A long-time assemblage artist unveils recent works in Leimert Park. A contemporary artist takes on vintage European painting in San Marino. And the Maya-inspired watercolors of a famed Mexican muralist go on view in Santa Ana. Plus, video installation at a vintage department store, a cardboard installation that pays tribute to unsung labor, and the video works of an important L.A. artist. Here are seven shows to see in L.A. this week:
Alex Israel, at the Huntington. In 2012, the San Marino library and museum unveiled the first of its contemporary interventions amid the European works of the Huntington Art Gallery. It was a low-key debut: Ricky Swallow's trompe l'oeil sculptures with Lesley Vance's baroque-inspired abstractions. Now the museum is getting bolder, with a series of installations by painter Alex Israel, whose pop-inspired canvases and objects touch on topics such as celebrity, glamour and power. Opens Saturday and runs through July 11. 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, huntington.org.
John Outterbridge, "Rag Man," at Art + Practice. The renowned Los Angeles assemblage artist will be showing works produced mainly over the last decade and a half from scavenged materials such as twigs, bones and hair. Works from the recent series, "Rag and Bone Idiom," evoke talismans and healing rituals. Opens Saturday at 2 p.m. and runs through Feb. 27. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles, artandpractice.org.
"Popol Vuh: Watercolors of Diego Rivera," at the Bowers Museum. The "Popol Vuh" is a nearly 500-year-old Mayan text, written in Quiché, that recounts that culture's creation myths. This sacred text inspired a series of watercolors by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, an artist who was preoccupied with indigenous themes. Now, 17 of these paintings, on loan from a museum in Mexico, go on view at the Bowers. Opens Saturday and runs through May 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
"Mike Kelley: Single Channel Videos," at Redcat. The experimental performance and theater space will be screening videos by Mike Kelley, the influential L.A. artist whose work often mined the darker recesses of the American psyche. The screening will include the tragicomic "Superman Recites Selections from 'The Bell Jar' and Other Works by Sylvia Plath," from 1999, among other pieces. Monday at 8:30 p.m. 631 W. 2nd St., downtown Los Angeles, redcat.org.
Ramiro Gomez, "Cut-Outs," at Charlie James Gallery. L.A. artist Ramiro Gomez is known for creating collaged paintings that riff on the often invisible, Mexican working-class presence that works to groom and maintain luxurious manses in places like Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. Now he is showing a room-sized cardboard installation, which he created as part of a residency in Michigan, that takes this idea to a larger scale. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through Jan. 2. 969 Chung King Rd., Chintown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
Brian Bress, "A Toyota's Toyota," at the Desmond. Los Angeles Nomadic Division has organized a site-specific show at the old Desmond's Department Store on Wilshire that will occupy a space within the store as well as the windows. Bress' installations will include a large-scale video piece titled "NOON" that plays with text, pattern and camouflage. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m., 5514 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, nomadicdivision.org.
Mariangeles Soto-Díaz, "The Subject Must Rotate Like the Sun," at Ruth Bachofner Gallery. A series of abstracted paintings nod to the artist's own process as well the work of Venezuelan poet Eugenio Montejo. Through Jan. 9. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., #2, Santa Monica, ruthbachofnergallery.com.
"A Performative Trigger: Radicals of Irvine" at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Some of Southern California's most notable artists emerged from the first MFA class at UC Irvine, which graduated in 1971. This includes figures such as Barbara T. Smith, Nancy Buchanan and Chris Burden — the last of whom famously had himself shot in the arm as a performance work. The exhibition gathers ephemera and documentation from the era, as well as a number of original works. Through Saturday. UC Irvine, 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine, arts.uci.edu.
Jesper Just, "Landscape for Living," at Various Small Fires. A solo exhibition by the Danish artist takes on the topic of California apocalypse. In a single-channel video projection titled "Llano," the artist explores the socialist-utopian city of Llano del Rio, which lies in ruins after its water rights were lost in a lawsuit in the early 20th century. Another day on Planet Dune. Through Saturday. 812 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood. vsf.la.
"Sign Language: Juan Delgado, Armando Lerma, Thomas McGovern, Carlos Ramirez," at CSUN Art Galleries. A mixed-media exhibition draws four artists from Southern California's Inland Empire to exhibit works that riff on murals, graffiti and sign paintings, among other traditions. You might know Lerma and Ramirez by their collective moniker: They are the Date Farmers. Through Saturday. 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, csun.edu/artgalleries.
"Everyone's Heart is Full of Fire," at Fahrenheit. A group exhibition featuring the work of three very different artists — painter Dorothy Iannone, conceptualist and body modifier Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and documentarian Marie Losier — looks at works based on the intimate psychological and physical unions between two people. Through Saturday. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown Los Angeles, fahrenheit.flaxfoundation.org.
Leon Benn, "Spare Time," at Roberts & Tilton. Benn produces deeply saturated paintings that layer color and texture in rather hallucinatory ways. This survey of new paintings by the Portland-based artist gathers works inspired by ideas of leisure — from the weekend retreat to a range of activities performed in nature. Through Saturday. 5801 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.com.
"Far-Sited: California International Sculpture Symposium 1965/2015" at University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. In 1965, an international conference brought sculptors from around the globe to Southern California to make works in collaboration with local industry. (I wrote about it in the spring.) Many of these pieces now dot the Cal State Long Beach campus. The museum exhibition explores this history, presenting an array of vintage photographs, sketches and maquettes. Through Sunday. 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, web.csulb.edu.
"Fred Tomaselli: The Early Works — Or How I Became A Painter" at Begovich Gallery at Cal State Fullerton. Tomaselli, a painter and collagist, is known for hallucinatory arrangements of objects and patterns that explore inner journeys. But he got his start as a light-and-space artist, playing with ideas of perception. The Begovich Gallery is showing his earliest works, which have not been exhibited since they were first made, primarily in the '80s. Through Dec. 17. 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, fullerton.edu.
Marc Horowitz, "Interior, Day (A Door Opens)," at the Depart Foundation. An exhibition of painting and sculpture spans the range of the high-low, including forms of classical statuary studded with pieces of banal kitsch, and canvases that play with color field, still life and cartoons. Through Dec. 19. 9105 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, departfoundation.com.
Brett Reichman, "Better Living Through Design," at CB1 Gallery. Acid-colored domestic spaces cluttered with vintage dinnerware serve as settings for wild trysts and other expressions of gay males' sexuality. The tones make the action and the settings feel totally sci-fi. Also on view at the gallery will be the exhibition "Plegarias," a series of new paintings that play with ideas of Christian supplication by paper artist Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia (also renowned for repurposing thrift-store art). Through Dec. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
Simmons & Burke, "Dutch Masters," at Kohn Gallery. Artists Case Simmons and Andrew Burke had full access to the entire digital archive of paintings at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum and used elements of the imagery to create a series of abstracted, monumental collages. Through Dec. 19. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, kohngallery.com.
“Matter, Light and Form, Architectural Photographs of Wayne Thom, 1968-2003,” at WUHO. Woodbury University’s gallery space in Hollywood is devoting its latest exhibit to the architectural photographer who gloriously recorded the late Modern architecture of the Southland and beyond — from the gleaming glass pylons that make up the Bonaventure Hotel to the stainless steel curls of
Ryan McGinley, "Fall," at Team Bungalow. McGinley's photography is inspired by the romantic landscape painters of the 19th century, depicting unspoiled nature and the pastoral men (and women) in its midst. The artist has a two-gallery show with Team — one in its New York space; another in Los Angeles. The local show focuses on his "Fall" series, which shows nude figures photographed around upstate New York. Through Dec. 20. 306 Windward Ave., Venice, teamgal.com.
Art Moura, at the Good Luck Gallery. Moura is known for producing hybrid assemblages that look like otherworldly voodoo dolls crafted from bits of hair, discarded feathers, patches of fabric and wood. For the artist, who lives in Sebastopol, art is life: Moura is known for tooling around town in his doll-covered car. Through Dec. 20. 945 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, thegoodluckgallery.com.
John Bankston, "Sundry Stories," at Walter Maciel Gallery. A new series of paintings by the San Francisco-based artist places a series of recurring characters in surreal scenarios that riff as much on the history of art as they do on the coloring-book form. Expect some wild and weird scenes. Through Dec. 23. 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, waltermacielgallery.com.
"The Avant-Garde Won't Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy," at Blum & Poe. This historic exhibition looks at the legacy of the Northern European postwar movement with roots in Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. The show started off at Blum & Poe's New York space in September with early historic works. The L.A. portion looks at the movement's influence by integrating historic Cobra pieces from the '50s and '60s with a range of contemporary works. Through Dec. 23, 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Radamés "Juni" Figueroa, "Rompiendo en Frío," at LTD Los Angeles. An artist whose work was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Figueroa is known for creating architecturally driven and other pieces that bring elements of the outside in. Many of these speak to the environment of the tropics — specifically Puerto Rico, where he is from. For this show, he focused on objects he found around L.A., such as chain-link fence and a scraped-up air conditioning unit. Through Dec. 23. 7561 W. Sunset Blvd., No. 103, Hollywood, ltdlosangeles.com.
"Hannelore Baron: Collage & Assemblage," at Jack Rutberg Fine Art. Taut works of assemblage and collage take their power from the found materials the artist used: bits of fabric and other gewgaws found in thrift stores and junkyards, charged objects that retain the sense of having once served other purposes. Born in Germany (her family fled the country in the wake of Kristallnacht), Hannelore was part of New York's artistic milieu at mid-century, but her pieces, which feel faded and worn, suggest the claustrophobia of isolation and confinement. Through Dec. 24. 357 N. La Brea Ave., Fairfax District, Los Angeles, jackrutbergfinearts.com.
"KLAM Radio" at 323 Projects. Performance artist Lenae Day and writer Anna Kryczka have teamed up to put together a paean and parody to the bizarre art of small-town radio — in this case, in the fictional desert settlement of San Ranchito. This includes spoofs of public radio and right-wing talk. And, of course, there's the station's hilarious promotional slogan: "Jam out with your KLAM out." The podcasts are all available on the 323 Projects website. Listeners are welcome to call the gallery's line — (323) 843-4652 — to leave dedications for the KLAM DJs. Through December, at 323projects.com.
JEFF&GORDON, "Not at the Dinner Table." In 2013, the artist duo known as JEFF&GORDON did a phone art piece for 323 Projects that allowed anyone to leave a voicemail message for a loved one he or she had conflict with. Now, with the holidays upon us, and everyone duking it out over the Paris attacks on social media, the artists have decided to resurrect the piece. So, if you have something to get off your chest with a loved one, but don't want to start a battle royale over the holidays, JEFF&GORDON want to hear from you. Call 234-201-9709 to leave a message. Log on to jeffandgordon.net to hear what has been said. Through Jan. 1.
"Paperworks" at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. A variety of works by 15 artists — including sculpture and collage — are made entirely out of cut paper. This includes Lecia Dole-Recio's painted mosaics, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia's woven-paper abstractions, Soo Kim's reconfigured photographic landscapes and Susan Sironi's carved-up books. Expect to see paper in ways you might not have expected. Through Jan. 3. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
Jayme Odgers, "Where Am I Today? Self Portraits," at Offramp Gallery. When Los Angeles artist Odgers was faced with a life-threatening illness, he took to canvas and paper to create a series of self-portraits that are remarkable for the mordant way in which they reflect on issues of life and death. Through Jan. 3. 1702 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, offrampgallery.com.
Aaron Smith, "In the Snuggery of Airs and Graces," at Gregorio Escalante, in collaboration with Sloan Fine Arts. Smith's latest paintings were inspired by vintage photographic portraits of men from the Victorian/Edwardian era — images full of stiffness and formality. Smith renders these thickly, often in acid tones, imbuing these antique representations with a more contemporary energy. Through Jan. 3. 978 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, gregorioescalante.com.
"Fiberlicious," at the Municipal Art Gallery. Sixteen contemporary artists explore and expand the possibilities of fiber art, including wild sculptures woven together from paper, rope and cardboard. Included in the mix are figures such as Tanya Aguiñiga, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Wendy B. Osher and Ann Weber. Through Jan. 3. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
"A Primitive Future," at Subliminal Projects. Half a dozen contemporary artists, including AJ Fosik and Frohawk Two Feathers, address the dark issues of contemporary civilization in a show where form harks back to the past in the shape of handmade wooden sculptures, riotous paintings and handmade quilts. Through Jan. 6. 1331 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, subliminalprojects.com.
“J.B. Blunk: Painting, Drawing, Sculpture,” at the Landing. This Northern California artist is renowned for his woodworking. (Blum & Poe in Culver City had a show of his abstract sculptures — some defined by the roiling organic forms of the wood that he worked with — in 2010.) Now the Landing, which is unveiling a 2,800-square-foot gallery space in West
"Hammer Projects: Njideka Akunyili Crosby" at the Hammer Museum. The Nigerian-born artist opened an exhibition of her recent collages at the Art + Practice space in Leimert Park in September. Now there's more, a second exhibition at the Hammer that features a selection of her early works: wild collages of intimate domestic scenes fabricated from scraps of magazine pages. Through Jan. 10. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.
James Turrell, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. In his latest solo exhibition at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, Turrell is debuting a series of large-scale works made from elliptical glass that, over 2 1/2 hours, go through thousands of different parts of the color spectrum. (Just the show for Pantone-heads.) Through Jan. 16. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
"New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic" at the L.A. County Museum of Art. A dark and gripping show explores the art of Germany following World War I, before the rise of the Third Reich. Featuring a mix of photography, painting, drawings and ephemera from the era, the exhibition captures the social, political and economic tumult of the Weimar period. Not to be missed. Through Jan. 18. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Matthew Barney, "River of Fundament" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Barney is a video and performance artist known for producing lush works inspired by fantastical mythologies. His latest (which includes an epic six-hour film) reimagines the birth and death cycles of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (or at least Norman Mailer's take on the Egyptian Book of the Dead). Should be decadent. Through Jan. 18. The
"Mapping the Information Age," at Christopher Mount Gallery. During the infancy of microprocessing, companies such as Intel, IBM and Hewlett-Packard would create colorful prints that were used as maps for constructing early microchip technology. Not intended to be art, these curious technological artifacts (dating to 1990) offer a range of intriguing abstract geometric patterns — of the sort that would no doubt impress the likes of Piet Mondrian. Through Jan. 20. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, christopherwmountgallery.com.
“The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris,” at the Hammer Museum. Known for his elegant depictions of frigid Canadian landscapes, Harris was part of the
"Uh-Oh: Frances Stark, 1991-2015," at the Hammer Museum. This is a survey of work by L.A.-based artist Frances Stark, whose wide-ranging practice — she's done everything from carbon drawings to elaborate digital animations — covers a similarly broad terrain of subjects, including critiques of institutions and intimate views of the artist's personal life including animated productions of private online chats. Through Jan. 24. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
"Giant Robot Biennale 4," at the Japanese American National Museum. Giant Robot — the shop and gallery — has long focused on Asian and Asian American popular culture, showcasing works and decorative merchandise by figures such as Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami. Since 2007, founder Eric Nakamura has partnered with the Japanese American National Museum for this biennial, which showcases pop-infused works by an array of young artists. Through Jan. 24. 100 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, janm.org.
"Somewhere Over El Arco Iris: Chicano Landscapes, 1971-2015" at the Museum of Latin American Art. Guest curator Julian Bermudez has gathered 25 works that tell a story of landscape through the works of Chicano artists over more than four decades. This includes classic pieces by noted California figures such as Gronk, Frank Romero, Patssi Valdez and Carlos Almaraz. But it also includes up-and-comers such as Shizu Saldamando and Jaime "Germs" Zacarías. Extended through Jan. 31. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
Stas Orlovski, "Skazka," at Young Projects Gallery. The L.A.-based Orlovski is known for his haunting stop-motion animations that employ bits of vintage children's books and Victorian drawings. This new work, which features a soundtrack by experimental audio artist Steve Roden, is inspired by 19th century magic-lantern performances and will include a stage-set and larger-than-life projections onto silhouettes. Through Feb. 5. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Space B230, West Hollywood, youngprojectsgallery.com.
"Various Small Fires (Working Documents)" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A show that illuminates unusual bits of LACMA history, such as 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.
Victor Hugo Zayas, at the Museum of Latin American Art. Gritty abstractions the color of charcoal, acid and steel capture the industrial innards of Los Angeles. Zayas, a painter who maintains a studio on the banks of the L.A. River, will have a survey of more than 40 works on view at the museum — works that chart the evolution of the city's industrial landscape. Through Feb. 7. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
"Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows" at the Getty Center. Showcasing several bodies of work by the Japanese photographer, this exhibition includes her moving images of objects and clothing that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Each image captures deeply personal details such as patches, mends and stains, all evidence of the full lives once inhabited by these garments. Also on view will be a small exhibition of contemporary Japanese photographers. Through Feb. 21. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams," at the Skirball Cultural Center. Adams' powerful black-and-white images from Manzanar during World War II protested what he described as the "enforced exodus" of American citizens: Japanese Americans who were forcefully detained for the course of the war. It's a stirring view of life for Japanese Americans during a dark period in American history. Through Feb. 21. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Brentwood, Los Angeles, skirball.org.
Diana Thater, “The Sympathetic Imagination,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The Los Angeles-based video artist is widely known for groundbreaking video installations that incorporate the architecture of a space while exploring a range of natural phenomena: from the underwater lives of dolphins to the ways in which bees communicate. For the show at
"Noah Davis: Imitation of Wealth" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue. In 2013, Davis re-created a series of works by famous artists and put them on display at the Underground Museum, his alternative art space in Arlington Heights. The idea was to display works of high cultural value in an unlikely setting. Now, the Museum of Contemporary Art has re-created the installation — a work made more poignant by the artist's recent death. (The piece is viewable free of charge through the windows of a storefront space adjacent to the museum.) Through Feb. 22. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
"R. Luke DuBois: Now" and "Sandow Birk: American Qur'an," at the Orange County Museum of Art. OCMA opens a pair of new shows: one by the New York-based DuBois, an artist who often employs data to create unique visualizations, and the L.A.-based Birk, who has spent nine years transcribing and illustrating every verse of the Koran in a uniquely American way. Through Feb. 28. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, ocma.net.
"Rain Room," at the L.A. County Museum of Art. It was universally panned by the critics when it appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz described it as "the worst single work of art that I saw all this year ... a high-tech amusement-park ride.") And my colleague Christopher Knight labeled it "brainless amusement" in his review of the experience. But who cares when you can take the world's most awesome selfie inside it and share it with the world on Instagram? Through March 6. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"Disguise: Masks and Global African Art," at the Fowler Museum. This exhibition looks at the art of disguise through the work of a dozen contemporary African and African American artists — touching on everything from elaborate masks to the illusionist camouflage of the digital sphere. Expect to see work by artists such as Zina Saro-Wiwa, Jacolby Satterwhite and Brendan Fernandes. Through March 13. UCLA, north campus, Westwood, fowler.ucla.edu.
"Frank Gehry" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Featuring more than 200 drawings and 65 models, as well as countless photographs and video, this retrospective looks at the life and career of one of L.A.'s most celebrated architects. Totally worth it just to see the original design for downtown's Disney Hall. (Glad they went for the option that was built.) Through March 20. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"In Focus: Daguerreotypes," at the Getty Museum. A selection of some of the museum's 2,000 daguerreotypes go on view alongside daguerreotypes from the collection of singer-songwriter Graham Nash, a prominent collector of this early type of photography. Through March 30. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Robert Cremean: The Beds of Procrustes" and "The Seven Deadly Sins," at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The California artist is known for cool, diagrammatic pieces that employ the human figure in ways that riff on bigger questions of art, myth, faith and sacrifice. For his show in Pasadena, one installation examines the legend of Procrustes, the Greek mythological bandit who would torture people in various ways in order to force them to fit onto an iron bed, while another uses human figures to interpret each of the deadly sins. Through April 3. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
"Hard Edged: Geometrical Abstraction and Beyond" at the California African American Museum. A new exhibition features the work of 46 artists — from emerging figures to well-established names — working in the arena of geometric abstraction. This includes works by fresh voices and standard-bearers, including well-known figures such as Rashid Johnson, Senga Nengudi, David Hammons and Tim Washington. Through April 24. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
Alice Könitz, "Los Angeles Museum of Art (LAMOA)," at Occidental College. This is a work of sculpture that also serves as a micro exhibition hall. The space was established in Könitz's backyard in 2012 but will be on view at Occidental College for the course of the academic year. The inaugural exhibition features work by L.A. artist Alice Clements. Through spring 2016. In front of Weingart Hall at Occidental College, 1600 Campus Road, northeast Los Angeles, oxy.edu.
"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.