commonplace. Click here to read more.
What does it mean to be a twenty-first century renaissance man? For Maceo Paisley, a wide range of disciplines comes together in a positive feedback loop that supports his indefatigable exploration of human behavior. Using embodied inquiry, he investigates his own identity and presents his findings in performance and film. A prolific writer of prose, he just released his first book Tao of Maceo, which takes inventory of his personal beliefs and aims to define his perspective more acutely. Stepping off the stage, he cultivates community through his Chinatown gallery, Nous Tous and a multi-pronged community practice/social innovation agency called Citizens of Culture. Click here to read more
Where the political left was once the clear bastion of free speech and expression in the U.S., it could be argued that the new left silences thought and speech perceived as antithetical or offensive to its values almost as much as the right wing does, or did. This is a problem for culture, and evidently, for art. “Political correctness,” says Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek, “is a desperate attempt by the public norms to tell you what is decent, what is not.” What Žižek suggests here is that political correctness can be harmful in its ability to obscure the truth and dilute public discourse; by sanitizing rhetoric we sanitize cultural meaning. This climate of over-the-top, politically correct theatrics has infiltrated the art world; art’s job is ultimately to push back on societal taboos and interrogate prevailing norms. Good art is almost always offensive to someone. Click here to read more
Lowell Ryan Projects presents Color Out of Space, a group exhibition inspired by the eponymous short story of H.P. Lovecraft that brings together works by Mark Flood, Nasim Hantehzadeh, Kysa Johnson, Laurie Nye, and Galen Trezise. In Lovecraft’s story, a meteorite crashes in a remote farm and, as it shrinks, releases globules of “impossible to describe” colors that have mutative effects on the surrounding plants, animals, and humans. No solution is found. No motive is uncovered. “Do not ask me for my opinion,” the unnamed narrator concludes. “I do not know—that is all.” Color Out of Space will be on view until April 6 at Lowell Ryan Projects, 4851 West Adams Blvd.
Cristian Răduță’s animals march in droves. A Noah’s Ark of improvised genetic anomalies populate Nicodim Gallery like an emergency spawning ground, but no two are paired or exactly alike. Apelikenesses can be seen from one angle and a shuffle of animalian ciphers from the other. Răduță is their shepherd, bringing to each form a unique trembling glory. This harmonious pattern of origin stories—both raw and cooked—ludically swirl in the artist’s grand tale of a double helix. His creatures are echos of archetypes, songs from a golden record played deep in outer space. Cristian Răduță: The Diamond Hunters is on view through April 13 at Nicodim Gallery 571 South Anderson Street. photographs provided by Nicodim Gallery
Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) is one of the most important and influential postwar painters, whose abstract compositions, featuring brilliant expanses of color and light, have inspired generations of artists and changed the course of art history. She led the way from Abstract Expressionism to a new and vital form of painterly lyricism that heralded the Color Field movement. On view in this exhibition are some twenty major large-scale paintings that celebrate the New York-born artist’s formidable, six-decade career. A classic Frankenthaler work, Swan Lake II (1961), filled with ethereal pools of electric blue, grays, and deep red, against a neutral ground, is a quintessential example of her unparalleled achievement. Helen: Frankenthaler: Selected Paintings will be on view through May 18 at Yares Art 745 5th Ave.
I’m Blue (If I Was █████ I Would Die) reconfigures the exhibition space into an imaginary seminar room for law enforcement personnel. Upon entering, visitors encounter what initially resembles a classroom with desks, black board, and an instructional video. In a nod towards the Blue Lives Matter countermovement that has developed in response to Black Lives Matter, American Artist has sculpturally reconfigured the first two elements. Fortified school desks barricade the video screen, while blue police fabric prevents those sitting in desks from seeing the film. The black board, outfitted with the same familiar blue cloth, only allows those reading from it to speculate on the prominence of blue. Onscreen, in place of an instructional video, visitors instead find a speaking digital character. Fabricated by Artist, the character’s speech interweaves imagined and quoted statements taken from two characters, one fictional, one real. I’m Blue (If I Was █████ I Would Die) is on view through April 13 at Koenig & Clinton 1329 Willoughby Ave. Images courtesy the artist, Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn. Photo: Jeffrey Sturges, New York
Six American women from diverse cultural backgrounds, spanning across South Asia, the Middle East, Puerto Rico and Trinidad, will present video artworks which challenge, both in content and in context, society’s definition of femininity. Videos by Alima Lee, Arshia Fatima Haq, Gazelle Samizay, Jasdeep Kang, Muna Malik and Yumna Al-Arashi are placed throughout the windows and storefronts of Chinatown’s historic Chung King Road by Los Angeles-based curator Zehra Ahmed. Women In Windows is on view through March 17 Windows along Chung King Road in Chinatown, Los Angeles. photographs by Douglas Fenton
Desert X 2019 is now open and has extended to the Salton Sea. This year the contemporary art exhibition features works by Iván Argote, Nancy Baker Cahill, Cecilia Bengolea, Pia Camil, John Gerrard, Julian Hoeber, Jenny Holzer, Iman Issa, Mary Kelly, Armando Lerma, Eric N. Mack, Cinthia Marcelle, Postcommodity, Cara Romero, Sterling Ruby, Kathleen Ryan, Gary Simmons, Superflex, Chris Taylor & Steve Badgett.
Desert X is on view through April 21 in the Coachella Valley. photographs by Eric Minh Swenson
The inaugural edition of Frieze Los Angeles brought together 70 of the most significant and forward-thinking contemporary galleries from across the city and around the world, alongside a curated program of talks, site-specific artists’ projects and film. photographs by Autre Magazine
photographs by Oliver Maxwell Kupper
Los Angeles is a perpetually changing landscape in a state of constant reinvention. Don’t Forget to Breathe, a new installation by Doug Aitken, meditates on the rapidly changing face of technology framed within a relic of our modern past. The atmosphere of the desolate storefront presents a possibility that a chapter of capitalism has completed its life cycle and we are entering the next era where the screen world mirrors the physical one. This new era is increasingly dematerialized, where human connection is evaporating and quickly being replaced by digital life. The open architecture of this empty retail store surrounds the installation of three isolated figures. The absence of commercial logos, goods and consumers renders the store haunting and minimal, a memorial to time past. The building is transformed into an architectural purgatory in sharp contrast to a new era where communication moves at the speed of light and technology’s very presence is dematerialized. Don’t Forget To Breathe will be on view until February 17, 6775 Santa Monica Boulevard
The pyrotechnic Atmospheres series began in 1968, when Chicago lined an unsuspecting Pasadena Street with billowing fog machines, an action that was meant to radically feminize an urban space, cloud its use value, and soften its hard man-made edges. The series evolved over the next decade as a protest against the male-dominated art scene of the 1970s. Chicago played with the inherent density of smoke as a way to disrupt what the eye can see, as well as to soften and inject beauty into the landscape. On display at Nina Johnson will be a series of twelve photographs documenting these delicate and beautiful performances, along with one related video work. Atmospheres will be on view @ Nina Johnson 6315 NW 2nd Ave Miami, Florida 33150 until March 2. photographs provided by Nina Johnson