The acclaimed Chinese artist kicks off a flurry of activity in L.A. with this takeover of the Marciano’s massive theater gallery, including Ai’s floor-covering “Sunflower Seeds,” which features millions of porcelain seeds, as well as the similar but smaller “Spouts,” a pile of thousands of Song dynasty teapot spouts. “Life Cycle” also marks the premiere of its namesake work, a nearly 60-foot inflatable raft made entirely from bamboo. Inspired by the European refugee crisis, the work employs traditional kite-making techniques to create its passengers, which are often pulled from the signs of the Chinese zodiac—such figures also factor into the astounding mythological mobiles and creatures that surround the black box space.
When you set foot inside Hauser & Wirth’s north gallery, you’re greeted with a wall-filling timeline of the 1970s that’s comically meticulous in its detail. But once you round the corner of the wall, it’s clear why: Annie Leibovitz was there for seemingly all of it. The artist dug through her archives to handpick this early-career collection of works that meant the most to her, arranged chronologically and thematically in the Arts District gallery. “I lived with my camera, I never went home,” said Leibovitz during an exhibition walkthrough, and the photos prove it. Her Rolling Stone cover photos from the ’70s are indelible parts of pop culture history, and those instantly recognizable shots are certainly on display (think David Cassidy nude, a fiery Patti Smith, and a naked John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono shot hours before he was murdered). But the most remarkable parts of this early-career retrospective are the moments in between, all captured with fly-on-the-wall candor (“No one paid me any bit of attention because I was a woman,” she says). Candid shots of Jerry Garcia and Dennis Hopper occupy the same space as behind-the-scenes photos of an always-smoking Hunter S. Thompson, with whom Leibovitz worked extensively. There’s Richard Nixon’s fall, Jerry Brown’s rise and the surge of cults. And then there’s her documentation of a 1975 Rolling Stones tour, with no drug-addled details spared. (“It took me a while to get off the tour,” remarked Leibovitz about the experience).
The acclaimed artist, known for his colorful paintings and sculptures inspired by sci-fi, anime and traditional Japanese art, sits down with LACMA curator Stephen Little ahead of Murakami’s “GYATEI²” exhibition at Gagosian Beverly Hills.
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
Forget about uptalk and tired clichés: 11:11 A Creative Collective is curating a group exhibition of the women shaping what it means to be a “Valley girl.” Artists at this Brand Library & Art Center show include Rachel Apthorp, Judy Baca, Hilary Baker, Lynn Coleman, Gioj DeMarco, Kathi Flood and others, plus a pop-up newstand by the San Fernando Valley Zine Fest. Swing by on January 26, from 6 to 9pm, for an opening reception that includes an opening ceremony by the Cihuatl Women’s Group, a pop-up shop from 11:11 ACC and VLY GIRL, free beer from 818 Brewing and their Valley Girl Blonde, music by DJ Lobo and more.
The exhibition focuses on the Italian avant-garde artist and early Conceptualist’s radical use of unconventional materials (including cotton balls, fur, straw and stones).
Journey into the uncanny valley to see more than 50 contemporary, figurative sculptures constructed via a variety of means, like body casts and found objects.
Prolific producer Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean) and UTA Artist Space present this surreal exhibition, curated by Nicola Vassell, that features fantastical works from artists like Nick Cave, Karon Davis, Kerry James Marshall, Charles White and more.
Catch sets from up-and-coming performers and local legends during this free music series at the Getty, which features a pair of shows from a different band each weekend. The series kicks off in January with Los Pleneros de la 21, plus LADAMA in February and the Adiyta Prakash Ensemble in March.
The desert-spanning biennial premieres site-specific works from over 15 artists. For its second iteration, Desert X has added more public programming, film projects, process-driven works and an expansion toward the Salton Sea. Participating artists include Iván Argote, Steve Badgett & Chris Taylor, Nancy Baker Cahill, Cecilia Bengolea, Pia Camil, John Gerrard, Julian Hoeber, Jenny Holzer, Iman Issa, Mary Kelly, Armando Lerma, Eric N. Mack, Cinthia Marcelle, Postcommodity, Cara Romero, Sterling Ruby, Kathleen Ryan, Gary Simmons and Superflex.
Found-object sculptures, photo collages and mass-media–inspired posters sound like typically humorless pieces of conceptual art. But there’s a wry wit to Allen Ruppersberg’s works, and a sincere reverence of the cultural sources he mines, be it a Ruppersberg-less series of portraits with index cards that ask "Where’s Al?” to oversized comic book cutouts of Scrooge McDuck. Ruppersberg devours books, typically teasing apart their aesthetic nature: The entirety of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is scribbled onto over a dozen huge canvases while Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” has been phonetically written across a wall-filling series of flourscent Colby Poster prints.
Angel City is making a circus out of L.A.’s dating scene with this post-Valentine’s bash. As an answer to the all of the clowns in the dating pool, the Arts District brewery is gathering jugglers, stilt walkers, magicians and comedy acts for this afternoon of beer and amusements. Make sure to throw on a heart-themed sweater for a broken hearts photo booth.
Walk, run, skate, bike and explore the San Gabriel Valley as Metro presents this car-free event across five miles of open streets in South Pasadena, Alhambra and San Gabriel. The “Mission to Mission” route starts on Mission Street, by South Pasadena’s Gold Line station, and zigzags its way to the San Gabriel Mission, at the intersection of Mission Road and Mission Drive.
Sure, it doesn’t look so glamorous now, but give it a few years, a billion or so dollars and some much-needed rain, and the L.A. River will be a point of civic pride for Angelenos. Do you part in the process this April during the Friend’s of the Los Angeles River’s annual cleanup. Rather than focusing on one spot, the cleanup tackles a different branch each Saturday, with multiple meet-up locations at each. The annual “work party” will include live music performances, gift giveaways, family activities and refreshments.
Pasadena’s underrated collection of museums and performance spaces open up their doors for free at this biannual art celebration. Take advantage of the free shuttle buses or hoof it between site-specific installations and local institutions such as the Norton Simon Museum, Pacific Asia Museum and more. And, of course, no arts fest would be complete without food trucks, often including local bricks-and-mortar Pie ’n Burger and Churro Stix.
The term CicLAvia (Spanish for “bike way”) can also be used to describe a temporary closing of L.A.’s streets. The event—inspired by the first Ciclovías in Bogotá, Colombia—welcomes bikes, tricycles, skateboards, strollers and smiles (sounds cheesy, but it’s true) to ride a rotating cast of car-free routes. While most rides center around Downtown, past events have taken the event to Wilshire Boulevard, Venice and South L.A. Expect music, street performances and food trucks, as well as general whimsy and shenanigans. Shop owners and restaurants along the CicLAvia route will also open their doors. It goes without saying that you should bike or take the Metro to your desired spot along the route.
Celebrate the photographers responsible for helping to define hip-hop’s visual identity with this display of unedited contact sheets for photo shoots with the likes of the Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Salt-N-Pepa, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and more. Author and curator Vikki Tobak has assembled over 120 works from more than 60 photographers alongside rare videos, memorabilia and music.
This New York export heads to Los Angeles for the first time and features exhibitions in repurposed shipping containers, photo cubes and lightboxes. Over two consecutive weekends in Century Park (that’s right next to the Annenberg Space for Photography), expect a mix of nighttime projections, talks, workshops, family-friendly activities, Smorgasburg vendors and a community beer garden.
Printed Matter presents LA Art Book Fair, a unique (and free!) event showcasing artists’ books, catalogues, monographs, periodicals and zines. Over 250 international presses, booksellers and independent publishers from twenty-one countries come together to hawk their wordy wares at this not-to-be-missed companion fair to New York’s Art Book Fair. Peruse naughty pulp paperbacks, catalogues full of fancy modern art, and books that you don’t really “read” so much as just admire.
Explore the history of early Los Angeles life with free admission to six museums in Northeast L.A. and Pasadena. The annual Museums of the Arroyo Dayis the perfect opportunity to brush up on historical architecture—the Gamble House, Heritage Square and the Lummis Home—and relics from L.A.'s past—L.A. Police Museum, Pasadena Museum of History and the Autry's Historic Southwest Museum. In addition to free entry, you'll find a unique piece of California history displayed at each museum in honor of annual MOTA day. There will be free shuttle service between all six museums. Some of the sites are bike and Gold Line-friendly as well. MOTA Day runs from noon to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.
Forget blogs: Get out from behind your computer screen and into the world of printed lit at L.A. Zine Fest. The all-day event showcases over 175 exhibitors of zines and small press publications from across the country, bringing together the best of SoCal nerds for the exchange of art, ideas and more. Don't miss the fest's free readings and workshops.
Celebrate the history and ethnic diversity of northeast Los Angeles at this annual music, dance and art festival. The three-day affair honors the late Charles Lummis, the journalist who founded the Southwest Museum, hand-built his own home (the Lummis House) and defended Native American rights and culture.
Mark the annual gray whale migration from the shore with a parade and street fair, or sail the ocean to spot the massive marine mammals for yourself.
Celebrate the diversity of L.A.’s artists during the return of Grand Park’s Our L.A. Voices. The free two-day event includes a mix of performance and visual arts, including plays, live music and workshops, all aligned with this year’s theme, “Origin Stories.”
Celebrate Earth Day at Grand Park, the Music Center and DWP with green living demos and activities. Tour Grand Park’s sustainable landscaping, demo electric vehicles, drop off e-waste and join a yoga boot camp. If you live within the city of L.A., free trees will be available on a first come, first served basis.