25 Alternative L.A. Art Spaces to Check Out Now
|Goth-fetish band Sphinx lights up Human Resources, while a Jack Smith movie plays in the background|
Got live if you want it
Human Resources: Kung fu no more
Human Resources might be the city's most dynamic arts venue. The cavernous space, located in a former kung fu theater in Chinatown, is a perfect platform for its mix of art exhibitions, performance events, film screenings, concerts and readings. Recent highlights include a rare appearance by New York underground performance legend Penny Arcade, who went on a funny and delightfully old-school feminist rant, and a monthlong exhibition and performance series by local favorites My Barbarian, a campy theater group that likes to play with audience interaction. With its nonprofit status secured and a board that meets regularly, it looks like Human Resources is here to stay. 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; humanresourcesla.com.
Pieter: All we want to do is dance
Pieter -- the large, warehouse-style studio of accomplished dancer Jmy James Kidd -- has become something of a gathering spot for L.A.'s close-knit contemporary dance and movement community. When not accommodating sweaty practice sessions, Pieter is a showcase for experimental dance works, often by notable practitioners like Ishmael Houston-Jones and Neil Greenberg, whom Kidd befriended during her years in New York. The homey space in Lincoln Heights, with big windows and a freight elevator, maintains a "FREE Boutique" (of clothing, accessories and other goodies) and "FREE Bar" -- admission to events is a non-monetary donation to either, and you can also take items that you like. 420 W. Avenue 33, Unit 10, Lincoln Heights; pieterpasd.com.
the wulf: Sounds of the city
The wulf, a 501(c)(3) space located on the edge of downtown, may be one of L.A.'s best-kept secrets. Founded by musicians/composers Eric KM Clark and Michael Winter, the wulf tends to organize experimental music and sound events. Rather than having a typical concert format, however, wulf events are much more free-flowing, with visitors welcome to come and go as they please, and no admission fees charged. In August 2008, the wulf launched with a participatory performance by Alison Knowles, based on her performance score Unfurl. With musical accompaniment by Harris Wilson, visitors were asked to bring something, anything, to "unfurl" in the space. This resulted in an evocative event in which scrolls, fabrics, umbrellas and all manner of things were set free. The wulf itself has been happily unfurling ever since. 1026 S. Santa Fe Ave. #203, L.A.; thewulf.org.
Carol Cheh A view of the group show "Voluntary Sculptures" at LM Projects; the sculpture in the foreground is by Ian Pedigo
Art + publication
LM Projects: Print ain't dead
As a writer, I have a special fondness for LM Projects, whose constellation of projects places equal emphasis on publications, editioned artworks and art exhibitions. Located in a historic business building downtown, LM Projects has been run by Lorraine Molina since 2009. In summer 2011, I saw an excellent dual slide presentation by artists Kim Schoen and Cody Trepte, exploring the connections between their two practices, which deal in different ways with science, language and uncertainty. This summer, LM Projects is launching a limited-edition artist book by Kori Newkirk, in which he explores his own creative process, showing, in Molina's words, "the space that is unseen to the public and very private to the artist." 125 W. Fourth St., #103, L.A. (323) 652-0580, lmprojects.net.
Carol Cheh A post-quake California, as envisioned by David Hendren for Public Fiction
Public Fiction: Here's the church, here's the journal
Public Fiction, the curatorial project of Lauren Mackler, changes its name and form every few months in order to accommodate its latest vision. Thus the "Free Church of Public Fiction" hosted quasi-religious-themed works and events, and a more recent series explored California-centric ideas of manifest destiny, the gold rush and earthquakes. Mackler recently published the second issue of journal Public Fiction, in which the writings are inspired by the events that take place in the gallery. 749 Avenue 50, Highland Park; publicfiction.org.
Up next: Way off the beaten path
1200-D N. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA