May 162019
 

Blum & Poe is currently showing  Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s Part II, the gallery’s second installment of their survey.

From the press release-

Part II of Parergon expands on the thematic territories explored in Part I, with seminal installations and sculptures from the era and performances by renowned figures of noise, sound, and electro-acoustic music genres. Kenji Yanobe’s Tanking Machine (Rebirth) (2019) is a darkly humorous, interactive, sci-fi sculpture first presented in 1989 that addresses the ever-present reality of nuclear crisis through a retro-futurist narrative. Influential multimedia artist, Kodai Nakahara’s bizarre installations of figurine-like marble stones and brightly, suspended spheres reflect a humorous take on sculpture’s “post-medium” condition.  As an intellectual and artist, Kenjiro Okazaki’s practice engages with theories of perception through interdisciplinary genres spanning architecture, literary theory, painting, reliefs, sculpture, robotics, and dance. Trained in both Japan and the U.S., Yukinori Yanagi’s large-scale and site-specific installations interrogate the politics of institutional borders and boundaries often drawing from semiotic systems of symbolic imagery. Psychedelic ’60s graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo revisits strategies of historical pastiche with his figurative noir paintings that hang alongside his cut-canvas portraits of Dada figures, as well as ceramic depictions of spiritual mediums. Finally, a dedicated Japanese noise archive of photography, journals, and vinyl records from Tokyo’s experimental underground will also be featured on the second floor giving historical context to the live performances.

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.

This exhibition closes 5/18/19.

 

May 162019
 

Sasami- Free (feat. Devendra Banhart)

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (5/16-5/19/19)-

Thursday

The Chemical Brothers are playing at The Greek Theatre with The Black Madonna opening

Architect and scholar Sylvia Lavin will at MOCA Grand Avenue to discuss the work of Arata Isozaki (who designed the MOCA building). The museum and this lecture are free this evening.

The Dandy Warhols are playing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel with Cosmonauts and The Vacant Lots

Poet, novelist, and screenwriter Nick Laird will be reading some of his poetry at Hammer Museum

Diners are playing at The Hi Hat with Mo Troper opening

Ioanna Gika is opening for Garbage at The Shrine Auditorium

 

Friday

Santigold is performing at The Hollywood Palladium

Pop-Up Magazine: Spring Issue at The Theatre at Ace Hotel is a “live magazine” where a variety of stories are told with photography, film, radio, and music- presented live by people who excel in their fields

Odd Nights returns to The Autry with live music, a market, food and drink, and night access to the museum

Coucou Chloe is performing at El Cid with Minimal Violence

Hala and Pageants are opening for Hellogoodbye at the Echoplex

 

Saturday

Sasami is playing a free show in the courtyard of The Getty for the summer concert series Saturdays Off The 405

Artist Vanessa German will be discussing her exhibition at Gavlak gallery following a performance of soft:the longest kiss, in which the artist will perform a 6 hour kiss with her partner Janae Brown

Photographer Rohina Hoffman will be in conversation with artist, photographer, and educator Aline Smithson, as well as signing her book Hair Stories, at Arcana Books

Ryan Pollie of LAPD is playing at The Love Song with Will Fox

Black Star featuring Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey will be performing at The Novo

Dum Dum Zine is having a release party for their 6th issue at The Echo with Taleen Kali, Potty Mouth, and Space Kelly performing

Butthole Surfers are having a Q&A session with David Yow of Jesus Lizard moderating, and signing their book Butthole Surfers: What Does Regret Mean?, a visual history of the band, at Zebulon. Gibby Haynes will also be performing a DJ set. ($8)

Hearty Har are playing at The Hi Hat with The Bash Dogs and Dream Phases

 

Saturday and Sunday

The Beverly Hills Art Show returns for its Spring edition. Over 245 artists will participate in the free outdoor show

Downtown Burbank is also having an Arts Festival that will include work by top animators and an indie craft section curated by Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair

 

Sunday

For Museums of the Arroyo Day there is free admission to Lummis House, Heritage Square, L.A. Police Museum, Pasadena Museum of History, The Autry, and The Gamble House- start early to see them all

LACMA is having a screening (get free tickets online) of the 1958 film Anna Lucasta starring Earth Kitt and Sammy Davis Jr. which also features the artwork of Charles White whose work is currently being shown at the museum

Union Station is having a free outdoor daytime concert with Sudan Moon, Sam Gendel, Ami Dang, and Ana Roxanne

Classic British punk band The Exploited are playing at The Novo with D.I. and Total Chaos

The Regent Theater is screening the film The Damned- Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead with a Q&A to follow with Damned drummer Andrew “Pinch” Pinching and director Wes Orshoski

Zebulon has a free screening of Luis Bunuel’s The Phantom of Liberty

May 132019
 

ONE Gallery in West Hollywood is currently showing The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art in the 1970s photographs by Greg Day. The artist died in his late 30s and would have remained virtually unknown if not for curator David Getsy researching, collecting, and documenting everything he could find on Varble.

His performance pieces were often both audacious and humorous and the exhibition details several of them. Varble popped open blood filled condom breasts in protest at a bank (proceeding to use the blood to sign a check for “zero million dollars”), crashed the Met Gala and the premiere of Tommy, and gave “costume tours” of big name art galleries in Soho, challenging the status quo. In our current world of corporate bailouts, rampant capitalism, and celebration of the rich, its fun to imagine what kind of work Varble might have created today in response.

From the press release-

In costumes made from street trash, food waste, and stolen objects, Stephen Varble (1946–1984) took to the streets of 1970s New York City to perform his “Gutter Art.” With disruption as his aim, he led uninvited costumed tours through the galleries of SoHo, occupied Fifth Avenue gutters, and burst into banks and boutiques in his gender-confounding ensembles. Varble made the recombination of signs for gender a central theme in his increasingly outrageous costumes and performances. While maintaining he/him as his pronouns, Varble performed gender as an open question in both his life and his work, sometimes identifying as a female persona, Marie Debris, and sometimes playing up his appearance as a gay man. Only later would the term “genderqueer” emerge to describe the kind of self-made, non-binary gender options that Varble adopted throughout his life and in his disruptions of the 1970s art world.

At the pinnacle moment of Varble’s public performances, the photographer Greg Day (b. 1944) captured the inventiveness and energy of his genderqueer costume confrontations. Trained as an artist and anthropologist and with a keen eye for documenting ephemeral culture as it flourished, Day took hundreds of photographs of Varble’s trash couture, public performances, and events in 1975 and 1976. Varble understood the importance of photographers, and Day was his most important photographic collaborator. This exhibition brings together a selection of Day’s photographs of Varble performing his costume works and also includes Day’s photographs of Varble’s friends and collaborators such as Peter Hujar, Jimmy DeSana, Shibata Atsuko, Agosto Machado, and Warhol stars Jackie Curtis, Taylor Mead, and Mario Montez.

Varble sought to make a place for himself outside of art’s institutions and mainstream cultures all the while critiquing them both. The story of Varble told through Day’s photographs is both about their synergistic artistic friendship and about the queer networks and communities that made such an anti-institutional and genderqueer practice imaginable. Together, Varble and Day worked to preserve the radical potential of Gutter Art for the future.

The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble builds upon the 2018 retrospective exhibition of Stephen Varble’s work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York, titled Rubbish and Dreams: The Genderqueer Performance Art of Stephen Varble, as featured in the New York Times on January 11, 2019.  The new ONE Gallery exhibition, with its focus on the collaboration of Varble with the photographer Greg Day, will explore the ways in which Varble’s disruptive guerilla performance art has lived on primarily through vibrant photographs that captured his inventive costumes, transformed trash, and public confrontations.

This exhibition closes 5/17/19.

*For an additional perspective on the artist- Stephen Varble was friends with a 14-year old girl in NYC named Fernanda Eberstadt who kept diaries detailing her time with him. She wrote an interesting piece for Granta about him, reproduced here.

May 112019
 

 

Ry Rocklen’s show Food Group: Genesis at Honor Fraser presents typical American foods and those that consume them from a new perspective. People in food costumes appear in small sculptures on paper plates, while in another room the food items appear large, reminiscent of the food sculptures of Claes Oldenburg.

From the press release

Ry Rocklen’s sculptural practice is dedicated to the forms of the hyper familiar, an investigation of human subjectivity through the archetypal objects of our existence. Working with objects so familiar that they are committed to muscle memory and woven into our DNA, his artwork often aims to reclaim and exalt the individuality of the serialized object. For his exhibition with Honor Fraser, Rocklen will present Food Group: Genesis, an exploration of some of America’s favorite handheld foods through costume, 3D-printed sculpture, and video.

The iconic forms of tacos, burgers, pizza, and other fast foods served as inspiration for elaborate costumes that Rocklen rented from a Hollywood studio or fabricated himself. The artist and his collaborators were then scanned in the round wearing the costumes to create the source images, which were then 3D printed at the natural size of the foods they were wearing. The resulting collection of figurines form the core of Food Group: Genesis, an exhibition built around the simple concept of enlarging a familiar object with the purpose of shrinking it back to its natural size, a multiyear investigation by the artist.

In 2016, Ry Rocklen began production on Scale Model for the World’s Biggest T- Shirt, a T-shirt over 16 feet tall that was intended to be shrunken down to its normal size through a process similar to that used in the production of Food Group. After further consideration, the artist decided to also create a giant figure to wear the massive garment. He was then left with Mr. Pillowman, a giant made of pillows, after it had served its original purpose. As Rocklen continued his exploration of scale through Food Group, he came to think of Mr. Pillowman as the precursor to the Food Group endeavor and so it is included in the exhibition literally as the man behind the curtain.

At no point in the process of making the figurines are both the foodstuffs and the wearer their actual size, one is always enlarged while the other shrunken. They are simultaneously in and out of scale. The figurines are at once generic and intensely specific as they couple actual individuals with popular foods. They are devotional forms meant for devouring. They are both predator and prey, with an abundance of softening power.

Food Group can be a lens through which to view the world. The works are vehicles to explore issues of scale, media, form, desire, subjectivity, politics, and our environment. They are loci of delight, connection, guilt, and destruction. In the guise of ubiquitous foods, the costumes evoke an immediate relationship to the human body as it is affected by everything put into and on it, making food a means for sculpting oneself from within.

This exhibition closes 5/18/19.

May 102019
 

Hammer Museum’s current exhibition Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968-2018 is a fascinating and fun look at the work of the Conceptual artist. Walking through the show, the variety of the work and the artist’s sense of humor keep the exhibition engaging from start to finish.

Much of Ruppersberg’s work created in Los Angeles is specific to the city, especially how it was during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The contrast between the urban city life and the natural surroundings of mountains, desert and beach can be seen in several of his pieces including the “Location Pieces”. For “Al’s Cafe”, he created a restaurant in downtown LA where everything from the menus, receipts, and tongue-in-cheek dishes, was a work of art. Examples of the “meals” include “Rock Varieties Smothered in Pine Needles” and the “Patti Melt”, a studio photo covered in toasted marshmallows. He later went on to create “Al’s Grand Hotel” which consisted of several rooms of various themes, run by the artist. For a little over a month of weekends, guests came to stay overnight. Like his restaurant, the hotel became a meeting place for the Los Angeles arts community.

Language and the printed word play a very important in Rupperberg’s work. He rewrote Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray on several large canvases that take up an entire room in the show. For a series of paintings he recreated newspaper articles of strange crimes and then wrote comments on the canvas “translating” them.

Driving around Los Angeles he noticed the ubiquitous DayGlo posters made by Colby Printing and used them to print The Singing Posters: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl by Allen Ruppersberg (Parts I-III). For this work the poem is recreated phonetically in a series of these posters, along with some commercial advertising posters, and placed together to form a large mural.

Ruppersberg is still creating, collecting, and exploring the world around him. This show celebrates his unique perspective while also presenting a glimpse of what it was like to be an artist in Los Angeles at the time he was making this work.

This exhibition closes 5/12/19.

 

 

 

May 092019
 

Various Small Fires (VSF) is currently showing unholy ghost, Diedrick Brackens’ first solo exhibition at the gallery.

From the press release-

Employing the loom to explore intricate weaving techniques from West Africa, Kente textiles, and European tapestries, Brackens stitches together narratives of the American South, rebirth, and the changing of seasons for his new body of work. The titles and themes for this exhibition take inspiration from Essex Hemphill’s poem The Father, Son and Unholy Ghosts.

For Brackens, who identifies as a black queer person, the act of naming and birthing oneself is a radical gesture. Drawing from his personal life, ancestry, American history, and folklore, Brackens’ weavings are encoded with symbolic animals and materials that tease the knotted threads of American identity and sociopolitics. A bloodhound sniffs the ground for a subterranean figure in hiding, alluding to the terrorization of black bodies through the omnipresence of state-sanctioned violence. Catfish, on the other hand, occupy the space of spirits; swimming parallel to a levitating body, inside the heart of an aquatic being, or by hands outstretched to the sky, they are both ancestor and sustenance, the origin of human life. The silhouetted figures are born from Brackens’ projected shadow, a mirror of the self sewn with jet black yarns.

Brackens was included in Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A. 2018, their biennial exhibition of artists from the greater Los Angeles area. Below is a video made for that show that shows the artist creating and discussing his work.

Also on view are Anna Sew Hoy’s sculptures (pictured below) and a sound program by Dawn Kasper that plays in the entrance to the courtyard of the gallery space.

These exhibitions will close 5/11/19.

May 092019
 

Worn-Tin- Cycles

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (5/9-5/12/19)-

Thursday

LACMA is having a free screening of Raging Bull which includes a pre-screening conversation with producer/director Irwin Winkler and screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi

Destroyer is performing at Lodge Room

There is a free screening at the Japanese American National Museum of the documentary Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience, with a Q&A with the filmmakers and some of the people interviewed for the film to follow

As part of the Artists on Artists series at MOCA Grand Avenue, Miljohn Ruperto will be discussing the exhibition Open House: Elliott Hundley currently on view (free admission to the museum on Thursdays)

Al Green is playing at The Greek Theatre with Jessy Wilson

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk is back with several galleries staying open late

Yamashiro’s Night Market returns to the hills above Hollywood tonight from 5-10pm- catch a free shuttle from Mosaic Church to get there

 

Friday

Worn-Tin is playing with Chaos Chaos at The Hi Hat

Composer Nico Muhly will be performing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel

There is a midnight showing of Office Space for its 20th Anniversary at Vista Theatre

Aquarium of the Pacific’s free Shark Lagoon Nights is a chance to have a drink and snacks while checking out the sharks

Sugar Candy Mountain, Flaural, and Hooveriii are performing at The Echo

The Courtneys, Ian Sweet, and Automatic are playing at Zebulon

Phantom Planet are playing at Lodge Room

 

Saturday

ONE Gallery is hosting Rear Opening: A Performance Tribute to the Gutter Art of Stephen Varble, an afternoon program with performances by mutimedia artist Jason Jenn, aka the Troubadour Trixter, songs by Yozmit, the internationally celebrated visual artist, avant-garde party-artist, and singer/songwriter, and a musical tribute by Enrique Jesus Hernandez, the latinx, performance rock artist and domestic abuse activist. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Gutter Art of Stephen Varble: Genderqueer Performance Art in the 1970s, Photographs by Greg Day currently on view in the gallery.

At Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, artist Sandra de la Loza will be in conversation with poet, teacher and community activist Sesshu Foster in conjunction with de la Loza’s exhibition Mi Casa Es Su Casa

Angelo De Augustine is playing at Lodge Room

Bad Suns are playing at The Wiltern with Carlie Hanson opening

 

Sunday

Eels are playing at The Theatre at Ace Hotel with Robert Ellis opening

East Los Angeles Art Walk takes place the second Sunday of every month and is a chance see work by local artists and  support local businesses in the neighborhood

Illuminati Hotties are opening for American Football at The Regent

Bootleg Theater is showing Fritz Lang’s 1929 film Woman In The Moon

Xeno & Oaklander, SRSQ, Chasms, and Fawns of Love are performing for Part Time Punks 14 Year Anniversary Show at the Echoplex