September is upon us, and so is a slew of exhibitions. Betye Saar is showing new watercolors, the Geffen at MOCA is reopening with a magnetic Pipilotti Rist retrospective, and Art + Practice is back with a show on the late dancer and choreographer Blondell Cummings. I hope to see you around town.
—Elisa Wouk Almino
Other Places Art Fair
When: September 11 & 12, 12-6pm
Where: Battery Leary-Merriam at Angels Gate Cultural Center (3601 S Gaffey Street, San Pedro, California)
Other Places Art Fair (OPAF) returns to the Angels Gate Cultural Center on the grassy hills above the San Pedro harbor for the fourth iteration of this annual alternative art fair. Based around a five-point manifesto that includes the dictum, “We believe in a distribution of ideas as capital,” OPAF was founded with the goal of showcasing independent, artist-run, and unconventional spaces that exist outside of traditional gallery networks. This year’s edition is the biggest yet, featuring over 50 participants from across the US and Mexico, as well as a designated performance area and live screen printing by Calimucho Screen Printing on Saturday. The weekend will overlap with the final days of Multiples at the Angeles Gate Cultural Center, which will also be hosting a used book sale.
The DeLuxe Show
When: through September 18
Where: Parker Gallery (2441 Glendower Ave, Los Feliz, Los Angeles)
Split between LA’s Parker Gallery and Karma in New York, The DeLuxe Show pays homage to a groundbreaking exhibition on its 50th anniversary. Peter Bradley curated the original DeLuxe show with the intention of challenging the figurative box that many African American artists found themselves placed in by curators and dealers. In opposition to this framework, he organized a racially integrated show featuring emerging and established abstract painters and sculptors. Held at the DeLUXE theater in Houston, Texas in 1971, the exhibition included Anthony Caro, Ed Clark, Sam Gilliam, Virginia Jaramillo, Larry Poons, Al Loving, and others. Both venues feature pieces from the original show as well as recent work by all participating artists.
Andrea Bowers: Energy With Intention
When: through September 25
Where: Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 S Santa Fe Ave #101, Downtown, Los Angeles)
The work of Andrea Bowers addresses issues of social justice and activism, from labor rights to environmentalism, and immigration. In 2012, she created her first series of large-scale works on cardboard, appropriating political graphics from the early 20th century for her show at Vielmetter Help the Work Along. Her fifth show with the gallery, Energy with Intention, features monumental drawings of women practicing various forms of self-defense and martial arts. Caught mid-punch or kick, Bowers’s female protagonists offer unambiguous rejection of patriarchy in all its forms.
LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze
When: September 8, 2021–March 20, 2022
Where: California African American Museum (600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)
LaToya Ruby Frazier’s The Last Cruze focuses on the 2019 closure of the Lordstown, Ohio General Motors plant, and the devastating effects felt by its workers as a result. Featuring photography, video, and an installation based on the factory’s assembly line, the exhibition documents the lives of those workers and the hard choices they faced in the wake of its shutdown. Through her sensitive handling of this specific tragedy, Frazier tells a larger story about the decline of American manufacturing and growing economic disparity.
Enrique Castrejon: Mind Heart Rectum
When: September 11–October 30
Where: Bermudez Projects (1225 Cypress Avenue, Cypress Park, Los Angeles)
Mind Heart Rectum reflects Enrique Castrejon’s personal struggle with his father’s cognitive and physical decline. The exhibition features six monumental sculptures of Black and brown male bodies, fractured into geometric forms. Castrejon then measures these shapes and records these measurements at the ends of black strips of paper that criss-cross the sculptures like tangles of wires, alluding to the failure of logic to solve some of life’s biggest mysteries.
Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor
When: September 12, 2021–June 6, 2022
Where: The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) (152 N Central Ave, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Walking into a Pipilotti Rist exhibition is often a delicious sensory overload, with glowing floor-to-ceiling installations and videos that suck you in with their dazzling colors. This exhibition surveys 30 years of the Swiss artist’s work. She’s best-known for experimental videos that sensually explore what it means to live in a body. Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor will also feature a new audio-video installation specially made for the Geffen Contemporary.
Michael C. McMillen: A Theory of Smoke
When: September 14–October 16
Where: LA Louver (45 N. Venice Boulevard, Venice, California)
One of the highlights of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)’s new presentation of its modern art collection is Michael C. McMillen’s installation “Central Meridian (The Garage)” (1981), a life-size recreation of a midcentury garage packed with all manner of junk, painted signs, taxidermied animals, and even a real car. Known for his exacting models of buildings and other structures, McMillen’s practice melds assemblage art with the meticulous craft of a Hollywood prop master. A Theory of Smoke reflects this cinematic affinity, featuring the multimedia wall installation “Cinema Futura” (1990-2021), as well as a projection of the visionary titular film. The exhibition will also include a survey of 30 years of his architectural constructions, highlighting the breadth of his work.
Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues
When: September 18–November 6
Where: Roberts Projects (5801 Washington Boulevard, Culver City)
This focused exhibition is a special opportunity to see Saar’s new body of work: a series of watercolors of Black dolls, based on the artist’s personal collection. The tender dolls, dressed in brilliant shades of pink, orange, purple, and blue, celebrate an aspect of Black American culture that has been historically underrepresented and stretches at least far back as the 1800s.
Blondell Cummings: Dance as Moving Pictures
When: September 18, 2021–February 19, 2022
Where: Art + Practice (3401 West 43rd Place, Leimert Park, Los Angeles)
The late dancer and choreographer Blondell Cummings was celebrated for her unique style of post-modern dance that incorporated elements of African American culture and daily life. This fusion could be seen in one of her most well-known works, ‘Chicken Soup” (1981), based on memories of her grandmother cooking, in which she scrubbed the floor and danced with a frying pan. Featuring rarely seen works drawn from her personal video archive, Dance as Moving Pictures is the first museum show dedicated to Cummings’s career.
Transcending Time: The Medieval Book of Hours
When: through February 20, 2022
Where: Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles)
Before the advent of watches, people told time in all sorts of ways. In the Middle Ages, Europeans would open their books of hours, decorated prayer books which helped measure time. This exhibition delves into how time was structured through these books, which make up an impressive one quarter of the Getty’s manuscript collection.