Unlike their counterparts on the East Coast, most galleries in Los Angeles don’t slow down or close up in August, despite the sweltering heat. The exhibitions below offer vibrant and challenging explorations of place, identity, and history. Some dig deep into the geographic and cultural fabric of the city, while others introduce artists from across the country and the world, whose work compliments the buzzing energy of summer in the city.
When: through August 12
Where: Palm Grove Social (4660 West Washington Boulevard, Mid-City, Los Angeles)
Fans of nineties indie rock will no doubt be familiar with Steve Keene, whose paintings appear on the covers of albums by Pavement, the Silver Jews, and the Apples in Stereo. Keene is no niche artist, however, but rather a wildly prolific painter, who has produced 300,000 paintings over the past 30 years, which he sells for as little as $5 to $10 per piece. He mass produces his works in an assembly-line fashion, painting the same image on multiple panels lined up in “the cage,” his chain-link walled studio filled with paint, brushes, and plywood. Timed to coincide with the release of his first monograph, The Steve Keene Art Book, the Steve Keene Art Show is a career retrospective featuring hand-painted multiples, a site-specific mural, and rarely-seen early work from this “Johnny Appleseed of art,” as Elsa Longhauser, founder of the ICA LA, dubbed him.
When: through August 13
Where: Nicodim Gallery (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue, #160, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Rae Klein’s haunting, dreamlike paintings feature familiar objects — a horse, a candelabra, a pair of eyes — but the juxtapositions offer little in the way of explanation. Rather, her spare, surreal compositions invite the viewer to construct their own narratives, like a Rorschach or rebus.
When: through August 13
Where: Matthew Brown (633 North La Brea Avenue, Fairfax, Los Angeles)
Blake Daniels’s paintings in Triumph of the Southern Suburbs reflect the artist’s experience in the queer communities of Johannesburg but avoid direct depiction. They imbue their scenes of street vendors, landscapes, and domestic life with elements of magical realism and fantasy, expressed through vibrant, buzzing colors, and animated brushwork.
When: through August 27
Where: Ochi Aux (3305 West Washington Boulevard, Arlington Heights, Los Angeles)
Ozzie Juarez cut his teeth as a scenic artist at Disneyland, where he used his painting and fabrication skills to create compelling fantasy environments. That background is evident in Por Debajo, his first solo show at Ochi Projects, which draws on pre-Columbian Mexica codices, street art, and geometric abstraction. Painting on stucco-textured ground, found car parts and awnings, Juarez weaves Nahuatl symbols from the codices into neon and pastel patterns that stretch across borders and time to imagine an alternate anti-colonial future.
When: through August 27
Where: David Kordansky Gallery (5130 West Edgewood Place, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles)
All Opposing Players is a group exhibition curated by the Racial Imaginary Institute, which was founded by Claudia Rankine in 2016 with the goal of challenging how we think about race. It features video, performance, and works on paper by Lotte Andersen, Ed Fornieles, and Shaun Leonardo that explore the theme of nationalism through the frame of games, role-playing, puzzles, and sport.
When: through August 27
Where: Charlie James Gallery (969 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles)
Rostro is a celebratory group exhibition featuring artists from the US, Mexico, and Puerto Rico who explore themes of identity and selfhood in their work. Curated by Ever Velasquez, the show — whose title translates to “face” — considers both the surfaces we present to the world and those facets that we keep hidden. What does it mean to offer a bold, unapologetic version of yourself to an often hostile world? Participating artists include Danie Cansino, Hely Omar Gonzalez, Patrick Martinez, Joey Terrill, and many others.
When: through September 4
Where: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles)
For LA-based artist Andrea Bowers, art and activism are inseparably linked. Her current retrospective at the Hammer Museum features three decades of her work that advocates and agitates around issues such as environmental justice, women’s rights, immigration, and labor struggles. The work ranges from drawing and sculpture to installation and performance, and connects the dots between art history and popular protest.
When: August 13–September 18
Where: Le Maximum (2525 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, California)
Jerry Peña’s painted mixed-media works incorporate car parts, beer cans, work gloves, cement, and broken glass, reflecting his lived experience as an Angeleno from a working class, Mexican American background. He brings these elements together in compositions that recall the junk assemblages of Kienholz and the poetic combines of Rauschenberg as much as auto-body shops and custom car culture, ubiquitous features of the city.
When: August 21–April 9, 2023
Where: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles)
Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971 showcases the work of Black American filmmakers, actors, and entertainers, reframing narratives often excluded from mainstream film history. The exhibition spans from the birth of film to the end of the Civil Rights Movement, focusing on those who worked both within and outside the Hollywood system. It highlights William Selig’s recently rediscovered 1898 short film “Something Good – Negro Kiss”; iconic dancer, singer, and actor Josephine Baker; and fiercely independent director Melvin Van Peebles, whose 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” is a cornerstone of the blaxploitation genre.
When: through June 11, 2023
Where: LA Plaza de Cultura y Arte (501 North Main Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)
Arte Para la Gente is a career retrospective of the work of influential Chicana artist Margaret Garcia, whose paintings offer an intimate, honest portrayal of her city, community, and family. With nods to Fauvism and Impressionism, Garcia’s paintings range from street scenes of her Boyle Heights neighborhood to portraits of her circle of friends and collaborators, and reinterpretations of Mexican Catholic religious imagery. The exhibition also includes prints from her “Stamp Project,” a suite of black-and-white serigraphs by Garcia and other artists that was an attempt to exert greater control over the means of producing, distributing, and selling art.
Michael Alan Alien and Jadda Cat were performing their “Living Installation” at Pier 45 in Hudson River Park when officers accused them of soliciting on the premises.
Two activists from the group Ultima Generazione glued their hands to the base of the ancient Roman statue “Laocoön and His Sons,” dubbed as a “prototypical icon of human agony.”
Choose from over 140 courses for adults and youth ages 13 to 17, including options for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Enroll by August 23 for an early bird discount.
This week, award-winning nature photography, reviewing Jared Kushner’s new book, Smithsonian NMAAHC hires a new digital curator, Damien Hirst plans to burn paintings, and more.
Guston became a witness to the 20th century’s darkest and foulest experiences without closing his eyes or turning away, and enabled us to see and reflect upon this brutality.
The Brooklyn organization is now accepting new project inquiries for its fee-based fabrication services in printmaking, ceramics, and large-scale public art.
William Klein: YES, a career retrospective at the International Center of Photography, is good for aficionados and neophytes alike.
Latinx and Indigenous artists use automobiles to amplify their cultural identity and challenge systems of erasure.
The Newark Museum of Art Presents Jazz Greats: Classic Photographs from the Bank of America Collection
Photographers Antony Armstrong Jones, Milt Hinton, Chuck Stewart, Barbara Morgan, and more capture a breadth of legendary and local musicians and performance artists. On view through August 21.
Artist Mona Chalabi’s site-specific installation at the entrance to the Brooklyn Museum foregrounds the importance of urban vegetation and its inequities.
Compared to self-identifying liberals, conservatives were more prone to change their views on COVID-19 vaccinations after they were shown ghastly images of the disease’s symptoms.
“Our bodies are not that cheap,” said one Iraqi artist who signed an open letter to the biennale’s curators.