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FALL PREVIEW : ART : The Best of the Rest in the Visual Arts

True to form, the art scene will use September as the warm-up for the big October push, with commercial galleries and nonprofit spaces offering a steady start to the fall season and the large institutions holding back a bit.

The museums won’t be completely dry this month. Notably, the Museum of Contemporary Art unveils its mid-career survey of New Yorker Terry Winters’ oddly sumptuous paintings of bugs, fungi and other assorted lower-life forms (Sept. 15--Jan. 12). But fasten your seat belt for October.

The crush begins Oct. 1 as UCLA’s Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts calmly celebrates its anniversary with a show of 35 years of acquisitions (through Nov. 17). Then, Oct. 6, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art unveils the mother-of-all-blockbusters, “Mexico: Splendors of Thirty Centuries,” through Dec. 29 (see story above). The show arrives trailing not one but two festivals of Mexican culture with nearly 400 programs around town including shows in the galleries.

Two days later, the New York artist/showman Christo erects 1,760 giant yellow umbrellas along the I-5 freeway from Gorman through the Grapevine Oct. 8--29), as 1,340 giant blue umbrellas blossom simultaneously in Japan. On Oct. 13, MOCA displays “Ad Reinhardt,” a rigorous survey of the great New York School abstractionist (through Jan. 5). On the 15th, the J. Paul Getty Museum digs into its great manuscript collection for “French Illumination in the Late Middle Ages” (through Dec. 29), and on the 29th draws from its impressive collection of photographs for a survey of the late work of Eugene Atget (through Jan. 5).

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November and December will be the time to catch up on all those things you just couldn’t get to in October--including your sleep. The San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art also has a show of Canadian Jeff Wall’s ominous photographic light boxes (Nov. 15-Jan. 26), which are almost never seen hereabouts. Then, it’s time for the Art Fair (Nov. 20-24), as 100 international galleries descend on L.A.'s Convention Center. Finally, the retrospective of painter and collagist Romare Bearden arrives at UCLA (Dec. 10-Feb.2).

Oh, yes. One more thing. On Oct. 9, between “Mexico” and Christo, the J. Paul Getty Trust will publicly unveil the much-anticipated scheme, seven years in the making, for its enormous hilltop facility in Brentwood. After so many years of planning, did they really have to pick October for the debut?


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