An installation inspired by an iconic art history death. Paintings that touch on the fantastical. And a show that looks at the issue of housing and commerce. Plus: A screening of Yoko Ono film, historic images of gang life in L.A. and a special velvet painting workshop. Here are eight shows to see this week:
Daniel Joseph Martinez, "If You Drink Hemlock, I Shall Drink It With You…" at Roberts & Tilton. A hallucinatory new environmental installation by the L.A.-based artist takes on Jacques-Louis David's seminal French revolutionary painting "The Death of Marat" as a point of inspiration. Martinez's mise en scène features the artist as the key figures in this famous murder, including Marat, and his killer Charlotte Cordray, among others. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. and runs through May 21. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.com.
Deveron Richard, at Good Luck Gallery. Unicorns get groovy on light-up disco floors, polar bears rock lipstick and buxom birds wear rainbow dresses in the humorously electrified scenes imagined by this South Bay artist. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m. and runs through May 21. 945 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, thegoodluckgallery.com.
Abel Alejandre, "Public Secrets," at Coagula Curatorial. The Wilmington-based artist, known for his hyper-detailed graphite drawings, is unveiling a new series of paintings at the gallery that contend with secrets — from the family sort to UFOs. All of this comes in advance of the opening of his public commission for the Westwood/Rancho Park Metro Station next month. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m. and runs through May 22. 974 Chung King Roa., Chinatown, Los Angeles, coagulacuratorial.com.
Ed Ruscha, "Editions," at Leslie Sacks Gallery. The show is a gathering of recent and vintage print editions — from 1982 to 2015 — by the L.A. pop artist, including his inscrutable word-and-image pieces, which he has produced throughout his career, as well as his ghostly prints of ships from the 1980s. Opens Saturday and runs through May 14. 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, lesliesacks.com.
"House Housing: An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Thirty-one Episodes," at the MAK Center. A ongoing research project by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, this exhibition looks at the intersection of real estate development and architecture — from pre-fab apartment blocks to suburban gated communities. A timely show for Los Angeles as it furiously debates the future of development in the city. Open Saturday and runs through May 8. There will be a related panel discussion moderated by Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne at 3 p.m on Saturday. Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.
"LA Rebels: Photographs by Janette Beckman," at Project Gallery. Beckman, who is known for photographing some of hip-hop's most iconic figures (including Ice Cube and Dr. Dre), will be showing two sets of works at this show. The first features her collaborations with artists, who often drew and painted over her photographs; the second is a series from the '80s that documents the El Hoyo Maravilla gang from East L.A. Opens Saturday at 7 p.m. and runs through May 21. 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, projectgallery.com.
52 Films By Women: Yoko Ono's film "R*PE," at Public School Los Angeles. In their 1969 film "Rape," Ono and her partner John Lennon had a cameraman follow an unsuspecting woman through the streets of London for a cinema verité experiment that explored issues of power, submission and fear. Public School Los Angeles is screening the 77-minute movie as part of a series devoted to the films of women. After the show, pop into the witch performance/party hosted by KCHUNG at nearby Human Resources Los Angeles. Tonight at 7:30. 951 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, facebook.com.
Craftnight: Black Light-Black Velvet Painting Workshop, at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. This is the workshop we've all been waiting for. Velveteria, the velvet painting museum in Chinatown, is leading a session on how to paint velvety works to be viewed under blacklight. Tonight at 7; RSVP required. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org and facebook.com.
"Nathan Hayden: Pure Pretty Fever" and "Tight Ass: Labor Intensive Drawing and Realism," at CB1 Gallery. The downtown gallery has a pair of shows: The first, by Hayden, features the artist's abstracted paintings and ceramics that channel the patterns and colors of the desert. The second is a group show organized by painter Brett Reichman that revels in the act of drawing — realistic, labor-intensive depictions that engage the breadth of contemporary life. Through Sunday. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
Martine Syms, "COM PORT MENT," at Karma International. Syms has been on a roll, with a recent performance at the Broad under her belt, as well as an exhibit of short videos at Human Resources Los Angeles. In this exhibition, she is showing a series inspired by text and film stills. Through Saturday. 9615 Brighton Way, Suite 426, Beverly Hills, karmainternational.org.
Lita Albuquerque, "20/20: Accelerando," at the USC Fisher Museum of Art. In a show that melds film, sound and performance, Albuquerque tells the story of a 25th century female astronaut who lands on Earth in 6000 BC. The piece is drawn from a text that Albuquerque has been working on since 2003, reimagined in the museum as an impressionistic environment that, among other things, features original music by film and theater composer Robbie C. Williamson. Through Sunday. 823 W. Exposition Blvd., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, fisher.usc.edu.
"Rebecca Campbell and Samantha Fields: Dreams of Another Time" at the University Art Museum at Cal State Long Beach. A two-person show looks at the works of two important Los Angeles-based artists: Campbell, known for her meticulous portraits composed out of broad lines, and Fields, who uses old-fashioned paint to create a sensation of digital blurring. In the permanent collection galleries, the museum is also displaying a number of prints by renowned painter Wayne Thiebaud. Through Sunday. CSULB, 1250 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, web.csulb.edu/uam.
Lester Monzon, "Si vis pacem para bellum," at Mark Moore Gallery. The second solo show at Moore by the Los Angeles artist features paintings that deftly fuse minimalist grids with bold, expressionistic brushstrokes for abstractions that read like sci-fi dreamscapes. The gallery also has a show of the pop-infused abstractions of Jason Salavon on view. Through April 16. 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City, markmooregallery.com.
Karen Carson, "Zip Line," at Rosamund Felsen Gallery. Felsen is showing important early works by the L.A. artist. Namely, her zipper pieces from the early 1970s. These wall pieces — part painting, part sculpture — were Carson's answer to the industrial materials of 1970s minimalism: Soft fabric connected (and disconnected) by zippers that could transform the geometric nature of a work in question. Through April 16. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, rosamundfelsen.com.
Eleanor MacNair, "Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh," at Kopeikin Gallery. This artist takes iconic photographs and renders them in Play-Doh, then photographs them again for images that whimsically recontextualize the tropes of art history. Through April 16. 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, kopeikingallery.com.
Ruben Ochoa, "Tripping the Light Fantastick," at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. The L.A.-based Ochoa is an artist obsessed by the base materials of construction: Chain link, fence posts, concrete, aggregate, rebar and plywood. For his newest series of works, Ochoa has taken to more traditional canvas — but with a combination of acrylic and rust, for paintings that feel like they could be made of Corten steel. The gallery also has a solo show devoted to the bright city scenes of Berlin-based painter Armin Boehm. Through April 16. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, vielmetter.com.
"practice, Practice, practice: Abstract Spirituality in Los Angeles Painting, Sculpture and Performance," at Nan Rae Gallery at Woodbury University. Inspired by a seminal LACMA exhibition about the spiritual in abstract art, independent curator Doug Harvey has put together a group show of art that is linked to religious systems and spiritual practice. Through April 17. 7500 Glen Oaks Blvd., Burbank, nanrae.com/woodburygallery.html.
"(En)Gendered (In)Equity: The Gallery Tally Poser Project," at LACE. For three years, artist Micol Hebron has produced a series of installations that look at the issue of gender inequity in the art world — and the story these installations tell is not pretty. Of every 10 artists commercial galleries represent, chances are that only three of them will be women. So Hebron has enlisted the help of hundreds of artists from all over the world to produce posters that map gender ratios at galleries around the globe. LACE brings together more than 400 posters produced over the course of this project. You can see some of the images from the project on the Gallery Tally Tumblr page. Through April 17. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.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, caamuseum.org.
"Zoë Buckman: Every Curve," at Papillion. The British artist takes vintage lingerie and embroiders it with phrases from classic hip-hop tracks by the likes of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. The beguiling installation — objects dangling daintily from the ceiling — tells a deeper story about the contradictory ways in which women are regarded in the popular culture. Through April 30. 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles, papillionart.com.
Hope Gangloff, Benjamin Degen and Yuri Masnyj at Richard Heller Gallery. Heller's gallery is featuring a series of solo exhibitions by a trio of New York-based painters. These include Gangloff's moody portraits, Degen's glitteringly surreal landscapes and the diagrammatic paintings by Masnyj, which function as strange inventories of objects and things. Through April 30. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Suite B5, Santa Monica, richardhellergallery.com.
Julian Schnabel, "Infinity on Trial," at Blum & Poe. The bad boy of '80s neo-expressionism is back in Los Angeles with a solo show for the first time in almost a decade. The exhibition gathers works from the mid-1970s to the present, including some of the ceramic shard collages for which he is best known. Also included will be more recent works, such as his "Goat Paintings," from last year. Through April 30. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Roy Dowell, "Mosaics," at Tif Sigfrids. The Los Angeles-based artist is presenting a series of five mosaics inspired by his own collage work, which are inspired in part by his frequent travels to Mexico. Expect abstract compositions that fuse elements of objects and landscape. Through April 30. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood, tifsigfrids.com.
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 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, Eagle Rock, oxy.edu.
"High Priestesses," at 323 Projects. The popular phone line gallery (all shows are audio, accessible on your telephone) has a new show going up that is all about aural healing and New Age-y teachings as imagined by a crew of Los Angeles artists: Michelle Andrade, Michelle Chong, Meg Cranston and Bridge Kane. It's the ideal sort of thing for working that artsy third eye. Through May 1 by calling (323) 843-4652, 323projects.com.
Donald Baechler, Lily Stockman, Mike Davis, at Gavlak Gallery. Gavlak is opening a trio of solo shows that feature Baechler's early paintings and collages, Stockman's biomorphic abstractions and a series of funny-wry watercolors by Davis that explore the topics that occupy his thoughts — namely, Picasso, artists and Kermit the Frog. Through May 7. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, gavlakgallery.com.
Lawrence Weiner, "Made to Be," at Regen Projects. Weiner is a leading conceptual artist whose work plays with language and the ideas and images that it conjures. In his ninth solo show at Regen, he once again works with the power of words to tease the viewer in wry and canny ways. Through May 7. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
"Catherine Opie: 700 Nimes Road" at MOCA Pacific Design Center. For six months in 2011, Los Angeles photographer Catherine Opie documented the Bel-Air estate of Elizabeth Taylor — the clothes, the photographs, the jewelry, the little bits of personal ephemera that make a house a home. Now she is showing the series, one that chronicles a life of wealth and fame, at the Museum of Contemporary Art's West Hollywood space. Through May 8. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, moca.org.
Wayne Koestenbaum, "A Novel of Thank You and Other Paintings," at 356 Mission. Koestenbaum, a poet and cultural critic, is also a painter — known for vivid canvases that play with desire and bold patterns to electric effect. Runs through May 8, 356 S. Mission Rd., Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, 356mission.com.
"John Divola: Dents and Abrasions" at Gallery Luisotti. This exhibition features a series of new works by Divola, who is known for capturing abandoned buildings and their environments in decidedly cool and un-romantic ways. (No ruin porn here.) The pieces continue Divola's tradition of marking the buildings in some way — with spray paint or found paintings — and then capturing the entire scene in a photograph. Through May 14. An artist's reception will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building A2, Santa Monica, galleryluisotti.com.
"Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th Century French Drawings and Prints," at the Getty Museum. Figures in deep penumbra and sprightly creatures in dim settings. In the middle of Europe's industrial revolution, some artists became intrigued by the non-color of the color black, creating prints and charcoal drawings that evoked the nocturnal, the dark and the deep recesses of the cosmos — not to mention the not-quite-real state of dreaming. Through May 15. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College, 1933-1957," at the Hammer Museum. Black Mountain College in North Carolina wasn't open very long, not even 20 years. But in its short lifetime it brought together bands of seminal artists, musicians, dancers and thinkers — John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Cy Twomby, Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg and countless others — as both teachers and students. Key to that dynamism was the presence of Josef and Anni Albers, a pair of Bauhaus artists who fled Germany to join Black Mountain in the late 1930s. This critically acclaimed exhibition, which first opened at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, shows the far-reaching effects a single institution can have. Through May 15. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.
Jasmin Sanchez, "Flux," at the Grand Central Art Center. The Orange County-based Sanchez is taking over the walls of the art center with drawings that meld landscape with abstraction and mapping to produce images that feel just a little bit magical. Through May 15. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralartcenter.com.
"Linda Arreola: Architect of the Abstract," at the Vincent Price Art Museum. This one-woman exhibition looks at roughly a 10-year period in the work of this abstract Los Angeles artist. Arreola is known for creating taut, grid-like arrangements using bright blocks of color. Her work extends into the sculptural realm too. Through May 21. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
"Portraits and Autobiographies by Kim Abeles," at Post. The Los Angeles artist known for using smog — some of her works literally trap particulates onto their surfaces — takes a more inward view in this, her latest solo exhibition. The show includes self-portraits, photo-based works, research projects and sculptural works that often employ the body. Through May 21. 1206 Maple Ave., Los Angeles, postlosangeles.org.
"PLAN," at the El Segundo Museum of Art. An exhibition organized by the Wende Museum and the El Segundo Museum of Art brings together works by disparate figures — from Camille Pissarro to Egon Schiele to Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid — exploring the idea of plans and planning. This includes references to five-year plans, a map for the projected Soviet invasion of West Berlin and other works that play with the idea of fate versus meticulous intention. Through May 22. 208 Main St., El Segundo, esmoa.org.
"Making Waves: Japanese American Photography, 1920-1940," at the Japanese American National Museum. In the early 20th century, groups of Japanese American photographers all along the Pacific coastline launched photography clubs, through which they published and exhibited their work. Their striking imagery — ranging from abstract compositions to scenes of everyday life — drew the attention of artists such as Edward Weston and László Moholy-Nagy. Unfortunately, much of their work was destroyed or lost when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps by the U.S. government during World War II. But examples remain and JANM has gathered more than 100 of these prints for a show that explores the history and legacy of the clubs. Through June 26. 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, janm.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, are on view at the Bowers. Through May 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
"Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty," at the Orange County Museum of Art. The New York-based painter and photographer has long played with the tropes of feminine beauty in works that seamlessly stir the alluring with the mildly grotesque. Through July 10. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, ocma.net.
Alex Israel, at the Huntington. In 2012, the San Marino library and museum unveiled the first of its contemporary interventions with low-key works by Ricky Swallow and Lesley Vance. 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. Through July 11. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, huntington.org.
José Montoya, "Abundant Harvest: Works on Paper / Works on Life," at the Fowler Museum. Throughout his life, activist, poet and painter Jose Montoya drew — on whatever was at hand: napkins, hotel stationery and notebooks. And in those drawings he recorded the quotidian aspects of Mexican American life in the United States: dogs and children, women and sailors, pachucos and pachucas, the architecture of low-lying Central Valley neighborhoods, industrial warehouses and agricultural settings, as well as the glamorous profile of lowrider cars. It is the first comprehensive look at this vital Chicano artist's drawing practice. Through July 17. UCLA, 308 Charles E. Young Drive North, Westwood, fowler.ucla.edu.
Robert Mapplethorpe, "The Perfect Medium," at the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Getty Museum. A two-part exhibition spread over a pair of L.A. museums explores the photographic legacy of an artist who brought as much grace to images of flowers as he did to S&M. The LACMA portion features early drawings, collages, sculptures, Polaroids, still lifes and archival material. The Getty will present his more formal portraits, along with the infamous "X Portfolio," with its elegant S&M imagery. The LACMA runs through July 31. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, lacma.org. The Getty exhibit also runs through July 31. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Sam Maloof Woodworker: Life/Art/Legacy," at the Maloof Foundation. The foundation is celebrating the centennial of the birth of the renowned Southern California woodworker, whose elegant objects and furnishings are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian. The exhibition will feature more than 60 objects from throughout the artist's life, including furnishings, drawings, photographs and other ephemera. The show is part of a year's worth of events that will celebrate Maloof's life and work. Through Aug. 27. 5131 Carnelian St., Alta Loma, malooffoundation.org.
"In Focus: Electric!" at the Getty Museum. Electricity: It powers your home, it powers your work and it powers the phone on which you are likely reading this post. This photographic exhibition at the Getty gathers historic images that showcase the allure of light and power. Through Aug. 28. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Duchamp to Pop," at the Norton Simon Museum. Drawing mostly from the Norton Simon's permanent collection, this exhibition looks at the influence Duchamp likely had on generations of artists, from assemblagists to pop painters — figures who have appropriated elements of the everyday world and transformed them into art. Through Aug. 29. 411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, nortonsimon.org.
"Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947-2016," at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel. The debut exhibition at the city's newest gallery tackles more than half a century of sculpture by women, featuring key works by important international figures (Louise Bourgeois, Lee Bontecou) and key California artists (Ruth Asawa, Clare Falkenstein). Pieces range from the ethereal (Lygia Pape's golden threads) to downright hilarious (Lara Schnitger's lacy/cat/fur assemblage sculptures). Altogether, the show offers an alternative to the narrative of the macho man postwar painting scene that has so dominated the story of 20th century art. Through Sept. 4. 901 E. Third St., Los Angeles, hauserwirthschimmel.com.
Hito Steyerl: Factory of the Sun, at the Museum of Contemporary Art. A video installation by the German artist takes the viewer into a dystopia where the movements of workers are harvested to create artificial sunshine. The piece, which debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2015, is a mash-up of contemporary communication, told as video game, news report documentary film and Internet video. Through Sept. 12. MOCA Grand Ave., 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, moca.org.
"MOLAA at Twenty: 1996-2016," at the Museum of Latin American Art. The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach is celebrating two decades in existence with a show that draws from the museum's permanent collection of more than 1,600 objects. These include works by renowned Modernists Joaquín Torres-García and Wifredo Lam, Argentine conceptualist León Ferrari as well as contemporary figures such as Alexandre Arrechea and Patssi Valdez. Through Jan. 1. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
"Senses of Time: Video and Film-Based Works of Africa," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For one of its long-term installations, the museum has gathered works of video or film by contemporary African artists that explore the body and the looping nature of time. This includes pieces by figures such as Yinka Shonibare, Sammy Baloji, Berni Searle, Moatax Nasr and Theo Eshetu. Through Jan. 2. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, lacma.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 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 2017. 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Arlington Heights, Los Angeles, theunderground-museum.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.