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      art Emily Manning 24 February 2017

      7 things not to miss at the l.a. art book fair

      Printed Matter’s annual Art Book Fair returns to Southern California this week, and its programming is packed with extra special West Coast sunshine. We’ve rounded up a selection of highlights from the epic lineup. Where else can you get a tattoo designed by Kenneth Anger and Sterling Ruby while flipping through a new collaborative zine by Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon, killing time before an Ari Marcopoulos book signing and Miranda July performance?

      Marcel Dzama and Raymond Pettibon collaborate for the ACLU: Marcel Dzama is a familiar figure at Printed Matter's Art Book bashes. For the 2015 New York edition, the Canadian Dadaist staged a multi-day exhibition of works and performances, including a live reenactment of the choreography from his video Death Disco Dance. Dzama also released a collaborative publication Raymond Pettibon for that 2015 fair, titled Dzama/Pettibon. More recently, the pair opened a joint exhibition at David Zwirner's London outpost, which Dzama spoke to us about one afternoon from the back of a cab. The dynamic duo makes its return to Pettibon's SoCal home turf with a brand new zine in tow. "To celebrate Presidents' Day, Raymond Pettibon and myself made a new zine titled (Illegitimate president)," Dzama wrote on Instagram on Monday, adding that all proceeds will benefit the ACLU.

      Kenneth Anger and Sterling Ruby design tattoos: Following the success of Gagosian Gallery's FLASH FLASH FLASH — an exhibition-cum-tattoo parlor — at the New York Art Book Fair in September, the gallery has recruited a new crop of artists and tattooers for an L.A. revival. Gagosian has commissioned designs by Kenneth Anger, the cult film director who recently celebrated his 90th birthday; Sterling Ruby, a former pro-skater and sculptor perhaps best known in the fashion world for his collaborative relationship with Raf Simons; and Mark Mothersbaugh, whose resume includes fronting Devo, scoring Wes Anderson films, and creating the Rugrats theme song. Once each design has been tattooed six times, it's retired, so get going!

      Kembra Pfahler and Seth Bogart stage musical performances: At tonight's preview, the fair will kick off with performances by Seth Bogart and Kembra Pfahler. Bogart fronted raucous garage pop outfit Hunx and his Punx and collaborated with Kathleen Hanna before releasing an excellent club-ready record under his own name last year. Pfahler is a verifiable performance art icon, most notably making films with the Cinema of Transgression and fronting the shock rock glam punk troupe The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black (and starring in Harley Weir's Proenza Schouler film). The opening night performance is only one element of Pfahler's jam-packed weekend. On Friday, February 24, she'll be on hand for a screening of Ich Sehe Das Licht, a comprehensive documentation of her expansive practice. On Sunday, she'll be doing a signing with fellow filmmaker Bruce La Bruce for The Wall of Vagina.

      Teen Angels Magazine looks back at 20 years of connecting Chicanx youth: One of the LAABF's seven exhibitions explores the impact of the artist known as Teen Angel, who began working full time for the massively popular car culture magazine Lowrider in 1977. In addition to his artworks, Angel also contributed a column to the magazine, "Cruising into the Past," which documented the history of lowrider culture and the Chicanx community it's embedded in. This exploration of art, culture, and community profoundly shaped Angel's next venture, Teen Angels Magazine, which he began self-publishing in 1981. Collecting artwork, dedications, photographs, pen pals, poems, and articles, the magazine connected Chicanx youth throughout California and the American Southwest long before the advent of social media by focusing on fashion, politics, social issues, and music — not just lowrider car culture. And by giving these young people a platform to express themselves authentically, Teen Angels Magazine broke down the perceptions of despair and violence so often associated with the community, and instead focused on the creativity and camaraderie found in the streets. LAABF will exhibit pieces from the magazine's 200-issue archive, and host a conversation with David De Baca about the underground artist's vital vision.

      Miranda July's mysterious demonstration: Last month, Miranda July launched joanie4jackie.com, a massive digital archive of the feminist film series she created in the mid-90s as a response to Hollywood's one-sided representation of women. Given the incredible scope of July's practice — she's released an EP, directed films, published a novel, developed a communications app — this project may or may not have anything to do with her appearance at the LAABF. On Friday, attendees can "join Miranda July at the Printed Matter booth as she kicks off Printed Matter's spring membership drive with a short demonstration/performance," according to the Book Fair's website. This is a woman of many skills, so whatever she's demonstrating we'd sure like to learn it. 

      Ari Marcopoulos signs copies of a new book on the American South: Back in 2015, Ari Marcopoulos and Kara Walker released an artist's book accompanying Walker's exhibition Go to Hell or Atlanta, Whichever Comes First. The show was inspired by Stone Mountain, the Georgia mountain city the Ku Klux Klan claimed as its spiritual birthplace in 1915. Though the white supremacist organization has carved its founding scenes on Stone Mountain's titular rock formation, the monument still promotes itself as a theme park; its laser show and water slides will soon be joined by dinosaurs. Walker revisited the landmark during a particularly turbulent period in the South, when Dylann Roof murdered Charleston churchgoers and Bree Newsome scaled a flagpole at the Southern Carolina's capitol building to remove the Confederate flag it still displays. You can read an illuminating conversation between Walker and Marcopoulos, extracted from the show's accompanying artist's book, on i-D. Yesterday, Marcopoulos posted an image of a new book, titled Stone Mountain, Georgia, this one recently published by Etudes Studio. Marcopoulos also revealed he'll be doing a special signing of the work on Sunday afternoon.

      Gaika, Juliana Huxtable, and SOPHIE close the show: The LAABF's official after party lineup is as dope as the main event! Catch DJ sets by Against All Logic and Juliana Huxtable. Genre-bending provocateurs like Gaika, SOPHIE, and Yves Tumor will all be performing live. Don't sleep! 

      Find more information about all of the above events here.

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      Text Emily Manning

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      Topics:art, culture, books, la art book fair, printed matter, marcel dzama, raymond pettibon, ari marcopoulous, kenneth anger, sterling ruby

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