A photographer's long overdue retrospective at the Getty, a garden-shed gallery in Pasadena and a show that takes its name from a novel by John Fante. It's all happening this week in our big sweaty city:
Minor White, “Manifestations of the Spirit,” at the Getty Museum. This influential 20th-century photographer didn’t seek to simply document the objects and bits of scenery he shot, he evoked moods: solitude, tranquility, decay, desire. He also took wondrous photos of men. (White was gay, and there is a crackling electricity to the pictures he made of his well-proportioned student and model, Tom Murphy.) The photographer began his career shooting for the WPA in Oregon in the 1930s, a job that was followed by a stint in the Army, which brought him into contact with legendary lensmen such as Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams. (With Adams, he would found Aperture Magazine.) This is the first major retrospective of White’s work since 1989 — providing a belated opportunity to marinade in his often dream-like work. Through Oct. 19, 1200 Getty Center Drive, West L.A., getty.edu.
Alex Schub, "Please Listen Carefully as Our Menu Options Have Changed," at 323 Projects. The gallery that is nothing more than telephone line this month features a sound piece by Schub, in which the artist plays with the idea of the odious company phone tree. Trippy and weird. And you don’t have to get in a car to go hear it. Give it a call. At (323) 843-4652. Through Sept. 19.
Pia Camil, “The Little Dog Laughed,” at Blum & Poe. In a show that pays indirect tribute to L.A. novelist John Fante — “The Little Dog Laughed” was the name of a short story written by Arturo Bandini in “Ask the Dust” — Camil creates installations that play with ideas of theater and spectacle. It is the first show in L.A. for the Mexico City-based artist. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m., 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com. Through Aug. 23.
“Contort Yourself,” curated by the Modern Institute of Glasgow, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. Can’t make it to Scotland? Well, then let Scotland come to you. This exhibition consists of several shows-within-a-show featuring the conceptual works of four Glasgow-based artists, including Sue Tompkins, Jonnie Wilkes, the Turner Prize-nominated Luke Fowler and installationist Jim Lambie. Fowler’s award-nominated video will be on view, in addition to various installations by Lambie, who is known for having once turned the floor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York into a wild kaleidoscope of color. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m., 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, kaynegriffincorcoran.com. Through Aug. 30. As part of the show, Tompkins will perform Friday at 7 p.m., at 356 S. Mission Road, downtown, 356mission.com.
“Driving L.A.,” at Craig Krull Gallery. Featuring work by 16 artists, this photographic group show examines the role of the car in L.A. life, but also the way it’s shaped our landscape, our commerce, our architecture and more. Opens Saturday at 4 p.m., Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., B-3, Santa Monica, craigkrullgallery.com. Through Aug. 23.
"The Fifth Wall," at Armory Center for the Arts. A group show brings together artists from L.A. and beyond, including Alice Könitz’s “Los Angeles Museum of Art,” a shed — generally kept in her driveway — that functions as a mini gallery. (Konitz’s shed is popular these days. LMOA is also a part of the Hammer’s "Made in L.A." biennial.) Opens Sunday, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, armoryarts.org. Through Dec. 14.
Pedro Vélez, “Morally Reprehensible,” at 101/Exhibit. In its final week, this is the first L.A. solo by the Puerto Rican-born Vélez, who divides his time between New York and the Midwest, as well as Puerto Rico. A featured artist in this year's Whitney Biennial, he blends elements of art criticism (he was long a writer for Artnet) with painting, collage and photography. This loose show gathers various recent works, including his tattered-edge paintings, which combine the urgency of aggressive doodles with the the more methodical act of putting a brush to canvas. There is also a text piece that critiques the Biennial in which Vélez participated. Through Tuesday, 8920 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 101exhibit.com.