State of the Art: New Boundary-Pushing Shows to See Right Now

Futuristic modes of transportation, painted femme models, a multicolored chrysalis on the lawn of La Brea Tar Pits and more. These exhibitions are sure to be the talk of the town


“The Garden” at Penske Projects
Penske Projects, launched last December by emerging curator Sophia Penske, is now endeavoring in its first show, “The Garden,” a pop-up gallery in East Hollywood with new works by Japanese-American artist Greg Ito and Brooklyn-born artist Honor Titus that put Los Angeles on display in myriad forms. In Ito’s paintings, you encounter iconography such as palm trees, sunsets, helicopters and wildfires; he depicts the city as a surreal playground where dreams are made for some, broken for others. Titus, who is also a musician and poet, presents works that reflect his experiences across music, literature, architecture and advertising in L.A. and other big cities, speaking to the isolation and romance a person can feel in such a frenetic environment. Enhancing the experience are artful arrangements by floral designers Ezra Woods and Michael Woodcock of Pretend Flowers and Plants. Colorful, playful and immersive, “The Garden” captures Penske’s youthful energy, irreverent tastes and desire to make works by up-and-coming artists accessible to a diverse audience. Through July 27. By appointment. Penske Projects, 4859 Fountain Ave., L.A.


“Sh/Ash/Lash/Splash” at David Kordansky Gallery
This new John Armleder show, the Swiss artist’s second solo exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery in L.A., focuses on splashes of paint — both literal and manufactured. Splatters and puddles have featured prominently in his work before; in this show, gallery-goers see the motif play out in actual spills across large canvases as well as in brightly hued, reflective mirror objects shaped like highly stylized splashes. For some paintings, the artist has affixed glitter, toys and other small objects to the canvas, giving you the impression these items have “fallen” into the pools of paint. In others, the pigments have been thrown across the cloth, exuding a vibrant energy and provoking questions about control versus chaos; the relationships between textures and colors; and the very nature of art itself. Through Aug. 24. David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W. Edgewood Pl., L.A. 323-935-3030.


“Louis Vuitton X”
An immersive exhibition plus pop-up store experience on Rodeo Drive, “Louis Vuitton X” is a temple for all things Louis Vuitton, especially the house’s most recent collaboration, Artycapucines, which sees six contemporary artists — Sam Falls, Urs Fischer, Nicholas Hlobo, Alex Israel, Tschabalala Self and Jonas Wood — reimagining the Capucines handbag. Having made its debut with a spectacular, star-studded affair, “Louis Vuitton X” takes viewers on a journey through the iconic luxury brand’s 160 years of creative exchanges, featuring some of its most memorable artistic projects. The entire experience encompasses two floors, 10 rooms — complete with Instagram- and Snapchat-ready effects, of course — and more than 180 items from the French label’s archives, such as reworked or original accessories by visionaries like Frank Gehry, Yayoi Kusama, Karl Lagerfeld and Cindy Sherman, in addition to spaces dedicated to artistic directors Nicolas Ghesquiere and Virgil Abloh. The on-site store proffers an exclusive selection of women’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, accessories, shoes, fragrances, books and the brand’s Objets Nomades. Through Sept. 15. 468 N. Rodeo Dr., L.A.


“Bauhaus Beginnings” at The Getty
When it comes to the limits of art and design, the Staatliches Bauhaus, though short-lived, pushed them all. To honor the 100th anniversary of the famed German art school’s opening in Weimar in 1919, the Getty Research Institute in L.A. mined its extensive collections for significant prints, drawings, photographs, woodcuts, weaving samples and more. The result is “Bauhaus Beginnings,” a show of rarely seen materials that reinforce the institution’s designation as one of the 20th century’s most influential schools of creativity. Highlights such as course exercises and teaching aids illuminate Bauhaus’ founding principles and the theories that guided its unprecedented merging of crafts, fine arts, architecture and other disciplines. The exhibition “Bauhaus: Building the New Artist” runs concurrently online, viewable through The Getty’s website. Through Oct. 13. The Getty Research Institute at The Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr., L.A., 310-440-7300.


Serpentine Pavilion at La Brea Tar Pits
The past and future collide in the encore installation of the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion by architecture firm SelgasCano, unveiled in an open space adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits by British social workspace company Second Home and the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County. The 866-square-foot, chrysalis-like structure, covered in translucent fabric, playfully explores shape, light, color and materials and will be a hub for free public programs focused on art, design, science and nature. The Pavilion’s run in L.A. through Nov. 24 celebrates Second Home’s forthcoming East Hollywood chapter (its first U.S. location), scheduled to open in September. Also designed by SelgasCano, the 90,000-square-foot campus will feature an auditorium, meeting and event spaces, a restaurant, cultural programming, lots of greenery and more, all open to the public to support social inclusion. Through Nov. 24. La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.


“Obsidian Ladder” at Marciano Art Foundation
Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca’s first large-scale solo exhibition in the United States has arrived at Marciano Art Foundation in L.A., comprising painting, sculpture, sound, scent and performance. For “Obsidian Ladder,” Huanca uses natural materials — raw pigments, oils, turmeric, sand and clay — to bring an otherworldly environment to life in celebration of individuality and feminine power. To that end, every Saturday, painted models inhabit the artist’s topography, interacting with the environment however each one chooses. A native of Chicago, Huanca studied painting in Germany and now lives and works in Berlin; she describes her work as “a poetic gesture commenting on societal imbalances and injustices.” To coincide with “Obsidian Ladder,” Huanca produced limited-edition works and merchandise — such as a perfume based on the scent in the exhibition — which are available for purchase at the gallery and online, with 100 percent of proceeds donated to L.A. nonprofits Reach LA, the Trans Wellness Center, and the East Los Angeles Women’s Center. Through Dec. 1. Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 424-204-7555.


“Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” at The Contemporary Jewish Museum
The first major museum survey of the work of Northern California sculptor, “Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped” arrives this month, featuring more than 120 influential pieces that have never before been exhibited on the West Coast. On view will be two decades’ worth of works by Rosen, who was raised in a working-class Brooklyn Jewish family and moved to Davis, Calif., in 1997. Among the earliest pieces in the exhibition are plate- and tile-based sculptural objects from the mid-1990s, inspired by nature and teeming ecosystems following her cross-country move. Later in her career, Rosen developed “mashups” — works involving dozens or hundreds of shapes and forms bound together with steel wire that challenge viewers’ perceptions of symmetry, balance and strength. July 25-Jan. 19. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F., 415-655-7800.


“Disruptors” at Petersen Automotive Museum
Combining multiple creative worlds, “Disruptors” features hyper-modern vehicles, shoes and other works by two visionaries whose creations usually lie outside the automotive industry. Fashion designer Rem D Koolhaus, founder of label United Nude, and industrial designer Joey Ruiter, who has worked with Herman Miller and other bold-faced brands, present their takes on minimalist modes of transportation, defined in “Disruptors” as cars, bicycles, buggies, stilettos, skateboards and more. Each object is an answer to the challenge to eliminate complexity while still forming an alluring yet fully functional piece, with often unexpected but always artful results. Through March 15. Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., 323-930-2277.


Feature image: The SERPENTINE PAVILION by SELGASCANO on the grounds of LA BREA TAR PITS. Photo by Iwan Baan..


July 10, 2019

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