There is a little bit of everything going on in Los Angeles this week — from a historic exhibition about the arduous process of ending slavery in the United States to a design show that brings together illustrations from the golden age of the American automobile. In between, there are shows devoted to desire, the life of bumblebees, woven paper, Hollywood portraits and skateboard graphics. Here’s what we’ve got in our Datebook:
“The U.S. Constitution and the End of American Slavery” at the Huntington Library. An exhibition of more than 80 objects — including letters by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln — explores the tumultuous and bloody road that led to the passing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. Opens Saturday and runs through April 20, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, huntington.org.
“Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters” at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. A series of works produced by a loose network of eight male quilters features elaborate pieces depicting everything from heavy metal iconography to biker imagery to sports. The show also pushes the definition of what the art form can be, with one artist producing a quilt out of concrete. Opens Sunday and runs through May 3. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
Jonas Becker, “The Pile” at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. A lush multimedia installation that includes video, photography and a pile of cushiony hand-crafted sculptures explores questions of desire. This includes a mountain of hand-sewn pieces pressing against the windows of the museum. Opens Sunday and runs through May 3. 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, cafam.org.
“Jessica Rath: A Better Nectar” at the University Art Museum. Rath uses a combination of light, sound and sculpture to channel the experience of a bumblebee in search of nectar. (The artist has spent a good deal of time studying the biology of these industrious animals.) The highlight is a piece called “Resonant Nest,” a human-scaled beehive with responsive acoustic elements. Other exhibitions on view in the space include “Consumed,” which looks at the implications of mass consumption and “MOCA 8,” an exhibition of prints. Opens Tuesday and runs through April 12, at Cal State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, csulb.edu/org/uam.
“Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia: Mis Papeles” at the Vincent Price Art Museum. The first museum survey of this L.A. artist’s brilliantly hued woven paper works include abstracted pieces that practically take on the feel of a textile. Others are more painterly, depicting a variety of imagery. Opens Saturday at noon. There will be a reception for the artist on February 7 at 4.p.m. Runs through April 18. 1301 Cesar Chavez Ave., Monterey Park, vincentpriceartmuseum.org.
Armin Hansen, Jim Morphesis and Lars Jan, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The museum is opening up a trio of new exhibitions this week. This includes a survey of the work of Armin Hansen (1886-1957), the San Francisco-born painter who dedicated his life to producing plein air oceanic scenes of the Pacific, as well as an exhibition of the work of L.A. artist Jim Morphesis, a painter whose expressionistic canvases also combine elements of assemblage. (He’s also the guy in that Kent Twitchell mural under the 101 Freeway.) In the project space, Lars Jan has a photographic lightbox installation that explores ideas of natural disaster and human survival. Opens Sunday and runs through May 31. 490 E. Union St., Pasadena, pmcaonline.org.
“Laura Krifka: Reap the Whirlwind,” and André Goeritz, “Schadenfreude,” at CB1 Gallery. The downtown L.A. art space is inaugurating a new location this week just south of the 10 Freeway, also in downtown. To kick things off, the gallery has a new show of Krifka’s exuberant figurative paintings, all full of sex and death, balanced by the precise and cerebral abstract installations of the L.A.-based Goeritz. Opening reception Saturday, 2 p.m. Runs through Feb. 28. 1923 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, cb1gallery.com.
“Amy Elkins & Jona Frank: In Position” at De Soto Gallery. A new exhibition pairs photography by Elkins and Frank, two artists who look at notions of gender in young dancers and boxers respectively. Opening reception Saturday, 6 p.m. Runs through Feb. 28. 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, desotogallery.com.
“When the Future Had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973” at Christopher Mount Gallery. In the automotive world, as in everything else, the computer has taken over just about every aspect of the design process. This exhibition gathers car concept drawings from the Big Three American automakers, back from when power and futuristic lines were rendered in pen and ink. A good one for the gear-heads. Opening reception Friday, 5 p.m. Runs through May 20. At the Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, christophermountgallery.com.
“Don Bachardy: Hollywood” at Craig Krull Gallery. For the last 50 years, artist Bachardy has been drawing all kinds of people. Among them, high-profile Hollywood names such as Natalie Wood, Jack Nicolson and most recently, Marion Cotillard. This exhibition gathers those drawings — along with a series that Angelina Jolie commissioned during her pregnancy. Opening reception Saturday, 4 p.m. Runs through Feb. 28. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, craigkrullgallery.com.
“Queen George” at Think Tank Gallery. A collaborative event that features a little bit of everything, including art by Avi Roth, furniture design by Amir Raveh and a dance performance by the L.A. troupe Ate9. Performances will be held tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 pm. 939 Maple Ave., downtown Los Angeles, ate9dancecompany.com and thinktankgallery.com.
Mark A. Rodriguez, "Cup or Lovers," at Park View. A series of abstracted works evoke various aspects of home: sculptures made from copper pipes, a set of carved table legs (crafted specifically for the show) and a drawing on a napkin that isn’t a napkin but a cast. Runs through Feb. 15. 836 S. Park View St., Westlake, Los Angeles, parkviewparkview.com.
"Agents Provocateurs: A Selection of Subversive Skateboard Graphics and Artworks" at Subliminal Projects. The gallery gathers provocative skateboard graphics produced by an array of skaters, graphic designers and contemporary artists, including Ed Templeton and Todd Francis. Opens Saturday at 8 p.m. and runs through Feb. 21. 1331 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, Los Angeles, subliminalprojects.com.
Gillian Wearing, “Everyone,” at Regen Projects. Wearing is known for creating riveting video pieces that play with ideas of truth. A new video, “Fear and Loathing,” is Wearing's first produced in the United States. (It's all about secrets being harbored around pockets of L.A.) Life is full of regrets. Missing this terrific show shouldn't be one of them. Through Jan. 24. 6750 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, regenprojects.com.
Rhonda Lieberman, “The Cats in Residence Program,” at 356 Mission. Because there’s no such thing as too many cats, Lieberman is staging a gallery “purrformance” with lots of feline players as well as an interspecies lounge/installation designed by Freecell Architecture and Gia Wolff. Runs through Jan. 25. 356 S. Mission Road, downtown Los Angeles, 356mission.com.
“When It Is Dark Enough” and "Lucien Shapiro: The Wore,” at CES Gallery. "When It Is Dark Enough" is a group show of hallucinatory and augmented images of people. A smaller exhibition displays Lucien Shapiro's masks, crafted from discarded items such as bottle caps. Runs through Jan. 24. 709 Mateo St., downtown Los Angeles, carlesmithgallery.com.
Josef Koudelka, “Nationality Doubtful,” at the Getty Center. A retrospective on the important Czech-born photographer gathers more than 180 works from throughout the artist's six-decades-long career. Through March 22. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, getty.edu.
“Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Forty-five paintings by the best-known artists of the American landscape movement, including Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church. Through June 7. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Pierre Huyghe” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. The hallucinatory retrospective of the French conceptualist, better known for his experimentations (a site-specific sculpture made out of a beehive) than the production of serial objects. Read our handy unsanctioned guide to the show. Through Feb. 22. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“World War I: War of Images, Images of War” at the Getty Research Institute. On the 100th anniversary of World War I, the exhibition gathers art about the experience including propaganda and vernacular pieces. Through April 19. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, getty.edu.
“In Focus: Play” at the Getty Museum. A series of 20th century images that capture humans of all ages in acts of gaming, carousing, celebration and vacation. Through May 10. 1200 Getty Center Drive, Brentwood, Los Angeles, getty.edu.
Christine Corday, “Protoist Series, Selected Forms,” at the L.A. County Museum of Art. Corday's bendy steel sculptures don't sacrifice playfulness for mass. Don't miss them in LACMA’s courtyard area (by Ray's & Stark Bar). Through April 5. 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Mid-City, Los Angeles, lacma.org.
“Brian Weil 1979-95: Being in the World” at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The first retrospective of a photographer devoted to highlighting members of insular and invisible communities, including sexual fetishists, Miami homicide detectives and members of New York’s Hasidic community. Opens Saturday at 3 p.m. and runs through April 18. Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, smmoa.org.
“Paulo Bruscky: Artist Books & Films,” 1970-2013, and “Vivian Suter: Panajachel” at the Mistake Room. A pair of shows features the work of Bruscky, a key Brazilian conceptualist known for his wry actions, and the Argentina-born painter Suter, who creates abstract works. Runs through March 14. 1811 E. 20th St., downtown Los Angeles, tmr.la.
“Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change” at the Annenberg Space for Photography. An exhibition of photographs shows the ways in which humans have been contending with the rise of sea levels around the globe. Through May 3. 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, annenbergspaceforphotography.org.
“The Heart Is the Frame,” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. A thoughtful group exhibition (I wrote more about it here) gathers a wide range of video, photographic and sculptural works for a look at the ways in which art can penetrate everyday life. Through Feb. 14. 6522 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, welcometolace.org.
Liz Magic Laser, “The Thought Leader,” and Anna Sew Hoy, “Face No Face,” at Various Small Fires. Laser creates a fictional TED talk out of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Notes From Underground" while Sew Hoy shows void-filled sculptures that employ material (such as denim) in wry and unlikely ways. Runs through Feb. 21. 812 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, vsf.la.
Alma Allen, at Blum & Poe. Allen's bulbous and amoeboid pieces have a suppleness and buoyancy that seem to defy gravity — and the heavy materials (like marble) from which they are made. Runs through Feb. 28. 2727 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, blumandpoe.com.
Sadie Benning, “Fuzzy Math,” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. The New York-based artist produces puzzle-like paintings that mix bold, bright color with graceful texture. Runs through Feb. 14. 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, vielmetter.com.
Glen Kaino, “Labyrinths,” at Honor Fraser. A series of new installations features maps reconfigured into origami, a depiction of a wormhole and a 40-foot wall made of wax. Runs through Feb. 14. 2622 S. La Cienega Blvd., Culver City, honorfraser.com.
“Mending Wall,” a group show, at The Pit. A relatively young gallery in Glendale has a worthwhile group show that also looks at ideas of construction, with works by John Houck, Huma Bhabha and Jake Kean Mayman. Runs through Feb. 22. 918 Ruberta Ave., Glendale, the-pit.la.
Kon Trubkovich, “House of the Rising Sun,” at Ohwow Gallery. The Moscow-born artist presents a series of new paintings based on footage of President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Runs through Feb. 14. 937 La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, oh-wow.com.
David Stork, “10 Block Square: Havana 1999,” at Couturier Gallery. An L.A-based photographer captures Cuba in the 1990s, when he documented a 10-block square section of Havana during a profound economic crisis. Runs through Feb. 14. 166 N. La Brea Ave., Hancock Park, Los Angeles, couturiergallery.com.
“Roberto Chavez: Portraits” at Glike Gallery. If you missed Chavez's retrospective at the Vincent Price Art Museum, now's your chance to see this important artist and educator's paintings, which often verge on the mordantly funny. Runs through Feb. 22, 5890 Blackwelder St., Suite B, Culver City, glikegallery.com.
“Mike Kuchar: Saints and Sinners” at François Ghebaly. The underground filmmaker is also known for homoerotic drawings that are as salacious as they are fantastical and hilarious: studly gladiators, well-endowed dinosaur hunters and a Viking with a very large, um, weapon. Runs through Feb. 14. 2245 E. Washington Blvd., downtown Los Angeles, ghebaly.com.
Mira Dancy, “Is She Is She Psychic,” at Night Gallery. Playing with the psychological and graphic qualities of advertising, Dancy uses a series of paintings to imagine an ad campaign for an invented fragrance called “Herfume Perfume.” Runs through Feb. 21. 2276 E. 16th St., downtown Los Angeles, nightgallery.ca.
G.T. Pellizzi, “Before Completion,” at Harmony Murphy Gallery. A series of sculptures and wall installations are inspired by the architecture of the gallery and the “I Ching,” exploring the notion of ideas on the verge of being completed. Runs through Feb. 14. 679 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, harmonymurphygallery.com.
Jason McLean, “Soda Gardner,” at Wilding Cran Gallery. Drawing, painting and random found objects find their way into surreal landscapes, abstract doodles and cartoon-like figures. Runs through Feb. 21. 939 S. Santa Fe Ave., downtown Los Angeles, wildingcran.com.
“Space Program” at Steve Turner. Turner unveils his new Hollywood exhibition space with a group show by his stable of artists — including sculpture by Yung Jake and paintings by Deborah Grant. The standout is a behemoth 20-foot collaged piece about corruption and drug war violence by Camilo Restrepo. Runs through Feb. 7. 6830 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, steveturner.la.
“Three Painters: Walpa D’Mark, Barbara Kaleta, and Ian Pines” at Coagula Curatorial. Works by three emerging Los Angeles painters collectively touch on everything from psychedelia to landscape to the visceral bits of the human body. Runs through Feb. 14. 974 Chung King Road, coagulacuratorial.com.
Joanne Mitchell, “All the Hallways,” at Proxy Gallery. The gallery in a box has a show up by L.A. artist Mitchell consisting of all the hallway scenes from Chantal Akerman’s 1975 drama “Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.” Through Jan. 31. Otis Graduate Studios, 10455 Washington Blvd., Culver City, ospace.otis.edu/proxy_gallery.
“Elemental: Seeing the Light,” at Descanso Gardens. Taking on the subject of light, this group show looks at the ways in which artists — from Light and Space stalwart Larry Bell to photographer Nancy Macko — are inspired by ethereal rays. Runs through April 5. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, descansogardens.org.
“Guerilla Girls: Art in Action” at Pomona College Museum of Art. Posters, handbills, books and newsletters chronicle the actions of the longtime feminist art-activists. Runs through May 17. On Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m., the Guerilla Girls will be on hand for a performance and reception. 330 N. College Ave., Claremont, pomona.edu/museum.
Carolyn Castaño, "Mujeres Que Crean/Women Who Create: Medellin, Colombia" at the New Americans Museum. Known for lush paintings that touch on the drug war, Castaño has created a site-specific installation that features survivors of Colombia's armed conflict reenacting poses from historical artworks. Runs through March 21. 2825 Dewey Road, San Diego, newamericansmuseum.org.
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FOR THE RECORD
The captions for two photos in an earlier version of this post gave the location of Jonas Becker's art installation "The Pile" as the Craft & Folk Art Museum. The photos were taken at Shulamit Gallery during an earlier installation of the piece.