An open-call biennial gathers Los Angeles artists exploring playful themes. A museum showcases bright yarn paintings by an early innovator. And a downtown gallery takes on the boogeyman. Plus: A doc about Boyle Heights, happenings on the border and a live staging of the "Call Your Girlfriend" podcast. Here are seven openings and events to check out in the coming week:
"Play: Open Call 2016," at the L.A. Municipal Art Gallery. A community-based biennial riffs on the notion of "play" — featuring works of painting, photography, collage and more by 300 L.A. artists. Opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 18. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
"The Spun Universe: Wixárika (Huichol) Yarn Paintings," at the Fowler Museum. A new show at the Fowler gathers the brightly woven yarn paintings of Wixárika artist Ramón Medina Silva, known for his elaborate compositions depicting astral figures, holy plants and important ritual objects, all crafted with brilliant threads. Opens Sunday and runs through Dec. 4. UCLA, 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
"Omul Negru," at Nicodim. A summer group show stocked with a mind-bending assortment of artists — Mike Kelley, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sheree Rose, Sterling Ruby, Richard Serra and many others — takes on the idea of the boogeyman (that'd be the "omul negru" of the title). Sounds like the perfect exhibition for Election 2016. Through Aug. 20. 571 S. Anderson St., Suite 2, Boyle Heights, nicodimgallery.com.
"Ambos," at the U.S./Mexico International Border. Tanya Aguiñiga, a Tijuana-born, L.A.-based artist, has organized a series of happenings and events at the international border — from image projections to a hyper-local pirate radio station run out of a station wagon. Events will take place at the Mercado de Artesanías, the craft market situated between the regular lanes and the medical pass lanes on the Tijuana side of the border. See the website for a calendar of events and the Google Map coordinates for exact location. San Ysidro Port of Entry, International Border, Tijuana, Mexico, ambosproject.com.
A screening of "East LA Interchange," at Skid Row History Museum & Archive. The 2015 documentary looks at the forces that have shaped the Boyle Heights we know today: from successive waves of immigration to the construction of the freeways, which split the neighborhood into pieces. 7 p.m. Friday. 440 S. Broadway, downtown Los Angeles, lapovertydept.org.
"Call Your Girlfriend Live," at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel. Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow of the funny and feministy podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" are hosting a live show in Los Angeles next week with special guests Stephanie Beatriz of the Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," Caroline Goldfarb of the podcast "This Week Had Me Like" (she also runs the popular Instagram account "Official Sean Penn") and Lindsey Weber of the podcast "Who? Weekly." Should be good, clean lady fun. OK, maybe not so clean. 8 p.m. Aug. 18; tickets $30. Theatre at the Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, downtown Los Angeles, acehotel.com.
Deanna Templeton, "What She Said," at Little Big Man Gallery. The Huntington Beach photographer has a one-woman show that explores the nature of moody female adolescence — gathering works that show images of teens looking both demure and defiant. Says Templeton in her exhibition statement: "I see my own struggles, disappointments and bravery in these girls." Through Saturday. 1427 E. 4th St., Unit 2, downtown Los Angeles, littlebigmangallery.com.
Carl Berg, "With a Little Help From My Friends," at the Torrance Art Museum. A series of prints created by the artist showcases abstract music and lyrics from the favorite albums of his family and friends. Also on view is "Grafforists," an exhibition that gathers works by artists preoccupied with the most elemental types of mark-making. Through Saturday. 3320 Civic Center Drive, Torrance, torranceartmuseum.com.
"Routine Pleasures," at the MAK Center. Michael Ned Holte, who served as curator on the last Made in L.A. biennial at the Hammer, has put together a group show that focuses on artists who value focus and process over producing shiny objets — "termite" art as opposed to "white elephant" art. This includes works from L.A. artists such as Harry Dodge, ceramists Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and Michael Frimkess, sound artist Steve Roden and others. Just the antidote to overheated art market shows. Through Sunday. Schindler House, 835 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.
Tim Youd, "100 Novels," at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. As part of this long-running project, Youd retypes novels by famous authors in locations connected to the works — using the same typewriters employed by the writers. At LACE, he retyped John Rechy's infamous hustling novel "City of Night" on an Underwood Model S (the typewriter Rechy rented to write his book), followed by "Numbers," which he completed at the entrance to Griffith Park. Youd also makes related sculptures and paintings that tie in with these performances. The sculptures will be on view at LACE through Sunday. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
"Current: LA Water," in locations around Los Angeles. The city's new public art biennial features installations around the city by more than a dozen artists focusing on the theme of water. This includes a new film by Kerry Tribe, sculptural fountains by Edgar Arceneaux, a garden by Mel Chin and an installation by Teresa Margolles, which employs water used to wash sites of violent crimes. There also are plenty of events, including film screenings, musical performances and family-friendly workshops. Through Monday. See the website for location and event information, currentla.org.
"Eau de Cologne," at Sprüth Magers. The gallery has gathered works by five artists key to its development — Jenny Holzer, Rosemarie Trockel, Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger — all of whom subtly address women's roles in very different ways. The pieces on view date to the 1970s, when many of these figures first began to achieve artistic renown. Through Aug. 20. 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, spruethmagers.com.
"Me, Myself, I," at China Art Objects. A group exhibition, featuring works by artists such as Moyra Davey, LaToya Ruby Frazier and Sean Landers, look at the idea of self in art — be it through literal self-portraiture or works that capture the stream of consciousness of the mind. Through Aug. 20. 6086 Comey Ave., Culver City, chinaartobjects.com.
"Cabinet of Curiosities," at Union Station. The train station's Grand Waiting Room will be turned into a gallery with a series of installations designed to be viewed through peepholes — a contemporary take on the cabinet of curiosities. Participating artists include Tanya Brodsky, David DiMichele, Ashley Hagen, Noel Korten, Keith Lord, Cecilia Miniucchi and Andre Yi. Through Aug. 20. 800 N. Alameda St., downtown Los Angeles, facebook.com.
"Mertzbau: An Exhibition by Joe Sola featuring Albert Mertz," at Tif Sigfrids. In a show that reads like a turducken of conceptualism, L.A. artist Joe Sola pays tribute to German artist Kurt Schwitters (known for transforming his family home into an all-encompassing architectural installation known as the "Merzbau") through the lens of Danish artist Albert Merz, who was influenced by Schwitters' Dadaist leanings. To achieve this, Sola has created his own architecturally-minded construction — out of 419 salvaged wooden chairs. Through Aug. 20. 1507 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood, tifsigfrids.com.
Shio Kusaka, at Blum & Poe. In her second solo show at the gallery, the Los Angeles ceramic artist is presenting a new body of work inspired by existing forms — from beach balls to porcelain animals — all presented on a single pedestal 100 feet in length. Also on view is a new exhibition of the work of Françoise Grossen, the Swiss artist known for her textile and fiber works (who recently has come to the attention of Los Angeles at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel's debut exhibition, "Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women." Through Aug. 20. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
"Division: Reflections and Shadows," with Los de Abajo Printmaking Collective with guest artists, at SPARC. Organized by curator Marietta Bernstorff, this exhibition consists of a series of new works by the L.A.-based collective, along with pieces by friends and colleagues, that push the genre while exploring the nature of borders, both physical and imagined. Through Aug. 20. 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.org.
"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.
"Teen Choice," at C. Nichols Project. A summer group show featuring work by various artists, including painter Zak Smith, video artist Stanya Kahn and collagist Bjorn Copeland, riffs on that in-between state of adolescence and all the conflict and desire that entails. Through Aug. 27. 12613 1/2 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista, cnicholsproject.com.
"Southland: A Group Exhibition Inspired by the Greater Los Angeles Area," at Charlie James Gallery. Organized by artist and curator Patrick Martinez, this group exhibition takes Southern California as its point of inspiration. Martinez gathers works by a range of figures — including Gregory Bojorquez, Sandow Birk, Mario Ybarra Jr. and Kenturah Davis — that in some way depict or deal with different aspects of the city's landscape. Through Aug. 27. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
Deanna Thompson, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. The California painter has a posthumous exhibition (she died last year) that brings together images of isolated desert homesteads and paintings of cars. They are simple works that emanate a vibrating intensity. Through Aug. 27. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
"Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only," at the Hammer Museum. The third iteration of the Hammer's SoCal-focused biennial keeps things wondrously minimal, featuring thoughtful exhibits by only 26 artists that jumps between art-making styles, ideas and generations — from the powerful totemic wood sculptures of Kenzi Shiokava to the bright, graphic paintings of Huguette Caland to the humorous research-based installation of Daniel R. Small. The show is a testament to the notion that, in Los Angeles, many ideas can bubble to the surface at once. Through Aug. 28. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
"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.
"Art of the Austronesians: The Legacy of Indo-Pacific Voyaging," at Fowler Museum. A look at the legacy of Austronesian-speaking peoples gathers art and artifacts from the Philippines, Indonesia and other points in the South Pacific. This includes nearly 200 works, from wood sculptures to ceremonial textiles to canoe prow ornaments. Through Aug. 28. 308 Charles E. Young Drive N., Westwood, fowler.ucla.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.
"Maiden L.A.," in locations around Los Angeles. A month-long series of happenings around the county will feature talks, exhibitions, digital projects and open studios. This includes a peephole cinema in Chinatown, sculpture inspired by surrealist fistfights, a scent-blending workshop, and even a workshop about painting on black velvet. Through Aug. 31. Locations around Los Angeles, maiden.la.
"Closing Celebratory Show," at Rosamund Felsen Gallery. On the Los Angeles gallery scene since 1978, Rosamund Felsen is bidding farewell to her space with this group exhibition featuring works from her stable of gallery artists — which includes figures such as painters Karen Carson and Steven Hull and sculptors Jacci Den Hartog and Tim Ebner — among countless others. On view through the summer. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, rosamundfelsen.com.
Veronika Kellndorfer, "Tropical Modernism: Lina Bo Bardi," at Christopher Grimes Gallery. The German artist explores the work of Brazilian Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi — among other influential Brazilian designers — in works that place silkscreened photographic images onto reflective glass paneling. The focus, ultimately, is on unusual pairings — of the architecture and Brazil's riotous plant life. Through Sept. 2. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, cgrimes.com.
Betty Tompkins, "Sex Works/WOMEN Words: 1000 Words, Phrases and Stories," at Gavlak. Known for paintings that take graphic images of pornography and give them a distinctly feminist cast, Tompkins has taken on the ways in which women are referred to in our society. An installation of 1,000 paintings features words that describe women — from "babe" to "sis" to "hot tomato" to others that remain unprintable. The show also includes works from her various series devoted to sex and sexuality. Expect up-close views of various body parts. Through Sept. 3. 1034 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, gavlakgallery.com.
TMR as Hub: Páramo, at the Mistake Room. As part of its TMR as Hub series, the Mistake Room is showcasing the works of other cultural platforms — from galleries to artist-run spaces to schools. For this iteration, they are featuring the work of the Mexican collective Gabinete Homo-Extraterrestre (Gabinete H-E) in collaboration with the Guadalajara gallery Páramo. For this, their first Los Angeles exhibition, Gabinete has produced a body of new work that riffs on a symbolic exhumation of their past projects. Through Sept. 3. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles, tmr.la.
"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.
"Gronk's Theater of Paint," at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. The Los Angeles artist Gronk (born Glugio Nicandro) is widely known for his career as a painter, conceptual artist and for his work with the inventive 1970s collective Asco. He is also a longtime set designer, one who has built and painted elaborate sets for performances, plays and avant-garde operas, including works by the celebrated director Peter Sellars. This exhibition that tracks a long-running practice that melds art and architecture with the theatrical. Through Sept. 4. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
"Ed Ruscha: Books & Co.," at Gagosian Gallery. For their summer group show, the gallery is gathering historic artist books by Ed Ruscha (think: the seminal "Every Building on the Sunset Strip") and exhibiting them with a range of book and book-inspired works by other artists, such as Amy Park's ambitious paintings project that renders Ruscha's famous work as a series of watercolors, as well as other pieces that bear Ruscha's influence in less direct ways, such as Jennifer Dalton's exhaustive catalogue of potentially hazardous environmental sites in Brooklyn. Through Sept. 9. 456 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, gagosian.com.
"Phantom Limb," at Shulamit Nazarian. A group exhibition features the work of five artists whose work treads the line between the figurative and the abstract, including the wild collaged canvases of Trenton Doyle Hancock and the paintings of Scott Anderson, whose abstracted figures and landscapes manage to nod to art history even while feeling totally sci-fi. Through Sept. 9. 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, shulamitnazarian.com.
Ken Price, "Drawings," at Matthew Marks Gallery. The gallery is displaying more than 40 drawings from the estate of the artist, one of the largest West Coast presentations of the famous ceramicist's work on paper. He produced often whimsical and otherworldly renditions of mundane objects, as well as sketches for possible sculptures. The exhibition will also feature a small selection of the three-dimensional works. Through Sept. 10. 1062 N. Orange Grove Ave., West Hollywood, matthewmarks.com.
"Claire Falkenstein: Beyond Sculpture," at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The 20th century California artist, whose name has is circulating once again after being included in the debut exhibition at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, is now the subject of her own retrospective, tracking her entire career, from the 1930s to the '90s. (She passed away in 1997.) The artist, who worked in San Francisco and Los Angeles — as well as Paris — produced prints and murals, among other works, but she is best known for her sculpture: in particular, her often gritty assemblages made out of wire studded with chunks of glass. Through Sept. 11. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
Danielle Abrams, "Quadroon," at the Grand Central Art Center. A reference to someone who is one-quarter black, the term "quadroon" gets at the absolutist ways in which race is viewed in the United States. (Someone who is part black is regarded simply as black.) Abrams is part Jewish and part African American, and in this video installation, she picks apart the myriad elements — beyond simple ethnicity and race — that come together to make up any one person's identity. Through Sept. 11. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralcenter.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, 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, moca.org.
Alex Da Corte, "A Season in He'll," at Art + Practice. An exhibition by the New Jersey-born conceptual artist includes a series of works inspired by French poet Arthur Rimbaud's influential prose poem, "A Season in Hell," which explores topics of morality, desire and death. In video and in sculptural installations — works that employ banal consumer goods and pop cultural tropes — Da Corte takes on these topics and others, touching on issues of identity, alienation and instability. Through Sept. 17. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu and artandpractice.org.
Tanya Aguiñiga, Loie Hollowell and Lenore Tawney, "3 Women," at the Landing. A three-woman show — inspired by the Robert Altman movie of the same name — serves as a cross-generational gathering of works that blur the line between craft and fine art. These are represented by the weavings of Tawney, a contemporary of painter Agnes Martin; Hollowell, who paints pulsing abstractions inspired by the female form; and Aguiñiga, who uses modern and traditional weaving techniques to create wild biomorphic forms. Through Sept. 17. 5118 Jefferson Blvd., West Adams, thelandinggallery.com.
"Reflections on the Self," at the California African American Museum. Drawn from the museum's permanent collection, this wide-ranging exhibition looks at the representation of the self, examining the idealized and mythicized ways that artists have portrayed pop and cultural icons, from Malcolm X to Thelonious Monk to a New Orleans grand marshal. Also on view at the museum is "Oh Snap! West Coast Hip Hop Photography," which will feature an array of hip-hop artists who came up in the '90s, such as Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and others. Through Sept. 18. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
"In the Cut," at Gallery Luisotti. A group show curated by Michael Peña explores the myriad meanings of the phrase "in the cut" — from the idea of a wound to places that are remote, either physically or psychologically. The show brings together photography by Sam Contis, Whitney Hubbs, Lisa Ohlweiler and Cindy Bernard, depicting secluded desert spaces, nudist camps and a Riverside ranch, among other spaces. Through Sept. 24. An artist's reception will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 13. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Building A2, Santa Monica, galleryluisotti.com.
Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody, at the Architecture and Design Museum. A new exhibition looks at the career of one of Palm Springs' most notable Modernist architects — known for a range of designs (some quite flamboyant) that included homes, condominiums, commercial centers and the temple-like El Dorado Country Club for a clientele that included Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney and Bing Crosby. Through Sept. 25. 900 E. Fourth St., downtown Los Angeles, aplusd.org.
Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle and Tyler Matthew Oyer, "Exploring The Nowannago: Kentifrican Modes of Resistance," at Grand Central Art Center. A combination of performance and video piece, "Exploring the Nowannago" is part of Hinkle's long-running exploration of the ways in which black female bodies are commoditized and exoticized. Also on display is Jesse Kees' sound installation featuring a series of pieces drawn from the artist's experience working in Santa Ana. Through Oct. 16. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralartcenter.com.
"London Calling," at the Getty Museum. Drawn primarily from the collection of the Tate in London, this exhibition brings together six of the leading British painters of the 20th century, figures who resisted trends toward abstraction to focus on the figure, revolutionizing the act of painting in the process. Through Nov. 13. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Guillermo del Toro: At Home With Monsters," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The filmmaker's work — which includes movies such as "Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy" and "Pacific Rim" — all play with notions of the fantastical. This exhibition looks at the director's artistic process, including plenty of drawings and maquettes, along with the objects that inspire him (including some truly odd and macabre works from LACMA's permanent collection). These are presented in a series of thematic rooms that explore magic, occultism, death and monsters. A totally wild ride. Through Nov. 27. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Marcos Ramirez ERRE and David Taylor, "Delimitations: A Survey of the 1821 United States-Mexico Border," at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. In 2014, Ramirez and Taylor set out on a more than 3,000-mile journey to mark the 1821 border between the U.S. and Mexico, which took them to unlikely places such as Medicine Bow, Wyo., and Dodge City, Kan. This exhibition presents photography and other documentation from that journey, one that looks at the fragile nature of political borders. Also on view will be the wild urban architecture-inspired sculptures of L.A. artist Ruben Ochoa — rising like monsters from the gallery floor. A pair of shows not to miss. Through Nov. 27. Jacobs Building, 1100 Kettner Blvd., downtown San Diego, mcasd.org.
"American Mosaic: Picturing Modern Art Through the Eye of Duncan Phillips," at the Orange County Museum of Art. In the early 20th century, at a time when many U.S. moguls were focusing on amassing European masters, banking and steel scion Duncan Phillips focused his collecting efforts on American art, acquiring canvases by now venerated painters such as Thomas Eakins, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe and Helen Frankenthaler. This exhibition brings together more than five dozen works from his collection. Through Dec. 4. 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, ocma.net.
"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 Joaqun Torres-Garca and Wifredo Lam, Argentine conceptualist Len 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. 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.