Chris Francis, "Untitled" (2105), leather, found plywood, screws, washers, paper, canvas, rubber (via

Chris Francis, “Untitled” (2105), leather, found plywood, screws, washers, paper, canvas, rubber (via

LOS ANGELES — This week, there’s the 25th anniversary of a drag doc, shoe designer Chris Francis sets up shop in the Craft & Folk Art Museum, the Hammer hosts a talk on black conceptualism, and more.

 A History of Refusal: Black Artists and Conceptualism

When: Wednesday, May 20, 7:30pm
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles)

Over the past few decades, a number of African-American artists including Lorna Simpson, Adrian Piper, and Charles Gaines have used conceptual art practices to explore issues of identity, race, and representation. In conjunction with their current Gaines exhibition, the Hammer is presenting this panel discussion on the legacy of black conceptual art, which will also consider previous exhibitions on the topic. The speakers are Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Hamza Walker, associate curator of The Renaissance Society, Chicago; and artist Rodney McMillian.

Charles Gaines, "Faces, Set #4: Stephan W. Walls" (1978), Photograph, ink on paper, three parts (via

Charles Gaines, “Faces, Set #4: Stephan W. Walls” (1978), photograph, ink on paper, three parts (via


Mutant Salon (via facebook)

Mutant Salon (via facebook)

When: Thursday, May 21, 7pm
Where: Honor Fraser Gallery (2622 S. La Cienega Boulevard, Culver City, California)

The finale of Is It All Over My Face? at Honor Fraser, ATTACK, SUSTAIN, RELEASE, DECAY features a supergroup composed of performance and media collectives Mutant Salon, Experimental Half Hour, and Project Rage Queen.

Using sound, movement, and green screen technology, the performance will highlight the transformative power of beautification rituals. Get there early if you need a trim; Mutant Salon will be offering to spruce up your coif from 6–7pm.

YouTube video

 Paris is Burning

When: Friday, May 22, 7:30pm; midnight
Where: The Cinefamily (611 North Fairfax Avenue, Fairfax District, Los Angeles)

When Paris is Burning was first released, it provided the mainstream’s first glimpse of the underground drag ball scene centered around New York’s mostly non-white, gay, and transgender community. Twenty-five years later, after Madonna’s Vogue and RuPaul’s Drag Race, it may be hard to appreciate how groundbreaking this documentary was. Fortunately, UCLA has restored the film, which introduces us to ballroom icons Pepper LaBeija, Willi Ninja, and all the Legendary Children. The 7:30pm show also includes a panel discussion and voguing demo by Banjee Ball. If you miss that, there’s a midnight screening, as well as shows on Saturday, Sunday, and next Wednesday.

Enrique Gijon, "Self Portrait of a Migrant" (2014) (via

Enrique Gijon, “Self Portrait of a Migrant” (2014) (via

 Oaxaca: Immigration and Cultural Memory in Art

When: Opens Saturday, May 23, 4–8pm
Where: The Durón Gallery at SPARC (685 Venice Boulevard, Venice, California)

Over one million residents of the Mexican state of Oaxaca have immigrated to the US, raising issues of culture and identity for those who have left, but also for those who remain.

New Codex: Oaxaca considers this situation by showcasing contemporary art made in and about Oaxaca. This includes a mural painted by La Piztola Collective, as well as art objects created by The Embroidery Ants of Tanivet, a rural Oaxacan collective.

 Chris Francis: Shoe Designer

When: Opens Saturday, May 23, 6–9pm
Where: Craft & Folk Art Museum (5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

These aren’t your mother’s Manolos. Self-taught shoe designer Chris Francis combines Constructivist geometry and unconventional materials with impeccable craftsmanship that harkens back to 19th century precedents. Using vintage machinery, Francis’s creations fuse the functional with the avant-garde. Beginning on May 26, he will also be in residence at the museum, relocating his shop there so visitors can see his design and production methods firsthand.

Carmen Argote, "A Vast Furniture" (2015), installation view (via

Carmen Argote, “A Vast Furniture” (2015), installation view (via

 Carmen Argote: A Vast Furniture, Part Two

When: Saturday, May 23—Sunday, May 24
Where: High Desert Test Sites (Iron Age Road, Wonder Valley, California)

For the first part of A Vast Furniture, Carmen Argote created a full-scale sculptural tracing of the floor plan of the iconic Schindler House in West Hollywood. This weekend, she will move her installation to the middle of the Mojave Desert, following a suggestion made by architect Gregory Ain at an early meeting to consider the house’s restoration. Faced with the exorbitant cost of restoration, Ain suggested selling the house, and using the money to rebuild it in the desert. Saturday evening, there will be a potluck dinner and guided tour at High Desert Test Sites Iron Age Road Parcel, followed by a sleepover in Argote’s re-imagined Schindler House.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.