German films of the 1920s in L.A., animated wonders and a poet's circle in Pasadena, plus Andy Warhol in downtown, a Latin American documentary series and an entire festival devoted to exploring the overlap between art and science. It's all happening this week in our big, bad, traffic-choked city:
"Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s," at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This is an off-the-hook intersection of 1920s German film, expressionist art and architectural set-piece (the installation design is by Michael Maltzan Architecture and it alone is worth the price of admission). The exhibition, done in collaboration with La Cinémathèque Française, focuses on film produced in Germany during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and includes photography, set-design concepts and objects related to some of the early 20th century's seminal moving pictures: from "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the first horror movie; to Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," a 1927 sci-fi flick that tells the story of an abusive industrial class that lives off the frequently fatal toil of others. In the age of the 1%, what could be more relevant? Opens Sunday and continues through April 26. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
"Stas Orlovski: Chimera" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Orlovski, a long-time Los Angeles artist, is presenting an elaborate stop-motion animated wall drawing that includes the vintage and the new. The piece layers collages made from Victorian book illustrations along with the artist's own drawings for a work that comes off as an abstracted meditation on nature and the never-ending circle of death and life. The piece is a collaboration with artist Steven Roden (who did the sound), and Beau Leduc (post-production). While you're at the museum, also check out their two other new shows: "An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and Their Circle," which explores the relationship between poet Robert Duncan and painter and collagist Jess Collins, and "Burning Down the House," which focuses on three women photographers who came of age professionally in Southern California in the 1970s. Through Jan. 11. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
"Andy Warhol: Shadows," at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This is Andy Warhol at his most abstract: part of a monumental installation that consisted of roughly 100 silk-screen panels that the artist created of the shadows in his studio in the late 1970s. These aren't images so much as they are swaths of color and lack thereof chronicling the presence and absence of light. This Saturday, the museum also continues its performance series "Step and Repeat," at its Little Tokyo location, with a movement piece by performance artist boychild (done in collaboration with multimedia artist Wu Tsang) and the musical stylings of Psychopop (David Lampley), among many others. "Andy Warhol: Shadows" opens Saturday and continues through Feb. 2 at MOCA Grand Avenue, 250 S. Grand Ave.; "Step and Repeat" takes place Saturdays, Sept. 20, 27 and Oct. 4 from 6 to 11 p.m. at MOCA Geffen, 152 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
Miri Chais, "Re:Mind," at the Fisher Museum of Art. A multimedia artist from Israel who lives in Los Angeles, Chais brings together a number of her boundary-busting works, which explore the intersection between the natural world and technology, to the art museum at USC. These include a range of video and multimedia sculptures that employ everything from lights to plastic to patches of moss. Through Nov. 15, at USC, 823 Exposition Blvd., South Los Angeles, fisher.usc.edu.
"(Extra-ordinary) Los Angeles: Photographs by Benny Chan," at Christopher Mount Gallery. An architectural photography exhibition gathers views of Los Angeles both at ground level and from high above. This includes vistas of freeways, laundromats and even the baggage claim at LAX. Opening reception today at 5 p.m. Continues through Nov. 7 at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Suite B267, West Hollywood, christopherwmountgallery.com.
AxS Festival, "Curiosity," in various locations around Pasadena. The Pasadena Arts Council has organized a 17-day festival that explores the intersection of art and science. This will include sound art installations, DJ nights, presentations about light and perspective, and a monumental immersive piece called "Hyper Rainforest" by Francisco López that is crafted from audio recorded over two decades in rain forests around the world. Also on the lineup are specially designed installations and tours of the historic Gamble House by Machine Project, which will include puppetry and inflatable sculpture. Many events will take place at a temporary architectural installation called "Sphaerae" that has been specially designed by Dutch architect Cocky Eek. Begins Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a sound and light performance by Evelina Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand with L.A. duo Lucky Dragons, at Sphaerae, 450 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, axsfestival.org. Download a handy PDF brochure of all the events.
Ambulante Film Festival, in various locations. Two years ago, actors Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna along with two associates launched a festival in their native Mexico geared at showcasing Latin American documentary talent. They have brought the concept to L.A. and will screen almost two dozen docs on a variety of topics, from music to the environment to the Puerto Rican guy from the Bronx who works as an Obama impersonator. Starts Sunday at 7 p.m., with screenings of "Bronx Obama" and "Ink and Paper," at the MacArthur Park Bandshell, 2230 W. 6th St., Westlake. Continues through Oct. 4 in locations around L.A. ambulantecalifornia.com.