An L.A. artist’s politically minded works. The photographer who recorded architecture and artists. And a series of installations that riff on a classic western. Here are five events to check out in the coming week:
Llyn Foulkes, “Old Man Blues,” at Sprüth Magers. The Los Angeles artist, known for his assemblages of scavenged objects that explore dark corners of the American cultural psyche, is having his first show at Sprüth Magers. On view will be a series of new works made since the retrospective of Foulkes’ work that was organized by the Hammer Museum in 2013. Some of these are informed by U.S. electoral politics; others consist of the large-scale tableaux that, with their deep layering of materials, create startling plays on depth and perspective. Also on view at the gallery is a two-man show featuring Jon Rafman and Stan Vanderbeek, inspired by the pair’s interest in cinema, animation and video games. Opens at 6 p.m. Thursday and runs through March 4. 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, spruethmagers.com.
Rachel Lacowicz, “Lay Back and Enjoy It,” at Shoshana Wayne Gallery. The Los Angeles-based artist has created a large-scale installation modeled after structures from Clint Eastwood’s 1973 western “High Plains Drifter” — two of which she has covered in red lipstick. It’s a look at the ways in which male power imbues our society’s governing institutions — not to mention the architecture that represents those institutions. Opens at 5 p.m. Saturday and runs through April 1. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., B1, Santa Monica, shoshanawayne.com.
“Guerrero: Calder and Nevelson, in Their Studios,” at Edward Cella Art + Architecture. Guerrero, who is from Arizona, made a name for himself as a photographer when he was hired to document Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture at Taliesin West in the early 20th century. A pair of providential assignments connected him with artists Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson, whom he would devotedly capture in their environments in ways that are both poetic and frank. Opens at 6 p.m. Saturday and runs through March 4. There will be a discussion with Guerrero’s widow, Dixie Guerrero, on at 4:30 p.m. Saturday that also includes historian Emily Billis and Edward Cella. 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, edwardcella.com.
Arne Quinze, “Jungle Cities,” at Denk Gallery. This is the debut show for the new Los Angeles gallery, which is kicking off its program with an exhibition by the Belgian sculptor known for his wild architectural installations. For this exhibition, Quinze has created a new series of metal sculptures and wall hangings that play with the idea of disappearing nature. This includes a standing sculpture that evokes a wild creature and a work that resembles a log — full of growths and other bits of wild nature — but is actually a piece of cast bronze. Opens at 6 p.m. Wednesday and runs through April 15. 749 E. Temple St., downtown Los Angeles, denkgallery.com.
“In Real Life: 100 Days of Film and Performance,” at the Hammer Museum. This 4 1/2-month program is bringing a series of screenings, performances, film and video to the museum during a remodel. This weekend, the main event will be “At Night the States,” a series of presentations and performances inspired by Alice Notley’s poem of the same name. The pieces serve as a meditation and deconstruction of our society’s group dynamics. Kicks off this at 1 p.m. Saturday with a presentation by Lee Relvas. Plus, there is a component that connects to the L.A. Women’s March, organized by artist Malin Arnell. Other participants include writer and curator Jennifer Doyle, artists Simone Forti, keyon gaskin and Raquel Gutierrez and dancer-choreographer taisha paggett with WXPT. Through Jan. 25. Check the schedule for a full list of events. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
“Truc Anh: Vacuphilia,” at Varola. The first exhibition by the Vietnamese-French artist features paintings and installations that feature bodies and body parts inhabiting an abstracted world of black and white. Through Friday. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Suite B256, West Hollywood, helenvarola.com.
Beatriz Cortez, “Nomad World,” at the Vincent Price Art Museum.The L.A.-based artist and cultural critic has transformed the gallery space at the museum into an arcade that picks apart global capitalism. A fortune-telling booth, a pinball machine and a jukebox have been pulled apart and put back together, in ways that grapple with issues such as migration, economics and identity. Through Jan. 28. East Los Angeles College, 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
“Virgin of Guadalupe: Images in Colonial Mexico,” at the Bowers Museum. This exhibition looks at the extraordinary impact of the Virgin of Guadalupe on Mexican culture, history and iconography through more than 60 artworks, including objects from the virgin’s basilica in Mexico City, as well as a sacred reliquary that contains a portion of the garment worn by Juan Diego, the indigenous peasant who first saw the virgin in an apparition. Through Jan. 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
“Straight Outta Bushwick,” at Chimento Contemporary. Organized by Patricia Hamilton, who used to run New York’s Hamilton Gallery of Contemporary Art, this exhibition brings together a selection of works by artists from the Schweitzer/David Gallery in Brooklyn, from a neighborhood that has been a hotbed of arts activity for just over six years. Featured will be works by Farrell Brickhouse, Daniel John Gadd, Brenda Goodman, Dana James and C. Michael Norton. Through Feb. 4. 622 S. Anderson St., No. 105, Boyle Heights, chimentocontemporary.com.
Nkame: A Retrospective of Cuban Printmaker Belkis Ayón, at the Fowler Museum. The Cuban visual artist was known for powerful pieces inspired by the visual iconography of the founding myths of Abakúa, an Afro-Cuban fraternal society. Over her short life (she died at age 32 in 1999), she produced a voluminous number of prints and collages in shades of black and white that convey scenes that are both magical and enigmatic. Through Feb. 12. UCLA, 308 Charles Young Drive North, Westwood, Los Angeles, fowler.ucla.edu.
“The Ecstasy of Mary Shelley,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Part of LACE’s Emerging Curators program, this exhibition, organized by Virginia Broersma, Nick Brown and Kio Griffith, takes Shelley’s seminal “Frankenstein” as a point of inspiration for a group show that dwells in “ecstatic highs and monstrous lows” as related to issues of performance and the body. This includes works by Cassils, Annie Lapin, Candice Lin and Gala Porras-Kim. Through Feb. 12. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
Karl Haendel, “By and By,” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. In his third solo show at the gallery, Haendel explores the power of the heroic in portraiture — playing with issues of masculinity, power and gender in a series of works that depict everything from powerful men to teenage girls riding rodeo to a monumental portrait of Hillary Clinton (his largest drawing to date). Also on view will be a new video, “J.,” an intimate filmic portrait of a convicted sex offender. Through Feb. 11. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, vielmetter.com.
Sam Durant, “Build Therefore Your Own World,” at Blum & Poe. With a title drawn from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, this exhibition of new works by the L.A. artist takes elements inspired by the transcendentalists (Emerson, Henry David Thoreau) and remixes them with objects drawn from the lives of African and African American thinkers. This might consist of a 3-D rendering of Emerson’s writing chair mashed up with poet Phyllis Wheatley’s desk, or the walking stick of Jack Garrison (once enslaved) with Thoreau’s pencil — objects that tell the intersecting tales of American history. Through Feb. 18. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Harry Callahan and Robert Heinecken, “Figures in Transformation,” at Marc Selwyn Fine Art. This exhibition pairs two key artists who worked with images: Callahan, the 20th century photographer renowned for the ways in which he captured the human figure, and Heinecken, the Los Angeles appropriationist known for his subversive works of installation and collage. This new show at Selwyn examines how the two approached the female figure, pushing the boundaries of what is considered photography in the process. Through Feb. 18. 9953 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, marcselwynfineart.com.
Patrick Martinez, “All Season Portfolio,” at Charlie James. Martinez has become known in recent months for paintings that take the iconography of the Pee-Chee folder, but use it to tackle a variety of issues, from figures in the popular culture to police brutality. This show features works from that series, as well as neon text sculptures that reference hip-hop lyrics and L.A. vernacular signage. Through Feb. 18. 969 Chung King Rd., Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com.
Merion Estes, “Lost Horizons” and “Cooling Trend,” and Emily Davis Adams, “Somewhere Between,” at CB1 Gallery. From 2007 to 2011, painter Merion Estes produced a series of works on paper inspired by vanishing natural landscapes and the 1937 Frank Capra film “Lost Horizon,” about the hidden mountain paradise Shangri-La. She will be showing these works, along with a work that draws its intense color palette from our ever warming climate. Also on view at CB1 will be an exhibition of new works by Emily Davis Adams: A series of paintings inspired by constructions made from paper and other materials that toy with how the viewer perceives color and light. Through Feb. 19. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
“Ease of Fiction,” at the California African American Museum. The museum has launched a new slate of shows. This includes “Ease of Fiction,” a group exhibition that features work by four African artists exploring the fine line between the invented and the real and the debut museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Genevieve Gagnard, whose photographs question notions of blackness and whiteness. There is also a beguiling room-sized installation by Hank Willis Thomas that recasts the symbols of the Confederate flag in the colors of black nationalism — and projects them in tune with a soundtrack of spoken-word audio (a piece that Times art critic Christopher Knight describes as “enthralling.”) Through Feb. 19. 600 State Dr., Exposition Park, Los Angeles, caamuseum.org.
Theaster Gates, “But to Be a Poor Race,” at Regen Projects. When writing his seminal work, “The Souls of Black Folk,” civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois created a series of data visualizations about black advancement in the United States — from circular charts that show taxable property owned by African Americans to others that tracked city-versus-rural populations. Now Gates, a Chicago-based artist, has created a series of paintings inspired by Du Bois’s elegant graphics: Bright color field canvases that are as much an homage to the sociologist’s work as they are to recent art history. The show includes various works of sculpture, too. Don’t miss. Through Feb. 25. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
Allan Sekula, “Early Works,” at Christopher Grimes Gallery. The gallery has gathered a number of early works by the photographer and theorist, including preliminary versions of some of his documentary pieces, which tackled issues of labor and politics, as well as never before exhibited prints. Also on view will be well-established works such as “Long Beach Notes” and the video “Reagan Tape,” which mashes up pieces of Reagan’s early films with footage from his political career. Through March 11. 916 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, cgrimes.com.
Toba Khedoori, at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This is the first major museum survey of the L.A.-based artist, known for her painstaking draftsmanship and enigmatic drawings and paintings. Her works often feature architectural elements, landscape, smoke and flame in ways that play with negative space and toy with meaning. Through March 19. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, 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 in 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.
“Forms of Identity: Women Artists in the ‘90s,” at the Orange County Museum of Art. A show drawn entirely from OCMA’s permanent collection focuses on works by 16 women whose art in the 1990s underwent a transformation, from overtly political to something more poetic and personal. This includes works by photographer Laura Aguilar, sculptor Jacci Den Hartog, light and space artist Helen Pashgian and installationist Polly Apfelbaum, among others. Through April 2. 850 San Clemente Dr., Newport Beach, ocma.net.
“Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media,” at the Getty Center. An exhibition that couldn’t be timelier: Curator Arpad Kovcs has put together a show that looks at the ways in which artists have turned bucolic magazine images and fragments of news programming into sharp political statements against events such as the Vietnam War and the so-called war on terror. The show features work by Martha Rosler, Alfredo Jaar, Catherine Opie and Robert Heinecken. Through April 20. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
“Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. This exhibition compares the artistic trajectories of two of the 20th century’s most towering Modernists: Pablo Picasso and Diego Rivera. This covers the period from the 1920s to the ’50s as they explored Cubism, classical forms and ancient cultures in innovative ways. The shows features 150 paintings, etchings and watercolors. Through May 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
Loris Gréaud, “Sculpt,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The entire theater has been taken over by the European artist for a film that screens to only one person at a time. The nonlinear picture follows “a man about whom we know very little, who seems to be constantly developing the concept of what experiencing beauty, thought, or obsession can be,” according the write-up. Times critic Christopher Knight describes it as “pretentious and uninvolving.” A good hate-watch, maybe? On view through a yet to be determined date. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.