Media Arts Preview: Punks, Pictures and Personal Environments

Metropolis II

One of this week's highlights in art is the opening of what LACMA director Michael Govan dubs "a portrait of LA." He's referring to Chris Burden's exhilarating freeway sculpture, Metropolis II, above.

Thursday, January 12
The Hammer Museum presents a lecture by artist Jeff Wall tonight at 7:00 p.m. The Canadian photographer who has created a large body of stunning work since the late 1970s is credited with helping establish contemporary photography as an artform, and is known for his cinematic, large-scale images.

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Photo LA Photo_LA.jpgstarts today and continues through January 16th at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The event is designed to continue the discussion regarding photography's place in the fine arts, and includes the exhibition of vintage and contemporary photos, video and media installations. The four-day event presents keynote talks by photographers such as Catherine Opie and Ken Gonzales-Day, and numerous panel discussions and workshops. The opening night benefit features Moby.

LACMA will screen John Cassavetes' celebrated independent film Shadows tonight at 7:30 p.m. The screening will follow a discussion among low budget independent filmmakers who have been nominated for The John Cassavetes Award, presented by the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

PiaMyrvoldThe Los Angeles Center for Digital Art presents Pia Myrvold's immersive, interactive environment Immersion, opening today with a reception 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The show, which is held in conjunction with Downtown Art Walk, will be on view through February 24th, 2012.

Los Angeles Filmforum co-presents with MOCA Strange Notes and Nervous Breakdowns: Punk and Media Art, 1974-1981. The screening, part of Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, includes "an amazing collection of rarely screened performances by punk bands of the era, performance art and D.I.Y. documentary." These include Jonathan Demme's Gidget Goes to Hell and Cynthia Gianelli and Paul Allen Newell's Never Mind the Sex Pistols, Here's the Bullocks. The screening is held in conjunction with Under the Big Black Sun: California Art 1974-1981, and will take place at MOCA's Ahmanson Theater at 7:00 p.m.

Curators and scholars Rita Gonzalez and Jesse Lerner will discuss photography and film themes found in the show titled MEX/LA: "Mexican" Modernism(s) in Los Angeles 1930-1985 at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.

Cue RollsSaturday, January 14
Filmforum and Cinefamily partner tonight for a repeat screening of Industry Town: The Avant-Garde and Hollywood. Part of the Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 showcase, this particular show explores work that plays with, parodies, appropriates or in other ways uses Hollywood cinema to create alternative work. Films include John Baldessari's Title, from 1971, Cue Rolls by Morgan Fisher, and Based on Romance, by Norman and Bruce Yonemoto. The show takes place at Cinefamily at 5:00 p.m.

Twelve hundred cars zoom through a mini maze of freeways in LA-based artist Chris Burden's new work titled Metropolis II, finally on view at LACMA starting today. Check the website for the schedule, though, as the sculpture is only viewable at certain times throughout the day.

Endangered Species Adam BergThe Santa Monica Museum of Art presents Endangered Spaces, a video, sculpture and photo installation by LA-based artist Adam Berg that "explores the relationship between man-made environments and displaced wildlife." The piece consists of four single-channel videos, three geometric, stainless steel mirror sculptures, and three photo-etched wall installations. The show opens today, and continues through February 25th, 2012, with an opening reception on January 13th, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

CaravaggioTo accompany its exhibit titled Images of the Artist, the Getty Center presents Dream a Little Dream: Artists in Film, a film series dedicated to movies about artists. Today, the series presents Jean Cocteau's classic films Blood of a Poet and Testament of Orpheus at 3:00 p.m., followed by The Moderns by Alan Rudolph at 7:00 p.m. Tomorrow, the line-up includes Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract at noon, and Derek Jarman's Caravaggio at 3:00 p.m. Reservations are required, but the screenings are free.

Personal Immersive EnvironmentsSunday, January 15
Machine Project presents an afternoon of personal diorama-making with Amy Jo Diaz and Casey Hughes, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. After a brief discussion of dioramas, the instructors will lead participants through the creation of context and frame in order to create a sense of atmosphere. There will also be instruction on using various lighting and viewing devices. No design experience necessary!

Tuesday, January 17
LACMA's Tuesday Matinee series presents Experiment in Terror, a thriller from 1962 directed by Blake Edwards and starring Glenn Ford and Lee Remick. The screening starts at 1:00 p.m.

About the Author

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