IN LOS ANGELES, it’s art fair season. Frieze Los Angeles is open for its second year at Paramount Pictures Studios. Art Los Angeles Contemporary is happening at the Hollywood Athletic Club. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is hosting the Felix art fair and Spring/Break is at Skylight ROW DTLA. At The Kinney in Venice, stARTup LA is providing an environment for meeting and buying art directly from unrepresented emerging artists.
Beyond the art fairs, there is plenty more to see. Exhibitions featuring African American artists are on view at museums and galleries all around Los Angeles. These shows, including Betye Saar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ja’Tovia Gary at the Hammer Museum, Rodney McMillian at The Underground Museum, and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe at Roberts Projects, are open now and in the days, weeks, and months to come. A selection of 15 exhibitions follows:
“Betye Saar: Call and Response” @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art | Sept. 22, 2019-April 5, 2020
Exploring the relationship between Los Angeles-based Betye Saar‘s preliminary sketches and her finished assemblage works over the span of more than 60 years, this show is described as “the first exhibition at a California museum to address her entire career and the first anywhere to focus on her sketchbooks.”
“Timothy Washington: Citizen/Ship” @ California African American Museum, Los Angeles | Sept. 25, 2019-March 1, 2020
A key figure in the 1960s and 70s Black Arts Movement, Timothy Washington has lived and worked in Leimert Park for more than 50 years. This exhibition is his first-ever installation and it brings together a variety of mixed-media works that “meld American patriotism with Afrofuturistic narratives of fantasy and science fiction.” The museum is also showing LA Blacksmith,” “Cross Colours: Black Fashion in the 20th Century,” and “Southern Vernacular” works from its collection. Plus, on Saturday, Feb. 15, CAAM is hosting a book swap and art workshop with the Free Black Women’s Library.
Rodney McMillian, “Brown: videos from The Black Show” @ Underground Museum, Los Angeles | Oct. 5, 2019-Feb. 16, 2020
For an exhibition at ICA Philadelphia, Los Angeles artist Rodney McMillian “offered blackness as subject, form, process, emotion, and politics.” The presentation featured paintings, sculpture, and videos, which are shown here. Filmed in South Carolina, where the artist was born, and on a Mississippi plantation with blues roots, McMillian’s videos transform the sites providing a stage for performances—songs, political sermons and children’s stories “deeply rooted in our American vernacular.”
“Julie Mehretu” @ Los Angeles County Museum of Art | Nov. 3, 2019-March 22, 2020
Presenting 35 paintings and nearly 40 works on paper, this traveling survey is the first-ever comprehensive look at the career of New York-based abstract artist Julie Mehretu. Spanning 1996 to the present, the works showcase her “examination of history, colonialism, capitalism, geopolitics, war, global uprising, diaspora, and displacement through the artistic strategies of abstraction, architecture, landscape, movement, and, most recently, figuration.”
“Hammer Projects: Leonardo Drew” @ Hammer Museum, Westwood, Los Angeles | Dec. 21, 2019-May 10, 2020
Brooklyn-based artist Leonardo Drew has taken over the museum’s lobby wall installing a complex and chaotic explosion of materials “evocative of the cycle of decay and erosion characteristic of any densely urban environment.”
“Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe: Black Like Me” @ Roberts Projects, Culver City, Los Angeles | Jan. 11-March 7, 2020
For his first exhibition in the United States, Ghanaian-born, Gresham, Ore.-based Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe is presenting a series of new portraits of men and women. Some are friends or acquaintances. Others he streetcasts or finds on social media.
Hank Willis Thomas: An All Colored Cast” @ Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles | Jan. 18-March 7, 2020
For his first solo exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Brooklyn-based Hank Willis Thomas is presenting a new body of work, a series of UV prints informed by “color theory, popular culture, the development of Pop Art, Color Field painting, Minimalism, and the Hollywood film industry.” In addition, Thomas has installed a massive sculpture in the garden of the gallery. “A Suspension of Hostilities” (2019) is a replica of the General Lee, the 1969 Dodge Charger featured in the 1980s television show “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
“The Hilton Als Series: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye” @ The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Calif. | Jan. 25-May 11, 2020
Hilton Als, The New Yorker critic and professor of writing at Columbia University, has organized a trio of consecutive exhibitions presenting works by contemporary artists (Celia Paul, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby) in conversation with The Huntington’s historic British artworks. Five portraits by Yiadom-Boakye are currently on view at the museum located just outside Los Angeles,
Lauren Halsey @ David Kordansky Gallery, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles | Jan. 25-March 14, 2020
Known for her study of memorials, monuments, and public spaces, Lauren Halsey explores gentrification, economic displacement, and the survival rate of black and Latino/a owned shops in her Los Angeles neighborhood. For her first exhibition at David Kordansky, Halsey is presenting new sculptural paintings which she likens to “South Central L.A. business taxidermy.”
“Alison Saar: Syncopation” @ L.A. Louver, Venice, Los Angeles | Jan. 29-Feb. 29, 2020
Exploring issues of race, gender, and spirituality, a broad selection of prints on paper and fabric by Los Angeles artist Alison Saar is displayed in conversation with a few of her sculptures. The exhibition coincides with “Chaos in the Kitchen,” a solo presentation of new works by Saar on view with L.A. Louver at Frieze Los Angeles.
“Magician: The Black Body and Portraiture” @ Fellows of Contemporary Art, Historic Chinatown, Los Angeles | Feb. 1-March 28, 2020
Curated by Jasmine McNeal, this exhibition presents the work of four up-and-coming artists—Kayla Shelton, Valerie Amani, Kayla Salisbury, and Gozie Ojini—whose works “highlight aspects of spirituality, originality, and depth, which not only exude from the black body, but fully represent the black community.”
“Hammer Projects: Ja’Tovia Gary” @ Hammer Museum, Westwood, Los Angeles | Feb. 2-May 17, 2020
Filmed in Harlem and Claude Monet’s historic gardens and orchards in Giverny, France, the “Giverny Suite” is described as a “multi-textured cinematic poem.” The three-channel film by Brooklyn-based artist Ja-Tovia Gary explores “the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women.”
“Collective Constellation: Selections From the Eileen Harris Norton Collection” @ Art + Practice, 3401 W. 43rd Place, Leimert Park, Los Angeles | Feb. 8-Aug. 1, 2020
Presented in partnership with the Hammer Museum, works by women of color from the collection of philanthropist and Art + Practice co-founder Eileen Harris Norton are on view. The intergenerational group of trailblazing artists includes Sadie Barnette, Shirin Neshat, Lorraine O’Grady, Betye Saar, Doris Salcedo, Amy Sherald, Lorna Simpson, Ruth Waddy, Carrie Mae Weems, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
“Calida Rawles: A Dream for My Lilith,” Various Small Fires, Hollywood | Opening Feb. 12
Los Angeles-based artist Calida Rawles depicts her subjects submerged underwater. The photo-realistic paintings of friends and family stir both spiritual calm and historic racial tension. The exhibition is Rawles’s first with VSF, which is also showing her work at Frieze Los Angeles, where the gallery is participating for the first time. (Rawles’s work is featured on the cover of “The Water Dancer,” the recently published novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The artist and author are in conversation Feb. 15 at Frieze Los Angeles with LACMA curator Christine Y. Kim.)
“Arcmanoro Niles: I Guess By Now I’m Supposed To Be A Man: I’m Just Trying To Leave Behind Yesterday” @ UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills | Feb. 12-March 14, 2020
For his first West Coast exhibition, Washington, D.C.-born, Brooklyn-based Arcmanoro Niles is presenting seven large-scale scenes that trace the arc of time—from childhood to elderly years—alongside a series of smaller portraits of family and friends. Using a bright, nearly-neon palette he renders his subjects in a format resembling over-exposed film.
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