While Los Angeles art lovers can’t plan museum dates just yet, there’s still plenty to see online and by appointment at galleries and smaller art spaces around town. In an effort to help guide your fall into being as art-filled as possible, we’ll be compiling monthly selections of must-see shows in the city all season.
This September, enjoy a mix of art made during the pandemic, new MFA work, protest posters, and stellar solo shows.
—Elisa Wouk Almino, Senior Editor, Los Angeles
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When: August 18–October 2
Where: Sprüth Magers (5900 Wilshire Blvd, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
Visitors who are only familiar with Senga Nengudi’s post-minimalist stretched stocking works will be in for a nice surprise. Her first solo LA gallery show in over 40 years features two large-scale installations: “Sandmining B” (2020), a field of sand punctuated by mounds of bright pigment and scattered debris, and “Bulemia” (1988/2018), a room whose walls are covered in newspaper pages, which Nengudi has altered with gold paint. In doing so, she turns bleak headlines into messages of Black resilience and achievement, offering a utopian vision that is still very much in need of amplifying.
When: Opened August 22
Where: Online Self Help Graphics (1300 East 1st St, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles)
The Very Very Very Long Day (TVVVLD) at Self Help Graphics & Art is a timely virtual group exhibition that addresses some of the major issues confronting us right now, from a global pandemic to the struggle for racial justice. Curated by marvella muro, it is divided into sections including “Systemic and Racial Injustice,” “Beyond Covid,” and “Nature as a Metaphor for Resilience and Growth.” More than simply documenting the present moment, the works in TVVVLD look hopefully forward to a collectively constructed, new future.
When: August 24–October 2
Where: 18th Street Arts Center, Airport Campus (3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica) (open by appointment)
From the civil rights movements of the 1960s to the current Black Lives Matter demonstrations, denunciation of police brutality has been a key element of protest struggles around the world. To Protect & Serve? Five Decades of Posters Protesting Police Violence at 18th Street Arts Center’s Airport Campus assembles dozens of posters from actions in Los Angeles, New York, Mexico, Bangladesh, and beyond. Produced by the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), the works in the show address political repression, immigration raids, the increasing militarization of police forces, and forms of organized resistance to state-sponsored repression.
When: Opens September 14
Where: Online at Oxy Arts (4757 York Boulevard, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles)
Over July 4 weekend, 80 artists and activists participated in In Plain Site, a project featuring poetic and political messages written in the sky over ICE detention centers and immigration courts across the country. WE LIVE! Memories of Resistance brings together 14 of those artists who engage with our painful collective memory while envisioning a radical future, including Devon Tsuno, Beatriz Cortez, Guadalupe Rosales, and Dread Scott. The virtual exhibition will be accompanied by an online film series, Zoom workshops, artist talks, and live-streamed performances.
The concept of “Home” has taken on new meanings in the age of COVID-19, as what was once a place of respite and refuge has become workplace, school, and bunker for many of us. Home, an online exhibition organized by alternative project space Acogedor, explores these new domestic roles, bringing together work made since global lockdowns began in March by 42 artists across five countries. In addition to a website, the exhibition will also feature artist Instagram takeovers, artist conversations, and performances via Zoom and Facebook Live.
When: September 3–October 31
Where: The MAK Center (1137 S Cochran Ave, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles) (visitors required to sign liability waiver)
Taking its title from a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Time Is Out of Joint is a series of three exhibitions featuring the work of this year’s CalArts MFA graduates. Prohibited from working in their on-campus studios since spring 2020, the students have had to reconsider their processes, experimenting with new ways of working, while reflecting on the social upheavals taking place alongside the global pandemic. Each exhibition features 10 artists and is located at the MAK Center’s Mackey Garage Top and Courtyard Spaces, to which a limited number of visitors will be admitted at any one time, and features a live-streamed launch.
When: September 4–October 23
Where: Tierra del Sol Gallery (945 Chung King Rd, Chinatown, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
Helen Rae was 76 years old in 2015 when she had her first show with Tierra del Sol Gallery, part of the Tierra del Sol Foundation which supports people with developmental disabilities through Workforce Development, College to Career, and Careers in the Arts. Her current show at the gallery, The Evolution of Helen Rae, features 15 vibrant drawings that continue her exploration of female portraiture. Based on images taken from fashion magazines, her colorful, patterned works lend an air of dream-like distortion to the serene glamor of haute couture.
When: September 12–October 31
Where: Shulamit Nazarian (616 N La Brea Ave, Hancock Park, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
Amir Fallah’s paintings have proposed a new approach to portraiture, shrouding figures in layers of heavily patterned fabrics, surrounded by evocative objects. With his new show at Shulamit Nazarian, Remember My Child…, the artist goes one step further, removing the figure completely, and drawing on myriad pictorial sources to form composite portraits: his child’s picture books, punk logos, world maps, and Persian miniatures, among others. Each canvas can be viewed as a coded iconographic parable or lesson from the artist to his young son, bridging generations and geography to form a fractured yet enticing visual language.
When: September 13–October 31
Where: Parker Gallery (2441 Glendower Ave, Los Feliz, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
Parker Gallery opens its fall season with solo shows from two quite different but equally exuberant artists. Maija Peeples Bright: beautiFOAL is a career-spanning retrospective of the work of this seminal Funk and Nut artist, covering nearly six decades of eye-popping paintings and sculptures filled with a veritable ark of beasts. Fuck the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men is LA-based artist Troy Chew’s first solo show with the gallery, showcasing his detailed, blinged-out paintings that connected hip-hop aesthetics to earlier historical precedents.
When: August 27–December 7
Where: Online at Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 S Santa Fe Ave #101, Downtown Los Angeles)
The online exhibition A Long Way From Home presents the results of Genevieve Gaignard’s recent residency at MCLA Berkshire Cultural Center in North Adams, Mass. In these collaged assemblages, Gaignard depicts domestic spaces tainted by the long and tortured history of racial inequality and violence in the United States. In these intimate interiors, she lays bare her grief, anger, and frustration at recurring injustices that Black Americans face not only from police but from their genteel white neighbors as well.
Exhibition blurbs by Matt Stromberg