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Top 3 This Week

Let Lindsay Preston Zappas curate your art viewing experiences this week. Here are our Top 3 picks of what not to miss. Scroll down for Insider stories.

Installation view, Louisiana Museum, Pipilotti Rist, “Åbn min lysning (Open My Glade),” Humlebæk, Denmark, 2019. Photo by Poul Buchard. © Pipilotti Rist. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine.

1. Pipilotti Rist at MOCA

Originally slated to open in February 2020, a solo show by Zürich-based artist Pipilotti Rist has just opened at the Geffen Contemporary, MOCA’s downtown warehouse space. The exhibition, titled “Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor,” is a 30-year retrospective, yet unlike many retrospectives that follow a dry chronological order, “Big Heartedness” stacks Rist’s work together in a layered and immersive display. Walking into the Geffen, the installation puts you outside again with two large building facades and a house exterior on which moody videos project. On one of them, video monitors are inset as windows, each a portal to Rist’s otherworldly slow motion landscapes which meld the body with the natural world. 

From this main atrium, viewers can lose themselves down various pathways and interior rooms: Walk through the transfixing “Pixelwald Motherboard (Pixel Forest Mutterplatte),” an experiential light installation, to reach one inner sanctum where Rist’s iconic “Ever is Over All,” plays. Follow an oversized curtain to enter a “living room” space in which Rist’s films splay over beds and couches, while small arrangements on nearby shelves invite you to search for hidden surprises. Together the exhibition is an expansive celebration of video’s potential to become sensual, abstract, layered, and deeply connected to the body.

On view: September 12, 2021 – June 6, 2022 Open map

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Carla Jay Harris, “Of the Wind,” 2021, hand embellished pigment print mounted on Dibond, Edition of 2, 44 x 57.75 inches.  © Carla Jay Harris. Courtesy of Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.

2. Carla Jay Harris at Luis De Jesus

In each of Carla Jay Harris’ photographic collages at Luis De Jesus in the Arts District, the artist drops us into an allegorical narrative that is frozen in time. In each, figures commune with each other in ethereal landscapes which layer washy color over mountain peaks and rock formations to imbue them a  celestial atmosphere. Though based on photographs, Harris collages texture and pattern over her figures and landscapes, adding painterly gravitas to her scenes.

Many of the tableaus feel ceremonial, like the processional in “Of the Wind,” in which a woman marches forward, her long scarf cinematically trailing behind her and shrouding the men that follow behind. In many of the photographs, figures are shown supporting one another; some feel weighed down and tired, while others embody strength and poise, perhaps leading the way towards rest and safety. 

This particular body of work was created largely in response to the pandemic and social unrest. In this light, Harris’ narratives become stories of resilience, family, support, and community in which communal support becomes a spiritual act.

On view: September 4 – October 30, 2021 Open map

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Artist Don Edler with his artwork, “Death Tablet,” 2018. Plywood, OSB, hydrocal, styrofoam, acrylic, platinum silicone, fake bones, barbie doll, black light, fluorescent tube, pine, clear packing plastic, gorilla tape, air conditioner. 120 in x 120 in x 3 in. Image courtesy of the artist.

3. Don Edler at B Space

For years, the artist Don Edler has been burying his artwork. One piece, “Anthropocentric Tablet 2,” featured in his new exhibition at B Space. had been buried under soil for one year in Wonder Valley, CA, before Edler excavated the work over the summer like an archeological dig. The piece was coated in a layer of wax before being interred, and this surface traps remnant dirt in the final exhibited work, creating a layered material history. 

The artist uses natural elements like a painter might apply washes and textures. In another piece, sections of the work were placed on the artist’s studio roof in Pico-Union to become weathered by the baking sun and then smothered in a layer of brake dust. Edlerrefers to his works as “tablets” and uses them to compile outmoded objects and things he finds on the streets of LA—old cell phones, sunglasses, calculators, sponges, and tooth brushes become integrated into his works like catalogs of our time and place. Together, the pieces can be placed within a more zoomed-out lineage of human mark-making. Much like ceremonial primitive objects, Edler’s tablets become capsules of our current time left to be uncovered and decoded by a future civilization.

On view: September 12 – October 10, 2021 Open map

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Lindsay Preston Zappas is KCRW's Arts Correspondent and the founder/ editor-in-chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (Carla).

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