LOS ANGELES — This week, an exhibition opens on an overlooked Bay Area arts movement, a show in an abandoned hospital explores what it means to be human, Mexican artist Mónica Mayer lectures on feminist art, and more.
Feminist Art: An Effective Political Tool?
When: Tuesday, September 27, 6–8pm
Where: University of Southern California, Wong Conference Center (823–29 Exposition Blvd., University Park, Los Angeles)
Mexico-City based artist Mónica Mayer works at the intersection of activism, education, and performance. In 1983, she co-founded one of Mexico’s first feminist art groups, Polvo de Gallina Negra, and for almost 30 years has been collaborating with Victor Lerma on Pinto Mi Raya, primarily an archive of thousands of art-related articles printed in Mexican newspapers. Her lecture on the political role of feminist art is co-presented by the Hammer Museum, where her work can be seen next fall in Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985.
Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler
When: Opens Saturday, October 1, 6–8pm
Where: Armory Center for the Arts (145 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, California)
The late Octavia E. Butler was not only a celebrated science fiction author, but was the first widely read African-American woman in the genre, and the only sci-fi writer to receive a MacArthur “genius” grant. Organized by nonprofit Clockshop, Radio Imagination features six contemporary artists who have created work inspired by Butler’s archives at the Huntington Library. Participating artists include Laylah Ali, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, Lauren Halsey, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Connie Samaras, and Cauleen Smith.
Rat Bastard Protective Association
When: Opens Saturday, October 1, 5–8pm
Where: The Landing (5118 W. Jefferson Blvd, West Adams, Los Angeles)
What the Ferus Gallery “Cool School” was to mid-century Los Angeles, the Rat Bastard Protective Association was to San Francisco. Formed in the late 1950s by Bruce Conner, the RPBA was an artistic community based around a Fillmore street building known as “Painterland.” It included a number of notable figures in the beat, assemblage art, and Bay Area Figurative movements such as George Herms, Wallace Berman, Joan Brown, Jay DeFeo, and Manuel Neri. Curated by Dr. Anastasia Aukeman, this will be the first exhibition to focus on the under-recognized but influential group in almost 60 years.
Tanya Tagaq: Nanook of the North
When: Saturday, October 1, 8pm
Where: Colburn School, Zipper Hall (200 S. Grand Ave., Downtown, Los Angeles)
Robert Flaherty’s 1922 film Nanook of the North is a controversial milestone in anthropological documentary, depicting Inuit life in Arctic Canada with a mix of ethnographic insight, misrepresentation, and downright fabrication. Canadian-born Inuit performer Tanya Tagaq reclaims this narrative, singing over the film to create a cultural remix from an indigenous perspective. Her production is part of the Broad’s Tip of Her Tongue series that presents the work of female performance artists who deal with language and the body. Tickets available here.
When: Opens Saturday, October 1, 6–9pm
Where: Former Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center (2231 S Western Ave., Jefferson Park, Los Angeles)
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center opened in 1971 as the city’s first black-owned hospital. It closed in 2013, but will be given new life this weekend as the site for the ambitious group exhibition, Human Condition. Over 80 artists will fill the hospital’s 40,000 square feet with paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances that explore the eternal question of what it means to be human. Participating artists include Marc Horowitz, Marilyn Minter, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Tala Madani, Delia Brown, Robert Mapplethorpe, and many more.
A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón
When: Opens Sunday, October 2, 12–5pm
Where: Fowler Museum at UCLA (308 Charles E Young Dr N., Westwood, Los Angeles)
During a brief but fertile career abruptly cut short by suicide at the age of 32, Cuban artist Belkis Ayón produced a series of visionary works that focused on the secretive Afro-Cuban fraternal organization Abakuá. Nkame is the first solo museum show of her work in the US, showcasing her use of large scale collography, a printmaking technique that incorporates various materials to achieve a range of textures and effects.
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