A show that switches up day and night. Another that features paintings inspired by a lost paradise. And objects that fuse different currents in American history. Plus: Peter Saul’s early works, Simone Leigh’s historical talk and considering Mary Shelley’s monster. Here are eight shows and events to check out in the coming week:
Antonia Wright, “Under the water was sand, then rocks, miles of rocks, then fire,” at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. This is a show that rearranges our natural circadian rhythms. During the day, the gallery will be cloaked in darkness and viewers will have to navigate through a dense arrangement of plants enveloped by an experimental sound piece as they move to a video projection at the rear of the space. Once the sun sets outside, the lights come on indoors, the video switches off and the piece is transformed. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through Feb. 11. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, luisdejesus.com.
Sam Durant, “Build Therefore Your Own World,” at Blum & Poe. With a title drawn from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, this exhibition of new works by the L.A. artist takes elements inspired by the transcendentalists (Emerson, Henry David Thoreau) and remixes them with objects drawn from the lives of African and African American thinkers. This might consist of a 3-D rendering of Emerson’s writing chair mashed up with poet Phyllis Wheatley’s desk, or the walking stick of Jack Garrison (once enslaved) with Thoreau’s pencil — poignant objects that tell the intersecting tales of American history. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through Feb. 18. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Karl Haendel, “By and By,” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. In his third solo show at the gallery, Haendel explores the power of the heroic in portraiture — playing with issues of masculinity, power and gender in a series of works that depict everything from powerful men to teenage girls riding rodeo to a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton (his largest drawing to date). Also on view will be a new video, “J.,” an intimate filmic portrait of a convicted sex offender. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through Feb. 11. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, vielmetter.com.
Merion Estes, “Lost Horizons” and “Cooling Trend,” and Emily Davis Adams, “Somewhere Between,” at CB1 Gallery. From 2007 to 2011, painter Merion Estes produced a series of works on paper inspired by vanishing natural landscapes and the 1937 Frank Capra film “Lost Horizon,” about the hidden mountain paradise Shangri-La. She will be showing these works, along with a work that draws its intense color palette from our ever warming climate. Also on view at CB1 will be an exhibition of new works by Emily Davis Adams: A series of paintings inspired by constructions made from paper and other materials that toy with how the viewer perceives color and light. Opens Saturday at 4 p.m. and runs through Feb. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
“Peter Saul: From Pop to Politics: Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, 1957-1967,” at CB1 Guest Gallery. Organized by George Adams Gallery in New York, this exhibition brings together works from Saul’s early development as a painter in the 1950s to his transition to pop in the following decade. It also features his turn to topical issues — such as Vietnam and civil rights — in the work of the late 1960s. This looks like one not to miss. Opens Saturday at 4 p.m. and runs through Feb. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
“In Real Life: 100 Days of Film and Performance,” at the Hammer Museum. This 4½-month program is bringing a series of screenings, performances, film and video to the museum during a remodel. This weekend, New York-based artist Simone Leigh, who helped organize an indelible performance of Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter at the New Museum in New York City last year, will be heading up a couple of events at the museum. This includes a screening of several video works on Saturday at 3 p.m. (immediately followed by a DJ performance), as well as a discussion between Leigh and scholar Rizvana Bradley about black radical political, literary and artistic traditions on Sunday at 3 p.m. Through Jan. 25. Check the schedule for events and times. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
“Straight Outta Bushwick,” at Chimento Contemporary. Organized by Patricia Hamilton, who used to run New York’s Hamilton Gallery of Contemporary Art, this exhibition brings together a selection of works by artists from the Schweitzer/David Gallery in Brooklyn, from a neighborhood that has been a hotbed of arts activity for just over six years. Featured will be works by Farrell Brickhouse, Daniel John Gadd, Brenda Goodman, Dana James and C. Michael Norton. Opens Saturday at 5 p.m. and runs through Feb. 4. 622 S. Anderson St., No. 105, Boyle Heights, chimentocontemporary.com.
“The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Part of LACE’s Emerging Curators program, this exhibition, organized by Virginia Broersma, Nick Brown and Kio Griffith, takes Shelley’s seminal “Frankenstein” as a point of inspiration for a group show that dwells in “ecstatic highs and monstrous lows” as related to issues of performance and the body. This includes works by Cassils, Annie Lapin, Candice Lin and Gala Porras-Kim. Through Feb. 12. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
“Rediscovering Genius: The Works of Edward S. Curtis,” at the Depart Foundation. Curator Bruce Kapson has brought together a rare selection of important, historical works by the legendary photographer, known for chronicling North American Indian cultures during the early days of the 20th century, most famously in his expansive volume, “The North American Indian.” This includes original photography, as well as the artist’s little-seen and never published proofs and photogravure printing plates. Through Saturday. 9105 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, departfoundation.com.
“The Rat Bastard Protective Association,” at the Landing. The Rat Bastard Protective Association was a close-knit group of now well-known California artists — including Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wallace Berman and Joan Brown — who worked together in a building dubbed Painterland in San Francisco. Anastasia Aukeman, who wrote a book on the group — “Welcome to Painterland: Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association” — has organized an exhibition that brings the group’s works together for the first time since the late 1950s. Through Saturday. 5118 W. Jefferson Blvd., West Adams, thelandinggallery.com.
Jay DeFeo, “Paintings on Paper, 1986-1987,” at Marc Selwyn Fine Art. Over a four-decade career, the Bay Area-based artist was known for a diverse range of stark abstract works that included paintings, collages and monumental wall sculpture. This show at Selwyn gathers drawings from her “Samurai” series, paintings on heavy paper that were influenced by the artist’s 1985 trip to Japan, as well as an exhibition of Japanese helmets. Through Saturday. 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, marcselwynfineart.com.
Steven Steinman, “Sparks & Showers,” and Klea McKenna, “Automatic Earth,” at Von Lintel Gallery. The gallery has two shows: a series of unusual photographic rubbings by McKenna, who hails from the Bay Area, and the monochromatic works of the L.A.-based Steinman, who imbues bold monochromatic paintings with texture and undulating patterns. Through Saturday. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, vonlintel.com.
“S/Election,” at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Because too much election is never enough, the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery has a broad group show that examines issues of citizenship, identity, immigration and criminal justice. The show includes work by such socially and politically minded artists such as Jennifer Moon, Charles Gaines, Olga Koumoundouros and Rubén Ortiz-Torres. Through Sunday, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
Kay Sekimachi, “Simple Complexity,” at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. The museum has gathered a lifetime’s worth of work — from the 1960s to today — of this innovative Bay Area fiber artist. Through Sunday. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
“The Drawing Show,” at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. An exhibition gathers drawings by architects who use the medium as an exploratory tool in their design practices. This includes images that channel everything from geometric abstraction to the weirdly biomorphic. Architects featured include figures such as Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne, as well as Kyle Miller, Anthony Morey and Bryan Cantley. Through Sunday. 900 E. Fourth St., downtown Los Angeles, aplusd.org.
“Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler,” at the Armory Center for the Arts. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of sci-fi writer Octavia Butler. As part of this exhibition, which is organized by Clockshop, seven contemporary artists have created work inspired by the items in Butler’s archive, held by the Huntington Library. The new pieces include drawings, a sound installation, sculpture and even a musical work, which will premiere at the exhibition’s opening. Also on view will be an exhibition of sculptures and video by Harry Dodge — making this a most excellent two-fer. Through Sunday. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, armoryarts.org.
Michael Lift, “Sidereal Lift,” at Craig Krull Gallery. In his latest solo exhibition, the artist explores the Southern California landscape from above — featuring a series of prints that capture L.A. in ways that are geometric and a bit magical. Also on view will be Pamela Kendall Schiffer’s images of Yellowstone and Jeff Brouws’ stereoscopic images of an old copper mining pit in Montana. Through Jan. 14. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., B-3, Santa Monica, craigkrullygallery.com.
Doug Aitken, “Electric Earth,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The L.A. artist’s first North American museum survey features an array of collage, photographic and video installation works from throughout his career — including the cinematic “Song 1,” from 2012, screening on a massive circular screen, and “Electric Earth,” the 1999 video installation that earned him the International Prize at the Venice Biennale. Through Jan. 15. Geffen Contemporary, 152 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
“Truc Anh: Vacuphilia,” at Varola. The first exhibition by the Vietnamese-French artist features paintings and installations that feature bodies and body parts inhabiting an abstracted world of black and white. Through Jan. 20. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Ste. B256, West Hollywood, helenvarola.com.
“Black With a Drop of Red: Contemporary Cuban Poster Work,” at the Fowler Museum. A group show brings together poster designs by 18 graphic artists who have created broadsides for everything from Cuban cultural happenings to U.S. movies — all in stark shades of white, black and red. Through Jan. 22. 308 Charles E. Young Dr. N., Westwood, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
“The Human Beast: Art of Maxine Kim Stussy & Jan Stussy, at WUHO Gallery. A midcentury art couple who first met at UCLA in the late 1940s, Maxine Kim and Jan Stussy became known in Los Angeles for figurative works that revel in the animalistic. Organized by independent curator Michael Duncan, the show gathers 20 sculptures, paintings and works on paper by the artist pair. Through Jan. 22. 6518 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, wuho.architecture.woodbury.edu.
Beatriz Cortez, “Nomad World,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. The L.A.-based artist and cultural critic has transformed the gallery space at the museum into an arcade that picks apart global capitalism. A fortune-telling booth, a pinball machine and a jukebox have been pulled apart and put back together, in ways that grapple with issues such as migration, economics and identity. Through Jan. 28. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
“Virgin of Guadalupe: Images in Colonial Mexico,” at the Bowers Museum. This exhibition looks at the extraordinary impact of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Mexican culture, history and iconography through more than 60 artworks, including objects from the virgin’s basilica in Mexico City, as well as a sacred reliquary that contains a portion of the garment worn by Juan Diego, the indigenous peasant who first saw the virgin in an apparition. Through Jan. 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org
“California Wood Artists,” at the Maloof Foundation. A group show gathers wooden objects created by nearly 40 California wood artists, from one-of-a-kind furnishing to elaborate marquetry inspired by Google searches. Through Feb. 11. 5131 Carnelian St., Alta Loma, malooffoundation.org.
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, at the Fowler Museum. The Cuban visual artist was known for powerful pieces inspired by the visual iconography of the founding myths of Abakúa, an Afro-Cuban fraternal society. Over her short life (she died at age 32 in 1999), she produced a voluminous number of prints and collages in shades of black and white that convey scenes that are both magical and enigmatic. Through Feb. 12. UCLA, 308 Charles Young Drive North, Westwood, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
“States of Mind: Picasso Lithographs, 1945-1960,” at the Norton Simon Museum. Drawn from the museum’s holdings of more than 700 Picasso prints, this exhibition gathers works made in the immediate postwar years, many of which sequentially depict the artist’s process as he made changes and revisions. Moreover, many of the works are being seen for the first time in 40 years. Through Feb. 13. 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, nortonsimon.org.
“In the Land of Sunshine: Imaging the California Coast World,” at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Covering a period that begins in the mid-19th century and spans to today, this exhibition covers beach culture up and down our state’s more than 800-mile coast — from playful abstractions of the shoreline to expressive watercolors that will make you practically taste the salt air. Through Feb. 19. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
“Ease of Fiction,” at the California African American Museum. The museum has launched a new slate of shows. This includes “Ease of Fiction,” a group exhibition that features work by four African artists exploring the fine line between the invented and the real and the debut museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Genevieve Gagnard, whose photographs question notions of blackness and whiteness. There is also a beguiling room-sized installation by Hank Willis Thomas that recasts the symbols of the Confederate flag in the colors of black nationalism — and projects them in tune with a soundtrack of spoken-word audio (a piece that Times art critic Christopher Knight describes as “enthralling.”) Through Feb. 19. 600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
“Tastemakers and Earthshakers: Notes on Los Angeles Youth Culture, 1943-2016,” at Vincent Price Art Museum. A multimedia exhibition organized by the museum’s new director, Pilar Tompkins Rivas, looks at eight decades of youth culture — from the pachucos and pachucas of the ’40s, to the connections between Los Angeles and British youth culture, to the emergence of social spaces geared at youth. In addition to work by more than 35 area artists, the exhibition also features documentary photography, video and other cultural ephemera. Through Feb. 25. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
“Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in Los Angeles,” at the Skirball Cultural Center. A new exhibition of the pop artist looks at more than 70 works spanning four decades, many of which are connected to Los Angeles and the artist’s collaboration with important print studios here — including Gemini G.E.L. and Tamarind Lithography Workshop. Through March 12. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, Los Angeles, skirball.org.
Toba Khedoori, at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This is the first major museum survey of the L.A.-based artist, known for her painstaking draftsmanship and enigmatic drawings and paintings. Her works often feature architectural elements, landscape, smoke and flame in ways that play with negative space and toy with meaning. Through March 19. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection,” at the Huntington Library. The Huntington has just redone its American art galleries and now features a new expansion by architects at Frederick Fisher and Partners that adds eight rooms for display. Up first will be an exhibition devoted to the Fielding Collection, featuring more than 200 works of 18th and early 19th century American art, including paintings, furnishings and decorative art. While you’re at the museum, pop in to see the show “Real American Places: Edward Weston & ‘Leaves of Grass,’” which features the portfolio of photographs that Weston made to accompany Walt Whitman’s seminal poem. “Becoming America” runs indefinitely; Weston runs through March 20. 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, huntington.org.
“Non Fiction,” at the Underground Museum. An emotionally charged exhibition curated by the late Noah Davis in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles brings together works that explore issues of race and violence. This includes important works from MOCA’s permanent collection by artists such as Robert Gober, Kara Walker, Henry Taylor and David Hammons. Through March. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, theunderground-museum.org.
“L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This exhibition brings together more than 60 works of art donated by artists to the museum, including pieces by photographer Catherine Opie, light and space master Larry Bell, multimedia artist Analia Saban, photographer James Welling and conceptualist Mario Ybarra Jr. Through April 2. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“John McLaughlin Paintings: Total Abstraction,” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. One of the most important artists of SoCal’s postwar period, McLaughlin is known for quiet, minimalist works that explore total abstraction: geometries and lines that explore ideas of shape and space, but not representation. This exhibition gathers 52 paintings and a selection of collages and drawings — representing the first major museum retrospective of the artist’s work. Times critic Christopher Knight says this is the show he has been waiting 40 years to see. Do not miss. Through April 16. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
“Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media,” at the Getty Center. An exhibition that couldn’t be timelier: Curator Arpad Kovcs has put together a show that looks at the ways in which artists have turned bucolic magazine images and fragments of news programming into sharp political statements against events such as the Vietnam War and the so-called war on terror. The show features work by Martha Rosler, Alfredo Jaar, Catherine Opie and Robert Heinecken. Through April 20. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This exhibition compares the artistic trajectories of two of the 20th century’s most towering Modernists: Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. This covers the period from the 1920s to the ’50s as they explored Cubism, classical forms and ancient cultures in innovative ways. The shows features 150 paintings, etchings and watercolors. Through May 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Islamic Art Now: Part 2” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Contemporary works from LACMA’s permanent collection by 20 artists who live in or have roots in the Middle East look at questions of society, gender and identity. Runs indefinitely. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.org.
Loris Gréaud, “Sculpt,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The entire theater has been taken over by the European artist for a film that screens to only one person at a time. The nonlinear picture follows “a man about whom we know very little, who seems to be constantly developing the concept of what experiencing beauty, thought, or obsession can be,” according the write-up. Times critic Christopher Knight describes it as “pretentious and uninvolving.” A good hate-watch, maybe? On view through a yet to be determined date. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.