This Group Art Show in Chinatown Has No Art

It might be the least Instagrammable exhibit in L.A.

The jury’s still out on whether social media is helping or hurting the art world, but with Insta-friendly installations like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms and The Museum of Ice Cream forever flooding our feeds, it’s kind of refreshing to come across work that isn’t so picture perfect. Or, as in the case of Not All There, a new group show at Chinatown gallery Human Resources, work that can’t be photographed at all.

Curated by local artist Emily Mast, the art-free exhibition focuses on the work of 15 women who use humor to to take on serious social and political issues, ranging from terrorism to racism to sexual violence. But while the pieces “featured” in the show do all exist in the real world, none of them will be present in the gallery. Instead, visitors will experience them by way of a guided tour with artist and stand-up comedian Davie-Blue.

A post shared by emily mast (@ohemilymast) on

The result of a collaborative effort between Mast, playwright Rachel Kauder, critic Cassie da Costa, and the contributing artists, the tour is a mishmash of comedy bits, performance art, and art criticism. As Davie-Blue guides visitors around a series of “voids” painted on the gallery’s floor and walls, she’ll give them the lowdown on both the physical appearance of each artwork and it’s cultural significance, with a few jokes sprinkled in for good measure.

Mast says this unusual setup is meant to inspire a more “active” approach to engaging with art. “I was thinking about how to get people to use this exhibition not as an opportunity to socialize, but as an opportunity to look at things more closely,” she says. “I thought it was just unconventional enough to make people see things differently.”

Visitors can catch three live performances this weekend (Friday, January 26 at 8 p.m., Saturday, January 27 at 4 p.m., and Sunday, January 28 at 2 p.m.). Proceeds from the $10 suggested donation will be donated to WriteGirl, a nonprofit that offers creative writing mentorship to young women throughout L.A. Don’t have time to catch a tour? Fret not—Mast will be live-streaming all three on her Instagram (you know what they say, where there’s a ‘gram there’s a way). After the show closes, the full text will be posted online, where (spoiler alert!) images of the 14 works are also available for viewing.

Not All There, Human Resources, 410 Cottage Home St., Chinatown; through Jan. 28. 

RELATED: Is Instagram Helping or Hurting Art

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.