Posts tagged Los Angeles
There Used to Be Vacant Lots by Fiona Bryson
The explosive growth of Skid Row in the late 1970s and 1980s, simultaneous with the dismantling of the welfare state under Reagan, was preceded by the erasure of downtown's Bunker Hill neighborhood. The ensuing commercial redevelopment moved affordable housing away from the city’s center, further increasing the racial and economic segregation already prevalent in L.A.'s DNA. In "There Used to Be Vacant Lots," Fiona Bryson charts the legacy of downtown artists who lived and worked alongside Skid Row's unhoused throughout the 1980s, observing, activating, and creating community within L.A.'s forgotten spaces.
People At Parties by Gracie Hadland
Photographer Reynaldo Rivera’s documentation of the Los Angeles party scene in the 1990s serves as artifact and aspiration—conditions writer Grace Hadland desires in her essay, “People At Parties.” Through Rivera's lens emerged atmospheric images of queer and Latinx subcultures that unfolded behind the stages of drag bars like Silverlake Lounge and Mugy’s, inspiring a yearning for the past amidst today’s lackluster digital landscape.
Artists at Work: Sara Issakharian by Sola Saar Agustsson
Sara Issakharian is a mixed-media painter based between Los Angeles and Berlin. Born and raised in Tehran, her work takes up themes such as the grief of emigration, women’s oppression, and state violence. Her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, ‘There’s a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there,’ which opened at Tanya Leighton Gallery in August 2021, explores the duality of light and darkness. Her work will be included in an upcoming group exhibition, “Abstract Now,” at SITE131 in Dallas, Texas.
Dance of the Wild Men: Felix Art Fair 2021 by Claudia Ross
Emulating its script, the fair itself unfolded as a site-specific theatre in which guests, gallerists, and artists promenaded between the works on view. The ensuing performance was equal parts decadent and mannered, aware of its own elaborate display. Cocktails went for $15 and Felix-themed beach balls filled the Roosevelt’s Hockney lagoon. A small camera crew tailed Jerry Saltz. Eric Andre and Hunter Biden were in attendance. And the party! The pool! The margaritas! If glamour—and all its painful self-consciousness—were a genre, this would be it.
Artists at Work: Sula Bermúdez-Silverman by Sola Saar Agustsson
Sula Bermúdez-Silverman is a multidisciplinary artist whose work uses assemblage, sculpture, and videography to interrogate economic, racial, religious, and gendered systems of power. Her current exhibition at the California African American Museum of Art, Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl, combines found objects with dollhouses made of sugar, exploring the artist’s ancestral connection to Puerto Rican sugar plantations and the crop’s relationship to invisible economic powers. Her exhibition at Murmurs Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, Sighs and Leers and Crocodile Tears, is also currently on view.
“All Done with Mirrors”: On Frieze and Lies in Los Angeles by Gracie Hadland
"Singin’ in the Rain," one of the first films I ever saw, loomed over my thoughts during Frieze Los Angeles. In its second west coast iteration, the art fair took place at the historic Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Top tier galleries set up white box booths in a tent laden with plush carpet at the entrance — the color of the year was a deep pink. Smaller L.A. galleries and artist project spaces occupied the row in the back of the tent. It was what I imagine a convention to be like — fanatics selling wares and displaying their newest oddities in a big civic arena flooded with fluorescent light, albino lizards, and unique species of scorpions. This was an Art Expo, the World Fair.
A Clear Presence by Aisha Sabatini Sloan
I tried to write an essay about David Hockney and Rodney King once, before King passed away. While doing research, I became obsessed by a particular painting that Hockney had created of a Beverly Hills housewife. Painted one year after the 1966 Watts riots, Hockney's housewife gazes idly outside the range of the portrait. She is miles away from the action, likely captured at a different time of year, but I want badly to imagine that she can hear the sound of sirens. I wish that she could at least smell the smoke.