C California Style

The Unmissable List

by C California Style

Seven must-see art happenings to mark on your calendar this winter

At her studio in the Mission District of San Francisco, the artist known as Koak sits surrounded by her pastel color-washed works depicting curvilinear women: women chopping, women dancing, women gnawing on things. It’s all from her upcoming show at Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles, for which Koak thought about a woman in the home, imagining that place as a heat trap, where “all this energy is building up and her spirit breaks that apart,” she says. The artist spent her teens in Santa Cruz and graduated from California College of the Arts with an MFA in comics. Picked up by dealer Claudia Altman-Siegel, the oeuvre of the artist—who is a recipient of the Liquitex Research Residency at Minnesota Street Project—incorporates an illustrative sensibility with painterly, Picasso-like compositions. “Every time I make a piece, I always try to convey a mix of emotions: happiness, fear, guilt, tenderness…connection,” she says. “Koak,” Dec. 15-Jan. 19. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., L.A., 323-282-5187; ghebaly.com.


More than a dozen prominent artists from around the globe will head to Coachella Valley for Desert X, a biennial showcase of site-specific works. Doug Aitken, Jennifer Bolande, Phillip K. Smith III and others contributed to the inaugural showcase in 2017, drawing on the unique social, political and environmental conditions of the surrounding desert landscape to inform their art. The 2019 edition of Desert X promises to add new names, locations, film projects and a special daily tour during Modernism Week (Feb. 14-24). Feb. 9-April 21. desertx.org.

Written by MARIE LOVE.

Having drawn more than 12,000 visitors last year to its historic Fort Mason setting, San Francisco’s FOG Design+Art expands in 2019 to spotlight 50-plus international design and visual art galleries, including first-timers such as New York’s newly established Anton Kern Gallery, London- and Berlin-based Blain|Southern, and international mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth. The fair will feature panel discussions with leading figures in the industry in addition to the annual Preview Gala (Jan. 16) benefitting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Jan. 17-20. Landmark Building C, 2 Marina Blvd. Ste. 260, S.F., 415-345-7500; fogfair.com.

Written by MARIE LOVE.

An annual celebration of midcentury architecture and design in Palm Springs, Modernism Week returns with highlights such as the Modernism Week Show House, for which interior designer Christopher Kennedy recruits an all-star roster of collaborators, and a keynote from Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. There are also perennial favorites, including tours of the historic A. Quincy Jones-designed estate Sunnylands. Perhaps most compelling is the chance to sip sundowners in masterpieces envisioned by the likes of interior designer Arthur Elrod, who will be honored this year on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Feb. 14–24. modernismweek.com.



The third Untitled, Art fair in San Francisco introduces a new venue—Pier 35—to accommodate a larger crowd, a growing roster of exhibitors and a retail section devoted to art books. Highlights include David Zwirner gallery’s presentation of photography by American Philip-Lorca diCorcia, and University of California, Berkeley, Art Museum adjunct curator Constance Lewallen’s selection of California conceptualism-driven works for Anglim Gilbert Gallery. Installations, performances and discussions curated by Juana Berrío reinforce diversity on the global contemporary art stage. Jan. 18-20. Pier 35, 1454 The Embarcadero, 646-405-6942; untitledartfairs.com.

Written by MARIE LOVE.

New York-based conceptual artist Glenn Ligon returns to Regen Projects for the sixth time with new multimedia works that engage charged ideas of race, language and identity. While his “Debris Field” paintings dive deep into his interest in communication, Notes for a Poem on the Third World (a 7-foot-tall neon-sign outline of his hands) stirs discussion around who is and who isn’t on the margins of society. Jan. 12-Feb. 17. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 310-276-5424; regenprojects.com.

Written by MARIE LOVE.

A powerful self-reinvention story is hard to resist—especially when it involves a symbolic sartorial makeover, as is the case with Sara Berman. Belarus-born Berman (1920–2004) made a sudden bold shift to wearing white clothing and accessories exclusively when, in 1981, she left her 38-year marriage and moved to New York City from Tel Aviv. Her daughter, celebrated artist Maira Kalman, and grandson, Alex Kalman, carefully reconstructed Berman’s closet for an exhibition called “Sara Berman’s Closet” that debuted at the Mmuseum in 2015, moved to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, and will now be on view at the Skirball Cultural Center, along with 12 new paintings by Maira. Dec. 4-March 10. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A., 310-440-4500; skirball.org.

Written by JESSICA RITZ.