It’s Season’s Greetings season and all that — but the art world doesn’t seem to be taking any time off just yet. The last pre-merry merry offerings range from a double performance art bill, to art shows inspired by magic kingdoms and time-traveling fantasies, classics of Pop photography, films on post-carceral art and historic figures from trans history, talks and exhibitions on diasporic, ancestral, religious, and spiritual influences and symbolism in contemporary art, the design of deep sea exploration, a festival of Black comics, and more.
Thursday, December 8
My Barbarian at REDCAT (Live & Virtual). A double-bill performance by My Barbarian includes You Were Born Poor and Poor You Will Die — combining ancient Greek theater, mystery plays, and rock opera to tell the story of a religious cult engaging in human sacrifice to maintain the economic status quo — and Silver Minds, which employs conventions of Noh theater, New Wave music, and science fiction, in a series of ghost stories about climate change and resource extraction, told from the point of view of tourists who time travel to the past to enjoy nature, which no longer exists. 631 W 2nd St, downtown; Thursday-Saturday, December 8-10, 8:30pm; $25; redcat.org.
FX’s Kindred: A Gallery Through Time at Band of Vices. An experiential, multimedia art exhibition celebrating the series premiere of the new FX series based on Octavia E. Butler’s acclaimed novel. The installation welcomes guests to travel back in time from modern day Los Angeles to the 19th-century South through a gallery-curated installation highlighting Black artists that gives way to a more immersive environmental installation. 5351 W Adams Blvd., West Adams; Thursday, December 8, noon-4pm & Friday, December 9, 10am-5pm; free; eventbrite.com.
Friday, December 9
In Motion: Andy Warhol 1974-86 at Sized Studio. 40 remarkable photographs taken between 1974 and 1986 — including never-before-seen images — this selection of black-and-white film portraits curated by Alexander May showcases Warhol’s film subjects — including photos of friends and contemporaries such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, William S. Burroughs, Bianca Jagger, and more — in a look at how any creative process is buffeted and inspired by life experiences and serendipity. 526 N Western Ave, E Hollywood; Friday-Sunday, December 9-11, 11am-6pm; free; sized.ltd.
Art and Krimes by Krimes at MOCA. A documentary film on the story of Jesse Krimes, a visual artist who, while serving six years in federal prison, secretly created monumental works of art — including a 40-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. Each panel was smuggled out piece by piece with the help of fellow artists, with Krimes only seeing the complete mural when he returned home. As Krimes’ work captures the art world’s attention he struggles to adjust to life outside, living with the threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence. 250 S Grand Ave., downtown; Friday, December 9, 6pm; free; moca.org.
Mari Cardenas: Colores de Valor at Self Help Graphics. A selection of prints and paintings from over 50 years of Mari’s artistic practice, the exhibition demonstrates how the artist explored her spectrum of color, form, and emotions as a strategy for creating happiness, using what was available to her within a life of painful experiences and circumstances. Now in her nineties, Mari continues to paint and to be a valued member of the SHG family — inviting her friends and colleagues to exhibit their prints alongside her work in the gallery. 1300 E 1st St., Boyle Heights; Opening reception: Friday, December 9, 5-8pm; On view through February 2; free; selfhelpgraphics.com.
Saturday, December 10
Art Talks at the Getty (Virtual). First up, The Alternative Histories of Artist Umar Rashid — Rashid reimagines world history through color-saturated, multimedia fictional narratives and landscapes that explore race, colonialism, and power. The artist’s work is on view at the Getty Villa as part of the citywide exhibition Adornment | Artifact, a selection of contemporary art curated by transformative arts that celebrates ancient Nubia and complements the Villa’s exhibition Nubia: Jewels of Ancient Sudan.
Then it’s Modernizing Mary: Contemporary Artists Reinterpret an Icon — The depiction of the Virgin Mary in visual art is a tradition stretching back almost 2,000 years, but Mary also continues to inspire contemporary artists. In this conversation, participants draw out the enduring appeal of this figure who serves as both an icon of compassionate devotion and cultural celebration, or an emblem of religious tradition and oppression to critique. Complements the Getty Center exhibition Visualizing the Virgin Mary. Saturday, December 10, 1pm & 3pm; free with registration; getty.edu.
Winter Party & Open Studios at 18th Street Art Center Airport Campus. Connect with the complex’s more than 20 artists in their studios; view Ranu Mukherjee’s Dear Future in the Propeller Gallery; purchase handmade, artisanal goods by Market Exchange vendor collective; participate in a winter ornament workshop conducted by artist Marcus Kuilando-Nazario; and enjoy a performances by Santa Monica Ballet Folklorico, pianist Paul Cornish and 18th Street Arts Center Staff. 3026 Airport Ave., Santa Monica; Saturday, December 10, 4-7pm; free; 18thstreet.org.
Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts at the Huntington. This international traveling exhibition explores the early inspirations behind Disney Studios’ creations, examining Walt Disney’s fascination with European art and the use of French motifs in Disney films and theme parks. Approximately 50 works of 18th-century European decorative art and design, many of which are drawn from The Huntington’s significant collection, are featured alongside hand-drawn production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection, and The Walt Disney Family Museum. 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino; On view December 10 – March 23; included with $25 overall admission; huntington.org.
Transcendent at Louis Stern Fine Arts. Michael Duncan curates an exhibition stemming from the achievements of Kandinsky, Malevich, Mondrian, and Hilma af Klint, regarding the ensuing generations of artists who have desired to create spiritually illuminating abstract art that carried painting beyond the appearance of the physical world, utilizing the rich symbolic connotations of geometry and form to offer an alternative, transformative, and more hopeful vision of our place in the universe. 9002 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; Opening reception: Saturday, December 10, 4-7pm; On view through January 28; free; louissternfinearts.com.
CAAMCon Black Comics Festival at California African American Museum. Immerse yourself in the artistry, history, and power of Black comics at CAAMCon, CAAM’s first festival of Black comics. Distinguished director and screenwriter of Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ryan Coogler, joins screenwriter and Black Panther: Long Live the King novelist, Aaron Covington, to discuss the challenges and rewards of writing Black comics. CAAMCon co-founder John Jennings, a professor, New York Times bestselling author, and graphic novelist, is joined by Cody Ziglar, director, podcast producer, and Marvel She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Spider-Punk series writer, and executive producer of The Boondocks, Rodney Barnes. Meet some of the most celebrated creatives on the comic book scene; create and color your own Black comics; and more. 600 State Dr, Expo Park; Saturday, December 10, 11am-4pm; free; caamuseum.org.
Sunday, December 11
Afro-Atlantic Histories at LACMA. The exhibition charts the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies in the African diaspora. Through a series of dialogues across time, the exhibition features artworks produced in Africa, Europe, and the Americas in the last four centuries to reexamine — from a global perspective — histories and stories of enslavement, resilience, and the struggle for liberation. The exhibition is organized around six groupings: Maps and Margins, Enslavements and Emancipations, Everyday Lives, Rites and Rhythms, Portraits, and Resistances and Activism. Each section considers the critical impact of the African diaspora reflected in historic and contemporary artworks. 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile; On view December 11 – September 10; $20-$25; lacma.org.
Monday, December 12
Pressure: James Cameron Into the Abyss at the Natural History Museum. In 2012, filmmaker and explorer James Cameron made history with the first solo dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, Earth’s deepest point. In celebration of this feat of discovery, and to signal a new age of exploration, NHM hosts Cameron’s Deepsea Challenger submersible and science platform, which he co-designed and co-engineered. 900 Exposition Blvd, Expo Park; On view December 12 – February 20; free-$15; nhm.org.
Tuesday, December 13
Abell’s Auctions: The Estate of Larry Flynt. Wondering what kind of stuff softcore and free speech champion Larry Flynt had in his house? Although there are certainly plenty of nude women (largely in sculpture form), let’s just say the extremely gilded taste level is less Vegas and more French Regency than you might be expecting. Check out the online catalog for some museum-quality and occasionally magnificently kitschy design porn, fabulously tacky paintings, film set-worthy bedroom furniture, over the top lighting styles, and much more at Abell’s this week. Auction goes live Tuesday, December 13, 9am; abell.com.
Wednesday, December 14
Framing Agnes at Laemmle NoHo 7. The pseudonymous Agnes was a pioneering transgender woman who participated in an infamous gender health study conducted at UCLA in the 1960s. Her clever use of the study to gain access to gender-affirming healthcare led to her status as a fascinating and celebrated figure in trans history. In this playful cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt uses Agnes’s story, along with others unearthed in long-shelved case files, to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed. An all-star cast of trans performers, artists, and thinkers includes Angelica Ross (Pose), Jen Richards (Mrs. Fletcher), and Zackary Drucker (Transparent). 5240 Lankershim Blvd, N Hollywood; Opens Wednesday, December 14; $12.50; laemmle.com.
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