We’re back this month with more exhibition picks across Los Angeles (and beyond). Museums still aren’t open, but most galleries are by appointment — just remember to bring your mask.
When: October 15–December 19
Where: Matthew Marks Gallery (1062 N. Orange Grove, West Hollywood) (open by appointment)
LA-based artist Paul Sietsema uses photography, film, sculpture, and painting to explore the histories of images, objects, and ideas, and how they change over time. His current show at Matthew Marks includes photorealistic paintings that depict rotary phones, vintage exhibition posters, and torn-up bits of paper currency. Behind his enticing trompe-l’oeil surfaces lies ample conceptual fodder for contemplation.
When: September 24, 2020–June 6, 2021
Where: Orange County Museum of Art (South Coast Plaza Village 1661 W. Sunflower Avenue, Santa Ana)
We could all use a little love. In her latest show, Alexandra Grant considers love as a form of telepathy and takes inspiration from a quote in Sophocles’s Antigone: “I was born to love not to hate.” Grant has also set up a pop-up shop whose proceeds will unusually support the acquisition of work by “diverse women and female-identifying artists” for OCMA’s collection.
When: October 17–December 19
Where: Luis De Jesus Los Angeles (2685 S La Cienega Blvd, Mid-City, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
While group shows can sometimes lack a coherent vision, this one seems worth a trip. All of the works were made during the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from bitingly political paintings to beautiful reflections on home. The featured artists are June Edmonds, André Hemer, Laura Krifka, Kambui Olujimi, Edra Soto, and Peter Williams.
When: October 24, 2020–January 3, 2021
Where: Japan House Los Angeles (6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood) (online only until further notice)
Although conceived before the pandemic, a new exhibition on windows at Japan House takes on special significance now, given the role that windows play in keeping us safe but visible to each other. Organized by the Window Research Institute and curated by architectural historian and critic Igarashi Tarō, Windowology looks at the role of windows in Japanese culture, from art to craft to film, and even manga. The virtual exhibition features a wide spectrum of media including architectural models, photographs, film, books, crafts, and environmental statistics.
When: October 26, 2020–February 5, 2021
Where: 18th Street Arts Center (Airport Campus) (3026 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica) (open by appointment)
The significance of breathing — both as the basis of life, but also as a pathway for disease — has been magnified since the appearance of coronavirus earlier this year. With their two person-exhibition Becoming Atmosphere, Beatriz Cortez and Kang Seung Lee consider breath, air, and atmosphere with a wide lens as they pertain to ecological, cultural, and political concerns. The show features an array of work, including Lee’s drawings of vaporous figures in front of the Hollywood sign and Twin Towers (after Tseng Kwong Chi’s iconic photos), and Cortez’s Tinguely-like sculpture of piston-driven plants.
When: October 31–December 12
Where: Gavlak Los Angeles (1700 S Santa Fe Ave #440, Downtown, Los Angeles) (open by appointment)
With its cheeky, if slightly annoying, title, this exhibition features only women artists and is specifically timed for the US presidential election. Its aim: to “act as a defiant gesture of solidarity amongst women and LGBTQ+ artists who feel their rights may be under threat.” The lineup of contemporary artists sounds great, along with some historical inclusions like a pastel portrait by 18th-century Scottish artist Katherine Read and an anonymous self-portrait from the Italian Renaissance.
When: Opened in October
Where: Various locations
Made in LA hasn’t officially opened yet at the Hammer Museum and Huntington, but it has a few interesting satellite projects already installed around the city. Several Black-owned businesses, including cafés and barbershops, are currently screening Kahlil Joseph’s “conceptual news program” known as BLKNWS®, and you might have already spotted Larry Johnson’s billboards around MacArthur Park. The biennial’s live performances will now be shared online, including Harmony Holiday’s play God’s Suicide, based on the rarely discussed suicide attempts by writer James Baldwin.
When: November 12–December 23
Where: Regen Projects (6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood) (open by appointment)
Born in Paris, and raised between France and Algeria, Kader Attia confronts the trauma resulting from Western colonialism and seeks to acknowledge and repair these wounds. His Los Angeles debut at Regen Projects, The Valley of Dreams, features photography, sculpture, and installation work that examine issues of cultural conflict and migration. These include a photograph of Algerian boys on the beach gazing out at the Mediterannean Sea; broken North African Berber ceramics mended with epoxy colored Tuareg blue; and “The Dead Sea” (2016), an installation of piles of blue garments, alluding to the human toll of the global migrant crisis, from the US-Mexico border to those in Europe.
When: through January 2021
Where: Autry Museum of the American West (4700 Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park) (online only)
When I Remember I See Red is a group exhibition of Native American artists in California whose work is both a celebration of their heritage and a form of cultural resistance. Spanning 50 years — dating back to the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, a key moment in the American Indian Movement — the exhibition is divided into sections focused on “Native Knowledge,” “California’s Genocide,” and a recognition that “You Are On Native Land.” The show was conceived by the late Nomtipom Wintu artist Frank LaPena, and features a section dedicated to his influential legacy.
When: November 21, 2020–January 30, 2021
Where: Jeffrey Deitch (925 N. Orange Drive, Hollywood) (open by appointment)
Since his Men in the Cities series of 40 years ago — large-scale photorealistic drawings of sharply dressed men and women caught in poses of contorted agony — Robert Longo has created works that blend aesthetic beauty with crisp social critique. For his upcoming show at Deitch, his first in Los Angeles since 2008, that critique has become more pointed and direct, addressing current political turmoil and social upheaval. It will include a triptych of the Capitol, Supreme Court, and White House, depicted as unstable or collapsing, as well as “Death Star,” a sculptural work from 2018 made from 40,000 bullets, equal to the number of US gun deaths that year.
With contributions by Matt Stromberg and Elisa Wouk Almino
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.