Aug 092019
 

 

When trying to talk about the David Hammon’s exhibition at Hauser and Wirth Los Angeles, his first in Los Angeles in 45 years, it’s hard to know where to start. There are no titles or descriptions of any of the works in the show, although there is writing on the walls in certain places. The press release, shown below, is a mass of lines and a dedication to jazz musician Ornette Coleman.

Before you enter either of the two massive galleries housing the exhibition you encounter a courtyard filled with tents, some with “this could be u and u” stenciled on them. Tents also line the corridor under Martin Creed’s neon piece, EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, with a rack of fancy vintage coats nearby. Once predominantly in Skid Row, Los Angeles’ tent cities have been growing rapidly on street corners and under bridges and highways all over the city, but they often just blend into the background for people walking and driving past. What does a fake tent city in the courtyard of a high end gallery in a newly gentrified neighborhood mean? Is its fake version more affecting than the real one to gallery and restaurant patrons wandering by?

The work in the show feels at times random, clever, humorous, and confounding, but also impressive, thought provoking, and most importantly never dull. There are stacks of art history books sitting on scales. A water filled bowl that contains what once was a snowball Hammons had sold on the street at one point in his career, sits on a wooden shelf. A room with empty glass cubes on wood columns requires you to bend down to see the feet underneath. A book titled A History of Harlem is filled with empty black pages.

In the room pictured below is a three legged chair next to a wall of photos of women sitting in it. Nearby, one of Ornette Coleman’s suits is surrounded by glass.

Another room is filled with paint splattered and damaged fur coats, one facing an antique mirror that is covered. The symbolism feels a bit heavy handed, like the tents, but it works in that there are still several ways to interpret what Hammons might be saying.

Throughout the exhibition paintings are covered in various ways. One in paper, ripped with a bit of the painting visible. Others are partially hidden with tarps, plastic, different fabrics, even an antique rug (shown below). Once again, you can interpret the meaning of this in several ways. With the rug, for example, it’s turned so that only a bit of its design is visible in front of a painting that is not completely visible. These rugs are often associated with old money and sometimes are hung on walls themselves as artwork. Or is it just another assemblage, a visual combination to be taken at face value.

Ultimately the interpretation of all of the work is up to the viewer. There is something freeing in that, not being given answers. Sure, it’s nice to have an explanation of an artist’s intentions sometimes, but you often add your own ideas anyway. Art should make you think, question things, look at the world from a new perspective- this exhibition does all of that and more.

David Hammons at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles closed 8/11/19.

 

 

 

Jul 182019
 

Bill Baird- Your Dark Sunglasses Won’t Make You Lou Reed

Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (7/18-7/21/19)-

Thursday

Italian composer , sound artist, and performer, Drum & Lace will be at Bootleg Theater for her semi songs EP release show that will include visuals, a light installation, and a dance performance

There’s a free performance of Roger Guenveur Smith and Marc Anthony Thompson’s Portrait of Charles White at The California African American Museum

Goon are having an LP release party at the Echoplex with Draag and Kevin also playing

Tyler Ramsey (former lead guitarist from Band of Horses) will be playing with My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel at Highland Park Ebell

Hammer Museum’s free Summer Concert Series continues this week with Wild Belle performing

Will Fox and Mara Connor are playing an early free show at Gold-Diggers

 

Thursday through 7/28/19

OUTFEST Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival opens Thursday with an Opening Night Gala and a screening of Circus of Books, about the recently closed WeHo store directed by the daughter of the store’s owners. It continues in various locations with screenings that include shorts and television episodes.

 

Friday

UCLA Film & Television Archive is screening the double feature Roman Holiday and Three Coins in a Fountain at Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theater ($9)

21 Savage is performing at Shrine Expo Hall with Calboy and Young Nudy

Dean Wareham will be performing the Galaxie 500 album On Fire at the Teragram Ballroom

Potty Mouth and Colleen Green are opening for Dressy Bessy at Moroccan Lounge

Learn to dance the Argentine Tango at The Music Center’s Dance DTLA night in Grand Park

It Looks Sad. are playing at The Hi Hat with Derek Ted opening

 

Saturday

Bill Baird is playing a free show at Highland Park Bowl with Manhattan Murder Mystery and Mirrorball

ICA LA is hosting Reading the News-a 34,000 Pillows workshop with artist collaborative Díaz Lewis. 34,000 is the quota of detained immigrants per day in 250 facilities around the country mandated by the US Congress and enforced by ICE. Pillows from recycled clothing will be created and added to the 34,000 Pillows project to be sold for $159 (an amount that reflects the average amount of taxpayer money spent each day by Congress to detain one person daily) with 100% of proceeds donated to national and local immigration organizations. While the pillows are made there will also be a reading of news, literature, and poetry. (free)

Union Station is hosting Magic & Mystery, a free night of performances by magicians on the South Patio

Independent Shakespeare Co. is having free performances of the play Twelfth Night in Griffith Park all weekend and tonight as part of their Salon Series, Invertigo Dance Theatre Artistic Director Laura Karlin will lead an exploration into creating story through choreography.

 

Saturday and Sunday

Hauser & Wirth is hosting LITLIT: Little Literary Fair, a free two day book fair celebrating independent booksellers, book publishers, and book makers from Los Angeles and beyond. While you are there, make sure to check out the excellent David Hammons and Guillermo Kuitca exhibitions.

 

Sunday

Sculptor Liz Larner will be discussing artist Chris Burden at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA as part of their Artists on Artists series

Turn It Up!, a new group advocating for gender parity in music, is hosting an afternoon concert fundraiser at the Echoplex, with performances by Solvej Schou, Phranc, and The Groans as well as the Turn It Up House Band featuring Abby Travis (Sumo Princess), drummer Tosha Jones (the Randies), bassist Gere Fennelly (Redd Kross), and guitarists Blare Bitch & Sharon Needles (both from Betty Blowtorch) with vocalists Lisa Kekaula (Bellrays), Nina Diaz (Girl in a Coma), Drew Arriola Sands (TrapGirl), Kristine Nevrose (the Tissues), Alice Bag, Adele Bertei, and Abby Travis.

Later at the Echoplex, Ringo Deathstarr, Tennis System, Blushing and The Meeting Places will be playing for Part Time Punks night

UCLA Film & Television Archive’s screenings at the Hammer Museum continue with three 1990s DIY indie films- Sarah Jacobson’s I Was A Teenage Serial Killer and Mary Jane’s Not A Virgin Anymore and Tina Krause’s Limbo ($9)

Singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade will be performing with maestro Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl

We Were Promised Jetpacks are playing at the Teragram Ballroom with Catholic Action opening