Big weekend on tap for art, and that’s just the beginning

With the new year comes the blast of new art that hits every January. What could be called an “Artapalooza” starts Thursday night with the monthly Downtown L.A. Art Walk.

Saturday brings a high concentration of citywide gallery openings. And the annual Los Angeles Art Show opens at the convention center downtown on Wednesday. “Photo L.A.” opens at the L.A. Mart downtown on Jan. 16. And a new downtown art exhibition space, the Mistake Room, which will feature contemporary artists from around the globe, opens Jan. 18

Culture Monster will be posting dispatches from next week’s L.A. Art Show starting at Wednesday’s artist and celeb-heavy patron party, hosted by Tim Robbins. In the meantime here are a few Saturday evening openings.

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Blum & Poe, which will be opening a much-anticipated Tokyo branch in mid-2014, according to director Ashley Rawlings, will open its first solo exhibition by Japanese artist Nobuo Sekine. The artist was a significant part of Blum and Poe’s 2012 survey of Japanese artists from the ‘60s and ‘70s, “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha” (curated by the Hirshhorn Museum’s Mika Yoshitake, and a selection of which went to New York’s Gladstone Gallery). Sekine’s new show, which opens alongside the work of New York artist Gavin Kenyon, will feature an installation of 24 original sculptures he made in 1978 and 1979, as well as recreations he made in the last few years of his “lost works” from 1968 that are optical illusion-based, plywood and fiberglass sculptures.


The relatively new Prohibition Gallery, which focuses on emerging artists, is featuring the work of Michael Gittes. The artist enjoyed his first solo show of paintings at the gallery in 2011; last year he had a solo show at New York’s Park Avenue Armory and several of his works were acquired by hig- profile collectors (including former or current board members of MOCA, LACMA and the Hammer Museum). “Ladies & Gentleman” features abstract, monochromatic portraits on canvas of five of Gittes’ influences — Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, René Magritte, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Jacques-Louis David — that the artist painted with a syringe.

Honor Fraser’s “Various Peep Shows” features eight new paintings by Los Angeles artist Annie Lapin. This is Lapin’s second solo show at Honor Fraser; her new works are far more architectural in composition than the more impressionistic works she showed at the gallery in 2011. The warm, largely red-blue-yellow-toned new works conjure recurring themes — of memory, ritual and architecture — of the artist’s larger oeuvre.

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The opening of Daniel Joseph Martinez’s “The report of my death is an exaggeration; Memoirs: Of Becoming Narrenschiff” at Roberts & Tilton is his second solo exhibition at the gallery (the first was in 2012) featuring a new body of work weaving more than 30 text paintings, small bonsai tree sculptures, Polaroids and documentary photographs. The L.A.-based artist spent more than three years riding buses around the city and watching passengers for inspiration; the new work reflects the images, overheard dialogue and imagined backgrounds he gathered while on his own version of French philosopher Michel Foucault’s “Narrenschiff,” or “the Ship of Fools.”

Coagula Curatorial puts up “Two Johns and a Whore,” a 12-person group show of paintings and photography curated by artist Lisa Derrick. The show, exploring various aspects of prostitution, also features performances by artist-filmmaker John Roecker and NEA Four member John Fleck. Among the artists in the group show are Anthony Ausgang, Oriana Small (a.k.a. Ashley Blue), Kelly Blunt and Bradford J. Salamon. Pop punk band Johnny and the Madcaps, with music by Roecker, performs opening night.

Regen Projects marks its 25th anniversary in December 2014, and its exhibition of Liz Larner’s work could be considered a celebration of sorts given that the L.A.-based artist was one of the first local artists the gallery connected with back in 1989 when it opened -- Larner first showed there in 1990. At the heart of the show, Larner’s seventh solo show at Regen Projects, are 11 new wall-mounted ceramic sculptures as well as a large-scale, stainless steel X sculpture and the two planchette sculptures. Larner will also show several photographs from a late 1987 series, “Tropicana Hotel,” as well as a “culture” sculpture inoculated in a petri dish.


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