The wild assemblages of a longtime Los Angeles sculptor. Art in the age of the AIDS crisis. A German painter gets his due. Selfie sticks in sculpture. Plus: video art from Mexico and Venezuela (the latter by way of Seattle) and a group show that is all about L.A. Here’s what we’ve got in the Datebook:
Rachel Harrison, “Three Young Framers,’ at Regen Projects. With all the talk about selfie sticks in the world of art, it seemed right that an artist would take the subject on — both in concept and in material form. Harrison, who is known for her bulbously weird sculptures made from Styrofoam and cement, all studded with bits of human detritus, has a new show at Regen that employs both the concept of the selfie (the framing of oneself, hence the title of the show) and the sticks (her alien forms bear selfie sticks as if they were some robotic prostheses). Before diving into the strangeness, check out Peter Schjeldahl’s profile of the artist in the New Yorker. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through July 18. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
Noah Purifoy, “Junk Dada,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The sculptor who turned the detritus of the Watts Riots into sculpture and transformed a patch of desert in Joshua Tree into a wild assemblage museum is finally getting his due: a solo museum exhibition at LACMA. This includes work from early on in his career, as well as a dozen assemblage works that he and other artists crafted for “66 Signs of Neon,” the seminal post-riots show held at the Watts Towers Arts Center in 1966, and which later went on to travel to nine other venues. Also well-represented is the sculptural work he created in the last 15 years of his life in the Mojave Desert. Opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 27. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Gary Hill, “Observaciones Sobre los Colores,” at Roberts & Tilton. The pioneering video artist presents a piece made in the late 1990s in Venezuela of a young boy attempting to read a phonetically-written Spanish translation of the German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Remarks on Colour, Part 1,” first published in 1951. The nearly incomprehensible text serves as a point of departure for exploring questions of sound, language, color and body language. Opens Saturday and runs through June 27. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.com.
“Tongues Untied,” at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. Exploring themes such as desire, love, loss and mourning, this show, drawn from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s collection, looks at the world of art during the dawn of the AIDS crisis. The centerpiece of the show is Marlon Riggs’s feature-length 1989 documentary, “Tongues Untied,” a semi-autobiographical look at the black gay experience. Opens today and runs through Sept. 13. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, moca.org.
Norbert Tadeusz, “Studio,” at the El Segundo Museum of Art. The German painter, known for his colorful contorted figures, often presented in surreal scenarios, is little known in this country. But this exhibition — a collaboration between ESMoA and the L.A. County Museum of Art, which curated the show — provides an opportunity to get acquainted with his work. On view will be 30 of his mostly monumental canvases. Opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 26. 208 Main St., El Segundo, esmoa.org.
Richard Ankrom, “The Curio Shop,” at Charlie James Gallery. The artist, who is perhaps best known for installing a directional sign on the 110, also works with appropriated bits of kitsch that he transforms in strange and bizarre ways. For his show at Charlie James, he takes porcelain figurines and other odd bits of decorative detritus and outfits them with special-made mini-bondage gear. The result is as demented as it is irresistible. Opens Saturday and runs through July 11. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com
“Lost in a Sea of Red,” at the Pit. A group show gathers photography, painting and sculpture by a group of 10 Los Angeles artists, including photographer John Divola, painter Annie Lapin and sculptor Jedediah Caesar, who often works with detritus. Opens Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (other viewings by appointment) and runs through July 18. 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale, the-pit.la.
“Korda: Revolutionary Photographer,” at the Museum of Latin American Art. Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, better known by the nickname Korda, is the Cuban photographer who snapped the iconic photograph of Che Guevera looking heroic (the source of countless pieces of Che merchandise). He also photographed many other significant happenings during and after the Cuban Revolution. MOLAA gathers 19 vintage prints from the late 1950s and early '60s, when the country was in a period of great transition. Opens Saturday at 3 p.m. and runs through Sept. 6. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
“Carlos Amorales: A Film Trilogy,” a two-night screening and conversation at the Mistake Room. The multimedia artist from Mexico, known for producing wild black and white animations, will be screening a series of three new films — “Amsterdam,” “The Man Who Did All Things Forbidden,” and “El No Me Mires” — over two nights next week. On Thursday, he will be present and in conversation with author and USC communications professor Josh Kun. In the meantime, check out this profile of the artist on VICE (in Spanish). Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles, tmr.la.
Zak Smith, “Shred,” at Richard Heller Gallery. In his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, the artist who once created a picture for every page of Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” (an epic undertaking he collected in a book) has a gathering of works that range from wild sci-fi worlds to erotic daily scenes from his life. Through Saturday. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., No. B5A, Santa Monica, richardhellergallery.com
“Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Forty-five paintings by the best-known artists of the American landscape movement, including Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church. Do not miss Thomas Hill's view of Yosemite Valley in 1865. Here's a detail I snapped when I cruised through LACMA earlier this week. Through Sunday. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Light Catchers” at the California African American Museum. A reprise of an exhibition organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs in the late 1990s, this group show features the work of seven African American photographers working in Los Angeles since the late 1940s. Through Sunday. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
“Bari Kumar: Remembering the Future” at Charles White Elementary. At LACMA’s satellite space, Kumar shows a series of paintings that combine bits of imagery that he harvests from fine art and popular culture. Through June 13, 2401 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Mark Ruwedel, “Pictures of Hell,” at Gallery Luisotti. This photographer has truly been to hell — visiting places with all kinds of devilish names, such as Hell, Devil’s Kitchen and Hell’s Gate, and photographing them in the process. Extended through June 13. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building A2, Santa Monica, galleryluisotti.com.
“Robert Harding Pittman: Anonymization” at Spot Photo Works. Parking lots. Strip malls. And cookie-cutter communities in which one house resembles the next. Pittman captures a globalized view of development and architecture in places as disparate as Spain and South Korea. Through June 16. 6679 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, spotphotogallery.com.
“William Pope.L: Trinket” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Among various other works, a monumental 54-foot flag flaps and snaps to a row of industrial fans in the museum’s Geffen space — a hyper-potent symbol of what true patriotism might mean. Through June 20. 152 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
Peter Saul, “Some Crazy Pictures,” at David Kordanksy Gallery. Known for his lurid palette and dissolving figures, the painter, now in his 80s, is known for skewering the powerful in his work. In his first show at Kordanksy, he continues to set his sights on money and how it corrupts. Through June 20. 5130 W. Edgewood Place, Los Angeles, davidkordanskygallery.com.
“Mark Grotjahn: Fifteen Paintings” at Blum & Poe. Dense layers of striated oil paint in a rainbow of colors reveal subtle images in Grotjahn’s latest abstracted works, an ongoing part of his “Face” paintings series. Look once and you’ll see bulbous banana flowers and leaf-like ornamentation. Look even closer and you might find a warrior’s partially obscured face. Through June 20. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Hugo Crosthwaite, “Tijuana Radiant Shine” and “Shattered Mural,” at Luis de Jesus. Crosthwaite’s signature black-and-white-noir-meets-Mexican-comic-books style of paintings take a sculptural turn in his latest solo show at Luis de Jesus. Through June 20. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, luisdejesus.com.
Chris Burden, “Ode to Santos Dumont,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The artist’s final work is a kinetic airship sculpture that pays homage to Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian-born pioneer aviator who flew a dirigible around the Eiffel Tower in 1901 in an act of flight that shocked and awed. Burden’s ship will take flight inside the Resnick Pavilion several times daily. Through June 21; check the website for flight times. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Melanie Daniel: Piecemaker,” at Shulamit Gallery. Fragments of figures, bits of landscape, elements of pattern and deeply saturated tones make their way into Daniel’s oil paintings — otherworldly scenarios that are drawn from her experiences living in Israel. Through June 27. 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, shulamitgallery.com.
Joaquin Trujillo, “Mal de Ojo,” at De Soto Gallery. A photographic exhibition by the L.A.-based artist plays with ideas of protection and enchantment and the Latin American superstition of the evil eye. Through June 28. 1350 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice, desotogallery.com.
“C.O.L.A. 2015: Individual Artist Fellowships Exhibition” at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery. The Department of Cultural Affairs recently announced the winners of its City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.) Individual Artists Fellowships, honoring mid-career artists working in various media — including architectural installation, sculpture and painting. This group show gathers the winners’ works. Through June 28. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
Matt Siegle, “Eddie’s Gulch,” at Park View Gallery. Siegle creates paintings that record the lives of drifters who mine for gold in a canyon along the San Gabriel River, employing these in larger compositions that tell stories about independence and 21st century disenfranchisement. Through June 28. 836 S. Park View St., Unit 8, Westlake, Los Angeles, parkviewparkview.com.
Liza Ryan, “Wind(Shield),” at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. A series of photographs by the L.A.-based artist examines that fragile membrane that protects the average 2-ton vehicle barreling around at 65 mph: the windshield. Images of wrecked and abandoned cars capture reflections of sky over webbed cracks and fractured glass. Through July 11. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
Andrew Dadson, “Painting (Organic),” at David Kordansky Gallery. Intensely layered abstractions feature breadth as well as depth, with paint manipulated into three-dimensional forms right on the surface of the canvas. The show also includes ink-jet paintings and an installation involving spray-painted plants. Through July 11. 5130 Edgewood Place, Mid-City, Los Angeles, davidkordanskygallery.com.
Jimena Sarno, “Homeland” and “Mediations on Digital Labor: xtine burrough,” at the Grand Central Art Center. A pair of new shows explore the nature and history of surveillance in the United States as well as questions of cheap labor on Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk. Through July 12. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralartcenter.com.
Nao Bustamante, “Soldadera,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. A new multimedia installation by the well-known performance artist investigates the role of women in the Mexican Revolution — incorporating a variety of objects, including bulletproof dresses. Through Aug. 1. East L.A. College. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
“Ed Moses: Drawings From the 1960s and '70s” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The drawings of this prominent Los Angeles abstract artist have historically served as the backbone of his work: intensely detailed graphite floral patterns as well as his later diagonal grids, which come together to evoke both natural and machine-like landscapes. Through Aug. 2. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. A 15-minute, double-screen film tells a nuanced story of life, death and moments of magic in Compton — all set to the poetic, often abstract lyrics of native son Kendrick Lamar. Joseph is blurring the boundaries among cinema, fine art and music video. Do not miss. Through Aug. 16. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
“Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory,” at the Duron Gallery. Two dozen works by artists from around the Mexican state of Oaxaca who deal with personal questions of immigration in their work. This includes video, painting, photography, prints and murals both inside and out the gallery space. Through Aug. 29. SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.org.
“Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography” at the Getty Museum. Photography isn’t just about the image on the paper. It’s also about the processes that led those images to appear. This group show features seven contemporary artists who are all experimenting with ways in which light and chemicals form what we see on the page. Through Sept. 6. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
“Chris Francis: Shoe Designer,” at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. Shoes that aren’t so much shoes as they are experimental works of art: Francis, a self-taught designer who lives in L.A., creates designs inspired by street art, Constructivism, Cubism and high fashion, in the process employing plywood, leather and leftover bits of fruit crates. Through Sept. 6. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
“Art and Other Tactics: Contemporary Craft by Artist Veterans,” at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. A group show gathers works — painting, sculpture and even ceramics — by figures whose artistic practice has been shaped by their military service. This includes haunting sculptures of bones as well as decorative porcelain plates that record the lives of women in the service. Through Sept. 6. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
“After Victor Papanek: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be” at the Armory Center for the Arts. A group show examines the legacy of the industrial designer who called for ecologically sound design and who didn’t believe in patents because he felt they stymied innovation. Runs through Sept. 6. 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, armoryarts.org.
“The Art of Hair in Africa” at the Fowler Museum. This exhibition brings together an array of African hair ornaments made with wood, beads, copper wire and ivory — some of them embellished with delicate bas relief carvings. It will also include a film by Ghanaian American artist Akosua Adoma Owusu called “Me Broni Ba (My White Baby),” about the role that hair plays. Through Sept. 20. UCLA, North Campus, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
“In Focus: Animalia,” at the Getty Museum. Drawn from the museum’s collection of photographs, this small show focuses on the relationship between human and animal as defined by the camera’s lens. This includes work by early 19th century photographers who captured dogs, wild felines and even taxidermy game in early photographs and daguerreotypes. Through Oct. 18. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
“Adams, Curtis and Weston: Photographers of the American West,” at the Bowers Museum. More than three dozen images produced by three of the most iconic American photographers tell the story of the American West — through dreamy images of landscape as well as the people that once inhabited it. Through Nov. 29. On 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
“Various Small Fires (Working Documents),” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. A show that illuminates unusual bits of LACMA history: the plan to have a robot patrol the galleries or the time a dog worked as a security guard. Included in the mix is Ed Ruscha’s working sketch for his infamous mid-'60s canvas: “The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire.” Through Feb. 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Islamic Art Now” 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., Los Angeles, lacma.org.