I recently returned from nearly a week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I visited many galleries, several museums, the art installation MeowWolf and Georgia O’Keefe’s home in Abiquiú. One particular exhibition stood out was at the expansive Peter’s Projects Gallery, Karen LaMonte: Embodied Beauty. The breathtaking show brings together LaMonte’s most recent series of works—Floating World and Nocturnes—in which she examines conceptions of beauty in different cultural and social contexts. The artist represents the female form and dress in glass, bronze, clay and rust. Her work has mostly focused on clothing, and how it shapes and reflects cultural perceptions of the body. I urge you to watch this video of the artist explaining her work and her interrogation of Japanese culture and the kimono in particular. Thru 8/07/19.
Last week I had the privilege of a tour and lunch (sponsored by the Ebell Theatre Club) of the Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles. Last year millions were spent renovating the 1926 Spanish Colonial architectural monument into a fabulous boutique hotel with a splendid Moroccan theme. The hotel has a unique history of being committed to championing women’s causes and that has helped secure its place in women’s history. That history began when women from the local YWCA secured a loan for what the Los Angeles Times called at the time “the largest individual financial transaction ever undertaken by a body of women in the United States” to build the hotel. Founded, financed and operated entirely by women for women, the hotel opened on August 14, 1926. At that time, there were many perils for single women traveling alone and there was no lodging available for them. From the outset, Hotel Figueroa provided a safe-haven for women travelers, devoting nine of its fourteen floors entirely to female guests.At the helm of Hotel Figueroa was Maude N. Bouldin, the first female hotel manager in America and a woman who regularly flew planes, rode motorcycles, and openly challenged the gender norms that often kept women from achieving their full potential. The hotel is dedicated to embracing intersectional feminism and does so by exhibiting artwork only by women artists throughout the hotel. They also have a separate gallery that rotates every few months. An 8-foot-square painting of Maude N. Bouldin astride a motorcycle is in the hotel lobby and sets the tone for artwork throughout. The painting which is inspired by an early photograph is by Santa Monica artist Alison Van Pelt. Showcased are a wide range of work by compelling female artists and culture-makers, ranging from emerging to internationally established talents that span the mediums of photography, painting, mixed media, sculpture, sound and performance. Read more about the hotel’s history on the KCET website.
Sunday, July 7th @ 1 p.m.: Join curator jill moniz at the Craft Contemporary for an intimate walkthrough of The RIDDLE Effect, a survey of John T. Riddle Jr.’s sculptural work and his influence as a foundational member of the Black Arts Movement in Los Angeles. RSVP to the Craft.
IN THE GALLERIES
OBSIDIAN LADDER, the first large-scale solo exhibition in the United States by Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca is at Marciano Foundation. Her site-specific installation in their massive Theater Gallery reveals a new topography of triggered senses, combining sound, scent, and live performance. These elements will be experienced together against a constellation of carved steel sculptures and skin paintings. Skin and the body—its presence and absence—lay at the core of Huanca’s works. The artist utilizes materials that have a direct relationship to nature, such as raw pigments, oils, turmeric, sand, and clay. These are key elements in her “skin paintings,” for which she applies fragments of paint, latex, and other skin-like materials to either the human body or canvas. These same materials appear on her sculptures throughout the exhibition, creating a tactile ecosystem that links her pieces to one another. Using skin as both canvas and performative tool, Huanca deconstructs dominant gender and body politics and introduces an alternative, non-objectifying gaze—one focused on memory, biology, and time.(MAF) Thru 12/01/19.
Later this month also at Marciano is Anna Uddenberg: Privé. Udderberg is a Swedish born artist who is based in Berlin. She explores social conventions and norms that are the product of consumer culture. She challenges ingrained ways of thinking and seeing as well as ideas of mental and physical mobility. Through the lens of the feedback loop that is social media, she analyzes systems of representation, the performativity of femme expressions and its cross-connection to consumer culture and gender studies. Her interest in femme as figuration is geared towards exploring power dynamics in the service domain, and disputes the idea of femininity by revealing what happens when these roles are amplified and over-performed to a degree of uncanny absurdity.(MAF) 7/25/19-12/22/19.
Track 16 Gallery presents Evidence of Care, ceramic sculptures by Los Angeles artist Galia Linn. Her primary material is clay and here we can see how enchanted she is with the medium.She explores the conflicting combination of opposites: strength and fragility, multi-colored glazes and monochrome natural clay, and the feminine and masculine. Thru 7/20/19.
Craft in America Center presents Material Meaning: A Living Legacy ofAnni Albers, anexhibition that explores the ongoing influence of Albersthrough the work of ten contemporary American artists and designers working with textiles. The exhibitincludes work by artists Samantha Bittman, Lois Bryant, Christy Matson, Jennifer Moore, Brittany Wittman McLaughlin, Rachel Snack, Susie Taylor, Cameron Taylor-Brown, Suzanne Tick, and Marcia Weiss. 7/13/19-9/21/19.
Laura Danielson: Material Transformationsis the current exhibit at FIG gallery. It features a selection of recent collages that take you on a magical journey. Her playful work is plush with literary allusions, visual puzzles and puns and unexpected mash-ups. Danielson explains “I have a passion for working with collage/mixed media. My works are small, many no larger than 5” x 7” in size. Printed words are often used as a form of visual poetry. Color, words, and travel are major sources of inspiration.” Thru 7/13/19.
We are all familiar of the gallery practice of group shows during the summer months. In particular, I suggest checking out the Figurative Group Show at Lora Schlessinger Gallery. There are some exquisite examples of portraiture including those by Cindy Kane, Beth Parker Ann Chamberlin and others. Thru 7/20 /19.
IN THE MUSEUMS
The Frederick Weisman Museum at Pepperdine in Malibu is featuring Squeak Carnwath: How the Mind Works.The artist works from her Oakland studio and is Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley. The selections on view date back to the 1970s and some are more recent. The artist has a rich visual vocabulary and painting for her is a way to reflect upon her psychological experience and to engage in a personal discovery that speaks to universal themes.She frequently incorporates hand-painted text into her paintings and many have the qualities of a personal notebook. Over the years, Carnath has developed her own personal iconography of symbols: candelabra, a symbol of good taste, history and tradition; sinking ship, a symbol for all disasters and misfortune; dumb bunny, a sexist cliché that refers to a beautiful woman who is not intelligent; black disc (records) stands for the transcendent, spiritual power of music. The image provided here is an excellent example of her work and demonstrates her use of language. Thru 7/28/19.
Bauhaus Beginnings at the Getty Research Institute celebrates the 100th anniversary of the opening of the school’s opening. The exhibit reexamines the founding principles of this landmark institution. The exhibition considers the school’s early dedication to spiritual expression and its development of a curriculum based on elements deemed fundamental to all forms of artistic practice. Thru 10/13/19.
Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel continues at the UCLA Hammer museum. It features more than 130 works in photography, collage, sculpture, and installation. Thru 8/31/19. Public tours of the exhibition are offered every Saturday at 1 p.m. through August 31, 2019.
Adia Millett: Breaking Patterns curated by Mar Hollingsworth continues at the California African Art Museum. Millet’s focus is on the history of African Americans, particularly women through a wide range of materials. She creates quilts for example from discarded clothing, sheets, other quilts, and curtains, these allude to domesticity and craftwork. Miniature houses offering a deep exploration of memory and loss and her collages in turn utilize fragments of her photographic prints, and her mixed-media constructions reuse model-making supplies from the miniature houses. Thru 8/25/19.