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My favorite things: Meaningful group shows and a chance to binge art with Gallery Weekend LA by Dominique Clayton

My favorite things: Meaningful group shows and a chance to binge art with Gallery Weekend LA by Dominique Clayton

Above: Kamoinge Members (detail), 1973, Anthony Barboza. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Eric and Jeanette Lipman Fund, 2019.249. © Anthony Barboza

 

2022 is more than half way over but I’ve practically seen a year’s worth of notable art with even more on the horizon. While other cities like the Hamptons and Aspen attract summer crowds in the name of art and leisure, LA is still holding it down with a wide variety of summer shows and events.

One of the most exciting summer highlights was These Are a Few of My Favorite Things, A group show at Gavlak curated by the dynamic Michael Sherman, a Cultured Mag Young Collectors alumni who undoubtedly has a great eye.  As the co-founder of Bow + Arrow Entertainment, Sherman has produced both narrative and documentary films including Native Son directed by Rashid Johnson and starring Ashton Sanders.  Sherman’s skill in bringing narratives and images to life translates perfectly into his art collecting and curating aesthetic.  

 

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things features Devin Morris, Taha Heydari, Latoya Hobbs, Curtis Talwst Santiago, Tony Shore, Shan Wallace, Amani Lewis, Taina Cruz, Jordan Greenblatt, Ariston Jacks, Monsieur Zohore, James Williams II, Antonio Scott Nichols, Lindsay Adams.  The works range from textured and moody figurative paintings to mixed media, collage and photography.  Essence Harden beautifully illustrates the depth of the work and the interwoven relationships of artist, collector, community and career in her exhibition essay. 

 

Above: Devin N Morris, From Behind the Poplar Grove, 2021. Oil, acrylic, oil pastel, wood veneer, color pencil, collage, felt, water hose, pastel, paint skin, single use plastic bag, polypropylene webbing, MDF on paper. 88 x 64.5 x 2 in  (223.5 x 163.8 x 5.1 cm).

This isn’t the first time Sherman has lent his eye and taste to a gallery exhibition.  In 2021,  he curated the online group exhibition, Carpe Diem, for UTA Artist Space in the fall of 2021. At the opening of My Favorite Things, Sherman celebrated with the gallery team and the artists who seemed like real friends and family to him as he not only cares about the work he collects and curates, but also about the artists’ success and longevity in this business.  This level of intimacy and support is both rare and refreshing and a much needed shift from the old ways of collecting and showcasing artists.  Additionally, many of the artists hail from Sherman’s hometown of Baltimore, MD further demonstrating his desire and commitment to building a sustainable community of artists, particularly Black artists who have been historically underrepresented in museums and galleries despite making up more than half the population in Baltimore. The exhibition runs through July 30.

Last week, The Getty Center opened the exhibition Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop which is the first major exhibition about the Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of Black photographers formed in New York in 1963.  Artists in this collective include Louis Draper, Ming Smith, Beuford Smith, Adger Cowans, Herb Randall, Anthony Barboza and many more talents.  Many of these artists were previously featured in the traveling Soul of a Nation exhibition. It’s remarkable to see an exhibition specifically dedicated to the work of the Kamoinge Workshop which serves as an excellent model for collectives of today such as The Black Image Center, a newly formed collective of Black photographers in LA, which opened its doors earlier this summer with a day of portrait sessions and workshops.  The exhibit at The Getty runs July 19 – October 9. 

Also happening this weekend is the 2nd annual Gallery Weekend Los Angeles.  Last year’s event activated all parts of LA with about 80 gallery participants, and this year follows suit with about 90 galleries.  Running from July 27 – July 30, each day is organized by the north, central east and west regions of LA in an effort to center focus on each community and of course to avoid crosstown traffic. Highlights from the west include a compelling group show about migration and displacement at 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica and a beautiful solo by Mark Steven Greenfield at William Turner Gallery. On the east side, you won’t want to miss Nery Gabriel Lemus on view at Charlie James Gallery or the Little Literary Fair at Hauser & Wirth. In the northern part of town, stop by the new Carpenters Workshop Gallery or the 10 year anniversary group show at Shulamit Nazarian. Last but not least, the central part of the city offers a range of summer group shows including a show to benefit women’s rights at Anat Egbi, an ode to African artists at Band of Vices, and a powerful group exhibition curated by The Racial Imaginary Institute at David Kordanksy Gallery.  

Mark your calendars, plan your route (thanks to a great interactive map) and hit the town this weekend to discover some of your favorite things…

-Dominique Clayton