Taking and viewing photos has increasingly become an important part of people’s lives, especially with the introduction of Instagram and the ability to use your phone as a camera. We are looking at more and more images than ever before. But when you are looking at a photo, how much of what you are seeing is real?
Chris Engman’s show Refraction at Luis de Jesus Gallery challenges these perceptions through his creation of photographic environments. When you enter the gallery you walk into the site-specific work Containment, which took over 300 individual prints to create. It’s an immersive piece that gives the viewer the chance to see how Engman’s final images are created.
The second room of the gallery houses several photos of different recreated natural environments, including sand dunes and a cloudy sky. On one wall there is a book shelf (pictured above) where the center is a photograph of a bookshelf and to the left and right are actual objects, furthering the challenge to question everything you are looking at. Looking at a photo of books on a shelf, next to real books on a shelf, what makes more of an impression to your eye? What is the difference between looking at a photo of the sky and a photo of a construction made of photos of the sky?
From the press release–
Refraction explores the relationship between illusion and reality by exposing the deceit inherent in photographic image-making while engaging in philosophical and material play around slips in translation. Refraction refers to the change in matter or information as it passes through one medium to another. Refraction occurs when our experience of the world is mediated through photographic images. Engman states: “We see more than we would have, and there is value in that. But the thing, person, or place that is imaged is also irrevocably changed. Photographs resemble and seem somehow in proximity to places and moments we cannot access in ways we wish we could. This produces a continuous and oblique kind of yearning for what we wish could be present or more fully understood,” resulting in a mental projection through which we fill in the gaps, adding detail or meaning.
This exhibition closes 3/23/19.
For Emma Webster’s current exhibition Arcadia at Diane Rosenstein, she created dioramas based on historic paintings, lit them in a theatrical manner, and then reproduced them as oil paintings . The results are dramatic worlds where a sense of foreboding weighs on the scenes. This is not the fictional Arcadia of pastoral harmony, which the title of the exhibition references, but something more.
From the press release-
The show’s title Arcadia alludes to recycled and reassembled notions of nature and art passed down from antiquity. These fake bucolics, where each tree is as much a reflection of its maker’s hands as it is a symbol, point to the ways humanity manipulates nature, seeing nature only as it relates to mankind itself. As in garden design, man contrives his own aesthetic of “natural” beauty despite the existence of another untamed and unpredictable reality. Considering climate change and deforestation, Emma Webster’s landscape as still life rings a warning.
In the paintings with complex scenes, like Still Life, there is more of a feeling of collage than painting. A figure appears to be falling from the sky at the top of the canvas, day and night blend, and a tiny American flag is seen among the figures of animals and people. There is too much going on for the scene to be peaceful.
In Actaeon, the imagery is simpler. Referencing the myth of the hunter turned to a stag by Artemis and devoured by his own hunting dogs, the painting depicts the stag against the backdrop of a rising or setting sun. The figure is imposing, but at the same time it is also evident that it is a painting of a figure originally made in clay.
Webster’s paintings keep the viewer guessing at the layers of meaning behind the worlds she created, both simple and complex. They are also beautiful, skillful works that reveal more the longer you look at them.
This exhibition closes 3/23/19.
Blum & Poe’s current exhibition Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s, is a selected survey exhibition of Japanese art of the 1980s and ‘90s, curated by Mika Yoshitake. It includes the work of over twenty-five visual artists in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, video, and photography.
From the press release–
The exhibition title makes reference to the gallery in Tokyo (Gallery Parergon, 1981-1987) that introduced many artists associated with the New Wave phenomenon, its name attributed to Jacques Derrida’s essay from 1978 which questioned the “framework” of art, influential to artists and critics during the period. Parergon brings together some of the most enigmatic works that were first generated during a rich two-decade period that are pivotal to the way we perceive and understand contemporary Japanese art today. In the aftermath of the conceptual reconsideration of the object and relationality spearheaded by Mono-ha in the 1970s, this era opened up new critical engagements with language and medium where artists explored expansions in installation, performance, and experimental multi-genre practices.
When the U.S. and Europe were witnessing a return to Expressionism alongside a postmodern aesthetic of simulacra and deconstruction characterized by the Pictures generation, this zeitgeist of cultural capitalism was instead manifest under Japan’s unique social and geo-political conditions resulting from the rise and burst of the bubble economy. Artists began to explore subversive artistic languages and integrate underground subcultures into their practice using a variety of media, ranging from experimentations in electro-acoustic music, geopolitical and conceptual photography, and appropriations of advertisement culture. Others addressed the internalization of historical avant-garde and modernist aesthetics that were filtered through a new poetics of form, space, and language.
In the post-1989 Hirohito era, politics of gender, nuclear crisis, and critique of nationalism are especially poignant among artists from the Kansai region. This period also witnesses the rise of art collectives in the mid-90s and their darkly humorous performances and conceptual practices that reevaluated the history of Japan’s postwar avant-garde. These events reflect on a subculture generated out of a profoundly unique “infantile capitalism,” anticipating the explosive rise of the Neo-Pop generation.
This exhibition is presented on the occasion of Blum & Poe’s 25-year anniversary. Parergon commemorates a special facet of the gallery’s history rooted in this very timeframe in Japan—with Tim Blum’s early years as an art dealer and curator spent in Tokyo in the early ‘90s—and charts a bridge between the Japanese art historical territories the gallery has long championed. Parergon pursues the creative significance of the years between the milestones of Mono-ha and the Neo-Pop generation now synonymous with Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara.
This exhibition closes 3/23/19. Part II will open 4/6/19.
And The Kids- Champagne Ladies
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (3/21-3/24/19)-
Composer, conductor, pianist, and writer Matthew Aucoin will be in conversation with comedy writer and performer Megan Amram (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation) at the Hammer Museum (free)
Lucille Furs are playing at the Bootleg Theater with Dream Phases, Jane Church and Easy Love
Halfnoise is playing at the Teragram Ballroom with Gothic Tropic and And That opening
No Win are having a record release party at Highland Park Ebell with Gymshorts and Los Bolos also performing
Bad Suns are playing a free show at Amoeba Hollywood and signing copies of their new album Mystic Truth
And The Kids are playing with Ramonda Hammer and Cardioid at The Satellite
Hauser & Wirth is hosting the three night film series (it started Thursday) I Still Dream About California, organized by Annie Liebovitz to accompany her exhibition at the gallery. The film this evening is Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye. Tickets are sold out but you can still join the waitlist.
Rayland Baxter is playing at the Teragram Ballroom with T. Hardy Morris and Mattiel opening
Justus Proffit, Janelane and Rose Dorn are opening for Living Hour at The Factory
Jimmy Whispers is playing a free show at Zebulon with Lael Neale
Artist Jennifer West will be choosing artwork from LACMA’s Photography and Prints & Drawings collections to display in the Study Center and discussing why she selected them and how they relate to her own art practice as part of LACMA’s Artists on Art series. (free but ticket required)
There’s a lot to do at Grand Park today- first Bernie Sanders will be having a rally there at 2:30pm and later the ACLU has a free all day event that includes speakers, a panel discussion, and a performance by Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine) with special guests Vic Mensa and K. Flay
From 12-5pm is the 13th Annual Santa Monica Airport Artwalk, with open art studios, art exhibitions, art demonstrations, performances, and more (free)
Amyl and The Sniffers are playing at the Bootleg Theater with Richard Rose and Shark Toys opening
Hippie Sabotage are playing at the Hollywood Palladium
MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson will lead a final walkthrough of both Zoe Leonard: Survey and Laura Owens at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA – both exhibitions close on Monday 3/25 (admission to the museum and this program are both free)
Bootleg Theater is showing the rarely seen 1947 film Les Jeux Sont Faits, based on a screenplay by Jean-Paul Sartre, at 6pm and afterwards Psychic Love are playing a free show at 8:30pm to celebrate the release of their new album
R.L.Kelly, Merce Lemon, Cuddle Formation, and Glowing Birds are playing at The Smell
Zebulon is having a free screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange at 1pm
Tashaki Miyaki- Facts of Life
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (3/14-3/17/19)-
1720 is hosting 45 Live with performances by Lord Finesse, Peanut Butter Wolf, J Rocc, Prince Paul, and special guests
MOCA Grand Avenue is showing Babette Magolte’s film The Sky on Location with the artist in attendance for the event
Tobe Nwigwe is performing at The Regent Theater
Downtown LA Artwalk returns with open studios and gallery shows
Refest Los Angeles 2019, is a salon that “explores innovative strategies in participatory performance that catalyze social change”. It is being hosted by Navel and CultureHubLA and will have interactive installations, performances and “experiences” by LA artists and artists from CultureHub’s global community (free with RSVP)
Odd Nights at The Autry includes a market, live music, food trucks, and the galleries at the museum stay open until 9pm ($5)
Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is free on Fridays from 6-9pm for Shark Lagoon Nights
Jeffertitti’s Nile are playing a free show at Zebulon with special guests
Tashaki Miyaki are playing a free show at the Highland Park Bowl with Magic Wands, The Mercury Wheel, and Miguel Mendez & The Yoga Elite
LAMAG is hosting a free screening of Mariah Garnett’s film Trouble, a documentary about her relationship with her Northern Irish father who she met as an adult. The screening also includes a Q&A with the artist to follow plus snacks and drinks.
Artist Silke Otto-Knapp will be in conversation with Darby English, University of Chicago’s Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History and the College, at Regen Projects at 2pm, in conjunction with Otto-Knapp’s exhibition Land and Sea at the gallery
Actor/ Director Alex Cox will be at the Egyptian Theatre to speak between screenings of Repo Man and his recent film Tombstone Rashomon
Sam Valdez and Rodes Rollins are playing at the Moroccan Lounge
New York Night Train with Jonathan Toubin, the all night dance party of uncommon soul music on vinyl, is happening at Zebulon
LACMA is hosting a free lecture at 1pm by Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, and organizing curator of Charles White: A Retrospective (currently at the museum), on the artist’s formative years in Chicago
Zebulon is having a free screening of Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film Barry Lyndon
The Egyptian Theatre is showing a Patrick Swayze double feature- Road House and Point Break
CLAVVS are playing at The Echo with Tigercide and a special guest
This playlist is a selection of songs from bands and musicians that played in Los Angeles in February 2019.
Empress Of- When I’m With Him
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (3/7-3/10-19)-
Damien Jurado is playing at Highland Park Ebell with Anna St.Louis opening
Justus Proffit is having a record release party at Zebulon with Pardoner and Orchin also performing
MOCA Grand Avenue is having the last iteration of its Blame the Audience free film series organized by Jason Simon. Tonight features the films Tiger Morse by Andy Warhol, If Andy Warhol’s Super-8 Camera Could Talk by Roddy Bogawa, and Outfitumentary by K8 Hardy.
There’s an art walk and block party with live music, live artists, vendors, art, and more in Mar Vista
Brooklyn based multimedia artist Miss Eaves will be performing her songs at The Hi Hat (free)
Adia Victoria is playing at the Moroccan Lounge with Dick Stusso and Sofia Bolt opening
ArtNight Pasadena returns with its free evening of live music, performances, and free admission to museums and galleries in Pasadena. There will also be free shuttles to take you around to the various locations.
Artist Carrie Mae Weems is combining music, text, projection and video for her performance based work Past Tense at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel. The work looks at the famous work Antigone and its relevance to today’s political times.
French for Rabbits and Kate Teague are playing a free early show at Gold-Diggers
Big Wild are playing at The Novo with Robotaki and Mild Minds opening
Rosie Tucker will be performing at The Hi Hat to celebrate the release of her new LP
Small Forward and Jerkagram are opening for Reptaliens at The Satellite
Black Midi are playing at the Bootleg Theater with SK Kakraba and Superet opening
Empress Of is playing at the El Rey Theatre with Salt Cathedral and Saro opening
At Bergamot Station there will be several artist talks starting at 10:30am with Stan Edmonson, Lou Beach and Pierre Picot speaking at Craig Krull; Laurie Raskin at Skidmore Contemporary Art at 11:30am; and Gabriel Sanchez and Carlo Macucci at Lora Schlesinger Gallery at 12:30pm
Helms Bakery District has free screenings all day of over 24 short films on architecture and design. They will be shown on a loop in the six participating showrooms.
Atlas Obscura and Adam Papagan are hosting a screening of Public Access Talent Show, which focuses on performances unique to LA, at Zebulon
Beatriz Cortez and Rafa Esparza will be at Craft Contemporary to speak about their collaborative relationship as artists and friends and their work (free but rsvp)
Sad Park are playing at The Smell with The Groans, Gold Vine and .XOM
Julia Holter is playing Lodge Room with Tess Roby opening
Sammy Brue, Alaska Reid and Will Fox are playing a free show at Bootleg Theater
Zebulon has a free screening of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove- Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb and later they are hosting Weirdo Night with Dynasty Handbag, Patty Schemel and other performers along with a screening of the 1983 film City of Lost Souls, a queer punk musical starring Jayne County
It’s the last day to see Ralph Ziman’s Casspir Project at The Rendon Gallery and the second day of live painting that Ziman will be doing at the gallery with fellow artist Keya Tama
Smokescreens and The Molochs are opening for The Monochrome Set at the Echoplex
DJ Windows 98 (Win Butler of Arcade Fire) will be performing at 1720
Lowland Hum are playing at the Bootleg Theater
Jonathan Bree is playing at The Echo with Big Search and Das Kope opening