Media Arts Preview: Utopian Fantasy, Hollywood's Impact on Politics & More

James Turrell

LEDs, infrared light, utopian fantasy, inappropriate material and Hollywood's impact on politics all contribute to this week's media art scene in LA.

Thursday, September 15
Kayne Griffin Corcoran in Santa Monica presents Present Tense, an exhibition of work by James Turrell. Part of the Pacific Standard Time showcase, the show features two of the celebrated artist's light and space projects from the 1960s, which use the light of projector beams to disrupt our perception of space. The show will also include a new project made using a grid of LEDs behind etched glass, with each light shifting slightly in color over time. The show opens tonight, with a reception 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

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PerspectivesIf you're interested in the light and space artworks of the past - and you're up for a drive south - visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego for "Perspectives: Color, Perception, and Natural Light Phenomena," a talk presented by UCSD Physics Professor Dr. Thomas Murphy, whose research centers on color. He will offer an introduction to the show Phenomenal, examining the work of Mary Corse, James Turrell and Bruce Nauman. The talk and a tour of the exhibition are free; view the show 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.; the talk begins at 7:00 p.m. The Phenomenal exhibition will open to the public September 25.

The Flux Screening Series happens tonight at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Music videos and shorts, many by LA-based artists, will screen, with a discussion with artists to follow.

Friday, September 16
Human Resources will feature Eros and Civilization, a showcase of work by five LA-based artists - Heather Cantrell, Dawn Kasper, Tricia Lawless Murray, Davida Nemeroff and Amy Sampson - who work in photography and video. "In wildly disparate fashion, each of the artists in this exhibition employs a creative strategy that can be described as an oscillation between power and subjection, in which utopic fantasies of liberation are tempered and sustained by darker fantasies of subjection and unfreedom." The show opens tonight with a reception 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 17
Pepin Moore on Chung King Road presents a show titled Painter's Forms, featuring painting, photography and a film by Brett Cody Rogers. The exhibition's title is borrowed from a 1972 Philip Guston painting, and in the show, "painted forms and materials are utilized as backdrops for [Rogers'] photographs and films, and spatial effects captured in his photographs and films are mined as imagery for his paintings." The show opens tonight with a reception 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Above the FoldSunday, September 18
The Pasadena Museum of California Art presents two compelling interactive installations by two LA-based artists. Above the Fold by Alex Kritselis explores the ways in which the media shapes perception after the events of September 11, 2001, while Beneath the Surface: NASA's Juno Mission to Jupiter by Dan Goods presents an image of the reddish planet using fog, infrared lights and special detectors. The exhibition is on view September 18, 2011 - January 8, 2012, and there's an opening reception on Saturday, September 17, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

LA Filmforum presents the Festival of Avo(In)appropriation, an annual showcase of short films and videos that appropriate "inappropriate" material. Curated by Jaimie Baron, Andrew Hall and Lauren Berliner, this particular show includes 14 short works, including pieces from Taiwan, Portugal and Spain. Avo, by Raquel Schefer uses footage shot by the filmmaker's grandfather as "the point of departure for an experimental documentary about the history of the Portuguese decolonization and its memory." The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre.

Monday, September 19
Historian Steven J. Ross will lecture on his book Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics. The talk is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which showcases scholars who have received grants through the Academy Film Scholars program. The talk "will offer insight into how Hollywood's involvement in politics has been much more complicated and varied than is often assumed," and it starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy-Linwood Dunn Theatre.

Wednesday, September 21
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents Contemporary Documentaries: A Survey of Outstanding Recent Work in the Documentary Field. The series starts tonight at 7:00 p.m. with two films about the current economic turmoil, Inside Job by Charles Ferguson and Casino Jack and the United States of Money by Alex Gibney, which is a portrait of Jack Abramoff.

About the Author

Holly Willis teaches in USC's School of Cinematic Arts and writes about new media art.
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