Datebook: Anonymous suburbs, gritty assemblages, the art of African hair

Datebook: Anonymous suburbs, gritty assemblages, the art of African hair
Photographer Robert Harding Pittman has been exploring the ways in which suburban development has created anonymous landscapes around the world -- such as this housing development in Dubai. His series now goes on view at Spot Photo Works. (Robert Harding Pittman / Spot Photo Works)

Abstractions that bear obscured images of faces, gritty wall pieces made with recycled canvas and bits of detritus, the cookie cutter nature of suburban development around the world, and an installation that touches on the history of surveillance. Plus: art in a cemetery and a show about the ornamentation of hair in Africa. Here's what we have in Datebook:

"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 so-called "Face" paintings series. Look once and you'll see bulbous banana flowers, almond-shaped forms and leaf-like ornamentation. Look even closer and you might find a warrior's partially obscured face observing you through the foliage. Opens Friday at 5 p.m. and runs through June 20. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,


"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. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through June 16. 6679 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood,

Andrea Marie Breiling, "Stretchin' It Out," at Sonce Alexander Gallery. Plastic wrap, old bits of canvas, found objects, liquid latex and other found bits make their way into Breiling's works, which straddle the gritty divide between painting and sculpture. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. 2634 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,

Jimena Sarno, "Homeland," and "Mediations on Digital Labor: xtine burrough," at the Grand Central Art Center. Two new shows open this week at GCAC. The first, an installation by the Argentine-born Sarno, explores the nature and history of surveillance in the United States — one with roots in slavery — while the second, by burrough, takes on the cheap labor of's Mechanical Turk website. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m. and runs through July 12. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana,

Betsabée Romero, "After and Again" at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Romero is an artist who works with unusual materials — tires, old cars — and employs them in ornate, craft-like ways, creating designs that employ everything from colonial imagery to pre-Columbian iconography. The artist has now created a site-specific installation for the Spanish baroque Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, a building that dates back to the 1930s. Opens Saturday at noon and runs through Monday at 3 p.m. 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, and

"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. The show 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. Opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 20. UCLA, North Campus, Los Angeles,

"Uncovering L.A.: An Evening with Latitudes," at Clockshop. This unusual event is intellectual speed dating with writers — specifically, the contributors for "Latitudes: An Angeleno's Atlas," an unusual guide to our city and its many hidden pockets of history, essayists such as Josh Kun, Lynell George and Michael Jaime-Becerra. The event at Clockshop will allow guests to spend dedicated 5- to 10-minute intervals with each writer before moving on to the next. And, oh, there will be tacos. Saturday at 6 p.m. 2806 Clearwater St., Frogtown, Los Angeles,


"Here Now: Six Works by 6 L.A. Artists" at Wilding Cran Gallery. This is an easy one: Six works by six area artists: Kristine Calabrese, Ali Smith, Ian Pines, Fran Siegel, Etienne Zack and Noah Davis (the latter operates the Underground Museum in the Crenshaw district). Through Saturday. 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles,

Jonas Lund, "Strings Attached," at Steve Turner Contemporary. In the past, this Amsterdam-based artist has attached GPS tracking devices to his paintings to chart their ownership. Now he's created a series of text-based works whose very words limit aspects of ownership. For example, one work is emblazoned, "This painting may never be sold at auction." Through Saturday. 6830 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood,

"Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change" at the Annenberg Space for Photography. An exhibition of photographs shows how humans have been contending with the rise of sea levels around the globe. Through Sunday. 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City,

"Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters" at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. A series of works produced by a loose network of eight male quilters features elaborate pieces depicting everything from heavy-metal iconography to biker imagery to sports. Through Sunday. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,


Andrew Gbur, at Team (bungalow). The Pennsylvania-based painter reduces human features to their most basic shapes in his ongoing series of face paintings — an image of a person created with just a few strokes of color. Through Sunday. 306 Windward Ave., Venice,


"Boticelli, Titian and Beyond: Masterpieces of Italian Painting From Glasgow Museums" at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Drawn from the outstanding collection of Italian art at Scotland's Glasgow Museums, this exhibition tracks the evolution of painting in Italy over five centuries — featuring works by Bellini, Boticelli and Titian. Through Sunday. 1130 State St., Santa Barbara,

Jonas Becker, "The Pile," at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. A lush multimedia installation includes video, photography and a pile of cushiony handcrafted sculptures that explore questions of desire. Through Sunday. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,


"The Silence of Ordinary Things," at the Mistake Room. This benefit exhibition for the downtown arts space brings together the work of 35 artists from all over the world who have been broadly inspired by the work of British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien (the Mistake Room's 2015 artist honoree.) Through May 9. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles,

Ken Gonzales-Day, "Run Up," at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles. The photographer continues his investigation into the history of lynchings of Latinos in California in a new body of work that re-stages a historic 1920 lynching in Santa Rosa, using actors. Through May 9. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,

"Trio: Kathleen Johnson, Laura London, Lisa Rosel ," at C. Nichols Project. This intimate Mar Vista gallery is showing the work of three female photographers from Los Angeles — touching on portraiture, the staged, in-between spaces and female sexuality. Extended through May 9. 12613 1/2 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista,

"In Focus: Play" at the Getty Museum. A series of 20th century images that capture humans of all ages in acts of gambling, carousing, celebration and vacation. Through May 10. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles,

Enrique Martínez Celaya, "Lone Star," at L.A. Louver. The Cuban-born, L.A.-based painter is showing a new body of his ruminative works. The show is bookended by a pair of installations: a sculpture of a young boy with tears dripping into a pool and another boy trapped in a birdcage. Through May 16. 45 N. Venice Blvd., Venice,  

"Kaleidoscope: Abstraction in Architecture" at Christopher Grimes Gallery. A group show looks at the nature of abstraction at the intersection of painting, photography, video and the architectonic. This includes an installation made of cardboard boxes by Carlos Bunga and photographs of glass facades by Veronika Kellndorfer. Through May 16. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica,

Max Maslansky, "Jouissance," at Honor Fraser. Paintings made from found bedsheets, pillows and curtains feature gauzy images of intimate and erotic activities. This is an artist who fuses an adept use of paint, colors and materials with subjects that are smutty and smart. The exhibition is held in conjunction with 5 Car Garage. Through May 16. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,

Diana al-Hadid, "Grounds and Figures," at Ohwow Gallery. Lacy, gritty pieces made from materials such as Mylar, plaster and gold leaf are what you'll find at Al-Hadid's first solo show at Ohwow, where images often hover on the verge of being apparitions. Through May 16. 937 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles,

Kim MacConnel, "Avenida Revolución," at Rosamund Felsen Gallery. This is the first show at Felsen's new downtown L.A. space — and she has kicked it off with an exhibition of MacConnel's textile-inspired pieces from the late '80s and early '90s. Bright abstract patterns evoke African and Latin American painting, for works that take on the texture of fabric. Through May 16. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., No. 100, downtown Los Angeles,

"The Book as a Work of Art for All," at Autonomie Projects. Books transformed into sculptures, from figurative to abstract, can be found at this Mid-City space. Through May 16. 4742 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles,


"Henry N. Cobb: Hypostyle," at the SCI-Arc Gallery. In architecturespeak, a hypostyle is a roof supported by a series of many columns (as in Egypt's Great Temple at Karnak). In a new installation, architect Henry Cobb, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects, plays with this design, filling the gallery with columnar structures made of hollow core doors. Through May 17. 960 E. 3rd St., downtown Los Angeles,

"American Survey, Pt. 1," at Papillion. A group show — described as a "time capsule" of 2015 — gathers work by a variety of (mostly L.A.) artists both new (such as performance artist EJ Hill) and long-running (assemblagist Timothy Washington, who recently had a solo at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles). Through May 17. 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles,

Robert Kushner, "Patois," at Offramp Gallery. Collages that employ pages of books, pieces of musical scores, gold leaf and postage stamps bear gestural images of flowers. Through May 17. 1702 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena,

"Guerrilla Girls: Art in Action" at Pomona College Museum of Art. Posters, handbills, books and newsletters chronicle the actions of the longtime feminist art-activists. Through May 17. 330 N. College Ave., Claremont,

"Tom LaDuke: Candles and Lasers," at Kohn Gallery. LaDuke's paintings feature a layer cake of techniques that come together to provide a wild feeling of depth, while his sculptures are crafted from earthy materials such as pewter, graphite and salt. Through May 20. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood,

"When the Future Had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973" at Christopher W. Mount Gallery. Car concept drawings from the Big Three American automakers — back when power and futuristic lines were rendered in pen and ink. Through May 20. At the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood,

María E. Piñeres, "Sittings," and the group show "Suggestive Roleplay," at Walter Maciel Gallery. Piñeres is known for stitched works that run the gamut from portraiture to collections of images that reflect her background. The series "Playland," for example, uses as a point of inspiration the now-defunct Times Square arcade where she hung out as a youth — an adolescent gathering space surrounded by porn palaces. Through May 23. 2642 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City,

"Altered States," a group show at Patrick Painter. Justin Bower, Valie Export, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger and Rinus Van de Velde present their unique visions of altered reality  through painting, photographs and conceptual works. Through May 23. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Unit B2, Santa Monica,

"J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free," at the Getty Center. Turner's canvases were expressive explosions of color and light at a time when many paintings were pretty literal — to this day, their power remains undiminished. This exhibition gathers more than 60 works from his last 15 years of life, a period when Turner produced some of his most enduring works. DO. NOT. MISS. Through May 24. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood,

Charles Gaines, "Gridwork 1974-1989," at the Hammer Museum. The first museum survey of the L.A.-based artist brings together early works that play with ideas of mapping and gridding, taking images of trees and moving dancers and abstracting them into coolly mathematical pieces. Through May 24. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood,

"Alien She" at the Orange County Museum of Art. An exhibition tracks the far-reaching influence of the Riot Grrrl movement of the early '90s, when artists, musicians and other cultural figures created a wide range of work that brought together punk music with gender, sexuality and feminism. Through May 24. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach,

Fred Tomaselli, "The Times," at the Orange County Museum of Art. Since 2005, this L.A.-born, O.C.-raised painter with a knack for the hallucinogenic has taken to reworking the cover photographs of the New York Times in ways that are poignant, funny and just plain weird. Through May 24. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach,


"Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio" at the Hammer Museum. Architectural and industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick has designed everything from a handbag for Longchamp to the dramatic, dandelion-like Seed Cathedral, which was the U.K. pavilion at 2010's Shanghai World Expo. This exhibition examines his prodigious output. Through May 24. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood,

Hammer Projects: Pedro Reyes at the Hammer Museum. The socially minded Reyes has staged a people's United Nations that employs techniques from theater games and group therapy as a way of resolving urgent issues. Through May 24. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,

Raymond Pettibon, "From my bumbling attempt to write a disastrous musical, these illustrations must suffice," at Regen Projects. Pettibon marries disconnected texts and images in monochrome as well as richly colored pieces that owe as much to punk rock as they do to comic books. Through May 30. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood,

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. Through May 30. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building A2, Santa Monica,

Nery Gabriel Lemus, "Just So Stories," at Charlie James. For his third solo show at the gallery, this L.A.-based artist appropriates the themes and tone of Rudyard Kipling's 1902 book, "Just So Stories," about how certain animals came to be, and uses them to weave his own creation myths. Through May 30. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown,

Jack Davidson, Merion Estes, and a group show, at CB1 Gallery. A trio of shows brings together the work of painter Jack Davidson, the bold abstract works of Merion Estes, and a group show that features works by five artists dealing with ground and landscape in their work. Through May 30. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles,

Ed Templeton, "Synthetic Suburbia," at Roberts & Tilton. The photographer and painter presents a new series of paintings and drawings inspired by the people and surroundings of his home base of Huntington Beach — figures engaged in the mundane, but touched by the weird. Through May 30. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City,

Kerry Tribe, "The Loste Note," at 356 Mission. For her latest video/sculpture project, Tribe looks at the neurological condition of aphasia, in which the language centers of the brain are damaged -- hindering a person's ability to communicate (even as a person's personality and intellect remain unaffected). Through May 31. 356 S. Mission Road, downtown Los Angeles, 356mission.

"Robert Henri's California: Realism, Race, and Region, 1914-1925" at the Laguna Art Museum. The exhibit gathers the California works of the noted American realist portraitist who spent long periods in Southern California painting a wide cross-section of locals — from business leaders to Indians. Through May 31. 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach,

Armin Hansen, Jim Morphesis and Lars Jan at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. A trio of exhibitions includes a survey of Armin Hansen (1886-1957), a painter known for his oceanic scenes, as well as a show by L.A. artist Jim Morphesis, a painter whose expressionistic canvases combine elements of assemblage. In the project space, Lars Jan has an installation that explores ideas of disaster and survival. Runs through May 31. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena,

Robert Rauschenberg, "Photos: In + Out City Limits," at the Huntington Library. The museum is showcasing 15 photographs the artist took in Los Angeles in 1981 — images of shapes, landscape and odd pockets of the city. Through June 2. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino,

"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. Through June 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles,


"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 June 7. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles,

"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,

"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,

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,

"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 between cinema, fine art and music video. Do not miss. Through Aug. 16. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles,

"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 lead 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,

"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,

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