The Fourth of July is upon us (not to mention the last week or so of the World Cup), which means the next few days will likely be filled with hot dogs, beer and illegal fireworks. But that doesn't mean that the artsies aren't doing their thing. We've got Japanese tattoos, modern kimono, whimsical performances, a documentary about fútballer Diego Maradona and David Hockney's colorful iPad landscapes — all of it going down now:
Emily Mast, at Night Gallery. Mast created a series of performances in March at the L.A. County Museum of Art using the poetry of Catalan writer Joan Brossa as a point of inspiration. It was a joyous happening, as if someone had pureed theater and performance art and added a dash of Vaudeville. Now Mast, who is one of the featured artists at the Hammer Museum's "Made in L.A." biennial, is using her own writings as a point of departure. Should be strange and fun. Saturday at 8 p.m., 2276 E. 16th St., downtown Los Angeles, nightgallery.ca.
A screening of "Maradona," at the Hammer Museum. The World Cup is raging and Argentina is still in the running (its next match is on Saturday at 9 a.m., against those Belgians who beat the U.S.). Which makes it a fine time to catch a screening of Emir Kusturica's documentary about one of the world's most incredible players: the inspiring and the infuriating Argentinean Diego Maradona. Thursday at 7:30 p.m., 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.
"Kimono for a Modern Age," the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I always love any excuse to go into the strange and totally '70s Bruce Goff-designed Japanese pavilion at LACMA (now celebrating its 25th anniversary) and this show provides an excellent reason to do so. The exhibition looks at the kimono from the first half of the 20th century, when this traditional garment began to modernize, with weavers introducing synthetic dyes and patterns inspired by Art Deco and Abstract Expressionism. For thread heads, this should be a good one. Opens Saturday through Oct. 19. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World," at the Japanese American National Museum. In an age in which tattoos have become de rigueur apparel, it's worth taking a step back to think about some of the traditions that have influenced the looks we see today. One of the most popular is the Japanese style with its seething dragons, fierce warriors and its clear references to Japanese print-making. This show takes a look at that style, along with some of its most vaunted contemporary practicioners. A good place to get lost in design. Through Sept. 14, 100 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, janm.org.
"The Legacy of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company: More Than a Business," at the California African American Museum. You've got just a few more weeks to see this intriguing exhibition of work collected by the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, one of the largest black-owned insurance companies west of the Mississippi. Put together by artist Bill Pajaud over decades, it is the rare corporate collection focused on work by African American artists. Unfortunately, Golden State went bankrupt in 2007 and auctioned off a significant portion of its collection (read the full story here), but what remains tells an interesting story about creativity, mobility and entrepreneurship among African Americans in the 20th century. Through July 31, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
"Inertia," a night of chamber music and solo performances organized by Kevin Taylor, at South of Sunset. A wonderful way to ease out of a holiday weekend: a little bit of chamber music led by Taylor, who also serves as the ensemble's trombonist. Sunday at 7 p.m., 1218 W. Temple St., Echo Park, southofsunset.la.