Newsletter: Essential Arts: Why are four L.A. spaces celebrating a radical San Francisco gallery?

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It’s that time of summer when things get a little bit San Francisco and a lot heavy metal. I’m Los Angeles Times staff writer Carolina Miranda with the week’s essential arts news:

A vibrant art lesson

Several art galleries around Los Angeles — including the Landing, Parker Gallery, Marc Selwyn Fine Art and Parrasch Heijnen — are collectively exploring the history of the influential Dilexi, the gallery launched by Jim Newman above a San Francisco jazz club in the 1960s that once featured the work of a singular mix of artists that included Joe Goode, Tony DeLap and Jay DeFeo. “Professional nonconformism,” writes Times contributor Leah Ollman, “seems to have been the gallery’s ethos.”

In the galleries

At Kayne Griffin Corcoran, L.A. photographer Anthony Hernandez is displaying 16 inkjet prints that capture the city through the screens of bus stop shelters. The effect, writes Times contributor David Pagel, is to turn L.A.’s streets into mirages: “Storefronts, apartments, plazas, stoplights, billboards, tents and pedestrians have the presence of apparitions.” Last week, I talked with Hernandez about his process.


Pagel also reviews Orkideh Torabi‘s silkscreen paintings of “male indulgence” at Richard Hellery Gallery and “Voice of America: The Long Reach of Shortwave” at the Center for Land Use Interpretation, an exhibition that examines the infrastructure of shortwave radio transmissions that raises “assumptions about the role of government — and a free press — in a democracy.

Notre Dame has survived a revolution and a world war, but the fire that ravaged the French cathedral on April 15 has done untold damage. A new show at the Getty Museum pays tribute to this important architectural symbol of French identity with an exhibition of images drawn largely from its collection.

In the museums

For years, Oregon real estate magnate Jordan D. Schnitzer has been collecting works on paper by L.A. artist John Baldessari. Seventy-one of these have now landed at the Laguna Art Museum for the exhibition “I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art: Prints by John Baldessari,” which is drawn entirely from his holdings. Of Baldessari and his works, says Schnitzer, he appreciates “the human spirit, the creativity of his mind.

In the meantime, Times contributor Lisa Fung profiles sculptor Elizabeth Turk, who recently unveiled an installation at the Catalina Island Museum. The work, titled “Tipping Point,” explores serious questions of ecology and extinction — all inspired by the artist’s ongoing fascination in birds. Says Turk: “We want to get everyone to think about extinction and our part in it.”

Elizabeth Turk explores ideas of extinction in her latest installation, "Tipping Point," on Catalina Island.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

On the stage

Times theater critic Charles McNulty caught a “bewitching” performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine‘s musical “Into the Woods” at the Hollywood Bowl. “My wish is that this production could have run longer than three performances,” he writes. “I almost feel guilty for being one of the lucky ones to have caught what deserves to become a legendary Los Angeles memory.”

Shanice Williams, left, as Little Red Riding Hood and Cheyenne Jackson as the Wolf in "Into the Woods."
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

McNulty also writes about two plays that are finding innovative ways to explore the fraught status of the black body in U.S. society: Geraldine Inoa’s “Scraps” at the Matrix Theatre and Dianna M. Daniel’s “Gunshot Medley: Part 1” at the Electric Lodge. These are works that “refuse to stick to conventional pathways.” Narrative coherence, he writes, “implies progress, development, resolution. How do you advance a plot involving characters whose experiences keep reminding them that some things never change?

Plus, F. Kathleen Foley reports on the Independent Shakespeare Co.’s modern re-imagination of “Twelfth Night” for the Griffith Park Shakespeare Festival (on view through Sept. 1) — a work that is “not so much an updating as a delightful defilement.”

Classical notes

Times classical music critic Mark Swed has long argued that Los Angeles is overdue for a serious summer music festival. But a more ad-hoc “quintessentially L.A. music festival might have begun percolating downtown.” He is referring to the collective blast of programs being delivered this season by Piano Spheres, Monday Evening Concerts, REDCAT’s New Original Works festival and the Summer Academy of Composition, led by the new musical ensemble wasteLAnd. “This kind of programming is the stuff of a summer festival,” he writes. “And this is a city that wants one. Or how about two?

Vicki Ray, right, plays the harmonium during Monday Evening Concerts' "Music as Existential Experience" at Hauser & Wirth against a backdrop of art by Guillermo Kuitca.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Swed also writes about the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which had a two-day stint at the Hollywood Bowl this week, with a program that included Beethoven and Brahms, and returns Tuesday with a Mozart concert. “Together, maestro and his hand-picked musicians from Budapest’s best and brightest and least complacent, take everything they do with utmost seriousness,” he writes, “and their Bowl debut was no exception.”

Pawning art

Times business reporter Laurence Darmiento has a fascinating report on Art Lending Fund LLC, a Westwood investment fund run by L.A. money manager Alan Snyder that offers loans to the highbrow set. The collateral? Art. This makes Synder “one of the latest entrants in a growing but volatile corner of the art market,” writes Darmiento, “where the mingling of fine art and big money is attracting more and more financial players looking for an angle.”

Alan C. Snyder is captured in a reflection of a poster of a painting by French artist Camille Bouchet in his Los Angeles office.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)


Carlos Cruz-Diez, a pioneer of kinetic and color field art, has died at the age of 95. The Venezuelan-born artist, who lived in Paris, was known in Los Angeles for the colorful geometric installation he designed for the crosswalk outside the Broad museum. The BBC has a good visual round-up of his mind-bending installations.

Carlos Cruz-Diez crosswalk Broad museum
A man walks along a pedestrian crossing painted by Carlos Cruz-Diez in 2017.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

Hal Prince, the Broadway director and producer who oversaw groundbreaking works such as “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Cabaret,” racking up 21 Tony Awards in the process, has died at 91. Charles McNulty pays tribute to the man who “made the musical modern,” reinvigorating the art form “with sex, politics and a conceptual sleekness that seized the imagination of a more liberated generation.”


New York Times theater critic Jesse Green remembers spending a summer as an apprentice to the director known as the “Dark Prince” — working on a notorious dud called “A Doll’s Life.” “Flop or hit,” Green writes, “he would gather his team on the morning after opening night, as he had for decades, to plan his next show.”

Ready for the weekend

I’ve got L.A.’s art happenings in my weekly Datebook, which includes an anniversary show at Park View / Paul Soto and kid-friendly interactive experience at Japan House Los Angeles.

Matt Cooper has his weekend picks, as well as the week ahead in music, art, theater and dance, including a choreography by Chris Emile that tackles the plight of refugees.

In other news...

Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project is launching a fall dance festival that will feature six world premieres by choreographers, including Kyle Abraham, Jacob Jonas and Janie Taylor.

— L.A. is known for its Millard Sheets murals. Now they are disappearing.

— After more than three decades, Arlene Owseichik is retiring as art director of San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore music hall.

— Hitler looted art. Desperate Germans looted Hitler. The Central Institute for Art in Munich has conducted the first comprehensive investigation on the subject.

— How the Guggenheim Museum is telling the story of a little-known work by Jean-Michel Basquiat.


Gensler proposes a temporary worship pavilion for outside of Notre Dame.

Paul Rudolph’s historic Milam Residence in Florida is on the market — for a cool $4.45 mil.

Daniel Grant has an interesting look at how museums — such as LACMA — use bonds to fund expansions.

And last but not least...

What you need is a little bit of heavy metal with your conceptual art. Thankfully, L.A. artist Gary Cannone delivers — via a book and exhibition that is landing at Arcana books in Culver City this weekend.