12 Colorful Cultural Events Hitting California This Month

Spring brings a host of must-see art and design happenings



Frieze Art Fair Touches Down at Santa Monica Airport
It’s that time of year again, when the international Frieze Art Fair descends on Los Angeles, reuniting dealers, connoisseurs, collectors, and revelers alike under the big top. This year, though, the modern and contemporary mega show makes its debut on the city’s Westside at the Santa Monica Airport. The new digs allow for more galleries to set up shop, alongside collaborations with nonprofit organizations and a series of new ambitious activations and pop-ups from some of Los Angeles’ most celebrated restaurants. In total, 120 galleries from more than 22 countries will be in attendance, including international heavyweights such as Sadie Coles HQ, Paula Cooper Gallery, Gagosian, Gladstone Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Gallery Hyundai, Pace Gallery, Thaddaeus Ropac, and David Zwirner. The L.A. contingent includes Blum & Poe, The Box, Château Shatto, Commonwealth and Council, Jeffrey Deitch, David Kordansky Gallery, Regen Projects, and Various Small Fires (VSF). With the art world on hand, concurrent activities beyond the fairground are in full effect across the city’s thriving culturescape. Feb. 16–19. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; frieze.com.


The Anti-Frieze Fair Returns to the Rooms of the Roosevelt
Mulling over a new art acquisition always feels better while enjoying a drink poolside. After its successful launch in 2019, the Felix Art Fair returns to the famed Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for its third installment. Having expanded this year to accommodate 60 exhibitors from around the world, the fair takes over the cabanas surrounding the David Hockney pool, along with two floors of the hotel, with provisions from Uncle Paulie’s Deli on hand. The casual antidote to the mega fair across town, Felix was co-founded in 2019 by Dean Valentine, Al Morán, and Mills Morán, who were inspired by the intimate art fairs at the Chateau Marmont in the 1990s. The goal is community and a bit of fun. After all, Felix is also the Latin word for “felicity.” Feb. 15–19. felixfair.com.


Fashion’s Favorite Artist Chooses OCMA for First Major U.S. Show
Daniel Arsham’s sculptures of decaying modern objects—like a Porsche Turbo, cameras, and cassette players—look like they’ve been dug up from Ancient Greece. These “future relics,” as he describes them, that blur the line between classic and pop art have particularly resonated with the fashion world. The New York–based artist has done commissions for Tiffany & Co., Adidas, Toraichi, Byredo, Rimowa, Porsche, and Dior (Hedi Slimane even asked Arsham to design the fitting rooms for Dior Men’s Los Angeles shop). Now Arsham has his first major U.S. museum show at the Orange County Museum of Art, with Wherever You Go, There You Are, featuring a series of battered casts of everyday objects and human figures created from sand, pyrite, and volcanic ash. His Bronze Eroded Delorean 1:2—a heavily patinated replica of the 1981 DeLorean from Back to the Future—might be the closest we can come to traveling through time. Feb. 14–May 28. 3333 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, 714-780-2130; ocma.art.


Bridget Riley’s Op Art Hits the Hammer Museum 
During her celebrated career, British Op art pioneer Bridget Riley, now 91, produced exactly 48 paintings, which now sell for millions at art auctions. Her kaleidoscopic, energetic, highly technical pieces earned her the painting prize at the Venice Biennale in 1968—the first woman to win the honor. But before her career as a painter, Riley honed her craft with works on paper. This month, the Hammer Museum presents Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio, the first and most extensive American museum exhibition in more than half a century dedicated exclusively to her drawings. The show includes over 90 sheets from Riley’s private collection, many of which have never been seen, and proves that her work in colored pencil, gouache, and graphite can be just as mesmerizing as her paintings. Through May 28. hammer.ucla.edu.


Modernism Week Opens the Doors to Palm Springs’ Most Prized Homes 
Every year, midcentury modern aficionados, collectors, dealers, and savvy interior designers quench their thirst by trekking to the greater Palm Springs area for Modernism Week. If you don’t mark your calendar, you’ll likely miss out on the 11-day event, which draws crowds from all over the world. This year sees tours of iconic homes rarely open to the public, including the former residences of Hollywood Golden Era stars like Kirk Douglas and William Holden, as well as Frank Sinatra’s Villa Maggio, which has never been open to visitors. Other events include a midcentury mixology “cocktail clinic” at the historic restaurant Mr. Lyons; a presentation by Joseph Giovannini, three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee in architecture criticism, on his recently published work, Architecture Unbound: A Century of the Disruptive Avant-Garde; and the annual Modernism Show itself, which features 125 renowned dealers offering an array of treasures from the era. Feb. 16–26. modernismweek.com.


Pace Gallery Welcomes L.A.’s First Calder Exhibition in Nine Years
This month, one of Pace Gallery’s celebrated artists curates the work of another master. Richard Tuttle selected and installed Calder/Tuttle: Tentative, marking the first exhibition of Calder’s work in Los Angeles since 2014. The exhibit focuses on one year of Calder’s output, 1939, which was two years before Tuttle was born amid the outbreak of WWII. Small and medium-scale sculptures are on display—including a brilliant untitled mobile that is being exhibited for the first time—as well as a selection of works on paper. “I have so much respect for how Calder handled detail,” Tuttle wrote in an essay on Calder last year. Concurrently, David Kordansky Gallery is staging a series of Tuttle’s work entitled Black Light and Calder Corrected, where Tuttle offers a response to the Calder exhibit up the street and his own contemporary take on modernist abstraction. Through Feb 25. pacegallery.com; davidkordanskygallery.com.


Laguna’s California Cool Auction Waves Hello for a 41st Time
The culture wave hitting Los Angeles this month continues down the coast with the Laguna Art Museum’s 41st annual California Cool art auction. Upping the “cool” factor are works by 125 of California’s most sought-after talents, which are going under the hammer to benefit the museum’s major initiatives, education programs, and exhibitions. On the block are pieces by Lita Albuquerque, Charles Arnoldi, Billy Al Bengston, Kelly Berg, Alex Couwenberg, Joe Goode, David Ligare, Jean Lowe, Andy Moses, Gwynn Murrill, Fabia Panjarian, Ruth Pastine, Astrid Preston, and Ed Ruscha. Visitors can preview them in person at the oceanside museum (online bidding takes place between February 18 to March 4). The auction culminates with a fête at the museum featuring a performance by Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats celebrating California culture. lagunaartmuseum.org.


Digital Gallery Tappan Collective Builds a Brick and Mortar Home
When Chelsea Neman Nassib founded Tappan Collective in 2012 as a digital gallery, it threw convention to the wind. The novel concept, connecting collectors with emerging artists on a platform with transparent pricing, was a hit. Tappan now represents close to 100 artists across the world and has collaborated with in-demand designers including Jennifer Fischer, Athena Calderone, and Bobby Berk, and has curated collections for celebrity homes (think Demi Lovato and Bryce Dallas Howard). This month, L.A.-based Nassib is set to unveil the company’s first brick-and-mortar, but don’t expect a traditional white box gallery. Architect Marco Marraccini at Abramson Architects and interior designer Brandi Howe were tapped to conceive the space as a residential-style retail space featuring shoppable furniture from House of Leon. The gallery opens to the public February 22. Private appointments are available February 17–19. Email advising@thetappancollective.com for booking information. 8200 Melrose Ave., L.A.; tappancollective.com.


Alison Saar’s African Diaspora–Inspired Sculptures Arrive in Venice
Born and raised in Laurel Canyon, Alison Saar seemed destined to become an artist. Her late father, Richard, was a ceramicist and art conservator, and her mother, Betye, 96, is a well-known sculptor and installation artist. Saar studied studio art and art history at Scripps College and earned an MFA from Otis-Parsons Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design) before becoming an accomplished artist in her own right with sculpture, mixed-media, and installation pieces that are deeply influenced by folk art and spirituality. (She has even produced work with her mother.) This spring, L.A. Louver presents Uproot, a series of new sculptures and paintings by Saar that focus on the female African diaspora and culture—two continuous themes in her multifaceted oeuvre. Through March 11. lalouver.com.


1960s Xerox Art Pioneer On View at the Getty Museum
Barbara T. Smith wasn’t your typical Los Angeles housewife. In the mid-1960s, after graduating from Pomona College and bearing three children, she leased a 650-pound Xerox copier and installed it in her house to make art. Over the course of a year, she produced an extensive body of work that laid the foundation for a decades-long career addressing topics including sexuality, physical and spiritual sustenance, technology, and death. Now on view at the Getty Museum, Barbara T. Smith: The Way to Be explores half a century of the artist’s work. After she got divorced, she devoted her career to making avant-garde art and paved the way as a performance art pioneer (she co-founded the experimental F-Space Gallery with fellow artists Nancy Buchanan and Chris Burden). A memoir of the same name will be released alongside the exhibit where Smith, now 92, offers a firsthand account of her life and practice. Feb. 28–July 16. getty.edu.


Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Landmark Welcomes Its First Exhibition 
Frank Lloyd Wright’s first Los Angeles commission—the Hollyhock House, for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall—remains one of the city’s most important architectural landmarks and its only UNESCO World Heritage Site. This spring, the property becomes home to a few more firsts: Entanglements: Louise Bonnet and Adam Silverman at Hollyhock House is the first artist intervention at the site, and the exhibition is the L.A.-based creative couple’s first formal collaboration. Long inspired by the property and its history, Bonnet’s paintings and drawings and Silverman’s ceramics act in direct dialogue with Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival design. Even for the well-initiated, it’s a chance to see the house in an entirely new light. Feb. 15–May 27. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., hollyhockhouse.org


Jack Johnson Serenades California’s Oldest Theater on Its 150th Birthday
In 1925, Santa Barbara experienced a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that decimated the vast majority of its downtown. One of the only buildings left untouched was the Lobero Theatre. As the famed architect George Washington Smith set about rebuilding the city, he looked to the venue (which he had helped redesign with Lutah Maria Riggs a year earlier) to inform the city’s Spanish Colonial style, a tone that has endured. Now the Lobero celebrates its 150th anniversary as the oldest continuously operating theater in California (and the fourth-oldest performing arts theater in the country), having hosted performances by the likes of Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Neil Young, and Jeff Bridges during its illustrious past. For the Ovation Celebration this February, Jack Johnson (who attended UC Santa Barbara) takes the stage. Feb. 21. 35 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, 805-963-0761; lobero.org


February 13, 2023

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