The European years of a key American artist at LACMA, Japanese photography at the Getty, and an assortment of summer group shows that touch on everything from light to L.A. to rock 'n' roll. It's happening all over our sun-baked metropolis:
"Marsden Hartley: The German Paintings 1913-1915," at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In the early 1910s, the influential American painter Marsden Hartley lived in Paris and Berlin, a period during which he would develop his singular abstract style, one that blended military pattern with American Indian motifs and the dynamism of the city. For the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I, LACMA has gathered more than two dozen of Hartley's works from his sojourn in Europe. Opening Sunday, it is the first exhibition of Hartley's work in Southern California in more than 30 years. Show runs Aug. 3-Nov. 30. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, lacma.org.
"In Focus: Tokyo," at the Getty Museum. As part of its "In Focus" series, the Getty gathers the work of four contemporary photographers chronicling life in Tokyo. The show, which opens Tuesday, includes the hyper-real city shots of Daido Moriyama, moments of human drama captured by Shigeichi Nagano, Mikiko Hara's casual snapshot portraits and images of couples in repose by Masato Seto. Show runs Aug. 5-Dec 14 at the Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, West Los Angeles, getty.edu.
"Heads Will Roll," at Coagula Curatorial. We are well into the phenomenon known as summer-group-show season and Coagula comes through with a very rock-'n'-roll gathering of artists, including Alice Bag (the lead singer of the punk band The Bags); former Asco member Diane Gamboa, known for her paper dresses; and Shizu Saldamando, who produces some very beguiling portraits of hipsters and punks — among many others. The opening reception will include performances by Little T & The Swigs and Genevieve Atkerson. Opening reception is Saturday at 7 p.m. Show runs Aug. 2-12. 974 Chung King Road, Chinatown, coagulacuratorial.com.
James Cordas and Zac Tomaszewski, "Poltergeist," at South of Sunset. If you're looking for something that will stimulate those doors of perception, check out this exhibition, which features a dimly lighted gallery installed with works that employ ultraviolet light. An opening reception will be held tonight at 8 p.m. Show runs July 31-Aug. 24. 1218 West Temple St, Echo Park, southofsunset.la.
Single Wing Turquoise Bird, at Young Projects. Speaking of light, Single Wing Turquoise Bird, the L.A. collective known for producing light shows for bands such as the Velvet Underground, the Who and Cream, have an exhibition going down at the Pacific Design Center. My colleague Jessica Gelt sat down to speak with the group last week for a profile, discussing, among other things the meaning of the word "psychedelic" and their 47-minute film "Invisible Writing." Through Aug. 9 at the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, youngprojectsgallery.com.
"The White Album," at Richard Telles Fine Art. Another summer group show, this one organized by Gladys-Katherina Hernando (who runs the online gallery Light & Wire). It riffs on the many aspects of L.A., including landscape, fashion, porn, mysticism and Hollywood. The title, naturally, is inspired by the Joan Didion book of the same name. Through Aug. 16, 7380 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, tellesfineart.com.
"Video Art Residency: Summer Series 2014," at Papillion. The new Leimert Park space has been hosting a summer video residency, with different projects on view every week. This weekend, the gallery will be showing Numa Perrier's installation and video, "Florida Water," which explores the artist's faint memories of her mother in Haiti. Other programs are on the line-up for next week. Through Aug. 9, 4336 Degnan Blvd., Leimert Park, papillionart.com.
Heather Flood, "Punk'd," at the SCI-Arc Gallery. A design professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Flood has created a three-dimensional installation that toys with perspective. Looking like a geometric punk wig, the piece appears red from some angles, gray from others, and flutters between the two from various other points. KCET's "Artbound" has a good story and profile. This show is in its final days, so don't put it off until next week. Through Sunday, at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, 960 E. 3rd St., downtown Los Angeles, sciarc.edu.