Your Concise Los Angeles Art Guide for March 2021

Angelenos sorely miss their museums. But at least we’re lucky to have consistently excellent gallery shows around town. Spaces are open by appointment and, as art-goers who have been visiting galleries, we can share that they are being good about social distancing. That said, this month also brings a lot of great online shows, including one that is aptly about digital art. Enjoy!

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AFK

Installation view of AFK at Coxial’s 3D Gallery, featuring Paulson Lee, “Like, Comment, Subscribe” (2021), digital painting and collage on 3D canvas; Johnny Forever, “Avatar” (2021), 3D digital sculpture; Rudy Falagán, “I Like That Laugh” (2020), 6:20; Panteha Abareshi, “Mobility” (2021), 3D digital sculpture

When: March 1–30
Where: online at Coaxial

Inspired by Legacy Russell’s cyberfeminist manifesto “Glitch Feminism,” Coaxial’s online group show AFK (short for “Away from Keyboard”) features seven artists who challenge the confines of digital space, viewing it instead as a utopian platform for free expression. Curated by Casey Kauffmann, the exhibition showcases digital 3D sculptures, painting, and videos that celebrate identities and bodies too often underrepresented in the online world. AFK is one part of Coaxial’s month-long Media Arts Festival, which also includes a book launch, drive-in screenings, livestreams, and performances.

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Sighs and Leers and Crocodile Tears

Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Sighs and Leers and Crocodile Tears (photo by Josh Schaedel)

When: March 7–April 10
Where: by appointment at Murmurs (1411 Newton St, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Horror movies are often the manifestation of a society’s anxieties, from the Cold War (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), to racism (Night of the Living Dead, Get Out), to the AIDS crisis (any number of vampire films). In her upcoming solo show at Murmurs, Sighs and Leers and Crocodile Tears, Sula Bermúdez-Silverman uses monsters — specifically zombies — to explore how societal institutions impact people on a bodily and spiritual degree.

Shattered Glass

Tyler Ballon, “When the Trumpet Sounds!” (2020) (image courtesy the artist and Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles)

When: March 20–May 22
Where: by appointment at Jeffrey Deitch (925 N. Orange Drive, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Curated by Deitch gallery director Melahn Frierson and independent curator and art historian AJ Girard, Shattered Glass serves to correct the absence of artists of color in mainstream arts institutions and the self-representation of Black and Brown bodies. The group show features 40 international artists of color, including Mr. Wash, Kandis Williams, and Mario Ayala, all of whose work is also part of the Hammer Museum’s biennial Made in LA (still closed to the public). Also on view are works by South African-born artist Simphiwe Ndzube, who has a current solo show at Nicodim, and Lauren Halsey, whose installations mine the visual culture of Black Los Angeles. There will also be a video program of 10 artists with Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack, Devin Troy Strother, dana washington-queen, and others.

Brenna Youngblood: the LIGHT and the DARK

Brenna Youngblood, “INCARCERATION”, (2020), mixed media on canvas, 69.75 x 40 inches (image courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, photo by Alan Shaffer)

When: March 20–May 15
Where: by appointment at Roberts Projects (5801 Washington Blvd, Culver City, Los Angeles)

Brenna Youngblood mines historical movements like assemblage and Color Field painting, fusing it with her lived experience that lends her abstractions a deeply personal quality. Her first exhibition at Culver City’s Roberts Projects, the LIGHT and the DARK, is informed by her experience of two of the most seismic events of the last year: the global pandemic and the struggle for racial equity and equality. Incorporating everyday objects like buttons or a sweater, with a range of painterly effects, Youngblood’s works straddle the line between painting and sculpture, universal and specific.

Amy Sherald: The Great American Fact

Amy Sherald, “A bucket full of treasures (Papa gave me sunshine to put in my pockets…)” (2020), oil on canvas, 54 x 43 x 2 1/2 inches (© Amy Sherald, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth, photo by Joseph Hyde)

When: March 20–June 6
Where: by appointment at Hauser & Wirth (901 East 3rd St, Downtown, Los Angeles)

In her first West Coast solo show, Amy Sherald shares five new paintings made in the tumultuous year of 2020. Tender, nuanced portraits of Black Americans, ranging from a serene vacation scene on the beach to a satisfying update of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” grace the galleries. The exhibition’s title is taken from a 1892 book by educator Anna Julia Cooper, who described Black people as “the great American fact; the one objective reality on which scholars sharpened their wits, and at which orators and statesmen fired their eloquence.”

Leon Kossoff: Drawn From Revelry

Leon Kossoff, “Bacchanal Before a Herm II” (1998), unique artist’s proof, 11 3/4 x 16 1/2 inches (image courtesy LA Louver)

When: through April 30
Where: online at LA Louver

In this lovely online show, we get a peek into the British painter Leon Kossoff’s lesser-known passion for drawing. Just before sunrise, Kossoff would wander the halls of London’s National Gallery (to which he had special access), and sketch from the works of Old Masters. Here, we get to see his loose and lively drawings of two paintings by Nicholas Poussin, “The Triumph of Pan” and “Bacchanal Before a Herm,” which he saw at the Royal Academy in 1995.

Why We Won’t Just Leave: What Alaska Is Telling the World About Climate Change

Keri Oberly, “Portrait of Quannah Chasinghorse Potts and Jody Juneby Potts” (2020) (Courtesy SPARC and the artist)

When: through April 10
Where: online at SPARC

No region of the globe is left unaffected by climate change, but some areas are bearing the brunt of the resulting environmental crises. Alaska is one such place, with reports that it is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the US. The problem is not just local, as methane and CO2 released by melting permafrost have global repercussions. The virtual exhibition Why We Won’t Just Leave features paintings, photographs, stories, and profiles of 15 artists, scientists, and activists confronting climate change in Alaska. In addition to the online exhibition, a virtual panel discussion titled “What can art do for climate action?” on March 11 at 6pm (PST) will feature participating artists Klara Maisch, Jessica Thornton, and Hannah Perrine Mode.

Carolina Caycedo: Care Report

Carolina Caycedo, “Our Power to Nurture” (2021), nylon banner, applique letters, 168 x 27 inches (image courtesy the artist)

When: through April 4
Where: viewable from the street at Oxy Arts (4757 York Boulevard, Highland Park, Los Angeles)

Carolina Caycedo: Care Report showcases the artist’s intimate inquiry into female-led environmental justice movements around the world. Meant to be viewed entirely from the street through Oxy Art’s large storefront windows, the show features a theatrical collage bringing together over 60 women-led environmental groups, from Brazil, Poland, Colombia, East LA, and elsewhere. Audio elements tell some of the groups’ stories using the women’s own voices. On the building’s facade, a mural celebrates yarrow, a medicinal plant used in female reproductive and sexual health. Also on view are colorful protest banners made by Caycedo with slogans linked to specific struggles in Armenia, Argentina, and elsewhere.

John Waters: Hollywood’s Greatest Hits

John Waters, Kiddie Flamingos (2014), Blue-Ray with two-channel audio, 74 min. (© John Waters, courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers)

When: through May 1
Where: by appointment at Sprüth Magers (5900 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles)

For over 50 years, trash cinema auteur John Waters has nurtured an obsession with glamour, celebrity, and the dark side of fame. Alongside creating such films as Female Trouble (1974), Hairspray (1988), and Serial Mom (1994), Waters has played with cinematic tropes and cultural critique through an art practice encompassing photography, video, sculpture, and installation. Hollywood’s Greatest Hits brings together more than 30 works, including photographic montages juxtaposing film stills shot off his TV, a contemporary memento mori in the form of a blown-up beauty cream jar, and Kiddie Flamingos (2014), an updated version of his 1972 transgressive camp classic Pink Flamingos, featuring an all-child cast. 

Paul Pescador: PSA

Paul Pescador, “PSA” (video still) (2021), digital video (image courtesy the artist)

When: currently open
Where: by appointment at Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1717 East 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Over the past few years, the level of civic engagement in this country has grown significantly, with activists taking to the streets to protest police brutality, average citizens organizing voting drives, and seemingly everyone anxiously following daily developments in local, state, and federal politics. In keeping with these trends, artist Paul Pescador’s show at ICA LA, PSA, features 12 short videos in the model of Public Service Announcements exploring the structures of government and how we are served by those we elect. The animated videos feature interviews with educators, officials, and everyday people, providing a wealth of information and perspectives about American civic identity.

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