Artist Unknown (Ga’anda peoples, Nigeria) | Ritual sickle (wanshipta), mid-20th century
Iron | Photo by Don Cole/Fowler Museum of UCLA

Backstage Spotlights is turning the light on events across the city starting in June. Our artistic community never slows down!

Striking Iron The Art of African Blacksmiths | The Fowler Museum at UCLA | June 3 – December 30
It is an exhibition of the most comprehensive presentation of the blacksmiths art in Africa to date. It features over 225 artworks from across the continent. It includes work from the Fowler’s collection and borrowed from U.S. and European public and private collections. There are diverse musical instruments, elaborate body adornments, stunning wood sculptures studded with iron, prestige blades, and an array of currencies and ritual accouterments. The work examines how blacksmiths across Africa forged work that harnessed work from the natural and spiritual world.


Long Day’s Journey Into Night | The Wallis | June 8 – July 1
The Wallis presents The Bristol Old Vic production of Eugene O’ Neil’s Pulitzer Prize winner masterpiece. The story of a families long day and night of introspection. Starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville and directed by Sir Richard Eyre.

Made In L.A. 2018 | The Hammer Museum | June 3 – September 2
The biennial exhibition showcases 33 artists from the Los Angeles area ranging in age from 29 to 97. Through drawings, paintings, sculpture, textiles, performance, video, photography, and instillations many commissioned for the exhibition exemplify the diverse and creative landscape of Los Angeles today. Made in L.A. is organized by Anne Ellegood, senior curator and Erin Christovale, assistant curator with MacKenzie Stevens curatorial associate. Anne Philbin, Director of the Hammer said “this years Made in L.A. may not be overtly political, but it nevertheless speaks to our time”.

Leroy Almon, The Old Gambler, 1993, painted bas-relief wood carving – signed, 36×15” | Photo by the Good Luck Gallery

Elijah Pierce and Leroy Almon | Good Luck Gallery | June 9 – July 15
The Good Luck Gallery is partnering with Just Folk and Cavin-Morris Gallery for an historic exhibition of master African-American woodcarvers. Elijah Pierce (1892-1984) and Leroy Almon (1938-1997). Two significant twentieth century folk artists each grew up in the South but made their homes and marks in Columbus Ohio. Elijah Pierce, the son of a former slave was a mentor to Leroy Almon. Both artists gained recognition in their lifetimes and severed as an invaluable record of twentieth century America. Good Luck Gallery is the only gallery in Los Angeles that focuses on self-taught art. It is owned and curated by Paige Wery.

Photo by Maya Varnell

Barak Ballet | The Broad Stage | June 29 – 30
Barak Ballet is a LA based contemporary ballet company plans an exciting evening featuring critically acclaimed E/SPACE and two world premieres by Melissa Barak and Nicolas Blanc. The commissions are Cypher and Desert Transport. Melissa Barak is the Artistic Director.