As we entered the new year a lot of locals put up their own best-of lists for 2011, because I missed that boat in December, I’d like to look forward to what I hope will be the great shows of 2012! Back in October we were treated to an opening weekend for PST that provided behind the scenes glimpses and exclusive tours to shed light on the arts in Los Angeles. Most of the big shows opened and concurrent gallery shows and events illuminated the work and timeline. Amazingly, that was three months ago and we are now on to the next segment in our year of celebration, the performance and public art focus of PST. Throughout January, shows are closing and opening, there will be lectures, films, performances, and lots of receptions… not to be missed! So, first, what should you see IMMEDIATELY, before it is gone… (I just checked out the Hammer’s Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980 which did a wonderful job of taking the viewer on a cohesive journey through the developments and associations of this group of artists working concurrently in LA – unfortunately it closed yesterday but left behind a comprehensive catalogue that covers much of the material and enhances the theoretical and art historical component with essays from Hazel Carby, Kellie Jones (the curator), Jacqueline Steward, Karin Higa, Franklin Sirmans, Roberto Tejada, Naima J. Keith, and Daniel Widener – dig it!).
LACMA – check out Keinholz’s 5 car stud before it is gone January 15th – this viewer-incorporating piece was both controversial in its time and today, today for the lack of power in the work outside of its own context. I think it is still worth seeing to understand how audience and artist interact and how that interaction is affected by time and context.
MCA San Diego – Phenomenal: CA Light, Space, Surface closes on January 22nd. With the news of Hastings Plastics closing down, you may be interested in seeing some of the work that came out of the collaboration between art and industry through the 1960s and 1970s. I’m thinking a little day trip is in order!
Orange County Museum of Art – on our way down to San Diego, lets take a quick trip to see State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970! This show also closes the 22nd with closing events from 1-5pm on closing day. Billed as a comprehensive view of conceptual art in Northern and Southern CA, the show includes some of LA’s most lauded outliers, Chris Burden, Allen Ruppersberg, Gary Beydler, Nancy Buchanan, Susan Mogul, Ilene Segalove, and many others. Events on closing day include a 1pm public tour, and a 2pm film screening of the documentary, Here is Always Somewhere Else.
Laguna Art Museum – our trip south wouldn’t be complete without a sideline to see Best Kept Secret: UCI & the Development of Contemporary Art in Southern California, 1964-1971, also closing on January 22nd. PST has provided a platform for several local schools to assert their positions in the cultivation of Los Angeles’ art community. Promising to remedy the dirth of information in official texts, this show asserts UC Irvine as formative in the early years of contemporary art practice in Los Angeles. With past faculty including Larry Bell, Ed Bereal, Philip Leider, Ed Moses, and Barbara Rose, and students such as Nancy Buchanan, Marcia Hafif, Jay McCafferty, Barbara T. Smith, and James Turrell (did he spend time at every school in LA?), I’m inclined to agree with them. Plus, I have a soft spot for shows that position mentors next to students to see the overlap in theoretical and technical elements through the educational process.
January 15th – Conversation between Peter Frank and Cecile Whiting moderated by Best Kept Secret curator Grace Kook-Anderson. 1pm at the Laguna Art Museum
Armory Center for the Arts – One of my favorite shows, Speaking in Tongues: Wallace Berman and Robert Heinecken, 1961-1976, is closing January 22nd and is definitely worth a quick trip eastward to Pasadena. Like the single-artist retrospectives (ie SMMOA’s Beatrice Wood show), these smaller and more focused exhibitions are an important addition to PST’s larger multi-artists expansive and extensive overviews.
Getty Museum – The seminal show, Crosscurrents, which provides a lovely overview of Los Angeles art workers throughout the focus period of PST is closing on February 5th. Definitely check it out as it gives a pretty clear timeline and background for many other PST shows around town. Also Greetings from LA: Artists & Publics at the Getty Research Center will be closing on the 5th, although a small and dense show, it also provides a timeline that will be helpful as we enter the performance and public art segment of PST.
Fowler Museum at UCLA – Like UCLA’s Hammer, their Fowler has followed suit in exploring the underrepresented voices in LA’s art history. Mapping Another LA: The Chicano Art Movement closes on February 26th.
January 25th – 12-1pm – Judith Hernandez talks about the role of women in the Chicano Art Movement, should be really interesting to hear how a masculinist culture incorporates the feminine spirit. Takes place at UCLA’s Fowler Museum
MOCA Geffen – Another MUST SEE of PST, Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, is closing February 13th. This show focuses on the bleak-ish undercurrents that were a counter-point to the airy fetishism of light and space, often politically and personally motivated, the work is deeply affecting. The show is extremely ambitious and having spent probably 10+ hours in the space total over the span I am still finding new pieces and formulating new thoughts in the space.
Other shows and events to check out in the coming months:
18th Street Arts Center has the well-reviewed Collaboration Labs: Southern California and the Artist Space Movement until March 16th.
Getty is showing In Focus: LA 1945-1980 until May 6th.
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives is displaying Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles 1945-1980 until May 31st. I am especially interested in the performances they are presenting on March 1st under the title “Transactivation: Revealing Queer Histories in the Archive” with Heather Cassils, Zackary Drucker, Wu Tsang, and Chris Vargas. The event will run from 6pm to 9pm at 909 W. Adams Blvd. 90007.
USC Fisher Museum of Art presents Sight Specific: LACPS and the Politics of Community from January 11th through April 7th. The show documents the existence and importance of the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Studies to the arts community in LA. Curated by Tim Wride (formerly of LACMA and too many other accomplishments to mention) it is sure to be an interesting retrospective.
Museum of Latin American Art is presenting the discussion, “Interlogues: Mex/LA: Photography and Film 1930-1985” on Thursday, January 12 from 7:30 to 9pm. This lecture is free and covers a fascinating time period and cultural collision.
PST performance art & public art festival: over the weekends of January 21st and January 27th, many local organizations will be supporting public and performance artists in re-creations, lectures, and inspired works throughout LA. Here are a few interesting things:
Otis – Feminist Art Workers – January 14th from 11-12pm – hear about one of the key collaborative art groups of the time period straight from their own recollections.
Pomona College – January 21st from 5-7pm – Performance @ Pomona – a part of the exhibition It Happened At Pomona, at 5pm John White will perform Preparation F (from 1971), with the Pomona College football team at Memorial Gymnasium, Rains Center. At 6pm, Judy Chicago will present A Butterly for Pomona, a new work based on her Atmosphere performances from the 70s at the Merritt Football Field, and at 6:45pm, James Turrell will recreate Burning Bridges, originally shown in 1971, at the Bridges Auditorium.
LA><Art – Warren Neidlich & Elena Bajo: Art in the Parking Space, January 24th from 7pm to 9pm at the Standard Hotel – including performances by Ron Cooper, Sydney Cooper, Krysten Cunningham, Untitled Collective, Mathilde ter Heine and Mathilde Rosier, Theo Ligthart, Societe Realiste, and others.
SASSAS: Welcome Inn Time Machine – January 29th the Welcome Inn Eagle Rock will be transformed into a venue for live performances from 4pm to 10pm by the Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound. Should be quite an intriguing experiment!
Pomona College, February 19th from 3 to 4:30pm at the Rose Hills Theater – Artist Conversation hosted by Helene Winer presenting John Baldessari, William Leavitt, Allen Ruppersberg – seeing these four together on stage, I might just burst. Baldessari is an amazing speaker as is Winer… definitely NOT to be missed! This is also the last day of the Winer part of It Happened At Pomona before we move on to Part 3 in March.
Scripps – February 22nd, 7-9pm – Mr. Baldessari is making his rounds out east as he shows up again for a roundtable discussion with John Mason and Billy Al Bengston moderated by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery in Claremont.
So much to see and do in LA these next few months – hopefully I’ll be giving you updates on these shows and more on this blog. What happenings are YOU looking forward to??