Lois Lambert Gallery presents Serena Potter: Fables of Rhyme or Reason. Potter’s figurative narrative oil paintings and mixed media work use storytelling to seek reason in the unreasonable. Her pieces are notable for their vintage Southern California spaces and lighting, specifically drawing inspiration from her Culver City upbringing, classic film, illustration and literature. As a response to what the world experienced in 2020, this new body of work highlights feelings of isolation and the fear of the unknown beyond one’s window. September 18- November 1, 2021.
New sculpture, painting, and collage by Lorna Simpson will fill the galleries at Hauser & Wirth beginning mid-month. Lorna Simpson: Everything expands her critically admired “Ice” series, Simpson’s new paintings allure viewers with layers of paradoxes, threading dichotomies of figuration and abstraction, past and present, destruction and creation. Collages on view continue the artist’s ongoing exploration of the medium through her appropriation and reimagining of imagery from vintage issues of Ebony and Jet magazines, which have been integral sources for Simpson over the last decade. The new works on view reveal the ways in which Simpson’s multidisciplinary, multivalent practice uniquely deploys metaphor, metonymy, and formal prowess to offer a powerful response to the daily experience of American life now. September 14, 2021-January 9, 2022.
Phillip Martin Gallery presents Laurie Nye: It Wasn’t a Dream, It Was a Flood”. These oil-on-linen paintings present landscape, both real and imagined, as a place in which to encounter the spiritual possibilities of nature. “I use my intuitive process and combine it with memory and ideas about nature and landscape,” Nye writes: “I grew up camping and fishing in the Ozarks in Arkansas. My father instilled in me a reverence of stillness and oneness with the water. It wasn’t boring to sit in a boat for hours, learning to cast a line and catching only guppies or twigs. It was everything else that mattered. The sounds of the birds, the animals all around, the mysterious dark of the water and how it sounded when we floated along with the motor off.”
August 21-September 25, 2021.
Family Reunion is a solo exhibition by Nancy Larrew curated by Peter Frank at BG Gallery. In the exhibition, the artist explores the complexity of familial relationships. “In Roots, the centerpiece of the exhibition, Larrew calculated the sheer number of people and lifetimes necessary to bring her into existence. Going back eight generations, 256 individuals coalesced into two parents to create her. These 256 people, each of her relatives, have been lovingly reproduced in sculptural form. Expanding across the floor of bG Gallery, these sculptural objects offer the possibility, only when observed as a whole, to fully grasp the magnitude of the task Larrew set out to illustrate. It is not just her story but that of every person living today. Other works included in the exhibition explore the creative connection between her siblings and mother, the darker side of families and the ability to create alternative families by choice.” (BG)
September 4-October 4, 2021.
I am delighted to see that Roberts Projects LA will be having another Betye Saar exhibit opening later this month. Black Doll Blues brings together a selection of new watercolor works on paper where she has created portraits of her personal collection of Black dolls. Referencing the underrepresented history of Black dolls as seen through Saar’s artistic lens, the works on view distill several intersecting themes, imagery, and objects in Saar’s oeuvre, highlighting her prominent usage and reinvention of derogatory imagery. September 15-November 6, 2021.
IN THE MUSEUMS
The next major exhibition at MOCA will occupy the entire Geffen Contemporary; a survey of the Swiss media artist, Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor. Rist’s installations explore relationships of video and the body; exterior environments and interior psychological landscapes; and reason and instinct. They exuberantly probe the video medium’s capaciousness—for vivid color; sweeping views and extreme close-ups; introspection and cultural critique; and, importantly, the creation of shared experiences within the public space of the museum. The exhibition surveys more than thirty years of the Zürich-based artist’s work, encompassing early single-channel videos; large-scale installations brimming with color and hypnotic musical scores; and sculptures that merge everyday objects, video, and decorative forms.
September 12, 2021- June 6, 2022.
April Bey: Atlantica,The Gilda Region curated by Mar Hollingsworth continues at the California African American Museum. “In Atlantica, The Gilda Region, April Bey’s first solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles, the Bahamian-American interdisciplinary artist presents an immersive installation that taps into Black Americans’ historical embrace of space travel and extraterrestrial visioning—a cultural movement dating back to the late 1960s and later termed Afrofuturism. Through this Afrofuturist lens, Bey reflects on subjects such as queerness, feminism, and internet culture in vibrant tableaux that combine living plants, video, music, photography, and oversized mixed-media paintings and textiles. The artist positions herself as an alien from the planet Atlantica, while her mission on Earth is to observe and report as an undercover agent. This imagined world and her general interest in storytelling come from her father, who would tell her childhood tales using alien narratives to illustrate how Black people were othered in the United States and The Bahamas. In contrast to the racial oppression and exploitation rampant on Earth, Atlantica offers a beautiful diasporic world in which Black people thrive and flourish.” (CAAM) Thru Jan. 17, 2022.
Judy Baca: Memorias de Nuestra Tierra, A Retrospective at the Museum of Latin American Art is a significant overview and tribute to the Chicana muralist, public intellectual and community activist. The exhibit is divided into 2 parts. The first is Baca Public Art Survey, exploring her pivotal and career-defining work through the Social and Public Arts Resource Center,. Next is the history of Baca’s first masterpiece, the Great Wall of Los Angeles. This half mile long mural occupies the Tujunga Wash in the San Fernando Valley. The mural tells the story of California from prehistoric times to the 1950s and takes special care in presenting the lesser-known histories of the ethnic groups who inhabit this state. To understand the immensity of this project, viewers are invited to participate in an immersive audiovisual experience of the monumental piece. Thru January 2022.
OUT OF TOWN
Hung Liu: Golden Gate is one of the featured exhibitions at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Here is a statement from the museum on the artist’s recent passing: “We are deeply saddened by the news of artist Hung Liu’s sudden, premature passing and our thoughts go out to her family at this difficult time. A vibrant and vital part of the artist community in the Bay Area and beyond, Liu’s impact as an artist, and as a teacher is profound. A trailblazer among Asian American artists, the legacy and extensive oeuvre she leaves behind will continue to advocate on behalf of the people who have come to our country and helped build our nation.As a collaborator, Liu was incredibly generous, and we are grateful for the time we had with her. Earlier this summer, we had the pleasure of celebrating the opening of her insightful installation at the de Young. In this tragic moment, we are honored to share Liu’s indelible vision with the Bay Area community that she cared for so deeply.” If you cannot make it to the exhibition, do visit the museum website for a glimpse into this exhibit. Through March 13, 2022.
The De Young has also installed a retrospective of the work of Judy Chicago. The exhibit spans from her early engagement with the Californian Light and Space Movement in the 1960s to her current body of work, a searing investigation of mortality and environmental devastation, begun in 2015. The exhibition includes approximately 130 paintings, prints, drawings, and ceramic sculptures, in addition to ephemera, several films, and a documentary. Organized on the heels of the 40th anniversary of Chicago’s landmark installation, The Dinner Party, in San Francisco and opening in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote across the United States.This retrospective pays homage to an artist whose lifelong fight against the suppression and erasure of women’s creativity has finally come full circle. August 28-January 9, 2022.
The current exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum is New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century. This is a major survey that explores recent feminist practices in contemporary art and presents a wide view of feminist artistic practices, thought, and experiences. Featuring more than 150 works by seventy-seven artists and collectives, the exhibition is organized around eight themes: hysteria; the gaze; revisiting historical subjects through a feminist lens; the fragmented female body; gender fluidity; labor, domesticity, and activism; female anger; and feminist utopias. Thru January 30, 2022.