Guillermo Gómez-Peña (via

Guillermo Gómez-Peña (via

LOS ANGELES — This week, Jasmine Nyende shares the history of black female comedians at Machine Project, Claire Falkenstein gets a retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, a documentary on LA graffiti culture debuts, and more.

 M. Lamar: Funeral Doom Spiritual

When: Opens Friday, April 15, 7–9:30pm
Where: ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives (909 West Adams Blvd, University Park, Los Angeles)

Multifaceted artist M. Lamar looks back on the history of racial violence and towards a redemptive future in his upcoming exhibition at the ONE Archives, Funeral Doom Spiritual. The show confronts tumultuous and complicated aspects of African-American history — slavery, segregation, fetishization, mourning — in a fearless and moving combination of video, sculpture, photography, and audio. An accomplished musician, Lamar will also be performing on Saturday at 7:30pm, and will be discussing his work with scholar Uri McMillan at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) tonight at 7:30.

M. Lamar (via

M. Lamar (via

 Jasmine Nyende: Laughter is Medicine

Jasmine Nyende: Laughter is Medicine (via

Jasmine Nyende: Laughter is Medicine (via

When: Friday, April 15, 8–9pm & Saturday, April 16, 8–9pm
Where: Machine Project (1200 D North Alvarado Street, Echo Park, Los Angeles)

Certain forms of comedy are labelled as offensive or exclusionary — and they certainly can be when they punch down — but this critique doesn’t take into account the positive aspects of humor, the way it can work to form bonds or build community.

In her upcoming play, Laughter is Medicine, Jasmine Nyende looks back at the history of black, female comedians to explore “the role of laughter in cultural healing, the medical industrial complex, comedy club stages and experimental theatre.” $10 general / $5 members.

 Armenia: An Open Wound

When: Opens Saturday, April 16, 1–4pm
Where: Brand Library (1601 W Mountain St, Glendale, California)

A century ago, as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed during the Armenian Genocide with many more forcibly displaced from their homeland, resulting in the international Armenian Diaspora. Armenia: An Open Wound explores the history of the Armenian people, looks at the causes of the genocide, and focuses on the culture of the diaspora, specifically those who settled in Mexico. (The exhibition debuted last year at the Museo Memoria Y Tolerancia in Mexico City.) A complimentary program of performances, lectures, and discussions is also planned.

Armenia: An Open Wound (via

Armenia: An Open Wound (via

Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture

When: Opens Sunday, April 17, noon–5pm
Where: Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) (490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California)

Alongside work by well-known artists like Louise Bourgeois and Eva Hesse, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel’s inaugural exhibition of female sculptors, Revolution in the Making, featured wire and glass sculptures by Claire Falkenstein that resembled bird’s nests or spider webs. Now, the underappreciated California artist gets the spotlight all to herself with Beyond Sculpture, a retrospective at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Although she is most well known for her sculpture, Falkenstein produced paintings, prints, jewelry, films, and large architectural pieces. The exhibition covers her prolific six-decade career and traces her peripatetic travels from San Francisco to Paris and New York, before finally settling in LA.

Claire Falkenstein, "Sun" (1960–61), Copper, 38 1⁄2 × 75 × 30 inches (The Falkenstein Foundation, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, via

Claire Falkenstein, “Sun” (1960–61), Copper, 38 1⁄2 × 75 × 30 inches (The Falkenstein Foundation, courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, via

 Dark Progressivism

When: Sunday, April 17, 1–3pm
Where: The Container Yard (800 E 4th St, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Sprawling across 34,000 square miles, the greater Los Angeles Area provides a virtually limitless canvas for the proliferation of street art. It is also home to a nexus of challenging economic and social conditions which led to the development of graffiti as an urban artform. A new documentary, Dark Progressivism, looks at graffiti and tattoo art in Los Angeles from an aesthetic as well as historical perspective. This Sunday’s screening and Q&A with director Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre will be held at the Container Yard, which houses murals by a number of artists featured in the film. Tickets are $15.

Dark Progressivism (via facebook)

Dark Progressivism (via Facebook)

 Guillermo Gómez-Peña: Unplugged

When: Monday, April 18, 8:30pm
Where: Highways Performance Space @18th St. Arts Center (1651 18th St., Santa Monica, California)

For three decades, Guillermo Gómez-Peña has been speaking truth to power with his hybrid brand of activist performance art. Through spoken word, video, theater, and books, Gómez-Peña brings his insightful and often humorous perspective to contemporary issues of culture, race, gender, and politics. For the 27th anniversary of Highways Performance Space, he will be performing “Unplugged,” a selection of new and classic material. Tickets are $35 general / $25 for members, seniors, students.

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.