Document’s new Editor of Arts and Lifestyle highlights the standout projects from the west coast event

In the five years since it’s kicked off, LA Art Week has evolved into a sprawling citywide festival defined not only by the big-player fairs like Frieze and Felix, but also by the dozens of pop-ups, project spaces, performances, panel discussions, and, of course, cocktail hours. To get a glimpse into the mise-en-scène, Document sent its new Editor of Arts and Lifestyle Katie Rex to the west coast to uncover the unexpected in the normally laid-back city.

Art Week in Los Angeles adds an auxiliary pulse through the city’s usual terminally relaxed ambiance. Activities had visitors racking up abysmally long ride-share receipts heading from Frieze in Santa Monica, to gallery walk-throughs in Melrose Hill in Hollywood, to intimate community oriented venues in Silverlake. With an inconceivable amount of pop-up galleries, cocktail hours, panel discussions, and performances, these 10 moments stood out.

An Afternoon at the TOM House
Tom of Finland Foundation
February 27, 2024

Nestled in the hills of Echo Park is TOM House: The Tom of Finland Foundation’s headquarters is a queer pilgrimage, housing artists in residence, an impressive library, communal spaces, and heaps of history whose energy is felt throughout the space. Opening Art Week, ToFF hosted an intimate afternoon that included readings by friends Justin Torres (National Book Award, Fiction, 2023) and Brontez Purnell (Lambda Literary Award, Gay Fiction, 2022), a cocktail social hosted in Pleasure Park, and tours of the house lead by a string of docents along with the foundation’s creative director, Richard Villani. As to be expected from an organization rooted in community, guests snacked on pretzels from the kitchen cabinet and gathered in the dining room for discourse regarding a framed pair of soiled gold Dior briefs signed “Ross, 06-06-06.”

Kendalle Getty, The Golden Child, (2022). Image courtesy of the artist.

Kendalle Getty, The Hostile Home
Curated by Gage Spex
Spring/Break Art Show
February 28–March 3, 2024

Brooklyn’s underground monarch, Gage Spex, landed at Spring/Break Art Show to curate some of multimedia artist Kendalle Getty’s most seminal work in an exhibition titled The Hostile Home. Placed in the center aisle of Spring/Break’s Culver City show space, Spex’s booth was the standout of the independent fair. The eight works by Getty included etched mirrors (Reflections on Mortality, Reflections on Aging), an ornate homegrown crystal chair (The Golden Child), and a mid-century modern media unit with a film (Untitled), all exploring the unsettling hidden truths of the home where the artist grew up. Untitled portrays Getty’s atypical relationship with media, having been raised without television. Their histrionic interpretation of sitcoms and advertising was told through character acting in a montage of fast paced and melodramatic clips, with a comedic hard edge that exhibits existential hysteria.

Installation view, Vampire::Mother.

Jasmine Wahi, Vampire::Mother
Group Show
Anat Ebgi Gallery | Vortic.Art
January 27–March 2, 2024 | February 27–May 22, 2024

Vampire::Mother, a group show curated by Jasmine Wahi had a month-long run at Anat Ebgi gallery adjacent to Museum Mile, and is now on view at Vortic.Art—the VR company’s online art exhibition platform—along with a second installation, Vampire::Mother: Part II. A part of the Vortic Curated, a series the gallery refers to as a “new project which creates a symbiotic collaboration between curators,” Vampire::Mother: Part II, was met IRL last Tuesday at Anat Egbi followed by cocktail celebrations at Bar Lis. Via Vortic.Art, Vampire::Mother: Part II takes visitors from the white cube iteration of the show, to a reimagined cyber venue akin to Nosferatu’s castle. Online visitors of the VR gallery space are guided to click through works by Laurie Simmons, Bhasha Chakrabarti, Chantal Joffe, and many more, on textured black walls between cathedral windows. Together, the works give context to a woman’s ability to nurture and cause cataclysmic destruction. The centerpiece of the show, both in the gallery and online, is a beautiful large-scale portrait of Wahi by noted feminist artist Marilyn Minter, an immortalization of the relationship between artist and curator.

Monica Mirabile, Guidance
Albert Projects
February 24–March 23, 2024

While their Spring/Break booth was on view in Culver City, back on the east side of town, Albert Projects debuted their new space with another debut—the first ever exhibition of paintings by revered performance artist Monica Mirabile. On Friday, a dense crowd of LA creatives came to the Silverlake gallery for live music by Mia Carucci and a moving performance piece by Mirabile and Trinity Vigorsky, an alter ego of artist Eartheater (née Alexandra Drewchin). The performance embraced the exhibited works, with the surrealism of the paintings radically expressed by the body incantations both Mirabile and Drewchin have become known for.

Installation view, Catherine Opie, harmony is fraught.

Catherine Opie, harmony is fraught Book Signing
Regen Projects
January 11–March 3, 2024

Closing out an exhibition of career-spanning works shown publicly for the first time, Catherine Opie sat down for a book signing of the catalog, harmony is fraught, Saturday at Regen Projects. The show was an amalgamation of what makes her work so exciting, an insider view of day to day life in Los Angeles, chronicling lesbian erasure and the strong bonds within the leather community. These elements were authentically familial and profoundly personal, rounding out a vision of home.

Adèle Aproh, Accident de Chasse (Hunting accident), 2024. Image courtesy of the gallery and the artist.

IRL Gallery, Body Language
Group Show
February 24–March 17, 2024

IRL Gallery branched out from its base in Two Bridges to a pop-up in Echo Park at ATLA Gallery with Body Language, a group show that featured nine women-identifying artists whose work explored relationships with the body and the natural world from the femme perspective. Almendra Bertoni’s multi-media painting Pain So Close To Pleasure presented sensuous organic shapes in warm jewel tones, dripping with honey and a flock of bees; L. Song Wu’s Visitor II showed a woman peering through blinds. Each piece had a heft for storytelling, notable in the works of Adèle Aproh, whose illustration Accident de Chasse (Hunting accident) encapsulated grief, innocence, and surprise with a remarkable ease.

Image courtesy of Stone Island.

February 29–March 3, 2024

One of the more creative endeavors of the week came from Stone Island, who built a pop-up museum experience in Culver City. Their engagement with the fair was visible, but more impressive, was their ability to welcome the local community into the space. Visitors entered into moody, grand exhibition spaces filled with selections from their archives to mill through. The pop-up featured five days of programming including (but not limited to): musical performances from Earl Sweatshirt and DJ sets from songwriter Naeem, screenings of Ken-Tonio Yamamoto’s feature-length documentary Infinite Colours, and panel discussions with Chris Gibbs, Liam MacRae, Chris Black, and many others. A diversity in scheduled events rounded out the overall experience.

Image courtesy of The Broad. Photos by Salvador Ceja Garcia.

In Conversation: Mickalene Thomas x Ed Schad of The Broad
tommie Hollywood
March 1, 2024

Mickalene Thomas reminded us why she’s one of the most engaging voices in the art world, acting as a host, exhibiting artist (while also releasing an exclusive print with the auction house Phillips), and conversation partner for Ed Schad of the Broad Museum regarding her forthcoming exhibition, All About Love. Opening May 25th, the exhibition will recreate the gallery environments that hosted Thomas’s work throughout her career as immersive experiences. In conversation with Schad, the artist discusses her exploration of the historical word versus the real one, her recurring use of long-time sitters (including 22 works of her muse, Din, former roommate, performance artist Kalup Linzy, and her mother), and the importance of visibility in community building. The visual works will be just one facet of the exhibition experience: Thomas is also planning a robust programming schedule that both speaks to the work and activates community within the gallery space.

Gallery Hyundai, Kim Sun Yoon, Solo show (featuring sculptures by Yoo Eui Jeong)
Gallery Hyundai at Frieze LA, Santa Monica Airport
February 29–March 3, 2024

Seoul based Gallery Hyundai brought their commitment to Korean contemporary artists to their Frieze LA booth with a stunning show of figurative floral paintings by Kim Sun Yoon. The vibrant still lifes had surrealist secrets, like pink smoke in place of a flower, or a pixelation on the edge of the canvas, an unexpected glitch in the system. The arrangements were painted in ceramic vessels that sat on pedestals next to the paintings, which added an elevated level of camp to the experience. The booth fared well over the weekend, one of just a handful of galleries that completely sold out.

Jeffrey Deitch Gallery Tour, At the Edge of the Sun
Group Show
February 24–May 4, 2024

Jeffrey Deitch Gallery made a splash last week with an opening, multiple parties, and a booth at Frieze’s main fair at the Santa Monica Airport. Most memorably, the gallerist and artists of the group show At the Edge of the Sun did an exhibition tour on Wednesday. Immersive environments delivered high impact messages; Alfonso Gonzalez Jr. encapsulated the bombardment and loneliness of urban life with a slew of vibrantly painted ads, promising fulfillment in uncanny ways. Guadalupe Rosales’s poster-sized collage of rave flyers called back to her archival project Map Pointz, a piece that immortalized the graphic stylings of a culture often emulated but since lost. The exhibition as a whole is best summed up as a love letter to a collective’s lived experience, with all of the honesty, beauty, and pain that love entails.