There’s a lot of confusing information out there about the safety of going out right now — but there’s a lot of clarity to be had in this week’s almost entirely safe-at-home arts calendar. Multiple museum-sponsored panel discussions and artist conversations take on some of society’s most pressing issues through the lens of art, Amanda Gorman shows up with some verse at the Library, a dance film festival throws a drive-in movie party (stay in your cars though, fr), and some folks built a video art show for your smartphone.
Thursday, January 28
Lecture: Uncommon Commons: Crisis State, at MOCA. As the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to force many of us to conduct much of our lives outdoors, MOCA feels it is a good time to focus their programming on outdoor art in the public sphere, to call attention to the spaces that host these artworks and the ways that art, site, and public may work in tandem to create civic discourse. As part of this effort, Uncommon Commons is a series of virtual panel discussions that investigate the relationship between outdoor artworks, public sites, and the people that visit them. Thursday, January 28, 4pm; free; moca.org.
Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters, at the Library. On the occasion of the release of Kevin Young’s radiant anthology African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song, this program will include a special reading of poems that address questions of identity, race, place, voice and the richness and diversity of African American poetic imagination — featuring Young along with Amanda Gorman, Kris Bowers, Robin Coste Lewis, and Safiya Sinclair. Thursday, January 28, 5pm; free; lfla.org.
Night of Ideas at the Internet. Night of ideas is a 24-hour virtual marathon event featuring philosophical debate and artistic performances produced in 75 countries around the world. This year’s theme, “Closing the distance” speaks to our shared sense of isolation and seeks to explore new means of fostering community and togetherness. Evoking the new forms of solidarity that our economic and social crises call for, as well as our changing relationship with space and mobility, this theme prompts audiences and participants to consider our relationship to today’s challenging world and those around us in thoughtful, creative, and engaging ways. Also, a live from New York performance by Patti Smith. Friday, January 28, 6pm; free; nightofideas.org.
Spoken Word: Omar Offendum at CAP UCLA. Omar Offendum is a unique spoken word artist and musician, well known for his signature blend of hip-hop and Arabic poetry. Join us for a performance of Lost in Translation, followed by a discussion about unity and belonging in Los Angeles. Released in the midst of the 2020 pandemic, Lost in Translation is a musical/spoken word sonic saga, featuring Omar Offendum and Thanks Joey. Thursday, January 28, 7pm; free; cap.ucla.edu.
New Original Works Festival, Week 3 at REDCAT. What would happen if the conventional flow of Korean dance is disrupted? Prompted by this question, dancer-choreographer DaEun Jung has built a compositional system inspired by Merce Cunningham’s “chance operation” and the Korean alphabet, Hangul. Maria Garcia’s Laocoön with Cabiria at 9 is a one-woman show led by Vatican Museums tour guide Cabiria, who in a nightmare, is confronted with a Trojan Soldier sharing her reflection. Employing unapologetically “ugly,” yet beautiful and raw physicality, dancer-choreographer Genna Moroni’s More invites viewers into the vacuum of female relationships. Thursday, January 28-Saturday, January 30, 8:30pm; Saturday, January 30, 3pm; $15; redcat.org.
Friday, January 29
Artist Talk: MEAR ONE at the Fowler. MEAR ONE has been at the forefront of LA’s graffiti and mural culture for nearly four decades, earning his status as a pioneer of the Melrose graffiti art movement in the late 80s and one of the city’s most prolific public muralists. His works’ powerful narratives juxtapose philosophy, ancient mythology, and modern politics to inspire an evolved consciousness, achieved through a balanced dialogue between surrealism and metaphysics. MEAR ONE helps us envision the sublime spirit of our time—not by escaping reality, but by confronting it head-on. Friday, January 29, 4pm; free; fowler.ucla.edu.
Artist Talk: Camille Rose Garcia at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Since its publication in 1865, Lewis Carroll’s classic book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been interpreted by hundreds of artists and filmmakers, including Walt Disney in his classic 1951 animated feature film. Continuing in this tradition, pop artist Camille Rose Garcia weaved together her interests in Disneyland, punk subculture, and the lowbrow art movement in Los Angeles into her illustrated rendition of the book in 2010—pieces of which were later featured in The Walt Disney Family Museum’s 2013 special exhibition Camille Rose Garcia: Down the Rabbit Hole. Join Garcia as she discusses the process behind creating her dream-like illustrations, how her childhood near Disneyland continues to inspire her work, and how she and the curators built her unique exhibition. Friday, January 29, 5:30pm; $8; waltdisney.org.
YoungArts Los Angeles: Design, Photography, Visual Art & Literature. National YoungArts Week is YoungArts’ signature program that aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and community while offering award winners at the Finalist level the guidance needed to prepare for the next stage of their artistic development. The 2021 program, “National YoungArts Week +”, is taking place virtually. During the week-long program, 143 Finalists across 10 disciplines participate in classes and workshops with internationally recognized leaders in their field, and record and develop their work to share with audiences. Exhibition Opening and Writer Readings: Friday – Saturday, January 29 – 30, 5pm Pacific; free; youngarts.org.
Saturday, January 30
Film Festival: Dance Camera West Drive-In at the Broad Stage. A unique drive-in movie experience for the closing night of the month-long Dance Camera West film festival, screening the finalists and award-winning films from 2021. Dance films ranging from group dances in remote landscapes, urban spaces and dance studios around the world, to introspective solos that invite us to share space with dancers sheltering at home. Experience the energy, vitality and passion of dance in the context of the challenging times we are living in. Santa Monica College Bundy Campus, Santa Monica; Saturday, January 30 – Sunday, January 31, 5:30pm & 8pm; $45-80 per vehicle; dancecamerawest.org.
Hend Samir: Running in a Skewed Daydream at Real Pain. Egyptian painter Hend Samir pushes paint to its limits, creating a maelstrom of bodies, architectural fragments, and upended social codes across canvases ranging from modest to monumental. Real Pain Fine Arts, 1819 Third Ave, West Adams; by appointment beginning January 30; free; realpain.com.
Sunday, January 31
Reimagining the Museum: Repatriation and Ruin, at the Hammer. There is a growing call for museums to take greater responsibility in attending to the objects and histories that they represent. The traditional Western ethnographic museum considers within its responsibilities the collection, preservation, and display of cultural artifacts from around the world. These “discovered” and “rescued” objects are often presented in museum galleries divorced from their context of origin, obscuring histories of theft, plunder, and violence. The third installment of the Hammer’s Reimagining the Museum series is organized around documentary and experimental films that critique ethnographic collecting practices and the narratives of Africa as written by Western art institutions. Sunday, January 31, noon; free; hammer.ucla.edu.
Women.On.Women at Galerie XII. A group show about women seen and emboldened by other women, featuring the work of Patty Carroll, Maia Flore, Mona Kuhn, Ziqian Liu, and Anja Niemi. Women artists have played a vibrant role in art, some of them have changed the art world forever. This show celebrates women and devotes itself to honoring their artistic accomplishments, exploring different ways of expressing the beauty of the female spirit. Galerie XII, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave #B2, Santa Monica; by appointment through April 10; free; galeriexii.com.
not in of along or relating to a line, at NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery for your smartphone. Nine artists and art collectives employ technology for self-expression and self-fashioning, making visible both the restrictions and the freedoms of digital culture. The artists appropriate technologies to narrate, alter, augment, or invent their identities and histories. The idea of individual context, of experiential relativity, threads together the works in this exhibition, and structures its form and its content. The visitor is invited to travel a branching, non-linear, virtual path through works by artists who explore the transformation of individual identity that digital tools and internet connectivity have co-produced in our lives.
Curated by the NYUAD Art Gallery’s Executive Director and University Chief Curator Maya Allison with artist and NYUAD faculty member Heather Dewey-Hagborg, the show’s artists explore how identity and histories are created, transformed, and invented. Among the artists to be featured are recent works and new commissions by some of the world’s leading video artists: California-based artist micha cárdenas, Cao Fei, Sophia Al-Maria, Zach Blas, Addie Wagenknecht, Eva and Franco Mattes, Lee Blalock, Maryam Al Hamra, and the collective of Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian. “Visit” for free on your smartphone; line.nyuad-artgallery.org.