I n Los Angeles, the high point of the contemporary art calendar fittingly coincides with the climax of the entertainment industry’s awards season. The first-ever edition of Frieze Los Angeles (14–17 February) at Paramount Pictures Studios will feature 68 international galleries, while newcomer Felix LA (14–17 February), organised by collector Dean Valentine (who promises a “fun and intimate vibe”) and dealers Al and Mills Morán, is to be held in the storied Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
stARTup Los Angeles (15–17 February) will be resident at the Kinney Venice Beach hotel, and the 10-year-old Art Los Angeles Contemporary fair in Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar will forsake its usual January slot to join the party (13–17 February). Warming up for the season are the LA Art Show (23–27 January) and Photo LA (31 January–3 February). Beyond the fairs, there are a number of must-see exhibitions being held at museums across the city, rounding off what is sure to be an exciting period.
Charles White’s Legacy
When Charles White died in 1979, he left behind a wealth of works, but perhaps his most significant impact was as a teacher, notably as the first African-American instructor to join the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. The school currently on the site the Otis once occupied is Charles White Elementary School, whose gallery is a satellite space of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where in February White’s retrospective opens after rapturous critical receptions in Chicago and New York. (“Hand of an angel, eye of a sage,” enthused Holland Cotter in The New York Times.) Life Model: Charles White and his Students features works by students including illustrator Corky McCoy and video and performance artist Ulysses Jenkins. Together, they reveal how White taught by example to show diverse ways of forging a path as a black artist.
Life Model: Charles White and his Students, Charles White Elementary School Gallery, 16 February–19 September; Charles White: A Retrospective, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 17 February–9 June
Looking with Lucas
A 2013 graduate of University of California, Los Angeles’ respected Master of Fine Arts programme, photographer Lucas Blalock now lives in New York. He returns to the city he once called home for his first solo institutional show, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, LA, which focuses on work he has made since 2012. Blalock is known for his digitally doctored photographs that upend conventional genres such as the still-life with surreal interventions that, in some cases, render them almost entirely abstract. Shooting first on film with a large-format camera, he then uses Photoshop to expose his role as an image-maker, subverting the idea that editing must be concealed.
Lucas Blalock, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 10 February–22 July
At Home with Adia
The Oakland-based artist Adia Millett’s two- and three-dimensional works conjure often imaginary abstracted domestic surfaces and structures. Her largest mid-career survey to date, opening at the California African American Museum, comprises miniatures, photographs, paintings, quilted textile pieces and photo collages from the past 14 years. A central thread in Millett’s work is the cultural history of African Americans. As she says: “I believe it is extremely important for black communities to see that the range of who we are and what we create expands beyond our bodies.”
Adia Millett: Breaking Patterns, California African American Museum, 5 February–25 August.
Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 20 January–7 April
The American-Swiss duo’s film Flora is part-documentary, part-reconstruction, focusing on the artist Flora Mayo, who had an affair with Giacometti in the 1920s. Mayo’s artistic œuvre has been lost, but her son (who lives near Los Angeles) collaborated with the artists on the two-channel film.
Frieze’s Conversations on Patronage Series: "Expanding the Canon"
Frieze Los Angeles, 15 February, 12:00 PM
Taking as a starting point the research published by In Other Words and artnet News, which examined the representation of African American artists in US museums and the international market, Art Agency, Partners' Charlotte Burns will moderate a conversation with major Californian institutional leaders about the ways in which they are working to broaden the canon, and think specifically about local communities. Participants include Michael Govan (LACMA), Naima Keith (California African American Museum) and Andrew Perchuk (Getty Research Institute).
Allen Ruppersberg: Intellectual Property 1968–2018
Hammer Museum, 10 February–12 May
A major figure of West Coast Conceptualism, Allen Ruppersberg has been a fixture of the Los Angeles art scene since the late 1960s. While his art remains both materially and thematically unpredictable, the artist’s personality – smart, humorous, and wildly irreverent – has remained consistently at its centre.
Fred Eversley: Chromospheres
David Kordansky Gallery, 12 January–2 March
Fred Eversley started his career as an aerospace engineer who worked with NASA in the 1960s. His unusual training gave him the expertise to create highly polished translucent resin sculptures, works that were aligned with the West Coast school of Finish Fetish. Eversley recently signed with David Kordansky Gallery, and Chromospheres is his first show there.
Sprüth Magers Los Angeles, 13 February–23 March
Sculptor Sterling Ruby has not had a solo show in his hometown for a decade, since the Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition that propelled him to superstardom. Details of his Sprüth Magers show were still being finalised at the time of going to print, but it will likely be the talk of Frieze week.