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Datebook: Mushroom clouds, FBI files, land art and lots of photography

Datebook: Mushroom clouds, FBI files, land art and lots of photography
L.A. photographer Larry Sultan, who died in 2009, will be the subject of a career retrospective at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The photographer shot until late in his life, including this image, "Belarus," from 2006. (Estate of Larry Sultan)

Photographers who documented landscape, street scenes and the San Fernando Valley's pornography industry, plus an exhibition that brings together L.A. and Latin America, abstractions made with books, and a show about the artistic interventions of an Italian architect. Also, a 1976 work of video art made up entirely of declassified mushroom clouds, a musical about love and a bio-mass, as well as an opportunity to request your FBI files. It's a busy weekend in L.A. Here's what we've got in the hopper:

"Larry Sultan: Here and Home," at LACMA. This is the first retrospective devoted to examining the career of this important L.A. photographer, who passed away in 2009. It includes an overview of his various bodies of work, from his early conceptual experiments (self-published books full of images appropriated from the archives of research institutions and corporations) to his series "The Valley," which captures the suburban settings inhabited by Southern California's porn industry. Opens Sunday. On view through March 27. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-City, lacma.org.

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"Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland," at the Huntington. Speaking of photography… Black-and-white images of Britain and Ireland by two master photographers -- Bruce Davidson, who is widely renowned for his street pictures, and Paul Caponigro, whose focus is landscape -- are being presented by the Huntington. Opens Saturday. On view through March 9. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, hungtington.org.

Bruce Conner, "Crossroads," at Kohn Gallery. The gallery will show one of the most violently seductive works of video art around: Conner's "Crossroads," from 1976, is made from more than 30 minutes of declassified government footage of the underwater atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Opening reception Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On view through Dec. 20. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, kohngallery.com.

TONIGHT: "Love Has Many Faces: An Evening with Joni Mitchell," at the Hammer Museum. Mitchell will introduce a screening of "The Fiddle and the Drum," a ballet about environmental degradation that is set to her song. (This is an issue dear to the singer's heart.) Mitchell will stick around for a Q&A afterward. Tonight at 7:30, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, hammer.ucla.edu.

Javier Tapia and Camilo Ontiveros, "Travelling Dust," at the 18th Street Arts Center. An exhibit exploring the connections between Chile, Mexico and Los Angeles will consist of objects gathered in all three locations -- including pieces from the San Gabriel Mission -- and presented, museum-style at this Santa Monica art center (now celebrating its 25th year). Opening reception Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. On view through Dec. 12. 1639 18th St., Santa Monica, 18thstreet.org.

"Samuel Levi Jones: Black White Thread," at Papillion. Jones, an artist known for his abstract assemblages of repurposed book covers -- and recent winner of the Studio Museum in Harlem's Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize -- unveils his latest solo effort at Papillion, the popular new Leimert Park art space. Opens Saturday at 6 p.m. 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, Los Angeles, papillionart.com.

LAST CHANCE: "Beyond Environment, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. It's the last weekend for this small yet highly intriguing exhibition that tracks the artistic collaborations of Italian architect Gianni Pettena with American artists such as Robert Smithson (of "Spiral Jetty" fame). These often-wry works lie at the intersection of land art, architecture and performance and include images of surreptitious cardboard installations in Italian plazas, photographs of a Smithson dump-truck project in Italy (in which the artist poured asphalt down the side of a mountain), along with some truly wondrous pictures of a Minnesota project, in which Pettena buried houses in blocks of ice. Through Sunday. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.

TONIGHT: Megan Daalder, "Eureka and the Biomass Man," at Five Car Garage. This sounds like a good one: a sci-fi mini-musical about a love affair between a synthetic organism and a human. It will be staged in a five-car garage gallery (hence the name) in Santa Monica for three nights starting today. The show includes vegan gelatin shots. Performances will be held for three days starting today (Nov. 6-8) at 8 p.m., with an extra performance on Saturday at 6 p.m. RSVP for a seat and the Santa Monica address, emmagrayhq.com.

Dave Naz, "Identity," at Coagula Curatorial. A long-time erotic photographer (and former punk rocker), the L.A.-based Naz now turns his lens onto the issue of gender identity with a series of portraits that capture its entire spectrum. The show coincides with the publication of Naz's book, "Genderqueer." Opening reception Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. On view through Dec. 20. 974 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, coagulacuratorial.com.

"Know Thy Enemy!" at Machine Project. Concerned about your place in the surveillance state? In this workshop led by Ken Ehrlich and Janet Sarbanes, participants will learn about the Freedom of Information Act and can make out a request for their own FBI files. Everyone will be invited back six months from now to read from their files. Sunday at 8 p.m. 1200-D N. Alvarado St., Echo Park, Los Angeles, machineprojects.com.

"#Not1More: Art, Music and Immigration Reform in 21st Century America," at Human Resources L.A. A roundtable led by Alicia Schmidt-Camacho and music critic Josh Kun features filmmaker Alex Rivera of "Sleep Dealer" fame (who has appeared on this blog in the past) as well as a performance by Los Jornaleros del Norte, a musical group that deals with questions of day labor. Saturday at 8 p.m. at 410 Cottage Home St., Elysian Park, Los Angeles, humanresourcesla.com.

PLUS: Inglewood Open Studios, with self-guided tours of more than 60 artist spaces, is going down this Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. Click on the link for a detailed map.

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Twitter: @cmonstah

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