L.A. Due for a Flurry of Winter Art Shows

Courtesy of LA Art Show 2017/William Vazquez

The season's events include a film about Ed Ruscha's missing rock, life or death with Iggy Pop and photos of the Lovings, who broke racial barriers.

Now in its 22nd year, the L.A. Art Show returns this week with 90 galleries from over 18 countries representing modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, works on paper and photography. As a prelude to autumn’s expansive “Pacific Standard Time LA/LA” show, an estimated 70,000 visitors will enjoy exhibits focusing on Latin American art. Courtesy of LACMA, MOCA, Museum Of Latin American Art, Muzeo Anaheim, The Autry and UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, programming will showcase contemporary art presented and made in L.A.

Special exhibitions include the minimalist Korean form, Dansaekwha, by the genre’s top practitioners, Kim Tae-Ho and Kim Tschang-Yeul. Louis Hock’s “a wall” will divide the fair like a border, reminding viewers of Donald Trump’s campaign promise, while Argentine art collective Doma will provide a sculptural installation referencing the “L.A. Dream.” Panel discussions include “CUBA: Behind the Wall,” about the artists of the 2015 Havana Biennial, as well as a talk on "Pacific Standard Time LA/LA." MOCA director Philippe Vergne will sit down with L.A. Art Show producer Kim Martindale about the making of Jeffrey Koons’ limited edition, “Balloon Dog.”

As in past years, proceeds from the opening night gala will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The event runs Jan 11-15 at the L.A. Convention Center, West Hall, in downtown L.A.

Celebrating its 26th season, Photo L.A. is expected to draw more than 10,000 visitors viewing art from over 40 exhibitors. Included are Grey Villet’s Life Magazine photos of Richard and Mildred Loving, subjects of the film Loving, about the end of laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Also on view will be “Tony Vaccaro: War, Peace, Beauty,” featuring World War II images taken by the 94-year-old Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. Docent tours include Ryan Linkof, associate curator at The Academy Museum, due to open in 2019, and the Getty’s Arpad Kovac, whose, “Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media” is currently on exhibit. A broad array of discussions will cover topics like inkjet printing, travel and nature photography.

Opening night proceeds benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the Lucie Foundation, dedicated to emerging photographers, with the event running Jan. 12-15 at The Reef/LA Mart in downtown L.A.

The search for an artwork by L.A. master Ed Ruscha that may not even exist is chronicled in the new documentary, Where is Rocky II?, which gets its U.S. premiere at LACMA's Bing Theater on Jan. 13. Oscar-winner Pierre Bismuth (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), hired a retired detective to find an artificial boulder created by Ruscha in the late 1970s and placed among real boulders somewhere in the Mojave Desert. A Q&A follows with the film's principal characters, but not Ruscha. Bismuth will have a private sit-down with him in the days that follow, their first-ever meeting. 

Sotheby's Institute of Art and The Broad Stage kick off a new series of art talks the following weekend with L.A. Legends — A Conversation With California Art Icons, drawing together a dream-team of artists like Ruscha, Ed Moses, Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and Billy Al Bengston, pioneers of the seminal Ferus Gallery. It is one night only, Jan. 18, at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica.

A pop-up show that has occurred more than 200 times in 30 cities worldwide, the Pancakes & Booze Art Show features over 125 emerging local artists. Since 2009, this showcase staged in a warehouse draws roughly 1,000 visitors annually, with live music, body painting, multimedia displays, and, of course, pancakes. It'll run Jan. 20-21 at Lot 613, Imperial Street, downtown L.A.

Not just paintings but performance, soundworks and screenings all are part of Art Los Angeles Contemporary (ALAC). Featuring 60 local and international galleries, including newcomers from Asia and Latin America, this unusual mix will include composer William Basinski’s piece “Disintegration Loops” and performance artist Puppies Puppies employing readymade mascot costumes commenting on the commonplace from a queer perspective. Performance artist Todd Gray will recall a near-death experience involving rock icon Iggy Pop while the two were living in Laurel Canyon during the mid-'70s. And producer Roger Corman and actor Mary Woronov will discuss their work and its impact on counter-cultural esthetics from the '60s onward. The event will take place Jan. 26-29 at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Thirty-seven artists from across the U.S. will converge on Hollywood’s Highland Gardens Hotel for stARTup Art Fair Los Angeles, a site-specific event set in hotel rooms converted into galleries. Co-founded in 2015 by San Francisco artists Ray Beldner and Steve Zavattero, the fair is marking its second year in L.A. Only independent artists unaffiliated with commercial galleries qualify, eliminating the middleman and giving creators 100 percent of the money generated from sales. The fair will be Jan. 27-29 at Highland Gardens Hotel, 7047 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.

In the past decade, art books have become nearly as collectible as the artwork in their pages, which is why Printed Matter is gearing up for its fifth Annual L.A. Art Book Fair. Last year, some 35,000 gathered to check out books, catalogs, monographs, periodicals and zines from over 300 international publishers, booksellers, antiquarians and artists from 22 countries. Preview night features a musical performance by Seth Bogart and Kembra Pfahler from The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The book fair will be at Geffen Contemporary MOCA in downtown L.A. from Feb. 23-26.