Your Concise Art Guide to Los Angeles for July 2022

Wallace Berman, “Original Ferus Gallery Exhibition Poster” (1957), collage, 12 3/4 x 16 1/2 inches (image courtesy of Kohn Gallery)

These ten exhibitions in Los Angeles to see in July remind us that art is not only a refuge or an escape, but can also offer critical engagement and strategies of resistance. From group exhibitions that imagine radical possibilities to solo exhibitions that disrupt the status quo with humor and wit, this month’s selections reaffirm the role of art to challenge, question, inspire and empower.

Charles Brittin, “Untitled (Shirley Berman, Venice, CA)” (1957), vintage gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 inches, framed 16 1/4 x 14 inches (image courtesy of Kohn Gallery )

When: opens July 9
Where: Kohn Gallery (1227 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

You may not know his name, but if you’re even remotely familiar with 20th century art in Los Angeles, you certainly know his face. Shirley Berman was part muse, part watcher, part anchor of the tight-knit circle of Beat artists who defined LA’s artistic underground in the 1950s and ’60s. She was the cool and stylish foil to her bohemian husband, artist Wallace Berman, who used her photo of her in the fourth issue of his assembly magazine. seminar. Her striking face has also been captured by other artists, including Charles Brittin and Edmund Teske. cool lyrical will feature portraits of Berman, as well as works from his personal collection of Bruce Conner, George Herms, Lun*na Menoh and others, offering an artistic tribute to this underappreciated figure who died earlier this year at the age of 88 years old.

radical dawn installation view (photo by Sara Pooley)

When: until July 10
Where: Luna Anais (D2 Art, 1205 North La Brea Avenue, Inglewood, CA)

Curated by artist Alicia Piller, radical dawn features 10 mixed media artists imagining hopeful possibilities for a new future. The work is characterized by material exploration, references to the urban and natural world, and a reconsideration of accepted histories. Artists include Sarah Stefana Smith, whose woven flag shapes challenge rigid identities and boundaries; Silvi Naçi, whose functional objects mislead traditional domestic spaces; and Molly Jo Shea, who created a comic monument to the exhausting limbo of the last few years with her fan-blown hit that oscillates between torpor and mania.

dark cute installation view (courtesy of Lauren Powell Projects and Off Photography)

When: until July 15
Where: Lauren Powell Projects (5225 Hollywood Boulevard, East Hollywood, Los Angeles)

dark cute is a group exhibition that features 40 artists who swaddle darkness and subversion in a blanket of “cute”. These include Avner Chaim’s brightly colored and childlike swastikas, Benjamin Cabral’s anxious cartoon characters and Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen’s unsettling masked pin-up photos. In this era of political, environmental and social crisis, this combination of sour and sweet suggests a humorous and provocative aesthetic alternative.

Pope.L, “Black Factory Sainsbury’s Bean Can Under Pressure #1” (2005–2020), plexiglass, hardware, box of Sainsbury’s beans, Black Factory sticker, plywood, wood filler, cork, wooden dowel, acrylic paint, signed by Pope. L (photo by Jeff McLane, courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles)

When: until July 23
Where: Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Enigmatic artist Pope.L works through performance, installation and video to explore race, identity, language and material culture. For his second solo exhibition in Vielmetter, he transformed the gallery into a series of hangars through which viewers must navigate. They will meet four video works characterized by their disturbing tone, and a sculpture, I machine, which is made up of two superimposed overhead projectors and a device that makes liquid flow into a bowl whose sound is amplified. Also on display will be items from “The Black Factory”, an ongoing archive since 2004 of “black objects” collected from the public, which have been secured in compression boxes.

Edgar Ramirez: I dreamed too long installation view (photo by Dan Finlayson, courtesy the artist and Chris Sharp Gallery, Los Angeles)

When: until July 23
Where: Chris Sharp Gallery (4650 West Washington Boulevard, Mid-City, Los Angeles)

Edgar Ramirez’s text-based works are deceptively simple, drawing on a range of styles from landscape to appropriation and abstraction. The Los Angeles-born artist begins with predatory street signs found in working-class areas of the city, offering “cash for homes” or high-interest loans. He repaints them on cardboard, then attacks them, grinding down the surfaces and obscuring the text. The results are aesthetically pleasing enough, but still bear signs of physical abuse that reflect the systemic economic abuse of their sources.

Laggardism installation view (photo courtesy of Canary Test)

When: until August 4
Where: Canary Test (526 East 12th Street, Unit C, Downtown, Los Angeles)

Laggardism is a two-person show featuring sound artist Victoria Shen and “rhythmanalyst” DeForrest Brown, Jr. Defined by Canary Test as “a study and application of slowness amid rapid cycles of boom and bust of libidinal economies without hindrance”. Laggardism includes a live performance and a site-specific sound installation. On display are resin-cut discs, playable art objects produced by Shen, and Brown, Jr.’s sound paintings created on an iPad and mixed through Ableton music production software.

Beatriz Cortez, “One eye yes, one eye no” (2022) (courtesy the artist and the Commonwealth & Council)

When: July 7–August 6
Where: Commonwealth & Council (3006 West 7th Street, Suite 220, Koreatown, Los Angeles)

Beatriz Cortez recreates pre-Columbian objects and sites in steel, bridging ancient and contemporary, ritual and aesthetics. His tight-knit works also took the form of spaceships, anti-colonial vessels that represent a kind of “indigenous futurism”. With One eye yes, one eye no, her first solo exhibition at the Commonwealth and the Council, she will fashion sculptures based on existing and manufactured objects antiguos objects that challenge established narratives.

Adam Parker Smith, “Augustus of Prima Porta” (2022), white Carrara marble on stone plinth, sculpture dimensions: 39 1/2 x 39 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches (courtesy
artist and The Hole)

When: until August 20
Where: The Hole (844 North La Brea Avenue, Fairfax, Los Angeles)

With his new series To crush, Adam Parker Smith blends digital and analog, offering a new take on classic sculpture. Working with digital researchers, master sculptors and a robot, Smith took iconic Greek and Roman sculptures and compressed them into cubes of one cubic meter each. They are then painstakingly carved from marble, providing a material connection to their ancient sources, but transformed with 21st century technology.

Clifford Prince King, “And I Won’t Ask You When You’re Leaving or How Long You’re Planning to Stay” (2015), archival pigment print on Canson Rag Photographique 310GSM, 32 x 48 inches (with courtesy of the artist and STARS, Los Angeles)

When: July 9–August 27
Where: STARS (3116 North El Centro Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Clifford Prince King’s photographs are candid and poetic reflections of queer Black experiences. With raspberry shotKing takes on a more elegiac tone, exploring death and desire, while his style becomes more painterly and experimental, incorporating split framing and double exposures.

Mika Rottenberg, “Cosmic Generator” (2017) still video, single-channel video installation, sound, color; 26:36 min (© Mika Rottenberg, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth)

When: until October 2
Where: Hauser & Wirth (901 East 3rd Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

In his video work, Argentinian-born Mika Rottenberg satirizes the global trade network of manufacture and consumption with his own absurd DIY production lines. This is his first major solo exhibition on the West Coast, featuring four videos created over the past decade, in anticipation of the release of his feature debut, “Remote”, later this year. The exhibition will also include kinetic sculptures that use the power of pedals to flip ponytails or spin plants, unnecessary acts reminiscent of Tinguely as much as Tati.

Christopher S. Washington