Your Concise Art Guide to Los Angeles for February 2022

A number of talented Los Angeles artists are holding major solo shows this month, including contemporary artists EJ Hill and Ulysses Jenkins, and key figures in the Chicano art movement, Carlos Almaraz and Richard Duardo. If you love art fairs, February hosts three, and don’t miss the Getty’s fascinating exhibition on art and anatomy.

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Matthew Thomas, “Kingdoms of Intentions” (2016), acrylic on wood, 72 x 49 inches (image courtesy of the artist)

When: February 5–August 7
Or: California African American Museum (CAAM) (600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles)

Matthew Thomas began studying Eastern religions in the late 1960s, and his works over the past 50 years reflect a deep and lifelong engagement with Buddhist spiritual practices and ways of thinking. These take the form of brightly colored geometric abstractions filled with sacred symbols borrowed not only from Buddhism, but from many cultures and religions, a sort of roadmap to enlightenment. Her solo exhibition at CAAM will feature recent paintings capturing her ideas of universal harmony as well as a site-specific installation.

jamal cyrus and Sara Cwynar at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles

Jamal Cyrus, “Pride Frieze—Jerry White’s Record Shop, Central Avenue, Los Angeles” (2005–2017), album cover collage, acrylic paint, plywood, wax, plexiglass, 121 ¼ × 126 ½ × 12 inches (image courtesy of the artist and Inman Gallery, Houston, photo by Adam Neese)

When: February 5–May 29
Or: Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1717 East 7th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

ICA LA opens two exciting exhibitions simultaneously: the first museum study of Jama Cyrus and a presentation of Sara Cwynar’s most recent video works. Cyrus’ exhibition spans two decades of his work, including sculptures, assemblages and textiles that undermine African-American identity, with a particular focus on record store culture. Cwynar’s videos, which include essay-style films, include a six-channel installation titled “Glass Life” (2021) and a video about the color red as a symbol of beauty.

Ulysses Jenkins, “Documentation of Rehearsal Without Your Interpretation” (1984), color print. 3 1/2 × 5 inches (image courtesy of the artist)

When: February 6–May 15
Or: Hammer Museum (10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood, Los Angeles)

Without your interpretation is the first major retrospective of pioneering video and performance artist Ulysses Jenkins. The exhibition spans 50 years of work by the Los Angeles-based artist, who dubbed himself a “video griot,” a moniker that reflects a fusion of oral and musical traditions with forms of mass media. Beginning with the collective he founded in the early 70s, Video Venice News, through collaborations with artists like David Hammons and Senga Nengudi, and his own solo projects, Jenkins’ work engages the media in the application of white supremacy systems, while showing the potential of video and technology to deliver independent narratives.

EJ Hill, “Good Evening” (2022), 61 x 50 3/4 inches (image courtesy of the artist and OXY ARTS, Los Angeles, photo by Ian Byers-Gamber)

When: From February 17 to April 22
Or: Oxy Arts (4757 York Boulevard, Highland Park, Los Angeles)

A guiding line in EJ Hill’s work is an emphasis on representation and visibility, especially for those who have previously been marginalized and excluded from cultural spaces. For the Hammer Museum Made in LA In 2018, this took the form of a grueling long-running performance, in which Hill stood on a catwalk for every hour the museum was open for the duration of the exhibition. With Wherever we want to take root, Hill pivots to a less physically demanding tactic rooted in healing, rebirth and joy. The exhibition features 13 large-scale floral paintings, produced during her 2021 Wanlass artist residency at Oxy Arts, depicting a provocative act of “non-conformity to expectations built around certain bodies and their cultural production”, as notes Meldia Yesayan, director of Oxy Arts.

Ben Sakoguchi, “Towers” (2014) (image courtesy of Bel Ami)

When: Frieze and Félix: February 18-20; Spring/Holiday Art Exhibition: February 17-20
Or: Friesland: 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA; Felix: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, Los Angeles); Spring/Holiday Art Show: Skylight Culver City (5880 Adams Boulevard, Culver City)

After a pandemic-related hiatus last year, Frieze LA is back. The third LA edition of the international art fair will bring together 100 galleries from 17 countries, including 38 from Los Angeles. Offering a more curated selection than the main section, Amanda Hunt, director of public programs and creative practice at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, curated Focus LA, dedicated to 11 younger local spaces, including Garden, Gattopardo, In Lieu, Stanley’s and Bel Am. A big change is the venue, which will move from the iconic Paramount Studios lot at 9900 Wilshire in Beverly Hills, next to the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Eric Andre at the Anat Ebgi booth during Felix 2021. Neon Peacock by Greg Ito. (photo by Mike Vitelli)

Felix, the relatively rambling and laid-back alternative to Frieze, returns to the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, just six months after the 2021 edition. Some 60 international galleries will occupy the pool cabanas (painted by David Hockney) and the suites of tower. Participating galleries ranging from established veterans to young upstarts include Gavlak, Jack Hanley Gallery, PPOW, Chris Sharp Gallery, Nicodim and Nonaka-Hill. And a third edition of the Spring/Break Art Show is coming to a 30,000 square foot warehouse in Culver City with 50 immersive installations (their installations tend to be Actually immersive).

OG Abel (Abel Izaguirre), “Love & Hate” (August 19, 2012), graphite on paper in LA Liber Amicorum / Graffiti Black Book (Los Angeles, 2012), Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (gift of Ed and Brandy Sweeney © OG Abel)

When: February 22–July 10
Or: Getty Center (1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles)

The body is beautiful and incredibly complex – it’s no wonder it’s been the subject of art for centuries. This exhibit examines art and anatomy from the 16th century to the present day, including scientific illustrations, anatomical sculptures, and 3D stereoscopic photographs.

Nathan Gulick, “Not Long for This World” (detail) (image courtesy of the artist)

When: until February 20
Or: Monte Vista Projects (1206 Maple Ave, #523, Downtown, Los Angeles)

In the United States, the promises of freedom, prosperity and independence have largely been made possible by a robust infrastructure system. Conversely, when these networks of roads, bridges, and dams begin to crumble through neglect, the cracks in the American dream become evident. Infrastructure enthusiastsa group exhibition by the Monte Vista Projects collective, brings together artists who explore the potential of infrastructure to foster connection and progress, while critiquing the pitfalls of unfettered expansion and short-sighted development.

Serpent whiskey still life and other stories, installation view, Various small fires Los Angeles. (Photo Credit: Various Small Fires, Los Angeles/Dallas/Seoul)

When: until February 20
Or: Various small fires (812 N. Highland Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles)

Serpent whiskey still life and other stories features artists represented or associated with the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, particularly Native American and Indigenous artists. It includes photographs by Cara Romero that depict Native American female experiences; Jim Denomie’s symbolic paintings that reflect his Ojibwe heritage; and performance-based textile works by Eric-Paul Riege. The gallery’s sound corridor is filled with the sound of galloping hooves, a sound installation by the Postcommodity collective referring to the recent pictures border control officers on horseback intercepting Haitian migrants.

Carlos Almaraz, “What Happened to the Incas?” (1985), edition 54/130, color serigraph on paper, 28 ¾ x 40 ½ inches (copyright 1985, the Estate of Carlos Almaraz, courtesy the Estate of Carlos Almaraz and Bermudez Projects, Los Angeles)

When: until February 26
Or: Bermudez Projects (1225 Cypress Ave, Cypress Park, Los Angeles)

Carlos Almaraz’s works are explosions of deep color: a purple sunset in Echo Park, a fiery car crash. Known for his paintings and murals, during the last decade of his life he produced a series of prints with fellow artist Richard Duardo. This exhibition shares this friendship and this collaboration between two key figures of the Chicano artistic movement in Los Angeles.

Tori Wrånes, “ECHO FACE” VEGA|ARTS Vega Scene Copenhagen. (image courtesy of the artist and Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, photo by Frida Gregersen)

When: until March 12
Or: Shulamit Nazarian (612 N. La Brea Ave, Fairfax, Los Angeles)

Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes’ multidisciplinary practice encompasses performance, sound, painting and sculpture to produce fantasy worlds between reality and myth. Tears of mussels is inspired by his hometown of Kristiansand, a small fishing village, whose mussels are now threatened by environmental decline. Sculptures of intertwined humans and animals, suggestive abstract paintings, and cement-encrusted mussel shells are joined by the artist’s non-verbal vocalizations, indicating an interconnection of life forms.

James C. Tibbs