New abstractions from Mark Bradford. An artist who remixes literature with pop culture. A street art temple inspired by Indian graphics. Plus: the story of two men connected in death, a performance about the end of men, and a panel about keeping L.A. creative.
Mark Bradford, "Scorched Earth," at the Hammer Museum. In what is surprisingly Bradford's first solo museum show in his native Los Angeles, the artist is unveiling a dozen new works, including an audio installation that riffs on the macho nature of stand-up comedy. Also on view will be a series of new abstract paintings: a 12-foot canvas bearing cellular patterns in black ink, and others that take his traditional paper-and-paint layers to greater geological effect. This is one not to miss. Opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 27. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
"Perfect Likeness: Photography and Composition," at the Hammer Museum. Where is the art in a medium — photography — that all of us practice on practically a daily basis? This exhibition argues that part of it lies in the art of composition. Artists such as Stan Douglas, Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall and Catherine Opie all carefully consider the ways they set up and frame the objects, landscapes and people they photograph. Opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 13. 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles, hammer.ucla.edu.
"Vernon Fisher: A Retrospective," at Mark Moore Gallery. Since the '70s, Fisher has been making mixed media works that fuse references to language and literature, mapping and various aspects of pop culture. This includes painted works on unusual canvases (cylindrical drums) and others that have been entirely deconstructed (bits of canvas rendered to look like a flock of birds on a wall). Through July 18. 5790 Washington Blvd., Culver City, markmooregallery.com.
Broken Fingaz, "Journey Galactiko," at Howard Griffin Gallery. This four-artist street art crew from Israel is erecting a wild temple, made out of wood and found objects, in the middle of this downtown gallery space. The structure will be covered in the group's pop-saturated imagery, some of which was inspired by a recent trip to India. Opens Saturday and runs through July 25. 410 S. Spring St., downtown Los Angeles, howardgriffingallery.com.
Michelle Ellsworth, "Prepare for the Obsolescence of the Y Chromosome," at the Bootleg Theater. A humorous dance performance/digital installation delivered as a research presentation explores a scenario in which men might cease to exist. The New York Times reviewed the show when she performed it in New York in January. Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 2220 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park, Los Angeles, showboxla.org.
Rachel Mason, "The Lives of Hamilton Fish," at the L.A. County Museum of Art. In 1936, two men named Hamilton Fish died — a statesman and a serial killer — and their deaths were featured on the cover of the Peekskill Evening Star News. Artist Rachel Mason has turned this strange coincidence into a musical film that tells the stories of two men connected by history and coincidence. Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"Zocalo Public Square: Is L.A. Really the Creative Capital of the World?" at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles. Cultural affairs representative Daniel Brazell, economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez (who contributes to the Otis Report on the Creative Economy) and Maker City LA co-founder Sharon Ann Lee get together to talk about how L.A. can maintain its status as a creative capital (besides write-ups in the New York Times Style section). Moderated by Lisa Fung. 5750 Wilshire Blvd., mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, zocalopublicsquare.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 Saturday. 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 Saturday. 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 — some of which explores the tragedy of the missing 43 from Ayotzinapa. (Don't miss my Q&A with the artist.) Through Saturday. 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, luisdejesus.com.
Chris Burden, "Ode to Santos Dumont," at the Los Angeles 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 Sunday; check the website for flight times. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.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. Through June 27. 17 N. Venice Blvd., Venice, shulamitgallery.com.
Gary Hill, "Observaciones Sobre los Colores," at Roberts & Tilton. The pioneering video artist presents a piece made in Venezuela in the late 1990s that shows a young boy attempting to read a phonetically written Spanish translation of a German philosophical text. The nearly incomprehensible text serves as a point of departure for exploring questions about sound, language, color and body language. Through June 27. 5801 Washington Blvd., Culver City, robertsandtilton.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 28. 152 N. Central Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.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 — including architectural installation, sculpture and painting. This group show gathers the winners' works. Through June 28. 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, lamag.org.
Matt Siegle, "Eddie's Gulch," at Park View Gallery. Siegle creates paintings that record the lives of drifters who mine for gold in a canyon along the San Gabriel River, employing these in larger compositions that tell stories about independence and 21st century disenfranchisement. Through June 28. 836 S. Park View St., Unit 8, Westlake, Los Angeles, parkviewparkview.com.
Liza Ryan, "Wind(Shield)," at Kayne Griffin Corcoran. A series of photographs by the L.A.-based artist examines that fragile membrane that protects the average 2-ton vehicle barreling around at 65 mph: the windshield. Images of wrecked and abandoned cars capture reflections of sky over webbed cracks and fractured glass. Through July 11. 1201 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, Los Angeles, kaynegriffincorcoran.com.
Andrew Dadson, "Painting (Organic)," at David Kordansky Gallery. Intensely layered abstractions feature breadth as well as depth, with paint manipulated into three-dimensional forms right on the surface of the canvas. The show also includes ink-jet paintings and an installation involving spray-painted plants. Through July 11. 5130 Edgewood Place, Mid-City, Los Angeles, davidkordanskygallery.com.
Paula McCartney, "A Field Guide to Snow and Ice," at Kopeikin Gallery. When McCartney moved from San Francisco to Minneapolis, she not only embraced the freezing weather, she made it part of her work, shooting frozen waterfalls, snowdrifts and other icy forms in ways that often rendered them abstract. These images are mixed with others that contain snow-like elements: stalagmites at Carlsbad Caverns or piles of ghostly white sand at White Sands National Monument. Through July 11. 2766 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, kopeikingallery.com.
Richard Ankrom, "The Curio Shop," at Charlie James Gallery. Ankrom works with appropriated bits of kitsch that he transforms in strange and bizarre ways, such as creating mini-bondage gear for odd bits of decorative detritus. Demented as it is irresistible. Through July 11. 969 Chung King Road, Chinatown, Los Angeles, cjamesgallery.com
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 United States as well as questions of cheap labor on Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk. Through July 12. 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, grandcentralartcenter.com.
Rachel Harrison, "Three Young Framers,' at Regen Projects. With all the talk about selfie sticks in the world of art, it seemed right that an artist would take the subject on — both in concept and in material form. Harrison, who is known for her bulbously weird sculptures made from Styrofoam and cement, has a show at Regen that employs both the concept of the selfie (the framing of oneself) and the sticks themselves. Through July 18. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
"Lost in a Sea of Red," at the Pit. A group show gathers photography, painting and sculpture by a group of 10 Los Angeles artists, including photographer John Divola, painter Annie Lapin and sculptor Jedediah Caesar, who often works with detritus. Through July 18; open by appointment. 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale, the-pit.la.
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 a variety of objects, including bulletproof dresses. 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 among cinema, fine art and music video. Do not miss. Through Aug. 16. 250 S. Grand Ave., downtown Los Angeles, moca.org.
"The New Creativity: Man and Machines," at the Mak Center for Art and Architecture. Organized by UCLA architecture critic and historian Sylvia Lavin, this show examines the ways in which technology has been employed (and not) in the world of design — a show that will be staged in the historic Rudolph Schindler House, which the architect designed with the aid of a drafting machine. Through Aug. 16. The Schindler House, 845 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood, makcenter.org.
"Oaxaca – Immigration and Cultural Memory," at the Duron Gallery. Two dozen works by artists from around the Mexican state of 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. Through Aug. 29. SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice, sparcinla.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 led 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.
"Korda: Revolutionary Photographer," at the Museum of Latin American Art. Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, better known by the nickname Korda, is the Cuban photographer who snapped the iconic photograph of Che Guevera looking heroic. He also photographed many other significant happenings during and after the Cuban Revolution. MOLAA gathers 19 vintage prints from the late 1950s and early '60s, when the country was in a period of great transition. Through Sept. 6. 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, molaa.org.
"Chris Francis: Shoe Designer," at the Craft & Folk Art Museum. 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 plywood, leather and leftover bits of fruit crates. 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 haunting sculptures of bones as well as decorative porcelain plates that record the lives of women in the service. Through Sept. 6. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
"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.
"Tongues Untied," at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. Exploring themes such as desire, love, loss and mourning, this show, drawn from the Museum of Contemporary Art's collection, looks at the world of art during the dawn of the AIDS crisis. The centerpiece of the show is Marlon Riggs's feature-length 1989 documentary, "Tongues Untied," a semi-autobiographical look at the black gay experience. Through Sept. 13. Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, moca.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.
Norbert Tadeusz, "Studio," at the El Segundo Museum of Art. The German painter, known for his colorful contorted figures, often presented in surreal scenarios, is little known in this country. But this exhibition — a collaboration between ESMoA and the L.A. County Museum of Art, which curated the show — provides an opportunity to get acquainted with his work. Through Sept. 26. 208 Main St., El Segundo, esmoa.org.
Noah Purifoy, "Junk Dada," at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The sculptor who turned the detritus of the Watts riots into sculpture and transformed a patch of desert in Joshua Tree into a wild assemblage museum is finally getting his due: a solo museum exhibition at LACMA. This includes work from early on in his career, as well as a dozen assemblage works that he and other artists crafted for "66 Signs of Neon," the seminal post-riots show held at the Watts Towers Arts Center in 1966. Through Sept. 27. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"In Focus: Animalia," at the Getty Museum. Drawn from the museum's collection of photographs, this small show focuses on the relationship between human and animal as defined by the camera's lens. This includes work by early 19th century photographers who captured dogs, wild felines and even taxidermy game in early photographs and daguerreotypes. Through Oct. 18. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Someday Is Now: The Art of Corita Kent," at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Known for producing a groundbreaking body of work that combined faith, activism, snippets of found text and bold color, Kent was a Catholic nun who also had a prolific career as a fine art printer. Through Nov. 1. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
"To Live and Dine in L.A.," at the Central Library. The history of a place can be told through its texts: its books, its accumulated government documents and its menus, too. Critic and writer Josh Kun has pored over the L.A. Public Library's extensive historic menu archive and put together a show that tells a layered story about L.A.'s food and design — but also stories of politics, culture, society, race and gender. See an image gallery. Through Nov. 13. 630 W. 5th St., downtown Los Angeles, lapl.org.
"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 who once inhabited it. Through Nov. 29. 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, bowers.org.
"Various Small Fires (Working Documents)," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A show that illuminates unusual bits of LACMA history: the plan to have a robot patrol the galleries or the time a dog worked as a security guard. Included in the mix is Ed Ruscha's working sketch for his infamous mid-'60s canvas: "The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire." Through Feb. 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.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.