Summer seemed to be 500 days this year indeed, and while technically it lasts for a few more weeks, Labor Day turns the collective psyche towards autumn – and with it a new art season in September. This week, a number of galleries are opening big new shows, many with all-day, masked, socially distant opening receptions, or at least with dates available from the opening day. But there is still plenty of excellent online, virtual, and social media-based work to enjoy from home, as well as a month-long, cross-platform, all-city indie arts festival and group show that covers Hollywood – and WeHo billboards.
Friday September 4th
Helen Rae at the Tierra del Sol gallery. Helen Rae was nearing 80 when her art career finally began. As a member of the First Street Art Center community (an advanced studio for adults with developmental disabilities in Upland), Rae may seem like an unlikely darling of the art world. But the strikingly original, viscerally refined, expressionist and even Fauvist line and color of her fashion-inspired portraits defy both expectations and conventions. With wit and skill, Rae transforms iconic couture ads into emotionally and visually rich works that have caught audiences across the country, and indeed around the world. At 82, Rae didn't slow down a bit. Be ready when an exhibition of your impressive new works opens. Tierra del Sol Gallery, 945 Chung King Rd., Chinatown; by appointment from September 4th to October 23rd; tierradelsolgallery.org.
Ariel Vargassal: Fables of Emotional and Physical Displacement at BBAX. The painter Ariel Vargassal combines style elements from pop, surrealism and magical realism in sharply depicted microfabels of the human condition. In each tableau, the figures are accompanied by counterparts of domestic and wild animals, the presence of which signals a deeper meaning. Every detail of costume, creature, and sometimes confectionery signals that the scene, despite its plausible representation, is a metaphor. Color is saturated and therefore emotional. Enjoy an exhibition of new works for the modern moment to delight in their beauty, marvel at their strangeness and marvel at their meaning of the message. Building Bridges Art Exchange, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; by appointment Friday, September 4th and Saturday, September 5th, 12pm – 5pm buildingbridgesartexchange.org.
Saturday 5th September
The Bendix Building Collective: high beam. At this one-night event as part of the Maiden LA Crosstown Arts Festival, the studio artists of the Bendix Building, members of the resident collectives, and many of the tenant galleries come together for a socially distant exhibition on the roof of a neighboring parking garage in the downtown fashion district . Complemented by a downloadable guide that goes into greater detail on the artists and the entirety of the sculptures shown in this sinuous installation, visitors can and should stay in their cars for this evening to drive around in the open-air space. 401 East 12th St., downtown; Saturday, September 5th, 8pm to 10pm; free; High beam.art.
Duke Riley: Far away at the Charlie James Gallery. In drawings, mosaics, videos, performances, and even scrimshaws, Duke Riley combines wistful but politically pre-eminent investigations into the role of the artist in society with images that deal with the fate of maritime and waterfront urban culture wiped out by rampant development has been. Riley's work uses maritime traditions as emblems of the energy of a lost way of life, evoking both history and allegory in sad, warning, beautiful, ideological and inventive works. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown; September 5th – October 17th by appointment; cjamesgallery.com.
Poetry in color: a virtual slam inspired by Julie Mehretu at LACMA. This streaming poetry slam is based on the groundbreaking exhibition Julie Mehretu, which many could visit in earlier times, but which will unfortunately be closed on September 17th before the museum reopens to the public. While Mehretu's work is characterized by a generative abstraction based on aspects of colonialism and capitalist history and their manifestations in architecture, landscape and the movements of peoples, the presented poets Fisseha Moges, Yaw Kyeremateng and Tonya Ingram examine the dynamics associated with them by conveying the spoken word. Saturday, September 5th, 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm; free; Instagram Live.
Sunday September 6th
Dorian Wood: Enthusiasm at ICA LA. Musician, artist, performer and non-binary avant-garde icon Dorian Wood is celebrating the release of a new full-length album with a live-stream performance from the ICA. Ardor joined HR in June and reflects the moment of displacement and trauma in quarantine that we all experience alone and together when we are some distance away. Cathartic and intense with love and loss, in the end it gives way to hope. "Ardor is a love letter to activists and to all of us who are doing everything we can to survive in this day and age," says Wood. "(It is) supposed to encourage both acts of resistance and self-reflection." Sunday, September 6th, noon; theicala.org.
Monday, September 7th (Labor Day)
Be a #ArtsHero Arts Workers Unite Day of Action. Be a #ArtsHero is an intersectional grassroots campaign composed of arts and cultural workers, unions and institutions across the United States urging the Senate to provide reasonable relief to the arts and culture sectors of the American economy. On Labor Day, the campaign calls for adequate relief for the arts and culture sector and organizes a nationwide network of demonstrations as the arts workers demand that their elected representatives stand up for art and cultural institutions and the communities they center. You'll also be featured on Instagram Live as artists, art professionals, and culturally conscious celebrities call their senators on IGTV at BeAnArtsHero. The day ends with a live-stream conversation, The Ghostlight Panel: Changing the Conversation on the Creative Industries to discuss the socio-economic impact of the arts and culture sectors in the United States. With the arts and culture sectors adding $ 877 billion in value to our economy, there should be a lot to talk about. beanartshero.com.
SaveArtSpace presents Looking Forward // Queer Futures. A billboard-based public art exhibition curated by Mich Miller, Sky Cubacub and Rebecca Shippee, the scattered installations of works by Brendan Shea, Ari Salka, Marne Lucas, Toni Smalls, Daniel Alejandro Trejo, Hannah Rubin, CJ Miller and Duff Norris. Bailey Davenport and Dustin Steuck examine the many faces of the queer community with a view to an inclusive collective future. "Queer" is used as an identity and community term for non-normativity – both a celebration and a complaint, "say the curators. Start the week of August 24th and install it in most locations for a month. Look forward to it for the sudden appearance of awesome, fabulous, and funny angels guarding our thoroughfares Hollywood, WeHo, and Mid-City. saveartspace.org/queerfutures.
Maiden L.A. 2020. The 2020 inclusive edition of Maiden L.A. is an inclusive, decentralized arts festival held in locations across Los Angeles County. It includes around 75 projects, about half of which are in-person and the rest are online. Some highlights include a crossword scavenger hunt that takes you around town for clues, a hand washing memorial for key workers, a screening that shows 32 kaiju films at once, a number of open artist studio presentations and performances, as well as one Exhibition in the Arts Colony-Fechten brewery, a selfie station with positive confirmation, a web-based video-based storytelling project, an outdoor bombing of a local museum on site, the one-night high-beam drive-through parking lot for garage roofs (see above), a two day boat and bridge in the wetlands, a hybrid VR / IRL project about the psyche emerging into the world, and a series of exhibitions and events about the poignant, evolving and ever-urgent idea of "home". September 1-20; different times; different places; maiden.la/2020.