Culture: High & Low
With Carolina A. Miranda
Datebook: Metal combines, photo-and-tin collages, art in a park

Robert Rauschenberg gets heavy metal at Gagosian, Tony Berlant takes to tin at L.A. Louver and Michelle Andrade opens up a show of her notebook drawings at Charlie James. Plus, there’s outdoor sculptural installations and giant wall paintings of dots. Here’s what happening in our dried-out city this weekend:

Robert Rauschenberg, “Works on Metal,” at Gagosian. Rauschenberg is known for his wild experimentations with multimedia collage and assemblage (“combines” he called them) that employ everything from cardboard to pillows to a stuffed goat. This show gathers his works in metal, produced in the 1980s and ‘90s. Opening reception 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday. On view through Dec. 13. 456 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, gagosian.com.

Tony Berlant, “Close to Home,” at L.A. Louver. Longtime L.A. artist Berlant will be showing his latest collages, which include a wide range of materials. The series on view consists of photographs the artist took within the vicinity of his Santa Monica home and then...

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Café Tacvba lead singer on Mexico violence: 'We live between mafias'

There are albums. And then there are seminal albums. The kind that mark a before and after point in music, the sort whose influence is long-running and far-reaching. In the world of Latin American rock, that album is "Re," a 20-song release from 1994 by the Mexico City band Café Tacvba (pronounced "Tacuba").

"Re," with its jangling mix of musical styles and vocals that went from growls to wails, helped define what a distinctly Latin American rock could sound like. The album took a mind-bogglingly number of musical styles — pop, hard-driving punk, testosterone rock guitar, springy ska, synth-infused New Wave and the oompa sounds of Mexican brass — put them in a musical blender, and hit "liquefy."

With smart, biting lyrics that touched on love, loss, hate, politics and even modernism, the album was hailed by the New York Times as "the equivalent of the Beatles' White Album for the Rock en Español movement." In the Los Angeles Times, influential critic Josh Kun dubbed it a "landmark." And...

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Like Black Friday but way cuter: First Hello Kitty Con opens in L.A.

Take the merch-grabbing madness of a Thanksgiving Day sale. Add flouncy skirts and lots of pink. Mix with diabetes-inducing levels of cuteness (not to mention candy). That about sums up the first day at Hello Kitty Con, which opened in downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo on Thursday morning. 

The first ever convention devoted exclusively to Japan's famous mouthless icon — not a cat, despite her name — is being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art's sprawling Geffen building. Its first day of business drew thousands of attendees in all manner of creative Kitty-themed ensembles.

Organizers estimate that a total of roughly 5,500 people will be in attendance the first day. They expect a total of about 25,000 over the convention's four-day span. (It runs through Sunday.) Among various high-profile guests was pop star Katy Perry, who arrived for a visit late in the day.

The convention includes performances, interactive experiences and booths bursting with Hello Kitty-themed merchandise, from...

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Organizer of criticized World Wide Art Fair: 'We made mistakes'

In a universe where talk about art seems to revolve around auction records and sold-out solo shows, it can come as a bracing bucket of ice water when things don't go quite so well. Case in point: the World Wide Art Fair, staged at the Los Angeles Convention Center Oct. 16-19. 

The fair featured more than 60 exhibitors from all over the world. But as first reported by Catherine Wagley in the L.A. Weekly, the fair drew such low attendance (1,800 people over nearly four days) that by the second day, the organizers had waived the $20 admission fee — without much success.

Worse yet: The majority (roughly three quarters) of the exhibitors were individual emerging artists, flying in from places like China and Mexico. To participate, artists or their sponsoring organizations had to shoulder travel, shipping and setup costs. Plus, there was the expense of the booth rentals: the fee for the show's smallest space was listed on the art fair's website as $5,069.

"There was almost no one in the hall...

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A gallery so small it fits in a box: Annetta Kapon's Proxy

Over the decades, it seems that the art world has found ever more inventive places to stage shows. In the 1950s, L.A. curator Walter Hopps staged an exhibition on the Santa Monica Pier. In the early '90s, Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist held a show in his northeast Switzerland kitchen. Italian prankster-artist Maurizio Cattelan in the early 2000s, along with curators Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick (the latter of whom now works at the Hammer Museum), opened the Wrong Gallery, a New York space that consisted of just a few square feet behind a permanently locked glass door. Then there's the Museum of Everyday Objects in the space of an old elevator shaft on New York's Cortlandt Alley.

But a professor at the Otis College of Art and Design may have them all beat. Annetta Kapon, who teaches at the school's graduate fine arts department, runs a gallery in a box. A box that measures roughly 1 foot square.

Proxy Gallery, as the space is known, hangs on the second floor of the college's...

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Roundup: Protests at CalArts; Eli Broad's museum; Robbie Conal at LAX

Eli Broad's museum is set to open next year, students protest sexual assault policies at CalArts, Detroit's art collection survives another financial hurdle, rich people get a private dinner at the Sistine Chapel, and Marina Abramovic's latest in New York. Plus: poster artist Robbie Conal takes on LAX, Eric Owen Moss takes on Culver City, and I take on one totally insane Korean music video. It's the Roundup:

— Starting with the serious stuff: the Center for Investigative Reporting has a terrific story on human trafficking in the tech world … in comic book format

CalArts students protest the university’s handling of a student’s rape allegation. The L.A. Times reported on the protest here.  

— Plus, moving on to the issue of university labor: Carol Cheh at Another Righteous Transfer reports on a gathering of Los Angeles academics, students and art workers to talk about the growing insecurity faced by poorly paid adjunct faculty.

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FOR THE RECORD

Oct. 31, 7:28 a.m.: An...

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