Paul Thek, “Untitled (Ferocious)” (1971), glass, steel, plasticine and dried flowers and foliage, 12 1/4 x 19 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches (© The Estate of George Paul Thek; courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York, photo by Gary Mamay, via

 Creative Activism: From Terezin to Trump

When: Wednesday, January 4, 6:30–9pm
Where: Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center (1110 Bates Avenue, Silverlake, Los Angeles)

In times of cultural and social repression, art can prove to be a potent form of resistance. One of the most powerful examples of this is Vedem, an underground magazine produced 83 weekly issues by teenage prisoners of the Terezin Ghetto. To coincide with the opening of their exhibition on the magazine, the Silverlake Independent JCC will be hosting a panel discussion featuring award-winning creative activists, filmmakers, and performers, including artist Dorit Cypis. Tickets are $10.

Image from “Vedem” (via

 Norm Laich: Tip or Die!

When: Opens Saturday, January 7, 9–11pm
Where: Mandujano_cell (171 N. LaBrea Avenue, #204, Inglewood, California)

Norm Laich got his start as a professional sign painter in Detroit before moving to LA, where he used his lettering skills to create artwork for Lawrence Weiner, John Baldessari, Mike Kelley, and Ed Ruscha. Alongside his commercial work, he has had his own artistic practice, which offers an irreverent and often politically charged twist on traditional sign graphics. A selection of his new work takes center stage with his upcoming show at Tip or Die! at office space-cum-gallery Mandujano-cell in Inglewood.

Norm Laich: Tip or Die! (via Facebook)

 Sam Durant: Build Therefore Your Own World

Sam Durant, “God wills us free (John Jack’s epitaph, Thoreau’s flute)” (2016), Sandstone and bronze, 31 x 21 x 16 inches. (via, Photo: Heather Rasmussen)

When: Opens Saturday, January 7, 6–8pm
Where: Blum & Poe (2727 South La Cienega Boulevard, Culver City, California)

Taking its title from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, LA artist Sam Durant’s upcoming solo show at Blum & Poe draws on the writings of the American transcendentalists, contemporary African-American writers, and abolitionists like Frederick Douglass.

Durant creates hybrids of historical objects and artifacts — such as a cast of former slave Jack Garrison’s walking stick crossed with Thoreau’s pencil — thereby laying  bare unexplored narratives of 19th-century African-American life.

 I Can’t Even: A Pet Peeve Funeral

When: Saturday, January 7, 7–10pm
Where: Basement Projects (207 North Broadway, Santa Ana, California)

2016 was filled with so much disappointment, frustration, and loss that most of us are relieved it’s finally over. To celebrate leaving it all behind us and moving on, artists Steven Frost and Molly Jo Shea have organized a Pet Peeve Funeral, inviting visitors to lay their physical and emotional baggage to rest. Around a cemetery built out of soft sculptures and video projections, the artists will stage a funerary procession at 9:15pm, at which black attire is encouraged.

I Can’t Even: A Pet Peeve Funeral (via Facebook)

 Paul Thek

When: Closes Saturday, January 7, 10am–6pm
Where: Hannah Hoffman Gallery (1010 N Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

The late artist Paul Thek is known primarily for his assemblages and installations that suffused everyday and ephemeral materials with a spiritual quality. Although his career was cut short when he died of AIDS-related causes in 1988, his melding of the abject, personal, and mystical would prove influential for later generations of artists. Don’t miss Hannah Hoffman’s current exhibition of his work — his first solo gallery show in LA — which closes on Saturday.

Book installation by Tm Gratkowski (via Facebook)

 Community Book Installation

When: Sunday, January 8, 1:30–3:30pm
Where: Craft & Folk Art Museum (5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)

In conjunction with their upcoming book arts exhibition, Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California, the Craft & Folk Art Museum has invited artist Tm Gratkowski to create a large-scale book installation in its lobby. Visitors are invited to drop by the museum this Sunday to collaborate on the project and learn more about the artist’s book-weaving technique.

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Matt Stromberg

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.