There is plenty to look forward to in June. The Getty Center has reopened with a host of both contemporary and historical shows, and more and more local artists are sharing the moving work they made during this past year. Plus, graduating MFA and BFA students display their talents at Otis College’s annual exhibition, and the work of Paulina Peavy, a West Coast artist who merged abstraction with the occult, is showing in California for the first time in 75 years.

Elisa Wouk Almino

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Rindon Johnson: The Valley of the Moon

Installation view, “Rindon Johnson: The Valley of the Moon” (2021), François Ghebaly, Los Angeles (photo by Paul Salveson, Courtesy of the Artist and François Ghebaly, Los Angeles | New York)

When: through June 19
Where: François Ghebaly (2245 East Washington Boulevard, Downtown, Los Angeles)

In his first solo show at François Ghebaly, The Valley of the Moon, Rindon Johnson uses an unconventional array of materials and processes to explore themes ranging from sustainable food production and transhuman futurism, to the construction of Blackness. The show features sheets of leather smeared with polyurethane and coffee, oak burls cast in bronze and plaster made in conjunction with Jordan Loeppky-Kolesnik, and a VR film that imagines a future in which a new species of marine creature feeds on microplastics polluting the oceans.

Lisa Williamson: Amplifier

Lisa Williamson, “Silhouette (Orbs)” (2021) (detail), flashe on primed aluminum, 64 x 22 x 9 3/4 inches (image courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

When: through July 17
Where: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (1010 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Lisa Williams’s sculptures bend, loop, and jump off the walls with flowers, polka dots, and wheels. They are satisfyingly colorful, coming in shades of yellow, pink, and purple. Filled with personality, they are construed as portraits, with some based on the measurements of the artist and her young son.

Desire Encapsulated

Lior Modan, “Heat Wave” (2018), velvet, nitrile, epoxy putty in cast rubber artist frame, 18 x 22 inches (Courtesy of the artist and Make Room Los Angeles)

When: June 19–July 31
Where: Make Room Los Angeles (5119 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Desire Encapsulated is a group show featuring artists who explore the concept of desire, both on an individual level and as a shared communal impulse. Works range from Lior Modan’s sensuous velvet panels, Chris Oh’s intimate paintings on cut geodes, and Guimi You’s dreamlike studio scene. The show will inaugurate Make Room‘s new location on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.

Paulina Peavy: An Etherian Channeler

Paulina Peavy, “Job #2372” (layers painted throughout her life starting from 1930s to 1980s), 16”x16” (courtesy Beyond Baroque and Laura Whitcomb)

When: through July 31
Where: Mike Kelley Gallery at Beyond Baroque (681 N. Venice Boulevard, Venice, California)

Paulina Peavy came of age as an artist during the emergence of American abstraction in the 1920s and ’30s, studying with Hans Hofmann at Chouinard Art Institute in 1931, and falling in with a group of California post-surrealists associated with Lorser Feitelson. She was also deeply connected to cosmic, spiritual forces, claiming to be able to channel an entity named “Lacamo,” whom she said guided her in her painting. Under the influence of Lacamo, Peavy would keep adding layers to paintings over the course of years or decades, with each layer representing a new revelation. Curated by Laura Whitcomb, Paulina Peavy: An Etherian Channeler is the first West Coast show of Peavy’s work in over 75 years, offering an overdue reconsideration of an important figure at the intersection of abstraction and the occult. 

Kandis Williams: The Absolute Right to Exclude: Reflections on and Implications of Cheryl Harris’ “Whiteness as Property”

Installation view of “Kandis Williams: The Absolute Right to Exclude: Reflections on and Implications of Cheryl Harris’ ‘Whiteness as Property'” at LAXART (Photo by: Ruben Diaz)

When: through July 31
Where: LAXART (7000 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Kandis Williams’s contributions to this year’s Made in LA biennial are dense collages juxtaposing images from film, popular media, art history, and various archives. She works in a similar manner with her publishing project, Cassandra Press, which puts out xeroxed readers compiling writings on a certain topic by intellectuals, activists, and cultural critics. The Absolute Right to Exclude is like one of her readers blown up on the gallery walls, featuring excerpts from Cheryl Harris’s influential 1993 essay “Whiteness as Property,” alongside a list of URL’s expanding on themes of race and gender explored in the essay. A collage on one wall draws on the breadth of images that flood online space, from TikTok to the website of the Smithsonian Institution.

Nari Ward: Say Can You See

Nari Ward, “Say Can You See” (detail) (2021), Jeffrey Deitch (image courtesy the artist and Jeffrey Deitch)

When: through August 21
Where: by appointment at Jeffrey Deitch (925 N. Orange Drive, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward is known for repurposing discarded objects such as strollers, shopping carts, firehoses, shoelaces, and plastic bags into captivating sculptural installations that reflect on history, identity, community, and contemporary social issues. Say Can You See, Ward’s first solo show in LA, takes its title from the American national anthem the Star-Spangled Banner, and was inspired by his 2019 work of the same name composed of the US flag covered in 6,000 white clothing security tags. The exhibition also includes early works and recent constructions based on makeshift street memorials.

Queer Communion: Ron Athey + Kenneth Tam: Silent Spikes

Ron Athey, “Self-Obliteration #1” (performance documentation) (2010), National Review of Live Art, Glasgow, 2010. (Courtesy NRLA, Glasgow)

When: June 19–September 5
Where: Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (1717 East 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Ron Athey has been pushing boundaries with his transgressive body-based performance art for over 30 years. Queer Communion, his first solo museum show, begins with his involvement in the goth and deathrock music scene in the early 80s, covers his relationship to the culture wars of the 90s, and follows his career up to the present, locating him at the center of a community of artists, activists, and friends who survive through mutual support and collaboration.

Kenneth Tam, “Silent Spikes” (video still) (2021), Two-channel HD video (color, sound), TRT 20:29 minutes. (Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles)

Kenneth Tam’s two-channel video Silent Spikes looks at the marginalization and stereotyping of Asian men in America set against the archetype of the masculine, American cowboy. Using location footage and reenactments, Tam challenges this false dichotomy, which is made more absurd considering the prominent role Chinese immigrants played in building the railroad that made the American West.

Artists as Collectors

Anthony van Dyck, “The Entombment” (recto); Partial Study of the “Entombment” (verso) (1617–1618), black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown and
reddish wash, red and blue chalk, and white gouache heightening, 10 × 8 5/8 inches (J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles)

When: through September 12
Where: by appointment at the Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles)

Artists are of course art lovers themselves, and often acquire their own art collections (when they can afford them). This exhibition looks at the drawing collections of Edgar Degas, Joshua Reynolds, and Giorgio Vasari, among others. And these artists had taste and means, as you can see from exquisite works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, and more.

Photo Flux: Unshuttering LA

Toyo Miyatake, “Untitled (girls playing ball at Manzanar)” (1944), gelatin silver print, 11 × 14 inches (image courtesy Toyo Miyatake Studio)

When: through October 10
Where: by appointment at the Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles)

For this exhibition, independent curator jill moniz (formerly of the California African American Museum and founder of the gallery Transformative Arts) selected 35 photographs by Los Angeles-based artists, most of whom are people of color. The excellent selection features contemporary portraits by Ken Gonzales-Day and Harry Gamboa Jr., as well as more historic images, including Toyo Miyatake’s 1944 photo of girls playing ball at Manzanar, one of the horrific internment camps incarcerating Japanese Americans at the time.

Otis College Annual Exhibition

Work by Otis MFA student Sharon Barnes from her thesis show “Light as a Feather/Heavy as Lead”

When: online indefinitely
Where: online at

Schools and colleges have largely pivoted to online learning this past year, posing unique challenges for art students, many of whom are addressing pandemic-related isolation and disruption in their work. As it did last year, Otis College of Art and Design is hosting its Annual Exhibition of work by graduating MFA and BFA students online. With each student given their own gallery page, virtual visitors can view works from all of Otis’s departments including Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Fashion, Product Design, Architecture, and Landscape. This online exhibition offers the opportunity to find the next generation of emerging talents before their first gallery or museum shows.

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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.