Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism. Become a member today »

Vanessa German and Janae Brown (photo by Brian Cohen)

Vanessa German’s first solo show in Los Angeles, $lang: Short Language in Soul, features multimedia sculptures that incorporate found objects collected from around her Pittsburgh neighborhood as well as along her travels — fabric, seashells, feathers, toys. She combines these elements to create ritualistic figures or layered wall works onto which she paints portraits of black females, drawing on both African cultural traditions and the African-American assemblage art that emerged in Los Angeles, where she was raised. German’s artistic practice is intertwined with her social activism, manifested in ARTHouse, a community arts initiative aimed at bringing art to children affected by violence.

In conjunction with the exhibition, German will be staging a six-hour performance “soft: the longest kiss,” this Saturday. Performed with her partner Janae Brown, it will present an intimate exchange between Black women, a perspective absent in mainstream depictions of African-American femininity.

Following the performance, German will be in conversation from 5 to 6pm with Sarah Gavlak and Pavel Zoubok, who is presenting the exhibition in partnership with the gallery.

When: Saturday, May 18, 11am–5pm
Where: Gavlak Los Angeles (1034 N. Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

More info at Gavlak Gallery.

Support Hyperallergic

As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever. 

Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.

Become a Member

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.