Happy Birthday to Betye Saar who turned 94 today! This work Still Ticking, (2005), was part of LACMA’s exhibition Betye Saar: Call and Response which opened at the museum in September of 2019.
From the wall description of the work-
Made shortly before Saar’s seventy-eighth birthday, the assemblage includes years and astrological glyphs on the inner left side that correlate to various important dates in her life. The work’s title wittily refers both to the timepieces in the sculpture- which, of course, are not ticking; indeed they are either frozen in time or missing their hands- and to the artist herself, who is alive and well, still ticking, now at age ninety-three.
Today, July 6th, is the four year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota. Castile was shot five times while his girlfriend and her four year old daughter were in the car.
Mark Bradford’s 150 Portrait Tone, 2017, currently at LACMA, is a devastating large scale work that uses excerpts from Philando Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds’s dialogue from the video she live streamed on Facebook from the incident.
From LACMA’s wall description of the work-
Bradford notes that he was moved by the multiple subjects Reynolds simultaneously addressed and the different spaces they occupied: her boyfriend, Castile, next to her (“stay with me”); the officer outside the car (“please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this”); God (“Lord, please Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone”); as well as the unknown receiver on the other side of her lifestream (“please don’t tell me he just went like that”).
Like many of Bradford’s works, the mural-size composition contains elements of both abstraction and realism. In places, layers of manipulated paint render the text almost illegible. The dark form in the background, however, evokes all-too-real associations with the horrific shooting, such as Castile’s twisted arm and the dark-red bloodstain spread across his white shirt, both visible in the live stream feed.
The title, “150 Portrait Tone”, refers to the name and color code of the pink acrylic used throughout the painting (most conspicuous in a large patch at the work’s bottom edge). Like the now-obsolete “flesh” crayon in the Crayola 64 box (the color was renamed “peach” in 1962), the color “portrait tone” carries inherent assumptions about who, exactly, is being depicted. In the context of Bradford’s painting, the title presents a sobering commentary on power and representation.
Since the 1980s, Chinese contemporary artists have cultivated intimate relationships with their materials, establishing a framework of interpretation revolving around materiality. Their media range from the commonplace to the unconventional, the natural to the synthetic, the elemental to the composite: from plastic, water, and wood, to hair, tobacco, and Coca-Cola. Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material. The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China brings together works from the past four decades in which conscious material choice has become a symbol of the artists’ expression, representing this unique trend throughout recent history. Some of the most influential Chinese contemporary artists today are featured in this exhibition, including Xu Bing, Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, and Ai Weiwei.
There are a lot of impressive pieces in the show, including Xu Bing’sFirst Class, pictured above. Inspired by a photograph of a tiger-skin rug in a colonial home in Shanghai, it was created using cigarettes, also considered a luxury item by many.
Also pictured are Wang Jin’s imperial robes/theatrical costumes that were created using PVC and fishing wire- replacing the traditional silk material. According to the wall description, the title Chinese Dream “alludes to the commercialization of tradition”. Held up by thick metal chains, they are also much heavier than the originals they copy.
Closing 12/8/19 at LACMA is Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art. It’s a really fun of exhibition with a good selection of art from different time periods, including Yayoi Kusama’s dog sculptures from Megu-chan (2014), two of which are pictured above.
From LACMA’s website-
Every Living Thing: Animals in Japanese Art celebrates one of the most distinctive and compelling aspects of Japanese art: the depiction of animals. Underpinned by Japan’s unique spiritual heritage of Shintō and Buddhism, the Japanese reverence for nature—and the place of animals within that realm—is expressed in sculpture, painting, lacquer-work, ceramics, metalwork, cloisonné, and woodblock prints.
Lions, dogs, horses, oxen, cats, fish, insects, birds, dragons, phoenixes—animals warm and cold-blooded, real and imaginary—are meticulously and beautifully rendered in myriad works from ancient 6th-century clay sculpture to contemporary art. Arranged in themes such as Zodiac Animals, Animals from Nature, Religion, Myth and Folklore, and Leisure, the exhibition draws heavily from LACMA’s permanent collection and includes masterpieces from Japanese and American public and private collections, some of which are on view for the first time.
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (11/21-11/24/19)-
Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz has a new solo project and is performing at Bootleg Theater with Sorry Girls. Get there early for a screening of Moses Sumney’s new music video Virile with a behind the scenes Q & A at 6:30pm (free with RSVP).
Music producers Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Young will be performing together at The Midnight Hour at Lodge Room
The Get Up Kids are playing at the Echoplex with Kevin Devine and The Whiffs opening
Curator Jamillah James will be leading a tour of No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake followed by a happy hour with light refreshments at ICA LA for their monthly Art Buzz event (free but register)
Our Girl are playing at the Bootleg Theater with Particle Kid and a DJ set by SadGirl
Moon Duo are playing at Lodge Room with Umberto opening
Julia Jacklin is playing at the El Rey Theatre with Christian Lee Hutson
Bootleg Theater is screening a double feature of Louis Malle’s God’s Country, about the farming community in Glencoe, Minnesota in 1979, which was thriving at the time. Forced to abandon the project early, Malle returns in 1985 to follow up, and finds that things have taken a dark turn during the Reagan era. The second film is Lee Grant’s The Willmar 8 a film about “a group of eight women who, in 1981, carried out the longest bank strike in American history to protest gender discrimination at great cost to their reputations, marriages and livelihoods in the 14,000-person town of Willmar, Minnesota- 60 miles north of Glencoe”.
Kanye West is premiering his new opera Nebuchadnezzar at the Hollywood Bowl, directed by performance artist Vanessa Beecroft and feature music from West’s Sunday Service choir.
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (11/14-11/17-19)-
Ronald Rael, the Chair of the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley, will engage in a presentation and discussion about art making at the US_Mexico border with W|ALLS featured photographer, designer, craftsperson, and founder of Art Made Between Opposite Sides (AMBOS) Tanya Aguiñiga at Annenberg Space for Photography. (free but register)
Artist Vishal Jugdeo will be discussing his work at The Hammer
Maxo Kream is performing at the Echoplex with Q Da Fool and Slayter
The KVB, Numb.er, and Houses of Heaven are playing at The Echo
Filmforum at MOCA (Grand Avenue location) is showing All That You Can’t Leave Behind, a program of films both personal and political featuring new works by Essi, Ja’Tovia Gary, Darol Olu Kae, Rhea Storr, Sara Suarez, and ariella tai. Filmmakers Suarez and Kae will be in-person to discuss their work.
Adult Swim Festival 2019 is taking place at Banc of America Stadium in DTLA. On Friday performers include Dethklok, Captain Murphy, Leikeli47, Health, and more. On Saturday Vince Staples, Jamie XX, 2 Chainz, Tierra Whack, clipping., Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, and more will perform, along with a live version of The Eric Andre Show. There will also be screenings, games and attractions, and more.
Spaceland and Other Music are hosting The Get Together 2019 Label Fair and Music Festival at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. On Friday Joe Kay, Marco McKennis, and Full Crate are performing. On Saturday is the Record Label Fair and performances by Anna Wise, William Basinski, and more. In the evening, Lee Fields will be perform backed by El Michels Affair, as well as Bobby Oroza, Brainstory and Holy Hive.
Artists Gilbert & George will be in conversation with critic Jonathan Griffin at Sprüth Magers (free but RSVP)
Bridge-s, is a performance series at The Getty curated by Solange Knowles and features a new performance by Gerard & Kelly, with a special musical score by Solange featuring Cooper-Moore, brought to life by a group of dancers and musicians across Getty’s iconic architecture. The performance piece takes place all day around the center and also includes film screenings and an artist talk with British-Ghanaian philosopher Kodwo Eshun.(free)
From 12:30- 2:20pm LACMA is offering a free taste of the Japanese Nebuta Festival with a large paper lantern float depicting Japanese folk hero Kintoki by Nebuta Master Hiroo Takenami on display and a series of short performances by taiko drummers, flute and hand cymbal players, and dancers taking place in front of the float.
LAXART is hosting a performance of the in progress, debut play Lives of the Performers, by critic and writer Hilton Als. Free, first come first served. (also on Monday)
The Annual Tree Lighting celebration with performances and fireworks is happening at The Grove
It’s the last weekend (closing 11/11) to see Christian Marclay’s fun interactive exhibition Sound Stories and Mary Corse’s A Survey in Light and tonight there is also free jazz with a performance by Al Williams Jazz Society (LACMA is free for residents with ID starting at 3pm weekdays and is open Fridays until 8pm)
The Hollywood Bowl is hosting a screening of Disney’s Coco with a live orchestra accompanying the film (also on Saturday)
Girl Gang Craft is having a holiday market at Grand Central Market (free and also on Sunday)
Arroyo Arts Collective and Avenue 50 Studio are hosting a holiday art market in conjunction with NELA’s Second Saturday Art Walk
DROELOE are performing at The Novo with MEMBA and Eastghost
Instrumental rock groups MONO and The Album Leaf will be performing at the Regent Theater
L.A. Drones! and CHUD are playing a free show at Gold Diggers
Saturday and Sunday
Tyler, The Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw is taking place at Dodger Stadium with a great lineup that includes- IDK, FKA twigs, YG, BROCKHAMPTON, Thundercat, 21 Savage, DaBaby, Yuna, yasiin bey and more, plus carnival games
Tropicalia Fest is happening a bit further afield in Pomona with two days of music- performers include Natalia Lafourcade, Zoé, La Santa Cecilia, Quitapenas, and more on Saturday and on Sunday bands include Oh Sees, Wallows, The Drums, Surf Curse, FIDLAR, Skegss, Beach Fossils, Hockey Dad, The Red Pears, The High Curbs and many, many, more
Located in LACMA’s B. Gerald Cantor Sculpture Garden among the sculptures by Rodin is Zak Ové’s sculptural installation, The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness.
From the LACMA’s website-
The title’s references—Ben Jonson’s 1605 play, The Masque of Blackness, and Ralph Ellison’s 1952 novel, Invisible Man—mark two milestones in black history: the first stage production to utilize blackface makeup, and the first novel by an African American to win the National Book Award. In addition to literary references, the artist draws inspiration from Caribbean Carnival, a festival that originated from the Mardi Gras celebrations of the region’s French colonists, and Canboulay, a parallel celebration in which enslaved people expressed themselves through music and costume and paid homage to their African traditions. The installation’s 40 graphite figures stand tall and dignified to represent the strength and resilience of the African diaspora.
In the the video below, Ové provides some interesting insight and information on the work.
This exhibition closes 11/3/19. LACMA is free for residents with ID from 3pm and is open late on Fridays until 8pm.