Safe House is so termed for being a place of refuge. It is also a phrase used more colloquially as a space where one escapes the dangers affiliated with the law. With these eight single-panel paintings, Abney invites us into a place of reprieve, showing us people partaking in everyday activities. Abney’s scenarios offer sincere portrayals that counter how black life is represented in the mainstream media. The decision intentionally explores black joy as a means of resistance.
A deeply accomplished artist associated with innovating history painting, Abney took a multipart strategy to reclaim a space for creativity for this exhibition. To begin, she sourced graphics from posters dating from the 1960s that addressed aspects of safety for occupation, home, and leisure, abstracted these, and made them grounds for large-scale compositions. Then, against this backdrop Abney painted figures, objects, and letters to articulate the complex dynamics of contemporary urban life. She unequivocally is in pursuit of a depiction of commonplace activities and things. With each intuitively developed composition, each element such as the figures is often obfuscated by another element such as text, which in turn is challenged by a direction, such as an arrow. The imagery is reminiscent of sign painting, and each move made by Abney necessitates another. This chain of forms turns each element over to a type of writing, which opens a narrative and its reception to many readings. The abstracted source material (safety posters), combined with the abounding narratives from the detailed scenes, returns us to the title of the exhibition. The phrase prompts us to ask directly or obliquely: What caution and care are these narratives invoking and advocating? What danger might not be readily apparent to the viewer here?
Things to do in Los Angeles this weekend (9/27-9/30/18)-
Hammer Museum celebrates the restaging of David Antin’s Sky Poems (taking place on Saturday over LACMA and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego) with a convening of a group of poets, artists, and scholars, including Blaise Antin, Eleanor Antin, Julien Bismuth, Steve Kado, Aram Moshayedi, Marjorie Perloff, Jerome Rothenberg, and Hamza Walker, to discuss Antin and his legacy.
LACMA has a free screening of The Old Man & The Gun, and a post-screening conversation with writer David Lowery moderated by Gregory Ellwood.
Gateway Drugs are opening for The Pink Slips at The Hi Hat
Friday through Sunday
Ohana Festival is taking place all weekend at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point with bands that include Norah Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Plague Vendor, Beck, Johnny Marr, and more
DUBLAB is celebrating its 19th Anniversary with an all evening (until 2am) fundraising party at Zebulon featuring live music by performers that include The Pantones, Linafornia, Prophet, and Ann Magnuson, DJs, video artists, and more
The Broad’s final Summer Happenings event, A Journey That Wasn’t, Part 2, “will explore how artists manipulate time through memory, appropriation and repetition” with performances by Kim Gordon and YoshimiO, The Banjee Ball creating a “vogue opera” with performances by the LA ballroom dance community, and more
The Range of Light Wilderness are playing at the Bootleg Theater with Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic opening
The New Division and Nite are playing at Union nightclub
Saturday and Sunday
Music Tastes Good returns to Marina Green Park in Long Beach with lots of great bands including New Order, Joey Bada$$, Santigold, Lil B, Big Thief, Cherry Glazerr, Janelle Monáe, Ezra Furman, De Lux, and more
Z Berg is playing at the Bootleg Theater with Benmont Tench, Ethan Gruska, Natalie Bergman, Bobcat Goldthwait, Joseph Keefe, Paige Anderson and special guests
CicLAvia is partnering with the LA Philharmonic for its centennial celebration and closing off streets between the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Hollywood with six hubs that will have live music, dance performances, art and more along the route. Also make sure to check out WDCH Dreams, media artist Refik Anadol’s projections on the concert hall (starting Friday and running until 10/6)