9 Los Angeles Exhibitions by Black Artists to See In August 2023

Installation view with Honor Titus, Victory is Divine (2023) Hauser & Wirth (Photo by Jeff Mclane)

We’ve curated a list of 9 shows that offer new ways to experience Black art & culture in the City of Angels, from Honor Titus’s new artworks at Gagosian that reframe formal social traditions by depicting people of color in the contexts of leisure and luxury, an inspiring short film by Darol Olu Kae at the California African American Museum that explores the avant-garde jazz group (the Ark) from South Central LA, and Thomas J. Price’s monumental bronze & marble sculptures at Hauser & Wirth that challenge social or racial profiling. Myrlande Constant’s survey at the Fowler is the first institutional survey of a contemporary Haitian woman artist in America while Pace Gallery presents a selection of new reflective artworks by Hank Willis Thomas revealing concealed images depending on lighting and the perspective of the viewer.

Thomas J. Price: Beyond Measure

Installation view of Thomas J Price: Beyond Measure at Hauser & Wirth (2023)

For the first time, Thomas J. Price presents a group of large-scale figurative sculptures together in one location, enabling the viewer to inhabit the space around the figures and become an active participant in the narrative between them. The fictional bronze works, ranging from 9 to 12 ft in height, are constructed from images and observations, as well as 3D scanning that took place during an open call in LA last summer. Price investigates unfixed identities that lean away from social or racial profiling extend beyond the medium of sculpture questioning social and artistic conventions.

Hauser & Wirth (hauserwirth.com)
Until 20 August

Cosmo Whyte: Hush Now, Don’t Explain

Agitation 3- Catching Hands, (2023) Charcoal and gouache on paper 191.8 x 232.4 cm Courtesy Anat Ebgi.

Cosmo Whyte views this relationship between personal and the public archives as symbiotic—mutually supportive in searching for and constructing identity. For Hush Now, Don’t Explain, Whyte continues his engagement with ‘the archive,’ weaving personal narratives with larger considerations of colonization of the Caribbean. From his drawings based on journalistic photographs to a large metal structure based on his father’s archive of architectural drawings, the exhibition is a story of public and private accumulation, remembrance and preservation, and the borders between those distinctions.

Fowler Museum at UCLA (fowler.ucla.edu)
Until 27 August

Evita Tezeno: The Moments We Share Are the Memories We Keep

Evita Tezeno. The Rhythm of Street Life, (2023)

Evita Tezeno’s work often depicts harmonious everyday scenes inspired by her childhood memories of growing up in South Texas. In her fourth solo exhbition with Luis De Jesus Gallery, the artist unveils a new series of large-scale collage paintings introducing us to family, friends and endearing moments from her life. “I want to take you home. I want you to share my journey, my memories of my childhood and my past experiences. I want you to learn about my family and how they shaped me for who I am.”

Luis De Jesus (luisdejesus.com)
Until 28 October

Black California Dreamin’: Claiming Space at America’s Leisure Frontier

John “Johnnie” Rucker and friends at the beach near Bay Street, Santa Monica, California, ca. 1950. Photograph. Courtesy Konrad Rucker.

A new show presented by California African-American Museum illuminates Black Angelenos and other Californians who worked to make public leisure spaces an inclusive reality in the first half of the twentieth century when Southern California was reimagining and positioning itself at the center of California Dream. Through historical photographs, memorabilia along with contemporary artworks the show shines light on iconic California leisure activities that black Californian’s helped to establish as they faced emerging power politics around who gets access to naturescapes and other public spaces.

California African-American Museum (caamuseum.org)
Until 31 March 2024

Darol Olu Kae: Keeping Time

Darol Olu Kae, Keeping Time, 2022 (still). Single-channel video installation; 16mm transferred to video, color, with sound, 32:26 min.

Keeping Time is a short film by Darol Olu Kae, an artist and filmmaker born and based in South Los Angeles. It ruminates on the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra (the Ark), an avant-garde jazz group from South Central LA, active since 1961, defined by its musicians’ allegiance to pure and nuanced jazz forms as established by its founder, the late composer and pianist Horace Tapscott.

California African-American Museum (caamuseum.org)
Until 15 January 2024

Hank Willis Thomas: I’ve Known Rivers

Hank Willis Thomas, “I’ve known rivers”, 2023, Screen Print and UV Print on Retroreflective Vinyl mounted on Dibond (2023

Over the last decade Hank Willis Thomas has created retroreflective works that reveal two distinct scenes transfigured by both ambient and flash lighting . The abstract collages on view at Pace Gallery present Thomas’s explorations of abstraction through the lenses of colonization, globalization, and appropriation. Alluding to the work of Romare Bearden, Aaron Douglas, Roy Lichtenstein, Henri Matisse, and Malick Sidibé, the artist’s newest retroreflective works mine the complex origins and histories of modern art across Africa, the United States, and Europe.

Pace Gallery (pacegallery.com)
Unitil 26 August

Myrlande Constant: Artist Survey

Myrlande Constant, Milocan Tous les Saints, Tous les Morts (Milokan all the saints, all the dead), 2000,

Myrlande Constantis’s show hosted by Fowler Museum at UCLA is the first institutional survey of a contemporary Haitian woman artist in America.  Renowned for her monumental, hand-beaded textiles Constant’s beaded tapestries build on the drapo Vodou tradition and depict Haitians, Catholic saints, and Vodou spirits in both vast and intimate scenes of Haitian history and everyday life. The presentation features 28 of her works and a short documentary. An accompanying monograph examines the evolution of Constant’s artistic vision and her impact on art-making in Haiti and beyond.

Fowler Museum at UCLA (fowler.ucla.edu)
Until 27 August

Thaddeus Mosley: Recent Sculptures

Since the late 1950’s Thaddeus Mosley has transformed felled urban hardwoods into totemic sculptures using only a mallet and chisel. In recent years the artist began working in bronze in order to bring his sculptures to life outdoors. For the first time, Mosley’s bronze sculptures are presented alongside his hand-carved works in wood, all of which were created in the last three years.

Karma Gallery (karmakarma.org)
Until 9 September

Honor Titus: Advantage In

Honor Titus, Madrid Open (2023) Photo by Ed Mumford

Honor Titus is known for reframing formal social traditions for a contemporary audience, depicting people of color in the contexts of leisure and luxury.This holds demonstrably true in the tennis motif. While these paintings seem to cast an eye back to simpler times in their celebration of country-club joie de vivre, they remain connected to the present moment, and echo Titus’s painterly intentions of bucking the viewer’s expectations.

Gagosian Los Angeles (gagosian.com)
Until 1 September