A.i.A. editors suggest a few of the myriad events in Los Angeles this week: a reading by Ta-Nehisi Coates at CAAM; a performance by H.E.N.S. at REDCAT; a screening of Chantal Akerman's films at Cinefamily; and a discussion organized by Triple Canopy with scholar Johanna Drucker and artist Matt Sheridan Smith.
Friday, October 30, 7:00 p.m.
A 2015 MacArthur "genius" grant recipient, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates comes to the California African American Museum for a reading from his critically hailed book Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau). Coates's longform essay "The Case for Reparations," published in The Atlantic in June 2014, sparked a conversation around race that became all the more pressing following the shooting of Michael Brown later that summer. Blending personal narrative with American history and sociopolitical analysis, Between the World and Me adopts the structure of James Baldwin's 1963 novel The Fire Next Time (Dial Press), which was directed in part towards Baldwin's nephew. Coates's work is addressed as a letter to his teenage son, communicating the dangers of living as a black man in America and parental anxiety and concerns.
California African American Museum, 600 State Drive
Saturday, October 31, 5:00 p.m
As part of "Hotel Theory"—REDCAT's three-month exhibition exploring the possibilities of theory as an art form—H.E.N.S. (Hanns Eisler Nail Salon), a collaboration between New York-based artists Arlen Austin and Jason Boughton, presents a performance in the guise of children's television programming with a post-Marxist and anti-capitalist agenda. Their Mr. Rogers-style video series "Comrades of Socktown", 2015, was made in part as a defiant response to media reports of Jerry Falwell's accusation of "The Teletubbies"' concealing a gay agenda and Fox News decrying "The Muppets" for communist messaging. In this live performance, sock puppets act out a strike against passive playtimes and educate about class-consciousness for first- through fourth-graders and their caretakers.
REDCAT, 631 West 2nd Street
Monday, November 2, 7:30 p.m.
The 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles by the Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who died earlier this month, follows the titular character, a single mother and widow, through three days of a regimented routine of cooking, cleaning, mothering and prostitution, disrupted by an explosive climax. The film's precise, controlled pacing and pioneering use of structuralist techniques made it a touchstone in the histories of feminist and experimental film—an accomplishment all the more remarkable considering Akerman made the film at just 24 years old. The critic Gary Indiana commented, "Akerman's brilliance is her ability to keep the viewer fascinated by everything normally left out of movies."
The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue
Tuesday, November 3, 7:30 p.m.
New York's online publishing platform Triple Canopy hosts a conversation at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture between scholar Johanna Drucker and artist Matt Sheridan Smith. The conversation will present the results of a series of working groups and diagramming experiments the pair have organized with Triple Canopy in advance of Smith's forthcoming digital project with the magazine. "Field, Blockade, Crash" investigates the mechanics of contemporary image culture as it relates to knowledge production. Using case studies as varied as celebrity culture and Venn diagrams, the pair will discuss how visual knowledge is produced, displayed and conveyed in our increasingly screen-based lives. Smith and Drucker are joined by Triple Canopy editors Molly Kleiman and Peter Russo.
MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, 835 North Kings Road