In a special LA edition of the column, we see Martine Syms muse on the City of Angel’s delusions and dreams, pole dancing to explore identity, Frieze returning to a Hollywood icon, and much more
THE GIVERNY SUITE, JA’TOVIA GARY, HAMMER MUSEUM, UNTIL 17 MAY 2020
Dallas-born, Brooklyn-based Ja’Tovia Gary’s film THE GIVERNY SUITE was filmed across three locations, Harlem, New York, and Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France – the latter from where it takes its title. Described as a “multi-textured cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women”, the film includes animation, archival 16mm films, street interviews, and montage.
Hammer Projects: Ja’Tovia Gary runs at the Hammer Museum until 17 May 2020
ALL OF THEM WITCHES, JEFFREY DEITCH, UNTIL 11 APRIL 2020
Judy Chicago, Cindy Sherman, Marilyn Minter, Lyle Ashton Harris, and so many other artists are in this mega group show at the gallerist’s LA location. A collection of “witchy sensibilities”, the show brings together artists using “the iconography of the supernatural, occult, and witchcraft to channel ideas about power, the body, and gender”.
All Of Them Witches Runs at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles until 11 April 2020
COLLECTIVE CONSTELLATION, ART + PRACTICE, 8 FEBRUARY – 1 AUGUST 2020
A collaboration between Art + Practice and the Hammer Museum, Collective Constellation: Selections from The Eileen Harris Norton Collection, showcases artworks from women of colour. All of the works are borrowed from Art + Practice co-founder Eileen Harris Norton’s collection, who has been acquiring art for more than three decades. Expect to see Amy Sherald amongst Lorna Simpson, Ana Mendieta, Betya Saar, Adrian Piper, and many more. Collective Constellation aims to highlight the impact of an intergenerational, multiethnic, and transnational group of women artists who have changed art history and the artistic landscape forever.
Collective Constellation runs at Art + Practice from 8 February – 1 August 2020
COTTON, SISSÒN, 1667 N MAIN STREET, UNTIL 16 FEBRUARY 2020
Currently on show until the end of this week is the first of two parts of an exhibition titled COTTON by LA-based artist Sissòn. Utilising the cotton plant at its core, COTTON was borne after Sissòn’s uncle sent a bag of cotton seeds to the artist in the mail, which ultimately began conversations around the history, symbolism, and “changing shape of slavery’s influence through a plant”. Described as a “work in progress”, COTTON showcases 12 figurative acrylic paintings on cotton canvas which allude to agriculture and African-American life on a plantation and a quilt from the artist’s residency in Mississippi. Sissòn has also created an installation of sculptures made of both living and destroyed cotton plants grown on their studio roof – a cultivation which eventually flourished into 600 specimens over a year and a half. On Sunday 16 February, Sissòn will be in conversation with Jonathan Hepfer, followed by a closing reception.
COTTON runs 13 – 16 February, 12 – 6 pm at 1667 N Main Street until 16 February 2020. Details of Phase II are yet to be announced
INTERIOR MOTIVES, NATALIE SHIRINIAN, NEUEHOUSE, 11 FEBRUARY 2020
Directed by Natalie Shirinian, Interior Motives (2017) is the first-ever short film to explore the close relationship that fashion and design experience and how they both function best when influenced by each other. With appearances from Tommy Hilfiger, Michelle Lamy, and more, Interior Motives goes to ground zero to speak with each respective industry’s most prominent minds.
Interior Motives is hosted at Neuehouse on the 11 February from 8-10 pm. RSVP here
I GUESS BY NOW I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A MAN: I’M JUST TRYING TO LEAVE BEHIND YESTERDAY, ARCMANORO NILES, UTA ARTIST SPACE, 12 FEBRUARY – 14 MARCH 2020
The artist’s first-ever West Coast solo show is opening at the Ai Weiwei-designed landmark, UTA Artist Space. Featuring new work, Arcmanoro’s paintings explore different stages of life, touching on how “relationships and experiences change over the course of our lifetime”. The artist will also be in a conversation moderated by The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Director and Chief Curator, Thelma Golden, with fellow photographer Kwame Brathwaite Jr. on 13 February, from 5-6 pm, at the UTA Theater.
I Guess By Now I’m Supposed To Be A Man: I’m Just Trying To Leave Behind Yesterday runs at UTA Artist Space from 12 February – 14 March 2020
UGLY PLYMOUTHS, MARTINE SYMS, 5239 MELROSE AVENUE, 12 – 17 FEBRUARY 2020
A collaboration between Sadie Coles and NYC’s Bridget Donahue galleries, Martine Syms’ Ugly Plymouths is a one-act play which unfolds over three screens. Starring three characters named Hot Dog, Doobie, and Le Que Sabe, which speak and sing over one another as they shift between the background and foreground of the film and struggle to relate to one another. The installation sets itself in LA, where “the city is sick, without leave. Actors, artists, pimps, sale clerks, and poets are selling delusions whole-heartedly, where there is always a catch and never a foundation.”
Martine Syms’ Ugly Plymouths runs at 5239 Melrose Avenue from 12 – 17 February 2020
FACE IT, ERIC N. MACK, MORAN MORAN, 8 FEBRUARY – 7 MARCH 2020
For Eric N. Mack’s second solo show with his LA gallery, Face It showcases more than a dozen of the artist's paintings, consisting of moving blankets, pegboards, wall-based prints, and large-scale fabric installations. “It’s not my job to make the world look less murky, but it is my job to face it,” he says in the show’s press release.
Face It runs at Morán Morán from 8 February – 7 March 2020
STATE OF, GERARD & KELLY, THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA, 15 FEBRUARY 2020
Artist and choreographer duo Gerard & Kelly debuts its next iteration of State of (2019), previously performed in Portugal and France. On 15 February, the performance pair will utilise the museum’s WAREHOUSE space to “open up questions around national symbols and entangled identities through the language of pole dancing”. In collaboration with Forty Smooth, a pioneer of pole dancing on New York City’s subway system, as well as dancer and vocalist Quentin Stuckey, with costumes are courtesy of Rio Uribe of Gypsy Sport.
State of will be performed at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on 15 February 2020 at 11.30 am and 3 pm
FRIEZE LA, PARAMOUNT STUDIOS, 14 – 16 FEBRUARY 2020
More than 70 galleries will descend on Los Angeles for the city’s second edition of Frieze. The fair this year will be centred around a project by Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Questions), which asks 20 questions, such as, “IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT PAIN?”, each of which will be installed outside of key art spaces and landmarks in the city such as NeueHouse, the Standard DTLA, Metro’s Los Angeles Union Station, and more.
The fair’s booths will showcase works from Alison Saar, James Turrell, Cory Arcangel, Alvaro Barrington, and more. This year, the backlot of Paramount Studios will be home to the Artist Street Fair, a programme which will spotlight local creative enterprises and offer Frieze visitors the chance to learn more about artist-driven organisations and how they can support them. 2020 also introduces Focus LA, which provides a space for local emerging spaces to showcase works.
Full programming is available here. Frieze LA runs at Los Angeles’ Paramount Studio from 14 – 16 February 2020
FELIX ART FAIR, THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL, 13 – 16 FEBRUARY 2020
Felix Art Fair returns to the Hollywood landmark for its second iteration. With works and presentations from Judy Chicago, Betty Thompkins, Carolee Schneemann, and more, 60 exhibitors will take over various rooms, hallways, bungalows, and ballrooms at the hotel.
Felix Art Fair runs at the Roosevelt Hotel from 13 – 16 February 2020
I WON'T BITE, NEUEHOUSE, 13 FEBRUARY 2020
Brooke Wise curates a selection of artists and friends of Tom of Finland and his foundation, from Mapplethorpe to Vaginal Davis, Danny Fox, John Waters, and Chloe Wise, for the group exhibition I Won’t Bite. With performances and DJs on the night, proceeds from art sales will also go towards supporting LGBTQIA+ artists.
I Won’t Bite runs at NeueHouse on 13 February 2020 from 8 – 11 pm
I WILL GREET THE SUN AGAIN, SHIRIN NESHAT, THE BROAD, UNTIL 16 FEBRUARY 2020
In its final week, Shirin Neshat’s exhibition at The Broad is a chronological exploration of the artist’s 30-year career and her largest to date. Exploring themes of exile, displacement, and identity with beauty, dynamic formal invention, and poetic grace, Neshat’s practise spans film, video, and photography. Four galleries in the exhibition also feature work never before shown in the US.
I Will Greet The Sun Again is running at The Broad until 16 February 2020
BROWN: VIDEOS FROM THE BLACK SHOW, RODNEY MCMILLIAN, UNDERGROUND MUSEUM, UNTIL 16 FEBRUARY 2020
Another show in its final week is Rodney McMillian’s Brown: Videos from the Black Show. In its original showing, The Black Show was presented three years ago at the Contemporary Institute of Art in Philadelphia, which included large-scale paintings, sculptures, and videos to form “a vision of the United States scarred by its long history of racialised oppression”. McMillian created a “mythic universe that mirrors our own” in the hopes that it “might plant the seeds of a more accurate story”. Videos from this show are currently being presented at the Underground Museum for another week.
Brown: Videos from the Black Show runs at the Underground Museum until 16 February 2020
CROSS COLOURS: BLACK FASHION IN THE 20TH CENTURY, CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM, UNTIL 23 AUGUST 2020
In 1990, LA-based apparel brand Cross Colours burst onto screens on Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air but it truly made its impact by using community outreach, product placement, and social-justice messaging. Three decades on, the brand is at the centre of the first retrospective to explore its legacy.
Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century runs at Californi African American Museum until 23 August 2020
FEAR EATS THE SOIL, MELET DTLA, 12 – 17 FEBRUARY 2020
Artist Lucien Smith will present a series of new works under the title Fear Eats The Soil, a nod to the anonymous Instagram handle he’s held over the last few years. Taking place at Serving The People (STP) and Metlet DTLA, a new space founded by Bob Meletm in Fear Eats The Soil, Smith explores humanity’s drive to escape through technology. “Navigating through digital media as a resource I began noticing a subconscious narrative beginning to form,” Smith explained in the press release. “Images allow us to disembark from the confines of our immediate surroundings like the Impressionists once would. Although instead of physically embarking on a journey, we embrace an abundant amount of imagery through the gaze of others.”
On 13 February, Serve The People will also host a short film festival, tickets available here.
Fear Eats The Soil runs at Melet DTLA from 12 – 17 February 2020
SPRING/BREAK, SKYLIGHT ROW DTLA, 14 – 16 FEBRUARY 2020
Under the umbrella theme of IN EXCESS, SPRING/BREAK will open 50 exhibitions from independent curators and gallerists from the West Coast scene in DTLA. Each show will explore what “more” means in the 21st century by looking at it through an “overabundance of ideas, forms, and perspectives”, as well as “the virtues and/or limitations of maximalism, materialism, capitalism, consumerism, the over-foot-noted, and the over-laboured”.
SPRING/BREAK runs at Skylight Row DTLA from 14 – 16 February 2020