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Datebook: Experimental shoes, art by vets, stories about immigration

In Datebook: Shoes made from plywood, stories of migration, art made by artists who served

Over-the-top shoes. Works produced by military veterans. And a series of collaged paintings that chronicle the lives of modern-day gold prospectors on the San Gabriel River. Plus: works that touch on personal stories of immigration and a painter’s otherworldly forms. Here’s what we have coming up in Datebook:

“Chris Francis: Shoe Designer,” at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. Get ready for 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 a wide range of materials, from plywood to leather to leftover bits of fruit crates. Opens Sunday and runs 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 the haunting glass pieces of Michael Aschenbrenner, who creates haunting sculptures of bones inspired by the casualties he saw while injured in Vietnam, as well as the decorative porcelain plates created by Jessica Putnam-Phillips, who uses these to record the lives of women in the service. The perfect show for Memorial Day. Opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 6. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.

Matt Siegle, “Eddie’s Gulch,” at Park View Gallery. Siegle creates paintings on shopping bags that record the lives of drifters who mine for gold in a canyon along the San Gabriel River. He employs these as part of larger compositions that he mounts on linen, all of which comes together to tell stories that are as much about 21st century disenfranchisement as they are about seeking an independent way of life. Opens Sunday at 6 p.m. and runs through June 28. 836 S. Park View St., Unit 8, Westlake, Los Angeles, parkviewparkview.com.

“Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory,” at the Durón Gallery. This show gathers almost two dozen works by artists from around 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. Opens Saturday at 4 p.m. and runs through Aug. 29. SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.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. Opens today and runs through June 27. 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, shulamitgallery.com.  

FINAL WEEK:

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, waltermacielgallery.com.

“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, patrickpainter.com.

“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. This is your last chance to see this wondrous show — and in the event that you're feeling pressed for time, the museum is staying open until 9 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate last-minute visits. Through May 24. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, getty.edu.

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, hammer.ucla.edu.

“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, ocma.net.

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, ocma.net.

“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.ucla.edu.

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, hammer.ucla.edu.

Tanya Aguiñiga and Nancy Baker Cahill, “Shevening,” at Merryspace. This two-woman show features a series of works — both wall pieces and sculpture — that explore questions of the body: holes and vessels and delicately woven tissues. Through May 25. 2754 S. La Cienega, Culver City, nancybakercahill.com and tanyaaguiniga.com

“State of Emergency: Big Brother Is Watching” at Winslow Garage. A crew of artists explores the nature of surveillance in contemporary society and the ways in which it is used to control. Through May 25. 3540 Winslow Drive, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, winslowgarage.com.

ONGOING EXHIBITIONS:

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, regenprojects.com.

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, galleryluisotti.com.

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. Through May 30. 2634 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, soncealexandergallery.com

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, cjamesgallery.com.

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, cb1gallery.com.

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, robertsandtilton.com.  

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 the 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 Native Americans. Through May 31. 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, lagunaartmuseum.org.

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, pmcaonline.org.

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, huntington.org.  

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 June 6. 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. Through June 7. 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 June 7. 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.

“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.

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 — from architectural installation to sculpture to painting. This group show gathers the winners’ works. Through June 28. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.

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 U.S. 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 everything from bulletproof dresses to a cinematic project to hand-made objects created by a woman who survived the Revolution. 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 between cinema, fine art and music video. Do not miss. Through Aug. 16. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.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 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, getty.edu.

“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.

“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.

“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

Find me on Twitter at @cmonstah

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