The shows on our list this month foreground material and process, through which disparate stories and histories unfold. Ken Gun Min incorporates embroidery into his paintings, pointing to Asian and European traditions. Similarly, Dyani White Hawk’s beaded paintings — or painted beadworks — call out the Indigenous American roots behind geometric abstraction. Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio uses rubber and amber to connect diasporic routes from Central America to Los Angeles, while Tidawhitney Lek’s paintings reflect both the solidarity and the struggle embodied in her Cambodian-American family. Hugh Hayden mixes wood with industrial materials, calling attention to the precarious role of the body within overarching systems of power. And in her use of sonic media, Johanna Hedva illustrates how the inanimate can be given life.
Ken Gun Min: Sweet Discipline from Koreatown
Ken Gun Min’s fantastical paintings draw from both European and Asian styles and techniques, a fusion that reflects his own global journeys. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Min lived in Zurich, Berlin, and San Francisco, before moving to Los Angeles’ Koreatown a decade ago. He incorporates Korean pigments and hand embroidery into traditional oil paintings, whose verdant landscapes and idealized bodies reflect precedents from the European Renaissance and Romanticism to Asian textiles and landscape painting. However, his works are firmly rooted in the here and now of contemporary Los Angeles, with titles referencing local neighborhoods, and featuring diverse depictions of Asian masculinity not often seen in mainstream art and culture.
Shulamit Nazarian (shulamitnazarian.com)
616 North LaBrea Avenue, Fairfax, Los Angeles
Through December 20
Sherin Guirguis: A’aru // Field of Reeds: Gathering
Sherin Guirguis’s latest body of work has its roots in the 12th-century Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds (Manṭeq al-ṭayr) by Farīd al-Dīn Aṭṭār, which recounts the story group of birds who embark on a journey to find God. During the pandemic, Guirguis and a collective of female and female-identifying artists, writers, and activists would meet regularly to read the work together. For her solo show A’aru // Field of Reeds: Gathering, the Egyptian-born artist uses the story as a jumping-off point for her evocative abstractions based on the geometric forms of old Egyptian dovecotes. Using ink, gouache, and gold leaf, Guirguis’s intimate, visceral works on paper reflect links to previous generations who have found meaning in this epic poem, as well as the solidarity she has experienced through her creative community.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles (luisdejesus.com)
1110 Mateo Street, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through December 22
Vishal Jugdeo: Caribbean Television
Vishal Jugdeo’s Caribbean Television is an ongoing project examining the legacy of colonialism in Guyana. The first episode is a 47-minute video titled “Deo’s Moon” (2023), in which the artist’s uncle Deo guides viewers through Guyana’s beaches, streets, and markets, as he weaves together a subjective narrative. Through this unconventional structure, Jugdeo wrestles with the intersecting threads of family, race, history, and queerness as they manifest themselves in a country he finds both familiar and enigmatic.
Commonwealth and Council (commonwealthandcouncil.com)
3006 West 7th Street, Ste. 220, Koreatown, Los Angeles
Through December 23
Dyani White Hawk: Reflection
Dyani White Hawk’s (Sičáŋǧu Lakota) mixed media works incorporate beadwork and painting, referencing both Native American traditional art forms alongside European and American modernisms. In doing so, she highlights the influence that Indigenous aesthetics have had on Western art, specifically geometric abstraction, placing what has often been dismissed as “craft” within a fine art context. The show also includes a video installation featuring womeb speakers of eight Indigenous-American languages.
Various Small Fires (vsf.la)
812 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through January 6, 2024
Hugh Hayden: Hughman
Hugh Hayden’s first solo show in Los Angeles investigates systems of domination and desire in contemporary American society. The artworks are placed within an installation that resembles the stalls of a communal restroom, a site that suggests illicit intimacy and blurs the line between private and public. Within this framework, Hayden has placed sculptures that reference violence, eroticism, and otherness, tinged with surrealist whimsy.
Lisson Gallery (lissongallery.com)
1037 North Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through January 13, 2024
Larry Li: Ask Your Ma About ’89
Larry Li’s paintings combine images taken from family snapshots and historical archives, overlaid with Chinese cultural symbols, to convey a disjointed narrative of memory and trauma. Ask Your Ma About ’89 confronts the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and the artist’s attempts to piece together his family’s involvement in the pivotal and tragic event. Informed by multiple recollections, and filtered through the challenges of language and time, Li presents a multifaceted, layered composite of this historic moment.
Residency Art Gallery (residencyart.com)
1245 South District Drive, Ste. 945, Inglewood, California
Through January 20, 2024
A Project Curated by Artists: 15 Years of ACP
Amid the economic recession of 2008, artists Eve Fowler and Lucas Michael made the questionable decision to open a gallery in Fowler’s LA bungalow apartment. Frustrated by what they saw an as exclusive and insular art world, they aimed to shift power back to the artists, dubbing the venture Artist Curated Projects. 15 Years of ACP features just a glimpse of the diverse array of artists the space has exhibited since it opened a decade and a half ago including Kathryn Andrews, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Nicole Eisenman, Matt Lipps, Amanda Ross-Ho, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Anna Sew Hoy, Mark Verabioff, Mary Weatherford, and many more.
Morán Morán (moranmorangallery.com)
641 North Western Avenue, East Hollywood, Los Angeles
Through January 27, 2024
Johanna Hedva: If You’re Reading This, I’m Already Dead
Johanna Hedva’s solo exhibition If You’re Reading This, I’m Already Dead features sound installation, sculptures, and paintings that explore what it means to be alive, or rather what it means when dead or non-organic bodies are conceived of as living. To this end, the transgressive musician, artist, and writer focuses on AI, robots, elements of her own body such as hair and blood, and audio recordings of black holes and the sun, amongst other human-made and natural phenomena from the mundane to the celestial. An accompanying performance program will take place at 2220 Arts + Archives.
1206 Maple Avenue, Ste. 715, Downtown, Los Angeles
Through February 3, 2024
Tidawhitney Lek: Living Spaces
Tidawhitney Lek’s captivating canvases depict the people, streets, and spaces of Cambodia Town in Long Beach, including personal scenes of her own family life. Filled with everyday details that ground each painting in time and place, Lek adds elements of surreality and horror that shatter the impression of placidity, recalling the traumas of war and migration that so many diasporic communities carry with them.
Long Beach Museum of Art Downtown (lbma.org)
356 East Third Street, Long Beach, California
Through February 4, 2024
MOCA Focus: Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio
For Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio, materials are not neutral; they carry with them specific contexts and meanings. His solo show at MOCA features rubber casts of ficus trees located in areas of LA such as Pico-Union that have significant Central American populations, drawing a link between the role of rubber in colonial networks as well as its history in pre-Hispanic societies. A sprawling floor work features everyday objects, detritus, and bones encased in amber, named for a volcano in El Salvador that was also the site where countless bodies were dumped during that country’s civil war.
The Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art (moca.org)
152 North Central Avenue, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Through June 16, 2024