Top 3 This Week

Let Lindsay Preston Zappas curate your art viewing experiences this week. Here are our Top 3 picks of what not to miss. Scroll down for Insider stories.

Moffat Takadiwa, The Tengwe Farms 2019 (a), 2019. Found dishwasher liquid bottle tops and plastic bottle caps. 137.80h x 147.64w x 13.78d inches. Image courtesy of Nicodim Gallery.

1. Moffat Takadiwa at Nicodim Gallery

Did you know that your trash and plastic recyclables can end up in the landfills of poorer nations like Malaysia, India, and South Africa? Artist Moffat Takadiwa, who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe—a city that houses one of the largest landfills in the country—mines landfills for plastic trash, much of which contains labels and logos of American brands. He then meticulously sorts and weaves together the found bottle caps, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, and keyboard keys into elaborate tapestries. From far away, the works look like beautiful beaded garments, filled with luscious pattern and color. Yet, up close, the used bristles of toothbrushes snap into view, and the grimy details of the work become a distressing symbol of our global waste problem. Not only will you leave this show delighting in the stunning compositions and arrangements of these labor-intensive sculptural works, but you will also reconsider your own relationship to consumerism and plastic waste. 

On view: September 7–October 19, 2019 Open map

Nicodim Gallery
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February James, A Place to Belong (installation view). Image courtesy of Wilding Cran.

2. February James at Wilding Cran Gallery

The back room of Wilding Cran Gallery has been transformed into an eerie sort of domestic space. A couch, coffee table, TV, and lamp made out of glued paper and cardboard are ghostly counterparts to actual furniture, and the artist has painted the gallery walls in a washy grey watercolor. This skeletal space is finished off with a set of framed watercolor portraits that hang throughout, each one peering out with a solemn expression. Taken as a whole, the exhibition feels both familiar and foreboding, and considers the impact that familial relationships have on our day-to-day experiences—or the potential burden that our past might carry into our future.   

On view: September 8th–October 27th, 2019 Open map

Wilding Cran Gallery
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Allison Miller, Curl Arch, 2019. Oil, oil stick, acrylic, marble dust, 68 x 73 inches. Image courtesy of The Pit.

3. Allison Miller at The Pit

The Pit Gallery in Glendale occupies a set of small spaces along Ruberta Avenue. In their main gallery, Allison Miller’s paintings feel intimate and personal, but allow room for interpretation from the viewer. The artist is heavily invested in the process of painting, valuing her own personal experience while making the works: adding marks, strokes, and different techniques until the work arrives in a place she might have never predicted. For this particular body of work, Miller involved her intuitive process alongside a rumination on her mother, who recently passed. The paintings include hidden homages to her mother—references to her handwriting or patterns from fabric she had collected—and together form a group of works that feel tenderly labored over in composition, process, and subject matter. Keep moving down The Pit’s row of galleries to see Jennifer Paige Cohen’s installation of clay sculptures, and a lovely show curated by Portland-based gallery Adams & Ollman. 

On view: September 8–October 19, 2019 Open map

The Pit
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A Closer Look

EMILY KAME KNGWARREYE, Merne Akngerre, 1992. Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 119 1/2 x 53 3/4 x 1 inches. © Emily Kame Kngwarreye / Copyright Agency. Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2019. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian

How Steve Martin Became an Advocate for Indigenous Australian Artists

Lindsay and Jarrett Hill discuss the history of a group of Indigenous Australian artists who are seeing success in the American contemporary art market. The heavily patterned paintings have been collected by Steve Martin, as well as Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but they have very intimate and specific meanings behind them, each referencing a specific Indigenous ancestral story. Hear about the history of the group, their Indigenous art cooperative, and how Steve Martin—who owns two dozen works by Indigenous Australian painting—became a champion for these artists.

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Gallery Talk

Gallery talk is your insider look into the stories of gallerists, curators, and artists in the Los Angeles art community.

Moffat Takadiwa,

Making Art Out of Plastic Trash

Artist Moffat Takadiwa talks about rummaging through landfills in Zimbabwe and South Africa and breaking in with the communities that make their living off of the dumps. “There are whole communities of vagabonds and scavengers who live adjacent to the dumps, and make their livelihoods from the waste of others. At first they viewed me with suspicion—an artist scavenging alongside them, not for food or objects to help one survive, but colorful and textural supplies with which to create my work. Over time, however, they began to see the dumps as I did, to speak my language, and assisted me in my pursuits. I now employ a number of these people; they help me to repurpose the trash into beautiful objects, and through the money my objects generate, they no longer have to live in the dumps."


Lindsay Preston Zappas is KCRW's Arts Correspondent and the founder/ editor-in-chief of Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles (Carla).

Ex Hex at The Getty
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