Shows & Tickets
Geffen Playhouse celebrates the diversity in our audiences and our productions, and it is our mission to create, foster, and nourish an environment that is open and welcoming for all. We are a home for the arts, and we believe our physical space should also reflect and be representative of our ongoing commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do and the communities we support.
Four Los Angeles artists have been invited to create original art works to be displayed in our lobby welcoming audiences. Our 2023/2024 Season is curated by Terrell Tilford (Band of Vices), the Creative Director of Art Lives Here and Geffen Playhouse alumnus.
ON VIEWJan. 17 – Feb. 18, 2024
Alma Mater is an exploration of Westwood Village. As a UCLA alumni myself, it’s been wild to be able to come back into the spaces I used to traffic 20 years ago. The same bus stop, the same coffee shop, the same burger stand. It’s no surprise to find Westwood Village occupied by the same kind of people that have always been here: students, university administrators, patients, bankers, and maintenance workers. In my Alma Mater series I meet people on the sidewalk and ask: “What have you learned? What do you still want to know?”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Pancho Cohen was raised in El Paso, TX. A graduate of UCLA, he has attended both Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and the Grand Central Academy in New York, New York. He has been a featured artist at Luminaria Arts Festival in San Antonio, TX and a resident artist at Camera Obscura Art Lab in Santa Monica, CA. A recent recipient of the Joshua Tree Highland Arts Residency, he is a former fellow of the Hudson River Fellowship in Jackson, NH. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles running SEIS Gallery, which features up and coming young artists alongside masters of their craft.
ON VIEWOct. 4 – Nov. 5, 2023
The figures in this piece lean on one another capturing the intimacy of expression. It is a testament to the Geffen Playhouse’s commitment to inclusivity and the belief that the arts have the power to bring people together, transcending barriers and fostering understanding. This painting invites viewers to reflect on the beauty of diversity, the magic of theater, and the unifying force of art that can be found within the walls of the Geffen Playhouse. As a visual artist, I am so inspired by the layers of creativity, the artistic nature of costuming, makeup and casting, like layers of paint, all woven into an elegant story. Each performance playing its own part in history.
Edyta Pachowicz is a Los Angeles based painter specializing in oil painting. Her work can best be described as figurative impressionistic realism. It is at once expressive and mysterious, realistic, and abstract, maintaining figures as her prime subject matter. A Polish immigrant with French heritage, she attributes her influence to her European roots. Being immersed in a classical art-driven culture had a profound impact on her creativity. Her work continues to evolve in intricacy by creating provocative work that invites intimate interpretation.
ON VIEWJune 6 – July 30, 2023
Theatre is in my blood. By the time I was 5 years old, I knew that I wanted to be a performer. I was a child of adoption and it wasn’t until I was 17 and already well on my way to theatre school that I discovered that not only were both of my biological parents actors, but that they had actually met while performing. Thinking about my own origins often makes me think about the origins of theatre itself... not the Greeks, but the earliest theatre. The cave paintings of theatre. My painting seeks to imagine the FIRST theatre and pay tribute to these early actors. In a time when human life was little more than survival, these storytellers gave meaning to our lives, and a name for our fears. Theatre is innately and uniquely human—it is our birth right passed down from these first storytellers.
Zachary Bones is an LA based visual artist, performer, activist, and arts educator who believes that art and storytelling have the power to grow our capacity for understanding and empathy in the world. Zach is passionate about social justice and holds the conviction that the creation of art is vital to the progress of anti-racist work, the social evolution of our country, and even the survival of our species. Zach has worked on a variety of artistic projects over the years including: working as a storyboard artist for film and television, live speed painter, and a comissioned portrait and memorial artist. Zach has worked as a muralist, designer, scenic painter, and master carpenter with: Theatre of Note, Finite Films, Illyrian Players, Escape Room LA, Encore Entertainers, and more. You can learn more and see some of Zach’s work on his website at www.zachbart.com, or follow him on Instagram @art_on_my_sleeve.
ON VIEWApr. 4 – May 7, 2023
The inspiration for this piece comes from my experience of being an Asian-American consumer of entertainment, who grew up being conditioned into believing that my heritage could only amount to a caricatured and culturally insensitive depiction in American popular culture. It uses the musical play The King and I—of which the historical persistence on using yellowface throughout the decades is emblematic of a general and societal lack of bother—as a vessel to raise awareness and discussion. Two figures emerge vaguely from, and are entangled in a stylized technical execution. It is meant to encourage viewers to look past the surface level of what is presented to us, and vigorously question, identify, and challenge any inherent bias or unfair assumptions from the entertainment that we consume.
Conan Zhao’s artistic journey began in his teenage years when he became known at school as an entirely self-taught pencil artist who pursued photorealistic portraiture. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Applied Mathematics, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to begin a career as a health actuary. In 2019, Zhao quit his corporate day job to pursue his passion as a full-time artist entrepreneur. During college, he spent a year at Marchutz School of Art (Aix-en-Provence, France), where he discovered the rich history of art and philosophies. His influences include Hokusai, Rembrandt, Turner, Daumier, Bernie Fuchs, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. The mission of Zhao’s art ties deeply to his desire to spotlight underserved communities. As an Asian-American artist, he has experienced many forms of racial prejudices first-hand, and understands the need for cross-racial support and solidarity.
ARTISTJoan Chéri Peake
ON VIEWFeb. 1 – Apr. 2, 2023
As theatre is one of the most social of the arts and demands society to examine itself in the mirror, this piece will create the relationship between theatre and oneself. In a society where social media plays a major role in our lives, selfies have become almost a daily ritual around the world throughout the 21st century. This work will allow the theatre community to come together and blend with our current social norm. Over the past decade, selfies have helped people stand out, and helped them prove that they are a part of something important. So, essentially this mirrored artwork will show the audience that they are a part of the theatre culture and that they deserve their flowers while they’re here!
Joan Chéri Peake is a passionate, expressive, vibrant African American artist. At the young age of 5 she watched her mother create paintings from home, which instantly sparked her love for art. Naturally, she was drawn to painting; her interest was cultivated during her teenage years and further developed when she decided to take her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. Joan also had the desire to fulfill her love for fashion and decided to advance her education in New York City at Parsons New School for Design. Her sensual nature of art is inspired by femininity, pop culture, and her life experiences. Her aesthetic constantly allows her to explore new places, and new techniques.
ON VIEWSep. 13 – Dec. 18, 2022
Portal consists of a large-scale origami lotus, the Buddhist color of enlightenment. In Taiwan’s Buddhist tradition, grieving family members fold 108 origami lotus blossoms each week for seven weeks. Each week, the 108 paper lotuses are ceremonially burned until the cremation of the lotus covered-body on the forty-ninth day. Forced to mourn the death of my grandparents from afar during COVID-19, I was struck by the powerful symbol of the ritual burning of origami lotus, as a portal for the dead to the afterlife, and as a portal for those mourning to solace. The death of a loved one is a shattering of life as we know it. As Arundhati Roy writes, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew... It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” Through meditative labor, this fragile paper bloom becomes a symbol of hope and rebirth in the face of loss.
Working in installation, painting, photography, and video, artist Flora Kao explores the poetics of human relationship with environment. Examining the psychological potential of constructed space, Kao transforms everyday structures into systems of beauty. Kao examines our impulse to order and preserve in the face of the unknown and uncontrollable. In mapping presence and absence, Kao meditates on memory, mortality, displacement, and decay. Hovering between restraint and collapse, Kao’s work anchors moments of intense emotion through repeated action. Kao’s art responds to our contemporary dislocation from environment. In constructing moments of poetic beauty, Kao challenges the rote experience of space through unexpected sensory encounters with the organic and handmade.
ARTISTYeu "Q" Nguyen
ON VIEWJun. 23 – Aug. 14, 2022
Using heirloom tapestry weaving as an allegory to the communal nature of theatre production, this work embodies the magic of theatre in form, material, and process. Fabric remnants of different texture and colors, some sourced directly from the Geffen’s costume department, ripple with energy as they flow seamlessly together to create a new whole. Featuring actors’ signatures from past Geffen productions, the title words, dazzling with costume gems and read like a backstage cheer, celebrate stage life and those who live it.
Like a performance, this work is incomplete without audience presence. Please help me fully realize this work’s intention by tying your ticket to the tapestry using the loose ribbon ends.
Born in Saigon, Yeu “Q” Nguyen is a multidisciplinary artist working in Los Angeles. Known for her vibrant, interactive installations and intricately crafted objects rich in symbolism, Q has exhibited at notable venues such as the SouthWest Museum, the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. “The Resilience Archive,” a retrospective of Q’s expansive work circa 2016-22, is currently on view at Stay Gallery in Downey. Upcoming projects include “At The Table” group exhibition at the Armory Center for the Arts and an art commission with Santa Monica city. More on Q can be found at www.yeuqart.com and Instagram @yeuqart.
ON VIEWApr. 19 – Jun. 19, 2022
The work is a metaphor for the magic that the theatre evokes in audiences. As theatergoers watch a play, or performance, they feel transported into another world. The physical walls and ceiling of the theatre disappear and a new world emerges where anything is possible. This mixed media depicts theatre seats placed on the surface of a vast landscape that is surreal and fantastic. The open landscape points to the expansiveness of our natural world, with arms open to all its inhabitants.
Luciana Abait was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is currently based in Los Angeles where she is a resident artist of 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica. Her photo-based two- and three-dimensional works deal with climate change and environmental fragility, and their impacts on immigration in particular. Abait's artworks have been shown widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia in solo shows in galleries, museums, and international art fairs. Selected exhibitions include A Letter to the Future at Los Angeles International Airport and Sur Biennial in California; Flow, Blue at Rockford College Art Museum and Luciana Abait at Jean Albano Gallery in Illinois; Nest at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania; and ARCO in Spain. Abait's works are held in private, public and corporate collections from the United States, Europe, Latin America and East Asia.
ON VIEWFeb. 8 – Apr. 10, 2022
This work layers Old World Shakespeare with New World Chicano Theatre. Most prominently, this work is inspired by the Luís Valdez El Teatro Campesino, and features a lady lute player and a drummer from Día de Los Muertos carpas plays. Carpa, or tent theatre, were touring groups on both sides of the border that toured from town to town, set up tents, and performed a mix of slapstick comedy, folk dance, circus stunts and puppetry, all for a mostly working-class audience. Like the Shakespearean actor William Kempe's "nine daies wonder" performed "in a daunce from London to Norwich," the carpa tradition is making a comeback with Valdez's TC, and "The Carpa Plays," of the Teatro Bravo, connecting a theatre tradition 400 years apart.
The work of Roberto Delgado evolves from the reality of the photo. Both the easel work and public art murals have been based on the people and circumstances that he has encountered, with both being an appreciation of the human figure. Born and raised in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, Delgado served in the US Army and was a graduate of UCLA’s M.F.A. program. Spending most of the 70s and 80s in Chiapas State, Mexico, Delgado honed his skills in murals and public art. In 1985 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and lived in Mexico City, working on large monotypes and murals. Seeing the influence of Mexican-American-Chicano barrio realism on the Mexico City art world first hand, he realized how Chicano art had come full circle, with the craft of Mexican art taken to L.A., now coming back to the Mexico City art world.
ON VIEWNov. 9 – Dec. 12, 2021
Horror Without End! doubling is a multimedia video installation which transports audiences to an alternate universe that is populated by monsters, spawning a counter mythology and queering of existing norms. Choreographed by Tetiana Sklyarova and Kayla Aguila, the dynamic movements in the performance tell a story of a doppelganger emerging to eventually take over its original. This work considers what happens when the championing of individualism in U.S. culture runs into the reality of the powerlessness of the individual. Doubling is a celebration of the power of community, even if that community comes in the form of your doppelganger.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Beck+Col are a Los Angeles based artist duo who have been working exclusively in collaboration since 2014. Beck+Col have performed at numerous venues including the Hammer Museum, REDCAT, and JOAN Los Angeles. They have had multiple solo exhibitions at Human Resources and their work has been exhibited worldwide including the Royal College of Music in Sweden, Colección AMALITA in Buenos Aires and at Biquini WAX EPS in Mexico City.
Geffen Playhouse has been a hub of the Los Angeles theater scene since opening its doors in 1995. Noted for its intimacy and celebrated for its world-renowned mix of classic and contemporary plays, provocative new works and second productions, the not-for-profit organization continues to present a body of work that has garnered national recognition. Named in honor of entertainment mogul and philanthropist David Geffen, who made the initial donation to the theater, the company was founded by Gilbert Cates and is currently helmed by Executive Director/CEO Gil Cates, Jr., Artistic Director Tarell Alvin McCraney and Board Chair Adi Greenberg. Proudly associated with UCLA, the Geffen welcomes an audience of more than 130,000 each year, and maintains extensive education and community engagement programs, designed to involve underserved young people and the community at large in the arts.
In recognition of the essential examination of systemic racism and injustices, we at Geffen Playhouse commit to continued analysis and expansion of our own institutional practices in order to be part of the solution. Our vision for the Geffen is that people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, abilities, genders and backgrounds find it an easily accessible and highly relevant source of art that reflects the dynamic human experience and galvanizes a more equitable and vibrant community. In adopting this statement, we are amplifying our strategic and ongoing commitment to improving and increasing the cultural diversity, equity and inclusion of our audiences, staff, artists, board, and programming.