From the history of donut shops in California to a Barbara Kruger retrospective, March is looking good. In this month’s Los Angeles guide, we also venture out to Long Beach and Riverside, where there is an exhibition devoted to one of the first Black superheroes in comics. Happy viewing.
Xandra Ibarra: Nothing lower than I
When: March 4–March 20
Where: Human Resources (410 Cottage Home, Chinatown, Los Angeles)
Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose were pioneering performance artists who investigated pain, S&M, and disability throughout the ’80s and ’90s until Flanagan’s death in 1996. Xandra Ibarra pays homage to their legacy and extends their inquiries in Nothing lower than I. Her sculptures incorporate strands of minimalism, medical aesthetics, and eroticism, questioning notions of abjection and otherness.
When: opened February 27
Where: Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) (628 Alamitos Ave, Long Beach, California)
Through public performances, Salvadorean artist Crack Rodriguez investigates the experience of migration as shaped by war, diaspora, and solidarity. His work was recently showcased in intergalactix at LACE, which traced hidden but deeply rooted cross-border networks. Dream Team, the artist’s first solo US museum show, takes its title from a participatory performance on the soccer field of MacArthur Park, where one team has to score in a basketball hoop, capturing the slim chances facing migrants hoping to achieve their dreams.
When: March 5–April 23
Where: Regen Projects (6750 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles)
Abraham Cruzvillegas’s process of autoconstrucción is based in the practice of building from found and scavenged materials, popular throughout cities in his native Mexico. With Tres sonetos, he draws inspiration from the poems of Concha Urquiza, using their rhythms as the basis for large calligraphic paintings created on site. Photographs of his face printed on textiles will serve as the ground for colorful paintings, fusing the performative and autobiographical.
When: March 12–May 27
Where: Self Help Graphics and Art (1300 E. First Street, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles)
The vast majority of California donut shops are owned and run by Cambodian-Americans, one of whom is responsible for their signature pink donut boxes. Behind the sweet pastries, however, is a story of trauma, displacement, and resilience, from the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge to the waves of refugees that followed in its wake, to children and grandchildren born in the United States. For her solo show at Self Help Graphics, Donut (W)hole, Phung Huynh draws on research and interviews, as well as her own family’s experience as refugees, in portraits of “donut kids” who work in their parent’s shops, highlighting themes of tradition and assimilation.
When: through March 12
Where: Gavlak (1700 S. Santa Fe Ave., Ste 240 Downtown, Los Angeles)
When You’re On Another Planet And They Just Fly, April Bey’s first solo show at Gavlak, showcases her celebratory Afrofuturist vision that takes place in her invented world of Atlantica. Using sequins, faux furs, and textiles, Bey places Black representation and Black joy at the center of her brightly colored, room-sized installations.
When: March 19–June 19
Where: Culver Center of the Arts (3824 + 3834 Main Street, Riverside, California)
Created by comic book artist Larry Fuller in 1969, Ebon was one of the first independent Black superheroes. Although only one issue of his comic book was produced, the collaborative duo of Stacey Robinson and John Jennings — who go by the name Black Kirby (a play on the legendary comic artist Jack Kirby) — saw potential in the character. Fifty years after he was created, they collaborated with Fuller to expand Ebon’s world and introduce him to a contemporary audience. Fear of a Black Planet opens alongside a companion exhibition focused on 10 years of work from Black Kirby, through which they remix and deconstruct themes of social justice, hip-hop, identity, and Afrofuturism.
When: March 20–July 17
Where: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) (5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles)
Barbara Kruger’s juxtapositions of text and image, rendered in her instantly recognizable bold, graphic style, have become some of the most iconic — and most copied — artworks of the last 40 years. As an influential member of the Pictures Generation, Kruger pairs appropriated images with enigmatic phrases, offering acerbic critiques of the way we interact with media. Her career retrospective, Thinking of
You. I Mean Me. I Mean You, includes video installations, soundscapes, and large-scale vinyl wraps.
When: through April 16
Where: Anat Ebgi (4859 Fountain Avenue, East Hollywood, Los Angeles) and the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (1013 S Los Angeles Street, #9E, Downtown, Los Angeles)
In 1972, Womanhouse opened in Los Angeles: an abandoned mansion in Hollywood was transformed into a feminist art installation, the rooms becoming spaces for biting commentary on domesticity. Now, 50 years later, Anat Ebgi and the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) are revisiting this history by looking at what came both before and after Womanhouse, tracing a history of feminist art in the West Coast and how it continues to reverberate today. Check the gallery websites for upcoming programming and performances.
When: through May 8
Where: Hauser & Wirth (901 East 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Phyllida Barlow’s sculptures are alive. They appear to sway and move, as if in mid-flight. At Hauser & Wirth, they are also monumental and sometimes colorful, bursting with pink. This is the British artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
When: through April 9
Where: Parker Gallery (2441 Glendower Ave, Los Feliz, Los Angeles)
Rebecca Morris and Christina Forrer make an exciting pair: both LA-based and good friends, Morris is a painter and Forrer is a textile artist. While Morris’s works are abstract and Forrer’s works are figurative, there are delightful resonances across their artworks, particularly in the energetic rhythm and movement of colors and shapes. The installation in the house-style gallery makes the pairing charming and intimate.