MARCH To Do List


As part of the rebranded Reason to Gather (soon to be hosted on its own platform), I’ll bring you highlights from the LA cultural landscape on a monthly basis, as filtered through my lens: museums, books and movies, articles, adventures, and more.

Refik Anadol “Coral Dreams” at Jeffrey Dietch

ART: All the media can talk about is ChatGPT, so use it as a good excuse to investigate the possibilities of AI-generated art, specifically the splashy show at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery: Refik Anadol “Living Paintings“. I was a bit skeptical, but the visuals are tantalizing and because Anadol and the workers in his studio feed the computer images from wonderful vistas (California, coral reefs) the work alludes to natural worlds with which you will easily connect. The staff at the gallery are enthusiastic evangelists, as well. Here is the LA Times interview with the Istanbul-born Angeleno artist, so take a read and then trek to Hollywood for free entry at the Jeffrey Deitch Gallery – you’ll find easy parking in nearby lots and excellent lunch around the corner at Tartine.

P.S. Here’s a good conversation about the future of ChatGPT and AI generated content from the Harvard Business School’s podcast, After Hours.

Jeffrey Deitch, 925 North Orange Drive, Hollywood Tues.-Sat., 11a.m. – 6p.m., through April 29.

Sanford Biggers

Quilting is the opposite of AI generated art, and that’s a good reason to catch to see Fabric of A Nation: American Quilt Stories at the Skirball Cultural Center before it closes on March 12. The show looks at 300 years of beautiful craftwork through the lens of storytelling and political protest. Recommended, and don’t miss the Skirball’s excellent mobile guide.

Weng Fen (also known as Weng Peijun), Sitting on the Wall–Shenzhen 1, 2002

The big spring museum news is that The Hammer will be opening a major new street-level exhibition spaces, including an expansive lobby that will house rotating installations, a new 5,600-square-foot street-facing gallery, and an outdoor sculpture terrace. All the new spaces will be highly transparent from the outside. The shows in the galleries will mostly feature the permanent collection. A show on view now that I’m eager to see is an exhibit of Chinese photography from the 1990s and 2000s, called Cruel Youth Diary, artists responding to the regime.

Willam Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows

William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows is on view at the Broad for one more month. I’ll be writing about it next week, but book some tickets and spend a day on Grand learning about an incredibly prolific artist from Johannesburg.

Be sure to go back and look at all the adventures from the past two months –

Hockney is gone from LA Louver, but there is a lovely new show by Alison Saar called Uproot.

Kehinde Wiley is at Roberts Projects through April 8

Anselm Kiefer is at Marciano Art Foundation through March 25

Hauser + Wirth has new shows at both locations, West Hollywood and the Arts District.

One more to think about: Peter Fetterman has a wonderful black and white landscape survey at his eponymous gallery at Bergamot Station. A Beautiful World: The Power of Nature runs through April 1.

Women Talking, dir. Sarah Polley

FILM/TV: The Academy Awards are nigh, and it’s been such a strange year for films I’m not sure who I’m even rooting for. I do know that I loved Women Talking, and Top Gun: Maverick. I liked The Fablemans and Tar. That’s about it in the film categories.

But the documentaries were strong: I loved Navalny, really really enjoyed All that Breathes about two Muslim brothers saving birds in Delhi -from director Shaunak Sen now on HBO Max. This is the best take on it that I’ve found, from John Powers on NPR. The next film in my queue is Laura Poitras’ All The Beauty and the Bloodshed about the life and career of Nan Goldin (which ranges from performance art to protesting the Sacklers).

Succession returns for the last season on March 25. Here is The New Yorker‘s profile of show runner Jessie Anderson.

 Image courtesy Philip Montgomery/Jewish Insider

BOOKS: I’m immersed in the short stories and novellas of Irish writer Claire Keegan and am hearing wonderful things about Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Family: by Patrick Radden Keefe. And Dr. Lisa Damour has a new book

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents. Damour gives level-headed solid advice and speaks and writes nationally about the troubling mental health of this generation.

Local book club guru Julie Robinson’s archive on Literary Affairs is an ideal resource when you’re searching for your next good read. I particularly love her newly augmented Classic Pairings section, where she matches older and newer titles that relate cleverly.

OUTDOORS: The Wildflower Hotline at the Theodore Payne Foundation is live and is a great resource as you start to wonder if it’s time to head north and see another SuperBloom. If you don’t know about this venerable gardening center, it is a leading place to learn about native plants for your garden.

The Gardens in Pasadena are bursting after this bountiful rainfall, as they are every spring. The Descanso gardens goes nuts with tulips in March (your brain will over load with flower pleasure) and the camellias will still be regal – here is their bloom schedule. The Huntington’s bloom map is even more precise – check it out here.

SUPER LOCAL: Loving the news about the Regarding Her restaurant week, a collaboration of women chefs mentoring each other. March 3-12.

Keith Haring: Art is for Everybody is coming to the Broad from May 23-October 8

If you are headed to the desert, check out Desert X (March 4- May 7) and the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament/ BNP Paradise Open (March 6-19).

The Hollywood Bowl Schedule is live – plan your spring and summer musical outings now.

The Broad Stage has interesting varied programming – take a look at the 2023 line up. I’m hearing good things about Ashwini Ramaswamy’s Let the Crows Come, and always love the NatGeo programming.